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From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.

edu>
Senttime: 01/14/201609:33:17AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
Subject: FW:ILLARIONOV--oneTRILLIONdollarswentmissingfromthe2015Russianbudget:http://echo.msk.ru/blog/aillar/1693348-echo/

From:JohnBDunlop
Sent:Thursday,January14,20169:33AM
To:howard@jamestown.org
Cc:paul.goble@gmail.com'waz2102@caa.columbia.edu'
Subject:ILLARIONOV--oneTRILLIONdollarswentmissingfromthe2015Russianbudget:http://echo.msk.ru/blog/aillar/1693348-echo/

And:GreatDEBATE(37pageslong)betweenBELKOVSKIIandPIONTKOVSKIIonthetopicRussia
afterPutin(broachedinearlyJanuarybyGarriKasparov):
http://echo.msk.ru/programs/klinch/169244echo

Kasparovhadcontroversiallysuggestedthataperiodofauthoritarianrulemightbenecessaryafter
Putinsdeparturetocleanoutthecrooksandbandits.

And:HowanempireperishesHistorianVladimirLAPINoftheEuropeanUniversityinPetersburg
compares1916and2016fromacalendarperspectivethetwoyearspreciselycoincideandmuch
elseissimilar.http://www.svoboda.org/articleprintview/27483774.html

And:AnnaNemtsova,Putins$450billionWONDERLAND,
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/0114/putins300billionbrainfart.html

PutinsdescriptionofRussiaseconomyinhisBildinterviewwasdisconnectedfromreality.
MoskovskiiKomsomolets,anewspaperreadbynearlyonethirdofMuscovites,cameoutwitha
headline:Putinmadea$150billionmistakeevaluatingRussianreserves.

And:IlyaMILSHTEINdiscussesthethemeRussiaafterPutin.Someusefulpoints:
http://grani.ru/opinion/milshtein/m.247659.html

And:Russiancollege[inKOMI]burns[53]bookspublishedwithSorosFoundationsupport,
themoscowtimes.com,1/14

And:Russianimportsdrop36%[!]in2015,themoscowtimes.com,1/14
From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Senttime: 12/06/201511:17:47AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
Subject: FW:FW:LatestRussianBanonWesternNGO--theU.S.RussiaFoundation

From:GlenHoward[mailto:howard@jamestown.org]
Sent:Sunday,December06,201510:42AM
To:JohnBDunlop
Cc:paul.goble@gmail.comwaz2102@caa.columbia.edu
Subject:Re:FW:LatestRussianBanonWesternNGO--theU.S.RussiaFoundation

John,

PavelFelgenhauerwarnedmeaboutthisonFriday.IheardJamestownisnext.AmazinghowPutintryingtocooperatewiththe
WestoverSyriayetheisstillbanningwesternNGOs.

Glen

OnSun,Dec6,2015at12:36PM,JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>wrote:

From:ARossJohnson[mailto:arossjohnson@gmail.com]
Sent:Saturday,December05,20157:07PM
To:List
Subject:LatestRussianBanonWesternNGO--theU.S.RussiaFoundation

MOSCOW.Dec4(Interfax)-TheRussianProsecutorGeneral'sOfficehasrecognizedanon-governmentalorganization(NGO)
fromtheUnitedStates-theU.S.RussiaFoundationforEconomicAdvancementandtheRuleofLaw(USRF)-asanundesirable
organizationinRussianterritory,ProsecutorGeneral'sOfficespokespersonMarinaGridnevatoldInterfaxonFriday.

"ThepresidentofthefoundationisaU.S.citizen,whohasbeenbannedfromenteringtheterritoryofthecountry[Russia]forthe
periodupto2025duetoactivitiesdirectedagainsttheinterestsoftheRussianFederation,"shesaid.

Inadditiontothis,"thefoundationextendedfinancialassistancetoRussianNGOsthatfulfillthefunctionsofa'foreignagent'and
participateinpoliticalprocessesintheterritoryoftheRussianFederation,"Gridnevasaid.

"Ithasbeenestablishedthattheactivitiesofthisorganizationposeathreattothefoundationsoftheconstitutionalsystemofthe
RussianFederationandthestate'ssecurity,"Gridnevasaid.

"InformationconcerningtheadopteddecisionhasbeenforwardedtotheJusticeMinistryofRussiainordertoincludethis
foundationinthelistofforeignandinternationalnon-governmentalorganizationswhoseactivitieshavebeenrecognizedas
undesirableintheterritoryoftheRussianFederation,"shesaid.

TheProsecutorGeneral'sOfficealsoexplainedthatthedecisiontorecognizetheactivitiesofthisU.S.-basedNGOasundesirable
inRussiahadbeenmadebased"ontheresultsofanalysisofthereceivedmaterials."

AccordingtoinformationpublishedontheUSRFwebsite,inRussiathefoundationismanagedbytheboardofdirectors,which
includesU.S.andRussiancitizens.Thefoundationhas11RussianemployeesatitsMoscowoffice.ThedirectoroftheUSRF
branchinRussiaisAnnaDanilina.

TheUSRFpresidentisMarkPomar,who,priortojoiningUSRF,headedtheIREXnon-profitorganizationspecializinginstudent
andscientificexchanges.

Recognitionoftheorganizationasundesirableentailsabanonconductingoperationsinvolvingmoneyandotherassets,abanon
theestablishmentofitsstructuralbranchesinRussianterritoryandotherconsequences.

InJuly,theFederationCouncil,theupperhouseofRussia'sparliament,urgedthecountry'sProsecutorGeneral'sOffice,Foreign
MinistryandJusticeMinistrytocheckwhetherornottheactivitiesof12foreignNGOsoperatinginRussianterritorycomplywith
Russianlegislation.Theso-calledstop-listcompiledbyRussiansenatorsthenincluded12foreignNGOs.Mostofthemarelinked
withtheUnitedStates.

ThelistincludedtheOpenSocietyInstitute(SorosFoundation),theNationalEndowmentforDemocracy,theInternational
RepublicanInstitute,theNationalDemocraticInstituteforInternationalAffairs,theMacArthurFoundation,FreedomHouse,the
CharlesStuartMottFoundation,theEducationforDemocracyFoundation,theEastEuropeanDemocraticCenter,theUkrainian
WorldCongress,theUkrainianWorldCoordinatingCouncil,andtheCrimeanFieldMissiononHumanRights.

TheFederationCouncilsaidthenthattheactivitiesoftheseNGOswereaimedatinfluencingtheinternalpoliticalsituationin
Russia.

Oneoftheorganizationsonthislist-theMacArthurFoundation-announcedtheclosureofitsbranchinMoscowonJuly22.

Seealso:

http://www.voanews.com/content/united-states-regrets-russian-ban-nongovernmental-organization/3090456.html

--

Glen

GlenE.Howard

President

TheJamestownFoundation

1111SixteenthStreet,N.W.

Suite320

Washington,D.C.20036
From: Bob<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 04/16/201610:27:54AM
To: RobertOtto<ottorc@state.gov>
Subject: Putin:TheWhippingBoyofPanama-TheUnzReview

TheUnzReview:AnAlternativeMediaSelection

ThefrontpageofTheGuardianonthefirstdayofPanamaLeaks:

$2billion!?Veryimpressive.Thoughadmittedly,aratherdisappointingfindaftermorethanadecadesworthofsearching
forPutins$200billionstash.

Butstill,acuriouschoiceofwhomtofocuson,consideringtheminordetailthatPutinsnamedoesntappearinthe
PanamaPapersevenonce.
Thisisnttheonlycuriousthingaboutit.

Forinstance,thereisalsotheobservationthatitcomesontheheelsofthetabloidstoriesthatPutinisdatingWendyDeng,
afantasticclaimwhichhasbeenrepeateduncriticallybecauseifitsaboutPutin,itstrue.

AndtheReutersstoryaboutaseriesofwomenallegedlyconnectedwithPutinallbuyingpropertiesfromthesamereal
estateagent.

Nottomentiontheidentityofthetwoothermainfirstdaytargets:Messi,akaFIFA.whichawardedthefootball2018
WorldCuptoRussia,andIcelandicpoliticianswhoputbankstersinjail.

Thenthereisalsothecuriousfactthatonly149documentsofthe11milliontotalwereactuallyreleasedinthefirst
batch,whichmeansthatourintrepidjournalistsmusthavestartedoffbydoingselectivesearchesonallthepeoplethey
couldthinkofwhotheyassumedwereassociatedwithPutinfromhisSaint-Petersburgdaysinthe1990s,discoveredthat
someofthembecameveryrichduringtheeconomicboomofthe2000s,andtalliedthetotalvalueoftheirassetstoarrive
atthenotespeciallyimpressivefigureof$2billion(consideringthenumbersofpeopleinvolvedinthisgrandconspiracy)
thattheywerestashingawayforPutininatropicaltaxhavenjustlikeotherperfectlyrespectablemembersoftheglobal
elite,fromXiJinping,theSaudis,andGermancorporationstoDavidCameron,PetroPoroshenko,andMitt
Romney.

Noneofwhichisnotexactlynews.

ButitispreciselyPutinwhohasattractedsomethinglike50%ofthemediafalloutfromthePanamaLeaks.Thepolitical
classofabasicallyirrelevantcountry,albeittheonlyoneintheworldwhichprosecuteditsbankerclassfortheirfinancial
machinationsaswellastheUnitedStatesnewbugbear,FIFA,garneredanother25%.

Leavingonly25%ofthecoverageforeveryoneelse:
Allinall,amostcurioussetofcoincidencesindeed.

Therewasoverwhelmingdemandtoreleaseallthedocumentsandmakethemavailableinasearchabledatabase:

Unfortunately,thistime,itwasntWikileakswhopossessedthetreasuretrove.Toobad!
Sonaturallywhathappenedwasthattherangeofdocumentsthatwerereleasedwerefromtheoutsettightly
constrictedandfocusedagainstthoseentitiestheWesternorderconsiderstobeitsenemies,andfilteredthrougha
journalisticestablishmentthatithasbecomeincreasinglyclearloyallyservesthatsameorder.

Eventhosetargetsthatdidnotmeettheabovecriteriawereingeneraleitheralreadyknown(theoffshoreadventuresof
DavidCameronsfather),universallysuspectedanyway(theSaudis),orwhowereeitherirrelevantand/orhad
underminedandhumiliatedtheWesternorderinsomeway(Icelandicpoliticians,FIFA).

WhythismighthavebeenthecasebecomesabitclearerwhenwelookattheoutfitbehindthePanamaLeaks.Thatoutfit
istheInternationalConsortiumofInvestigativeJournalists,whichisfundedinitsentiretybytheUSCenterforPublic
Integrity,andwhichinturnissponsoredbywell,Soros,inshort.

Andalltheotherusualregimechange/colorrevolutionsuspects.

CraigMurrayexplainstherealdeal:

TheSuddeutscheZeitung,whichreceivedtheleak,givesadetailedexplanationofthemethodologythecorporate
mediausedtosearchthefiles.ThemainsearchtheyhavedoneisfornamesassociatedwithbreakingUNsanctions
regimes.TheGuardianreportsthistooandhelpfullyliststhosecountriesasZimbabwe,NorthKorea,Russiaand
Syria.ThefilteringofthisMossackFonsecainformationbythecorporatemediafollowsadirectwestern
governmentalagenda.ThereisnomentionatallofuseofMossackFonsecabymassivewesterncorporationsor
westernbillionairesthemaincustomers.AndtheGuardianisquicktoreassurethatmuchoftheleakedmaterialwill
remainprivate.

IneffectthemaintargetsofPanamaPapersandespeciallyPutinaremerewhippingboys,politically
convenientdecoystodrawattentionawayfrompeopleaskinghardquestionsaboutthebanalrealitiesofa
worldruledbythe1%offshorearistocracy.

Regardless,theGuardiansresidentneoconNatalieNougayrde,ridingontheheadwindsofamediastormthatthe
media-industrialcomplexsheserveshasitselfignited,goesontoproclaimherdivineknowledgeofnotonlythemost
intimatedetailsofPutinssocialtiesthesecretsoftheDarkLordoftheKremlinsminditself:

ThefactthatPutinsnamedoesnotappearinthePanamaPaperswillnotcalmtheparanoiaandconspiracytheories
thathisregimethrivesupon.Indeed,theserevelationswillbeseeninMoscowsrulingcirclesaspartofaCIA-led
operationinvolvingthemanipulationoftheAnglo-Saxonmedia.

SoPutinleadslike50%ofthestoriesinWesterncoverageofthePanamaLeaks,despitehisnamenotappearinginanyof
thePanamadocumentseveninpassing,andyetthinkingthereisanythingunusualaboutthismakesyouaconspiratardor
ausefulservantoftheRussianmafiastateatbest,ifnotaproxyofPutinhimself.

Afterall,itsnotlikeamajorformereditorofaprominentGermanoutlethaseverclaimedthattheCIAholdsextensive
influenceovertheGermanmedia,norhavethereeverbeenanyhintswhatsoeverthatthereisanorganizedWestern
intelligenceoperationtounderminePutin.WeknowthatthisisjustnotthesortofunderhandedtacticsthatanyWestern
democracywouldeveruse.

Movealong,citizen,nothingtoseehere.

NoneofthisistodenythatPutinandhisassociatesdonotleadlivesofluxury,haveexploitedtheirpoliticalconnectionsto
makemoney,oreventhatsomeofthemuseoffshoretaxhavenstoavoidtaxesorkeeptheirassetssafefrom
expropriation.

Tothecontrary,allthreeofthesestatementsaresubstantiallytrue.

ButpossiblythesinglebiggestironyinthisentireaffairisthatsomeonepositivelyinclinedtowardstheKremlincouldjust
aseasilyarguethatthePanamaPapersprovethatRussiasfightagainstoffshoringwasactuallyimprovinginrecent
years,underPutin:

IninternalletterscontainedinMossackFonsecafiles,Malyushinwasidentifiedasthebeneficialownerbehind
Panama-basedAnttrinServicesCorp.,onlyin2013,whenthecompanysuddenlyshutdown.Asitappearsfrom
letters,Malyushinwasinahurrytogetridofhiscompany.

Mostlikely,thiswasrelatedtochangesinRussianlegislation.Inthefirsthalfof2013,anewpackofanti-corruption
lawswasadoptedforbiddingRussianofficialsfromhavingforeignbankaccountsorusingforeignfinancialinstruments,
includingholdingsharesincompanies.

Thisisadatapointthatthe2013anticorruptionlawforbiddingRussianbureaucratsfromholdingbankaccountsabroad
isactuallyworking.Incidentally,toaddtotheirony,thatsamelawhadbeencondemnedatthetimeofitspublicationby
thepurportedly(butactuallynothingofthesort)pro-PutinForbesbloggerMarkAdomanis,whoportrayeditasa
forcibleassetrepatriationthatwouldreinforceRussianautocracyandputPutininamuch,muchmorepowerfuland
domineeringposition.
Ifyouwereajournalistwithapro-Kremlinagendayoucouldcertainlyarguethispointwithatleastasmuchlegitimacyas
ifyouweretofollowtheWesternMSMpartylineandfocusonwhatPanamaLeaksproveaboutPutinandhis
entourage.

However,thatjournalistwouldalmostuniversallybecondemnedasaPutinshillandnotreallyajournalistatall,whereas
thelikesofneoconblowhardNatalieNougayrdeandserialplagiariserLukeHardingarefreetoroamanddominate
Westernmediaop-edspaceswiththeirownparanoidramblings.Oflate,theyhaveevenbrokenfreefromtheinformed
scrutinyoftheirreaders,withtheGuardiansRussiajournalismapparentlyhavingjoinedthattriggeringtriadofrace,
immigrationandIslamonwhichtheGuardiannolongeracceptscommentsfromthegreatunwashedoftheComment
isFreediscussionboards.

WhichisperhapsjustaswellgivenhowthoroughlytheWesternNarrativehasbecomediscreditedevenamongstThe
Guardiansreaders,despitetheendlesspurgesithasinstigatedovertheyearsagainstitscritics.

SentfrommyiPad
From: Bob<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 06/13/201601:26:54PM
To: JohnP.Williams<williamsjp@state.gov>KavalecKA@state.govgreenE@state.govFishelE@state.gov
Subject: Lifeafterfacts:howRussianstatemediadefinesitselfthroughnegation|openDemocracy

Lifeafterfacts:howRussianstatemediadefinesitselfthroughnegation

TheimageofRussianpropagandaasapowerfulmachinewhereallcogsandwheelsworkinharmonyisnot
entirelyaccurateandhereswhy.

May2016:FrenchjournaliststranslateDmitryKiselyov'ssegmenton"Eurosceptics"inFrance.Source:ouTube/
LePetitJournal.ThisMay,Russiasstate-runRossiyachannelshowedasegmentaboutunrestinFrance,whichDmitry
Kiselyov,hostofRussiastop-ratednewsprogramme,prefacedbysayingthateuroscepticsarerearingtheirheadsin
Europe.

Intheactualsegment,justoneeuroscepticwasfeatured:Jean-MarieLePen,theformerheadofFrancesfarright
NationalFrontparty,whokickedoutfromthepartybyhisowndaughterforbeingtooradical.

Theprogrammesotherheroes(peopleonthestreetandanoppositionpolitician)saidthingsthathadamodest
relationshiptoeuroscepticismtheywerespeakingaboutFrenchpeoplesprotestagainstlabourreform.

Moreover,asaninvestigationbyFrancesCANAL+channelshowed,thepeoplefeaturedinthissegmentfromthe
weeklynewsshowVestinedelihadtheirwordsnotonlytakenoutofcontext,butevencompletelymadeup(in
translationforaRussianaudience)bythesegmentsauthor.

WhatRussianjournalistsrefertoasmediashit-slinging,heatedargumentsbetweenjournalistson
Facebook,hasseepedintonationalnetworks

TherewasaflurryofresponsesfromstatebroadcastingcompanyVGTRK.First,thesegmentsauthorAntonLyadov
showedaninvestigationofCANAL+sinvestigationinanewsegmentalthoughthisonlyraisednewquestions.Then
Kiselyovhimselfdevotedanentiresegmentofthenextshowtothisstory,but,forsomereason,decidednottoaddress
theargumentsoftheFrenchprogramme,insteadfocusingonattacking,withsomefairlystrongwords,PavelGusev,the
chiefeditorofthetabloidMoskovskykomsomoletsnewspaper.(Gusevthenpennedanolessstrongly-wordedopen
lettertoKiselyov.)Kiselyovconcludedwithhisalreadyfamiliarargument:yes,theRussianpressmakesmistakes,but
westernmediaoutletsareevenbiggerliars.

Theconflictdidntendtherebothsidesarestilltryingtorileeachother.InaneweditionofVestinedeli,Kiselyov
talksaboutMikhailKhodorkovskysteleconference,whichwashostedbytheMoskovskykomsomoletspresscentrein
Moscow,withabackgroundpicturetitledIsthistherevolutionsheadquarters?

MoskovskykomsomoletsansweredwithawholeseriesofarticlesaboutKiselyov,mockinghimforsayingLetsget
backtoRussiaaftershowingasegmentonCrimeaandfeaturingacolumnthatcallsKiselyovanidiotandaprovocateur.

Weshouldnotethatthesefiguresarematched,toacertaindegree.KiselyovandGusevarealmostthesameage.Both
controltwoofthebiggestmediaplatformsinRussia(MoskovskykomsomoletsisRussiasthirdmostpopular
newspaperVestinedeliisthefourthmostpopularprogrammeonRussianTV,accordingtoTNS).BothGusevand
Kiselyovarerecipientsofstateawardsandmembersofvariouscouncilsandsitonvariousboards.

NowwehaveasituationinwhichtwoofRussiasmostrecognisablemediafigures,whohaveaccesstomillions
ofminds,aregoingaftereachotherinpublic

ButwhileKiselyovsVestinedeliistheloudestmouthpieceofgovernmentpropaganda,Moskovskykomsomolets
relationshiptotheRussiangovernmentishardtocategorise.ItsimpossibletobeinchargeofamainstreamRussianmedia
outletwithoutahighdegreeofloyaltytothestate.ThisiswhynobodycallsMoskovskykomsomoletsanopposition
newspaperevenaftertheypublishdissentingarticles.

Atthesametime,itisMoskovskykomsomoletsthathasfeaturedsomeofthemostsharplycriticalarticlesaboutthe
governmentinrecentyears,articlesthathaveresonatedfarmorethanthoseattraditionaloppositionpublications.In
response,boththepaperanditschiefeditorhavebeenhoundedbythesamepeoplewhodemandthattheindependent
Dozhd-TVbetakenofftheairandEchoMoskvyradiostationbeclosed.

Withthatinmind,ifMoskovskykomsomoletsisfeaturedbyforeignmediaandreportsonabusesoffreedomofspeech
inRussiabyNGOssuchasFreedomHouse,itisfeaturedafterEkhoandDozhd,asatabloidloyaltothegovernment,
whichaccidentallygotmixedupinacrackdown.

Tobelieveornotbelieve

NowwehaveasituationinwhichtwoofRussiasmostrecognisablemediafigures,whohaveaccesstomillionsofminds,
aregoingaftereachotherinpublic.WhatRussianjournalistsrefertoasmediashit-slinging(mediasrach),heated
argumentsbetweenjournalistsonFacebook,hasseepedintonationalnetworks.

SuchmediawarswouldseemtobeananachronismoftheYeltsinera.MainstreammediainPutinsRussiaisusually
referredtoasamonolith,presidedoverbyofficialsfromthePresidentialAdministration(itsfirstdeputyhead,accordingto
thePutinisttradition,istheshadowcuratorofRussianmedia),whosemissionistoelbowoutthelastremaining
independentpublications.

YetRussiasmediaenvironmentisfarmorefluidandcontradictorythanmeetstheeye.Theseconflictscanarisearound
theissueofmediaethics,whichweresupposedlykickedtothecurbastooold-fashioned,andthecompleteinsanityon
RussianstateTVwasexplainedawaybythefactthatRussiawasatwar.
TheconflictbetweenMoskovskykomsomoletsandtheRossiyaTVchanneldemonstratesthatRussian
propagandaisnotasmonolithicasitseems.Source:Youtube.Inthissituation,theviewerisdisoriented.Asthe
propagandamachinekickedintohighgear,allpolls(FOM,Levada,VTsIOM)showedthatcriticalattitudestomedia
werefadingaway,whiletolerancefordisinformationwasrising.AccordingtoFOM,forexample,54%ofrespondentsin
2014saidthatadegreeoflyinginthemediaisacceptableifitbenefitsthegovernment.In2001,45%ofrespondents
statedthatthereweren'tanytopicsthatyoucouldlieabout"intheinterestsofthestate",andin2014-only28%.

AnOctober2015Levadapollasked:"Whenwatchingtelevision,listeningtotheradioorreadingnewspapers,doyou
believethatyouaren'tgivenfullinformationoraredrawnawayfromimportanteventsortopics?"In2012,46%of
respondentsclaimedthattheyhadthisimpression"fairlyoften".In2015,itwas34%.Meanwhile,theamountof
respondentswhotrustthetelevisontocovereventsinRussia"toasignificantdegree"rosebytenpercentagepoints,from
38%to48%.

Thiswashappeninginthecontextofafull-blownpropagandacampaignonRussiasmostpopularstatechannels,featuring
allsortsofdevices:fromstrategicwithholdingofcertainfactstooutrightliesandmacabrefantasiesbroadcasttotheentire
country.

Russiasmediaenvironmentisfarmorefluidandcontradictorythanmeetstheeye

Asmyownexperienceshows,mostattemptstogetthroughtovictimsofdisinformationaremetwithatypicalresponseof
sowhatifourmedialies,everybodyeverywherelies,andanyway,theresaninformationwarbeingwagedagainstus,we
musthitback.

AllofthisishappeninginRussia,acountrywhich,from2000to2016sawariseofInternetusersfromnearlyzeroto
70%ofthepopulation.MoreandmoreolderRussiansaregettingonline.Ninety-sevenpercentofRussiansfromtheage
16to29arealreadyonline,accordingtoGfK.Inprinciple,sevenoutof10Russiancitizens,fromschoolchildrentovery
oldpensionersshouldbeabletowithstanddisinformation.

Butasresearchandexperienceshow,youcantdefeatconfirmationbias.Peoplewhobelievethatvaccinesarebadfor
yougrowonlymoredeterminedintheirviewsevenastheyencounterthemostirrefutablefacts(thisisthebackfire
effect,discussedinmanystudies).Andasthisstudyshows,consumersoffactualandfalseinformationbelongtoseparate
groupsthatbarelycommunicatewithoneanother.

Russiasoddrelationshipwithforeignmedia

Asfactsgrowmoreandmoreavailable,peoplearemoreandmoreeagertochoosepsychologicallycomfortinglies
andthisproblemisnotexclusivetoRussia.Thisisbadnewsforallopponentsofdisinformationandpropagandatheir
effortsgetlessclicksandviewsthatdisinformationitself.

TheissueisntthatRussianpropagandaissosophisticated,butthatitexploitsfeaturesofhumanpsychology,suchasself-
preservationmechanismsthatshieldthemindfromcognitivedissonance.Tellingpeoplewhattheywanttohearisnothing
new.

Tellingpeoplewhattheywanttohearisnothingnew

AnewpollbyVTsIOMhasexposedanotherparadox:althoughheadlineshavetrumpetedthefactthatRussianstrustin
televisionhasslightlyfallen,televisionremainstheabsoluteleaderasfarasinfluenceonopiniongoes.Theabsoluteanti-
leader,meanwhile,areforeignmedia:theirtrustratingsaredeeplynegative,at-42thisyear(theywereat-56lastyear,
andat+21in2007).

October2015:peopleprotestagainstdisinformationbywesternNGOsinMoscow.(c)AlexeyKudenko/RIA
Novosti.Allrightsreserved.ButasanewLevadapollshows,onlyonepercentofRussiancitizenssurveyedregularly
getsitsnewsfromforeignmedia.Sotheoverwhelmingmajorityofthosewhodistrustforeignmediaformtheiropinions
secondhand.SoifDmitryKiselyovsaysthatthoseforeignerslieandslanderRussia(andthepresidentialInstituteof
StrategicStudiesgoesasfarasregularlycomputinganindexofaggressionofforeignmediawithregardtoRussia),then
Russianviewersbelieveit.

Onepercentofapopulationisatinysum,butitisalsotruethatcomparativelyspeaking,foreignmediaisquitepopularin
Russia.Russiansactuallyhaveahistoryofveryreverentattitudestowardforeignnewspapers.Thesedatebacktothe
dayswhentheSovietculturalmagazineOgonyokpublishedphotographsfromtheMorningStar,andSovietpresskiosks
stockedthelatesteditionofL'Humanit.

RussiasInosmi.rusite,whichtranslatesarticlesfromvariousforeignoutletsintoRussian,hasbetween
250,000and300,000uniquevisitorsdaily

Today,manysustainasomewhatnaveandparadoxicalbeliefinthepoweroftheforeignpress.Youwontseethis
anywhereelse:RussiasInosmi.rusite,whichtranslatesarticlesfromvariousforeignoutletsintoRussian(fulldisclosure:I
wasthechiefeditorofInoSMIfrom2012to2014),hasbetween250,000and300,000uniquevisitorsdaily.Western
analogueslikeWorldCrunchdontgetevenatenthofthiskindoftraffic.InoSMIisnteventheonlysuchsiteinRussian.
Besidesthat,Russianoutletsofamorecommonprofiletranslateforeignarticlesmoreandmore.

RussiansinteresttowhatshappeningabroadismuchgreaterthantheworldsinterestinRussia.Thesharpdeclineof
trustinforeignmediacombinedwithasharpincreaseofinterestinforeignmedia(in2012,therateofuniquevisitorson
Inosmi.rurarelyroseabove100,000daily),hastodowithanotherphenomenon,mostcoherentlyexpressedbyour
favourite,DmitryKiselyov:Russianstatemedia,aimedatbothdomesticandforeignaudiences(suchasthestate-runRT
channel),determinetheirnicheintheworldviaconstantdenial,viathementalityofwearenotlikethem.
OveratVestinedeli,KiselyovnotonlyattackedCANAL+bypointingoutinstanceshowwesternmediatwistfacts,he
alsodirectlystatedthattheRussianmediaisbetter:WeillustrateprotestsagainstlaborreforminFranceinawaythats
coolerthantheirdomesticaudienceseesit.

May2016:DmitryKiselyovanddeputyministerofcommunicationsAlexeyVolinappearatthe"Neweraof
journalism"foruminMoscow.(c)AlexeyKudenko/RIANovosti.Allrightsreserved.Aweeklater,Kiselyovopened
theNewEpochofJournalism:GoodbyetotheMainstreamforumattheRossiyaSegodnyastatenewsagency(where
heisgeneraldirector).Newjournalismandpost-mainstreamthisishowKiselyovandhiscolleagueMargarita
Simonyan,chiefeditorofbothRossiyaSegodnyaandRT,viewthemselves.

KiselyovandSimonyansaythatdemandforanalternativeviewpointisgrowingintheworld,andthatRussiaistheleader
ofthisanti-mainstreamorpost-mainstreamtrend.Ofcourse,neitherKiselyovnorSimonyandontdeliveranyearth-
shatteringfactsinthecourseoftheirwork(RTrarelybreaksanynewsandtakesitsmostnoteworthyinformationfromthe
mainstreammedia,whichitsodespises).Instead,thesestoriessimplyconfirmtheiraudiencesexistingworldview,and
packagethisconfirmationasalternativeopinion.

Inthepost-mainstreamworld,objectivityisdevalued

Thesealternativeopinionscouldbeoutrightliesorcraziestconspiraciesbutinthepost-mainstreamworld,
objectivityisdevalued.Thereisnoobjectivity,Simonyanhasoftenfranklystatedthis.Thisnewrealityoflifeafterfacts
isparticularlyrewardingforSimonyaninGermany,wherethepopulationhasthehighestlevelofdistrusttowards
traditionalmedia.

Forinstance,accordingtoa2015pollbyDieZeit,morethan50%ofGermancitizenssurveyeddonottrusttheirmost
popularmediaoutletswhenitcomestothemostcontroversialtopicssuchasthemigrationandrefugeecrisis.Anditisthe
GermanversionofRossiyaSegodnyasSputniksitethathasthemostvisitors.

Russianmediasinternalconflict

ThestudyandstruggleagainstRussianpropagandahasbecome,inthelastfewyears,agenreofitsown,withhundreds
ofarticlesanddozensofstudiesdevotedtoit.Meanwhile,Russianpropagandahasbegunaperiodofself-reflection,
startingtodiscusswithitsaudiencewhetherornotliesandmanipulationsareacceptableinjournalism.

Sofar,liesandmanipulationaredeemedacceptablebecausewesternmediadoesthesamething.Thisconfirmspolitical
analystYekaterinaShulmanstheoryofthereversecargo-cultthebeliefthatkeyinstitutionsinwesternsocieties,such
asthosedevotedtofreedomofspeech,anindependentpress,humanrights,andsoon,areashypocriticalastheyarein
Russia,itsjustthatwesternsarebetteratpretending.

KiselyovhasahugeamountofargumentshecanmakeherefromsupportfortheIraqwarintheNewYorkTimesto
EuronewsexaggeratingthenumberofCrimeanTatarsdeportedby10times.Yetfansofthereversecargo-cultforget
onetiny,insignificantdetailinthewest,suchepisodescanharmamediaoutletsreputation,correctionsareissuedand
apologiesarevoiced.

ThemonolithknownasRussianpropagandaisnotasinvincibleaswereusedtobelieving

ForRussianmedia,thisissomethingexotic.Justlikeexamplesofmasssolidarityamongjournalists.Buttheyare
happening:firstoneregionaloutlet,andthen,anentireassociationofregionalpresshaveprintedawarningforreaderson
theirTVguidepage:Becareful!TheNTVchannelcandistortinformationandengageinpropagandawhilepassingitoff
asnews!ThiswastheresponsewhenNTVaccusedtheYakutskVechernynewspaperbyaugmentingitseditorial
policiesduetopressurefromGeorgeSorosOpenSociety.

ThusthesensationalnewsthatPutinspresssecretaryDmitryPeskovhasadmittedPutinmadeanerrorduringhisannual
TVquestion-and-answermarathon(PutinclaimedthatSuddeutscheZeitung,whichpublishedthePanamaPapers
investigation,belongedtoGoldmanSachs).

Likewise,KiselyovhimselfhadtoadmittoanerrorwhenVestinedelishoweddocumentsallegedlybelongingtoaworld
wartwo-eraUkrainianSSsoldier,whichwasclearlyfake,asmanyviewersimmediatelypointedout.Theseapologies
becamenewsbecauseadmissionsofwrongdoinganderrorsarenotcommontoRussiatheyreusuallyseenas
admissionsofweakness.

Buttheystillhappened,andthediscussiononethicsinjournalism(evenifitinvolvesasidesalongthelinesofbut
everyoneelseisalsounethical)isalsohappeningthemonolithknownasRussianpropagandaisnotasinvincibleas
wereusedtobelieving.

WanttoknowmoreabouthowmediaculturereallyworksinRussia?Checkoutour"Beyondpropaganda"rubric
orourrelatedarticlesformore.

SentfrommyiPad
From: KirkBennett<kirkbennett7@yahoo.com>
Senttime: 12/30/201511:37:59AM
To: RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Subject: Re:Yourrecentessayreviewed........JRL251

Bob-Doctorow'sreviewwasprettymildincomparisonwiththisone:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiBnY-uqIT
KAhWC7R4KHbykBW0QFggqMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sott.net%2Farticle%2F309433-The-Wests-containment-of
-Russia-is-a-myth-say-US-foreign-policy-mandarins-But-is-it&usg=AFQjCNEKKCTgePc7wRNt0Uz41_eXlvneHQ

Putin'strollfactoryhasevidentlyleapedintothefray...

Kirk

--------------------------------------------
OnTue,12/29/15,RobertOttowrote:

Subject:Yourrecentessayreviewed........JRL251
To:"KirkBennett"
Date:Tuesday,December29,2015,2:59AM

Ifthisisthebesthecando,you
havenoproblems.
IvenotreadthetwoLievenbooks
inquestionandIamrathersureIdonttrustthis
rendition.
But
Evenifrenderedcorrectly,its
hardlyarebuttalofwhatyouwroteand,thepolemicalheat
notwithstanding,actuallyprovesthepointthattherewasno
concertedWesternpolicyofcontainmentagainst
Russia.

------

6
RussiaInsider.com
December26,2015
AChristmasPresentto
Russia-bashersfromJohnson'sRussiaList
TheUSestablishmentwriterson
Russiaareoneandall"presstitutes"andwhenyou
puttheirwritingstogether,backtoback,in40pagesorso
asJRLhassokindlydoneintheirChristmaseveissue,the
resultisanastoundingpropagandabarrage.
ByGilbertDoctorow
TheauthoristheEuropean
CoordinatorofTheAmericanCommitteeforEastWestAccord
andaregularcontributortoRI.Hismostrecentbookis
DoesRussiaHaveaFuture?(August2015).

Claimstobeobjective,butin
facthasanestablishment,neoconflavor...

TheauthoristheEuropean
CoordinatorofTheAmericanCommitteeforEastWestAccord
andaregularcontributortoRI.Hismostrecentbookis
DoesRussiaHaveaFuture?(August2015).

Thisessayisdedicatedtothe
24December2015issueofJohnson'sRussia
List.

Ibeginwithabrief
descriptionofJRLtothoseofyouinthegeneralpublicwho
are,likelyasnot,unfamiliarwiththisinternetresource.
Ithenmakeanasidetosharesomepersonalreflectionson
thecontextforthisremarkableedition:thebitterly
partisanInformationWaroverthenatureofVladimir
Putin's'regime'andhowtoconductrelations
withit.AndIconcludewithadetailedresponsetooneof
thearticlesintheChristmaseveissue,chosenprecisely
becauseofitsscholarlypretentionsandseemingfreshness
ofmaterialversustherehashofanalysesofwhyPutin's
Russiaisfailingthatwegetinalltherestofthe24
DecemberentriesinJRL.

Johnson'sRussiaList
(www.russialist.org)isaninternetdigest
publishedroughlysixdaysaweekyearroundandfocusedon
Russia,nowwithaseparatesectiononUkraine.TheJRLisa
projectdomiciledattheElliottSchoolofInternational
Affairs,GeorgeWashingtonUniversityandoperatedbyDavid
Johnsonwhofoundeditsomethingliketwentyyearsago.Its
bannertellsusthatitreceivespartialfundingfromthe
GeorgeSoros'OpenSocietyFoundation,partlyfromthe
CarnegieCorporation,NewYork,neitherofwhichmaybe
consideredneutralinmattersconcerningRussia,quitethe
contrary.Butfurtherfundingcomesfromthevoluntary
contributionsofsubscribers,ofwhomthereareperhaps600
[DJ:6000],mostlyAmericanacademicsanduniversitycenters
havinganinterestinRussianaffairs.AppearinginJRLis
anambitionofagreatmanywannabeexpertsandauthorities
inthefield,mostlybutnotexclusivelypolitical
scientistsandjournalists.

Asaninstitutionseekingtobe
fair-handedinpurveyingnewsandopinionaboutRussia,the
JRLhasbeeninthecross-hairsofactivistsonbothsides
ofthehighlydivisivepro-andanti-Putincamps.Abouta
yearagooneofthemostoutspokenRussia-bashers,liberal
economistAndersAslund,publiclybrokewithJRLforwhathe
sawasgoingeasyonPutininitsselectionofmaterial.
AlternativemediacommentatorslikeMichaelAverkohavehit
outatJRLfortheoppositeallegedabuse.InJohnson's
defense,onemightarguehechoosesselonlemarch,ie.,
fromwhatisbeingpublished.

Undeniably,USandUKscholars
andpunditsarelopsidedintheirbiasagainstPutinand
Russia.Nevertheless,evenwithinthescopeofthis
allowanceforwhatthereistochoosefromandthepresumed
desiretorunhisshopstraightdownthemiddle,the24
DecemberissueoftheJohnson'sRussiaListwasadoozy.
Thecountwas14articlesortranscriptsofvideoevents
slammingRussiaandPutinto0articlesholdinganyother
view.Andamongthepublishersorhostsofthe14entries
beingrepublishedinJRLarenotjustheavygunsinthe
mediawarsbutalsowould-betemplesoflearning:RadioFree
Europe/RadioLiberty,theEuropeanCouncilonForeign
Relations,ForeignPolicymagazine,theCenterforEuropean
PolicyAnalysis,theAmericanCouncilonForeignRelations,
TheMoscowTimes,theKennanInstitute,TheNational
Review,Forbes.comandHomeBoxOffice.

Putin'spersonalityfigures
largeinnearlyalloftheseessaysanddiscussionsasthe
soleexplanationforalltheturnsinRussianforeignand
domesticpolicy.Thisisentirelyinkeepingwiththead
hominemargumentationthathasbecomethenorminpolitical
discussionsgenerallyintheUS.JosephStalin,withhisno
man,noissuephilosophyofgovernancemustbechuckling,
whereverheis,overhowthisviewhascaughtoninwhat
passestodayforpolitesociety.

ThephenomenonissomethingI
feltacutelythispastspringinitsMcCarthy-iteformwhen
IappearedasoneofthreeparticipantsintheEuronews
hostedtalkshowTheNetwork.Thesubjectofthedaywasthe
assassinationofKremlincriticandoppositionpolitician
BorisNemtsov,whowasshotdownwithinproximityofthe
Kremlinwallsafewdaysearlier.Wewerediscussingmedia
coverageofthateventandwhowastoblameforpolitically
motivatedcrimesinRussia,whenafellowpanelist,Elmar
Brok,thechairmanoftheEuropeanParliament's
committeeonforeignrelations,whowasirritatedbymy
insistencethatRussianmediagaveagreatmanydifferent
takesonthenewsandwasanythingbutmonolithic,saidin
anasidetomethatwaspickedupbythemicrophonesand
laterwentonair:"HowmuchistheKremlinpaying
you?"NotbeingahardenedpoliticianlikeBrok,
stunnedbythewayaseniorofficialoftheEUcouldstoop
tosuchlow-lifeviciousness,andnaivelybelievingthat
Europe'smostwatchednewsstationwouldnotbroadcast
crudelibel,Isaidnothinginresponseandthetalkmoved
on.

Havingjustcomebackaweek
agofromMoscow,wheremystaywaspickedupbya
Kremlin-fundedinstitution,Inowcangiveafairlyprecise
answertoMEPBrok'simpertinentandmaliciousquestion:
forthreeyearsofoccasionalguestappearancesas
intervieweeandpanelistontheCrossTalkprogramofRussia
Today,Ihavebeenpaid3nightsina5starhotelin
downtownMoscow,lavishbuffetbreakfasts,atourofthe
Kremlinandaseatatthebanquetdinnercelebrationof
RussiaToday's10yearsonairwhereVladimirPutinwas
thekeynotespeaker.

Forthistokenofrespectbymy
hostsatRT,Iamdulygrateful.Yet,Iknowfullwellthat
itisnottobecomparedwiththelavishhospitality
bestowedonattendeesattheannualKremlin-organized
gatheringsoftheValdaiDiscussionClubtowhichmany
seniorUSacademics,AngelaStent,ofGeorgetownUniversity,
tonameone,RobertLegvoldofColumbiaandTufts,toname
another,havebeeninvitedregularlynotwithstandingthe
factthatmostarehostile,atbestagnostictothe
'Putinregime'intheirpublicwritingsand
appearances.

NowthatIhave'come
clean'aboutKremlinblandishmentsthathavecomemy
way,Iturntomypoliticalopponentswhohaveamonopolyin
yesterday'sJRLandaskhowmuchtheyarebenefitingin
termsofgrants,professionalpromotionsandaccesstothe
highandmightyinWashingtonforpubliclysupportingthe
propagandalinesofStateDepartmenthandouts.I
wouldn'tdreamofaccusingthemofbeingontheCIA
payroll...

Putanotherwayandavoiding
rhetoricalquestions,Iassertplainlythatthe
EstablishmentwritersonRussiaareoneandall
"presstitutes"andwhenyouputtheirwritings
together,backtoback,in40pagesorsoasJRLhasso
kindlydoneintheirChristmaseveissue,theresultisan
astoundingpropagandabarrage.

Fromthesecollectedrantsby
someverywellknown"authorities,"Ihavechosen
theonepiecewhichpresentsitselfassortofscholarly.In
thisitstandsapartfromtheslapstickhumorofRichard
HaassandKimberleyMarteninthetranscriptofanHBO
airingandfromtherehashofanalysesofthefatal
weaknessesinthePutinregimethatconstitutethebulkof
thewritingsofotheressayists.

Unliketheothers,Kirk
Bennett'sarticlewouldappeartobreaknewground.In
"RussiaandtheWest.TheMythofRussia's
Containment:HastheWestalwayshaditinforRussia?
Hardly"wearetreatedtoanhistoricalanalysis
intendedtodebunkwhattheauthoridentifiesasakey
Kremlinpropagandaline.

IttriestorefuteVladimir
Putin'sassertionsinseveralspeechesthattheWesthas
alwaysbeenanopponentofRussia,whetheroutofenvyor
fear.ThisvictimizationnarrativeoftheKremlin,inthe
viewoftheauthor,andofthegreatmajorityofU.S.
internationalrelationsexperts,isusedtowhipup
patrioticfervorinthebroadRussianpopulationand
underpinaregimethatisundergoinggreatstrainfrom
economichardshipsandstagnation,aswellasfromthe
internationalisolationthatfolloweditsannexationof
Crimea.

Theauthorstartsoutin
paragraphtwocitingtheRussianpoetFyodorTyutchevto
showusheisnocarpetbaggingpoliticalscientist,that
Russianstudiesareinhisblood.Indeed,asweseethrough
histexttotheend,hehasreadhisRussianandEuropean
history.

Thatishisstrongpoint,
comparedtomanyoftheotherloudmouthsinthearticles
republishedbyJohnson'sRussiaList.Itisalsohis
weakpoint:hehasreadRussianhistorybuthehasnot
researchedorwrittenit.Thisisnotanaccusation,buta
merestatementofthefacts.Bennettisintroducedtousas
a'formerU.S.ForeignServiceofficerwhospentmostof
hiscareerworkingonpost-Sovietissues."Foran
historicaloverviewlikethearticleinquestionthatgoes
backalmost300years,heisclearlysomethingofa
lightweight.

Bennett'sarticleappeared
originallyinTheAmericanInterest,thepublicationfounded
andrunbythekeypopularizerofNeoconservative
philosophy,FrancisFukuyama.Heotherwisehasrecently
publishedintheonlineplatformofTheAmericanCenterfor
aEuropeanUkraine,whichshouldexplainwhereheiscoming
frompoliticallyandtowhomheisreachingout.

Ineffect,Bennettisjustone
moreAmericanthinkerwhopresumesthatheunderstands
RussianhistoryandRussiannationalinterestvastlybetter
thantheRussiansthemselvesdo.Inthisregard,mybest
advicetohimandtohisfollowersistositdownwitha
coupleofbookswrittenbyDominicLieven,ascionofoneof
thegreatfamiliesintheRussianBalticswhoispresentlya
visitingprofessoratYaleUniversityandwhospentmore
than25yearsasprofessorofRussianhistoryattheLondon
SchoolofEconomics.

Thetwobooksinquestionare
RussiaAgainstNapoleon(2012)andTheEndofTsaristRussia
(2015).Bothpresentthehistoryofmomentousperiodsfroma
novelperspective,Russia'sown,basedonextensivework
intheRussianhistoricalarchives.Togethertheysweepinto
thedustbinmostofthesimplisticremarksofBennettabout
thenatureofRussian-Europeanrelationssincethe18th
centuryupto1917.

Forexample,Lievenexplainsat
lengththecompetingimperialisms,EuropeanandRussianof
the19thcentury,whichwereunderpinnednotonlyby
Russia'sPanslavism,butbyPan-Germanismandbymyths
tojustifyAnglo-Saxonworldhegemony,allofwhichputthe
powersatoddsandwhichspreadwidelythedenigrationof
RussiathatsurvivestoourdayintheWest.

FromLieven'sarchival
researchanddetailedattentiontotheadvicetheRussian
rulersreceivedfromtheirsenioradvisers,bothin
1812-1815andin1906-1917,bothfromgeneralsand
civilians,itisclearthatthePutinnarrativeonRussian
historywhichBennetttriestoshootdownhadfarwider
acceptanceamongserious,well-educatedRussiansandfar
moresubtletytoitthanBennettcanimagine.

ButBennett'sproblemis
notjusthisaverage-levelconsumer'sasopposedto
scholar'sknowledgeofRussianhistory.Itextendsto
currentevents.Bennettdistortspresentrealities.Yes,he
isrightthatVladimirPutinfromtimetotimeplaysthe
'victimization'card,justasfromtimetotime,
moregenerally,theRussianPresidentinvokesnationalism.
ThesimplefactisthatinRussia,justasinmostWestern
countriesincludingtheUSA,nationalismhasbroadresonance
andpopularunderstanding,playingasitdoestothe
heartstrings,whereasRealpolitik,whichisthedominant
approachtopolicybehindPutin'sthinking,isseenas
coldandunfeelingbythepublic,toocerebral,soisheld
backfromtheaddressestothenationthatBennett
cites.

Itwouldbemoreappropriateto
describeVladimirPutin'scharacterizationof
Russia'stalkingpartnersontheinternationalstageas
"Frenemies."

Anyonepayingcloseattention
tohismajorspeechesknowsthatheisneverexcited,least
ofalldoesheengagein"tirades"overthe
conductofthisorthatcountryinitsrelationstoRussia
becausetheunderlyingexpectationofPutinisthatall
countriesareinpermanentcompetitionfortheirown
advantageandonlyalignmentofinterestscanensuregenuine
meetingofmindsandcommonaction.Personalitiesassuch
countforalmostnothing.

Contrarytothefacile
generalizationofBennett,VladimirPutinhasalways
followedaforeignpolicythathadaplanA,ofjoiningNATO
orotherwiseenteringintoasharedsecurityplatformwith
theWest,andadefaultpositionplanBofgoingitalone,
aswenowseetodayafterthesharpconfrontationover
Ukraine.

Itwillbeinterestingtosee
inthedaysaheadifDavidJohnsonhasthecourageofhis
convictionsandpublishesmyindictmentofhislatest
harvestofanti-Russianinvective.

From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Senttime: 08/20/201601:52:06PM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
FW:[MK/2X][PB][CHER/M][RC][HU]"DEZINFORM,DEZINFORMEVERYWHERE,NE'RAFACTTOBEFOUND"[WithHumblest
Subject:
ApologiestoColeridge&'TheRimeoftheAncyentMarinere']

From:WalterZaryckyj[mailto:waz2102@caa.columbia.edu]
Sent:Saturday,August20,20161:22PM
To:RomaHadzewyczrl
Subject:[MK/2X][PB][CHER/M][RC][HU]"DEZINFORM,DEZINFORMEVERYWHERE,NE'RAFACTTOBEFOUND"[WithHumblest
ApologiestoColeridge&'TheRimeoftheAncyentMarinere']

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:MiraKyzyk<mirakyzyk@gmail.com>
Date:Sat,Aug20,2016at1:42PM
Subject:JournalisticEthicsandNorms:HowlegitimateisTheCentreforGlobalResearch?-Quora
To:WalterZaryckyj<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>

[1]********CentreforGlobalResearch*******appearstobeaKremlinpropagandaoutletasasourceofinformation[it]is
veryquestionable.

http://www.quora.com/Journalistic-Ethics-and-Norms-How-legitimate-is-The-Centre-for-Global-Research

JournalisticEthicsandNorms:HowlegitimateisTheCentreforGlobal
Research?
AlsoknownasTheCentreforResearchonGlobalizationandMondialisation.ca

JacquelineWong

5.6kViews

Itisbynomeansanobjectivelyreliablemediasource.Thearticles,videos,andothermediaitputsforthare
highlyskewedandoftenfactuallyinaccurate.

Somepeoplehavebeenquotingitasalegitimatesource,butithasverystrongtiestoanorganizationknownfor
churningoutblatantpropaganda.
TheCentreforResearchonGlobalization,alsoknownastheCentreforGlobalResearchandMondialisation.caisa
fascist/Kremlin-fundedpropagandaoutletthatdefamesandslanderstheirtargetedgroupssuchasJews,Ukrainians,
theUnitedStates,andotherwesterncountries.

ItspeersincludetheTransnationalFoundationforPeaceandFutureResearch,theBritishHelsinkiHumanRights
Group,theRonPaulInstituteforPeaceandProsperity,andtheInstituteforDemocracyandCooperationand
theNashiYouth.

Source:Propagramm

In2014,theCentreforResearchonGlobalizationaidedtheKremlinincarryingoutadefamationcampaignagainst
Ukraine,theUS,theEUandNATO.

[2]AsforNikolasKozloff-hislastparagraphisallthatneedstoberead.He'sparrotingKremlinpropaganda,throughand
throughdespiteallofthe'objectivity'heshowsinitially.

ThestatisticsofrightwingcandidateswhoareinthegovtofUkrainearenegligibleincomparisonwithalltherightwingextremists
throughoutEurope,Russia,Turkey,*****andtheUS.

AnotherKremlinmouthpiece-can'twaittoseehisupcomingbooklet'Ukraine'sRevolutionaryGhosts.

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:MiraKyzyk<mirakyzyk@gmail.com>
Date:Sat,Aug20,2016at2:37PM
Subject:TwitterSuspendsAnother235,000AccountsPromotingTerrorism-DefenseOne
To:WalterZaryckyj<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>
TwitterSuspendsAnother235,000AccountsPromotingTerrorism-DefenseOne

NowifonlyTwitterwoulddothesameforRussiantrollstherewouldindeedbeasenseofrestoredtruthfulnessinsocialmedia
world.

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:PeterBorisow<apb.uke@earthlink.net>
Date:Sat,Aug20,2016at1:44PM
Subject:UkraineAmbassador:RussiaTryingto'Blackmail'Europe[ED:UA-USAmbChalyNotestheHellacious
'Dezinform'RUisPumpingintotheEuroPress]
To:"Waz(Columbia)"<waz2102@columbia.edu>

"Trying"?They'redoingit!And,aslongasthe"Western"presscontinuestorunRussiandezinformsidebysidewithfacts,they
willbesuccessful.The"Western"presshastoanswerthekeyquestion--Howmanymurderersadmittheircrimestothepress?
WhyshouldPutinbeanydifferent?

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/ukraine-ambassador-russia-trying-to-blackmail-europe?
utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News%20Roundup%200819&utm_term=Editorial%20-
%20Daily%20News%20Roundup

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:BardUkrainka<seanachie_holodonika@icloud.com>
Date:Sat,Aug20,2016at1:41PM
Subject:Re:[LAZYMIDAUGSATAFTERNOON][ITEMS&MATTERS"OUTOFWHACK"]THREESTORIESBY
THREE'RUABROAD-CHIKS'Youcantake"thesaidgang"outoftheEMPIRE,butyoucan'ttaketheEMPIREoutofthe
"saidgang"!!![OY!!HOWSAD!!!][ED:Onthereturnof'Stalinisttactics'..andonthelossofperspectiveinthe
West..]
To:WalterZaryckyj<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>

ThetacticofsayingthearrestedpersonwillonlybedetainedforafewminutesisoneoftheblatantliesoftheStalinistdays.Is
intendedtofalselyallevetheemotionsofobserversandfamilymembersuntilthevictimistakenaway,afterwhichit'stoolateto
kickupafuss.

IrttheSavchenkocase,theBBChadanarticleabouttheappallinglylowpercentageofpeoplearrestedinRussiathateverseethe
lightofdaywithoutasentencebeingimposed.Itsaidthatpeoplehabituallypackyourbagforprisonwhentheyhavetogoto
court.There'snosuchthingas"innocent,"apparently,and,asalwaysthere,"someanimalsaremoreequalthanothers,"whether
theychangetheiracronymsontheirstationeryornot.

Myconcerninmentioningthisisrelatedtothedumbingdownofthereadingcurriculuminthepublicschoolsystems.Whatever
empathy/sympathy/knowledgeoftheworld/Itspeoples/it'scultures/selfprotectiveknowledgegainedfromreadingsuchbooksas
_AnimalFarm_,_1984_,_OntheBeach_,_Fail-Safe,theworksofDickens,etc.,thatmostofusgrewupreadingand
internalizedatasufficientlyearlyage,oftenarenotinthecurriculumanymore.****************

*********************************

SlavaUkraini,

Cher

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:Moyehoist@aol.com<moyehoist@aol.com>
Date:Sat,Aug20,2016at12:49PM
Subject:Re:[LAZYMIDAUGSATAFTERNOON][ITEMS&MATTERS"OUTOFWHACK"]THREESTORIESBY
THREE'RUABROAD-CHIKS'Youcantake"thesaidgang"outoftheEMPIRE,butyoucan'ttaketheEMPIREoutof
the"saidgang"!!![OY!!HOWSAD!!!][ED:RCreactingtotheKozloffpiece..]
To:WalterZaryckyj<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>

******************WeneedtokeepthepressureontheRepublicans.Bythesametokenwhoisworkingtokeeppressure
ontheDems.**********Hillary'splatformishorrible.ThereisonepassagethatmentionsUkrainebutitgoesontopromise
that"...wewillcooperatewithPutin...."PlustheRepublicancontrolledHouseandSenatehasapprovedarmsforUkrainefor
yearsbutitisbeingheldupbyObama.Theseneedtobereleasednow.

ItmightbetoolateinFebforthenextPresident.ThepartythatgaveusFDRandtheResetalsoneedstodobetter.

Rc

ADDITIONALNOTE:

Powellhas'norecollection'ofClintonemaildinnerconversation
ByNickGass
08/19/1611:54AMEDT
Updated08/19/1612:25PMEDT

Readmore:http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/colin-powell-clinton-email-book-227200#ixzz4HstRFjMp
Followus:@politicoonTwitter|PoliticoonFacebook

Shareon
FacebookShare
onTwitter

FormerSecretaryofStateColinPowell"hasnorecollectionofthedinnerconversation"recountedby
HillaryClintontoFBIagents,asdocumentedbyjournalistJoeConasoninaforthcomingbook.

Conason'sanecdote,reportedThursdaynightbyTheNewYorkTimes,recountsasmalldinnerpartyat
Clinton'sGeorgetownhometowardthebeginningofhertimeassecretaryofstate,withformer
secretariesMadeleineAlbright,HenryKissingerandCondoleezzaRicealsoinattendance.Duringthat
dinner,Conasonreports,AlbrightaskedtheformersecretariestoimpartadvicetoClinton.

Powelltoldhertouseherownemail,ashehaddone,exceptforclassifiedcommunications,whichhehadsent
andreceivedviaaStateDepartmentcomputer,"Conasonwroteinhisbook"ManoftheWorld:TheFurther
EndeavorsofBillClinton,ofwhichtheTimessaiditacquiredanadvancecopy.Powell,accordingtoConason's
account,toldClintonthat"hisuseofpersonalemailhadbeentransformativeforthedepartment"andthus
confirmedadecision[Clinton]hadmademonthsearliertokeepherpersonalaccountanduseitformost
messages.

AspokeswomanforPowell'sofficeissuedastatementfollowingtheTimes'story:"GeneralPowellhas
norecollectionofthedinnerconversation.HedidwriteformerSecretaryClintonanemailmemodescribing
hisuseofhispersonalAOLemailaccountforunclassifiedmessagesandhowitvastlyimprovedcommunications
withintheStateDepartment."

"AtthetimetherewasnoequivalentsystemwithintheDepartment.HeusedasecureStatecomputeronhisdesk
tomanageclassifiedinformation,"thestatementcontinued."TheGeneralnolongerhastheemailhesentto
formerSecretaryClinton.ItmayexistinStateorFBIfiles."

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:hunter@
Date:Sat,Aug20,2016at2:23PM
Subject:WAZ,toyourpoint:GlobalResearchReprintsSputnikHitPieceonHillaryUsingDonaldasaShill
To:wolodymyrzarycky<wzarcusur@gmail.com>

http://www.globalresearch.ca/could-trump-pull-off-a-post-party-coalition/5541658

SPUTNIK:CouldTrumpPullOffaPost-PartyCoalition?
BySputnik

GlobalResearch,August19,2016

Sputnik17August2016

Region:USA

In-depthReport:U.S.Elections

40

HillaryClinton,QueenofChaos,QueenofWar,Golden
GoldmanGirl,forallpracticalpurposesisbynowthe
officialbipartisancandidateofUSneoconsand
neoliberalconsalike.
Certifiedadd-onsincludeWallStreetselectedhedgefunds
TPPcheerleaders CFR(CouncilonForeignRelations)
interventionistsmediabaronsmultinationalcorporate
hustlersinfactvirtuallythewholeexceptionalistUS
establishment,dulyunderwrittenbythebipartisan,mega-
wealthy0.0001%.

ThatdoesleaveDonaldJ.Trumpintheastonishingposition
ofegomaniacbillionaireoutsiderwhosomehowdreamshe
cangamethewholesystemonhisown,movedbyhis
inexhaustiblechutzpah.

ItsunderthisdynamicthatTrumphasbeendemonizedwithmedievalfervorbyUScorporatemedia.Hisnon-stopmotormouth
andmotortweetcertainlydoesnothelp,conveyingtheimpressionhesinthebusinessofantagonizingmultitudesnon-stop.For
theestablishment,hisbillionsmeannothinghestreatedlikeabum.Hemaybeimpervioustoempathyontheotherhandthatkind
oftreatmentkeepsearninghimwidespreadsympathyamongtheangry,semi-destitute,non-collegeeducatedwhitemasses.
AUSindustrialrenaissance?

Underneathallthissoundandfury,somethingelseis(quietly)goingon.PowerfulbusinessinterestsdiscreetlysupportingTrump
andawayfromthemediacircusareconvincedhesgottheroadmaptovictory.Thequestioniswhetherhemaybeable
totamehiserraticbehaviortosealthedeal.

Hiskeymessage,accordingtothesebackers,mustrevolvearoundthedestructionofUSindustriesbyriggedcurrencies,andthe
destructionofthewagesofAmericanworkersbyimportingillegalcheaplaborfromdollar-a-daywagenations.

Andthatcomeswithanall-importantmilitaryangleasasurefiresellingpoint.AsTrumpsbackersoutlineit,thePacificOcean
cannotbeusedfortransportingthevitalandessentialcomponentsofourmilitaryindustrialcomplex,forintheeventofwar
withRussiaorChinatheiradvancedsilentsubmarinesequippedwithadvancedanti-shipweaponswillblockallofourocean
transport,collapsingourmilitaryindustrialproductioninanywarwithcatastrophicconsequences.Thesecomponentfactories
forIntelandothersmustberepatriatedatoncethroughcurrencyadjustmentsortariffs.SoTrumpshouldhammerthemessage
thatallnewbankcreditmustbetiedtorebuildingdestroyedUSindustries,eitherbyendingcurrencyriggingorapplyingtariffs.
Bankcredit,Trumpbackersargue,shouldnotbeusedforcurrencymanipulation,orforcashsettlementmarketrigging.There
shouldbenobankcreditforspeculationandabsolutelynoneforhedgefunds.Letswipethesespeculativevehiclesoutbyhuge
taxesonshort-termtradingprofits,endingtaxconcessionsonborrowing,andendingallbankcreditforspeculation.Letthese
peoplegotodorealwork.

That,inanutshell,explainsWallStreetsvisceralaversiontoTrumpfromtheBloombergstotheLloydBlankfeins.Anyone
familiarwithWallStreetknowseverymarket,commodityandindexesareriggedbycashsettlementmanipulations.AsaNew
York-basedTrumpbackerputsit,ThisaloneissufficientreasontosupportDonaldJ.Trump.WeshouldmaketheCarlIcahans
andGeorgeSorosesdorealworkbytaxingawaytheirspeculativeprofits.WeneedHenryFordsinthisnationwhocreateand
buildindustries,andnotWallStreetlooters,wheretheyrigeverythingasin2008thenusedtheirpoliticalpoweroverbought
politiciansforbailouts,afterthrowingtensofmillionsofAmericanoutoftheirhomes.Accordingtothisroadmap,whichis
alreadyonTrumpsdeskbutnooneknowswhetherhereaditinfull,orwillimplementitfightingillegalimmigrationandrigged
currenciessidebysidewouldcreatenothinglessthananindustrialrenaissanceintheUStorebuildthedevastatedDetroits.
Essentially,theroadmapcallsforreplacingmillionsofillegalimmigrantswithmillionsofunemployedUScitizensTrumpsbackers
considertherealunemploymentratetobeawhopping23%today,basedonthe1955BureauofLaborStatisticalMethodology,
andnottheriggedstatisticsoftoday.

ThebottomlineisthisroadmapcallsforTrump,ifelected,tocreateacross-party,ortrans-partycoalitionasoncehappened
intheHouseandSenatewhenJesseHelmsononesideandJohnConyersandChuckSchumerontheothersideactuallydidreal
business.

ThisallimpliesTrumpshouldbecomewellversedinthenationaleconomyideasofFriedrichListwhosetariff-protected
ZollvereinLeaguewasessentiallythefoundingmethodofPrussiatobuildtheGermannation.
SomeoftheabovehasalreadyfilteredoutinTrumpsannouncedeconomicagenda.Nowcomesthehardpartforamanwithan
exceedinglyshortattentionspanwhogetsintothegroovebytweetsandsoundbitestocoherentlyselltheplanwithoutpicking
upunnecessaryfightsalongtheway.
ButVladhasalreadywonitanyway

PollsatthemomentseemtobepointingtoaHillarylandslide.Trumpsbackerstoughwouldnotrelyonthepolls.Everythingis
rigged.Andthentherestheall-envelopingRussianaggressionhysteria.HillarywentasfarasequatingPresidentPutin
toHitler.TrumpinsistshesreadytodobusinesswithMoscowstartingwithajointoperationtoendISIS/ISIL/Daeshforgood.

Whybother?TheStupidity-o-MeterasappliedtoUSmainstreammediahasgoneoninterstellaroverdriveanywayasthe
presidentialelectionwinnerhasalreadybeenchristened:itswhoelse?theomniscientVladimirPutin.

AbusinesssourcefamiliarwiththedesignsoftherealMastersoftheUniversecutsseriouslytothechase:AsfarasRussiais
concerned,theissueisdecidedfromabove,andthatiswherethebattlehasbeen.ThedecisionisaboveHillaryandDonald,and
Hillarywillbeorderedtocreatearapprochementifsheiselected,ifthatiswhatisdecided.IfTrumpwins,itiseasyandifhe
doesnt,thenthefacthebroughtitupwillbeusedasacatalystforpolicychangestowardRussia.Thefightisbehindthescenes
now.

Asmuchascurrencyriggingwillbeended,aswealreadysawJackLewgiveouttheorderstoGermanyandJapan,anew
geoeconomicmappossiblyunderTrumpwouldswingtowardstheendoftheoilpricewaraswell.AsaTrumpbackerputs
it,thisisanationalobjectiveoftheUnitedStates,asahigherpricewillmaketheUnitedStatesenergyindependent.Thisispart
ofthesignificanceoftheTrumprevolution.AccordingtoasourceclosetotheHouseofSaud,SaudisandRussiansarealready
involvedintortuouspre-negotiationsonthepossibilityofengineeringanoilpricearound$100.00abarrelThereshouldbeenough
mutualityofinterestbetweentheSaudisbetrayedbytheUSundertheneocons,andtobedestroyedbytheneoconseventually,
andtheRussianswhocanpreventthat.

AnendtotheoilpricewarmaybesomethingthePentagonwontbeabletoargueabout.AsaTrumpbackernotes,itisinthe
vitalinterestofthemilitary-industrialcomplextoachievecompleteenergyindependence,andrepatriateallitsmilitaryindustries
totheshoresoftheUnitedStates.

Comparedtothecurrent,24/7mud-wrestlingmatch,allthismayseemstraightfromAliceinWonderland.Theresnoevidence
suchanambitiousandcontentiousagendacanbesoldtomoversandshakersfromJPMorgantotheKochbrothers.Trump
creatingacross-party,trans-partyorevenpost-partymovementwillonlysucceedifsubstantialplayersinthePowerEliteare
behindit,andtherearenosignsofthishappening.

WhatproceedsrelentlesslyisamassivedisinformationcampaignaghastlyremixofthosegoodolColdWaranti-USSR
avalanches.TheClintonMediaMachineisevenvilifyingMichaelFlynn,formerheadoftheDIA,whosupportsTrump.Trump
wasconceptuallyrightwhenhesaidObamaandHillarywerethefounderandco-founderofISIS/ISIL/Daesh.Thatsexactly
whatFlynnadmittedinthat notoriousinterviewwhenhestressedthattheexpansionofthephonyCaliphatewasawillful
decisiontakeninWashington.

Thebottomline,asitstands,isthatTrumpisnotraisingenoughcashtooffsettheformidableClintoncashmachine.Nowcomes
thetimewhenhemustreallytakenoprisonerstogainmaximumexposurewhiletryingtoselltheroadmapoutlinedabove,one
tweetatatime.

AndofcoursetherewillbeasurpriseOctoberandotherwise.Nothinghasbeendecidedyet.DisraelisConingsbywasnever
moreappropriateSoyousee,mydearConingsby,thattheworldisgovernedbyverydifferentpersonagesfromwhatisimagined
bythosewhoarenotbehindthescenes.

TheoriginalsourceofthisarticleisSputnik

CopyrightSputnik,Sputnik,2016

From: RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 12/07/201511:41:26PM
To: RobertOtto<acrotto@us-state.osis.gov>
Subject: ALannisterwithdebts.ThetroubledtrackrecordofForbesRussiasnewRussianownerMeduza.News,reports,interviews,videosfromRussia

http://meduza.io/en/feature/2015/11/26/a-lannister-with-debts

Meduza.News,reports,interviews,videosfromRussia

WhenAxelSpringerInternational,onesoftheworldslargestmediaconglomeratesandthepublisherofBild,themost
popularGermannewspaper,decidedtoenterRussiain2003,itwasviewedasapositivestepinthedevelopmentofthe
Russianmedia.ThecompanyobtainedalicensetopublishaweeklyeditionofNewsweek(theycalleditRussianNewsweek)
andaRussianeditionofForbesmagazine.PaulKlebnikov,thefamousAmericanjournalistandauthorofanacclaimedbook
aboutBorisBerezovsky,wasnamedForbesRussiaseditor-in-chief.

ThefactthattheRussianmarketisreadyforsuchamagazineisoneofthehallmarksofRussianbusinessascensiontoa
new,morecivilizedstageofdevelopment,KlebnikovwroteinhisintroductiontoForbesfirstissue.Byriskingtheir
investmentsandreputationshere,theGermanandAmericanbackersofForbesRussiaendorsethattheWestacceptRussian
businessaspartoftheinternationalbusinesscommunity.

KlebnikovwasconvincedthatForbesRussiawouldbecomeanindependentforcenotbeholdentoanybusinessinterestsor
government.Justthreemonthsafterthemagazinesfirstissue,theeditor-in-chiefwasmurderedafiveminuteswalkfrom
theForbesoffice.(Themurderscontractorhasnotbeenfound,themainsuspectisapparentlyhidinginChechnya,the
murdersinvestigatorhasretired,andtheprosecutionschiefwitnessisterminallyill.)

Nevertheless,ForbesdemandedhighstandardsinRussianbusinessjournalismtogetherwithotherinfluentialandestablished
newspaperslikeVedomostiandKommersant.AndafterRussianNewsweekcloseddownduetofinancialdifficultiesin
October2010,ForbesbecamethemainengineandincomesourceforAxelSpringerRussia.

MaximKashulinsky,anaccomplishedjournalist,succeededKhlebnikov,and,underhim,themagazineachievednotorietyfor
scandalousinvestigationslikethatintothebusinesspracticesofElenaBaturina,thewifeofMoscowMayorYuriLuzhkov.
Inspring2011,ElizavetaOsetinskayawasnamededitor-in-chiefofForbesRussia(KashulinskyleftforSlon.ru)afterthree
yearsasVedomostiseditor-in-chief.Underher,themagazinebeganrankingthe"KingsofStateContracts"andconducting
significantlylargerinvestigations.InDecember2011,RomanBadanin,theformerdeputyeditorofGazeta.ruresponsiblefor
politicsandopinion,tookchargeofForbes.ru.Underhim,Forbes.ruextensivelycoveredthe2012streetralliesand
protests,andthesitepublishedpoliticalanalysisandinvestigationsonadailybasis.InDecember2013,Osetinskayaleftfor
apostasmanagingeditorofRBC.ShewasreplacedbyElmarMurtazaev,themagazinesdeputyeditor-in-chief.Under
Murtazayev,ForbesRussiaseditorialpolicyhasmaintaineditsindependence.

Atthesametime,therewasasmoothreshufflingofthemedialandscapeinthemidtolate2000s.Moreandmoreplayers
ideologicallycommittedtothestateappeared.Forexample,in2006,AlisherUsmanovboughtKommersantandGazeta.ru.
In2008,UsmanovsoldGazeta.rutoAlexanderMamut.Initially,thenewownersseemedindifferenttoeditorialpolicy,but
theyhavegraduallytightenedthescrewssincethe2011-2012electionsandtheaccompanyingprotests.Byfall2014,the
Mamut-ownedLenta.ruandGazeta.ruhadchangedmanagementandstaff.(ManyofMeduza'sstaff,includingitsfounder,
wereaffectedbythesechanges.)Weakenedbythedepartureofmanykeyjournalists,Kommersant,too,didnothavethe
bestoftimes.VedomostiandForbesRussiaremainedtheonlytrulyindependentbusinessandpublicaffairsdailies,apart
fromRBC,whichbelongstobillionaireMikhailProkhorov,whowasintheoppositionforawhile,andevenranagainst
VladimirPutininthe2012elections.Ontheotherhand,thebusinessmanhaslaidlowandhasnotbeenpoliticallyactive
since.
ForbesEditor-in-ChiefPaulKlebnikov,May13,2004

Photo:PhotoXPress

InSeptember2014,theStateDumaintroducedabillthatlimitstheshareofforeigncapitalinanymedia,includingprintand
Internetmedia,to20percent.Themediaindustrysawtheproposalasabadjoke.Nevertheless,thebillwasquicklyand
unanimouslypassed.Adoptedandsignedbythepresident,thelawbecameknownasTheVedomostiandForbesLaw,since
itseemedtohavebeenwrittenjustforthem(BusinessNewsMedia,whichincludesVedomosti,atthetimebelongedtothe
FinnishcompanySanomaandtheAmericanDowJones&CoandFTGroupAxelSpringerRussia,whichincludedForbes,
isownedbytheGermanAxelSpringerSE).

PublisherswithforeigncapitalweregivenuntilFebruary2016tochangetheirstructureofownershipandliquidateforeign
ownershipcontrol.(In2017,thelawwillapplytoRussianmediawhoseownersrunthemasoffshorecompanies.)Without
hesitation,legislatorsjustifytherestrictionsnecessitybyreferringtotheinformationwartheWestconductsthrough
foreign-ownedRussianmediainthecontextofeventsinUkraine.

AccordingtoasourceinAxelSpringerRussia,atfirstthecompany'sheadquartersinBerlindecidedtogoforbroke:stick
thingsout,weatherthenewspapersclosure,andthensueRussiafordamagesininternationalcourt.Later,however,the
companydecidedthefinancialrisksweretoohigh.

Inmid-June2015,theownersfinallydecidedtheyneededtoputthepublishingfirmupforsale.Theyplayedhardballuntil
October.Dealsofthismagnitudearenotdoneonsuchterms,or,ifso,theyredoneshitty,saysaseniorstaffmemberof
thepublishingfirm,throwinguphishands.TheyreliedontheinternationalauditingcompanyPricewaterhouseCoopers
(PWC)tousheradeal,butatfirst,investorssearchedforabuyerthemselves.Industrysourcessaythatnegotiatorsfirst
approachedformerRussianFinanceMinisterAlexeiKudrin,SergeiPetrov,thefounderofRolfGroup,andDmitryZimin,
thefounderofBeeline.Eachonerefused.Then,PWCrepresentativesjoinedthedeal.Theyhadalreadystartedofferingto
buyForbesforinterestedentrepreneursandtobringtheirprospectsandthepublishingfirmtogether.Therewerefive
prospectivecandidates:DemyanKudryavtsev,GregoryBerezkin,BorisBelotserkovsky,RubenVardanyan,andAlexander
Fedotov.

AxelSpringerRussia'sCEO,ReginavonFlemming(aformerRussiancorrespondentforDerSpiegelandsuccessortoIrina
SilaevaatAxelSpringerRussiain2005),immediatelycrossedoffthelistDamianKudryavtsev,theformerGeneralDirector
oftheKommersantpublishingfirm.AccordingtoaForbesRussiasource,itwasbecauseofKudryavtsevsquestionable
reputation.Thatistosay,thebusinessmanhadboughtBusinessNewsMedia,whichownsathirdofVedomosti,andwas
oneofthemaincontendersfortheremainingtwo-thirdsownedbyTheWallStreetJournalandFinancialTimes
(andKudryavtsevboughteventuallydidbuythesesharesinlateNovember2015).

WhereasElmarMurtazaev,ForbesRussiaseditor-in-chief,cameoutagainstGregoryBerezkin,theco-ownerof
KomsomolskayaPravda:BerezkinsclosenesstoRussianPrimeMinisterDmitryMedvedev,andespecially,Komsomolskaya
Pravdaseditorialpolicygeneratedmanymisgivings.
BorisBelotserkovsky,theformerowneroftheRitzioEntertainmentgamblingfranchisewasinterestedinadeal,andentered
negotiations,but,accordingtoasource,askedaboutthemagazinesblackcash"despitethefactthatitsaccountanthas
alwaysbeenimpeccable.

Asaresult,onlytwofinalistsremained.RubenVardanyan,amemberofForbesRussias100Richestandfounderofthe
TroikaDialoginvestmentfirm,andAlexanderFedotov,theyoungownerofArtcomMedia,asmallmediacompanywhich
publishesseveralglossymagazines.Vardanyanwasconsideredthefavoriteattheend,buthecalledReginavonFlemming
threedaysbeforewrap-uptalks,andsaidthathehadchangedhismind.Hedidnotdisclosethereasonswhy.

Asaresult,AxelSpringerwaslefttoetotoewiththeinvestornegotiatorsknewtheleastabout.

InteriorDesignandCapitalRenovations
TheofficeentrancetoAlexandrFedotovsArtcomMediaGroupiseasilymissed.Itslocatedonthefarsideofan
inconspicuouscourtyardofarun-downbuildingontheSavvinskayaembankment.Butinside,itsahigh-techwonderof
moderndesign.Ashinyblackwallonthegroundfloordetractsattentionfromthedrabwoodenframedsecuritybooth.Its
alsoshinyupstairs,buttheofficeisinredtones,thedesignofwhichwasdevelopedbyPaolaNavone,oneofthemost
famousItalianobjectarchitects.(Fifteenyearsago,theGermanmagazineArchitekturundWohnennamedherthenumber
onedesignerintheworld.)

Fedotovlovesbeautyandmanyfamouspeopletrusthistaste.Hisentirecareerwassomehowlinkedtodesignand
architecture.InSeptember1990,asaPhysicsandTechnologyInstitutegraduate,heandtwofriendsfromtheinstitute
startedasmallcompany,Art-Service,undertheSoviet-AmericanFoundations"CulturalInitiative"establishedbythe
philanthropistGeorgeSoros.Thecompanysoldartandrenovatedbuildings.Fedotovpartedfromhisfriendsprettyquickly.
Theyhadgoneintotheconstructionbusinesshiscompanyconcentratedonthecapitalrenovationofbuildings.

Atthesametime,hebecameanOlivettidealer.Fedotovdidnothavetopromotethebranditwasalreadydoneforhim.
TheItalianmanufacturerofcashregistersandcalculatorsenteredtheSovietmarketratherboldly.Itwasthefirstcompany
intheUSSRtoplaceadsonthetelevisionprogramVremya.

ItisinthesmallbuildingontheSavvinskayaembankment,whichnowhousestheArtcomMediaGroup,thatFedotovtook
officespaceforhisdealershipOliros.AsFedotovtellsit,backthenOlivettiofferedcustomersastandalonecashregister,
whichwasofficiallypermittedinRussia:"Alawwasputinplacewhereeverythingwassoldthroughacashier,andatthe
timetherewerenoRussianregistersthatoperatedonrechargeablebatteries.Sowestartedproducingthem.Butthisdidnt
goanywhere.

FedotovestablishedtwoothercompaniesinvolvedindesignandbuildingrenovationontheSavvinskayaembankment.All
thedesignfirmswerelaterconsolidatedintoArtTradingGroup,whichspecializedinexclusivebuildingdesign.

Inthebeginningofthe2000s,Fedotovdecidedtostopresellingelectronics,andatthesame,timepursuesomethingmore
ambitious.FedotovbecamepartnerswiththefuturebankerAlexanderSvetakov,developerDmitryAksenov,andthethen-
headoftheheadquartersoftheMoscowMilitaryDistrict,DmitrySablin,who,itsbelieved,providedsecurityfor
Aksenovsbusinessdealings.

Intheearly2000s,SablinbecameanadvisertoBorisGromov,thegovernorofMoscowregionanddeputychairmanof
CombatBrotherhood,anall-RussianorganizationofveteransoflocalwarschairedbyGeneralGromov.TheAfghanvets
wereapowerfulanddangerousforceintherealestatemarket."Weboughtonefarm,explainstheentrepreneurIlya
Dyskin,justtogiveoneexample.AndallofasuddenguysfromCombatBrotherhoodshowupwithtwobusesofriot
police,andtheysay,eitherwealsojustboughtthisplaceorwe'lltakeallofyourstockwiththeriotpolice.
Anti-Maidanpressconference:VikaTsyganova,NightWolvesbikerclubpresidentAleksandrZaldostanov(the
Surgen),writerNikolaiStrarikov,andDmitrySablin,deputychairmanofthesocialorganizationCombat
Brotherhood.

Photo:Anti-MaidanPressOffice

TogetherwithSablinandSvetakov,Fedotovbecametheco-founderofthenon-profitpartnershipZhukovkaXXI.
AccordingtotheSPARKdatabase,FedotovisalsolistedastheregisteredownerintheMoscowregionoftheLegal
InformationOffice,andthroughachainofotherfirms,Sablinownsthemanagementcompanyofthisoffice.Inthe2000s,
Sablinenteredpolitics,waselecteddeputyoftheStateDuma,joinedUnitedRussia,andin2014,co-foundedtheAnti-
Maidanmovement.

ConnectionshelpedFedotovandhiscompanionstosucceednotonlyinbuyingrealestate.Fedotovdidthefinishingtouches
onthepalaceoftheheadofIngushetiainMagasandononeofthehallsoftheHouseofMoscowRegionalGovernment.In
addition,employeeswhoworkedforFedotovmentionedthattheyremodeledBorisGromovsofficeandevenpartially
decoratedDmitryMedvedevsPrimeMinistersResidence.Fedotovsworkersdecoratedestatesinthefamousvillage
Akulinino,wheretheestatesofTransneftPresidentNikolaiTokarev,thestatecorporationRostekhsGeneralDirector
SergeyChemezov,andtheformerheadoftheRussianRailways,VladimirYakunin(Yakuninshomedecorevenappearedon
theInternet)arelocated.Finally,accordingtoKommersant,Fedotovscompanyparticipatedinreconstructionofthe
LuzhnikiStadium,thesiteoftheMoscowChampionsFootballLeaguefinalsin2008.

GlossandPoverty
ItwouldseemthatFedotovmusthavegottenseriouslyrichofftheseprojects.However,accordingtoofficialdata,allthe
companiesregisteredtoFedotoveitherlostmoneyorreportedasmallprofit.Intheseconditions,hesomehowmanagedto
findthemoneyforapublishingfirm.

FedotovsmediacompanyArtcomMediaGroupisalsoaboutstyle.Itincludesmagazinesaboutfashion,design,and
lifestyle:SNC,Port,Numero,Object,GolfDigest,andInterniandExterieursDesign.In2014,Fedotovacquiredtherights
topublishtheRussianversionoftheFrenchfashionmagazineL'OfficielandimmediatelyinvitedKseniaSobchaktobeits
editor-in-chief.

Inrecentyears,KseniaSobchakhasbeenFedotovsmainjournalist.Since2010,hetriedtopersuadehertoheadthe
magazineSNC,butsheturnedhimdown.Andonlyin2012,whenSobchakwasremovedfromthenationalairwavesand
fromhostingimportantceremoniesbecauseofherclosefriendshipwiththeopposition,sheacceptedthebusinessmans
offer.OneoftheemployeesworkingforSNCbeforeSobchakjoinedsaysthemagazinewas"acompletedisaster":"People
werenotpaidformorethanamonth.Andnotonlytheeditorsbutalsotoallthefreelancersandstudios.Thingsbeganto
improve,albeitslowly,withSobchaksarrival.Shereplacedalmosteveryone.Especiallythosewhokeptridingon
Fedotov.Butinmyopinion,theentireoldteamstillneededtogo."
AfterSobchakleftSNCforthemorerespectableL'Officiel,everythingattheforsakenmagazinereturnedtothewayithad
beenbeforeherarrival.PhotographerDmitryChernyisaysthatthemagazineoweshim100,000rubles($1,500)from
Decemberoflastyear.Itriedgettingaholdoftheaccountanttofindouttheirsituationaskingiftherenomoneynowor
ifthereisntanyingeneral,orwilltherebemoney,forexample,inDecember.Theytoldme,'Wedontknow.Welltellyou
whenwefindout,'"Chernyisays.Asaresult,inSeptember2015,whentheChernyiandhisfriendswereabouttowritea
collectiveletter,orjustsueincourt,theypaidhimathirdofwhattheyowedhim.

Anotherphotographer,AlexBaltsevich,saysthatthestandarddelayinpaymentsfromthepublishingfirmiseighttonine
months.Theyhavenotpaidthesalariesoftheeditorsoftheprinteditions."Moreover,Fedotovhimselfwontmeetwiththe
stafftoexplainthesituation.Heevenhasaseparateentrancetoavoidmeetingtherabble,saystheeditorofoneofthe
ArtcomMediaGrouppublications.Hethrewunderthebusthepublisher,[ArtcomMediasGeneralDirector]Galina
Gladka,whoissquirmingtosaveherself.Rightuptoheropenlyadmittingshecantselladvertising.Yet,Fedotovstillpays
keypeopleontime.

InaconversationwithMeduza,KseniaSobchakwasmoredemureinherjudgement:"Sasha[Fedotov]isadecentman,and
Itrusthimcompletely.TherewereafewisolateddelaysinpayingsalariesatL`Officiel,buteveryonewasalwayspaidin
theend.ButthereatSNCpeoplewouldrathermalignwell-wishers.Icanonlysayonething:FedotovislikeaLannister.He
alwayspayshisdebts.Hehasreallysupportedanddevelopedahugemediaventure."

However,therehasbeenalargeturnoverinpersonnelatthepublishingfirm.Alotofgoodguyshaveleft.Theysaidthatin
orderforyoutobepaidonaregularbasismustalsoprovewhyyouneedthemoney,Baltsevichsays.Thisisnotavery
commonsituationinthemediaindustry.Forexample,ChernyiremembersthatatSanomaMagazinehewaspaidan
honorariumtwomonthsbeforethemagazinesrelease,andatElleacontractguaranteesthepaymentofhonorariumswithin
20days.NosuchcontractsexistatArtcomMediaGroup.

SNCEditor-in-ChiefKseniaSobchakandArtcomMediaGrouppresidentAleksandrFedotovatapress
conferencefortheinitialreleaseoftherevivedSNCmagazine.

Photo:KomsomolskayaPravda/PhotoXPress

There'sageneralproblemwithofficialcontractsandover-the-tablewagesatthepublishingfirm.Hereishowthe
paymentprocessworksforoneoftheemployeesofthenewprojectattheACMGDigitalpublishingfirm:Oneevening
betweenthe5thand10thofthemonth,alettersuddenlyarrivesfromanaccountant:cometosuch-and-suchconference
roomforapaycheck.Wearriveattheconferenceroom,standinalineinthehallway,nervouslyexchangingsmiles,where
theybegininsinglefile,theygiveeachpersonanenvelopeofcashandmakeussignsomepieceofpaper.

"WhatshappeningatArtcomisnosecret.HalfthepeopleconnectedtothemediainMoscowtalkaboutitinonewayor
another,saysanotherformereditorfromoneofFedotovspublishinggroups.Gettingpayinenvelopesisnotsurprising.
Okay,well,theyusuallypaythemselvesthisway.ButthisisntaboutArtcom.Inthispublishingfirm,atwo-monthdelayis
acommonoccurrencefortheeditorialstaff.Itsaboutthefreelancersphotographers,makeupartists,stylists,writers,
illustratorsyoucanforgetaboutthem.Youcanfindanotherhundredlikethem."

Accordingtoaformereditor,fewworkersatArtkomareunderanyemploymentcontract.ElenaUshakova,aformerSNC
employee,didnotwaitaroundforpartofhermoneywhensheresignedinDecember2014.Itwasabout40,000rubles
[$600],shesays.I'dbeenwaitingforitforalongtime,butthenIrealizedthatitwasuseless,andmyworke-mailwas
deletedimmediatelyafterthewritingarequest.AccordingtoUshakova,theystilldelayedsalarieswhenSobchakwasthere,
butshealwayscussedouttheleadershipforit,andshehadtobeatthemoneyoutofallofthem.Thingsgotmuchworse
afterSobchakleftSNC.

"Someofthosewholefttriedtocomplainaboutit,saysanotherproducerwholeftSNC.Buttherearenoemployment
contractssoitsasifyoudidnotworkthereatall.Sowhatifyournameisinthemagazine?Whereisyourevidence?
Humanresourcessaystheydonthaveasinglecomplaintfromthelaborinspectorate.Butnoonetrustsit.Aformer
employeerelatedhowtheylaidherco-workersoffwithoutpayingbackpay,letaloneseverance.Afewmonthsbeforea
courthearing,themanagementagreedtoafewmonthsbackpayandtwomonthsseverance."Buttheyneverpayup
everything,threateningoneyoungwomanwith:'Youwilltakeit,apologize,oryoucankissyourcareergoodbye.Wecan
makeitsonoonewillhireyou.'Afterthinkingaboutit,theyoungwomangaveuponafixedseverance,"saysaformer
SNCeditorfamiliarwiththestory.

ManyformerArtcomMediaemployeessimplyrefusetotalkordosoonlyontheconditionofanonymity.Onwhypeople
actthisway,aformerproducerfromoneofFedotovspublications,whoinhisjobdealtwithhisemployerfacetofaceon
morethanoneoccasion,toldMeduza,"Themanislikeagangsterfromthe1990s.ThiswasandisthesenseIhave."

ARapidlyGrowingMediaGroup
AsourcefromAxelSpringerRussiasaysthatReginavonFlemmingandtheallotherparticipantsinthesalewerenotaware
ofFedotovsfinancialsituation.Usually,duediligenceisalwaysdonebeforeadealacomprehensiveexaminationofa
buyertoassesshisfinancialviability.ButAxelSpringer,aswellasForbesMedia(theAmericanfranchisoroflicensesfor
thepublicationofForbesinothercountries),decidedtoskimponthisprocedure.TheauditorsfromPWCcoulddoitfora
separatefeeandadditionaltime,butbothwererunningshort.

Moreover,eventhefinancialperformanceofFedotovsassetsavailableinpublicsourceswasnotencouraging.According
toSPARK,in2013-2014,whentheyearlyearningsofArtTradingContract(Fedotovsmainbusinessisindesignand
decoration)were1.1millionrubles,itpostedlossesof800,000-990,000millionrubles.ArtcomMediaalsoshowedalossof
35.96millionrublesin2013and24.3millionin2014.ThesellersofForbesRussiaeitherknewnothingaboutthisorturned
ablindeye.InaninterviewwithRBC,Fedotovexplainedthatthelosseswerepartiallythecostofdoingbusiness
investmentandrapidexpansionandstartingnewmagazinesrequireacertainperiodoftimetobecomeprofitable.

TheinternalsituationinFedotovspublishingfirmwasalsounknownbeforesigningoftheagreement,saysasourceclose
tothenegotiations.Itallcametolighttoolate,afterthesigningofthethree-partyagreementbetweenFedotov,Axel
SpringerInternational,andForbesMedia.Priortothesale,rumorsaboutwhatwashappeninginArtcomMediastartedto
reachparticipantsandleftasevereimpressiononReginavonFlemming.Thesituationatthepublishingfirmdemonstrated
twothings:eitherFedotovhadnomoneyandsomeoneelsewasbankrollinghispurchaseofForbes(whichsuggeststhe
presenceofanothershadowybeneficiary),orFedotovjustdoesnotknowhowtorunabusinessaccordingtoWestern
standards,squeezedallofthestaff,andplayed"underthetable.Bothscenarios,saysasourceclosetothenegotiations,
werebloodcurdlingforvonFlemming.
ArtcomMediamagazines

Photo:NetAcmgpage/Facebook

AsthreesourcesfromtheForbeseditorialboardtellit,ReginavonFlemmingdecidedtorenegeonthepromised20percent
bundleofthepublishingfirmssharestoFedotovandtriedtocancelthesale.Therewereformalopportunitiestodothis.
ForbesAmericanlicenseehadamonthtotransferthelicense,andcouldrefuseincaseofanyforcemajeure.Von
Flemmingcountedonthis.ShebegantosoundthealarmafternotifyingboththeAmericansandtheGermansabout
Fedetovsfinancialsituation.Andtherewaspurportedlyanalternativebuyerforthesameamount.AxelSpringerRussiawas
readytoselltothefounderoftheRolfcardealership,SergeiPetrov,abusinessmanwithacleanreputationwhoisnot
knownforanyspecialrelationshipswiththegovernment.Thebusinessman,whodeclinedtobuyduringthefirst
negotiations,bythefallof2015,wasripe,andwantedtosavethepublication.(SergeyPetrovrefusedtocommentonthis
story,andhisrepresentativeSvetlanaBranitskayaadvisedagainstbelievingrumors.")

However,asasourcefamiliarwiththemattersays,AxelSpringerInternationaldistanceditselffromthesituation.
Essentially,theGermansdidnotcare:thefateofForbesRussiacouldntdamagetheirreputation,unlikeForbesMedia,
whosebrandwasatrisk.TheAmericanstooktimetothink,andafteramonthsimplytransferredthelicenseforthe
RussianeditionofForbestoFedotov.HowhemanagedtopersuadetheAmericansremainsamystery.

ReginavonFlemmingresignedbeforetheagreedtime,andNataliaGandurina,theformerpublisherofL'Officieletookher
place.VonFlemmingrefusedtogiveanyofficialstatement.SodidElmarMurtazaev,Forbeseditor-in-chief.

Preservinganindependenteditorialpolicyisthelastbigconcern.ThisisespeciallytruefollowingFedotov'srecent
interviewwithRBC,whereheexpresseddisapprovalthatForbesissodevotedtopolitics.Thebusinessmanpromisedto
rectifythis.Later,inaconversationwiththemagazinesstaff,Fedotovexplainedthathewassimplymisunderstood.But
Murtazaevisdoingeverythingtoprotecthimself,saymagazineemployeesclosetohim.HewrotealettertoForbes
AmericanheadquartersanddemandedabroadeningoftherulesforlicenseterminationfortheRussianedition,sothatthey
moredistinctlyspellouttheclausesofpublishernon-interferenceineditorialpolicy.However,Forbesmainofficedidnot
goforit.MurtazaevhadalreadytriedtogetFedotovtosignasimilardocumentstipulatingpublishernon-interferenceinthe
productionofcontent.Fedotovpreferredtoleaveitataverbalassurancethateverythingwillbeokay.

FedotovrefusedtocommenttoMeduzaaboutthisstory."Wedonotintendtocommentonyoursubmittedquestions,oron
theinnerworkingsoftheACMGmediaorganization,whichincludesAxelSpringerRussiasForbesbrand,statesan
officialletterfromArtcomMedia.Wedonotconsiderthesequestionsrelevantwhentheconditionsofthepurchaseare
confidential."Atthesametime,thegroupsrepresentativeassuredthatthemagazine"willcontinuetoevolve,measureupto
Forbeshighstandardsaroundtheworld,andtobetheleadingbusinesspublicationwiththepowerfulwebsiteForbes.ru,
whoseeditorialpolicyhasbeenandwillremainunchanged."
MeduzaaskedMiaCarbonell,ForbesMediasofficialspokeswoman,whyduediligencewasnotcarriedoutonFedotovs
assets,whethershesbotheredbywhatisgoingonwith"under-the-table"payandthefinancingofhispublishingfirm,and
ifForbesMediafearsthatFedotovsbadboyimagecouldaffectthereputationofallofForbes.

Theresponsewasthis:ArtcomMediaisarapidlygrowingmediagroup.ItownspublicationsinRussiaandGermany.Mr.
Fedotovandhisteamhaveshownthattheyarecapableofachievingsuccessinvariousmarkets.Weareconfidentthatour
partnersarepeoplewhowillbeabletoguaranteethatForbesconformstoallstandardsofquality."
From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Senttime: 01/05/201609:55:17AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
FW:WD"VLAD-O-RAMASPECIAL":Russianpunditviewscurrentregime,likelyfuturescenarios[GlebPavlovskytellsall][WORTHAREAD
Subject:
ORTWO/RemarkablyFrankAssessment]

From:WalterZaryckyj[mailto:waz2102@caa.columbia.edu]
Sent:Monday,January04,20163:40PM
Subject:Fwd:WD"VLAD-O-RAMASPECIAL":Russianpunditviewscurrentregime,likelyfuturescenarios[GlebPavlovskytellsall]
[WORTHAREADORTWO/RemarkablyFrankAssessment]

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:WalterZaryckyj<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>
Date:Mon,Jan4,2016at6:39PM
Subject:WD"VLAD-O-RAMASPECIAL":Russianpunditviewscurrentregime,likelyfuturescenarios[GlebPavlovskytellsall]
[WORTHAREADORTWO/RemarkablyFrankAssessment]
To:RomaHadzewycz<staff@ukrweekly.com>,rl<romashka1@aol.com>

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:WalterDerzko<wderzko@pathcom.com>
Date:Mon,Jan4,2016at3:47PM
Subject:Russianpunditviewscurrentregime,likelyfuturescenarios...whatdoesEffectivePolicyFoundationhead
GlebPavlovskiyhavetosaythesedays?
To:1WalterZarycky<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>,1WolodymyrZarycky<wzarcusur@gmail.com>,WalterDerzko
<wderzko@pathcom.com>

BBCMonitoringFormerSovietUnion[London]02Jan2016.
TextofreportbyRussianGazeta.runewswebsiteon26December

[NatalyaGalimovainterviewwithEffectivePolicyFoundationheadGlebPavlovskiy:"'TheKremlinIsLivingWithout
SensingtheCountryBeneathIt'EffectivePolicyFoundationHeadGlebPavlovskiyontheRussianSystemofManagement"date,
placenotstated]Theyear2016willbethemomentoftruthforthecurrentmodelfortreatingthestate.[Galimova]Whywasit
duringPutin'scurrentpresidentialtermthatthisstyleofmanagementarose?[Pavlovskiy]Itdidnotarise,itflowered.

1of131/4/201615:05
TextofreportbyRussianGazeta.runewswebsiteon26Decembersubheadingsaspublished

[NatalyaGalimovainterviewwithEffectivePolicyFoundationheadGlebPavlovskiy:"'TheKremlinIsLivingWithoutSensingthe
CountryBeneathIt'EffectivePolicyFoundationHeadGlebPavlovskiyontheRussianSystemofManagement"date,placenot
stated]

Theyear2016willbethemomentoftruthforthecurrentmodelfortreatingthestate.AtransformationisinevitableinRussia,and
itwillbeprecededbyyetonemoreescalation,EffectivePolicyFoundationheadGlebPavlovskiybelieves.Butthroughits
escalationstheregimeiscreatingademandforextremalitywhichitcannotsatisfy.Someoneelsecouldenterthestatevacuum.That
washowin1917LeninandTrotskiyfilledthe"demandforgreatness"createdbytheProvisionalGovernment.

[Galimova]Inthebook"TheRussianFederationSystem.SourcesofRussianStrategicBehaviour,"youcharacterizePutin's2012-
2015-modelstyleofmanagementas"thestyleofindirectinterpretation."Hisentouragetodayleavesthepresident"withan
incompleteideaaboutwhathasbeendecidedandtryingtorememberthewordsPutinuttered."Thepresident"buildsrelationsin
suchawaythathecanalwayssay:IdidnotknowthatandIdidnotpromisethat."Hehas"constructedabovetheregimean
unreachablefloorwherehealoneresides.Andalthoughhestillhascontactwithhisentourage,hedoesnotwanttobear
responsibilityfordecisions."

Pleaseciteexamplesofthemanifestationofthe"indirectinterpretationstyle."

[Pavlovskiy]Youcanseethemeverydayandheartheminanyspeech.WhatdoesPutin'sfamousexpression"decidefor
yourselves"mean-isitgivingusafreehand?Ofcoursenot.Itistheimpossibilityofmanagementbydirectivewhencontrolis
maintainedthroughthetechniqueofuncertainty.TheentiremanagementoftheUkrainecrisisafterCrimeawasconductedinthat
manner.

Takethepresident'smessage-itcontainsphraseswhichcanbeinterpretedincontradictoryways.Eitherastherejectionof
escalationorasdefencealongtheperimeter.Thepresidentmetwiththecaptainsofbusiness,andwhatdidhesaytothose
captains?Heconductedapoliticalbriefingwiththembasedonthecurrentpress,andthecaptainsremainedcompletelysilent.

Andthisisnotaboutonemanbutaboutthefeaturesofthesystem.

Ifwehadbeforeusatrulybureaucraticpowervertical,itwouldacceptdirectivesandcarrythemout.Butwearetalkingabouta
systemtowhichorderscannotbegiven.

Itisastatelesssystem,thatisanon-bureaucraticsystem.Themonstrousexecutiveapparatusisalwaysbusyandiswholly
engrossedwithdeals.ItisafunctioningbutundisciplinedsystemsimilarnottoastatebuttotheGorbushka[software,music,and
videomarketinMoscow],ortheYuzhnyyport[automobilemarket].Itissavedbyaspinelessreadiness,afterithasreceiveda
signaltoitsadvantage,toturntheotherway.Soordersareissuedintheformofanindirecthintor,astheysay,a"signal,"andthat
launchesanewseriesofdeals.

[Galimova]WhywasitduringPutin'scurrentpresidentialtermthatthisstyleofmanagementarose?

[Pavlovskiy]Itdidnotarise,itflowered.ThechoiceofdirectionwasmadeunderBorisYeltsin.Itwasachoiceinfavourofa
PresidentialStafftechnocracywiththesupersovereigntyoftheheadofstate.When,forinstance,BorisNikolayevich[Yeltsin]in
conversationwithEldarRyazanovcouldsay:"IwakeupandIthink,whoshallIgivethecountryto?"Asthoughheweretalking
aboutagarage.Andhesincerelybelievedheownedthecountry.

Thechoiceinfavourofthecountryasthepresident'sdomainandnotasapoliticalnationoranideologicalgoalwasdefinitively
madebetween1993and1996.

Afterall,youconstantlyhearitsaid:"Thatisforthepresidenttodecide."Andatthesametimeeveryoneunderstandsthatthe
presidentisnotengagedwith,forinstance,thehousingandmunicipalservicesproblem.Hecannotdeterminethesizeofthefinefor
long-haultruckdrivers.Buteverythingispresentedasallegedlyhispersonaldecision.Alldecisionsareattributedtooneman
becausetherearenoproceduresforthepassageofmanagementsignals.Thesystemdoesnotdaretoabandonit.Herenothing
canbedictatedfromthetopexceptprohibitionsforthepopulation.ThatwaswhenTurkishtomatoessuddenlybecamedisgusting
whileitseemedthat,conversely,therewasnothingwrongwithGeorgianwines.

Butwhatdoesabanmean?Anewdemandforservices.Phoningroundyourfriendsandplacinganorderfortheproductionof
incinerators(devicesforburningrubbishandotherwaste-Gazeta.Ru)forburningfood.Butthatisnotcorruption,butatax
farmingstate.Weareruledbytaxfarmers.

ItisdangerousfortouriststoflytoEgypt,itisbanned.Why?WearenotatwarwithEgypt,weviewitasafriendlycountry.But
wehavetreateditasthoughitwereahostilestate.
ByalsodestroyingtourismtoTurkeywehavetreatedoururbanmiddleclass-thesystem'smostloyalsupporters-asserfs.We
havedeprivedthemofthefreedomofconsumerchoice.Thelastremainingfreedom!

[Galimova]DoyounotthinkthatthebanonflightsfirsttoEgyptandthenoncharterflightstoTurkeyisexplainedinteraliabythe
regime'splantoensureaninfluxofvacationerstoCrimea?FarfromeveryonecantraveltoEuropeparticularlywhenyouconsider
thecurrentexchangerates.

[Pavlovskiy]Explanationsofthatkindarechosenwhenthereisanobviouslackofpurpose.Anyideaofoursofheroically
conqueringhasasubtext-liningourpockets.Wedestroycommunications.Wewantsimultaneouslytoprovideapictureforthe
SundayTVprogrammesandshowtheTurkshowangryweareandatthesametimeallowtourismtoearnmoneyforCrimea,
wheretheyhavealreadysaidtheywillnottakeeveryone.Butambiguityofthatkindalwayscomesacropper.Thereisnothingleft
exceptpeoplebeingaccustomedtobosseswhoareincapableofmanagingorderingeveryoneabout.Andorderingthemtono
purpose.Thechampionwordof2015is"absurdity"-itcanbeheardfromtheKremlincorridorstothemostfar-flungregions.

"ThememorandaonPutin'sdeskarereportsofattacksbyreptilians"

[Galimova]AthisannualpressconferencethepresidentconfusedGovernorTurchakwithhisfatherandshowedhewasunfamiliar
withhowpaidparkinglotsareintroducedinMoscow.Putinisobviouslybeingmisinformed.Inyourview,towhatdegreedothe
RussianleadershipandPutinpersonallyunderstand,know,andfeelwhatishappeninginthecountry?

[Pavlovskiy]InformationflowsintotheKremlinfromeverywhereandofcoursethereareplentyoflies.Butallpresidentsinthe
worldareliedto,thequestionisthemaliceofthelies.Yourecallthe"Agitprop"thatexistedintheUSSRandhowitfriedour
brainswith"MalayaZemlya"[abookaboutBrezhnev'sallegedwartimeexploits]andsolidaritywiththebloodyEthiopiansonofa
bitchMengistuMariam?InRussiathereis"neoprop"-themachineryofstultifyingtelevisionpropaganda.Itpumpsupthe
population'sloyaltybykeepingthemassconsciousnessinastateofhysteria.Russia'speoplearebeingmovedtotheworldofa
sinisterpoliticalserial,andthatiswheretheylive.

Butthiscausesthecountry'sleaderstolosetheabilitytomakestrategicdecisionsandtoassessrisks.Eveniftheythemselveswant
toshieldthemselvesfromtheirownpropaganda.ImagineforaminutethatPutin,likemyself,doesnotwatchtelevision.Idon't
believeit,butlet'sassumeso.However,allaroundhimaretelevisionviewerswhohaveassimilatedthelanguageoflies.Anetwork
offalsestoriesinwhichreptiliansareprowlingaroundtheKremlinhasbeenimposedontopofreality.Therearerealthreats,but
youcannotseethembecauseyouaretoldtheyhavefoundfascistsfromtheMoonin"Memorial"[humanrightsorganization].Iam
convincedthatthememorandaonPutin'sdeskarereportsofattacksbyreptiliansandofUFOsshotdownoverthe
week."Neoprop"operatesasanall-Russianmultiplierofstupidity.Inthisdistortedpictureoftheworld,theMalaysianBoeing
downedthroughstupiditycanbeportrayedasanaircraftcontainingdeadbodieslaunchedbytheCIAinorderto"bringPutin
down."LookatitthroughtheeyesofthepoorKremlintelevisionviewer:Sincethereareenemies,whoarealso"ourpartners,"
whyforthesakeofaKremlincoupshouldtheynotundertakeasimpleoperation-fillingaBoeingwithdeadbodiesanddropping
itovertheDonetsBasin?

Realityhasbeendissolvedinfantasyandtheydonotsensetherisks.

Afterall,itwassaidthatSyriawassimply"militaryexercises,"right?OurbombersweresometimesedgingalongtheTurkish-
Syrianborder,butthatdidnotseemtobeaproblemfortheKremlin.ItwasjustliketakingoffinKubinka[airbasenear
Moscow]andcrossingSmolenskayaOblastandaccidentlycuttingacorneracrossBelarus.Wherearetheytoacquirean
understandingofhowtheworldliveswhentheTVnewshasalreadydescribedhowitisstructuredwithRothschildthereand
Soros,Browder,andtheCIAhere?

ApoliticiancannotwatchRussianpoliticaltelevisionandremainrational.Ostankino's"neoprop"iscrackcocaine,youloseyour
senseofreality.

[Galimova]Whatisthedangerofthelossofreality?

[Pavlovskiy]Whateveryoulike,inparticularbeingpreparedtosacrificeourselves.Emotionallywearealreadyripefortheroleof
Christmasturkeys.Weonlyeverwantedwhatwasgood,wehaverisenfromourknees,wearethegreatRussia...Butwhenthe
showendswesay:"Ri..i..ght,wehavebeenwrongagain!"Anditcouldendanywayyoulike,giventhattheKremlinisnot
safeguardingnationalsecurityandissaunteringaroundcriminalregionsliketheMiddleEast,provokingitsneighboursovertrifles.

Wehavecreptintotheworldasignoramuses,rejectingtheconservativediplomacycustomaryforRussia.TheForeignMinistryis
talkingprisonslanglikeahoodlumandisoffendedthat"theydonotunderstandus"andwaitingforeveryonetorushtoMoscowto
negotiate.Theclassesoftherealthreatshavenotbeenidentified.TheauthoritieswatchStarWars.Theyfighttheenvironmentalist
Vitishko,"OpenRussia,"andthepop-whistleblowerNavalnyyasthoughtheywerefightingtheDeathStar(thecombatspace
stationfromStarWarsGazeta.ru).ThatisagifttoRussia'srivals-intheircapitalsandcorporationheadquartersgroupsofclever
menareselectingthemomentforputtingtheignoramus'snoseoutofjoint.Itwillallendwithablackout:Afterfailingtoresolvethe
latestselectionoftasks,theSystemwillbeleftinlimboandwillcometoastandstill.

Whatismostdangerousseemstometobethelossofthetiesbetweenthestateandthepopulationandallitsgroups.Television
hasremainedtheonlyformofconnection.

Butthisisnotastrongconnection,itneedstobefedfrombudgetrevenue.ButtheKremlinisreckless.Whydoexcessively
recklessgamblerslose?Notbecausetheyareidiotsbutbecausetheydonotknowhowtostopgamblingattherighttime.Our
regimeisencouragingprotractedgamblinginordertokeepthemassesinaconstantstateofexcitement.

[Galimova]Butontheotherhand,whilepeopleareinthatstatetheyarelessinclinedtoblametheirmisfortunesontheregime,
believingeconomicproblemstohavebeeninspiredbyRussia'senemies.Youdonotexpectanythinguntowardfrompeopleinthat
state.Although,ofcourse,therearealso"glitches"-aswiththelong-haultruckdrivers,forinstance.

[Pavlovskiy]Howtocreateinthe"ordinaryman"afalsesenseofbelongingtotheregime?IntheUSSRtheyhadgreatdifficulty
seekingtodothis,theysetupmeetingsatalllevels-fromyardmeetingstomeetingsatworkshopsandfactories.Thereisnothing
ofthekindnow.Itisthemassofsupporters,the"overwhelmingmajority,"whichtheyuseattimestofrightenthecountryandat
otherstoinstructit,whichactsasthecontrollerofbehaviour.Itisonlyasenseofthesituation'semergencynaturethatimposes
discipline.

Whenapersonisvigilantandislookingroundhiminalarm,thatmeansheisutterlyharmless.Butheisalsoeconomically
uncompetitive.
Unrenewableresourceshavetobebroughtintoplay.Theregimecannotstopthegame,andincaseslikethatpeoplealwayslose.
Whenthegamestops,everythingwillgrindtoahalt.

"Wehavesleepwalkersinfrontofus"

[Galimova]IsSyriaalsoagame?

[Pavlovskiy]Ofcourse.It'shuntingforanonexistentcatinthedarkroomwheretheevilTurkmenlive.

[Galimova]Whatwasthemainaim-divertingtheWest'sattentionfromUkraine,thusbreakingoutofisolation,keepingAl-Asad
inpower,ordemonstratingtocitizensthatwithoutRussiaitisimpossibletoresolveasingleimportantprobleminthisworld?

[Pavlovskiy]Makingaspectacularentranceontotheworldstage,sittingontheglobalthrone,andoncetherethinkingwhattodo
next.TheKremlinhasnodesiretofocusonasinglemainaim,andthereisnoaim.Ithadtoemergefromisolationfollowingthe
Ukrainestory.AnditwasclearthattheUnitedStateswouldnothaveletuscrawlawayeasily-wehadtohithard.Andwedidhit
hard!Butafterhitting,wehadtorecordarapidprofit,thewaytheydowithriskystockexchangeoperations.Wehadtochange
thegame.Butno,wehitoutagainandagain.SincetheTurkishscandalwehavebeengraduallyceasingtounderstandwhatweare
doingandweareobviouslywaitingforapromptingfromWashington
.
NowIraqhasstartedtobeofinteresttous.ButitisalwayslikethatintheMiddleEast-onceyouhavegottenthere,theyare
happytoplaywithyou.Theywillpiqueyourinterestandensnareyou.

Inourcountrytheythink:"Wewillnotletourselvesbemisled-therewillbenosecondAfghanistan."ButthisisnoAfghanistan.

HeretheywillpretendtobeafriendlikeAnwaral-Sadat(theformerpresidentofEgypt-Gazeta.Ru)andwaitforyoutoturn
yourback...

[Galimova]Inyouropinion,doestheRussianleadershiphaveanunderstandingoftheconditionsunderwhichwecouldendthe
operationinSyria?Putinsaiditwilllastaslongasthegovernmenttroops'offensiveagainstthepositionsofISIL(bannedinRussia
-Gazeta.Ru).Butthatsoundstoooblique.

[Pavlovskiy]Wehaveenteredasituationwithoutanalysinghowwewillgetout.Whatarewecountingon?Ontheworldbeingina
chaoticstateandontwoorthreeeventsunexpectedlychangingthemilitaryandpoliticalsituation.Whatevents-wedonotknow,
butwhodoesknow?LikethestoryoftherefugeesinEurope,whichhasoverturnedtheEuropeanagenda,creatingforusaSyrian
corridorofintervention.In2016therewillprobablybeacoupleofwindowsofthatkindthroughwhichwemayjump(outofSyria
Gazeta.Ru).Butwedonotknowwhetherwewanttojumpout!

Butyoushouldnotseethisasmerestupidity.Itisaprofounddisorientationlinkedtothelossof25yearsofcomfortfromthe
benefitsofglobalization.
TheKremlinislivingwithoutsensingthecountrybeneathit.Thesituationistragic,becausewehavesleepwalkersinfrontofus.

[Galimova]AfterTurkeyshotdowntheRussianbomber,peoplestartedsaying,thatishowwarsstart:Noonewantedamilitary
confrontation,butthesituationbecameheatedandithappened.AttherecentmeetingoftheNATOcountries'foreignministers,the
diplomatsadmittedthattheydidnotruleoutmirror-imagemeasuresfromMoscowwithrespecttoAnkara,buttheyhadno
preciseunderstandingofhowPutinwouldreact.Fortunately,thereactioninresponsewasnotofamilitarynature.Butthequestion
remains:IsadirectclashpossiblebetweenRussiaandacountrythatisamemberofthealliance?

[Pavlovskiy]ThefactthattheNATOcountriesdonotunderstandhowPutinwillreactisnotanadvantageforus,butanadditional
risk.Whenyoudonotknowwhatthreatstoexpectfromyourformerpartnerwhohassuddenlydecidedtobecomeyour
adversary,thenormalreflexthatarisesistoplayitsafe.

Take2014.TheinteractionbetweenRussiaandtheWestcanbedescribedasasuccessionofsituationsinvolvingtheexchangeof
blows.TheWesthurriedlymakesthefirstdecisionsthatcometohand,afterall,somethinghadtobedecided:Crimeahadbeen
taken,wouldOdesa[Odessa]betakentomorrow?AndfromOstankinotheywereshouting:"Yes,wewilltakeit!Wewilltake
OdesaandKyiv[Kiev]andwewillgettoLviv!"WhatwastheWestsupposedtothink?Thedegreeofescalationwasclimbing
andatacertainmomentsomeonemighthavelosttheirnerve.

Themostseriousepicfailforourpseudo-bellicositywasthatwehadnoideaoffightingtovictory.WhenBushwentintothe
MiddleEast,hehadtheideaofbuilding"ademocraticGreaterMiddleEast."Helostawholepileofmoney,heplungedtheregion
intoturmoilandbloodandachievednothing.Butheneverthelesshadavictoryplanandhehadhis15minutesofglory:Baghdad
wastaken.

Wearewagingawarwithoutanidea,withoutanultimategoal,andwithoutachanceofwinning.AndwhatmightvictoryinSyria
looklike?

Al-Asadwilltakecontrolofthecountry'sentireterritoryasKadyrovseniordidwithChechnya?Thatisunrealistic.Hewillcarve
offSyria'sAlawitechunkandreignthere?Inthatcasehewillbeoverthrownand"eatenup"rightthereinthepalace.

[Galimova]Butathirdscenarioispossible-Al-Asadhandingoverpowertoanothercandidateacceptablealsotous.

[Pavlovskiy]ThepeoplewhodonotknowhowtosolvetheproblemofsupplyingMoscowwithtomatoeswillknowhowto
structureasystemfor
managingSyria?AndwillovercomeTurkeyatthesametime?Don'tmakemelaugh.

"Someoneelsecouldfillthestatevacuum"

[Galimova]Youtalkalotaboutthesystem'sshortcomingsandweaknesses.Wheredoesitsstrengthlie?

[Pavlovskiy]Thesystemissplendid.Ithasskilfullydodgedthethreats.Onseveraloccasionsalreadywehaveavoideddefeat
withoutresolvingthequestionofbuildingthestate.

Theveryfactthatwestillexisttodayinthiscurrentstatelessformisalreadyagreatsuccess.Unlessyoutakealookaheadto
2016,ofcourse.

[Galimova]Whyisthesystemmanagingtododgeaway?Isthisluck,goodfortune?

[Pavlovskiy]Notatall.Itisahighdegreeofmobilityand"agility."TheshortcomingsandmeritsoftheRussianFederationSystem
lieinoneandthesamething-itisnotastate.Ifthepresentteamweretostarthonestlysettingupstableandlawfulinstitutions,the
resultwouldbeaweakstatewithamediocreeconomy.Butwearenotbuildinginstitutions,weconqueredGeorgia.Wecanalso
occupytheArcticaslongastheicedoesnotmelt.WhenBushJuniorwasteachingtheKremlingeopoliticshelikedtosay:"You
studythefacts-wemakethem!"NowbyannexingCrimea,wetoohavecreatedourownfacts.ButpleasenotethattheKremlin
haslessideathananyonewhattodowiththem.

TheRussianFederationsystemisunique.Tobehonest,Icannotfindanycloseanalogies.

Asacountrywedonotbelieveinanything,butweareableartificiallytocreateasituationofbeliefinourselves.Wedonotbelieve
inprinciplesorinlong-termcoalitionsbasedonideologyorfriendshipandwearenottryingtocreatethem.TheRussian
Federationaroseinaperiodwhenithadnoalliesleftintheprecisesenseoftheword,eventheformerUSSRrepublicswantedto
cutloose.Andthesystemlearnedtosurvivealoneattheexpenseoftherestoftheworldbyanoriginalmethod.

[Galimova]InyourbookyoutalkamongotherthingsaboutthePutinmajority,believingthat"onedayitwillbecomeapocalyptic
forRussia":"Ithasalreadyproventhatforthesakeofpreservingitspositionandemotionalwell-beingitispreparedtocarryout
anyactsoftyrannyinsideandoutsidethecountry.Anduponhearingthecallofamorepowerfulextreme,itrespondstoiteagerly."
WheredoyouseethePutinmajority'sapocalypticrole?

[Pavlovskiy]Itisallsimple:Thereisthepopulationlivingonamodestannuityfromtheregimeintheabsenceofapoliticalnation,
policy,orstate.Butthisisa"Praetorianmajority."Ithasgrownaccustomedtothemagicatmosphereofextremalityandmiracles-
miraclessimultaneouslydangerousandprofitable.Wehavean"almostwar,"butatthesametimeeveryoneknowsthatinactual
factthereisnowar,yetitisbreathtaking.Escalationafterescalation.Todaytheaudiencehasbeenwarmedup,butwhereisthe
soloist?

TheKremlinteamnolongerofferstheattractivelyprofitablepolicyitpromised.Ithasturnedoutthattheconcerthasbeen
postponedbutwehavetopaytwiceoverforourseats.

Astatevacuumhasarisenwhichsomeoneelsecouldfill.WithaslightlymoreprofitableproposalforthePraetorianmass.

[Galimova]Someonetrulyradical?

[Pavlovskiy]Wehavelotsofradicalswhotalkthetalk.Theproblemisnotradicalismbutthefactthatthroughitsmilitary
escalationstheregimeiscreatingademandtowhichitwillbeunabletorespond.Thesituationwasmoreorlessthesamein1917.
TheprovisionalgovernmentappropriatedforitselftheprerogativesoftheoverthrownmonarchandtheStateDuma.

AndKerenskiy'sjabberingabouthowRussiahadrisenfromitskneesandwouldbeanexampletothewholeworldfuelledan
appetiteforsomethingofindeterminategrandeur.LeninandTrotskiyquietlycameinviathisbackdoor.

[Galimova]Butin1917thesituationinRussiawascompletelydifferent.

[Pavlovskiy]Iamnotcomparingpeople.Iamsayingthatinpoliticsanyonewhobuildsupexpectationsofmiraclesbeyondhis
powerstodeliverispreparinganinvitationforsomeoneelse.Theregimeisrushingtobringthefuturecloserbutisnotthinking
aboutitandhasbannedpoliticiansfromtalkingaboutit.Meanwhileresourcesarerunningoutandthefutureisevercloserandever
morepainful.

Isee2016asa"terminal"year-themomentoftruthforthismodelfortreatingthestate.

[Galimova]Why2016inparticular?

[Pavlovskiy]IncantationsaboutagreatRussiawithdwindlingresourcesandanobviousinabilitytomanagewhatisleftare
acceleratingthecrisis.Everythingiscavingin,thereislessmoney,yettheCentralBankchairmanisadvisingusnottolookat
currencyexchangeratesandatthehabitsofthemiddleclasses.Ithinksomekindoftransformationisinevitableinthecountry-of
course,itistobedesiredthatitwillnotbeadestructiveone-butbeforethatyoucanexpectyetanotherescalation.And
accordingtothelawsofRussianescalations,thenextoneshouldbebroaderandmoreriskythanthepastones.

[Galimova]If2016isthefinaletothepresentbehaviouralmodel,whatwillcomenext?

[Pavlovskiy]Afinaleisnotadisaster.Thefantasymachineiscomingtoahaltanditisclearthatithasnothingmoretoplaywith:
Nomoney,nomobility,nosupportersorcompetentcadres.Butwhenresourcescollapse,adecisionhastobemaderapidly,you
havetomakenot"geopolitical"decisionsbutrealones.Whenitbecomesclearthatthereisnostateandthecommandcontrol
centrehas"goneforaKlinskoye"[referencetocommercialforKlinskoyebeer]peoplewillstartdoingsomething.

[Galimova]IsitpossiblethatthesituationwillchangeinpartthroughtheelectionstotheStateDumawhichwillinfacttakeplacein
2016?
[Pavlovskiy]Anyrealagendafor2016willrequireanauditofthecountryandofavailableresources.Whatdowestillhave?Who
isstilldoinghisjobratherthansafeguardinghisdacha?Whathastoberevokedimmediately?

Forinstance,aconsiderableproportionofthecurrentDuma'soutputcanbecategorizedasuseless.Thisisthemostingloriousof
allDumasoverthepast100years.

ItwouldbegoodifaconsensusweretoforminsocietyaroundtheideathatthedeputiesofthisDumashouldnotenterthenext
Dumaanyofthem.Thentheelectionsmightstillacquirestatevalue.Butinanyeventtheelectionswillbedifferentfromtheway
oursagesareplanningthem.Andwhatexactlytheywillbelikeisaquestionforthosewhogotoplayonthisfieldandhowhavea
stakethere.Ihavenostakeinit.

From: RobertOtto<acrotto@us-state.osis.gov>
Senttime: 10/16/201509:14:41AM
To: robertotto25@gmail.com
Subject: God'sTV

October16,201510:40am

GodsTV,Russianstyle
CourtneyWeaver

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OnasunnyafternooninMoscow,theRussiantycoonKonstantinMalofeevisholdingcourtinthestudiosofhisnewlylaunched
televisionchannelTsargradTV,dressedinadesignersuit,abluesilkhandkerchiefpeekingfromhisbreastpocket.Abovehimisa
makeshiftcathedralcupolaweighinginathalfatonne.Behindhimare24ft-highwindowsthroughwhichtheKremlinsredtowers
arevisible,theirglasscommuniststarsglistening.
Malofeev,whohasthecheeksandfigureofamanwholikesagoodmeal,isinabuoyantmood.Inasignofhisgrowingclout,he
hasjusthadlunchwithtwooftherichestoligarchsontheForbeslist.YelenaMizulina,aleadingconservativesenator,whohas
cometoTsargradsoffices,ispatientlywaitingforthebusinessmantofitinatte--ttebeforehedepartsonhissummerholiday.
Overthepastfewyears,Malofeev,41,hasmorphedintooneofRussiasmostinfluentialbusinessmenandlobbyists,inpartthanks
tohisdevoutRussianOrthodoxfaithandconservativevalues,nowbackinvogueduringVladimirPutinsthirdterm.Asthe
founderofprivateequityfirmMarshallCapitalPartners,Malofeevaccumulatedsubstantialpersonalwealth,largelythroughan
investmentintheRussiantelecomsgiantRostelecom.(HisfriendIgorShchegolev,afellowRussianOrthodoxandnowPutin
adviser,wastelecomsministeratthetime.)Nowheispayingitbackasaself-styledChristianphilanthropistandoneofPutins
loudestideologicalsupporters.

PetrAntonov
InsideTsargradTVsstudios,dominatedbyacathedralcupola

ItisaspartofthisnextactthatMalofeevhaslaunchedTsargradTV,hisownRussianOrthodoxTVchannel,whichaimstoputa
conservativeyetmodernspinonglobalnews.InJune,TsargradbeganbroadcastingdailyonSpas,areligiouschannelrunbythe
RussianOrthodoxChurch,inadditiontoanonlineplatform.AccordingtoMalofeev,Tsargradsclosestinternationalequivalentis
FoxNewsintheUS,makinghimsomethingofaRussianRogerAiles.
WhenFoxNewsenteredtheAmericanmarketinaround1996to1997,theywereverydifferentfromCNNandABC.Fox
talkedaboutthingsthatpeoplewoulddiscussamongthemselvesintheirkitchensbutwhichotherchannelsweretooscaredtosay,
ordidntwanttosayonair,Malofeevsaysexcitedly.InmanywaysTsargradissimilartowhatFoxNewshasdone.Westarted
fromtheideathattherearemanypeoplewhoadheretotraditionalvaluesandtheyabsolutelyneedavoice.
ThenodtoFoxisnotaccidental.TogetTsargradTVupandrunning,MalofeevhiredJackHanick,oneofFoxNewssfounding
producers,whomhemetwhentheywerebothspeakersataMoscowconferenceonmoralityinthemedia.Theyputusallinthe
roomandIthought,anotherspeaker,great,Hanicksays.Heseemedlikeaveryhumbleguy.Ihadnoideahehadalotofpower
orpoliticalpull.Imstillnotsurewhathehas.

PetrAntonov

KonstantinMalofeev

BornintheMoscowsuburbsin1974,Malofeevstudiedtobealawyerbutswitchedtoinvestmentbankingascapitalismtookhold
towardstheendofthe1990s.By2005,attheageof31,hehadfoundedhisprivateequityfirmMarshallCapitalPartners.Itwas
atuniversitythathesayshefoundGod,andthroughouthisbusinesscareerhehascultivatedanimageofamanoftheRussian
OrthodoxChurch.
ConnectingMalofeevtoleadingRussianandwesternconservativesislikeplayingafar-right,OrthodoxversionofSixDegreesof
KevinBacon.InKremlincircles,thetycoonmingleswithShchegolevandVladimirYakunin,theformerchiefofRussiasstate
railwayscompany.Inthewest,hehasbeenlinkedwithFrancesMarineLePenandisacquaintedwithUSpresidentialcandidate
RandPaul.PanosKammenos,theformerGreekdefenceminister,hasbeenaguestathiscountryestate.
MalofeevgainedfurthernotorietyduringtheUkraineconflictin2014,afterheemergedasoneofthekeyfigureslinkingpro-Russia
forcesineastUkrainewiththeMoscowpoliticalestablishment.Oneofhisformeremployees,AlexanderBorodai,wasatone
pointtheself-declaredDonetskPeoplesRepublicprimeministeranother,IgorGirkin,brieflyservedasthepro-Russianrebels
chiefmilitarycommander.TheconnectionslandedMalofeevunderEUandUSsanctionslastyear.Ukrainesinteriorministryhas
accusedhimoffinancingillegalarmedgroupsandbrandedhimasponsorofterrorists.
Malofeevhasdeniedtheallegations,whichhaveplayedwellforhimdomestically.AccordingtoSergeiMarkov,awell-connected
pro-Kremlinanalyst,theclaimshaveactuallyboostedhisstandingasasuccessfullobbyistandideologue:Malofeevendedupin
themiddleofallthesenewseventsaccidentallyenough,Ithink.Butwhenhedid,ofcoursehewashappyaboutit.Itmeantthatall
ofhismoneyhadntbeenspentinvain.
PetrAntonov

Producersatwork

ThenewTVchannelisthelatestexampleofMalofeevdoingwhathedoesbest:leveraginghisOrthodoxcredentialsandwealthto
catapulthimselfintothezeitgeistofRussianpolitics.WhilesomeoligarchswhotriedtogetinvolvedinTVintheearly2000swere
exiledorjailedunderPutinsnewregime,Malofeevissofarenjoyingcarteblanchewithhischannel,whichheboastsisevenmore
patrioticthantheKremlinsownstate-runTVstations.WevealwaysstucktoourOrthodox,patriotic,imperialistpositions.The
mainstreamhasnt.
Tsargardsprimarygoal,Malofeevinsists,isaproselytisingone.Therearealotofpeoplewhowearcrosses,identifyas
Christiansbutatthesametimedontgotochurch,orgotochurchjustonceayearforEaster.Ourjobistoreachouttothese
peopleandpavethewaytothecathedralforthem.
Atthesametime,thechannelhasadoptedaclearanti-westerngeopoliticalstanceonthenewsthatcanmakeRussianstateTV
looktamebycomparison.Inasegmentaboutmigrantsthissummer,oneofthechannelscorrespondentssuggestedthatEuropes
refugeecrisishadbeenthedeliberateworkofeitherGeorgeSorosortheRothschildfamily.TheRothschildsarecalledthe
mastersofmoney,theanchortoldtheaudiencecalmly.Theirresourceismoneyandtheirgoalisworlddomination.
Inanothersegment,thetopicofRussianinterestrateswasusedasalaunchpadfordiscussingthequestionablemoralsofUS
monetarypolicy.AnewsitemaboutPlannedParenthoodturnedintoacautionaryexposonAmericanSatanistswhoopenly
supportedthekillingofchildren.

PetrAntonov

EditorialdirectorAlexanderDugin

ThemastermindbehindTsargradseditorialideologyisAlexanderDugin,arightwingideologuewho,since1997,hascalledfor
RussiatorebuildaEurasianempire,constructedonthefundamentalprincipleofthecommonenemyprimarilytheUSandits
exportedidealofliberalism.ADostoyevskianfigurewithpiercingeyesandalong,greyingbeard,DuginsaysthatmanyRussians
areturningtoconservatismafterbeingdisillusionedwiththeliberalismpromotedbyBorisYeltsininthe1990s.
Liberalismhasbeenstronglydiscreditedbythewestspolitics,Duginsays.Tsargrad,heclaims,reflectstheopinionofthissilent
majority.OurgoalistotakepatrioticdiscourseoutoftheghettoitwaskeptinduringSovietandliberaltimes...Whenpeople
arentoftengivenachancetospeak,theyforgethowtotalksotheygruntormakefaces.Itsveryimportanttogivethesepeoplea
language.
OneofthemaindemographicstoidentifywiththisswingtowardsconservatismisyoungerRussians,Duginsays.Oneofthemis
AndreiAfanasiev,a26-year-oldTsargradnewsanchor.ThoughheusedtoworkfortheEnglish-languagechannelRussiaToday,
speaksfluentEnglishandhastravelledwidely,AfanasievsayshisexperienceofstudyingabroadinSpainlefthimdisillusioned
aboutthewest.ThelifestyleandvaluesoftheyoungpeopleIsawtherewerentclosetomine.Itwassickhedonism:
consumerism,entertainment.Everythingwasveryvulgar.
WithTsargrad,AfanasievsayshehasfoundawholenewgroupofpeoplewhosharehisOrthodoxbeliefsandconservativevalues.
Theconceptofourchannelisthatwerealllike-minded.Itsgreat!hesays.Youcanenvyme:forthepastyearasajournalist,I
havenotoncegoneagainstmyheart.

PetrAntonov

NewsanchorAndreiAfanasiev,26'Werealllike-minded.Itsgreat!'

IfirstgotaglimpseofhowTsargradsinternalideologywasshapingupduringavisittothestudio,onMoscowsmaindrag,inlate
April,beforeitsofficiallaunch.Hanick,theformerFoxNewsexecutive,wasintownandhelpingtheotherproducerspreparefor
aninterviewthateveningwithAlexeiVaits,aleaderoftheNightWolves,apro-Putinmotorbikegangthathasbecomeoneofthe
symbolsofthenewbrandofRussiannationalism.Theatmospherewaspandemonium.
WhileHanickhasthersumofanexperiencedTVproducer,helackstheRussianlanguageskills.Zhen,couldyoulightthisup?
hesaidtoanon-English-speakingemployee,gesturingupattheimageofChristhangingabovetheset.Howdoyousay,Cupola!
Lights!Pozhaluysta?heaskedsomewhatrhetorically,dousingtheRussianwordforpleasewithaheavyNewYorkaccent.
ThecupolainquestionistheworkofIvanGlazunov,aprominentRussianOrthodoxartist.Astheproducerspreparedforthe
interview,GlazunovoversawoneofhisassistantspaintingaplywoodcolumntomakeitlookmorelikeanElginmarble.Whenit
wastimetoshoot,thetwopainterswerebrusquelyshooedfromtheset.Fortheartist,thisisthecompromise,Glazunovsaid
drily.
Thestudiosconcept,asHanick,putsit,isByzantiummeetsthe21stcentury.Thespacesloftywindowsandnaturallightarenot
theeasiestfitforbroadcasttelevision.AnyonewhowantedtodoaTVstationwouldsaythatthisisanightmare,Hanicksays.
Buthenotesthatthenaturallightaddsacertaintouchofholinesstotheproduction.

PetrAntonov

Recordingthenews

HanickwasraisedCatholicbutsaysheandhiswifenowhopetobaptisetheirsonintheRussianOrthodoxChurch,soinspired
havetheybeenwiththeirexperienceatthechannel.OnoneofhisfirsttripstoRussia,Hanicksaidthathehadbeenshownaround
severalchurchesinMoscow.ItwasFebruaryandmiserablysnowingandeverychurchwaspacked,hesays.Peoplewere
standingoutsideinthesnowandlisteningonspeakers.AndIwasthinking,youdneverseethisinAmerica.
RussiahasacomplexrelationshipwiththeOrthodoxChurch.DuringtheSovietperiod,religionwasofficiallybanned,andall
churchpropertywasseized.Between1917andtheSovietUnionsfall,morethan300,000churchworkerswerekilledor
imprisonedbytheSovietsecretpoliceandsecurityservices.ButsincethefalloftheSovietUnion,Orthodoxyhasbecomenotjust
popularbutfashionable,saysGeraldineFagan,authorofBelievinginRussiaReligiousPolicyafterCommunism.Well-
heeledMuscoviteshavestartedwearingcrossesroundtheirnecks.MostrestaurantsinRussiasbigcitiesnowofferLentenmenus.
UnderPutinsthirdterm,Orthodoxyhastakenontheadditionalroleofapoliticaltool,usedtounitethemostlyChristian
populationagainstwesternliberalism,seenasthecauseofthe2012anti-governmentprotests.Inthewakeofthoseprotests,the
Kremlinpushedfora2013lawbanningso-calledgaypropagandatominors,andjailedthepunkgroupPussyRiotfora2012
protestconcertinaMoscowchurch,whilepushingamorenationalistagendaonstateTV.

PetrAntonov

ATVcamera

ThemainconcernnowfortheRussianOrthodoxChurchisthatreligious,ideological,nationalistdialoguewillreplacefaith,says
GeorgyMitrofanov,aStPetersburgpriest.ModernOrthodoxChristiansinRussiaarenotsomuchreligiouslymotivatedby
churchlifeastheyaresearchingforanewauthoritarianideologicalsystem,hewarns.
AtTsargrad,therearesignsthatthechannelsideologyisattractingabroadergroupofsupporters.YuriGrymov,aleadingRussian
producer,recentlysignedonasdirectorafterworkingatDozhd,RussiassoleoppositionTVchannelandotherDozhd
employeesarefollowingsuit.IwasaproduceronDozhdforayear-and-a-half,butwepartedwaysbecausewerealisedwe
weredifferent,Grymovsaid.Imfriendswithpeopleofdifferentconfessions,Iworkwithpeopleofdifferentconfessions.Its
justthatrecentexperiencehasshownmethatpeoplewhogotochurcharedifferentthanatheistsinawaythatsforthebetter.
ForMalofeev,thisisallgoodnewsandlargelydowntooneman.UnderPutin25,000churcheshavebeenbuilt.Canyoubelieve
it?Twenty-fivethousandchurches!Malofeevexclaims.Inaddition,800monasterieswererestored,andthisEaster1.5million
peopleinMoscowwenttochurchanewrecord.Thisisallhappeningbeforeoureyes.Putinhasbecomeahistoricalleader,the
bestthatRussiahashadin100years,sincebeforetherevolution.Wegotverylucky.
CourtneyWeaveristheFTsdeputyMoscowbureauchief
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/27125702-71ec-11e5-ad6d-f4ed76f0900a.html
From: Bob<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 06/09/201601:56:31PM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Subject: RussianNewspapersAreNowWarningReadersAboutRussianTVNetworksGlobalVoices

RussianNewspapersAreNowWarningReadersAboutRussianTVNetworks

ImageeditedbyKevinRothrock.

WhenpeoplethinkofRussiasindependentmedia,theirmindsdontoftenturntoYakutsk,thecapitaloftheSakha
Republic,located450kilometers(about300miles)southoftheArcticCircle.ButitwasanewspaperinYakutskandits
criticismofthepro-KremlinmediathatproducedoneofthisweekendsmostviralimagesontheRussianInternet.

OnMay27,aneconomicsprofessornamedTuyaraGavrilyevasharedonFacebookaphotographoftheTVlistingsin
herlocalnewspaper,YakutskVechernii(YakutskEvening).Inthephoto,abovethetelevisionprogramforthestation
NTV,thenewspaperaddedawarningtoreaders.Itsaid:

Caution!TVnewsbroadcastsoftencontaindistortedandfalseinformation.Thishappensespeciallyoftenonthe
networksNTVandRossiya.

TheFacebookpostattractedalmost1,500shares,andtheimagewasrepostedandretweetedthousandsoftimeson
Twitter.

,
http://vk.cc/5doHzb

(@oldLentach)4:42AM-29May2016

AYakutsknewspaperprintedawarningabouthownationalnetworkoftenlie.

GavrilyevatoldthenewswebsiteTJournalthatsheisntsurehowlongYakutskVecherniihasbeenwarningreadersabout
thedangersofwatchingnewschannels,butitsagoodbetthatthewarningstartedappearingsometimeafterMarch4,
2016,whenNTVairedadefamatoryinvestigativereportcalledDebtorstotheUSStateDepartment.

NTVscontroversialdocumentarytargetedseveralpopularmediaoutletsthroughoutRussiasso-calledregions,incities
farfromthecountryscenterinMoscowandSt.Petersburg.ThestationtookaimatrecipientsofloansfromtheMedia
DevelopmentLoanFund(knowntodayastheMediaDevelopmentInvestmentFund),whichhasreceivedfundingfrom
thephilanthropistGeorgeSoros,whoseOpenSocietyFoundationsandOSIAssistanceFoundationhavebeenoutlawed
inRussia.*(InNovember2015,theRussianAttorneyGeneraldeclaredtheseorganizationstobeundesirable.)NTVs
investigationaccusedYakutskVechernii,alongwithseveralothermediaoutlets,ofchangingeditorialpolicyonorders
fromtheMediaDevelopmentLoanFund(whichNTVequateswiththeUSStateDepartment,inapoorlyexplained
conspiracytheory).

Immediatelyafterthedocumentaryaired,therepresentativesoffourmediaoutlets,includingthedirectorofthepublishing
housethatmanagesYakutskVechernii,appealedtoRussiasPressCouncil,anindependentpublicboardwherejournalists
cansubmitcomplaintsandresolveinformationdisputes.OnMay12,thePressCouncilreleaseditsfindingsregarding
theNTVreport,callingthebroadcastinaccurateanddefamatory.ThePressCouncilalsopublishedalengthyreview
byamediaandcommunicationsprofessor,arguingthatNTVwentsofarastodistorttheverygenreofinvestigative
reporting.

AftertheprogramfirstairedonNTV,LeonidNikitinsky,amemberofthePresidentialCouncilforCivilSocietyand
HumanRights,wroteareviewinthenewspaperNovayaGazeta,sayingNTVreportersusedshadymeansofgathering
information,whichtheytheneditedandtookoutofcontext.NikitinskyalsotookissuewiththebasicpremiseofNTVs
show,whichimpliedthatreceivingloansfromforeigninvestorsposesdangerstomediaindependence.Accordingto
Nikitinsky,thedeclineofloansandtheriseofdirectfundingfromgovernment-controlledinstitutionshasbeendisastrous
forRussianjournalism:

Inpractice,loans(itdoesntmatterwhose)creategoodmedia,butifitsjustaRussian-stylefreelunch,thentheresult
issomesadpieceof(well,yougettheidea).Andintimesofcrisis,whenthestatesuddenlyneedstodiscussnot
altogetherpopularmeasureswithcivilsociety,itbecomesclearthatthemediaspherehasbeendestroyedby
propagandaandthesehandouts.

Earlierthismonth,RussiasCentralHouseofJournalistsnamedYakutskVecherniioneofthetoptennewspapersinthe
country.Accordingtothepapersownwebsite,ithasadistributionofroughly43,000copiesandhasbeeninbusiness
since1994.Thepublicationreceivesnostateormunicipalfundingandclaimstobecompletelyautonomous,self-
sustaining,andindependent.

*Notetoreaders:RuNetEchoisfundedbytheOpenSocietyInstitute.

SentfrommyiPad
From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Senttime: 08/23/201609:46:35AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
FW:FPIOvernightBrief:August23,2016[MaterialRelevanttoUkraine&'FrontlineStates']..FPSituationReport[MaterialRelevantto
Subject:
Ukraine&'FrontlineStates'].[VRT]NYTHEADLINE:Ukrainian-Americans,LongFondoftheG.O.P.,GreetDonaldTr...

From:WalterZaryckyj[mailto:waz2102@caa.columbia.edu]
Sent:Tuesday,August23,20167:14AM
Subject:Fwd:FPIOvernightBrief:August23,2016[MaterialRelevanttoUkraine&'FrontlineStates']..FPSituationReport[Material
RelevanttoUkraine&'FrontlineStates'].[VRT]NYTHEADLINE:Ukrainian-Americans,LongFondoftheG.O.P.,GreetDonaldTr...

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:WalterZaryckyj<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>
Date:Tue,Aug23,2016at10:10AM
Subject:FPIOvernightBrief:August23,2016[MaterialRelevanttoUkraine&'FrontlineStates']..FPSituationReport
[MaterialRelevanttoUkraine&'FrontlineStates'].[VRT]NYTHEADLINE:Ukrainian-Americans,LongFondofthe
G.O.P.,GreetDonaldTrumpWithDespair
To:RomaHadzewycz<staff@ukrweekly.com>,rl<romashka1@aol.com>

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:ForeignPolicyInitiative<info@foreignpolicyi.org>
Date:Tue,Aug23,2016at8:39AM
Subject:FPIOvernightBrief:August23,2016
To:walter<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>

FollowandSupportFPI

FPIOvernightBrief
August23,2016

TableofContents
MiddleEast/NorthAfrica,Asia,Security,Russia/Europe,Americas,Africa,Ideas,Events

Announcements TheMust-Reads
Ifyousupportourmissionandwork,pleaseconsidermaking ISISincreasinglyturnstochildsuicidebombers
atax-deductibledonationtoFPItoday.
FPIsKahn:Russia,Iranescalatemilitaryties
BesuretoencourageyourcolleaguestosignupfortheFPI
BretStephens:Thenewdictatorsclub
OvernightBrief.
UNofficialcallscrisisinAleppotheapexofhorror
ISWispublishingregularupdatesonthesituationinIraqand
Syria,andAEI'sCriticalThreatsProjectisdoingsofor Insidethebrutal,bureaucraticworldofISISinLibya
theYemenconflict.
Obamaconfrontsnewpoliticaldynamicsontrade

Miller,Payne:Thedangersofnuclearno-first-use

WaPo:BidenneedstogiveErdogansometoughadvice

IranexpandingterrornetworkinLatinAmerica

MiddleEast/NorthAfrica
Iran

TheWhiteHouseandStateDepartmentgaveconflictingexplanationsMondayfortheadministrationsalleged$400millionransompaymentto
Iran,withPresidentObamasspokesmanstillinsistingthemoneywaspartofanoldarmsdealandaspokesmanatFoggyBottomconcedingagain
thatitwasleveragetogainthereleaseoffourAmericanhostages.WashingtonTimes

Sen.RoyBluntwantsSecretaryofStateJohnKerrytoprovide"adetailedaccounting"ofthe$400millioncashpaymenttoIranthatwaslinkedto
thereleaseofAmericanhostagesheldthere.WashingtonExaminer

TheStateDepartmentwarnedMondaythatAmericanstravelingtoIranrunariskofbeingarrestedanddetained,inanoticethatupdateditsprior
warningaboutIrantravelfrommid-March.WashingtonExaminer

FPISeniorPolicyAnalystTzviKahnwrites:RussiasrecentuseofanIranianairbasetobombtargetsinSyriareflectsaburgeoningstrategic
partnershiprootedinsharedregionalobjectives.ThoughTehranterminatedthearrangementtodaylikelyduetodomesticperceptionsthatit
renderedtheIslamistregimeasubordinateofMoscow,theepisodedemonstratesthatbothcountries,workingintandem,seektoundermineU.S.
interestsandleadershipintheregion.WashingtoncannolongerregardeithergovernmentaspartnerstodefeattheIslamicState.ForeignPolicy
Initiative

LeeSmithwrites:If,asRosett'sstorysuggests,the13paymentstheJudgmentFundsenttotheStateDepartmentrepresentsthe$1.3billionin
interest,theadministrationhassomequestionstoanswer.Wastheinterestpaidincashlikethe$400million,orbywire?Ifthelatter,whywasthe
$400millionpaidincash?TheWeeklyStandardBlog

Syria

IranonMondayannulledpermissionforRussianplanestoflybombingrunsintoSyriafromanIranianbase,onlyaweekafterhavinggranted
suchextraordinaryaccess,sayingthattheKremlinhadbeenunacceptablypublicandarrogantabouttheprivilege.NewYorkTimes

TurkeyshelledIslamicState-heldterritoryacrosstheborderinSyriaonTuesday,keepinguparetaliationcampaignforaweekendbombingthat
rippedthroughaweddingcelebrationandkilled54people.WallStreetJournal(subscriptionrequired)

Foryears,theSyriangovernmentandU.S.-backedKurdishforcessharedcontrolofHasakah,acityinSyriasnortheast.Butlastweek,the
KurdishmilitiaknownasthePeoplesProtectionUnits,orYPG,launchedanassaultongovernment-controlledareasofthecity,activistssaid
markingariftbetweenonetimealliesandfurtherblurringthelinesbetweenthewarringsidesinSyriasbloodyinternecinecivilwar.LosAngeles
Times

ThetopaidofficialattheUnitedNationsgaveagloomyassessmentoftheSyriareliefeffortonMonday,sayingnoconvoydeliverieshadbeen
madetobesiegedareasthismonthandthatthesufferinginAleppo,onceSyriascommercialepicenter,wastheapexofhorror.NewYorkTimes

AfteryearsoftacitlyallowingthecreationofanautonomousKurdishregioninnorthernSyria,PresidentBasharal-Assadsregimeistreatingthe
ethnicminoritysgrowingpowerasathreat.WallStreetJournal(subscriptionrequired)

IransparliamentspeakerAliLarijanisaysRussianwarplanesarestillusinganIranianmilitarybasetostriketargetsinSyria.RadioFree
Europe/RadioLiberty

TheUSandRussiahaveyettofinalizeanagreementoncoordinatedeffortsinSyria,withPentagonspokesmanPeterCookwarningMondaythat
theclockisrunningonthewindowforthoseconversations.DefenseNews

U.S.SecretaryofStateJohnKerrysaidtalksbetweentheUnitedStatesandRussiaonmilitarycooperationinthefightagainsttheIslamicState
terroristgroupinSyriaarenearinganend.RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

TheU.S.militaryveeredtowarddeclarationofano-flyzoneinSyriaMonday,butstoppedshortofusingthecontroversialtermthatwouldsetthe
stageforadirectconfrontationwiththeSyrianairforce.MilitaryTimes

TheUnitedNationsisreadytodeliveraidintoSyria'sAleppo,butneedscommitmentsfromallpartiesinthewar-notjustRussia-toabidebya
48-hourhumanitariantruce,theU.N.aidchief,angeredbylackofassistancetocivilians,saidonMonday.-Reuters

Turkey

BloodstainsandbrokenbodiesleftafterTurkeysdeadliestbombingthisyearcruellyunderscorethecomplexrivalriesswirlingamongtheTurkish
government,theSunnimilitantsofIslamicStateandmembersofTurkeyslargestethnicminority,theKurds.LosAngelesTimes

AnoddthinghashappenedinTurkey.Usuallydeeplypolarized,thetwosidesarelargelyunitedintheiroppositiontomilitarycoupsandthe
movementofFethullahGulen,aMuslimclericwholivesinself-exileinPennsylvaniaandhasbeenaccusedbyTurkeyoforchestratingthefailed
uprising.NewYorkTimes

ThelandmarkagreementthathaltedatorrentofmigrantsflowingfromTurkeyintoEuropeisnearingcollapseinthewakeofthefailedTurkish
coupandthesubsequentnationwidecrackdown.WashingtonPost

TurkeyvowedMondaytofightIslamicStatemilitantsathomeandto"cleanse"thegroupfromitsbordersafteraweekendsuicidebombingata
Kurdishwedding,anattackthatcameamidrecentgainsbySyrianKurdishmilitiaforcesagainsttheextremistsinneighboringSyria.Associated
Press

Withsuspicionsonbothsidesmounting,theUnitedStatesisstrugglingtopreserveitswobblypartnershipwithTurkeyasitentertainsacloser
relationshipwithRussiaandfumesoveraU.S.-basedclericitblamesfororchestratinglastmonth'sfailedcoupattempt.AssociatedPress

Turkishauthoritiessuspended95Istanbulpoliceofficers,includingpolicechiefs,onMonday,broadcasterCNNTurkreported,thelateststepsina
sweepingcrackdowntotargetsecurityforcesfollowingafailedcouplastmonth.-Reuters

TurkeyiswithdrawingitsambassadortoAustria,theTurkishforeignministersaidMonday,amidagrowingdiplomaticspat.AssociatedPress

Editorial:Mr.BidenoughttocandidlytellhishostthattheUnitedStatesdidnotinstigatethecoupandthatitwillnotrelinquishMr.Gulentoa
witchhunt.Mr.Erdoganmaynotwanttohearit,buthealsoshouldberemindedthatcrushingtheruleoflawwilldimTurkeysprospects.Mr.
Erdoganmaybaskinthecrowdstoday,butusingthecoupasapretexttopurgethemedia,academiaandotherspheresofindependentvoiceswill
notstrengthenthenationinthelongrun.WashingtonPost

ReturntoTop

Asia
EastAsia

AstheChineseeconomyslows,theregimeisrampingupanassaultondissidentsandothersitbrandsastroublemakers.Callittherepression
index.Oneofthebestindicatorsofthecountryseconomicdirectionisnowapoliticalone.WallStreetJournal(subscriptionrequired)

AsiafacesaredrawingofthegeopoliticalorderifDonaldTrumpbecomesUSpresidentaprospectthatalarmsWashingtonsallieswhile
handingagifttoChina,itsprincipalrival.FinancialTimes

Interview:AstheintersectionofAsia-Pacificcountriesmaritimeinterestsbecomesincreasinglycomplex,theregionalmaritimecommonshavein
turnbecomeasalientfactorinthestrategiccalculusofU.S.interests.HowtheUnitedStatesinteractswithvestedplayersandrespondsto
contingencieswillhaveimplicationsforthefutureoftheregionalsecurityarchitectureandshapethecontentofinternationalnormsintheyearsto
come.Againstthiscriticalbackdrop,NBRinterviewedAdmiralJonathanGreenert(ret.),formerU.S.chiefofnavaloperationsandthecurrent
holderofNBRsJohnM.ShalikashviliChairinNationalSecurityStudies.NationalBureauofAsianResearch

KoreanPeninsula

SouthKoreaandtheUnitedStatesbeganannualmilitarydrillsMondaydespiteNorthKorea'sthreatofnuclearstrikesinresponsetotheexercises
thatitcallsaninvasionrehearsal.AssociatedPress

NorthKoreahaslaidlandminesintheDemilitarizedZone(DMZ)betweenthetwoKoreas,theSouth'sYonhapnewsagencyreportedonTuesday,
astensionroseonthedividedpeninsulaafterthestartofannualU.S.-SouthKoreanmilitaryexercises.-Reuters

BruceKlingerwrites:WashingtonmustsharpenthechoiceforNorthKoreabyraisingtheriskandcostforitsactionsaswellasforthoseofits
enablersparticularlyBeijingwhohavewillinglyfacilitatedtheregimesprohibitedprogramsandillicitactivitiesandcondoneditshuman
rightsviolations.WashingtonTimes

SoutheastAsia

AmidrisingtensionswiththeObamaadministrationanditsneighborsacrossEastAsia,ChinawillholdaweekofnavaldrillswithRussiainthe
SouthChinaSeanextmonth,thetwocountriessaidMonday.WashingtonTimes

PhilipBowringwrites:InachallengetoChinasclaimtoalmosttheentireso-calledSouthChinaSea,Indonesiaannouncedlastweekthatitwill
designatethewatersoffitsnortherncoast,aroundtheNatunaandAnambasislands,astheNatunaSea.Thisismorethanjustpetty
nationalism.ItsahelpfulmarkerthatthetermSouthChinaSeaisarecentinventionwithnobasisinhistory.WallStreetJournal(subscription
required)

ReturntoTop

Security
Defense

NavalAirForcesCommanderViceAdm.MikeShoemakerisstillatalosstoexplainhowtheNavysufferedthreeClassAmishapsandthreelost
aircraftinaneight-dayperiodinMayandJuneofthisyear.But,headded,it'sjustashardtoexplainhowthefleetwentthepreviouseightmonths
withjustonemishap.Military.com

TheF-35IntegratedTestForceatEdwardsAirForceBase,California,completed25weaponstestmissionsoverthecourseofamonth,JPO
officialsannouncedtoday.Thesemissionsincluded12weaponsdeliveryaccuracytestsand13weaponsseparationtestsonatleastfivedifferent
weaponssystems,officialssaid.DODBuzz

TheNavyisdevelopinglighter-weightanti-submarinetechnologydesignedtobetterenableitsLittoralCombatShiptotrack,locateanddestroy
enemysubmarinesallwhilerecognizingpotentialrivalsRussiaandChinacontinuetorapidlydevelopnewsubmarineweaponsand
technologies.ScoutWarrior

NuclearWeapons

KeithPayneandFranklinMillerwrite:ThespectrumofmilitarythreatstotheUnitedStatesandourallieshasexpandedconsiderablyasRussia
andChinahavepursuedmilitarybuildupsandaggressivepoliciesinEuropeandAsiarespectively.USadoptionofano-first-usepolicynow
wouldonlyreflectwillfulUSdetachmentfromtheseglobalrealities,andwouldbeperceivedassuchbyfriendsandfoesalike.BulletinofAtomic
Scientists

Intelligence

TheonlineleakofdatapilferedfromtheNationalSecurityAgencymorelikelycamefromanagencyinsiderthanfromhackerslinkedtoRussia,
accordingtoanexpertontheintelligencecommunity.WashingtonExaminer

ReturntoTop

Russia/Europe
WesternEurope

GOPpresidentialnomineeDonaldTrumpcallsitanunmitigateddisasterforGermany,butGermansthemselvesaremoreevenlydividedover
ChancellorAngelaMerkelsopen-doorpolicyformigrantsseekingtoenterthecountryfromSyria,Afghanistanandotherworldcrisisspots.
WashingtonTimes

Innearlyeveryterroristepisodehere[inFrance],ordinaryindividualsriskedtheirownsafetytotrytohalttheattackortolendahandtothe
woundedratherthanrunningaway.Someoftheselocalheroesarerecognizedrightaway,thoughothersneverreceiverecognitionandsome
receiveitonlybelatedly.NewYorkTimes

NicolasSarkozyannouncedhiscandidacyforthe2017FrenchpresidentialelectionsMonday,fouryearsafterhepledgedtoretirefrompolitics
whenhewasdefeatedbySocialistFranoisHollande.WallStreetJournal(subscriptionrequired)

EasternEurope

IntheshadowofMoscowsaggressioninCrimeaandeasternUkraine,thelargelysymbolicEstonianpresidencyhasgainedweightpartlythanks
toincumbentToomasHendrikIlvesstrongargumentsfortheEuropeanUnionandNATOtostandbyEstoniaanditsBalticneighbors.-Politico

AnnaNemtsovawrites:Inbothcountries,coverageofthepoliticalchaosintheUnitedStatesthenorthstarofpoliticsforbothanti-American
andpro-AmericanfiguresinthispartoftheworldisstirringpublicdiscontentanddoubtaboutthefutureinUkraine,andasenseofconfidence,
evenarrogance,inRussia.-Politico

EuropeanUnion

LeadersfromFrance,GermanyandItalyproposedMondaytostepupcooperationinareassuchasintelligencesharingandborderdefense,
withoutgivinganysignthattheywillgrowclosereconomicallyinresponsetoBritishvotersrecentdecisiontoleavetheEU.WallStreetJournal
(subscriptionrequired)

Germany,FranceandItalywillbethethreemostimportantnationsleftintheEuropeanUnionafterBritainsstunningdecisioninJunetoleavethe
bloc.YetallaresubstantiallyweakenedbynaggingdomesticproblemsatacriticalmomentwhenEuropeneedsanewdirection.NewYorkTimes

TheleadersofGermany,FranceandItalydeclaredtheywouldnotallowBritainsdeparturefromtheEUtopropeltheblocintoreverseasthey
discussedplanstodeepenintelligenceco-operationandbolsterapan-Europeaninvestmentplan.FinancialTimes

ReturntoTop

Americas
UnitedStatesofAmerica

HannahThoburnwrites:Trumphasalreadyprovenhimselftobeanegothatiseasilymanipulated,hasbeenopentotheideaofrecognizing
Russias2014annexationofCrimea,andisopenlylaudatoryofPutinsrule.TheKremlinpreferstheuncertaintyofaTrumppresidencytoaClinton
leadershipthathasbeenvocalaboutitsdesiretoholdthemtoaccountfortheirvariousinvasionsandhumanrightsviolations.Itdoesntlooklike
theyregoingtogetit.TheCipherBrief

LatinAmerica

IranissolidifyingitsfootholdinLatinAmerica,sparkingconcernsamongU.S.officialsthattheIslamicRepublicwillenlisttheseregionalalliesin
itspushtolaunchterrorattacksonU.S.soil,accordingtoconversationswithcongressionalsources.WashingtonFreeBeacon

IthasnotbeenthatlongsinceColombiasbloodyhistoryhasledtoitsownexodus.ButthathasreversedasColombianearsapossiblepeace
agreementandVenezuelasinksdeeperintodespairwiththeunpopularPresidentNicolsMaduroatthehelm.FinancialTimes

PresidentNicolasMadurohasseta48-hourdeadlineforministerstodismisssomepublicworkerswhorequestedarecallreferendumagainsthim,
aSocialistPartyspokesmansaidMonday.Hundredsofpublicworkershavealreadysaidtheyweredismissedforsigningapetitionfora
referendumagainsttheunpopularpresident,accordingtotestimonyseenbyReuters,humanrightsgroupsandlocalmedia.-Reuters

Kickingoffasix-daytourofLatinAmerica,IranianForeignMinisterMohammadJavadZarifsaidonMondayinHavanahisvisitwouldopena
newchapterintheIslamicRepublic'srelationswithCommunist-ruledCuba.-Reuters

LuisFleischmanwrites:Thecountriesoftheregionneedtotiltthebalancetobuildaregionthatsupportsdemocracyandostracizestyranny.The
movementisslowbutbetterthannone.WeneedmoreKuczynskisandAlmagrosinLatinAmerica.WeurgeLatinAmericanleaderstotakea
principledpositionnowandrepudiatetheMadurosandtheOrtegasoftheregion.TheAmericasReport

ReturntoTop

Ideas
BretStephenswrites:Perhapsitsineverystrongmansnaturetoseekandadmirehispoliticalreflectionwhereverhefindsit,whetheritsinaczar,
anayatollah,asultanorageneralsecretary.Thenagain,whatmainlyunitestheleadersofthenewdictatorsclubisthesharedperceptionthat
theystandtoloseverylittleinworkingagainstacountrytheydetestandapresidenttheycontemn.WallStreetJournal(subscriptionrequired)

MarkKennedywrites:ThoseleadersforwhomtheNavyhasnamedaircraftcarriersserveasexamplestobefollowed.AbrahamLincoln,Theodore
Roosevelt,DwightEisenhower,RonaldReagan,andGeorgeH.W.BushareallguidestowhomRepublicansshouldlookforinstructiononhowto
leadinawaythatattractsotherstoAmericasside.HarryTruman,JohnStennis,andCarlVinsonserveasguidestoDemocratslookingtorebuild
Americasstick.ForeignPolicysShadowGovernment

ReturntoTop

Events

HowObamaDefiedWashingtonandRedefinedAmericasRoleintheWorld
GermanMarshallFund
August23

ReturntoTop

TheFPIOvernightBriefisadailyproductoftheForeignPolicyInitiative,whichseekstopromoteanactiveU.S.foreignpolicycommittedto
robustsupportfordemocraticallies,humanrights,astrongAmericanmilitaryequippedtomeetthechallengesofthe21stcentury,and
strengtheningAmericasglobaleconomiccompetitiveness.Tosubmitcommentsorsuggestions,emailovernight@foreignpolicyi.org.

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:ForeignPolicy<fp@foreignpolicy.com>
Date:Tue,Aug23,2016at8:03AM
Subject:SituationReport:U.S.No-FlyZoneinSyria?TopGeneralSkepticalOverRussianDealKurdsinNewFight
RussianHackfailAndLotsMore
To:waz2102@columbia.edu

S i t u a t i o n R e p o r t : U . S . N o - F l y Z o n e i n S y r i a ? T o p G e n e r a l S k e p t i c a l O v e r R u s s i a n D e a l K u r d s i n N e w F i g h t R u s s i a n H a c k f a i l A n d L o t s M o r e

Ifyouhaveproblemsviewingthisemail,viewitinabrowser.Pleasefeelfreetoforwardittoafriend.

SITUATIONREPORT

TheNationalSecurityDailyBrieffromForeign
Policy

Tuesday,August23,2016 SUBSCRIBETOFP

FollowUs:

ByPaulMcLearywithAdamRawnsley

Nofly?Noway.AmericanjetsscrambledovernorthernSyriatwicelastweektochase
awaySyrianwarplaneswhichhadbombedU.S.-backedKurdishforces--coming
uncomfortablyclosetoagroupofAmericancommandosadvisingtheKurds.Afterward,
U.S.militaryleadersissuedasternwarningtoboththeSyriansandRussiansnottofly
combatoperationsinareaswhereAmericansareoperating.

Ifthatsoundslikeano-flyzone,thePentagonwouldrespectfullydisagree.Spokesman
PeterCookinsistedMondaythatwearegoingtotelltheSyriansandanyoneelsewho
maythreatenourforceinthatareathatwewilldefendthemandtheyhavearightto
defendthemselves.But"it'snotanoflyzone,"hesaid.

Inalongback-and-forthwithreportersduringaMondaypressconferenceatthe
Pentagon,Cookalsoswipedatanissuethathaslongbeenthefocusofdebate:whether
theUnitedStateswoulduseforcetoprotectU.S.-backedKurdishandSyrianArabrebels
onthegroundinSyria.Thoseforcesthataretakingthefightto[ISIS]andpartneredwith
us,willenjoythesupportoftheUnitedStates,Cooksaid,adding,we'regoingto
continuetosupport,andprotect,andprovidethatmilitarysupportforourcoalitionforces
and...ourcoalitionpartneredoperationsontheground.

DangerousnewfightfortheKurds.TheSyrianbombingrunscomeamidheavy
clashesbetweentheSyrianregimeandKurdishforces,whohavemostlykeptashaky
peaceinnorthernSyria.TheWallStreetJournalpointsoutthatthefightingcomes
amidawarmingofrelationsbetweenTurkeyandMr.AssadsalliesRussiaandIran.
TurkishPresidentRecepTayyipErdoganmetwithRussianPresidentVladimirPutinin
MoscowthismonthfollowedbyavisitbyTurkeysforeignministertoIran.Kurdish
leadersseetheregimesnewaggressiontowardtheirforcesasasignofa
rapprochementbetweenSyriaandTurkeyinaconflictwithconstantlyshiftingalliances.

OnTuesday,SyrianKurdishforcessaidthatafterdaysofintensefightingwiththeSyrian
army,theyhadgainedcontroloveralmosttheentirecityofHasakah,andthat
governmentforcesweresurroundedinafewbuildingsinthecenterofthecity.

Dealornodeal.ThetopAmericanmilitaryofficerinIraqsayshesskepticalthat
WashingtonandMoscowcanreachanyrealagreementtoshareintelonISISandNusra
frontinSyria,butthathecangetthejobdone,regardless.Lt.Gen.StephenTownsend,
whotookcommandonSunday,said"asasoldier,I'mfairlyskepticaloftheRussians,"
andheshesitant"tobelievethecoalitioncancooperatewiththem."SecretaryofState
JohnKerrysteamisleadingthetalkswithRussia,butspeakinginKenyaonMonday,
Kerrydidntsoundlikeamanwhowasabouttostrikeadeal.itismyhopethatweare
reachingtheendofthosediscussionsonewayortheother,hesaid,adding,itis
possiblethatsomethingcouldbeagreedatuponbeforetheendofthemonthbutIcan't
tellyouwhetherit'slikely.Iwouldn'texpressoptimism--Iwouldexpresshope."

Hackslack.Warismessy,andmistakesaremade.ButinRussiasinformationwar
againsttheWest,mistakesaremadeandthenpublishedforalltheworldtosee.FPs
EliasGrollflagsagoodone,writingthataftertwosupposedlyindependenthacking
groups,believedbysecurityexpertstohavetiestotheKremlin,postedthesame
documentsstolenfromaphilanthropyrunbyGeorgeSoros.Butthehackincludeda
twist:Someofthedocumentstakenbyonegroupwerealteredinabidtotryandlink
SorostoRussiananti-corruptionactivistAlexeiNavalny,revealinghowhackers
likelyworkingforMoscowareeditingdocumentstosmeartheirvictims.

China

ChinesemilitaryjetsflewintoSouthKorea'sairdefenseidentificationzone(ADIZ)just
asthetwocountries'foreignministersaresettomeet.TheKoreaTimesreportsthat
threeChineseplanesshowedupatthemarginsofthetwocountries'ADIZs,prompting
SouthKoreatoscramblefighterjetstointerceptthem.Theincidentcomesbefore
Wednesday'smeetingofforeignministersfromJapan,China,andSouthKoreafor
talksinTokyo.ThetalksarelikelytotouchondisagreementbetweenChinaandSouth
KoreaoverthedeploymentofaU.S.TerminalHighAltitudeAreaDefense(THAAD)
systemtodefendagainstNorthKoreanballisticmissiles.Chinaopposesthedeployment,
fearingthesystemcouldbeusedtotargetChinesemissiles,aswellasNorthKorean
ones.

Europe

FinlandismovingquicklytosignanagreementwiththeUnitedStatesonclosermilitary
cooperation,Reutersreports.Thedealdoesn'tinvolveNATOorcommitmentsfor
collectivedefense,butwouldincreasejointtrainingandinformation-sharing.Themove
followsincreasedanxietiesintraditionallyneutralFinlandoveranincreasingly
aggressiveRussia.Finnishofficialsaretryingtohurrytheagreementthroughinthe
waningdaysoftheObamaadministrationbeforeanewadministrationcomesin.

LithuaniahassignedadealwithGermany'sRheinmetalltoarmorupitsmilitary,
accordingtoUPI.Thedeal,worth$441million,willsupply88Boxerinfantryfighting
vehiclesequippedwith30mmcannons.Thevehiclesareexpectedtobedelivered
through2021.

RegisteratForeignPolicy.comtoreceiveSituationReportandotherFPnewsletters.

TRENDINGONFOREIGNPOLICY.COM

NeverTrump.And
NeverHillary ThePartyIsOver American
ClintonEither. inRio

LeadershipCan
SurviveTodays

byPeterFeaverWill byRiordanRoett

Inboden


Storm
byMarkR.Kennedy


Thisemailwassenttowaz2102@columbia.edubyfp@foreignpolicy.com.

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:VRT
Date:Tue,Aug23,2016at7:36AM
Subject:NYTHEADLINE:Ukrainian-Americans,LongFondoftheG.O.P.,GreetDonaldTrumpWithDespair
To:

Ukrainian-Americans,LongFondofthe
G.O.P.,GreetDonaldTrumpWithDespair
BySHERYLGAYSTOLBERGAUG.22,2016

Photo
TarasSzmagalalastweekatSt.JosaphatEparchialCemeteryinParma,Ohio.Thecemeteryhasamonument
dedicatedtoUkrainianfreedomfighterswhofoughtanddiedinWorldWarII.CreditJeffSwensenforTheNew
YorkTimes

PARMA,OhioAsaproudUkrainian-American,TarasSzmagalahasworkedfordecadestoelect
Republicans,thepartyheassociateswithfreedom.HerananethnicoutreachprogramforRichardM.
Nixons1972campaignandadvisedPresidentGeorgeBushastheSovietUnioncrumbled,when
Ukrainebecameanindependentnation.

Mr.Szmagala,83,willmarkWednesdays25thanniversaryofstatehoodataparadeandfestivalon
SaturdayinthisClevelandsuburb,wheretheblueandyellowflagofUkrainefliesalongthemain
thoroughfareinUkrainianVillage.

Butthereisapalloverthefestivities.HisnameisDonaldJ.Trump.

Ukrainian-AmericanshavefeltathomeintheRepublicanPartysinceFranklinD.RooseveltandStalin
dividedcontrolofEuropeatYalta.ButacrosstheUnitedStatesandespeciallyinswingstateOhio,
whereMr.Trumpbecamethepartysnomineetheyarewatchingthe2016presidentialracewitha
mixofconfusionandfear.

ThepartysdeadasfarasImconcerned,Mr.Szmagaladeclared.

AsifMr.TrumpsadmiringstatementsaboutPresidentVladimirV.PutinofRussiaand
hisquestionableexplanationofeventsinUkrainewerenottoughenoughtostomach,then
camenewsthatPaulManafort,untillastweekMr.Trumpscampaignmanager,wastangledupina
corruptioninquiryanddesignatedtoreceivemillionsinsecretcashpaymentsfromthepartyofapro-
Russianleaderhehadhelpedtoelect.

Allsummer,UkrainiansmanyofthemalreadywaryofHillaryClinton,theDemocraticnominee
havebeenobsessingoverAmericanpolitics.TheUkrainianWeekly,aNewJersey-basednewspaper
thathasbeencarefullytrackingthethreatofaRussianinvasionofUkraine,isawashinpolitical
commentary,includingarebukeofMr.TrumpbythecountrysambassadortotheUnitedStates.
AvoteforTrumpisavoteagainstUkraine!wroteonelongtimeRepublicanfromMorristown,N.J.,in
alettertotheeditor.

NearlyonemillionAmericansareofUkrainiandescent,clusteredaroundcitieslikeNewYork,
Philadelphia,Chicago,DetroitandCleveland,wheretheUkrainianMuseum-Archives,arichrepository
offolkart,periodicalsandimmigrationdocuments,chroniclesthehistoryofapeoplewhohavefelt
oppressedbyRussiafor350years.Currentlyondisplay:PoliticsandUkrainian-Americans,an
exhibitincludingaphotographofayoungMr.SzmagalawithNixon.

Mr.Szmagala,standingnexttoRichardM.Nixon,rananethnicoutreachprogramforNixons1972
campaign.CreditJeffSwensenforTheNewYorkTimes

Thereare,ofcourse,loyalDemocratsherethemuseumsresidentscholar,AndrewFedynsky,once
chiefofstafftoaDemocraticcongresswoman,isone.ButmanyUkrainian-Americansaredeeply
skepticalofPresidentObamaandMrs.Clinton,whomtheyregardasnotaggressiveenoughin
protectingUkraineagainstanincursionfromRussia.

SotheabsenceofafriendlyRepublicanisgeneratingaparticulardespair.

Itsveryconfusing,saidEugeneLuciw,aPhiladelphialawyerwhoisactiveinUkrainianaffairsthere.
ItsbeendifficulttowrapyourhandsaroundMr.Trump.

Mr.ManafortsabruptdeparturedoesnotchangethatmanyUkrainianswanttoknowwhyhewas
hiredinthefirstplace.Still,saidAndriyFutey,theexecutivevicepresidentoftheUkrainianCongress
CommitteeofAmericawhoisinKiev,Ukrainescapital,fortheanniversarycelebrationandtomeet
withgovernmentleaderstherewasasighofrelieftherewhenMr.Manafortquit.

HereinParma,ClevelandscenterofUkrainianculturalandreligiouslife,theangstcoupledwith
whatmanycallabittersweetcelebrationofanationwhoseindependencefeelsthreatenedisclear.

AtSt.VladimirUkrainianOrthodoxCathedral,whereagranitemonumenttovictimsoftheman-
madefamine,whichtheUkrainiangovernmentrecognizesasagenocide,standsinagarden,asmall
groupofparishionersgatheredlastweekasablack-robedpastorservedtheMoleben,aprayerforthe
healthandwell-beingofthesick.

GeneBoyko,75,whosegrandfatherwasbanishedtoSiberiabyStalin,wasamongthemheandhis
parentsescapedduringWorldWarIIandarrivedinNewYorkwhenhewas10.
Whenwegothere,evenasa10-year-old,Iwantedtokisstheground,hesaid.Hehaslongvoted
Republican,butiswaitingforthedebatestomakeuphismindaboutMr.Trump.

OksanaZavhorodnyuk,44,sellspirogiandotherUkrainianfoodsinParma.IdontlikeTrump,shesaid.
Hesnotinhismind,youknow?Itslike,notpresidentforAmerica.CreditJeffSwensenforTheNewYork
Times

AtStateMeats,alocalbutchershopandsmokehouse,GeorgeSalo,theowner,waspreparingtomake
severalthousandpoundsofkielbasatheworldsbest!heboastedforthecomingparade.Mr.
Salo,31,tookovertheshopwhenhewas17,afterhisfatherdied,andlearnedbusinessbyreading
booksincludingsomebyMr.Trump,whomheadmiresasanentrepreneur.

Butasfortheelection,ImtellingeverybodyImvotingforGaryJohnson,hesaid,referringtothe
Libertariannominee.

Atthetakeoutrestaurantnextdoor,OksanaZavhorodnyuk,44,wasservingschnitzelandjumbo
pirogifrombehindacounter.Shewrinkledhernosewhenaskedaboutthepresidentialrace.

IdontlikeTrump,shevolunteered,inEnglishthatisstillhalting,thoughshehasbeenherefor25
years.HelikesRussiahelikesPutin.Hesnotinhismind,youknow?Itslike,notpresidentfor
America.

TheTrumpcampaignsaysitisnotconcerned.Mr.TrumphastremendoussupportinOhio,andhe
willcontinuetosharehismessageofchange,hisspokeswoman,HopeHicks,wroteinanemail.

UkrainiansarrivedinAmericainfourdistinctwaves,beginninginthelate1800s,andmanyeventually
settledinsuburbslikeParma.InOhio,theyarepartofabroadblocofvoterswhotracetheirancestry
toEasternandCentralEuropeannationsincludingPoland,Estonia,Lithuania,Latvia,theCzech
RepublicandSlovenia,thehomelandofMr.Trumpswife,Melania.

Inthisswingstate,politiciansofbothpartiesaggressivelycourtwhattheycalltheethnicvote.Last
week,SenatorRobPortman,anendangeredOhioRepublican(andco-chairmanoftheSenateUkraine
Caucus),metprivatelywithethnicleadershere.Onebigissue:AttheRepublicanNationalConvention
inJulyinCleveland,theTrumpcampaignstrippedthepartyplatformoflanguagecallingforthe
UnitedStatestoprovidelethalweaponstoUkraine.
GeorgeSaloinhisbutchershopinParmasUkrainianVillage.HeadmiresMr.Trumpasanentrepreneurbut
said,ImtellingeverybodyImvotingforGaryJohnson,theLibertariannominee.CreditJeffSwensenforThe
NewYorkTimes

Democrats,seizingonapotentialvulnerabilityforMr.Trump,areincreasingtheirownethnicoutreach
thisyear,aneffortthathasbeencaughtupinRussianpoliticalintrigue.

Thepersonalemailsofthewomanrunningtheoutreacheffort,AlexandraChalupa,wereamongthose
hackedattheDemocraticNationalCommittee,abreachAmericanintelligenceofficialsattributeto
Russianspies.Ms.Chalupa,whoisofUkrainiandescent,hadbeenresearchingMr.Manafortwhile
consultingforthecommitteewhenthehackoccurred.Shehasbeentravelingthecountry,talkingto
Democratsaboutwhatshehasfound.

IdtalkabouttheRussiaconnectionandwhatwewereseeing,shesaidinaninterview.Peoplewere
terrified.

Still,Mrs.Clintonmayhaveanuphillbattle.ThePodestaGroup,aWashingtonfirmco-foundedby
JohnD.Podesta,hercampaignchairman,hassurfacedinthesamecorruptioninvestigationthathas
entangledMr.Manafort.

TheuneaseisaboutManafort,theuneaseisaboutPodestaallofthemhavebeengettingmoney
funnelinginfromRussia,saidMichaelKoziupa,aUkrainian-AmericanleaderinNewJersey.

ForMr.Szmagala,aretiredClevelandtransitofficialwhohasdevotedhislifetoUkrainianaffairsand
Republicanpolitics,thecampaignisespeciallypainful.HehasfondmemoriesofaflightaboardAir
ForceTwowithGeorgeBush,thenthevicepresident.AndafterUkrainedeclareditsindependence,
Mr.Bush,thenthepresident,senthimthereaspartoftheofficialdelegationforasomberceremonyat
BabiYar,asiteofmasskillingsbytheNazis.

Mr.SzmagalahasbeenadelegatetoRepublicanconventionsinthepastthisyear,thoughnational
Republicansgatheredinhisbackyard,hestayedaway.HehasnevervotedforaDemocratfor
president,andismindfulofOhiosstatusasaswingstate.HeisnoteagertovoteforMrs.Clinton.

Butifitsclose,hesaid,Illdoit.Itllhurt,butIlldoit.

Correction:August22,2016
Anearlierversionofthisarticleandapicturecaptionmisstatedtheyearofthepresidentialelection
inwhichTarasSzmagalaassistedRichardM.Nixon.Itwas1972,not1968.

FollowSherylGayStolbergonTwitter@sherylstolberg

Findoutwhatyouneedtoknowaboutthe2016presidentialracetoday,andgetpoliticsnewsupdates
viaFacebook,TwitterandtheFirstDraftnewsletter.

From: WayneAllensworth<swallen@1scom.net>
Senttime: 04/06/201603:07:59PM
To: WayneandStacyAllensworth<swallen@1scom.net>
Subject: InternetNotes6April2016
Attachments: IN6April16.docx

InternetNotes6April2016

MoreonZolotovandtheNationalGuard(WilltheNationalGuardduplicatesomeoftheFSBsfunctions?Zolotov
andBortnikov/FSBvs.FSO)

TheNationalGuardandtheuseofforce

ArequesttothetaxservicetolookintoNovayaGazetaspublicationofmaterialonthePanamaPapers

WillthePanamapaperscauseProblemsforRussianofficials?

RolduginandLithuanianbanks

WikileakssaysthePanamapapersareanattackonPutinbySorosandtheUS

MoreonZolotovandtheNationalGuard(WilltheNationalGuardduplicatesomeoftheFSBsfunctions?Zolotov
andBortnikov/FSBvs.FSO)

Seeyesterdaysnotes.

http://www.gazeta.ru/social/2016/04/05/8162159.shtml

SomeexpertsarecomparingtheNationalGuardtotheFSBAlongwiththeotherunitsfoldedintotheNationalGuard,the
MVDssecuritycompany,Okhrana,willgothereaswell(Overthepastyear,thecompanywasawardedR8billionincontracts)
alongwithallMVDunitsthatprovidesecurityPutinmadetheannouncementatameetingwithKolkoltsev,Zolotov,theFSKNs
ViktorIvanov,andFirstDeputyHeadoftheFMS,YekaterinaYegorovaThechangeswillrequiretheadoptionofanewfederal
lawAsheadoftheNationalGuard,Zolotovwillhavethesamestatusasafederalminister(Gazeta.rusaysthatheacted
autonomouslyasheadoftheInternalTroops,anyway,whichhadpromptedeffortsbyKolokoltsevtoresignComment:So,as
Gazeta.runotes,KolokoltsevandZolotovaredivorcingwiththecreationofanewFederalService,theNational
Guard.TheNationalGuardisbasedontheinternaltroops,whiletheMVDiscompensatedbytheadditionofthe
FSKNandtheFMS.Seethedecreeonthecreationofthenewservice:http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/51648
ZolotovhasalsobeenmadeapermanentmemberoftheSecurityCouncil:http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/51647)
TheNationalGuardwilloverseethecirculationofweaponsintheRussianFederationandregulateprivatesecurityfirmsItwill
alsotakepartinterritorialdefenseoftheRussianFederation
WegetbitsaboutZolotovasSobchaksandPutinsbodyguard,hisrelationshipwithRomanTsepov(assassinatedin2004See
the29December2015notes),materialonhispropertyandthebusinessinterestsofhisson,Roman,andhisconnectionstoformer
SenatorAleksandrSabadash(Seeyesterdaysnotes)ThechairmanofthePoliceUnion,MikhailPashin,saysthatitappearsthe
NationalGuardwillduplicatemanyofthefunctionsoftheFSB,especiallyincounteringterrorism.Healsosaysthingscouldget
complicatedinpoliceworkthepoliceregularlycalledonOMONandSOBRunitstohelpdetaindangerouscriminals,butnow
thoseunitsareintheNationalGuard.Whatwillbetheprocedurefordelegatingthemtopolicework?
BelkovskiysaysthattheNationalGuardwascreatedtoprovideforPutinspersonalsecuritytheKremlinseesPutinspersonal
securityandstatesecurityasoneinthesame.Putindoesnotcompletelytrustanyofthepowerministries,soheneedsapersonal
army.BelkovskiysaysthattheNationalGuardwillnotbesubordinatetotheMVD,buttoPutinpersonally,becominghispersonal
securityservice.TheNationalGuard,sayBelkovskiy,willfirstofalldealwithproblemsofsocialinstability,soasnottoallowwhat
happenedtoYanukovichtohappentoPutin.AndtheNationalGuardwillbedispatchedtoanycornerofthecountrywherethere
isdisloyaltytoPutin.ThisisnotunlikewhatKadyrovhasinChechnya(Comment:Oneofthethemesthathascomeupinthe
controversyaroundKadyrovisthatRussiaonthewholehasbecomemorelikeChechnyaunderKadyrov)andthose
battalionshavebeenformallyunderZolotovascommanderoftheInternalTroops.
AsfarastheFSKNandtheFMS,gazeta.runotesthattheFSKNhasnotbeeneffective,closingonlyonethirdofthenarcotics
casesithasinvestigated,whileitsbudgetcostthestateR30billionannuallyatatimeofbudgetproblems.Twothirdsofthe
narcoticsconfiscatedwereheldbytheMVD(Comment:Sotherewasduplicationoffunctions).TheentirestaffoftheFSKN
istobetransferredattheircurrentranks(thoughnohigherthancolonel)totheMVD.TheFMShasalsocomeinforcriticism,
includingfromSecurityCouncilSecretaryPatrushev.*TheFMSstaffwillbereducedby30%inmergingwiththeMVD.
*PatrushevcriticizedboththeFSKNandtheFMSatlastweeksSecurityCouncilmeetingandafterwardssaidthattheirbeing
absorbedbytheMVDwasdiscussed:http://www.mk.ru/politics/2016/03/31/putin-na-sovbeze-rasskazal-ob-ugroze-rossii-so-
storony-migrantov.html

AlekseyMakarkincommentedontheshakeupinNovayaGazeta:http://www.novayagazeta.ru/politics/72536.html?print=1

Thepowerdepartmentswanttoredistributefundingatatimeofeconomiccrisisandbudgetcuts,whiletheeconomistswantto
savemoney.Sopartofthejustificationforthechangesisfinancial.Therewasalsotheproblemofcertainofficialsitwasdifficultfor
Putintopartwith,soyoureducetheirauthority.Romodanovskiywasntatthemeetingyesterday,soitseemsdoubtfulhewillhead
themigrationservicewithintheMVD.ItsmorecomplicatedwithViktorIvanov.Hewasinvitedtothemeetingandisamore
influentialfigure.ButhehasbeenweakenedbytheFSKNbeingabsorbedbytheMVD.

Kashin(http://slon.ru/posts/66267)thinksthecreationoftheNationalGuardissymbolicZolotovalreadyheadedtheInternal
Troops,andnoonedoubtedtheyweresubordinatetoPutin,butPutinwantedtoindicatethatthosetroopshadnolessstatusthan
thearmyorspecialservices.ZolotovwasalwaysclosetoPutin,noweveryoneofthosetroopsthatdealwithdomestic
disturbancesarenolessclosetothefirstperson.ThenewstructurewillbetheKremlinsfavoritetoy.ViktorZolotovhaslivedhis
lifeintheshadowsandnowwilltakehisplacedenouncingPutinophobiahellberightnexttoShoyguinthepopularity
ratingsThefuturethaw(anditsinevitable,carriedouteitherbyPutinssuccessororPutinhimselfifhewishestoplayat
liberalism)canevendissolvetheNationalGuardasasymbolofthenewliberalization

Vedomosticomments:http://www.vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2016/04/06/636601-natsionalnaya-gvardiya

Vedomostigivesussomenumbersthereare170,000InternalTroops,OMON/SOBR30,000,Okhranaandothersecurity
units200,000.ItsnotclearwhetherallofthosewillgototheNationalGuard.Vedomostiexpectssomecuts.All27,000
FSKNpeoplewillgo.TheFMSwillbecutbyonethirdorabout11,000Peskovcommentedontheshakeupbysayingthatthe
numberofpeopleinthepowerdepartmentswouldbeoptimizedandthattherearenoplanstoreplaceKolokoltsev.Hedidnot
commentonViktorIvanovorRomodanovskiy.VedomostissourcessayitslikelyRomodanovskiywillretireandthatitseems
doubtfulthatViktorIvanovwillagreetobecomeKolkoltsevssubordinatePeskovclaimedthattheNationalGuardwasnot
beingcreatedtobreakupanyproteststhatmightoccurthisfallwiththeelections(AlekseyMakarkinsaysotherwise)andits
creationdidnotindicatePutindistrustedotherpowerdepartments
MoreonwhatPeskovhadtosay(Comment:AnditsoundslikeasignaltotheFSB):
http://www.rbc.ru/politics/05/04/2016/5703f0759a7947abfa8c7b0e
...WhenaskedwhethertheNationalGuardwouldduplicateanyoftheFSBsfunctions,PeskovansweredThatshardtosay
Zolotovwillbesubordinatetothepresident.WhenaskedwhethertherewasaspecialtrustinZolotov,PeskovansweredThere
isButPeskovaddedthatonecouldntsaythatthenewstructurehadbeencreatedforhim

Apparently,PeskovshardtosayalsoappliedtoarelatedquestionaboutwhethertheFSBwouldre-organizedinviewofthe
creationoftheNationalGuard:http://www.interfax.ru/russia/502194

"",-,,
,,
.

Comment:ThebitontheFSBisinterestinginlightoftheFSBvs.FSOstoryconnectedwiththeCultureMinistry
scandalandZolotovsconnectionstotheFSO(Seethenotesfrom21,29,and30March).Areadersentalonga2014
storyfromNewTimesthatnotedconflictsamongsilovikyandmaintainedZolotovandBortnikovwereclashing,butPutinlikedit
thatway,sinceheactedasarbiterandtheclashespreventedanyonefromthinkingofmovingagainsthim:
http://www.newtimes.ru/articles/detail/90102#hcq=xFv0AHp

.
(.TheNewTimes),,
,-,
.

Comment:AnotherpointworthconsideringZolotovsapparatusvictoryandtheominoussounding(totheFSB,
anyway)remarkfromPeskovisanothersignthatKadyrovwillnotbedisturbedabouttheNemtsovmurderandthe
FSBisbeingcalledoff.Again,IthinkZolotovmayhavelenttheassassinationplotahandandheandKadyrovareon
goodterms.
AnotherVedomostipiece,thisoneentitledTheMinistryofDomesticEnemies:
http://www.vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2016/04/06/636562-ministerstvo-vragov

ThecreationoftheNationalGuardisanapparatusvictoryforZolotovandacknowledgementofanewandsignificantthreatthe
threatofthedomesticenemyThegreaterthethreat,realorperceived,thegreatertheamountofresourcesavailabletothenew
structure.AndtheNationalGuardwillgettheOMON,SOBR,andOkhranaTheMVDandFSBalreadycombatextremism
andterrorism,butduplicatingfunctionsispartofPutinsstyleofsettingupchecksandbalances,thistimewithinthepowerblock
Itwillbeinterestingtoseewhatimpactthereformsinthepowerblockwillhaveonthepracticeoflawenforcementfeedingoff
businessitslikelywewillseeanewre-divisiononthemarketforprovidingstatecontrolandsecurityforbusiness.
TheresabitontheNationalGuardasacountertotheFSBinthisMikhailFishmanpiece:
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/a-bigger-bludgeon-putins-man-put-in-charge-of-new-national-guard/564936.html

TheNationalGuardhasbeengrantedmorepowerthanwasoriginallyplanned,sayspoliticalconsultantYevgenyMinchenko.Notonly
doesPutinwanttohavetroopstocallonincaseofriots,itisunderstoodthattheNationalGuardwillalsoactasacounterbalance
totheFederalSecurityService(FSB),theheiroftheKGB.ThiswouldexplaintheunexpectedpowersgiventotheNationalGuard
suchasfightingterrorismandorganizedcrimeaccordingtothelegislationdraftintroducedbyPutin.

Wheninstallinghissystemofverticalcontrol,Putinneverreliedonasinglespecialforce.Inthe2000s,hespecificallydesigned
theFederalDrugControlServiceasacounterbalancetotheFSB.Now,drugcontrolhaslongsincelostitspoliticalpurpose,andPutin
feelsitistoodangeroustorelyonasingle,prevailing,constantlyexpandingstructure,suchastheFSB,saysNikolaiPetrov.

TheNationalGuard'sparamountfunctionistobeaneffectivefightingfist.It'sacalibratedresponsetotheexternalthreatPutinassumes
iscomingfromtheWest,saysMinchenko.It'sasignal"thatRussiaisready,thatithasabludgeontofightwith."

BycreatingtheNationalGuard,Putinhasshownwhathecaresaboutmostprotests.Andhismosttrustedmanwillleadthefight.

TheNationalGuardandtheuseofforce

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russian-national-guard-will-be-allowed-to-shoot-on-sight-detain-
people/564861.html

MembersoftheNationalGuardaforcesettobeestablishedbydecreeofRussianPresidentVladimirPutinwillbeallowedto
openfireonsightandtodetainoffenders,theInterfaxnewsagencyreportedWednesday,citingthedraftlawsenttotheStateDuma.

"AnemployeeoftheNationalGuardtroopshastherighttousephysicalforce,specialinstrumentsorfirearmswithoutwarning"incase
ofanimminentthreattothelivesoftheRussiancitizens,thebillreads.

Theguardswillbealsoprovidedwitharighttoenterhomesinordertodetainsuspectsandtocheckdocumentsandvehicles.

Inthesecases,accordingtothebill'stext,theguardwillbeobligedtoexplaintothedetaineeanumberofhisrights,includingtheright
tolegalassistance,Interfaxreported.

ArequesttothetaxservicetolookintoNovayaGazetaspublicationofmaterialonthePanamaPapers

http://www.newsru.com/russia/05apr2016/novaya.html

TherequestwasmadebyPublicChambermemberandChairmanoftheExecutiveCommitteeoftheRussianTaxpayersUnion
ArtyomKiryanov.NovayaGazetajournalistshelpedtheOrganizedCrimeandCorruptionReportingProjectonthePanama
Papersstory.Kiryanovpointedoutthatfrom2012to2013theOCCRPhadspentmorethan$326,000onsupporting
investigativejournalisminRussiaandCIScountriesDidNovayapaytaxesonthegrantsitreceived?Wasmoneyfunneledto
thepaperlaunderedthroughonedayfirms?
WillthePanamapaperscauseProblemsforRussianofficials?

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/why-panama-papers-are-unlikely-to-trouble-russian-officials/564917.html

Intheend,itwasataleoftwoprotests.Inone,thousandsofangryIcelandersgatheredtodemandtheresignationoftheirdisgraced
primeminister.Inanother,fouractivistssilentlystoodaloneoutsideofRussia'sStateDumawithplacardsdemandingPresidentVladimir
Putin'simpeachment.

Theoutcomescouldnotbemoredifferent.Followingthefirstprotest,anelectedprimeministerwasforcedtoresign.Beforethesecond
trulygotunderway,theprotesterswerearrestedandpushedintoapolicevan,withapassingphotographerincludedforeffect.

BasedonanunprecedentedleakfromtheMossackFonsecaPanamalawfirm,the"PanamaPapers"investigationrevealedhundreds
ofpoliticiansandcelebritiesindubiousoffshorenetworks.TheyalsoimplicatedsomeofPutin'sclosestfriendsineye-watering
andscarcelybelievablebusinessschemes.

Sofar,however,thecontroversialarrestsaretheonlyreal-lifeconsequenceofthescandalinRussia.

Accordingtotheleaks,anoffshorecompanyownedbySergeiRolduginrenownedcellistandgodfatherofPutin'sdaughterwas
involvedintransactionswithstate-runcompaniesworthhundredsofmillionsofdollars.SeveralRussianfinancialgiantswerelinked
tothesetransactions,includingBankRossiya,Vneshtorgbank'sCyprussubsidiaryandtheinvestmentcompanyTroikaDialog,now
ownedbySberbank.

AdozenotherRussianlawmakersandofficialswerealsonamedinthepapers.

Formally,accordingtotheinvestigation,alltransactionswerebackedupbylegitimatedocumentsandcontracts.Doingbusinessinan
offshorezoneisnotnecessarilycriminal.TheonlyformalviolationisthatRoldugindidn'texposehimselfasa"politicallyexposed
person"whensigningpapersforGazprombankinSwitzerland.

AccordingtoYelenaPanfilova,chairofanti-corruptionorganizationTransparencyInternational,theonlyoneswhomighthypothetically
besubjecttoinvestigationinRussiaareDumadeputies.Thatis,iftheyhadn'tgivenuptheiroffshoreassetsbythetimetheywon
parliamentseats.

ButRussiaisnotIceland.WhiletheProsecutorGeneral'sOfficeannounceditwouldlookthroughrevealedoffshorepractices,state
businessmenandmanagersTheMoscowTimestalkedtoweredoubtfulanyrealmeasureswouldbetakenatleastfornow.

Fromallofthis,itdoesnotnecessarilyfollowthatthePanamaPaperswillhavenoimplicationswithinRussiansocietyanditspolitical
establishment.

YekaterinaSchulmann,associateprofessorattheRussianPresidentialAcademyofNationalEconomyandPublicAdministration,says
thatpublicdissatisfactionisgrowing."Societymightseemindifferent,butnegativityaboutcorruptofficialsisdeepeninginpeople's
minds,exacerbatedbytheworseningeconomicsituation,"shesays.

Therewillbeknock-onharmtoRussia'salreadydisastrousinvestmentclimate,addsPanfilova."Largecompanieswithsharestraded
bytheNewYorkorLondonstockexchanges,orlargeinternationalbanksdon'twanttobeanywherenearsomethinglikethis,sothey
willthinktwicenowbeforedealingwithRussia,"shesays.

ThiswillfurtherisolateRussiafromtheWestanddeepentheconfrontation,saysDmitryGudkov,theonlyindependentStateDuma
deputy."We'vecometoapointwhenthewholeworldismovingtowardtransparency,andRussiaiseitherwitheveryone,oronthe
sidelines,"hetoldTheMoscowTimes.

Butmorethanthat,thePanamaleakshavegeneratedfear.ThoughthereportdidnotspecificallytargetPutin,theKremliniscertainly
treatingitthatway.PresidentialspokesmanDmitryPeskovdescribedtherevelationsasa"politicalattack"onPutin,undertaken
byWesternspecialforces.

ThelevelofdenialsandconspiracytheoriescouldindicatetheKremlinisclosetofallingintoadeeppoliticalcrisis,saysanalystGleb
Pavlovsky.
"Theamountoftimeittookthemtorespondandtheresponseitselfshowedjusthowshockedtheywere."PavlovskytoldTheMoscow
Times."Theyarelosingtheirmaneuverabilityandthisisalwaysabadthingforarulingelite."

IfWesternauthoritiesbegintoprosecuteunderanti-corruptionlegislation,theKremlin'spanicwouldbeexacerbated.Companieswith
internationallistingslikeVTB,SeverstalorSberbankareunderthejurisdictionoftheU.S.ForeignCorruptionPracticesActor
theUKBriberyAct,saysAlexeiNavalny,Russianoppositionpolitician.Navalnyhimselfdoesnotbelievethiswillhappen."Forsome
reasonWesternlawenforcementdoesn'twanttotouchRussia,"hesays."We'vealreadyseenitwiththeChaikainvestigation."

ThereisthepromiseofyetmorerevelationsfromtheMossackFonsecafiles.EvenifsomeRussianofficialscurrentlyseenocause
forconcern,othersbelievethescandalmightgrowtounmanageableproportions.

"It'stooearlytoassesstheimpact,"asourceclosetotheKremlintoldTheMoscowTimes."It'snotover.It'sjustthebeginning."

RolduginandLithuanianbanks
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/panama-leak-lithuanian-authorities-confirm-transactions-by-putin-associate-roldugin/564847.html

TheLithuanianFinancialCrimeInvestigationService(FCIS)hasconfirmedthatSergeiRoldugin,aclosefriendofPresidentVladimir
PutinwhowasnamedinthePanamaPapers,usedLithuanianbankaccountstocarryouttransactionsusingoffshorecompanies,the
MeduzanewswebsitereportedWednesday.

FouraccountsinUkioBankos,whichwasplacedintoadministrationbyLithuanianauthoritiesin2013,wereusedtomoveasignificant
amountofmoney,theFCISsaid,Meduzareported.

TransactionsrelatingtothesharesofRussianstate-ownedoilgiantRosneftwerecarriedoutbyDinoCapitalSA,registeredinPanama,
andStarcourtWorldwideLtd,registeredinBelizecompaniesidentifiedasfictitioustradersbytheOrganizedCrimeandCorruption
ReportingProject.

Whenthetransactionswerestoppedattherequestoftheseller,apenaltyofmorethan$1.5millionwaspaidtocompaniesaffiliated
withRoldugin,theFCISsaid.

Theseoperationsareanindicationofmoneylaundering,FCISdirectorKestutisJuceviciussaid,Meduzareported.

WikileakssaysthePanamapapersareanattackonPutinbySorosandtheUS

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/wikileaks-panama-leak-is-attack-on-putin-by-us-and-soros/564879.html

ThePanamapapersleakwasfundedbytheU.S.governmentandU.S.billionairephilanthropistGeorgeSorosasanattackonRussian
PresidentVladimirPutin,WikiLeakssaidinapostonTwitteronWednesday.

TheattackonPutinwasproducedby[theOrganizedCrimeandCorruptionReportingProject]OCCRPwhichtargetsRussia&former
USSRandwasfundedby[theU.S.AgencyforInternationalDevelopment]USAID&Soros,theWikiLeakstweetsaid.

ThePanamaPaperswerepublishedbytheInternationalConsortiumofInvestigativeJournalists(ICIJ)onSundaybasedonleaked
documentsfromPanamanianlawfirmMossackFonseca.

ThepapersimplicatemembersofPutin'sinnercircleinanalleged$2billionmoneylaunderingscheme,identifyingmusicianandPutin's
closefriendSergeiRolduginastheownerofanumberofoffshorecompaniesthathelpedtochannelthefundsbacktoRussia.

USAIDwasexpelledfromRussiain2012followingRussia'scrackdownonNGOsthatreceiveforeignfunding.LastyearRussiabranded
theOpenSocietyFoundationandtheOpenSocietyInstitute'sAssistanceFoundation,bothfinancedbySoros,asundesirable
organizations.

From: DonaldJensen<donald.jensen8@gmail.com>
Senttime: 10/19/201502:08:35PM
To: Bob<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Cc: BruceOhr<neohr@aol.com>WayneandStacyAllensworth<swallen@1scom.net>
Subject: Re:2015-#203-Johnson'sRussiaList

TheUkrainianagriculturalsectorisbooming,btw,inlargepartduetothegrowthintheChinamarket.

OnMon,Oct19,2015at5:01PM,Bob<robertotto25@gmail.com>wrote:
Yes,andaquestionforSergey:justwhendidPutinserveintheSVR(moreclearintheRussianversion)?

SentfrommyiPad

OnOct19,2015,at4:49PM,DonaldJensen<donald.jensen8@gmail.com>wrote:

Ivanov'sWorld,whichyouhavenodoubtseen.

Interesting.Fullofenougharrogantsuperpowerswaggerandhalftruthstoswaythemoreimpressionableuseful
idiots.

TheDialectSpeakers'productionofsunflowerseedsmaybebeneatha"GreatPower,"butatleasttheymake
somethingpeopleactuallywanttobuy.

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:DavidJohnson<davidjohnson@starpower.net>
Date:Mon,Oct19,2015at1:10PM
Subject:2015-#203-Johnson'sRussiaList
To:donald.jensen8@gmail.com

Havingtroubleviewingthisemail?Clickhere

Johnson'sRussiaList
2015-#203
19October2015
davidjohnson@starpower.net
AprojectsponsoredthroughtheInstituteforEuropean,Russian,andEurasianStudies(IERES)atThe
GeorgeWashingtonUniversity'sElliottSchoolofInternationalAffairs*
www.ieres.org
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ConstantContactJRLarchive:
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs053/1102820649387/archive/1102911694293.html
JRLonFacebook:www.facebook.com/russialist
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SupportJRL:http://russialist.org/funding.php
Yoursourcefornewsandanalysissince1996
*SupportforJRLisprovidedinpartbyagrantfromCarnegieCorporationofNewYorkandtheOpenSociety
FoundationstotheGeorgeWashingtonUniversityandbyvoluntarycontributionsfromreaders.Thecontents
donotnecessarilyrepresenttheviewsofIERESortheGeorgeWashingtonUniversity.

"Wedon'tseethingsastheyare,butasweare"

"Don'tbelieveeverythingyouthink"

Youseewhatyouexpecttosee
Inthisissue
RUSSIA
1.TASS:SergeyIvanov:Don'tthinktheKremlinalwaysdecideseverything,sometimesit
doesn't.ThechiefofRussia'spresidentialstaffinTASSspecialprojectTopOfficials.
2.Government.ru:DmitryMedvedev'sinterviewwithVestivSubbotu(NewsonSaturday)
programmebytheRossiyatelevisionnetwork.
3.AlJazeera:AnatolLieven,PutinshowshisrealisminSyria.AlackofmoderateSyrian
oppositionforceshasforcedWashingtontogivetacitconsenttoRussianintervention.
4.TheIndependent(UK):VladislavLInozemtsev,Putin'saimisclear:torestorethe
principleofsovereigntytointernationalaffairs.TheRussianPresidenthastwomessages-
oneforhisaudienceathome,onefortheWest.
5.TheIndependent(UK):RobertFisk,EveryonewroteofftheSyrianarmy.Takeanother
looknow.AllthisisonlythebeginningofMrPutin'sadventureintheMiddleEast.
6.MoscowTimes:ForeignInvestmentinRussianCommercialPropertyHits7-YearHigh.
7.RussiaBeyondtheHeadlines:Russiannationalistsinretreatasgovernmentapplies
pressure.AtemporarybanhasbeenimposedonthesolelargeassociationofRussian
nationalists,withtheprosecutor'sofficedemandingthatitberecognizedasextremist.
RBTHasksactivistsandobserverswhatishappeningwiththenationalistmovementin
Russia,andwhyitisnowcallingitselfthegovernment's"newenemy."
8.Bloomberg:Russia'sAilingConsumersKeepDoorOpenforRateCuts.
9.TASS:Kremlinchiefofstaff:Russiatodonothingagainstitsintereststogetsanctions
lifted.
10.TheJordanTimes:RichardWerverandVladimirYakunin,AreSanctionsSaving
Russia?
11.http://readrussia.com:JamesPearce,Russia:aTaxiDriver'sVersion.
12.HuffingtonPost:SarwarKashmeri,NoRussianQuagmireintheMiddleEast.
13.TheUnzReview:TheSaker,WeekTwooftheRussianMilitaryInterventioninSyria.
OptionsforDaesh,theEmpireandRussia.
14.MiddleEastEye:GarethPorter,Obamawon'tadmittherealtargetsofRussian
airstrikes.NooneisdiscussingtherealitythattheRussianoffensiveistargetingthebiggest
militantthreattotheAssadregime.
15.ProjectSyndicate:RichardHaass,TestingPutininSyria.
16.www.rt.com:AlexanderYakovenko,WhyRussiahadtointerveneinSyria.
17.MoscowTimes:One-ThirdofRussiansThinkRussianMilitaryIsWorld'sBest.
18.Irrussianality:PaulRobinson,LifestyleandIdentity.
9.Russia&IndiaReport:AjayKamalakaran,MovingawayfromaWest-centricoutlook.
ThewesternmediaisnotlikelytochangeitsnegativeapproachtowardsRussiaanytimein
thenearfuture.It'stimeforRussianstostopcaring.
20.FinancialTimes:CourtneyWeaver,God'sTV,Russianstyle.
21.PublicBooks:Russia,Today:Part1:EliotBorenstein,CAUGHTINABADROMANCE:
WHATAMERICAMEANSTORUSSIA.
UKRAINE
22.http://ukrainecomment.wordpress.com:BrianMilakovsky,DIDKYIVSILENCE
UKRAINE'SBIGGESTOPPOSITIONNEWSPAPER?PART1.
23.http://ukrainecomment.wordpress.com:BrianMilakovsky,DIDKYIVSILENCE
UKRAINE'SBIGGESTOPPOSITIONNEWSPAPER?PART2.
24.MoscowTimes:PoroshenkoPressuresTVChanneltoKeepPutinHandshakeOff-Air.
25.Gazeta.ru:AntonLinnik,PoroshenkoControlsOnlyKiev.WhoWillWininUkraine's
CitiesWithMoreThanMillionInhabitants.
26.Stratfor:aGrandBargainremainselusiveinUkraine.
27.KyivPost:ReturntoVolnovakha:Ninemonthsafter13civilianskilledinRussian-
separatistattack,loyaltiesstilldivided.
28.WorldAffairs:AlexanderMotyl,ACautionaryNote:ReintegratingtheDonbas.
29.MoscowTimes:Jean-MarieGuehenno,What'sNextforRussiaandUkraine?
30.RussiaDirect:VladimirEvseev,8reasonswhytheDutchgottheMH17report
incomplete.ThereportpublishedbytheDutchSafetyBoardontheBoeing777Malaysia
AirlinesdisastercannotbedefinitivebecauseitlargelyignoresthefindingsofRussian
experts.
31.RussiaDirect:IvanTsvetkov,TheMalaysianBoeingsagaisfarfromover.The"final"
MH17reportshowsthatthereisstillalongwaytogoindeterminingwhatactually
happenedinUkraine.
32.RussiaInsider:PatrickArmstrong,MH17FinalreportisNotaFinalReportIt'sJusta
LimitedHangout.Ittellsasmuchofthetruthasithasto.Butnomore.

#1
TASS
October19,2015
SergeyIvanov:Don'tthinktheKremlinalwaysdecideseverything,sometimesitdoesn't
ThechiefofRussia'spresidentialstaffinTASSspecialprojectTopOfficials
[http://tass.ru/en/politics/829778]

InterviewedbyAndreiVandenko:BornNovember8,1959inLuhansk,Ukraine.In1982,
AndreiVandenkograduatedfromtheKievNationalUniversityofTarasShevchenko
specializinginjournalism.Since1989,helivesandworksinMoscow.Vandenkohasmore
than20yearsofexperienceintheinterviewgenre.Hewaspublishedinthemajorpartof
topRussianmediaoutletsandisawinnerofprofessionalawards.

ThechiefofRussia'spresidentialstaffdwellsuponthemostacuteissuesofRussia's
politicsandsocietyinaninterviewwithTASS.

AboutSaddamHussein,refinedliberals,thelawofthejungle,foreignpolicy
ambitionsandlessonsofhistory

-TheworldlearnedthatRussiawasabouttogotowaragainsttheIslamicStateinSyria
whenyoupresentedthepresident'srequestforpermissiontousethearmedforcesoutside
thenationalterritorytotheFederationCouncil(upperhouseofparliament).Youwerethe
onewhobrokethenews,sowillyoupleasetellus:'Whynow?'

-Let'sbeginatthebeginning.MemoriesarestillgreenofhowourUSpartnersand
colleaguesinthelate2000swereexplainingtomeingreatdetailhowveryimportantitwas
tobringdemocracytotheMiddleEast.Nowthey'vebroughtitthere...Forthewholeworldto
seetheresults.

TheoperationEnduringFreedomlastedinAfghanistanforthirteenyears.TheUnitedStates
launcheditinresponseto9/11.ItwasthelongestwartheUnitedStateshadeverfought.Its
ultimategoal-victoryovertheTaliban-remainedunachievable.

Idon'tthinkI'llhavetoexplaintoanybodywhattheAmericanshaveplungedIraqintomore
thanadecadeofchaosandlawlessness.OneshouldrememberthatSaddamHussein
hatedAlQaedaandallotherterrorists.Takeitfromme.True,whilefightingagainstthemhe
employedmethodsonecanhardlycalldemocratic.Hewassendingthemtothegallows
andhehadthemshotwithoutinquestoftrial.Thatwashiswayofsettlingscoreswith
opponents.AslongasSaddamstayedinpower,nooneeverhadtheslightestideasome
kindofterroristgroupsmightcropupintheterritoryofIraq.ButthenSaddamHusseinwas
senttothegallowshimself.Withalltheensuingconsequences.

Next,toLibya.ThecountryhasnowbeenturnedintoanotherSomalia.Thissaysitall.The
goalofNorthAfrica'sandtheMiddleEast'sconversiontodemocracywasagainofferedas
theunderlyingmotif
OrtakeEgypt.Nowitissomewhatoutsidethespotlightofpublicattention.Someother
troublespotsarefarhotter.Butjustrecently,in2012theCNNwastelecastinghours-long
bombasticreportsaboutwakingpopularmassesinCairo,andattimesitcameprettyclose
topresentingtheMuslimBrotherhoodasrefinedliberalsanddemocrats...Tocutalong
storyshort:butforthecourageandfar-sightednessofthethenEgyptiandefenseminister,
GeneralEl-Sisi,thecountrythesedayswouldhavebeenlookingverymuchlikeLibya.In
thatsituationtheremight'vefollowedamercilessfree-for-all.Mindyou,Egyptisthemost
denselypopulatedcountryoftheMiddleEastwithapopulationofmorethan80million.It
wasfortunatehistoryturneditanotherway...

Now,wehaveSyria...

-I'mnotsureaboutthe'now'part.Thecivilwarthereeruptedbackin2011.

-Correct.Theconflicttherehaslastedforseveralyearsnow.Alargeterritoryofthecountry
isunderthecontroloftheIslamicStateandotherterroristgroups.It'sahardfact!Allofus
havebeenwitnessestohowverysuccessfultheinternationalcoalitionhasbeeninitsmore
thantwelve-month-longmilitarycampaignagainsttheIS.

-Areyoubeingironic?

ThewayIseeit,theworldisataturningpointininternationalrelations.Ontheonehand,
therearetheuniversallyrecognizedinstitutions,liketheUNSecurityCouncil.Butforthem
allofuswould'vehadareallyhardtimethesedays.Andontheother,thereareindividual
countrieswhichpositionthemselvesasbenchmarksofdemocracyandoffhandedlydefy
internationallaw.Thereisnowrittenlawtheymayagreetorecognize.Infact,thesolerule
theyagreewithis:"Mightmakesright."Andthatisarealmenace.Afterall,theplacewhere
weallliveisnotthejungle,andnobodyshouldfeelfreetoruintheestablishedworldorder.

Inasense,Syriaisalitmustest.Iwon'tberetellingnowwhatexactlyPresidentPutintold
theUNGeneralAssemblysession,orreviewindetailthebackgroundofhisrequesttothe
FederationCouncilforpermissiontouseourarmedforcestohelpthegovernmentin
Damascus.IwilljustsayonceagainthatRussiainthisparticularcaseispursuingno
foreignpolicyambitionswhatsoever.Itiscrystal-clearthatmilitarymeansalonewillnever
bringaboutasettlementinSyria.Inthefinalcountapoliticalsolutionwillhavetobegintobe
lookedfor.Afuturesolutionwillbecomplexandhardtoachieve,butSyriaassuchisano
simplecountry.Bytheway,originally,theideaofanintra-Syrianallianceinthestruggle
againsttheIslamicStatewasnotours:itcamefromtheFrenchPresident,Francois
Hollande.HespeculatedthatthegovernmenttroopsunderBasharAssadandtheso-called
FreeSyrianArmymightpresentacommonfront.Ofcourse,ifthelatterdoesexistin
reality,andisnotavirtualbrainchildofsomearmchairpunditsintheWest.Anysensible
oppositioncanbenegotiatedwithandcompromisesaretobemutual-that'sprettyclear.

Inthemeantime,whilethisisstillamatterofdistantfuture,Iwouldmentiononemore
argumentwhyRussiahadtointerveneintheSyrianconflict.Asyoumayhaveheard,there
arethousandsofRussiaorCIS-bornpeoplefightingfortheIslamicState.Sowillyou
adviseustojustwatchandwaitforthemtobetrainedthereandthengetbackhome?

Manyarestillnotinthemoodofsayingcertainthingsaloud.Theyjustdon'tdarestatethem
outright.ButIwill...CrowdsofrefugeesfromtheMiddleEastarenowheadingforcountries
insouthernEurope,hopingtocrossittoWesternEurope.Howcanonebesurethat
amongthemigrantsthereareno"sleepers"-sleepingagentsorundercoverterroristswho
areonthewaytotheOldWorldforthepurposeofsettlingdowninconspicuouslysomehow
andwaitingfortheD-daytocome?AndonthatD-daytheywillemergeintheforefront
againtoplaytheverywellfamiliarrole.Forinstance,ofasuicidebomberwhoisprepared
togiveupone'slifeforfaithandtakeasmanyotherhumanlivesaspossible?Iwouldn'tlike
touttergloomprophecies,butIpersonallyhavenodoubtsitwillhappenthisway.Iamdead
certain!

-Butaren'tweprovokingtheseradicalsbygettinginvolvedinthiswar?Didn'tthejust-
preventedterroristattackinMoscowringthefirstalarmbell?

-WewilldoourutmosttoensurethatnobodyevercomestoRussiafromtheIslamic
State,thatallofthemremaininSyriansoil.
-Butyouhaven'tansweredthequestionwhatwasthereasonforustojointhefightatthis
particularmoment.

-Thesituationhasturnedintolerant.

-Somewesternmediahavebeenquotinganonymoussources-traditionallyanonymous,I
shouldsay-intheKremlinthatPresidentPutinwastalkedintobeginninganairoperationin
SyriabyatrioofDefenseMinisterSergeyShoigu,SecurityCouncilSecretaryNikolai
Patrushevandyou.Wasthatreallyso?

-IbelieveIshouldthankyoufirstformentioningmeinsuchagoodcompany...Iambeing
ironicagain,don'tyousee,sowillyoupleaseforgivethishabitofmine.Makingserious
commentsregardingsuch"leaks"isalwaysveryhard.Butifwearetostayneutraland
discussonlythehardfacts,Iwillsaythis:thementioned"anonymoussources"gotitall
wrong.Howitallhappenedwasverydifferent.

-So,howdiditallhappen?ConspiracytheoryfansareclaimingthatSyriaisjustadecoy
operation,launchedtoswitchattentionfromtheeastofUkrainetotheMiddleEast,topush
Donbasintothebackground.

-It'sabsurdtorefuteplaingossip.I'vealreadyexplainedwhywefounditrightand
appropriatetorespondtotherequestfromSyria'slegitimateleadershipforhelpinfighting
againstterroristsofallsorts.Whatattemptstoswitchattentionareyoutalkingabout?Look
here,itwasnotuswhostagedtheanti-constitutionalcoupinKiev,right?Iamreadyto
discussthethemeofUkraineingreaterdetail,ifyouwish.Justasoureffortstogetoutof
theso-calledisolationnomatterwhat.IlovehistoryandIdoknowthatRussiahasalways
beenlookedatasathreatandwithgreatsuspicion,toputitmildly.Thatwassowhen
Russiawasanempireandruledbytsars,itwassothroughouttheSovietyears,andwe
stillseethesametoday.AlexanderSolzhenytsinsaidperfectlywellthatfromtime
immemorialtheWesthadfeltscaredofRussia'senormity.Enormity,mindyou!Wesaw
sanctionstakenagainstusbackduringtheruleoftheRomanovdynasty.There'snothing
newaboutthem.Tradebarrierswereputupandfinancialobstructionsposedagainand
again...Thosemeasureswerefarharsherthanthecurrentones.Butwemanaged.We
didn'tgetscaredinthepast,andwewillstayfirmthistime.TheWestgrosslyexaggerates
theinfluenceofthelatestsanctionsontheRussianeconomy.True,theydoposecertain
hindrancestous,itwouldbefoolishtodenytheobvious,butIwillsayagainandagainthat
inthepastwelivedthroughfargreaterproblems.

AttemptstopunishRussiaaresenselessandineffective.TaketheexpulsionfromtheG8.
Somemust'vethoughtwewouldgetverymuchupset.ButtheG8iscertainlynottheplace
wherewewouldliketogetback.Honestly!Inthe1990sRussiaspentmuchtimeandeffort
forthesakeofbeingadmittedtothisclubofselectfewiteventuallygotthereonlytoseefor
itselfthattheG8wasnolongercapableofaddressinganyofthefundamentalissues
humanitywasconfrontedwithatthecurrentstage.True,itispossibletogettogethertotalk
aboutthewesternattitude(western,mindyou)tothisorthatissue,buttheworldtodayis
verydifferent.TheG20-that'stheworthylevel.Itistherethattrulyimportantthemesare
beingdiscussedandsolutionmechanismscanbedevised.HereisaSyria-related
example.Theneedforeliminatingthearsenalsofchemicalweaponsinthatcountrywas
agreedonwithintheG20format,andnottheG8orG7group.Sotherenoregretsaboutthe
demiseoftheG8,believeme.

AsfortheprocedureemployedtomakethedecisiontodispatchaRussianairgroup(which
inthepastwould'vepossiblybeencalledalimitedtroopcontingent)tothebasenear
Latakia,therewasnohasteoranythingspontaneous.Allstepshadbeenconsideredwell
beforehandandagreedwiththeSupremeCommander-in-Chief.Itiscommonknowledge
thatthecombataircraftandsomespecialunitsoftheRussianarmedforceshadbeen
dispatchedtoSyriawellinadvance...

-Althoughwekeptdenyingeverythingatfirst.

-Wedidn't.Weneitherconfirmednordeniedthereports.Wemerelyrefrainedfrom
comment.That'sstandardinternationalpractice.Andquitelegitimate,bytheway.Butlet's
berealistic:everybodyunderstandsthattheredeploymentofseveraldozenplanescannot
bekeptsecret.Everythingcanbeseenwellfromspace.

ThefinaldiscussionontheoperationinSyria,withseniormilitaryofficialstakingpart,was
heldatameetingofRussia'sSecurityCouncillateintheeveningonSeptember29.We
consideredalltheprosandcons,allstrengthsandweaknessesonceagain.The
presidentialrequesttotheFederationCouncilfollowedonlyafterthat.Ibroughtthetextto
theFCbuildinginBolshayaDmitrovkaStreetearlythenextmorning...

-TheAmericanshavealreadypredictedthelossestheRussianswillsoonsustaininSyria.
It'sclearthattherecanbenowarwithoutlosses,buthowlargeistheriskofsuch
developments?Whatdoyouthink?

-AsI'vesaid,wegaugedalllikelyrisks.Ourtroopswillnotbeinvolvedinclashesonthe
ground.Wedeclaredthatfromtheoutsetandinveryclearterms.Theairbasefromwhere
ourplanesflycombatmissionsisinsideanareaunderthefullcontrolofSyriangovernment
forces.Thereisacertainlevelofprotection,andaveryseriousone.Apartfromtheair
pilotsandthemaintenancepersonnelbasedinLatakiathereisasmallcommandounit
responsibleforguardingtheairbase.That'sanaturalprecautionandanyothercountry
would'vetakenit.SoIwouldn'tsaythereisaseriousriskofanattackagainsttheRussian
airgroupinSyria.Theoreticallyeverythingispossible,butallprecautionshavebeentaken.

Asforwhathasbeensaidabouttheexpectedlosses,we'dprefertobemoretactfulandto
avoidcountingtheUSMarineswho'vealreadylosttheirlivesinIraqandAfghanistan.
--

AboutUkraine,channelsofdialogue,sanctions,causesofthecrisis,import
substitution,goodcheeses,pampersanddestructionofcounterfeitproducts

-NowaboutUkraine,asyou'vesuggested.WhenhemadeatriptoSevastopolin
September,VladimirPutindeclareditwasnecessarytorestorefull-scalerelations.Isita
solubletaskagainstthebackgroundofwhatwecanseetoday?

-Clearly,ourrelationswiththeauthoritiesinKievhavefallentoarecord-low.Butthereare
twofactorsoneshouldkeepinmind.Thatithappenedsoisnofaultofours.Secondly,
Ukraineisaspecialcase.Thatcountryremainsahometomanyofourpeople.Andnotin
somevirtualsense,butinaveryspecificone:somebody'sparents,brothers,sisters,
grandpasandgrandmas...ThisillustrateshowrightandtothepointPutinwaswhenhe
saidthatinfactwewereonepeople.Wehaveawholeuniversetoshare:mentally,
religiouslyandculturally.Thelanguageincluded.WeareoneSlavicpeople,there'sno
arguingaboutthat.

-ButinKievthiskindofapproachcausesstrongrejection.Peopletherearguethatweare
verydifferentandthattheirlanguageiscertainlynotadialect.

-True,itispossibletorewritehistoryagainandagain,butthatwillnotchangeanything.Ido
believethatsoonerorlaterthedaywillcomewhenrelationsbetweenourcountrieswill
begintomend.

-Oddlyenough,the"later"partoftheformulaworksfarmoreoftenthanthe"sooner"one.

-Farfromeverythingdependsonus.Iftheothersidestaysreluctantanddefiant,
compulsionwon'thelp.Ittakestwototango...

-That'swhyIamaskingyouwhatyoupersonallydothesedaysforthesakeofbringing
fraternalpeoplesclosertogether?Say,doyoucontactBorisLozhkin-youropposite
numberintheUkrainianpresidentialstaff-oftenenoughandwhatthemesdoyoudiscuss?

-Therearecontactsatdifferentlevels.ThroughtheRussiangovernment,theForeign
Ministryandthepresidentialstaff...Iamnotinthepositiontodisclosethedetailsof
confidentialnegotiationsthatwe'vehadsofarandarestillhaving,butIcantellyouthatat
thebeginningoftheconflict,whenactivecombatoperations,infact,acivilwarinthe
territoryofUkraine,wereinprogress,wehadmorefrequentcontactsinabidtoputanend
tothebloodshedandfratricidalclashes.ThatwasbeforetheMinskFormat.Nowthe
situationhaschangedandthereisanewstablechannelforadialogue.Manythingshave
beendelegatedtothelevelofcontactgroups,inwhichRussiaisrepresentedasan
equitablepartner.Butifnecessary,IcanputacallthroughtoKievanymoment.
Accordingly,BorisLozhkinfeelsfreetophonemeanytime.Wedocontacteachother,
whenevertheneedarises.Thesituationisnowbetterthanitwasayearago,thankGod.At
leasttherearenoactivecombatclashesinDonbas.True,theproblemcannotberesolved
withoutapoliticalsettlementandtheimplementationoftheMinskAccordstothefullextent
isnowintheforefront.TheNormandyQuartethasstatedthatclearly.Adirectdialogue
betweenKiev'sofficialsandtheleadersofDonetskandLuhanskarenumberoneissueon
theagenda.Thepurposeistodeterminethemodality,therulesofthegame,andto
eventuallyholdelectionsincompliancewithUkrainianlegislationtoletthepeopleofDonbas
feeltheirrightsenjoysteadfastprotection,internationalguaranteesandobligations
included.Afterthatitmightbepossibletomoveontoafinalpeacearrangement.

-TheimplementationofMinsk-2isoneoftheconditionsfortheliftingofsanctionsfrom
Russia.Yousaythesanctionscausednobigtroubletous,butyouwouldagreethereis
nothingaboutthemthatcanmakesushappy.

-I'dputitthisway:

Wewillneverdoanythingtoharmournationalinterestsjustforthesakeofseeingthe
sanctionslifted

.Neverever!Itwasnotuswhotookthosemeasures,andwearenotgoingtodiscussin
anyformatwhatisnecessaryforcancelingthem.

-ButpeaceinUkrainedoesnotruncountertotheinterestsofRussia,doesit?

-Ofcourse,itdoesn't.ButIwouldavoidanylinkagehere.Areyoucertainthatthesanctions
willbeliftedevenafterimpeccablecompliancewithMinsk-2?Arethereanyguarantees?
Personally,Ihavebigdoubtsonthatscore.Thereisnoreasonwhyweshouldoffer
excusesoraskforforgiveness.

Now...

.Thesanctionsdidcausecertainlosses.TheGDPisonthedecline,andnotonthe
ascent.Wedon'tdenythat.But!TherootcausefortheRussianeconomy'sslowdownis
notsanctions,butthefallintheworldpricesofoilandgas.Iagreethatthishas
demonstratedagainourstrongdependenceonhydrocarbonsandhowverybadthisis.But
ontheotherhand,we'vebeenabletorealizethevectoroffutureactiontobetakentoease
thepressuresoftherawmaterialsfactor.

-Areyousatisfiedwithprogressinimportsubstitution,whichisnowthefocusofattention?

-Iwouldsplityourquestionintwo.Thetaskofglobalandeffectivesubstitutionforcertain
productsthatarebeingimportedfromothercountriescanbeaccomplishedin5-7years'
timeattheearliest.Althoughtheremaybeeconomicsectorswheremeetingfartighter
deadlinesmaybepossible.Forinstance,themilitary-industrialcomplex.Agreatdealhas
beendonetherealongtheselinesalready,believeme.Incidentally,itisUkrainethathas
beenthehardest-hitasaresult.Iamsayingsoinallseriousness,withoutashadeofirony.
Ourneighborshavelosttheirspacerocketindustryandaircraftandshipbuildingaswell.
True,theyhaverisentonumberoneplaceintheworldastheexporterof...sunflower
seeds.Ilearnedthatfromapieceauthoredbyoneofyourfellowjournalists.Ifthe
authoritiesinKievdocareaboutthefutureoftheirstate,theyshoulddosomethingserious
aboutwhatisreallyhappening.Onceanagrarian-industrialcountry,Ukraineisbeingturned
intoaforsakenbackyard-willyouexcusemeforsayingso-asecond-ratefarmgrowing
agriculturalproducewithveryslimchancesofeverfindingabuyerwhowouldagreeto
haveit.There's100-percentcertaintytheEuropeanUnionwillnothaveit.Icantellyouthat
rightaway.Ukraine'sanotherroleunderthecurrentschemeofthingswillbethatofan
exporterofcheaplabortoothercountries.Don'tforgetthatsincetheDonbasunrestbegan
threemillionUkrainianshavefledthecountry.Wheredidtheygo?Right,theywentto
Russia.Morethanonemillionofthemarerefugees.Andtheothershavefull-timejobshere.

Anyhow,it'suptoourneighborstodecidewhatkindofcountrytheywouldliketolivein
tomorrow.

Now,let'sgetbacktothethemeofimportsubstitutionintheRussianeconomy.In
agriculturethechangesarenotsosignificantastheyhavebeeninthedefenseindustry,
althoughproductsfromdomesticmanufacturesarealreadytakingfarmorespaceonthe
shelvesofoursupermarketsthesedays.Farmorethanjustacoupleofyearsago.Isthis
goodorbad?Tometheanswerisobvious.
-Thedialecticslawsseemtofailonceinawhile.Quantitydoesnotalwaystransforminto
quality.Atleast,theRussianagriculturalwatchdogRosselkhoznadzorsaidjustrecently
thatnearlyeightypercentofRussiancheesesisnotcheesesatall,butforgeriescontaining
vegetablefat.Ashortwhilelater,though,PrimeMinisterDmitryMedvedevaskedcertain
officialsnottoscarethecustomerswithforgerystatisticsandtheybacktracked.Butthe
qualityofcheesehashardlyimprovedsince.

-Iagreethatthesituationcannotbeimprovedovernight.But,asyouunderstand,we'vegot
accustomedtorelyonimportsandmadenogoodcheesesofourownforahundredyears
orso.Soitwouldbenavetothinkthatgoodcheesewillsuddenlyemergeoutofnowhere.
Itneverhappens.

Butapartfromcheesethereispoultry,porkandvegetables.We'vemanagedtomeetthe
entiredomesticmarketdemand.That'sarealchanceforourfarmproducers.Irecall
sayingoncethatsanctionsmayendsomeday,Godforbid,andthewindowofopportunities
willbeshutdownagain!We'vegottotakeadvantageofthesituationandtobuildup
production.Therearesuchplansatthefederallevelandinmanyregions,wherethe
climateisfavorableforfarming.Theplanwilltaketimetomaterialize,orcourse,butsome
positiveresultsarealreadywellinsight.

Please,remember,totalimportsubstitutionisnogoalofours.Wehavenointentionof
screeningourselvesfromtheoutsideworld.Itwould'vebeenridiculous,ifwe'dhadsuch
plans.Thosewhoarediscussingsanctionsthesedaysforsomereasonquicklyshifttothe
themeofRussia'sinternationalisolation.Whatdotheyreallymean?Theworldisnot
confinedtoWesternEurope,theUnitedStates,Canadaandsomeotherstates.Theother
countriesandregionsarenotclosedtous.Asia,AfricaandLatinAmerica...Theyareopen
toholidaymakersandtotradeasbefore.

Inaword,wewillkeepdevelopingnormally,stayintouchwitheachother,and,ifneedbe,
findalternativestoproductswearestillunabletoproduceourselves.Butspendinghard
currencyonpampers,thewaywedidjustrecently,ishardlyreasonabletoday.That'snota
precisioninstrumentforaspacerocket.Ibelievethatlaunchingtheproductionofsuch
consumergoodsinRussiawillbenoproblem.

-Withoutforgettingaboutquality,though..

-Itgoeswithoutsaying.Wedon'tneedanillusionoftheprocess.Wedon'tneedbox-
ticking,toputitbluntly:nosituationswhereanewly-madecommodityprovesbyfarinferior
toforeigncounterparts.Moreover,intheglobaleconomyhardlyanyproducermanufactures
productsmeantforthedomesticmarketonly.Ifsomethingistobemanufactured,thenonly
withaviewtoexportingtheitem.Otherwiseitwilljustmakenosense.Iknowthatfrommy
ownexperiencewithaircraft-building.

-Andwhatwouldyousayaboutthepublicdestructionofproductsundersanctions?Notas
thechiefoftheKremlinstaff,butassomeonewhowasborninthecityofLeningrad,which
experiencedthehorrorssiegeandfamineduringWorldWarII?

-Mineisaveryunequivocalattitude.Byvirtueofmymainprofession...

-Ofacareerintelligenceofficer?

-Right.I'vespentmanyyearsintheWest,andIdoknowwellthatanycivilizedcountry
mercilesslydoesawaywithcounterfeitproducts.Beitfoods,alcohol,tobacco,clothes,
footwear,medicines,householdappliancesorelectronics.Everythingisburntdown,
crushedbycaterpillartractors-inaword,disposedofinanyconceivableway.That'show
thecivilizedworldgoesaboutthisbusiness.Everywhere!

-InfrontofTVcamerasthatfilmtheprocessforprimetimenews?

-Idon'tinsistonthat.I'mtalkingabouttheprinciple.Thereisnootherwayoffighting
forgeries.Ihavemyownexperienceonthatscore.Whenin2001Itookthedefense
minister'spost,westartedbringingthearmedforcesbacktonormal.Irememberwellthe
momentwhenIorderedalargenavalexerciseintheCaspiantochecktheflotilla'scombat
readiness.Thenwe'djustreceivedthenewgenerationships,theverysameshipsthaton
October7thisyearattackedIslamicStatepositionsinSyriawithcruisemissiles.
-OnVladimirPutin'sbirthday...Bytheway,didyoucongratulateyourchief?

-Naturally.MadeamorningphonecalltoSochi.

-Gavehimabirthdaygift?

-Idid.ButIwon'ttellyouwhatkindofpresentitwas.Also,I'dkeepquietaboutbirthday
wishes.Theyweremeantonlyforhim.

...Butwe'vestrayedawayfromtheCaspiannavalexercisethemesomewhat.Itwasinthe
early2000s.Whenitwasallover,theheadsoftheAstrakhanRegionandtheRepublicof
Kalmykiacameuptomewithwordsofpraiseandthanks.Atfirst,Iwascuriouswhatthe
twomenweretalkingabout.Soonitturnedoutthatsturgeonshadreachedthespawning
groundsupstreamtheVolgaRiverforthefirsttimeinmanyyears!Thenitdawneduponme
thatwhileconductingtheexerciseweclearedtheVolgaRiver'sdeltaofseveraldozen
kilometers(andthat'snotaslipofthetongue!)ofpoachers'fishingnets.Weruinedalltheir
criminalbusinessplans!Tomyrecollection,therefollowedalongdiscussionofwhatwas
tobedonetotheconfiscatedblackcaviar.Underthepreviouslaws,itwastobemarketed.
Thatmeantthatthelocalpoliceforcewouldhavetoopenretailoutletstosellthe
confiscatedcaviar.Therebycreatinganidealenvironmentforcorruption.It'shardtothinkof
abetterone.TheInteriorMinistryspentalongwhilepersuadingthetopauthoritiestoagree
totheeliminationofpoachercaviaronsite.Thecaviarlobbywasresistingthatforseveral
yearsforitwasabouttolosearealbonanza.Putinwasfirmandallillegalblackcaviarhas
beendestroyedsince2006.Themarketwasrestoredtoorder.

ThereisnoofficiallobbyingasaninstitutioninRussia(whichisbad,totellyouthetruth),
butunofficiallobbyingwasalwaysthriving.IknowwhatIamsaying.Icomeacrossitalmost
everyday.SoIcansayonceagainit'smyfirmbeliefthattheeliminationofforgedfoodsis
thesolecorrectway.Therewillbenoalternatives,ifwearetostruggleagainstcorruption
effectivelyenough.Asforthosewhosaythatseniorcitizenswhosurvivedthesiegeof
Leningradareunhappy...Naturally,Iwasbornwhenthatwarhadbeenover,butmyown
parentsrememberedwellenoughwhatthatsiegewasforthem.Onlydemagoguescan
capitalizeonthistheme.It'sverywrongtoplaywithemotions,letaloneinsuchamean
way.
---

Aboutcorruption,aconflictofinterest,arrests,jailings,theyear1937andhigh-
profileinvestigations

-Thismeansthateverythingagaindependsonaparticularperson...ThisiswhatAudit
ChamberHeadTatianaGolikovasaidinarecentinterviewwithTASS:theproblemisnot
evenintheabsenceofbudgetfundsbutintheirresponsibilityofofficialswhoarerequired
tooverseetherationalspendingofbudgetappropriations.

-So,whatcanIsayinthisregard?Thisisabsolutelytrue.Itisnecessarytofightthisstate
ofthingsbyallavailablemeans,usingbothinstructiveandpunitivemeasures.

Unfortunately,littleisachievedinRussiawithoutinstructionsfrom"theabove"[theupper
echelonsofpower]butthesearetheproblemsofmentalityratherthanlogisticsor
economicschemes.Honestlyspeaking,budgetfundsshouldbespentefficientlynot
becausewehavefoundourselvesinadifficultfinancialsituation.Thisshouldbedoneevery
time,bothduringthe"fat"yearsandtheyearsofausterity.Thisisageneralrule,anaxiom.
Anotherthingisthatduringthefatyearsmanyofficials,aboveall,regionalheads,were
accustomedtolivewiththeawarenessthattherewasa"safetycushion"andthecentral
authoritieswouldcometotheirrescue,iftheeconomicsituationdeteriorated.Theybelieved
thecenterwouldhavenootherwayoutbuttohelpthembecauseotherwisethiswould
increaseunemploymentandintensifysocialtension.Theywereaccustomedtothinkthat
thecentralgovernmentwouldcometohelpthemandgivethemsomemoremoney,evenif
someprogramwasnotimplementedontimeorwasfulfilledinefficiently.Thousandsof
reasonscouldbefoundforanexcuseeachtimeasofficialsareveryskilledtofindanalibi
forthemselvesandinthisregardtheyareverytalentedpeople.Youshowanofficiala
protocolmadefiveyearsagoandremindhim:"Youpromisedtodothisorthatandyou
signedthisdocument!"Buttheofficialonlyshrugshisshoulders:"Ican'tdoanything.The
circumstanceshavechanged."

Yes,theyaredifferentnow.Thefederalcenterwillnolongerassisteveryone
indiscriminately.Aregionalheadshouldfirstexplainwhytheregionalauthoritieshavefailed
tofulfilltheobligationstheyhaveassumed.Thefurther,themoredifficultitisforregional
headstoconcealtheirfailures.TheAll-RussianPopularFrontpublicmovementis
contributingtothisprocessalongwiththemediaandtheInternet.However,theInternetisa
stickthathastwoends:itcandogoodservicebutitcanalsobearealgarbageplace.In
anycase,controlhasbecometighter,includingfromordinarycitizenswhofindawayto
declareviolationstheyhaveseen.

Theheadsunwillingorunabletorealizethatthetimeshavechangedaresurrenderingtheir
powersinonewayoranotherandquittingthescene.

-Actually,onlytheKremlincanremovegovernors.VyacheslavDudka[formergovernorof
theTulaRegion]andVasilyYurchenko[formergovernoroftheNovosibirskRegion]have
quittheirpostsastheyhavelostthepresident'sconfidence.AlexanderKhoroshavin[former
governoroftheSakhalinRegion]isunderinvestigationforbribesworthmillionsofrubles
whileVyacheslavGaizer[formerheadoftheRepublicofKomi],asitturnsout,organizeda
criminalgroup.Willthisseriesbecontinued?

-Doyouwantustoarrestsomeoneeveryweek?Ordoyoubelieve,perhaps,thatevery
governorinRussiaisaswindlerandathief?Ipersonallydon'tthinkso.I'mconfidentthatan
overwhelmingmajorityofofficials,bothattheregionalandfederallevels,arehonestand
nicepeople.Youcan'tsmearblackpaintoneveryone.

Allthenecessaryanti-corruptionlegislativeactshavebeenadoptedinRussia.Nowthey
havetobestrictlyobserved.Forexample,governmentofficialshavebeenpublishingtheir
incomedeclarationsformanyyearsnow.Ipublishedmydeclarationforthefirsttimeback
in2000anditwasacompletelynaturalandcustomaryprocessforme.Anotherthingis
thatapartfromdirectcorruptionwestillhaveaveryunfavorablesituationwiththeso-called
conflictofinterests.Howdoesthislooklikeinpractice?Perhaps,youknowtheexamples
whenaparticularofficialmakesadecisiononthedistributionofprocurementordersforthe
fulfillmentofworksfinancedfromthestatetreasuryorunderstatepurchasesandit
subsequentlyturnsoutthatthetendercontractwassurprisinglyawardedtoacompany
affiliatedwiththatofficial.Itturnsoutthattheofficial'sdaughterisworkingatthiscompany
asitspresidentorhiswifesitsonthecompany'sboardofdirectors.Suchpracticeis
widespread.OnOctober6,PresidentVladimirPutinsignedalaw,whichclearlydefinesa
conflictofinterestforgovernmentofficials,waystoavoiditandmeasures,whichanofficial
isobligedtotake(preciselywhatheisobligedtodo)incaseswhenthereisathreatofthe
emergenceofaconflictsituation.Youknow,thelawstartedtoworkevenbeforeitofficially
cameintoforce.I'mheadofthepresidiumoftheAnti-CorruptionCouncilundertheRussian
presidentandweexaminenon-publiclyinthe"Miscellaneous"sectiontheinquiriesby
officials,includinghigh-levelfunctionaries,whoinformusthataconflictofinterestmay
emergeundercertaincircumstances.Orletusconsideradifferentsituation:apersonquits
governmentserviceandwantstocontinueworkinacompany,whichinthepasthad
relation,say,totheministrywherethisofficialworked.Peopleaskthequestion:canwe
accepttheinvitation?Wehavealotofsuchinquiries.Sometimes,wegiveourpermission
butrefusalsalsooccur.Everythingdependsonaparticularsituation.

Andthisisverygood.Anti-corruptionbehaviorisgraduallybecomingnormalpractice.Of
course,high-profileprobesarealwaysmuchspokenaboutandthemedialikessuch
cases.Onegovernorwasjailed,anothergovernorwasremovedfromhispost...Butyou
wantmore.Areyoucallingusintotheyear1937whentherevolutionaryjusticewas
administeredwithoutcourtproceedingsandinvestigation?

-Whyso?Thisshouldbedoneproperly,underlaw.

-Look,theremustbeweightyargumentstoplaceapersonunderarrest.Isitclear?For
yourinformation,ninegovernorshavebeencriminallyprosecutedoverthepastfewyears,
bothincumbentandthosewhohavelefttheirposts.ButIwanttosayaboutadifferent
thing.High-profilecasesaremuchwrittenandspokenaboutandthisisperhapsrightbut
youshouldknowthatRussiancourtsannuallypassdozensofthousandsofguiltyverdicts
forcorruption-relatedcrimes.Dozensofthousands!

-Whatisthelevelthesecrimesarecommittedat?

-ThisiswhatI'mtalkingabout.Whenadoctororaschoolteacherisconvictedforabribe-
andthishappensinamajorityofcases-thisseemstobedullanduninteresting.Butthere
isanuproarwhentheconvictisagovernororaminister.Thestruggleagainstcorruptionis
notacampaignoraPR-action,withthehelpofwhichtheauthoritiestrytogainadditional
pointsandraisetheirpopularity.Theremustbenowitch-huntjusttopleasesomeone.And
therecanbenoselectivejusticedependingonthedefendant'spost.Iftherearegrounds,
chargesarebroughtagainstapersonwithoutabackwardglanceattheperson'spostor
status.Themostimportantthingisthattherearenounpunishablepersonsinanti-
corruptionactivity.Otherwise,governorswouldnotbearrestedandtheirfatewouldbe
decidedinasomewhatbehind-the-scenesprocess.

-IrecallyourinterviewyougavethreeyearsagotoTVChannelOnewhereyousaidwhat
youknew:peoplewhowerepreviouslytreatedwithtrustwerestealing.Butyouhadto
toleratethisandgivenosign...

-Thiswasthecaseaboutlarge-scaleembezzlementofbudgetfundsfromtheGLONASS
federalprogram[forthedevelopmentofthenationalsatellitegrouping].Atthattime,Ihada
closed-doormeetingwithInteriorMinistryofficersinvestigatingthecase.Theytoldme
aboutthedetailsoftheprobebutithadbeengoingonforalongtimeanditwasimportant
formenottogivemyselfawaysoasnottofrightenawaythesuspects.Ididn'tmentionthis
intheinterviewbutIbelieveitiscleartoeveryonethatwhenwelearntaboutthetheftwe
changedtheschemeoftheproject'sfinancingtoexcludetheembezzlementofbudget
funds.Thisisabsolutelyobvious!Someeighteenmonthslater,weopenedacriminalcase
andbroughtcharges.Todaysomeofthesepersonsarenolongeralivewhileothersarefar
off,servingtheirprisonterm...Youshouldunderstandthatasuspicionisnotyetaproof
andthepresidentialadministrationisnottheInvestigativeCommittee...

-Butthecorruptofficialssubmittedtaxreturnsinaccordancewiththeestablished
procedure,inwhicheverything,perhaps,lookedfine,butacloserexaminationwouldreveal
...

-Thelaunderingofbudgetfundsandtheirwithdrawalintooffshorehavensarenotdeclared
andbankaccountsinCyprusorsomewhereontheVirginIslandsarenotindicatedeither.
Butthereisnodirectrelationshiphere.Corruptionhasbecomeveryintricateandlatentand
proofsincorruptioncasesareobtainedquiterigorouslyandcarefully.Thismeansthat
consistenteffortsweretakentolookintoandfindtheproofsagainstcorruptpersons.

-Thereisawidespreadopinionthattherearefileswithincriminatingevidenceoneveryone
andaparticularfileistakenoutattherighttimeandputonthepresident'sdesk.

-Absolutenonsense!Ifsuchfilesexistandtheyshouldbecalledcases,thenthesearein
law-enforcementagencies.Perhaps,therearesuchcasesthere.Thisisevenforsureand
notjustprobably.Peoplearenotarrestedwithoutreasoninourcountry.

-WhendidyoulearnaboutthearrestofGaizer,forexample?

-Whenitwasreportedinnewsprograms.ThereportscameeitherfromtheTASSnews
wireorTVnews.AndIdon'tconsideritpossibletocommentonthiscasebecauseI
haven'tseenitandIdon'tknowthedetails.Nooneinformedmeinadvanceorconsulted
withmeaboutwheretocarryoutthisspecialoperation,ifyou'retalkingaboutthis.Don't
thinkthateverythingisdecidedintheKremlin.Muchisdecidedbutnoteverything.

Letmerepeatagain:thepresidentialadministration,indeed,analyzestheincome
declarationsofofficials,aboveall,top-levelpersons.Wecheckthecorrectnessofdata
indicatedinsuchdeclarations.Apparently,I'llspeakseparatelyonthistopicattheendof
theyeartoinformhowmanycaseswehaverevealedamongofficialssubmittinguntrue
data,whichservedasthegroundfortheirdismissalduetothelossofconfidence.Butthis
doesnotmeanthattheyarecriminalsandyoushouldn'tconfusedifferentthings.
---

Aboutwork"inthefield,"spymania,thegovernment'sfear,thesplitofelites,the
yachtofAndreiMelnichenko,sadRomanAbramovichandtheprospectsof
Transaeroairline

-Youreferredtoyourpreviousservice,asifunintentionally,alreadytwice.Imeanthe
specialservice.Doesthisexperiencehelpyouinyourcurrentwork?

-Perhaps,notverymuchnow.WhendidIquittheservice?Thiswasin2000.Afterthat,I
workedasdefenseminister,andthefirstvice-premier.Iknowasaying,although,thatthere
canbenoformerintelligenceofficers...Yes,indeed,Ispentthelargerconsciouspartofmy
lifeintheForeignIntelligenceService.Twenty-fivecalendaryearsarenojoke.Thepast
experienceundoubtedlyofferssomehelp,forinstance,wheninternationalissuesare
discussed,thankstoagoodcommandoftheEnglishlanguage.

-I'mtalkingaboutadifferentthing,aboutthemind-setandapeculiarviewontheworld.

-Maybe.Theabilitytoswitchfromonethingtoanotherandthequickreaction...

-Andwhataboutthesaying:"trustbutverify?"

-Ah,you'retalkingaboutthis.YouknowIwasengagedinpoliticalintelligenceandlargely
workedinthefieldandfinishedtheoverseaspartofmyserviceasaresident.Thisishowit
was:Ihadtotrustcomradesblindlybecausetherewerenopossibilitiestoverify.Youcan't
suspectyourcomradesbecausethisisevenworseandmoredangerous.

.Anotherthingisthatyoushouldreadpeoplewellandknowwhomyoucanrelyon.

-Butaweaklinkmaynotrevealitselfimmediately.Incidentally,theWestimposed
sanctionsagainstRussiainthehopeoftheelites'split.Itexpectedthattheclosecircleof
VladimirPutinwouldbediscontentwiththeinfringementofitsfreedomsand...Hasthis
planworked,inyourview?

-Yes,butonlyinamirror-likemanner.Itseemstomethattheeliteshavesplitabroadrather
thaninourcountry.You,perhaps,analyzethewesternmedia.Haven'tyounoticedthat
whenofficials-ministers,speakersand,allthemoreso,presidentsortheheadsof
governments-speak,theycriticizeRussiaunmercifullywithafrownontheirfacesanda
quiveringvoice.Itfollowsfromtheirspeechesthatwe'rewrongineverythingand
everywhere,inUkraine,Syriaandwhereverelse.Butwhenpoliticianswhohaveleftthe
upperechelonsofpowerforvariousreasonsstarttospeak,thetonalityoftheirspeeches
changesdramatically.Foreignanddefenseministersandotherreputablepersonswho
havelefttheirpostssuddenlybegintoopenlyshowsolidaritywithourpositiononmany
issues.Whatdoesthissuggest?Thissuggeststhatyouareobligedtotalkthiswayandno
otherwaywhileyouareinpower.Itisonlyafteryouresignthatyoucanexpressyourown
thoughtsandviews.Thisisnotforbiddenbutonlyforex-officialsandnotforpersons
holdingposts.Thosewhoreturntopower,starttocriticizeuswithanewvigor.Ihavelong
grownaccustomedtothis.Andlookatitwithhumor.

-Andwhataboutourelites?

-Whatdoyoumean?Givetheexamples.

-OnepartofthebusinesselitehasbeenhitbysanctionsduetofriendshipwithVladimir
PutinandisdeprivedofthepossibilitytogotoEuropeanduseitsmoneyandrealestate
there.Meanwhile,theworld'slargestyachtworthover$400millionissetafloatinGermany
for[Russianbillionairebusinessman]AndreiMelnichenko.Also,[Russianbillionaire]Roman
AbramovichhasbeenrejoicingatthesuccessesofhisFCChelseainLondonformany
years.

-Thisisaprovocativequestion.Whereistheconflict?Idon'tunderstand.Firstofall,about
theelites.IhavesaidonmanyoccasionsthatIdislikethiswordverymuch.Tomymind,
thiswordcanbeusedforthosewhohavedonesomethinguseful,necessaryandtangible
forthehomecountryinthecourseofseveralgenerations.Toomanyvolunteersinour
countryawardthemselveswiththistitlewithoutsufficientgroundsforthat.Thisisthefirst
generalremark.Excusemefordepartingfromthetheme.

Now,letmespeaktothepoint.Whatisthenameoftheyacht'sowner,asyousay?

-Melnichenko.

A:Wheredidyougettheinformationaboutthevessel'scost?

-Thisisanexpertestimate.TheyachtwasbuiltattheGermanshipyardNobiskrug...

-Istronglydoubtthatthisfigureistruebutthereisanotherthingthatmatters.Thequestion
iswhetherMr.Melnichenkoacquiredthisyachtwithlegallyearnedfunds.Thisisthemain
andthesolethingthatmattersforme.Iunderstandthatwealthyandsuccessfulpeopleare
dislikedandevenhatedinourcountry,unfortunately.Butifamanbuyssomethingwithhis
earnedmoney,thisishispersonalmatter.

-Iaskednotaboutaspecificyachtbutabouttherelationsbetweenthosewhocango
abroadandthosewhoaredeprivedor,tobemoreexact,limitedintheirfreedomoftravel
acrosstheworld.

-Yes,somerepresentativesofthebusinesscircles(butnotelites)havesufferedfromthe
sanctions,asyouputit.Buteverythingisrelative.Ibelieve,althoughIdonotassert,that
[Gennady]Timchenkoor[ArkadyandBoris]Rottenberg[theRussianbillionaire
businessmenhitbythewesternsanctions]alsohaveyachts.Noonehastakenthese
yachtsawayfromthem.ThisispointNo.1.Theyarestillfreetotravelaboardtheiryachts
everywheretheywant.Letmerepeatagain:theglobeisnotlimitedbytheOldandtheNew
World.ThisispointNo.2.So,don'tbothermuchaboutthem.AsforAbramovich,hisFC
ChelseahasmadeanunfortunatestartintheEnglishChampionshipandholdsaplaceat
thebottomofthetournamentstandings.Thiscanhardlypleasetheclub'sowner.Thisis
pointNo.3.ButthekeyquestionagainisthemoneywithwhichRomanAbramovichbought
theLondonteammanyyearsago.Ifthemoneyislegal,thenthethemeisclosedforme.

Asforhowsomebusinessmenlookatothersandhow,itisbettertoaddressthisquestion
tothem.Ibelievethatnoproblemsariseininterpersonalcommunicationthereand
everythingisunderstandabletoeveryone.Butthisismypresumption.Strictlyspeaking,in
thecontextoftheinfluenceofsanctionsonbusiness,itismoreappropriatetotalknotabout
thefreedomoftravelacrosstheworldbut,say,abouttherestrictedaccesstothecapital
market,which,indeed,hasseriouseconomicconsequencesforcompaniesincludedinthe
sanctionslists.

-Letusswitchfromyachtstoaircrafttoreducetheheatofourdiscussion.Letustalk
aboutprivateratherthanpersonalplanes.AirlineTransaerohasgonebankrupt.WillAeroflot
becomethemonopolyonthemarketafteritsdeparture?Please,answermeastheperson
whooversawthetransportsectorinthegovernmentforalongtime.Isitgoodorbad?

-Therewillbenomonopoly.EvenifAeroflothadincludedTransaeroinitsbalancesheet,
aswasplanned,itssharewouldhavebeenfrom48to52percentonthemarket.Butthe
dealfellthrough.Thegovernmentisnowconsideringotheroptions.Transaeromanagers
arelargelytoblamethemselves:theywerewrongwiththebusinessstrategy,tookplanes
onleaseforforeigncurrencyandthentherubleplummetedandtheygotintothissituation.
Itisn'tthestatethatistoblameforthis.WesupportedTransaeroasanationalairlinefora
longtimeandnowitisimportantthatpassengersand,ofcourse,theairline'sstaff-pilots,
stewardessesandgroundpersonnel-shouldnotsufferfromthis.Meanwhile,the
enlargementofcompaniesisworldpractice.Perhaps,youknowthattheDutchKLMisnow
partofAirFrancewhiletheScandinavianSAShasbeenmergedintoLufthansawhilethe
SpanishIberiafailedtolivethroughthepreviouscrisis.Weakoperatorsaretakenoveror
swallowedup.Thishappenseverywhere.ButAeroflotsurelywon'tbethesoleplayeron
thedomesticmarket.

-ButnooneencroachesonthemonopolyofRussianRailways(RZD).Itistrue,though,
thatRZDHeadVladimirYakuninwhoseemedtoholdhispostfirmlyhadtoresign.

-AsfarasIknow,theresignationwasdiscussedforsometimeandwasnosurprisefor
Yakunin.Asforhisplanstobecomeasenatorandthenhisdecisiontogiveuptheseplans,
thisishispersonalmatter.

OlegBelozyorovbecametheRZDheadinAugustandrecentlyinformedPrimeMinister
DmitryMedvedevthatthecompanyplannedtoreachabreakevenpointinsuburbanrailway
communicationin2015.Forthefirsttimeever!Earlier,billionsofrubleswerespentin
subsidesfromthefederalbudgetonthis.

Therearealotofproblemsinthesector.RailwaycarriagetariffsremainveryhighandI
wouldsayexcessivelyhigh.Asaresult,wehavehugeimbalances.Businessmentryto
transportanycargobyroad.Itcomestoabsurditywhenmetalandcoalaretransportedby
truckstoadistanceofseveralhundredkilometers.Thisisbecauseyoudon'thavetopay
fortheoperationofhighwaysandeverythingisforfree.Nowwe'llfinallystartcollectinga
feefromtruckswithaweightofover12tons.Theydamagetheroadbedverymuch!
Incidentally,Irecollectedthatintheearly2000wediscussedaproposalinthegovernment
onintroducingtollhighways.Thereweresomanyheateddebates.Thequestionwasabout
whetheritwasnecessarytochargeafeefromdrivers.MostoftheCabinetmembersdid
notsupportme.Ihadtoexplainandproveeverything.DidyourideinSheremetyevoalong
thenewsectionofafutureMoscow-Petersburgtollroad?Ittakesyoujustfiveminutesto
arrive.Noweachpersonisfreetochoose:eithertopay100rublesforthespeedand
convenienceormoveslowlyintrafficjams.Weliveinafreecountry...

-Incidentally,abouttheairports.WhatcausedyourcriticisminPetropavlovsk-Kamchatski
whenyoulashedattheheadsofDalspetsstroi[theFarEasternbranchoftheFederal
AgencyforSpecialConstruction]asyoutalkedbeforeTVcameras.Wereyousostruckby
thedisruptionofthelocalportreconstruction?

-Everythingcanbeunderstoodincomparison.IrememberthatIusedtoflytoVladivostok
asthedefenseministerwhentheaerodromebelongedtothePacificFleet.Youcouldn't
lookwithouttearsatit:ashedandabadlandingstripmadeofconcreteplates.Andlookat
theairportbuiltnowthere.OrinYekaterinburg.InSochi,Novosibirsk.I'mmentioningthe
facilitiesfrommemory.Thislistcanbecontinued.AsfarasIremember,wehaveinvested
over380billionrublesinthereconstructionofairportsinthepasttenyears,includinglarge
aerodromes.Ofthissum,about250billionrubleswereinvestedfromthebudget.

ItisnotthemoneythatisaprobleminKamchatka.Thefundsfortheconstructionofthe
secondstripwereallocatedinfull.Thenewtakeoffandlandingstripwasbuiltayearago
butplanescan'ttakeofforlandbecausethereisnoflightcontroltowerthere.Theschedule
offinishingtheconstructionworkwasdelayedbyabouteightmonths.WhenIlearntabout
thisinPetropavlovsk,Idecidedtolookintothematter.Ingeneral,theproblemistypicaland
itrepeatsinminiaturewhatishappeningattheconstructionsiteoftheVostochny
cosmodrome.Budgetfundswereallocated,contractorsreceivedassignmentsbutoneof
themtookthemoneyanddisappearedonthevastexpensesofRussiaorevenperhapsleft
thecountry.

SoIhadtoreprimandthem,toputitdelicately.AndnowIreceivereportseverytendayson
thepaceofconstruction.Dalspetsstroiiscompletingworksinthebuildingoftheflight
controlcentre.InearlyNovember,specialistsofAlmaz-Anteycompanywillstartinstalling
moderntechnologicalequipmentforairtrafficcontrol.Theequipmenthasbeenpurchased
andonlyhastobeinstalled.

Asaresult,afteraone-yeardelay,Kamchatkaresidentsand,Ihope,mostRussianswho
wanttogettothesebeautifulplaceswillbeabletousethenewairport.IlikeKamchatka
verymuchandconsideritoneoftheworld'swonders.

-Willyougotoaccepttheworks?

-Probably.ButatfirstI'llwaitforareportthateverythingisfinishedandreadyforoperation.
---

Ongeneralshoulderstraps,retirementat47,thesnowsofKilimanjaro,traitor
Gordievskyandhumanweaknesses

-Speakingabouttransportandroads...doyouhaveacar?

-Idon'tneedone.Honestly,Iamusinganofficialcar.IgaveupdrivinglongagowhenI
becameasubjectofstateprotectionin1999.

ButIlikeddriving.IhadaVolgaGaz24madeforexportandcoatedwithleadoxide.Agood
car!AndIputmanykilometersonthatvehicle,some300,000.OnceItookadrivefrom
MoscowtoPetrozavodsk.Withoutrefueling.IhadahybridVolgacarusingbothpetroleum
andnaturalgas.Youknow,thosespecialtanksinthetrunk?Icoulddrivehalfwaywithgas
andtheneasilyswitchtopetroleumanddroveforanother500kilometerscastingsuperior
glancesatlonglinesatafewpetrolstations.Ihadtherighttofeelfairpride.EventuallyI
honestlyearnedmoneytobuytheRussiancar-makingmarvelwhileservingtheMotherland
abroad.

-Mr.Ivanov,I'venoticedthatyoualmostneverwearmilitaryuniform.ButonMay9thisyear
yousuddenlyappearedincolonelgeneral'sjacket...
Ihavewornuniforminpublictwiceinmylife.Iamstressing-inpublic.Thefirsttimewasin
2000whenthe55thanniversaryoftheVictorywascelebrated.IservedasRussian
SecurityCouncilsecretaryatthattime.AndthesecondtimewaslastMayasyoujust
noted.VictoryDayisasacredholidayforme,asformanyourcompatriots.AsIhada
directattitudetoservice,althoughitwasnotarmyservice,Ideemeditpossibletowear
uniform.

I'vebeenretiredsince2000.WhenIwasSecurityCouncilsecretaryVladimirPutinsaidmy
candidacywasconsideredforthepostofdefenseminister.AtthattimeIwasaspecial
servicegeneralandtoldthepresidentIdeemeditwrong.Inmyopinion,anintelligence
officer,aservingone,notaretiredone,cannotheadthearmedforces.

-Andwhat'stheproblem?

-Canyouimagineapolicegeneralcomeandstartcommandingtheforeignintelligence
service(SVR)?Icannotpicturethis.Wehavewrittenandunwrittenrules,someethicsof
relationsbetweenrepresentativesofdifferentservicesandtroops.It'shardtoexplainthisto
acivilian.

-ButSergeyShoigu,theEmergenciesMinistry'sGeneraloftheArmy,movedtoArbat
Squareandthat'sfine.

-AfterleavingtheEmergenciesMinistry,SergeyShoigususpendedservice.Heworkedas
theMoscowRegion'sgovernorforsixmonthsandonlythenbecamedefenseminister.All
islogical.

So,backin2000Ihadnodoubtsthataspecialservicesofficershouldnotheadother
'institutionofforce'.AndIamstillconvincedinthis.Therefore,ItoldPresidentPutinthen
thatI'dliketoretireforthesakeofsoonestadaptationatmynewposition.VladimirPutin
agreedwiththislogicandsignedmyresignation,because,asyouknow,hehadalso
workedfortheforeignintelligenceservice.

Soattheageof47IbecameamilitaryretireeandIstillamandevengettinggood
retirementbenefits.Alongwithmysalaryofapresidentialstaffofficial.

I'venowturnedtopastandrecalledaconversationwithGeorgeW.Bushwhenhecameto
St.Petersburgintheearly2000s.WeweretakingarivercruisealongtheNeva,standing
onthedeckandIpointedatthefamous"BigHouse"onLiteinyavenue,theformerKGB
headquartersinLeningradandthecurrentFSBheadquarters.Itoldhim,"Seethewindow
ontheseventhfloor?It'stheofficewherePutinandIstartedourprofessionalcareeras
youngoperatives."

-Didyoushareoneoffice?

-Neighboringones.

AndBushsaidinreply,"Sergey,youmustknowthatmyfatherwasaCIAdirectorforalong
whileandthenbecameUSpresident.SothefatheralwaystoldmethatLangley,notthe
WhiteHouse,wasthemostinterestingperiodinhislife."

-Areyoureadytosubscribetothesewords?

-Fortunately,IhavenothingtodobothwiththeWhiteHouseandLangley,butIenjoyedmy
intelligenceservice.AndIthinkIwasdoingwell.Butit'sbettertoassessfromtheoutside.

-OnceyouquotedKissingerinthisregard...

-Hesaidthateverydecentguyshouldstartcareerwitharmyorsecretservices.Istarted
withsecond.Kissingerisagiantofaman,averyinterestinginterlocutorandIdorespect
himendlessly.BeforeIwasbannedentrytotheUSoversanctions,Imethimtheremany
timesandKissingereveninvitedmetohisNewYorkapartment.Andwhentheformer
secretaryofstatevisitsMoscow,Itrynottomissachancetomeetwithhim.

Butofcourse,wedon'ttalkaboutintelligencework.
-Mr.Ivanov,youhaveaperfectsurnameforaspy,whichmakesiteasytomixwiththe
crowd.

-I'lltellyouafunnystory.WhenIservedasRussiandefenseministerintheearly2000s,I
oftencametoLondonandBritishjournalistsalwaystoldme,"Butyouweredeportedfrom
England!"Iwasreallysurprised.AndthenIlearnedthatsomeIvanovSergeyBorisovich
hadbeendeported,indeed.Buthewasbornin1952andIwasbornin1953.Mynamesake
gotinamessinBritain.Suchanoddcoincidence!

Asformysurname,Ivanovismyfather's.Mymother'ssurnamewasPetukhov.

So,I'veconfessedeverything.

-Andwhywon'tyoustubbornlynamethecountrieswhereyouserved?

-Ofcourse,thisisnobigsecrettodaybutnoonehascanceledcertainethics.Underthe
lawallintelligencesecretscanbedisclosedonlyafter75years.Mytimehasnotcomeyet.

-Icanquoteyourinterviewgiven15yearsago,"IsawKilimanjarobutIwon'ttellyoufrom
whichside."Justtrytoguess-fromKenyaorfromTanzania.

-AndIcanrepeatitnow.ButI'lladdthatIsawthemountainfrombothsides...Asyousee,I
don'trejectwhatIsaidanddon'tdeceiveanyone.

-DidyoufollowinHemingway'sfootstepstothesnowsofKilimanjaro?

-Iwasnotatourist,Iwasworkingthere.ButIsometimesthinkofthoseplaces,indeed.
Theyareworthvisiting.EastAfrica-Kenya,Tanzania,Uganda-areknownfortheir
amazingnationalparkswherepredatorsandotheranimalsliveintheirnaturalhabitatand
walkatlargewhilepeoplearewatchingthemfromarespectfuldistance.Thosesightsare
sealedinmemoryforever.

ButwhereandhowIworkedisnotforthemedia,I'msorry.Ofcourse,somethingsarewell
knownasIdidn'tconcealthem.I'vealreadytoldyouthatpoliticalintelligencewasmy
specializationandIwasfocusedontheWest.IendedmyserviceabroadasaKGB
residentandthenworkedasfirstdeputyheadoftheSVREuropeanintelligence
department.

-Onceyou'vementionedthatyoufacedbetrayalwhichaffectedyourcareer.What'sitall
about?

-Icantellyounow...IknewamannamedGordievsky.Ifhecanbecalledaman,ofcourse.
IcannotsaythathisshamefulbetrayalandrecruitmentbytheBritishintelligenceservice
brokemylifebutIgotcertainproblemsatwork.Roughlyspeaking,Gordievskyturnedme
in.Afterthat,Ihadsomeforeignassignmentsbutinotherlocations.

SincethenIfeelagreataversiontotreasons.Thereweretraitorsinintelligenceintheearly
1990s.Ifyouremember,agroupofsleeperagentshassufferedrecently...Itisfairtosay
thatCIAandFBIalsohaddefectorstoourside.Secretservicesneversleep.

Youknow,you'veaskedwhatmarksmypreviousjobleftonme.Idon'tlikelong,ponderous
andoff-the-pointanswerstosimplequestions.Intelligenceworkrequiresprecisionand
specifics.AndIamaquitepragmaticpersonbynature.Thereismuchworktodo,why
wouldIwastemyandotherpeople'stime?Whenapersonismakingalongand
monotonousspeechaboutsomethingforhalfanhourandyoucanunderstandnothingof
whathe'ssaying,youunwittinglygetirritated.Whyjustdon'tadmitthatyoudon'tknowthe
answerand,therefore,keepdrawingcirclesintheair?

Nobodycanknoweverything.Ihaveneverbeenafraidoftellingaprofessionalthathe
knowsthesubjectbetter.Thereisnothingshamefulaboutit.It'snormal!Teachingfishto
swimwillnevercometomymind.Orgivingadvicetothecoachhowheshouldtrainthe
teamaheadofadecisivematch.

-Well,yes,Mr.Ivanov,youareasportslover.

-Whatdoes"lover"mean?AsanormalSovietchild,Iplayedfootball,hockey,volleyball,
handballandonceeventriedtoplaywaterpolo,whichalmostkilledme.That'sahorsey
sport,excusemyFrench.Oneshouldbeverystrongtoenduresuchloads.AndIwasnot
eveninmybestyears.Itriedtoplaygolflaterbutitdidn'tgowell.Everythingneedstime,no
successcomesatonce.Iwasplayingbasketballforawhileandevenachievedcertain
resultsbutsufferedanankleinjuryandhadtobecomeafanlongago.

-Anardentone.YouevenrememberChelsea'stableposition,asfarasIknow.

-Idon'tfollowtheEnglishchampionshipintentionallybutifIflipthroughSportExpressdaily
inthecarIlookattheresults.ButIamaCSKAfan.Inallsports-football,hockey,
basketball.

And,ofcourse,theRussianteamledbyLeonidSlutskyhasmademyday.Webroke
throughtoEuro2016whenallchancesseemedtobelost.IwasattheOtkritiyeArenato
supporttheteamatthematchwithMontenegrowhenthestadiumwasfull.

-HowshallwedivideLeonidSlutskybetweenthenationalteamandtheclub?

-Thecoachisneitherawardrobe,norasackofpotatoes...Slutskyisanunusualcoach.I
guessnoonealreadydoubtshisprofessionalism.Rememberthoseclamorsagainstthe
combinationofpositions.AndtwomonthslaterCSKAareevidentleadersoftheRussian
footballchampionshipsandthenationalteamwonfourstraightvictoriesandqualifiedfor
theFrenchtournamentwithoutplay-offs.Whatotherreasonsareneeded?Beforetheend
oftheRussianchampionships,thenationalteamhastoholdtwoshortgatheringsandplay
friendlymatches.That'sall!Whatistheproblem?I'vealreadyexpressedmyopinion:Ithink
SlutskyshouldstayatCSKAbytheendoftheseasonandthentheRussianFootballUnion
shouldagreeonLeonid'scontractbailout.Morereasoningwillfollow.Butit'suptoVitaly
Mutko.

-CSKAPresidentYevgenyGinersaidthatSlutsky'scontractisworthabilliondollars.

-Oneshouldunderstandjokes!IhopeVitalyMutkowillcometotermswithYevgenyGiner...
Ginerisareasonableandsoundperson,althoughhecanbetoughandshrewd.Thisis
normal.That'shischaracter.Whensomeonesayshehasnofaults,it'salarming.Itmeans
heismistakenorwantstohidesomething.Asuspicionsituation,don'tyouthink?

[returntoContents]

#2
Government.ru
October17,2015
DmitryMedvedev'sinterviewwithVestivSubbotu(NewsonSaturday)programmebythe
Rossiyatelevisionnetwork

DmitryMedvedevspokewithVestivSubbotuhostSergeiBrilyovonthesituationinSyria.

Transcript:

SergeiBrilyov:MrMedvedev,thankyoufortakingafewminutestotalkwithus.I'maware
thatyoucameherestraightfromameetingofthePresidiumofthePresidentialCouncilfor
EconomicModernisationandInnovativeDevelopment.

DmitryMedvedev:Yes,themeetinghasjustfinished.

SergeiBrilyov:Unfortunately,myquestionisnotaboutanythingmodern,butrather,thewell-
knownarchaicdevelopmentsthatarehappeninginworldpolitics.I'mreferringtotheUnited
StatesrefusingtoaccepttheRussiandelegation,ledbyyou,especiallyasyouhavegood
personalrelationswithPresidentObama.Wereyousurprised?Whatwasyourreaction?

DmitryMedvedev:Ithinkthatpersonalrelationsdon'thaveanythingtodowithit.National
interestsalwaysprevail.Whathappened?Amajorconflicthasbrokenout,anditmustbe
addressed.However,thecurrentUSadministrationhasreactedinafairlystrangemanner.
Bytheway,itisroutinelyblamedforthingsthatitcan'taffordtoallowitself,suchas
weakness,indecisionandincompetence.Ontopofthis,itisblamedfornottaking
appropriatemeasurestoupholditspriorities.I'mnotsureifthisisthecase,it'suptothem
todecide.Butjudgingbythestatementsthatweremadethisweek,includingbysome
WhiteHouseclerks,itseemstobetrue.

LetmegiveyouaquickrecapoftheSyrianevents.Aconflictbegantherein2010-2011.
Ourinitialpositionwastorefrainfromtakinganydecisionsaimedatunderminingthe
authorityofthecurrentSyriangovernment.Next,the"IslamicState",orISIS,becamea
problem.TheAmericansproposeddealingwiththiseviljointly.Wesaidyes,wethinkit's
therightthingtodo,andwearewillingtodoit.Thequestionishow.AfterISISbeganto
spreadlikeacancerthroughouttheMiddleEast,wetoldthemthatwewerewillingtojoin
thecombinedanti-terroristefforts.However,todoso,weneedamandatefromtheSyrian
government.Ourcountryobtainedsuchamandateintheformofacorrespondingrequest
bySyria'sPresidental-Assad.Therefore,wehavethenecessarylegalgroundstofight
terrorisminthatcountry.Buthowshouldwegoaboutthisfight?Inordertofightanyone,
youneedtounderstandwhothetargetis.InacollaborativeeffortwiththeSyrianleaders,
wehaveidentifiedseveraltargets.TheCommander-in-Chiefmadeanappropriatedecision,
andthearmedforcesbegantheiroperations.TheAmericansaredisgruntled.Theyare
tellingusthateitherthestrikesorthetargetsarewrong.Toourlegitimaterequeststo
provideuswiththecorrecttargets,theysaytheywon'tdothat.Wesayokay,butthenat
leastshowuswhichtargetsweshouldnotattack,andtheycomebackwiththesame
answer.Whatkindofcooperationisthat?

TheRussianPresidentdecidedtocomeupwithaproposaltoholdconsultationswith
them.Thefactis,ourUScolleagueskeeptellingusthatthisproblemshouldbeaddressed
inacomprehensivemanner,andthatit'simperativethatweagreeonSyria'sfuture,
discussthefateofPresidental-Assadandresolvethesituationpolitically.Wehaveno
objectionstothat-hence,theideaofapoliticaldelegationincludingspecificmembers.
Suchadelegationwouldbeinapositiontodiscussavarietyofissues,rangingfromthe
militaryallthewaytopoliticalangles,focusingonanationaldialogueandsettlement.This
seemstomakesense.However,theUSadministrationcamebackwithacounterintuitive
response,sayingthattheydon'tneedit,becauseRussiaisbehavingincorrectly,andsuch
adialogueisimpossible.Thisisthesituation.

SergeiBrilyov:WhenwasRussia'sproposaltosendadelegationledbyyoutotheUnited
Statesmadepublic?

DmitryMedvedev:Itwasquiterecently,soonafterthestartofthecorrespondingphaseof
themilitaryoperation.

SergeiBrilyov:NotinNewYorkduringtheconsultations?

DmitryMedvedev:No,notinNewYork.Webehavedlikepartnersinthissense.The
Presidentspokewithhisoppositenumber,andconsultationswereheldatthelevelof
foreignministers.Butthismessagewassentafterthemilitaryoperationshadbegun.

SergeiBrilyov:I'mgoingtoaskyouasomewhatunrelatedquestion.Wehavenever
discusseditwithyoubefore.YouareoriginallyfromLeningrad,nowStPetersburg.Ihope
youlikethemoviePokrovskyGateswhichissetinMoscow?

DmitryMedvedev:Ido,justlikeanyothergoodSovietfilm.

SergeiBrilyov:There'salinewherethemaincharacter-Kostik-askssomeoneto
describehisfeelings.Hesays,"Whatdothesepeoplemakeyoufeel?"Wait,I'veeven
copiedthislinefromthescripttomakesureIgotitright.

DmitryMedvedev:Well,it'saclassicofRussianfilm,soquotingitisappropriate.

SergeiBrilyov:Yes,hereyougo.Here'swhathesays,"Isitfrustration,sympathy,
compassion,or,perhaps,fondness?"AndI'dadd,perhaps,disappointment?

DmitryMedvedev:AreyoutalkingabouttheUSactions...

SergeiBrilyov:YourattitudetowardstheAmericans.

DmitryMedvedev:Youknow,I'llputitthisway:Ithinkit'sfoolishbehavior.Bymakingsuch
decisionsorrefusingtotalk,theAmericansaresimplyshowingtheirweakness.Afterall,
everyonecanseethattheiractivitiesinthisregiontocombatISIShaveamountedto
practicallynothing,andISIScontinuestospread.OnlyRussia'sinvolvementhaschanged
thesituation.Still,theysaythattheywon'ttalkwithus.This,Ibelieve,isashortsightedand
weakposition,becausestrongandresponsibleleadersandstatesacceptofferstohold
talkseveninsituationswherethepartiesmayseethingsdifferently.Inanycase,wenever
avoidedtalks.Let'swaitandsee.AsourPresidentsaid,weareopentodiscussany
issues,andI'mheretosayitagain.

SergeiBrilyov:Here'smylastquestionaboutthis.Therewasafeelingthatthepeoplewith
whomyouweresupposedtogotoWashington-representativesoftheGeneralStaffand
theDefenceMinistry-weregoingtheretodiscusspurelymilitarymatters.However,since
thedelegationwastobeledbyyou,youwereboundtodiscusswaystoachievepolitical
settlement.Isthatright?

DmitryMedvedev:That'sexactlywhatourUScolleaguessaidinasurprisedtone,"So,you
wanttodiscusspoliticalissues?"Indeed,Russia,theUnitedStates,andallotherstates
thathaveastakeinseeingpeaceinthisregionandinSyria,andastronggovernment,too,
shouldbediscussingpreciselypoliticalissues.Itdoesn'treallymatterwhowillbeatthe
helm.Wedon'twantISIStorunSyria,dowe?Itshouldbeacivilisedandlegitimate
government.Thisiswhatweneedtodiscuss.

SergeiBrilyov:So,itdoesn'thavetobeBasharal-Assad?Russiaisoftenaccusedtodayof
protectingnotitself,butBasharal-Assad.

DmitryMedvedev:No,absolutelynot.It'suptotheSyrianpeopletodecidewhowillbethe
headofSyria.Bytheway,Syriaisamultiethnic,multi-faithandafairlycomplexnation.It's
uptothepeopletodecide.Atthemoment,weoperateonthepremisethatal-Assadisthe
legitimatepresident.ImaybeoneofthefewwhowasinSyriabeforethewar,andsaw
whatSyriawaslikebeforethewar.Icantellyouthatitwasastrongandquitemodern
state...

SergeiBrilyov:Well,notwithoutauthoritarianism,butpeaceful.

DmitryMedvedev:Yes,apeacefulstate,absolutelyright.Monumentswerenotdestroyed
there,andtheeconomywasgood.Now,ithasbecomeamess.Thisisthemost
unpleasantoutcomeoftherecentdevelopments.So,ofcourse,wearenotfightingtoback
specificleaders.Ontheonehand,wearedefendingournationalinterests.ThePresident
saidthatifwedon'tdestroytheseterroriststhere,theywillcometoRussia.Ontheother
hand,wereceivedarequestforhelpfromlegitimateSyrianauthorities.Thisiswherewe
proceedfrom.

SergeiBrilyov:So,we'llbewaitingfortheAmericanstocometotheirsenses?

DmitryMedvedev:We'llseewhatkindofdecisionstheyaregoingtomake.Anyway,I
reiterate:Clearly,ourcountryhasmadethefirststepinthisarea,andweareopento
dialogue.

SergeiBrilyov:Thankyou,MrMedvedev.

[returntoContents]

#3
AlJazeera
www.aljazeera.com
October16,2015
PutinshowshisrealisminSyria
AlackofmoderateSyrianoppositionforceshasforcedWashingtontogivetacitconsentto
Russianintervention.
ByAnatolLieven
AnatolLievenisaprofessoratGeorgetownUniversityinQatarandavisitingprofessorat
King'sCollegeLondon.

TheRussiangovernmenthasanumberofdifferentmotivesforitsinterventioninthe
conflictinSyria.Amongthesearethedesiretohelpanoldally,tobeseenoncemoreasa
greatpowerontheworldstage,andestablishapositionthatwillforceUSandEuropean
leaderstotreatRussia'sviewswithgreaterrespect,especiallyovertheUkrainecrisis.

Russia'sstrategy,however,alsostemsfromaparticularanalysisofthesituationinSyria
basedonamixtureofhard-headedrealismandtheexperienceofovertwodecadessince
thefallofcommunism.TheRussiananalysisisthattheUSstrategyofarmingandbuilding
uptheSyrian"moderateopposition"neverstoodanychanceofsuccessandhasnowbeen
recognisedbythePentagonasafailedstrategy.Also,underthesecircumstances,ifthe
BaathstateinDamascusisoverthrown,theresultwillbe,atbest,long-termanarchyand
atworst:atakeoverbytheIslamicStateofIraqandtheLevant(ISIL)andal-Qaeda.

ReminiscentofWesterntactics

Moscowhas,therefore,decidedtoprovidetheSyrianstateanditsHezbollahandKurdish
allieswithaRussianairforce,inthesameway(intheviewofRussianofficials)theUS
providedanairforcefortheLibyanoppositionin2011,theNorthernAllianceinAfghanistan
in2001,theKosovoLiberationArmyin1999,andtheCroatianarmyin1995.

ThisRussiandecisioncamewhenitdidbecauseSyrianstateforcesseemedtobe
crumblinginthefaceofISILattacks,andalsobecausethestateofUSpolicyandinterests
havemadeithighlyunlikelythattheUSwoulddoanythingtoblockRussia'sactions.

Onthelastpoint,Russiananalysishasalreadybeenshowntobeentirelycorrect.Thisis
becauseUSofficialsarenowfacedwithaninterlockingsetofseeminglyimpossible
dilemmasintheMiddleEast.Forobviousreasons,ISILhasnowjoinedal-Qaeda,bythe
US'thinking,asposingbyfarthegreatestthreatofterrorismagainsttheUSandEurope.In
Iraq,thishasledtowhatamountstoUS-IraniancooperationinsupportingtheShia-
dominatedIraqigovernmentagainstISIL.ThishasalsocontributedtotheObama
administration'snucleardealwithIran.

TheUS'inabilitytoblockRussia'snewstrategyisalsobecause,inprivate,considerable
partsofthesecurityandintelligencecommunitiesinWashingtonandotherWestern
capitalsessentiallyagreewithRussiananalyses:thatthemoderateSyrianoppositionisnot
developingasaseriousmilitaryforce.

Inthekindofsimplestrategiccalculationsbelovedbyinternationalrelationsstudents(and
whichactuallyhappenedonoccasionsduringtheColdWar),theUSwouldsimplymove
overtowardsanalliancewithIran,HezbollahandtheSyrianstateintheregion.Butthisis
obviouslyimpossibleformultiplereasons:ItwouldcosttheUSitsalliancewithSaudi
Arabia,theGulfStatesandTurkey-withdangerousimplicationsforthewiderstruggle
againstterrorism.

Washingtonis,therefore,leftwithasetofessentiallycontradictoryinterestsandpoliciesin
theregion.Indeed,andverylargelybecauseofpastUSactions,theMiddleEasthas
developedsuchcomplexandheavily-armedconflictsthatnostablehegemonyoverthe
regioniscurrentlypossible.

Tacitconsent

TheUS'inabilitytoblockRussia'snewstrategyisalsobecause,inprivate,considerable
partsofthesecurityandintelligencecommunitiesinWashingtonandotherWestern
capitalsessentiallyagreewithRussiananalyses:thatthemoderateSyrianoppositionisnot
developingasaseriousmilitaryforce.

Underthesecircumstances,todestroytheSyriangovernmentandarmywouldriskplaying
disastrouslyintothehandsofISILandal-Qaeda.Theseanalystsfullyrecognisetheodious
recordoftheSyrianstate-buttheconceptof"oursonofab***h"isnomorealientothe
CIAthanitistotheKGB.

ThedevelopmentofthiskindofthinkingintheWestbringstheseanalystsclosertoan
underlyingfeatureofRussiananalysis(alsosharedbymanyothersinBeijing,Delhiand
elsewhere),thatinmanypartsoftheworld,states-notregimes,butstates-arefarmore
fragileentitiesthanmostWesternthinkinghasassumed.Veryoften,regimesandstates
areoneandthesamething,sothatifyoubringdownone,youalsodestroytheother.The
consequencesofthis-especiallyinaneraofinternationalterroristsseekingsafehavensin
ungovernedterritories-maybemuchworsethanleavingadictatorshipinpower.

Thisthinkinghasitsrootsinhistoricalmemoriesofpastperiodsofchaosintheirown
countries.Itisclosetotheoldsaying-initsdifferentforms-that:"Adayofanarchyis
worsethanahundredyearsoftyranny".IntheviewofMoscow,theexamplesof
Afghanistansince1992,Iraqsince2003,andLibyasince2011haveprovedthisargument
sodefinitivelythatnofurtherdiscussionisnecessary.

Acertainmoodis,therefore,growinginWashingtontoletMoscowpursueitsinterventionin
Syriaandgarneralltheresultingrisksandunpopularity,while,perhapsinthewiderscheme
ofthings,alsoservinglong-termUSinterests.AmongtheserisksfortheRussian
governmentarethattheRussianpeoplethemselvesmayturnagainstthisintervention,
which-accordingtoopinionpolls-theyseemtoviewinaverydifferentlighttoMoscow's
strategyinUkraine.IfWashingtonhadarealandviablechoiceinthematter,thismightwell
bedescribedasadreadfullycynicalUSapproach.ButdoesWashingtonhaveachoice?

[returntoContents]

#4
TheIndependent(UK)
October19,2015
Putin'saimisclear:torestoretheprincipleofsovereigntytointernationalaffairs
TheRussianPresidenthastwomessages-oneforhisaudienceathome,oneforthe
West
ByVladislavLInozemtsev
VladislavL.InozemtsevPh.D.(Econ.)isSeniorVisitingFellowwiththeCenterforStrategic
andInternationalStudiesinWashington(DC)andProfessorattheHigherSchoolof
EconomicsinMoscow

Contrarytoreceivedwisdom,Russia'smilitaryactioninSyriaposesnobigthreattothe
existingglobalorder.ItwaspureVladimirPutin,ofcourse:precededbythelackofany
militarybuild-up,discussedsecretlywithWesternleaders,andlaterapprovedbythe
parliamentinminutes.Infactitmay,undersomecircumstances,evenhelpsustainit.

WhatdistinguishesRussia'sactionsinSyriafromthoseundertakeninCrimeaandinthe
easternpartsofUkraine,isaboveallitsinstitutionalizedcharacter.Whatevermaybesaid
aboutMrPutin'slong-termgoals,thecurrentsituationlooksperfectlyclear:acountry
(Russia)beingaskedbyaforeigngovernment(Syria)thathasbeencons ideredlegitimate
fordecadesandthatisrepresentedintheUNandotherinternationalorganizations,to
providemilitaryassistance,foranailingregime.AnysuggestionthattheRussianairforcehit
notsomuchtheIslamicState'smilitantsbutBasharal-Assad'spoliticalantagonistsare
senseless:theyaredoingexactlywhattheSyriandictatorisaskingfor,andnotsomething
else.RussiansbelievethatMrAssad'senemiesaretheirtargets,sinceMoscowand
Damascusareallies-andthisissufficientgroundsfortheinvolvement.

ButwhatistherealcauseofRussia'sengagementinSyria,thedeeperreasonforMrPutin
tosendhisservicemenoverseas?Therearetwoelementsoftheanswer:ontheonehand,
heshowshisfellowcitizensthatRussiamayactindifferentpartsoftheworld,itisstrong
andpowerful,andmayconstrainterroristsontheother,hewantstosendasignaltothe
West.

It'scrucialthattheWestcarefullyreadswhatthissignalmeans-becauseglobalpoliticsfor
theforeseeablefuturewilldependonhowthatmessageisdecrypted.Iwouldarguethatthe
mostwidespreadexplanation-thatMrPutinwishestostrikeanewdealwiththeUSand
Europe,theoneunderwhichhewillhelptheWesttofightIslamicextremistsinexchange
forforgettingaboutUkraine-maybemisleading.Ofcourse,theKremlinisnotsonaveas
tobelievethatthemajorpowerswillbecomeaccustomedtotheexistenceofanunstable
Ukrainianstate,plaguedbyRussian-ledseparatists,onEurope'sborders.MrPutin's
messageseemstoaddressanotherissue,quitedifferentfromtheestablishmentofCold-
War-like"spheresofinterests"inthe21st-Centuryworld.

Howeverprovocativeitmaylook,it'sallaboutthefoundationsofthecurrentglobalsystem,
andfirstofall,abouttheprinciplesofsovereigntyandnon-interference.InmyviewMrPutin
isactuallyconcernedbyoneissuealone-thatofhisownpositionasRussia'slifetime
paramountleader.Hecaresmoreandmoreabouttheglobalorderinwhich,asheseesit,
theprinciplesofsovereigntyarenolongerrespected.Herealisesthatinrecentyearsthe
WestmadeahugeadvancetowardsRussia'sbordersbyenlargingNATOandtheEUthat
iteitherdestroyedsomeautocraticregimesorseducedthemtobecomemoreco-op-
erativethattheUSisbuildingnew"coalitionsofthewilling"whichmaytoppleanypolitical
leadertheychoose.
WhatRussiaisdefendinginSyriaisnotactuallyBasharal-Assad'sregime.Norisitfighting
theglobalterroristnetwork.Moscowistodayattemptingtore-establishitsownnotionof
sovereigntythatwasthecommononejustseveraldecadesago.Takingthisintoaccount,
theWestperhapsoughttorethinkitsstrategytowardsRussia,tryingtosmoothrelations
butstoppingshortofengaginginaseriesoftrade-offswithMoscow.

InrecentdecadesboththeWestandRussiamadestrategicmovesthatwerenot
welcomedbytheotherside.TheUSandNATObackedthesecessionofKosovoin1999,
andthenrecognizedthebreak-upprovinceasasovereignstate.TheRussiansactuallydid
exactlythesamein2008inGeorgia,usingtheverysamerhetori cofhumanitarian
intervention.Thesetwocaseswerehighlydisruptiveforthecurrentinternationalregime-
butnoonecalledforaninternationalconferenceorconventionondebating,andfinally
legitimizing,humanitarianinvolvement.In2003,theUSorganizedacoalitionforwaginga
waragainstIraq,sayingthatthisstatedevelopedachemicalweaponsprogram-aclaim
thatwasnotprovedlatersincethen,similarcoalitionswereorganizedinsupportofanti-
governmentforcesinbothLibyaandnowSyria.Russiabelievedthiswasacomplete
destructionofthetraditionalnotionofstatesovereignty-andinsomepartitbecamean
excuseforneglectingthesovereignpowersofacountryintrouble.

InthecaseofCrimeain2014,MoscowactedinwayssimilartotheWest-butwhilethe
Westernpowersdecidedtotopplethegovernmentsofunstablenations,Russianleaders
preferredtooccupy(formallyornot)somepartsoftheirterritory.Ofcourse,Russia'sacti-
onswerearudeviolationofinternationallaw,buttheWesterninterventionscouldhardlybe
calledlegitimateeither.Andnowsomethingshouldbedonetostopthisracetowardthe
completedestructionoftheinternationalorder.

Toreiterate,manypoliticiansbelieve,thatMrPutinwantstoexchangesomeconcessions
inSyriaforthesameinUkraine:e.g.,RussiastopssupportingBasharal-Assad,andthe
WestagreeswithRussianoccupationofCrimea.Inthiscase,however,theresultwillbe
onlythelegitimationofillegitimateactionsindifferentpartsoftheglobe,attributedtosome
greatpower's"sphereofinterest".Inreturnforbetterconcessions,theWestshould
changetheagendacompletely.

Itshouldagreethatthetraditionalsenseofsovereigntymustberespected,andtherefore
Mral-AssadmightbeconsideredSyria'slegitimateruler,andsometerritoriesofhisstate
mightbeseenasviolentlyannexedbyeithertheIslamicStateorsomeotherrebelgroups.
TheterritorialintegrityofSyriashouldbeproclaimedindivisible,andtheWestoughtnotonly
tosupportRussia'sactions,butproposetobuildacoalitionunderRussianleadership
(sinceeverybodynowshouldacknowl edgethattheRussiansaredoingtheirjobinSyria
quiteeffectively).

Allthismayhappen,ofcourse,onlyifMoscowrethinksitsactionsinUkraine.IfRussia
wantstokeepBasharal-Assadinpower,theWestcouldreconsideritssupportforanti-go-
vernmentforcesinSyria,butsubordinatethistothewithdrawalofMoscow'sbackingforthe
Donbassseparatists.

Suchanewdealmightbeputforwardinaveryclearform:theUSandEuropeagreethat
Syriashouldberebuildunderthecurrentruler,whateverthehumanrightsconsequences
maybe(theycannotbemuchworsethantheyaretoday).So,theglobalpowersconfirm
thesovereignrulesaresuperiortothepeople'srighttorevoltandtohumanitarian
considerations.InexchangetheWestasksRussiatofullystopitssupportforDonbass
guerillas,makingitclearthataninternationalmilitaryinvolvementinDonbassifthe
UkrainiangovernmentasksforwouldbeaslegitimateasRussia'sactionsinSyria.Sothe
dealmaynotbesomuch"RussiacedesSyriatotheWest,buttheWestcedesUkraineto
Russia",butmorelike"TheWestrecognizesal-AssadastherulerofSyriaandhelpsto
crushhisopposition,ifRussiarecognizesKiev'ssovereigntyoverthewholeUkraineand
allowstheregulararmytoridthewesternprovincesofguerillas".Suchaproposalwill
eitherbeturneddownorspoiledbytheKremlin,anditwillindicatethatRussiadoesn'twant
anykindofordertoberestoredininternationalrelations.

If,however,Moscowwouldliketonegotiatesuchanoption(thatactuallywouldlookvery
reasonablefortheKremlin),arealbreakthroughmaybeachieved.Bothsidesmaydevelop
abroadagendaofissuestobedebatedandsolved-fromthepreviouslymentioned
sovereigntytothehumanitarianinterventions,useofforce,defenceofminorities,andso
on.Ofcourse,allthiswillnotmakeourworldmoredemocraticandfreebutitdefinitelywill
turnitintoasaferplace,wherethegreatpowerpoliticslooksmuchmorepredictable-and,
Iwouldargue,todayitseemsthebestpossibleresultthatmaybeactuallyachieved.

Torepeat:theRussiansaredoingnothinginSyriathatmaybeconsideredasaviolationof
internationalorder.ThereforetheWestshouldeitherstayasideandwaitfortheoutcomeof
Russia'sriskyundertaking,orsignalthatitgotRussia'smessage,hasunderstoodit,andis
readytonegotiate.Thesecondoptionisdefinitelybetter,particularifitgivesglobalpowers
thechancetolookaftertheirowninterests,whiledebatingthefundamentalissueof
sovereignty.

[returntoContents]

#5
TheIndependent(UK)
October19,2015
EveryonewroteofftheSyrianarmy.Takeanotherlooknow
AllthisisonlythebeginningofMrPutin'sadventureintheMiddleEast
ByRobertFisk
RobertFiskisTheIndependent'smultipleaward-winningMiddleEastcorrespondent,based
inBeirut

WhiletheworldstillragesonatRussia'spresumptionintheMiddleEast-tointervenein
SyriainsteadoflettingtheAmericansdecidewhichdictatorsshouldsurviveordie-we've
allbeenforgettingtheoneinstitutioninthatArablandwhichcontinuestofunctionand
protectthestatewhichMoscowhasdecidedtopreserve:theSyrianarmy.WhileRussia
hasbeenpropagandisingitsmissiles,theSyrianmilitary,undermannedandundergunneda
fewmonthsago,hassuddenlymovedontotheoffensive.Earlierthisyear,wemay
remember,thissamearmywasbeingwrittenoff,theBasharal-Assadgovernmentsaidto
bereachingitsfinaldays.

Weemployedourownarmyofclichstomakethecaseforregimechange.TheSyrian
armywaslosingground-atJisral-ShugourandatPalmyra-andsowepredictedthatthe
wholeAssadstatehadreacheda"tippingpoint".

ThenalongcameVladimirPutinwithhisairandmissilefleetsandsuddenlythewhole
placeistransformed.WhilewehuffedandpuffedthattheRussianswerebombingthe
"moderate"rebels-moderateswhohadearlierceasedtoexistaccordingtoAmerica'stop
generals-we'vebeenpayingnoattentiontothemilitaryoffensivewhichtheSyrians
themselvesarenowstagingagainsttheNusraFrontfightersaroundAleppoandinthe
valleyoftheOrontes.

SyriancommandersarenowsettingthecoordinatesforalmosteveryRussianairstrike.
Theywereoriginallygivingbetween200and400coordinatesanight.Nowthefigure
sometimesreaches800.NotthattheRussiansaregoingaftereverymapreference,of
course.TheSyrianshavefoundthattheRussiansdonotwanttofireattargetsinbuilt-up
areastheyintendtoleaveburninghospitalsanddeadweddingpartiestotheAmericansin
Afghanistan.Thispolicycouldalwayschange,ofcourse.Noairforcebombscountries
withoutkillingcivilians.Norwithoutcrossingotherpeople'sfrontiers.

ButtheRussiansarenowtellingtheTurks-andbylogicalextension,thisinformationmust
gototheAmericans-theirflightcoordinates.Evenmoreremarkable,theyhavesetupa
hotlinecommunicationssystembetweentheirbaseontheSyrianMediterraneancoastand
theIsraeliministryofdefenceinTelAviv.MoreincrediblestillisthattheIsraelis-whohavea
habitoftargetingSyrianandIranianpersonnelneartheGolanHeights-havesuddenly
disappearedfromtheskies.Inotherwords,theRussiansareinvolvedinabigoperation,
notaone-monthwonderthatisgoingoninSyria.Anditislikelytocontinueforquiteatime.

TheSyrianswereoriginallyanxioustomovebackintoPalmyra,capturedbyIsislastMay,
buttheRussianshavedemonstratedmoreinterestintheAlepporegion,partlybecause
theybelievetheircoastalbasesaroundLattakiaarevulnerable.TheNusraFronthasfired
severalmissilestowardsLattakiaandTartousandMoscowhasnodesiretohaveitsair
forcetargetedontheground.ButtheSyrianarmyisnowdeployingitsfourmajorunits-the
1stand4thDivisions,RepublicanGuardsandSpecialForces-onthebattlefrontsandare
movingclosertotheTurkishborder.

RussianairstrikesaroundtheIsis"capital"ofRaqqamayormaynotbehurtingIsis,
althoughtheSyriansliketoboastthattheyhaveplentyofintelligencecomingtothemfrom
thecity.Interesting,iftrue,becauseIsispersonnelarespecialistsintorturingtodeath
"agentsoftheregime"anditwouldbeabravemantopassoninformationtoDamascus.
Yettravellers'talescanbetrue.There'saregularcivilianbusroutefromRaqqato
Damascus-buseshaveanoddhabitofcrossingfrontlinesinmostcivilwars-andif
passengersprefernottotalktojournalists,theywilltalkofwhattheyhaveseenwhenthey
gethome.

AllthisisonlythebeginningofMrPutin'sadventure.Heisprovingtobequiteatravellerto
theMiddleEast-andhasalreadymadefirmfriendsofanotherpillaroftheregion,that
President-FieldMarshalwhoscoredmorethan96percentatthepollsandwhocurrently
rulesEgypt.ButtheEgyptianarmy,fightingitslittlewarinSinai,nolongerhasstrategic
experienceofamajorwar.Nor,despitetheirdallianceintheairoverYemen,Libya,Syria
andothertargetsofopportunity,dothepresentmilitaryauthoritiesinSaudiArabia,the
EmiratesandJordanhavemuchunderstandingofhowarealwarisfought.Libya'sown
armyisinbits.Iraq'smilitaryhasscarcelyearnedanymedalsagainstitsIslamistenemies.

Butthereisonefactorwhichshouldnotbeoverlooked.

Ifitwins-andifitholdstogetherandifitsmanpower,whichisadmittedlyatalowlevel,can
bemaintained-thentheSyrianmilitaryisgoingtocomeoutofthiscurrentwarasthemost
ruthless,battle-trainedandbattle-hardenedArabarmyintheentireregion.Woebetideany
ofitsneighbourswhoforgetthis.

[returntoContents]

#6
MoscowTimes
October19,2015
ForeignInvestmentinRussianCommercialPropertyHits7-YearHigh
ByAnastasiaBazenkova

ForeigninvestmentinRussiancommercialpropertyhashitaseven-yearhighastheweak
rublehasmadethemarketmoreattractiveforinternationalcompanies,theRBC
newspaperreportedFriday,citingarecentmarketstudy.

Foreigncapitalaccountedfor42percentofinvestmentinthecommercialrealestate
marketinthefirstninemonthsoftheyear,thehighestratesince2008,whenforeigncapital
wasusedin77percentofthedealsoverthesameperiod,areportbyrealestateagency
Cushman&Wakefieldshowed,accordingtothenewspaper.

Outof$2billioninvestedincommercialpropertyinRussiabetweenJanuaryand
September,foreigninvestorsputup$848million,thereportsaid.

Cushman&Wakefield'sanalystsattributetheincreasedinterestfromforeigninvestorsin
RussiancommercialrealestatetothedevaluationoftheRussiancurrency,whichhaslost
morethan40percentofitsvaluesincethebeginningoflastyear.

Forforeigncompanies,theruble'sfallwasapositivesignaltoconcludedeals,Mikhail
Mindlin,amemberofCushman&Wakefield'sboardofdirectorsinRussia,toldRBC.

WhileforeigninvestorsintheRussianrealestatemarketareactiveasever,thetotal
amountofinvestmentincommercialpropertythisyearhasbeenmuchlowerthanlastyear.

InvestmentincommercialpropertyinRussiadroppedby44percentinthefirstninemonths
oftheyearcomparedtothesameperiodin2014,RBCcitedthereportassaying.The
sharpoveralldeclineiscausedmostlybyadropininvestmentfromRussiancompanies,
Cushman&Wakefielddatashowed.

Inthefirstninemonthsoftheyear,Russianinvestorsspent$1.2billiononcommercialreal
estateinthecountry,$1.8billiondownfromthesameperiodlastyear.Theyarewaitingfor
themarkettohitthebottomandareinnohurrytopurchaseproperty,MindlintoldRBC.

Themostattractivesegmentforcommercialrealestateinvestorsisofficespace,where47
percentofthetotalamountofinvestmentwasseeninthefirstfivemonthsoftheyear,the
Kommersantnewspaperreportedlastweek,citingdatafromrealestateconsultancy
ColliersInternational.
[returntoContents]

#7
RussiaBeyondtheHeadlines
www.rbth.ru
October19,2015
Russiannationalistsinretreatasgovernmentappliespressure
AtemporarybanhasbeenimposedonthesolelargeassociationofRussiannationalists,
withtheprosecutor'sofficedemandingthatitberecognizedasextremist.RBTHasks
activistsandobserverswhatishappeningwiththenationalistmovementinRussia,and
whyitisnowcallingitselfthegovernment's"newenemy."
YekaterinaSinelschikova,RBTH

TwoyearsagoitseemedasiftheKremlinandRussia'svariousnationalistgroupswere,if
notahappycouple,thenatleastcontenttobeinthesameroom.Theirshared
conservativevaluesandstaunchchampioningofallthings"Russian"madethemnatural
allies.ButeversincethecrisisinUkrainefirstbeganinearly2014,therelationshiphas
beenunraveling.

InAugustthisyeartheMoscowProsecutor'sOfficetemporarilysuspendedtheactivityof
theRusskiye("Russians")nationalistmovement,demandingthatthecourtrecognizeitas
extremistandbanitinRussia.

Thereasonforthesuspensionisthat,accordingtotheprosecutor'soffice,thedocuments
illustratingthemovement'splansare"aimedatexcitingenmity"towardspeoplebasedon
theirnationalityand"containcallsforanationalliberationfighttocreateaRussiannational
state."

RusskiyeleaderDmitryDemushkin,againstwhomalawsuithasbeenfiled,toldRBTHthat
heiswaitingtobearrested"forsomefictitiousact"andAlexanderBelov,anothernationalist
leader,iswaitingtobesentencedtoajailterm.

Whilethenationalistsbelievethattheirranksarebeingpurged,expertsareinclinedtocall
thisa"progressivedecline"andnotethatthenationalistshavebeenunabletorecoverfrom
theinnerschismthatdividedthemovementovertheconflictinUkrainethatbeganin2014.

Asaresultofthesplit,asignificantpartoftheassociationproclaimeditssupportforthe
pro-RussianrebelsineasternUkraine'sDonbassregion,butanotherpartsidedwithKiev
underthesloganofRussian-UkrainianSlavicunity.Duringthe2014RussianMarch,anow-
traditionalannualrallyforRussiannationalistsorganizedinmajorcitiesacrossthecountry,
theydividedthemselvesintotwocolumns.

However,expertssaythatitwasnotUkrainealonethatgeneratedthecrisiswithinthe
movement.

Adeclineorathreat

ThefactthattheRussiannationalistmovementisinprofounddeclinetodayissomething
thatnotonlydetachedobserversbelieve-eventhemovement'sideologistsagree.

"Themovementdoesn'thaveanypoliticalperspective,practicallytheentirefieldhasbeen
burnedandthesecurityforcesarefinishingoffthewounded,"saidDemushkin,who
believesthattheauthoritiesdecidedtomopupthenationalists"justincase."Accordingto
Demushkin,thegovernmentisafraidthatradicalnationalistsmayjoinforceswithanti-
governmentprotesters.

"Inthemselves,itseems,theydonotrepresentadanger.They'vebecomerathersilent.But
whentheyreturnfromtheDonbasstoRussia,thisisapotentialthreat,"saidAlexander
Verkhovsky,directoroftheSovaanalyticalcenterandanexpertonnationalismand
xenophobia.

AccordingtoVerkhovsky,severalthousandnationalistswenttofightonthesideofpro-
RussianrebelsineasternUkraineandareunlikelytobepleasedwiththefactthatthe
conflictintheDonbassiscomingtoaclose.
"ItcannotberuledoutthatuponreturningtoRussiatheywillwanttoadheretosomekindof
radicalpolicy,whichiswhythegovernmentistryingtosuppressalltypesofradicalgroups,
includingthoseinspiredbyStalin,"hesaid.

Leftwithoutanagenda

YetobserverssaythatthecontradictionsrelatedtotheUkrainianissuearenotcapableof
destroyingthenationalistsasaforce.

"What'schangedinthelastyearisthatthemovementhasstoppedarticulatinga
constructiveagenda,"saidSergeiProstakov,acollaboratorattheCenterofEthno-Political
Studies.

AccordingtoProstakov,eventhoughovertheprevious10-15years"thegovernmentwould
juststealtheirslogans,"themovementstillusedtocreatesomethingnew,rightupuntilthe
eventsof2014,whichseemedtodisorientthemajorityofRussiannationalists.

"Theyrealizedthattheirinterestsforthefirsttimecorrespondedtogovernmentpolicy.This
istheaccessionofCrimea,thatis,theideaoftherestorationoftheSovietUnionandthe
protectionofRussiansintheDonbass,"saidProstakov.

However,hepointedout,thisdidnotgivethenationalistsanypoliticalpoints:Theywere
simplyusedasextras.

Verkhovskyagrees:Thesystemicnationalists,suchasthepro-governmentRodinaParty,
theAnti-MaidanMovementandtheGreatFatherlandParty,havebeenleftwithoutany
politicalperspectives.

"Obviously,theyarenotunderanypressurebutitseemsthatthegovernmentisnotreally
helpingthem.Youcantellbytheirpitiableresultsattheregionalelections,"saidVerkhovsky.

Thenewenemy

DmitryDemushkinseesanother,significantchangeintheRussiannationalists'position:
Nowtheyarepartoftheopposition.

"Until2010theRussiannationalistsinclusivelywereneveragainstthegovernment,@he
said."Butthenourorganizationswerebanned(theSlavicUnionandtheSlavicForce
groupsarerecognizedasextremists-RBTH)andlawsuitswerefiledagainstthe
organizations'leaders,firstjustone-timecases,nowmoreandmoreoften.

"NowthenationalistshaveturnedawayfromtheKremlinandthisisexclusivelythe
government'sfault.Ithascreatedanenemyforitself,"saidDemushkin.
Lookingforward,noneoftheobserversinterviewedbyRBTHwereunabletosayexactly
whatwillbecomeofthesappednationalistmovementinthefuture.

"Russiannationalismisgoingthroughaheavycrisis,butallcrisesendinsomething.Itis
unlikelytodieasickman'sdeath,thisisimpossible,"saidAlexanderVerkhovsky,who
believestheradicalizationofthemovementisinevitable.

Meanwhile,SergeiProstakovbelievesthatNovember'sRussianMarchwillbeakey
yardstickforevaluatingthecurrentstateofthemovement.

"Lastyearthedemonstrationgatheredaminimalnumberofpeople[1,500,accordingtothe
police-RBTH],eventhoughinbettertimesthemarchwouldgatherabout10,000people,"
hesaid.

[returntoContents]

#8
Bloomberg
October18,2015
Russia'sAilingConsumersKeepDoorOpenforRateCuts
ByOttUmmelasandAnnaAndrianova

TheremaybeasilverliningfortheBankofRussiainanotherbatchofgrimconsumerdata.
WhileGovernorElviraNabiullinahassetacourseformonetaryeasingtomatchslowing
inflation,policymakerslastmonthpausedtheireasingcycleforthefirsttimein2015.The
scalesmaybetippinginfavorofanothercutthisyearasRussia'sconsumereconomy
continuestoweaken.Wagesadjustedforinflationfellforan11thmonthinSeptemberand
retailsalescontractedthemostin16years,theFederalStatisticsServiceinMoscowsaid
Mondayinastatement.

"Therearestrongdisinflationarytrends,includingfallingretailsales,vehiclesales,wages,
andhouseholddebt,"PerHammarlund,thechiefemerging-marketsstrategistatSEBABin
Stockholm,saidbye-mailbeforethedatarelease."Thisweaknesswillgiveplentyofroom
forthe"centralbank"tocutrates,aslongasoilpricesholdup."

Russianpolicymakershavestruggledtoconcocttherightpolicymixtosteerthecountry
outofitslongestrecessionintwodecades.Afreshboutofrubleweaknessforcedthe
centralbanktoholdoffoneasingpolicyafteritalreadyrolledbackmostofaDecember
emergencyrateincrease.Withinternationalsanctionsandlowoilpricesshacklingthe
economyoftheworld'slargestenergyexporter,Standard&Poor'slastweekforecasta
deepercontractionasitpredictsprivateconsumptionwillremainweaknextyear.

RubleDecline

Sincelastmonth'sratedecision,therublehasgained10percentagainstthedollaramida
revivalinemerging-marketriskappetite.Therublehasdepreciatedabout35percent
againstthedollarinthepast12months,thesecond-worstperformerbehindtheBrazilian
realamong24emerging-marketcurrenciestrackedbyBloomberg.Ittraded1.5percent
weakerat62.2630rublesperdollarat4.08p.m.Monday.Forward-rateagreementsare
signaling40basispointsofcutsinborrowingcostsduringthenextthreemonths,the
biggestbetssinceJuly.

Septemberrealwagesdeclined9.7percentfromayearagoafterarevised9percentdrop
inAugust,thestatisticsservicesaid.Themedianestimateof14economistssurveyedby
Bloombergwas9.8percent.Retailsalesdropped10.4percent,themostsinceAugust
1999,anddisposableincomesshrank4.3percent.

VTBanalystsAlexanderIsakovandPetrGrishinsaidinanoteOct.15that"furtherproofof
demandweakness,"includingunemploymentapproaching6percent,anannualdeclinein
realwagescloserto11percentoranacceleratingdeclineininvestmentsisneededtoshift
thebalancetowarda50basis-pointratecutatthecentralbankmeetingonOct.30.Other
conditionsincludetherubletradingatabout62againstthedollarandthebudgetstance
beingkepttight,theysaid.

Theunemploymentrateunexpectedlydeclinedto5.2percentfrom5.3percent,compared
withthe5.4percentmedianestimateof12economists.Fixed-capitalinvestmentdropped
5.6percentlastmonth,the21stconsecutivenegativereading,makingitthelongestsuch
stretchsinceatleast1995,whenBloombergstartedcompilingthefigures.

"Wenowanticipateaweaknessinprivateconsumptiontoextendinto2016,andanonly
marginalrecoveryincapitalspendingnextyear,helpedbyimprovedcorporateprofit
marginsandaslowdownindeleveraging,"S&PsenioreconomistTatianaLysenkosaidina
reportonOct.15.ThecreditevaluatornowseesRussia'seconomycontracting3.6
percentthisyear,followedby0.3percentgrowthin2016,shesaid.
[returntoContents]

#9
Kremlinchiefofstaff:Russiatodonothingagainstitsintereststogetsanctionslifted

MOSCOW,October19./TASS/.Russiawilldonothingthatcouldharmitsinterestsinorder
togetthewesternsanctionslifted,SergeyIvanov,thechiefofRussia'spresidentialstaff,
saidinanexclusiveinterviewwithTASS.

"Wewillneverdoanythingtoharmournationalinterestsjustforthesakeofseeingthe
sanctionslifted.Neverever!Itwasnotuswhotookthosemeasures,andwearenotgoing
todiscussinanyformatwhatisnecessaryforcancelingthem,"Ivanovsaid.

Hesaidtheliftingofanti-Russiasanctionsshouldnotbelinkedwiththerestorationofpeace
inUkraine.

"Iwouldavoidanylinkagehere.Areyoucertainthatthesanctionswillbeliftedfromuseven
afterimpeccablecompliancewithMinsk-2?Arethereanyguarantees?Personally,Ihave
bigdoubtsonthatscore.Thereisnoreasonwhyweshouldofferexcusesoraskfor
forgiveness,"Ivanovsaid.

Headmittedthat"thefinancialandeconomicsituationinthecountryisreallygrave."

"Thesanctionsdidcausecertainlosses.TheGDPisonthedecline,andnotontheascent.
Wedon'tdenythat.But!TherootcausefortheRussianeconomy'sslowdownisnot
sanctions,butthefallintheworldpricesofoilandgas,"hesaid.

"Iagreethatthishasdemonstratedagainourstrongdependenceonhydrocarbonsand
howverybadthisis.Butontheotherhand,we'vebeenabletorealizethevectoroffuture
actiontobetakentoeasethepressuresoftherawmaterialsfactor,"Ivanovadded.

Westexaggeratesconsequencesofsanctions,noregretsforG8

MoscowhasnoregretsfortheexpulsionfromtheG8,whiletheinfluenceofsanctionson
Russia'seconomyisexaggeratedbytheWest,SergeyIvanovwentontosay.

"TheWestgrosslyexaggeratestheinfluenceofthelatestsanctionsontheRussian
economy.True,theydoposecertainhindrancestous,itwouldbefoolishtodenythe
obvious,butIwillsayagainandagainthatinthepastwelivedthroughfargreater
problems,"Ivanovsaid.

"AttemptstopunishRussiaaresenselessandineffective,"hesaid."Wesawsanctions
takenagainstusbackduringtheruleoftheRomanovdynasty.There'snothingnewabout
them."

"Tradebarrierswereputupandfinancialobstructionsposedagainandagain...Those
measureswerefarharsherthanthecurrentones.Butwemanaged.Wedidn'tgetscared
inthepast,andwewillstayfirmthistime,"Ivanovsaid.

"AlexanderSolzhenytsinsaidperfectlywellthatfromtimeimmemorialtheWesthadfelt
scaredofRussia'senormity,"headded.

IvanovstressedthattheG8iscertainlynottheplacewhereRussiawouldliketogetback.

"Inthe1990sRussiaspentmuchtimeandeffortforthesakeofbeingadmittedtothisclub
ofselectfewiteventuallygotthereonlytoseeforitselfthattheG8wasnolongercapable
ofaddressinganyofthefundamentalissueshumanitywasconfrontedwithatthecurrent
stage,"hesaid.

"Theworldtodayisverydifferent.TheG20-that'stheworthylevel.Itistherethattruly
importantthemesarebeingdiscussedandsolutionmechanismscanbedevised,"Ivanov
added.

"HereisaSyria-relatedexample.Theneedforeliminatingthearsenalsofchemical
weaponsinthatcountrywasagreedonwithintheG20format,andnottheG8orG7group.
SotherenoregretsaboutthedemiseoftheG8,believeme,"heconcluded.

SanctionsagainstRussialedtosplitofelitesbutinWest

AccordingtoSergeyIvanov,thesanctionsagainstMoscowhaveledtothesplitofelitesnot
inRussiabutintheWest.

"Itseemstomethattheeliteshavesplitabroadratherthaninourcountry,"Ivanovsaid.

"Haven'tyounoticedthatwhenofficials-ministers,speakersand,allthemoreso,
presidentsortheheadsofgovernments-speak,theycriticizeRussiaunmercifullywitha
frownontheirfacesandaquiveringvoice,"hesaid.

"Butwhenpoliticianswhohavelefttheupperechelonsofpowerforvariousreasonsstartto
speak,thetonalityoftheirspeecheschangesdramatically.Foreignanddefenseministers
andotherreputablepersonswhohavelefttheirpostssuddenlybegintoopenlyshow
solidaritywithourpositiononmanyissues,"Ivanovadded.

"Thissuggeststhatyouareobligedtotalkthiswayandnootherwaywhileyouarein
power.Itisonlyafteryouresignthatyoucanexpressyourownthoughtsandviews.Thisis
notforbiddenbutonlyforex-officialsandnotforpersonsholdingposts,"hesaid."Those
whoreturntopower,starttocriticizeuswithanewvigor.Ihavelonggrownaccustomedto
this.Andlookatitwithhumor."

Ivanovalsosaidhedislikedtheword"elites"."Tomymind,thiswordcanbeusedforthose
whohavedonesomethinguseful,necessaryandtangibleforthehomecountryinthe
courseofseveralgenerations,"hesaid.

"Somerepresentativesofthebusinesscircles(butnotelites)havesufferedfromthe
sanctions,"headded."Buteverythingisrelative.Ibelieve,althoughIdonotassert,that
[Gennady]Timchenkoor[ArkadyandBoris]Rottenberg[theRussianbillionaire
businessmenhitbythewesternsanctions]alsohaveyachts.Noonehastakenthese
yachtsawayfromthem."

"Asforhowsomebusinessmenlookatothersandhow,itisbettertoaddressthisquestion
tothem.Ibelievethatnoproblemsariseininterpersonalcommunicationthereand
everythingisunderstandabletoeveryone.Butthisismypresumption,"Ivanovsaid.

"Strictlyspeaking,inthecontextoftheinfluenceofsanctionsonbusiness,itismore
appropriatetotalknotaboutthefreedomoftravelacrosstheworldbut,say,aboutthe
restrictedaccesstothecapitalmarket,which,indeed,hasseriouseconomic
consequencesforcompaniesincludedinthesanctionslists."

[returntoContents]

#10
TheJordanTimes
www.jordantimes.com
October18,2015
AreSanctionsSavingRussia?
ByRichardWerverandVladimirYakunin
RichardA.WernerisProfessorofInternationalBankingattheUniversityofSouthampton
andauthorofNewParadigminMacroeconomics.VladimirI.YakuninisChairinState
PolicyatLomonosovMoscowStateUniversity,FoundingPresidentoftheWorldPublic
Forum,andformerChairmanofRussianRailways.

MOSCOW-TheeconomicsanctionsimposedonRussiabytheWestinMarch2014have
undoubtedlybeenpainful.Buttheyhavesofarfailedtoachievethegoalofweakening
RussianPresidentVladimirPutin'sposition.Infact,theymayhavetheoppositeeffect,
leavingRussia-anditspresident-evenstrongerthanbefore.

EuropeanUnioncountriesareestimatedtohavelostabout$100billionintradewith
Russia,hittingthelikesofBavariandairyfarmersandeasternGermanindustrialexporters.
RussianGDP,whichgrewmodestlyin2014,contractedby4.6%inannualtermsinthe
secondquarterofthisyear.TherublelostmorethanhalfofitsUSdollarvalueinthe
secondhalfoflastyear,fuelinginflation,whichincreasedby15.6%yearonyearinJuly.

Butinflationnowseemstohavepeaked,andtheeffectsofthedropinoilandgasprices
weremitigatedbytheUSdollar'sappreciation,sothatthevalueofRussia'sforeign
reservesactuallyincreased,reaching$362billioninJune(13%ofwhichisingold).And
despitebelt-tighteninginRussia,Putinismorepopularthanever.

Therationalebehindeconomicsanctionsisstraightforward:freetradeandfreemarkets
delivergrowth(andthuspoliticalsupportforthegovernment),whereasrestrictionschoke
offgrowth(andthuserodesupportforthegovernment).Thisemphasisonfreetradeand
freemarketswasacentraltenetofnineteenth-centuryBritishclassicaleconomics.It
remainsacoremessageoftoday'sdominantneoclassicalschool-embodiedintheso-
called"WashingtonConsensus,"adoptedacrosstheworldundertheInternationalMonetary
Fund'sadvice-whichclaimsthatthekeytoeconomicdevelopmentistoopenup,
deregulate,liberalize,andprivatize.
Butthetheoryisfundamentallyflawed.Noeconomicpowerhaseverdevelopedsolelyon
thebasisoflaissez-fairepolicies.TheeconomicriseoftheUnitedKingdom,forexample,
washeavilydependentonstrategicprotection,industrialpolicy,tariffs,andnon-tarifftrade
barriers.

TheUK'sindustrialprowessoriginatedwiththetextileindustry.Thecountry'sleaders
realizedthattheexportofrawmaterials,mainlywool,wouldbeinadequatetospur
economicdevelopment.Forthat,Englandwouldhavetomoveupthevalue-addedladder,
byimportingrawmaterialsandexportingfinishedgoods.

SoEngland'sleadersdevisedanindustrialpolicy,whichentailedbringinginFlemishtextile
weaverstoprovideknow-howtoBritishfirms.Moreover,theyerectedtradebarriers:By
banningtheexportofrawwoolandtheimportoffinishedwoolproducts,Indiantextiles,
whichwereoftensuperiorandcheaper,couldnotcompetewithdomesticoutput.They
adoptednavigationlawsthatrestrictedforeignships'accesstoBritishportsandeven
enactedademand-boostinglawrequiringthedeadtobeburiedinwoolens.Ultimately,the
mechanizationofthetextileindustryusheredintheIndustrialRevolution,andmass
productionandexportsunderpinnedthedevelopmentoftheworld'slargestmaritimefleet.

Inthemid-nineteenthcentury,theGermaneconomistFriedrichListhighlightedtherolethat
suchpoliciesplayedintheUK'sdevelopment.Inlinewithhisadvice,theUnitedStates,
Germany,andJapanemployedjudicioustradeprotectionandindustrialpolicies,while
workingactivelytosupportnascentsectors-astrategythatenabledthemtodevelop
rapidlyandevenovertakeBritain.

Restrictionsalsoprovedeffectivetospureconomicdevelopment:In1812,whentheUK
declaredwarandimposedatradeembargoontheUS,importsubstitutioncaused
Americanmanufacturingtoflourish.Whentheembargowasliftedandtradetariffswere
reduced,USmanufacturingfloundered-until1828,whennewBritishtariffsboostedUS
manufacturingagain.Likewise,duringWorldWarI,aBritishtradeembargospurredthe
developmentofGermanhigh-techindustriesduetothedemandforsubstitutes.

Ofcourse,embargoescanhaveadevastatingeffectwhenacountrylackstheresources
neededforimportsubstitution.ThatiswhyeconomicsanctionsweresodamagingforIran
and,earlier,forIraq'spopulation.

But,foracountrylikeRussia,withitsabundantnaturalresources,technologicalexpertise,
andskilledworkforce,sanctionscanhavetheoppositeeffect.TheSovietUnionstruggled
tocapitalizeonthesefactors,owingtocommunism'sweakincentivestructure.Today,by
contrast,Russiahasacapitalistsystemthatoffersconsiderablebenefitstothosewho
adaptbesttotherestrictions.

Inshort,Russiahasallitneedstothrive,despite-orbecauseof-thesanctions.But
turningopportunityintorealityrequiresRussiatopursueaneconomictransformation.

Neoclassicaltradetheoryisbasedontheconceptofcomparativeadvantage:countries
shouldcapitalizeontheirrelativestrengths,fromtechnologicalprowesstoresource
endowments.But,asEnglishleadersknewandastheexperienceofmanyAfricanand
LatinAmericancountrieshasshown,simplyexportingrawmaterialsisinadequateto
propeldevelopment.Historically,themosteffectivedevelopmentpolicyhascenteredon
governmentinterventiontoestablishhigher-value-addeddomesticindustries.Inprevious
decades,Japan,Taiwan,SouthKorea,andChinahavealltakenthispath.

ForRussia,movingupthevalue-addedladdershouldnotbedifficultithasallitneedsto
manufacturethefinishedproductsthatitpreviouslyimported.Infact,importsubstitution
hasalreadyincreasedproductivityinseveralkeysectors:engineering,petrochemicals,light
industry,pharmaceuticals,andagriculture.Annualexportsofhigh-value-addedgoodsrose
by6%inthefirstquarterofthisyear.

Furthermore,Russia'sleadershiphasacceleratedcooperationwiththeotherBRICS
economies(Brazil,India,China,andSouthAfrica),andPutinrecentlyannouncedambitious
planstoboostdomesticdemand.

TheWest'ssanctionsagainstRussiamaynotonlyfailtochangetheUkrainesituationthey
maywellspurthecountry'slong-awaitedstructuraltransformation.IfRussiasuccessfully
replicatesthecredit-guidanceregimeusedbyEastAsia'seconomies,whileincreasing
managerialefficiency,yetanothereconomicmiracleispossible.

[returntoContents]

#11
http://readrussia.com
October16,2016
Russia:aTaxiDriver'sVersion
ByJamesPearce

WhenlastintheUK,Igotoffthetrainintoataxifortheshortdrivetomychildhoodhome.
Mydriver,Ardashir,askedwereI'dcomefrom."Russia"."Russia?!Wow,Iloveyour
president,he'sasmartmanwhoisdoingtherightthingandloveshiscountry."

Ofcourse,I'mnotRussianbybirth,butImustadmithowrefreshingitwastohearthisin
theUKacountrynotcreditedforagreatdealofknowledgeaboutRussiaordevotingmuch
affectiontothecountryasawhole.

Putinisn'tmyfavouritepolitician,butbeingconstantlylecturedabouthowevilheisevery
timeIgohomegetsratherdull.SoIplayedalong,andthediscussioneventuallydeveloped
ontoSyria.I'mgladitdidbecauseArdashirwasfromIran,andhadacompletelydifferent
viewpointtomostfrommyhometown.

HehadanaturalempathyforSyrians,himselfbeingaShiaMuslim,andtoldmeoutright
"Assadisnotevil.Youknow,morepeoplehavediedbecauseofISISthanbecauseofhim.
InIraqtoo,morepeopledietodayonthestreetsthaninSaddam'stime.Thiscrisisistheir
[thewest's]fault."

Ardashirbelievedthatifitwasn'tforRussia'sinterferenceintheMiddleEast,thenitwould
bemadeupofroboticpuppetstatesthatyoucannotforcegroupsofpeople,withno
conceptofanationstate,intogeopoliticallyimaginedlinestheycannotcomprehendthat
askingthemtogiveuptheirpracticesinfavourofwaystotallyalienisunrealisticandnever
goingtobethesolution.

Moreover,hebelievedthatitisabouttimeRussiacanfinally'solve'thesituation,because
Syriaandthewestsimplycan't.Manypoliticalobserversmayrecallinthelasttwomonth's
thatPutinhasmetwithmanyMiddleEasternleadersandheldtalksregardingthecrisis.It
showsthereisadiplomaticboneintheRussianbody.Thoughlet'ssavethediscussionon
'Russiatheguardianofdemocracy'foranotherday.

ForArdashir,RussiahasacommonvaluesharedamongmanyMiddleEasterncountries"
[we]don'tjustbelieveourwaysarebetter.It'sthatwesternideascannotbeappliedtoour
society-Putingetsit,becauseRussiaisthesame...together,weshowsolidarityandwant
theworldtoseethatnoamountofforceorintimidationwillmakeusbackdown".

Astheconversationcontinued,wewerenolongerspeakingEnglish.Icametolearnthat
ArdashirlivedinRussiabackin1996andworkedtherefortwoyears.Somemightsayhe
gotoutattherighttimesincein1998theeconomyhittherailingshardandlifeforthe
majorityofthepopulationbecameunbearable.Heinsistshehadagreattimeneverthe
less.

ThecomplimentskeptcomingArdashirclaimshehadnevermetnicerpeoplethanthe
Russians.That"you[Russians]areacaringandprincipledpeople".Itookthisopportunity
toaskhimsomethingpersonal:

"Butsurely,youmusthaveencountereddiscriminationatsomepoint?"Icertainlyhave(not
thatitcausesmeanysleeploss).Hisresponsewasremarkable:

"Listen,noamountofracismorxenophobiccommenttookawaytheimmensebeautyof
thecountryandthepassionofitspeople.InEngland,peoplecallmeapakiitjustshows
howemptythecultureasawholeisandhowidiotictheyare.AtleastafterRussianscall
me'ponayekhali',theyreturntotheircopyofSolzhenitsynorPushkin.Englishpeoplefall
outofmycabdrunk,insulttheirbestfriendatthebarwhenthey'reinthetoiletandthen
lecturetheworldonhowtolive."

YoumaythenwonderwhyhelivesinacountrylikeEnglandatall.Inhisownwords:
"moneytalksandbullsh*twalks."

SoIfinallyarrivedhomeandaskedhimhowmuch?Let'sjustsayhegavemeagenerous
discount.BeingRussiancertainlyhaditsbenefits.

ButwhatArdashirshows,isthatthereisnoonetruthtoanystory.Often,tounderstandthe
other'sviewpoint,onemustclimbupontotheirpillarandseetheworldinthesamewayas
themdoesthishappenwiththecaseofRussiaoften?

Thefactis,therearemanylikeArdashiracrosstheMiddleEastand,indeed,throughout
Russia,whosimplyfeelliketheirlivesarebeingintrudedupon.Thattheirsituationisbeing
deliberatelymisunderstoodforsomebodyelse'spersonalgain.

WecanhaveahealthydebateonRussia'sactionsinglobalconflicts,butshehas
supportersEastandWestoneverycontinent.Manyofwhom,feelthesamesenseof
pressureandintimidationbywesterncountriestogoalongwiththeirstatusquo.

Likemanyinhisprofession,Ardashirwasaworldlygentlemanwhohasbeenaroundthe
blockafewtimes.Beingdroppedhomebyhiminsteadofatoothlesscockneywith
controversialviewsonimmigration,madeforabetterwelcomehome.

[returntoContents]

#12
HuffingtonPost
October14,2015
NoRussianQuagmireintheMiddleEast
BySarwarKashmeri
AdjunctProfessorPolSci-NorwichUniversityFellow-ForeignPolicyAssoc.

CriticismofRussia'sprojectionofforceintoSyriaisoftenlacedwithpredictionsofan
impendingRussianquagmire,inthefashionoftheSovietmisadventureofthe1970sin
Afghanistan.Nothingcouldbefartherfromthetruth.Mr.Putinhasmadeastrategic,well
calibratedandthoughtoutmoveontheMiddleEastchessboardandwillsoonreap
significantgeopoliticalrewardsfromit.

ThemassivesovietinvasionofAfghanistanin1979wasaimedatoccupyingthecountry
andcrushinganinternalAfghanrebellionagainsttheSovietsupportedgovernment.
Afghanistan'sruggedmountainousterrain,coupledwiththelegendaryAfghanhatefor
foreignoccupiers,andthestealthyprovisionofsophisticatedU.S.arms,putanendtothat.
Russia'sobjectivesfromitsmilitarythrustintheMiddleEast,ontheotherhand,arefar
morelimitedandachievablewhichiswhatmakesthemofsuchstrategicconsequence.

Mr.Putin'scalculationsarebasedonfivefactsontheground:

First,theUnitedStateshasworkeditselfintoaquagmireintheMiddleEast.Ithaspublically
declaredthat"Assadmustgo,"andhaspromisedto"degradeanddestroytheIslamic
State,"withoutcommittingthemilitaryforcestoachieveeitheroutcome.Predictably,Mr.
AssadisstillthereandtheIslamicStatehasgrownbiggerandstronger.Mr.Putinknows
thereisnoappetiteintheUnitedStatesforarobustmilitaryengagement,inapartofthe
worldwhereAmericanolongerhasanyvitalnationalinterests.

Second,Mr.PutiniskeenlyawareofthedamagebeingwreakedinEuropebytheunending
tideofrefugeesthatnowthreatenEuropeaneconomiesandthecohesivenessofthe
EuropeanUnion.TheEuropeansrealizeapermanent,longtermsolutiontotheirrefugee
nightmareliesinmakingthewarravagedMiddleEastsaferforitscitizens,notinbuilding
fences.

Third,Russia'sclient,Syria'sPresidentBasharal-Assadhasbeensteadilylosinggroundin
Syria'scivilwar,asituationthatthreatensland-lockedRussia'sonlyforeignnavalbaseand
itsMiddleEastintelligenceoperations,asituationthatRussiaisobligedtocorrect.

Fourth,Mr.PutinrecognizestheattractionoftheIslamicStateforradicalizedcitizensinthe
MuslimRepublicsoftheRussianFederation,thousandsofwhosecitizensnowfightwith
theIslamicStateandwillsomedayreturntodirecttheirbattle-hardenedskillsagainst
Russia.

Andfinally,thedirestraitoftheRussianeconomy,thatreliesalmostcompletelyonglobal
energypriceswhichhavebeeninfreefallforoverayear.ThecollapseinRussia'smain
incomestreamismagnifiedbyWesterneconomicsanctionswhichhavecutoffRussia's
accesstooutsidecapital.

Putinhasputallofthistogetherandcomeupwithaplanto,atonce,offerawayouttothe
ditheringAmericans,resolvethepressuresonquiveringEuropeans,saveRussia'salliance
anditsmilitary/intelligenceinterestsintheMiddleEast,destroytheIslamicState,and
entrenchRussiaintotheMiddleEast'spowerequation.

RussiahasenteredtheMiddle-EastfrayinalliancewithIraqandIran,andwithsufficient
militarypowertoseriouslydamagetheanti-AssadforcesandthoseoftheIslamicState.My
forecast:Mr.Putinwillachievesignificantsuccessonthebattlefieldwithin30-60days.He
willthenoffertojoinforceswiththeU.S.-ledcoalitiontodestroywhatremainsoftheIslamic
State,and,significantly,tohelpsetup"safe-zones"inSyria,inwhichSyrianandother
refugeescanfindahavenuntilconditionsintheirhomelandsimproveandtheycanreturn
home.TheideaofsafezonesinSyriahasalreadybeenfloatedintheUnitedNationsbythe
EuropeansbuthadbeendeemedimpracticalbecauseofRussianopposition.

ForAmericansandEuropeanstheRussianofferwillbealifelinetheycannotrefuse.
EuropeanswilljumpattheopportunitytoshuntthefloodofrefugeesawayfromEurope
whiletheU.S.willjumpattheopportunitytodestroytheIslamicStatewithoutcommittingits
groundforces,andtofinallywinddownafruitlessandseeminglyendlessmilitary
commitmentthatiscostingAmericantaxpayersmillionsofdollarsaday.

Inreturn,Mr.Putinwilldemandaseatatthetabletohelpdeterminetheregion'sfuturehe
willalsodemandthatthefutureofSyriaandMr.AssadbelefttoRussia,andohyes,
economicsanctionsrelief.TheU.S.maybalkatsanctionsrelief,butEuropeanpressure
willensurethatMr.Putingetsit.

HardlyaRussianquagmire!

[returntoContents]

#13
TheUnzReview
www.unz.com
October18,2015
WeekTwooftheRussianMilitaryInterventioninSyria
OptionsforDaesh,theEmpireandRussia
ByTheSaker

TheRussianoffensiveinSyriaisstillverymuchinfullswinganditishardtomakesense
ofwhatisreallyhappeningorhoweffectiveithasbeen.AccordingtotheSyrians,40%ofall
theinfrastructureof"Daesh"(meaningISIS+al-Qaeda+allthehundredsofsmallergroups
fightingtogetheragainsttheSyriangovernment)hasbeendestroyed.Russiansourcesare
lessenthusiasticandspeakofaratherslowandhesitantSyrianoffensive.Sofar,nomajor
victoryhasbeenreported,butsinceallsidesagreethattheRussianaircampaignis
devastatinglyeffectiveandhighlydisruptiveforDaesh,Ithinkthatthereisagoodprobability
thattheSyrianswillsoonachieveamajorsuccess.Ifnot,thentheIraniansmostdefinitely
havethecapabilitytotrulytipthebalance.Sothismightbeagoodtimetolookatwhat
optionsDaeshwillhave.

HowDaeshcanadapttothenewcircumstances

First,upuntilnow,Daeshbasicallycouldmovearoundatnightwithtotalimpunitybecause
theSyrianAirForcesimplydidnothavethetechnologytodetectandengageDaeshunits
atnight.ThishasnowchangedsincealltheRussianaircraft(rotaryandfixedwing)
engagedinthecurrentcampaignarefullynightcapable.ThisisamajorproblemforDaesh
whichwillnowhavetooperateinanextremelydangerousenvironment24hoursaday.The
solution?Camouflageanddispersal.Daeshforceswillhavetolearntopaymuchmore
attentiontoavoidingdetection,includingradiodetection,andtheywillhavetoavoidas
muchaspossibleanydetectableconcentrations.Notaneasytask,forsure,butonewhich
hasbeensuccessfullylearnedbyothersinthepast.
Second,Daeshforceswillhavetoadapttoguerrilla-style'hitandrun'kindsofattacks.Until
now,bothsideswerewillingtoengageinabizarrekindof"trenchwarfare"inwhicheach
sidewoulddiginandshelltheother.NowthatRussianbombersandcloseairsupport
aircraftcanbecalledinbytheSyrianfrontlinecommanders,thiswillbecomevery
dangerousforDaesh,probablyforcingthemtoswitchtofaster,ambushwarfare.

Third,mostsourcesagreethatcurrentlyDaeshcontrolsroughly80%ofthelandand20%
ofthepopulation.ThisismostlyduetothesizeoftheSyrianarmedforceswhichare
stretchedtoothintoholdontolightlypopulatedareas.Daeshcanusethattoitsadvantage
andtrytomovearoundanyattackingSyrianforcesandthenambushanyunitswhose
flanksandsupplyroutesarenotsecured.TheSyrianswillhavetobeverycarefulnottofall
intoa"cauldron"trapliketheUkrainiansinNovorussia.

Fourth,ifthingsbecomereallyuglyforDaesh,theycanstartusingtheTurkish,Iraqi,
LebaneseandJordanianborderstohidefromtheSyrian/Iranianforcesandenjoythekind
ofsafeheaventheAfghanshadinPakistanduringtheSovietinvasion.

Fifth,DaeshmightdowhattheUkrainianshavedoneandorganizeda'Russianatrocity'
falseflag,maybethebombingofapediatricclinicorhospital.Theycouldeventrya
"Russianchemicalattackinfeelingrefugees".Thecorporatemediawillbemorethan
happytopickupandspreadthestory,nomatterhowridiculous.

Finally,wecanbeabsolutelycertainthatiftheSyrianmilitaryis"too"successful,atleast
fromthepointofviewoftheEmpire,thenallthe"friendsofSyria"willjoinforcesand
demanda"peaceconference"whosemainpurposewillbetosaveDaeshfromcomplete
destruction.ThisisthestrategyusedbytheWestwiththeMinsk-1andMinsk-2peacetalks
tosavetheUkronazijuntafrommilitarydefeat.

TheworldhasseennumerousexamplesofDaesh-likeforces(inmilitary,notpolitical,
terms)adaptingtoatechnologicallysuperiorenemy.Rightnow,thegovernment's
superiorityisprimarilyintheskies(thankstotheRuAF)andinintelligence(thankstothe
OsNazGRUunitsonthegroundandtheRussian"eyesandears"intheskyandinspace).
Withtime,however,Russiancouldbringinnewequipment(modernmultiplerocket
launchers,TOS-1heavyflame-throwers,newerarmorandartillerysystems)whichcan
makearealdifferencebutattheendoftheday,itwillbe'boots',inthesenseofinfantry,
whichwilldecidetheoutcome.WilltheSyriansandKurdsbeenoughtobreakDaeshorwill
theIraniansmakeamove?Ihonestlydon'tknow,butmybetisonIranandHezbollah
movingin.AsforaRussianintervention,Putinhasnowtotallyexcludedsuchapossibility.

OptionsrecommendedbyUSpoliticians

USpoliticianshavecomeupwithtwosuggestionstohelptheir"moderateterrorists":
supplyadvancedanti-airmissilestoDaeshandimposeano-flyzone.Iconsiderbothof
thesesuggestionshighlyimpracticalandverydangerous.

Deliveringadvancedanti-airmissiles:whichones?!Daeshalreadyhasman-portableair
defensesystems(MANPADS)liketheUSStingersandRussianIglas.Thesearefine
missiles,buttheydon'thavethereachtohitRussianaircraftwhichmostlyflyat5000m.
True,theycanhitalowflyingtargetlikeaSU-25onacloseairsupportmissionoraMi-24
helicopter.Bothoftheseaircrafthavebeenheavilymodifiedduringandafterthewarsin
AfghanistanandChechniaandtheyarewell-protectedagainstsuchattacks.Still,sooneror
lateraRussianaircraftwillgethitbysuchamissileanditisevenpossiblethatitwillbe
downed.DaeshalreadyhasthiscapabilityandsendingthemmoreMANPADsjustmakes
nosensebutisverydangerousconsideringthekindofuseanyterroristgroupcanmakeof
themagainstcivilianairliners.SyriaisnotAfghanistanandwearenotinthe1980s.
MANPADsaresimplynotlikelytomakeamajordifferenceinthiswar,especiallynotagainst
thekindofaircrafttheRussiansarecurrentlydeploying.

Ano-flyzone:againstwhom,Russianaircraft?Foronething,thiswouldbeinsanely
provocativeandthepotentialconsequencesoftheUSshootingdownaRussianaircraftare
trulyterrifying.Butthisalsobegsthequestionofwheresuchazonewouldbecreated.
HillaryandtheotherNeoconcraziesaresuggestingano-flyzoneovernorthernSyria.
Okay,whatifinresponseRussiadeclaresanothernoflyzoneovertherestofthecountry?
Thenwhat?SettingasidetheinsanityofactuallythreateningtoattackRussiainmilitary
terms,inlegaltermstheEmpirehasnomandatetodeclaresuchazonewhileRussiais
standingon100%legalgroundsshouldshedeclareone.AndiftheEmpirereallygoes
crazyanddeclaresthatitwillimposeano-flyzoneoverallofSyriayoucanbeabsolutely
certainthatS-300swill"suddenly"showupinsufficientnumberstomakethatanextremely
dangerousexercise.Bytheway,atthatpoint,theRussianscandeclarethatalltheS-300s
inSyriaaremannedexclusivelybySyrianpersonnelandareunderSyriancommandand
thustheywillbeabletoshootdownUSaircraftintotalimpunity(astheyalreadyhaveinthe
pastinVietnamandLebanon).

Ano-flyzonemakessenseagainstadefenselesscountry,butagainstonearmedwith
semi-modernormodernairdefensesthisisaverydangerousproposition.Iwanttobelieve
thatthereareenoughmentallysanemenintheJCSandPentagontorejectanyplanwhich
canenduptriggeringanuclearwarbetweenRussiaandtheUSA.

The"sulkingsuperpower"

Rightnow,theUSAappearstobecompletelyclueless.First,theyaccusedtheRussiansof
bombingthe"wrong"terrorists.TheRussiansthenreplied"okay,giveusalistof"bad
terrorists"targetsandwewilldestroythem".TheAmericansrefused.ThentheRussians
toldthem,"okaythen,inthiscaseatleastgiveusalistof"goodterrorist"targetsnotto
bomb,andwewillnothitthem".ButtheAmericansrefusedagain!Atthispoint,the
RussianbeganmakingopenlyfunoftheAmericansandPutinevendeclaredthathis
American"partners"have"mushforbrains".

Furthermore,theUSAhavealsorefusedaRussianinvitationtosendmilitaryspecialiststo
theRussianGeneralStaffandnowtheyhaveapparentlyevenrefusedtoreceiveaRussian
militarydelegationheadedbyPrimeMinisterDmitryMedvedevhimself!Idon'tthinkIhave
everheardofa"sulkingsuperpower"butthatiswhatweareapparentlyobservingright
now.HowlongUncleSamwillcontinuetopoutinhiscornerisanyone'sguess,butthisis
clearlynotasustainablepolicy.Infact,itisnopolicyatall.

IseenosignoftheUSAhavingthecouragetolookatrealityandactaccordingly.Notonlyis
theObamaAdministrationatanabsolutelyunprecedentedlevelofincompetenceand
intellectualmediocrity,theupcomingPresidentialelectionisjustmakingthingsworse:with
bonafidepsychopathslikeHillary,McCainorFiorinamakingirresponsiblestatementsonan
almostdailybasis,theWhiteHousemustconstantlydodgeaccusationsofbeing"toosoft
onRussia".AndsincenoUSpoliticiancanaffordtotelltheAmericanpublicthebasictruth
thattheUSisnotomnipotent,USpoliticiansarestuckinaneverendingracetoprovehow
"tough"theyareon"defense".AsfortheEuropeans,theyprobablyhavethebrainstosee
alloftheabove,butwhattheylackisthespinetosayanythingtotheirAmericanoverlords.

JustlikeintheUkraine,theWesthasmadecreatedatotalmessandnowiscompletely
cluelessastowhattodoaboutit.

Russianoptions

Contrarytotheimpressiongivenbythewesternmedia,theRussianforceinSyriaisstilla
verysmallone.ThemainreasonforthatisthattheairfieldnearLatakiasimplycannot
accommodatealargerRussianforce.AsfarasIknow,therearenootherlocationsinSyria
whereRussiacoulddeploymoreaircraft.True,thenumberofsortiesflownbythe
RussianshasbaffledUSAFexpertswhocouldneverhaveachievedthatkindoffigureswith
USaircraftandpilots.Still,theRussianforceissmallandvulnerable.Ofcourse,oneoption
fortheRussianswouldbetoexpandtheairfieldnearLatakia,butthatwouldtaketimeand
moreresourcesandmyunderstandingisthattheywanttoconsolidatetheircurrentairfield
first.However,asastop-gapmeasure,theRussianscoulduseRussian-basedbombers.If
IranallowsRussiatoconductin-airrefuelinginIranianairspaceorifIranallowsRussiato
useIranianairbases,thenmanymoreSU-34/SU-35SMorSU-34/SU-30SM"airforce
packages"thatcouldbeengagedinSyria.Intheory,RussiacouldevenprovideherTu-
22M3todelivergravitybombs,herTu-95MStodelivercruisemissilesandherTu-160to
delivereitheroneorboth.Idon'tthinkthatthereisanymilitarynecessitytousethese
strategicbombersrightnow,butitmightbeagoodideatodosoforpoliticalreasons-just
toflexsomemore'militarymuscle'andshowtheNeoconsthatRussiaisnottobemessed
with.Submarinelaunchedcruisemissileswouldalsowork,especiallyiflaunchedbya
RussiansubintheMediterraneanwhichtheUSNdidnotdetect.Whatiscertainisthatafter
thefirstvolleyofRussiancruisemissilestheUSwithdrewitsonlyaircraftcarrier-the
TheodoreRoosevelt-fromthePersianGulf.
[Sidebar:someRussianobservershavesuggestedthatthefirstvolleyofRussiancruise
missilesincluded26missilesbecausethe26thPresidentoftheUnitedStateswas
TheodoreRoosevelt,thenameoftheonlycarrierwhichwasinthePersianGulf,andthat
thiswasasubtlemessagetotheUSA.Dunno.Maybeso.Maybenot.Butifitisa
coincidence,itisaneatone.Whatiscertainisthatforthefirsttimeinaverylongwhile
therearenoUScarriersinthePersianGulf]

ThemainproblemwithanymilitaryescalationorincreasedRussianinvolvementisthat
PutinwouldhavetosellittotheRussianpublicwhich,atleastsofar,hasbeentotally
supportive,butwhichisgenerallywearyof"missioncreep"andopenendedmilitary
commitments(forexample,mostRussiansopposeanovertRussianinterventioninthe
Donbass).Sofar,theKremlinhasdoneasuperbPRjobexplainingthatDaeshisadirect
threattoRussiaandthatitwasbetterforRussiato"fightthemovertherethanoverhere".
Thislogic,however,ispredicatedontheideathataverylimitedRussianinterventioncantip
thebalance.Thereisaveryfineconceptuallinebetweentippingthebalanceandfighting
someoneelse'swarandthatissomethingtheKremlinisacutelyawareof.Hopefully,this
linewillneverbecrossed.

[returntoContents]

#14
MiddleEastEye
www.middleeasteye.net
October16,2015
Obamawon'tadmittherealtargetsofRussianairstrikes
NooneisdiscussingtherealitythattheRussianoffensiveistargetingthebiggestmilitant
threattotheAssadregime
ByGarethPorter
GarethPorterisanindependentinvestigativejournalistandwinnerofthe2012Gellhorn
Prizeforjournalism.HeistheauthorofthenewlypublishedManufacturedCrisis:The
UntoldStoryoftheIranNuclearScare.

TheUSresponsetoRussia'snewSyrianmilitarycampaigninsupportoftheAssadregime
hasstruckaposeofmoralsuperioritybyarguingthattheRussianshavenotbeentargeting
theIslamicStatebutratherthenon-ISISSyrianoppositiontotheAssadregime.

ThatUSresponseissuperficiallyaccuratebutdeliberatelymisleading.Althoughthe
RussiansarenotfocusingontargetsinISIS-controlledterritory,thereisaverygood
reason:itisnotISISbuttheforcesalignedwithal-Qaeda'sSyrianfranchise,Jabhatal-
Nusraoral-NusraFront,thatposethemostimmediatethreattotheveryexistenceofthe
Assadregime.

InaseriesofstatementsontheRussianmilitarycampaign,theUSDefenceDepartment
hashammeredtheRussiansfornottargetingISISasMoscowinitiallyclaimed-lateronthe
Russianrhetoricshiftedto"terrorists".TheUSstatementsstronglyimpliedthatitwasthe
US-backed"moderate"SyriangroupsopposedtotheAssadregimethatarebeing
attacked.

MajornewsmediahavetakenthesamelineincoveringtheRussianoffensive.Inan
AssociatedPressstoryon13October,forexample,KenDelaniandescribedtheCIAas
supplying"so-calledmoderaterebelstoopposeAssad"formorethantwoyears,alongwith
its"Araballies"andthatAmericanofficials"havewatchedinrecentdaysastheRussian
bombsandmissileshavetargetedthosegroups".

DelanianevenquotedJeffreyWhiteoftheWashingtonInstituteforNearEastPolicy
(WINEP),thethinktanksupportingIsraeliinterests,whocomplainedthattheUnitedStates
hadabandoneditsmoderateallies."We'vealignedourselvestotheseguys,wetrained
themandpaidthemandsentthemofftobattle,andwhenthegoinggetstough,we'renot
there,"saidWhite.

Butthisframingoftheissuefundamentallymis-representsthesituationinSyriaby
conjuringupanon-existentpowerfulUS-backed"moderate"forcewhiledivertingattention
fromtherealthreatposedbyal-Qaeda'sSyrianfranchise.TheRussiansarenothitting
someimaginarysetof"moderate"SyrianarmedgroupsopposingtheAssadregimethey
areoverwhelminglyfocusedontargetingthemilitarycommandinwhichal-NusraFrontis
thecentralstrategicforce.
ThemapspinpointingthelocationsoftheRussianstrikessince30Septemberpublishedin
variousnewspapersandonthewebsiteoftheInstituteforStudyofWar-theoriginal
sourcefortheothermaps-allshowveryclearlythattheyareoverwhelminglyconcentrated
inIdlibprovince,theadjoiningHamaprovince,andareasofLatakiaprovincenearIdlib.But
thatfactdoesnottakeonsignificanceunlessitisrecalledthattheal-NusraFront-al
Qaeda'sfranchiseinSyria-andthe"ArmyofConquest"linkedtoit,unexpectedlytook
controlofIdlibprovinceinamajormilitaryoffensiveinMarch.

ThatvictoryinIdlibwaswidelyreportedatthetimetobethebiggestturningpointinthe
Syrianwarinwellovertwoyearsandtorepresentbyfarthemostseriouschallengetothe
Assadregimesincethebeginningofthewar.Andalthoughanumberofsmallercommands
wereinvolvedintheIdliboffensive,al-NusraFront's3,000troopsrepresentedthemajority
oftheforcesinvolvedinthefight.Andaccordingtoawell-informedsource,al-Nusraandits
closejihadistallyAhraral-Shamaccountedfor90percentofthetroops.

Wenowknow,moreover,thattheIdlibcampaignwasthedirectresultofapolicydecision
bySaudiArabiaandQatar,withUSapproval,tosupportthecreationofthe"Armyof
Conquest"andprovideitwithnewmilitaryhardwarethatwasacrucialfactorinthat
campaign:theTOWanti-tankmissile.LizSlyoftheWashingtonPostrevealedinastoryon
11OctoberthatTOWmissileshadbeendeliveredtoSyrianarmedgroupsundera
programmecoordinatedbetweentheCIAandtheSaudis.SlyfurthernotesthattheCIA-
suppliedTOWmissilesweresoimportanttorebelswhomade"gainsinnorthwestSyria"
thattheyhavecalledthemissilethe"AssadTamer".

"Itisnoaccident,"Slyreported,"thatthefirsttargetsofRussianairstrikesinSyriawerethe
locationswhererebelsarmedwithTOWmissleshavemadethemostsubstantialgainand
wheretheymostdirectlythreatenAssad'sholdonpower".Thatisanobviousreferenceto
theforcesthattookoverIdlibprovinceinMarch.ButSlyneverreferstothe"Armyof
Conquest"victoryinIdliboracknowledgesthatal-NusraFrontwasthemainbenefactorof
theCIAprogramme.Herstoryquotesaproponentoftheprogramme,formerUS
ambassadorRobertFord,asassuringusthatthesystempreventedthemissilesfrom
"fallingintoextremisthands,"andthathewasawareofonlytwoTOWmissileshavingbeen
obtainedbyal-Nusra.

SlyreportedaverydifferentstoryinMarch,however,afterthedissolutionofHarakatHazm,
themainCIA-supported"moderaterebelgroup"remaininginthenorth,followingits
completedefeatbyal-NusraFront.Thevictoriousal-Nusraannouncedpublicly,according
toSly'sreport,thatithadseizedtheTOWanti-tankmissilestheCIAhadsuppliedto
HarakatHazmwhenitoccupiedthegroupsheadquartersnearAleppo.Moreover,the
SaudisreportedlyhadownershipofTOWmissiles,andtheyandtheQatarishadalready
beenfunnelingarmstoal-NusraFront,asVice-PresidentJoeBidenrevealedinOctober
2014.

Itisastonishingthatatthislatedate,anyoneinthemediacouldstillbeseriouslysuggesting
thattheCIAsomehowmanagedtoturnthe"moderate"Syrianrebelsintoapowerful
offensiveforcethreateningtheAssadregimeinthenorth.SincetheIdlibvictory,itis
generallyunderstoodthattheprimarythreattodrivetheAssadregimefrompowercomes
fromal-NusraFrontandtheforcesalliedwithit,andnotfromtheIslamicState-and
certainlynotthemythical"moderaterebels".

ItiseasytounderstandwhytheObamaadministrationisnotinterestedintalkingaboutthe
roleofal-NusrainthepresentSyrianpolitical-militarysituation.AccordingtoSly'ssource,
thecovertoperationtoprovidetheTOWmissilestotheArmyofConquestwasaimedat
putting"sufficientpressureonAssad'sforcestopersuadehimtocompromisebutnotso
muchthathisgovernmentwouldprecipitouslycollapseandleaveadangerouspower
vacuum".

TheObamaadministrationstrategyonSyriaassumedadegreeofcontrolthatisso
obviouslyunrealisticthatitwasinherentlyriskytothepointofrecklessness.Thatiswhyno
oneintheadministrationorthenewsmediaisdiscussingtherealitythattheRussian
offensiveistargetingthebiggestjihadistthreattotheAssadregime.

[returntoContents]

#15
ProjectSyndicate
October15,2015
TestingPutininSyria
ByRichardN.Haass
RichardN.Haass,PresidentoftheCouncilonForeignRelations,previouslyservedas
DirectorofPolicyPlanningfortheUSStateDepartment(2001-2003).

NEWYORK-TherehasbeennoshortageofscrutinyofwhatRussianPresidentVladimir
PutinisuptoinSyriaandwhy.Muchoftheanalysis,though,hasbeennarrowlyfocusedon
theshorttermandmaybetoonegativeinassessinghisactions'likelylong-term
consequences.

WhatweknowisthatPutinhasdecidedtocometotheaidofBasharal-Assad'sembattled
regime.Russianbombsandmissilesarenowrainingdownonanarrayofarmedgroups
thathavebeenfightingSyriangovernmentforces,whichhasgiventheregimethebreathing
spacethatRussia'sinterventionwasintendedtoprovide.

AsbadastheAssadgovernmentis,andasmuchasithastoanswerfor,thisoutcomeis
arguablypreferableintheshortruntotheregime'scollapse.ThepainfultruthinSyriatoday
isthatagovernmentimplosionwouldmostlikelyleadtogenocide,millionsmoredisplaced
people,andtheestablishmentoftheIslamicState'sso-calledcaliphateinDamascus.

Putin'smotivesareamatterofspeculation,butitwouldappearthathedidnotwanttosee
Russia'slong-termallyintheMiddleEastfall.Moreover,henevermissesanopportunityto
remindtheworldthatRussiaremainsamajorpower,ableandwillingtoactonbehalfofits
perceivedinterests.Itisalsopossiblethathesoughttodistractdomesticattentionfroma
shrinkingeconomyandtherisingcostofinterventioninUkraine.Putin'shighapproval
ratingssuggesthemaywellbesucceeding.

ManyfearthatRussia'slatestactivismwillnotonlyprolongSyria'sbrutalcivilwar,butalso
strengthentheIslamicState.Thiscouldwellturnouttobethecase,ashatredoftheAssad
regimeisamajorrecruitingtool.And,thusfaratleast,theIslamicStateseemstobealow
priorityfortheRussianmilitary,whichappearstobeattackingmainlyotheranti-Assad
groups.

Indeed,therehavebeenreportsoftheIslamicStatemovingintoareasthatothershave
abandonedfollowingRussianattacks.Russiaseemstobeplayingthesamecynicalgame
asAssad:framingthewarasabinarychoicebetweentheIslamicStateandaregimethat,
howeverflawed,stilldeservestheworld'ssupport.

SomealsofearthatthisdemonstrationofRussianassertivenesspresagesanewwaveof
suchinterventions,evenanewColdWar.Butthisisunlikely,iffornootherreasonthanthat
Russialackstheeconomicandmilitarymeanstosustainsucheffortsonmultiplefronts.It
isalsonotclearthattheRussianpeoplearepreparedtopayahighpriceforsuchaforeign
policy.

SoitallcomesdowntoPutin,whoenjoysadegreeofautonomyinKremlindecision-
makingnotseensincetheStalinera.Putiniswidelyknowntobeamartial-artsenthusiast,
andhisactioninSyriaisentirelyconsistentwithmanyofthediscipline'sprinciples,
includingtheimportanceofthedecisivethrustthatneutralizestheopponent'sstrengths
andexploitshisweaknesses.

Butforcehasitslimits.Russia'sinterventioninSyriacannotsucceedifsuccessisdefined
asenablingtheAssadgovernmenttoregaincontroloverthebulkofthecountry'sterritory.
Putin'spolicycan,atmost,establisharelativelysecureenclave.

Eventhismodestaimwillprovecostly,becausetheIslamicStateisalsobecoming
stronger.AnditcouldproveexpensivetoRussiaitself:itisonlyamatteroftimebefore
suicidebombings(suchastherecentattackinAnkara)occurinMoscow.

Therealquestion,then,iswhetherPutinseesbolsteringtheAssadgovernmentasanend
initselforasameanstoanend.Ifitisthelatter-ifPutinisthinkingintermsofchess,the
preferredgameofmanyRussians,andplanningseveralmovesahead-adiplomatic
process,inwhichAssadisremovedatsomepoint,isconceivable.Russiamightsupport
suchaprocessafterall,Putinisnotknownforhissentimentality.Indeed,hemight
embraceapoliticalprocessthatenabledhimtodemonstrateRussia'scentralrolein
shapingthefutureoftheMiddleEast.

Inthemeantime,theUnitedStatesandothersshouldpursueatwo-trackpolicy.Onetrack
wouldchannelstepstoimprovethebalanceofpoweronthegroundinSyria.Thismeans
doingmoretohelptheKurdsandselectSunnitribes,aswellascontinuingtoattackthe
IslamicStatefromtheair.

Relativelysafeenclavesshouldemergefromthiseffort.ASyriaofenclavesorcantons
maybethebestpossibleoutcomefornowandtheforeseeablefuture.NeithertheUSnor
anyoneelsehasavitalnationalinterestinrestoringaSyriangovernmentthatcontrolsallof
thecountry'sterritorywhatisessentialistorollbacktheIslamicStateandsimilargroups.

ThesecondtrackisapoliticalprocessinwhichtheUSandothergovernmentsremain
opentoRussian(andevenIranian)participation.ThegoalwouldbetoeaseAssadoutof
powerandestablishasuccessorgovernmentthat,ataminimum,enjoyedthesupportof
hisAlawitebaseand,ideally,someSunnis.

SuchaprocessmightwellconferprestigeonPutin.Thatwouldbeapriceworthpayingifit
contributedtoadynamicthatovertimereducedboththesufferingoftheSyrianpeopleand
thedangerposedbytheIslamicState.

[returntoContents]

#16
www.rt.com
October17,2015
WhyRussiahadtointerveneinSyria
ByDrAlexanderYakovenko,RussianAmbassadortotheUnitedKingdomofGreatBritain
andNorthernIreland,Deputyforeignminister(2005-2011).

CombatinginternationalterrorismhaslongbeenoneofthetopprioritiesofRussia'sforeign
policy.Wehavebeenconsistentlyadvocatinggenuinelyglobaleffortsincounteringthisevil.

Thefightagainstterrorismmustbeconductedonauniversallegalbasis,startingwiththe
UNCharter.ThatiswhyRussiahasbeenunabletojointheUS-led"globalcoalition"against
IslamicState(IS,formerlyISIS/ISIL).Thecoalitionwasestablishedincircumventionofthe
UNSecurityCouncil,anditsoperationsinSyriaviolatethesovereigntyofthatcountry.

ThefightagainstIScangainlegitimacyonlythroughaUNSecurityCouncilmandate.Sofar
theSecurityCouncilhasbeenblockedbyattemptsofagroupofstatestoimposean
ideologicalapproachtothisdirectcommonthreat.TheRussiandraftresolutionon
combatingterroristgroupsintheMiddleEast,whilerespectingtheindependenceof
countriesoftheregion,remainsonthetable.

Russiacallsforestablishingabroadcounter-terroristfront.Addressingrobustlythethreat
ofISandotherterroristgroupsintheregion,requiresajointandcoordinatedactionbyall
thosewhoarealreadyfightingISISontheground.ThoseincludetheSyrianandIraqi
armies,theKurdishandShiamilitias,andgroupsofpatrioticoppositioninSyria.Therecent
meetingsattheUNGeneralAssemblyhaveshownthatnobodyisenthusedattheprospect
ofdestructionoftheregionalarchitectureandreplacementofsecularstateswithan
extremist"caliphate".

Whilethosediplomaticeffortsaregainingmomentum,Russiaremainstheonly
internationalplayerwhosemilitaryactionsinSyriahasalegalbasisintheformofthe
requestofthegovernmentinDamascus.OurairstrikesinSyriaaresolelyfocusedonthe
eliminationoftheterroristthreatinthatcountry.Asregardsthechoiceoftargets,the
RussianDefenceMinistryhasshownanunprecedentedopenness,providing
comprehensiveanddetailedinformationoneverysingleoperationoftheRussianAirForce,
onadailybasis.YetanyinformationthatourpartnerscanshareregardingpotentialIS
targetstobehit,willbehighlyappreciated.Sofarourrespectiverequestshavenotbeen
respondedto.

Russia'sactionsarealreadybringingtangibleresultsontheground.Severalhundredair
strikeshavesignificantlydegradedthecommandandlogisticalinfrastructureofIS.Thisis
instarkcontrastwiththewidelyrecognizedandadmittedinefficiencyoftheUS-led
coalition.Aftermorethanayearofbombing,ISrankshaveswollen,theircontroloversome
regionshasstrengthened,andfinancialflowshavebeensteady.

TheaccusationthatISisaproductofRussia's"insistence"onkeepingPresidentAssadin
powerisabsolutelyuntenable.WhatistrueisthattheweakeningoftheSyrianauthorities
causedbytheoutsideinterferencehasledtovacuumandvastzonesofanarchy
throughoutthecountry,whichwerefilledbyterrorists.Theso-calledmoderateopposition
wasledtobelievethataWesternmilitaryinterventionwouldengineera"regimechange,"
thatsomebodywouldfightforthem.Consequently,ascivilwarraged,polarizationleftlittle
roomforthosemisledgroups.

Indeed,whilesolvingtheproblemofterrorism,wecertainlymustfacilitatethelaunchofa
UN-ledfocusedandcomprehensivepoliticalprocessbasedontheGenevacommuniquof
30June2012.Defeatingterroristswillhelpcreatetherightconditionsforalastingpolitical
settlement.Itwillbethebestwaytoputanendtothecivilconflictandachieve"peace
withoutvictory",somethingthattheEntentepowerscouldn'tstomachin1918.

[returntoContents]

#17
MoscowTimes
October17,2015
One-ThirdofRussiansThinkRussianMilitaryIsWorld'sBest
ByMatthewBodner

Almostone-thirdofRussiansthinktheirnation'smilitaryisthemostpowerfulintheworld,
accordingtoanewpollpublishedbytheRussianPublicOpinionResearchCenter
(VTsIOM)onThursday.

ThesurveycomestwoweeksafterRussiabeganairstrikesinSyriathathavedominated
televisionnewscoverage-mostofwhichhavepresentedthecampaignasaresounding
success.

ItshowedthatRussiansaremoreconfidentabouttheirnation'smilitarypowerthaninthe
finalyearsoftheSovietUnion,whenthecountrywasarecognizedglobalsuperpower.

Thirty-twopercentofrespondentstothepollpublishedFridaysaidRussia'smilitarywas
thestrongestintheworld,comparedtoonly5percentin1990.Another49percentsaidin
Friday'ssurveythattheRussianarmedforceswereamongtheplanet'smostpowerful,
comparedto21percentin1990.

In1990,almosthalfofRussianssaidtheSovietarmedforceseitherlaggedbehindtherest
oftheworldorwereflat-outweak.

Inpart,thechangeinattitudesreflectsamassivemodernizationdriveoverinrecentyears.
PresidentVladimirPutinhasoverseena20trillionruble($326billion)rearmamentprogram,
begunin2011,thatisaimedatreversingnearlytwodecadesofdeclineinthearmed
forces.

Theprogramisalreadyyieldingresults.Russia'sairforceandnavyinSyriahas
successfullyconductedmoderncombatoperations,sometimesusingadvancedprecision
weapons.Butanalystsagreethatinmostareasthecountry'smilitarytechnology
significantlylagstheU.S.,aswellasBritain,GermanyandFrance.

Thisyear,Russianmilitaryspendingisexpectedtohitapost-Soviethighof3.1trillion
rubles($50.5billion),oraround4percentofthecountry'sgrossdomesticproduct.Askedif
thiswastoomuchtospendonthemilitary,just35percentofrespondentstoFriday'spoll
saidyes,while52percentsaidthegovernmentisn'tspendingenough.

ThesurveywasconductedfromOct.10-11andpolled1,800peopleacrossRussia.The
marginoferrordidnotexceed3.5percent.

[returntoContents]

#18
Irrussianality
http://irrussianality.wordpress.com
October17,2015
LifestyleandIdentity
ByPaulRobinson
UniversityofOttawa
[Chartherehttp://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/lifestyle-and-identity/]

TheLevadaCentrehasjustissuedtheresultsofanewsurvey.Accordingtothispoll,a
majorityofRussians(53%)donotfeelthattheirvaluesystemandself-identityalignatall
withthoseoftheWest.Inaddition,45%regardthe'Westernlifestyle'(whichwasnot
defined)negatively,andonly30%regarditpositively.Theresultsareshownhere.

TOWHATDEGREEDOYOUCURRENTLYFEELTHATYOURVALUESYSTEMAND
SELF-IDENTITYALIGNWITHTHOSEOFWESTERNCULTURE?
Feb.93Oct.08Sept.14Sept.15
Ifeelthiswayatalltimes1322
Thisisfairlyimportanttome571210
Thisisnotveryimportanttome16323728
Idon'tfeelthisatall50544353
Itisdifficulttosay28567

OVERALL,HOWDOYOUFEELABOUTTHE"WESTERNLIFESTYLE":POSITIVELYOR
NEGATIVE
Oct.08Sept.14Sept.15

Positively463430
Negatively304245
Itisdifficulttosay252525

Thesurveyalsofoundthat5%ofrespondentswoulddefinitelyliketomovetotheWestto
work,and18%wouldprobablydosoiftheycould,while30%probablywouldn'tand36%
definitelywouldn't(therestdidn'tknow).Thesefiguresarealmostunchangedfrom2008.
TheprimaryreasonsgivenforwantingtomovetotheWestwereeconomic(betterliving
conditionsbeingthemostcommonlycited)ratherthanpolitical.Youngerpeople(18-29),
thosewithuniversityeducation,andthosewhospokeforeignlanguagesandtravelled
regularlyabroadweregenerallymorepositivelyinclinedtotheWestandmorelikelytowant
tolivethere.

Lookingatallthis,Isuspectthattheanswerstothe'lifestyle'questionareratherless
significantthanthosetothemoregeneral'self-identity'question,inlargepartbecause,as
thechartsaboveshow,theyhavechangedmuchmoreovertimeandsomaybemore
reflectiveofcurrentpoliticaldifferencesratherthandeeply-heldbeliefs.Theymaytherefore
bemorelikelytochangeagaininthefuture.

Russianviewsaboutwhattheyimaginethe'Westernlifestyle'tobehaveineffectflipped
180degreesoverthepastsevenyears:46%positiveand30%negativein2008,but30%
positiveand45%negativein2015.AdislikeofWesternforeignpolicymightwellbeafactor
inthischange,asmightafeelingthattheWesthasbecomedecadentandexcessively
liberal,whileRussiahasretainedamoreconservativeoutlook.Nevertheless,Iamnot
convincedthatthisapparentdivergenceofvaluesisalastingphenomenon.Thecurrent
levelofinternationaltensiondoesnothavetobepermanent,andthevaluesdifferencesare,
Ithink,overblown.MostRussiansseemveryhappytoindulgeinWestern-style
consumerismifgiventhechance,andRussianpopularcultureisnotobviouslyanyless
'decadent'thanthatoftheWest.IstronglysuspectthatifRussian-Westernrelationswere
toimprove,answerstothelifestylequestionwouldswitchrapidlybacktowheretheywere
sevenyearsago.

Thesamecan'tbesaidofRussians'failuretoself-identifyasWestern.The53%whose
self-identityis'notatall'Westernisanalmostidenticalfiguretothe50%whofeltthatway
in1993andthe54%whodidsoin2008.Itseemsthatthereisalong-standingsense
amongamajorityofRussiansthattheyaredistinctfromtheWest.Thissenseisnotjusta
productofcurrentinternationaltensions,anditislikelytopersist.

Oneoftheparadoxesofglobalizationisthatinsomecasesitmayactuallyaccentuate
perceptionsofculturaldifference.Lifestyleandidentityhavetobeseparated.Whatthe
LevadapollsuggeststomeisthatthefactthatRussiansareadoptingcertainWestern
waysoflivingdoesn'tnecessarilymeanthattheywillgrowtofeelmoreWestern.

[returntoContents]

#19
Russia&IndiaReport
http://in.rbth.com
October17,2015
MovingawayfromaWest-centricoutlook
ThewesternmediaisnotlikelytochangeitsnegativeapproachtowardsRussiaanytimein
thenearfuture.It'stimeforRussianstostopcaring.
AjayKamalakaran,RIR

BeforewritingthiscolumnIwouldliketomakeitabsolutelyclearthatIamnotanti-West,
andtherearealotofthingsaboutwesterncountriesthatIabsolutelyadmire.However,I
findthisneedamongmanyinfluentialpeopleinRussiatohavewesternapprovalabsolutely
cringe-worthy.

Overthelasttwoandahalfdecades,theAmericanfilmandtelevisionindustryhas
managedtocompletelycapturetheRussianmarket.It'sincrediblydifficulttofindaRussian
filmbeingscreenedinMoscow.ThecinemahallsmostlyshowdubbedHollywoodpictures.
ThisdominationoftheRussianculturalspacebytheU.S.anditsallieshasledtomany
Russiansseeingtheirowncountrythroughawesternprism.

WhiletheremaybesomejustificationforcallingStPetersburgthe'VeniceoftheNorth,why
isVladivostokcalledthe'RussianSanFrancisco?'Thelistgoesonwithsomesmaller
regionsintheCaucasusbeinglabeledthe'SwitzerlandofRussia.'AsniceasVenice,San
FranciscoandSwitzerlandare,theyhavetheirplusandminuspointsjustlikeanyother
placeonearth.TheproblemwithmanyRussiansisthattheyblindlyacceptthehypeover
placesintheWestandtryoverlyhardtoequatetheirowncitieswithbenchmarkssetin
EuropeandtheU.S.

ThislackofselfconfidenceandneedforapprovalfromtheWestwerethedirectresultof
perestroikaandthelosingofsuperpowerstatus.Ithashoweverbeenalmostaquarterofa
centurysincetheUSSRcollapsed.Overthistime,Russiahasmanagedtoreviveand
reinventitself.Thecountryisblessedwithsomuchnaturalbeautyandsomeofthemost
charmingcitiesintheworld.It'stimetodevelopthickskinandnolongercarewhatthe
Westthinks.

ItaketheexampleofacountrylikeIndiathatisconstantlyundersiegefromthewestern
mediaanditslocal'sepoys.'Noarticlepublishedbyawesternnewspaperorwireservice
onIndia'sachievementswouldbecompletewithoutamentionofthecountry'spoverty.
Whetherit'sthespaceprogramorsomemassiveinfrastructureproject,somewhereorthe
other,therewillbealineaboutthepercentageofpeoplelivingbelowthepovertylineinthe
country.Thesamegoeswithwesternnewsagenciesandtheirphotodesks.Apoorperson,
acoworsomesignofpovertyisanessentialpartofaphotographofIndia.

AsIndiacontinuestogroweconomicallyandtakestherightstepstoeradicatepoverty,an
increasingnumberofIndiansjustdonotcareaboutbiasedmediacoveragefromtheWest.
Theprevailingwisdominthecountryisonthelinesof'letthemwallowintheirown
ignorance.'WhiletherearethoseincitieslikeUdaipur,whocalltheircity,'theVeniceofthe
East,'thedecision-makersinthestateofRajasthanaremorekeentopromotetheir
beautifulculturethanfallingpreytosuchsillycomparisons.

Russiansneedtodevelopthickskinandhaveasimilarattitudetowardswesternnegativity.
Overthelastdecade,therehasbeenaclearlyvisibleimprovementininfrastructureand
standardsoflivingacrossRussia.Butwe'llneverreadaboutthisinanywestern
publication.IfsomethingunusuallynegativehappensinaSiberianvillage,ithasagreat
chanceofmakingheadlinesaroundtheworld.

It'samazinghowEuropeanshavethereasoningandlogictoseparateAmericanforeign
policyfromculture,butstilljeeratRussianperformersattheEurovisioncontest.Formany
intheWest,theaggressiveAmericanmilitaryadventuresdonotequalAmericanpeople,
butdifferentyardsticksgeteasilyappliedtoRussia.Ofcourse,thisistheresultofyearsof
veryeffectivebrainwashing.
RussiahastremendousgoodwillinAsia,theBalkans,AfricaandLatinAmerica.It'stimeto
capitalizeandbuildonthis.ManypeopleintheseregionswanttoseeRussianshavethe
samekindofconfidenceintheircountryastheydidintheheydayoftheUSSR.

Thefirststepontheroadtobuildingthisconfidenceisde-hyphenationwiththeWest.Let
usstopthecomparisonswithVeniceandSanFrancisco(andthefreepublicitythesecites
keepgetting)whenwetalkaboutStPetersburgandVladivostok.Russianeedstocreateit
owntourismbranddistinctandfreeoftheWest.Ofcourse,itwouldbenicetohavemore
westerntouristsinRussia,buttheworldiscertainlynotjusttheWest.Thisisprecisely
whatsomedecision-makersinRussianeedtounderstand.

Tailpiece:

Givenalltherestorationandredevelopmentgoingonacrossthecountry,Russiancitieswill
beattheirbestwhenthecountryhoststhe2018FIFAWorldCup.Thesportingcarnivalis
Russia'sbestopportunitytoshowcaseitselftotheworld.Noamountofnegativemedia
coveragewillbeabletooffsetwhatfootballfansfromaroundtheworldwillseewiththeir
owneyes.

[returntoContents]

#20
FinancialTimes
October17,2015
God'sTV,Russianstyle
ByCourtneyWeaver
CourtneyWeaveristheFT'sdeputyMoscowbureauchief

OnasunnyafternooninMoscow,theRussiantycoonKonstantinMalofeevisholdingcourt
inthestudiosofhisnewlylaunchedtelevisionchannelTsargradTV,dressedinadesigner
suit,abluesilkhandkerchiefpeekingfromhisbreastpocket.Abovehimisamakeshift
cathedralcupolaweighinginathalfatonne.Behindhimare24ft-highwindowsthrough
whichtheKremlin'sredtowersarevisible,theirglasscommuniststarsglistening.

Malofeev,whohasthecheeksandfigureofamanwholikesagoodmeal,isinabuoyant
mood.Inasignofhisgrowingclout,hehasjusthadlunchwithtwooftherichestoligarchs
ontheForbeslist.YelenaMizulina,aleadingconservativesenator,whohascometo
Tsargrad'soffices,ispatientlywaitingforthebusinessmantofitinatte--ttebeforehe
departsonhissummerholiday.

Overthepastfewyears,Malofeev,41,hasmorphedintooneofRussia'smostinfluential
businessmenandlobbyists,inpartthankstohisdevoutRussianOrthodoxfaithand
conservativevalues,nowbackinvogueduringVladimirPutin'sthirdterm.Asthefounderof
privateequityfirmMarshallCapitalPartners,Malofeevaccumulatedsubstantialpersonal
wealth,largelythroughaninvestmentintheRussiantelecomsgiantRostelecom.(His
friendIgorShchegolev,afellowRussianOrthodoxandnowPutinadviser,wastelecoms
ministeratthetime.)Nowheispayingitbackasaself-styledChristianphilanthropistand
oneofPutin'sloudestideologicalsupporters.

ItisaspartofthisnextactthatMalofeevhaslaunchedTsargradTV,hisownRussian
OrthodoxTVchannel,whichaimstoputaconservativeyetmodernspinonglobalnews.In
June,TsargradbeganbroadcastingdailyonSpas,areligiouschannelrunbytheRussian
OrthodoxChurch,inadditiontoanonlineplatform.AccordingtoMalofeev,Tsargrad's
closestinternationalequivalentisFoxNewsintheUS,makinghimsomethingofaRussian
RogerAiles.

"WhenFoxNewsenteredtheAmericanmarketinaround1996to1997,theywerevery
differentfromCNNandABC.Foxtalkedaboutthingsthatpeoplewoulddiscussamong
themselvesintheirkitchensbutwhichotherchannelsweretooscaredtosay,ordidn't
wanttosayonair,"Malofeevsaysexcitedly."InmanywaysTsargradissimilartowhatFox
Newshasdone.Westartedfromtheideathattherearemanypeoplewhoadhereto
traditionalvaluesandtheyabsolutelyneedavoice."

ThenodtoFoxisnotaccidental.TogetTsargradTVupandrunning,MalofeevhiredJack
Hanick,oneofFoxNews'sfoundingproducers,whomhemetwhentheywereboth
speakersataMoscowconferenceonmoralityinthemedia."Theyputusallintheroom
andIthought,anotherspeaker,great,"Hanicksays."Heseemedlikeaveryhumbleguy.I
hadnoideahehadalotofpowerorpoliticalpull.I'mstillnotsurewhathehas."

BornintheMoscowsuburbsin1974,Malofeevstudiedtobealawyerbutswitchedto
investmentbankingascapitalismtookholdtowardstheendofthe1990s.By2005,atthe
ageof31,hehadfoundedhisprivateequityfirmMarshallCapitalPartners.Itwasat
universitythathesayshefoundGod,andthroughouthisbusinesscareerhehascultivated
animageofamanoftheRussianOrthodoxChurch.

ConnectingMalofeevtoleadingRussianandwesternconservativesislikeplayingafar-
right,OrthodoxversionofSixDegreesofKevinBacon.InKremlincircles,thetycoon
mingleswithShchegolevandVladimirYakunin,theformerchiefofRussia'sstaterailways
company.Inthewest,hehasbeenlinkedwithFrance'sMarineLePenandisacquainted
withUSpresidentialcandidateRandPaul.PanosKammenos,theformerGreekdefence
minister,hasbeenaguestathiscountryestate.

MalofeevgainedfurthernotorietyduringtheUkraineconflictin2014,afterheemergedas
oneofthekeyfigureslinkingpro-RussiaforcesineastUkrainewiththeMoscowpolitical
establishment.Oneofhisformeremployees,AlexanderBorodai,wasatonepointtheself-
declaredDonetskPeople'sRepublicprimeministeranother,IgorGirkin,brieflyservedas
thepro-Russianrebels'chiefmilitarycommander.TheconnectionslandedMalofeevunder
EUandUSsanctionslastyear.Ukraine'sinteriorministryhasaccusedhimoffinancing
"illegalarmedgroups"andbrandedhima"sponsorofterrorists".

Malofeevhasdeniedtheallegations,whichhaveplayedwellforhimdomestically.
AccordingtoSergeiMarkov,awell-connectedpro-Kremlinanalyst,theclaimshaveactually
boostedhisstandingasasuccessfullobbyistandideologue:"Malofeevendedupinthe
middleofallthesenewseventsaccidentallyenough,Ithink.Butwhenhedid,ofcoursehe
washappyaboutit.Itmeantthatallofhismoneyhadn'tbeenspentinvain."

ThenewTVchannelisthelatestexampleofMalofeevdoingwhathedoesbest:leveraging
hisOrthodoxcredentialsandwealthtocatapulthimselfintothezeitgeistofRussianpolitics.
WhilesomeoligarchswhotriedtogetinvolvedinTVintheearly2000swereexiledorjailed
underPutin'snewregime,Malofeevissofarenjoyingcarteblanchewithhischannel,which
heboastsisevenmorepatrioticthantheKremlin'sownstate-runTVstations."We've
alwaysstucktoourOrthodox,patriotic,imperialistpositions.Themainstreamhasn't."

Tsargard'sprimarygoal,Malofeevinsists,isaproselytisingone."Therearealotofpeople
whowearcrosses,identifyasChristiansbutatthesametimedon'tgotochurch,orgoto
churchjustonceayearforEaster.Ourjobistoreachouttothesepeopleandpavethe
waytothecathedralforthem."

Atthesametime,thechannelhasadoptedaclearanti-westerngeopoliticalstanceonthe
newsthatcanmakeRussianstateTVlooktamebycomparison.Inasegmentabout
migrantsthissummer,oneofthechannel'scorrespondentssuggestedthatEurope's
refugeecrisishadbeenthedeliberateworkofeitherGeorgeSorosortheRothschildfamily.
"TheRothschildsarecalledthemastersofmoney,"theanchortoldtheaudiencecalmly.
"Theirresourceismoneyandtheirgoalisworlddomination."

Inanothersegment,thetopicofRussianinterestrateswasusedasalaunchpadfor
discussingthequestionablemoralsofUSmonetarypolicy.AnewsitemaboutPlanned
Parenthoodturnedintoacautionaryexposon"AmericanSatanists"who"openly
supportedthekillingofchildren".

ThemastermindbehindTsargrad'seditorialideologyisAlexanderDugin,arightwing
ideologuewho,since1997,hascalledforRussiatorebuildaEurasianempire,
"constructedonthefundamentalprincipleofthecommonenemy"-primarilytheUSandits
exportedidealofliberalism.ADostoyevskianfigurewithpiercingeyesandalong,greying
beard,DuginsaysthatmanyRussiansareturningtoconservatismafterbeingdisillusioned
withtheliberalismpromotedbyBorisYeltsininthe1990s.

"Liberalismhasbeenstronglydiscreditedbythewest'spolitics,"Duginsays.Tsargrad,he
claims,reflectstheopinionofthissilentmajority."Ourgoalistotakepatrioticdiscourseout
oftheghettoitwaskeptinduringSovietandliberaltimes...Whenpeoplearen'toftengivena
chancetospeak,theyforgethowtotalksotheygruntormakefaces.It'sveryimportantto
givethesepeoplealanguage."

Oneofthemaindemographicstoidentifywiththisswingtowardsconservatismisyounger
Russians,Duginsays.OneofthemisAndreiAfanasiev,a26-year-oldTsargradnews
anchor.ThoughheusedtoworkfortheEnglish-languagechannelRussiaToday,speaks
fluentEnglishandhastravelledwidely,Afanasievsayshisexperienceofstudyingabroadin
Spainlefthimdisillusionedaboutthewest."ThelifestyleandvaluesoftheyoungpeopleI
sawthereweren'tclosetomine.Itwassickhedonism:consumerism,entertainment.
Everythingwasveryvulgar."

WithTsargrad,Afanasievsayshehasfoundawholenewgroupofpeoplewhosharehis
Orthodoxbeliefsandconservativevalues."Theconceptofourchannelisthatwe'realllike-
minded.It'sgreat!"hesays."Youcanenvyme:forthepastyearasajournalist,Ihavenot
oncegoneagainstmyheart."

IfirstgotaglimpseofhowTsargrad'sinternalideologywasshapingupduringavisittothe
studio,onMoscow'smaindrag,inlateApril,beforeitsofficiallaunch.Hanick,theformer
FoxNewsexecutive,wasintownandhelpingtheotherproducersprepareforaninterview
thateveningwithAlexeiVaits,aleaderoftheNightWolves,apro-Putinmotorbikegangthat
hasbecomeoneofthesymbolsofthenewbrandofRussiannationalism.Theatmosphere
waspandemonium.

WhileHanickhasthersumofanexperiencedTVproducer,helackstheRussian
languageskills."Zhen,couldyoulightthisup?"hesaidtoanon-English-speaking
employee,gesturingupattheimageofChristhangingabovetheset."Howdoyousay,
'Cupola!Lights!Pozhaluysta?'"heaskedsomewhatrhetorically,dousingtheRussianword
for"please"withaheavyNewYorkaccent.

ThecupolainquestionistheworkofIvanGlazunov,aprominentRussianOrthodoxartist.
Astheproducerspreparedfortheinterview,Glazunovoversawoneofhisassistants
paintingaplywoodcolumntomakeitlookmorelikeanElginmarble.Whenitwastimeto
shoot,thetwopainterswerebrusquelyshooedfromtheset."Fortheartist,thisisthe
compromise,"Glazunovsaiddrily.

Thestudio'sconcept,asHanick,putsit,is"Byzantiummeetsthe21stcentury".The
space'sloftywindowsandnaturallightarenottheeasiestfitforbroadcasttelevision.
"AnyonewhowantedtodoaTVstationwouldsaythatthisisanightmare,"Hanicksays.
Buthenotesthatthenaturallightaddsacertaintouchofholinesstotheproduction.

HanickwasraisedCatholicbutsaysheandhiswifenowhopetobaptisetheirsoninthe
RussianOrthodoxChurch,soinspiredhavetheybeenwiththeirexperienceatthechannel.
OnoneofhisfirsttripstoRussia,Hanicksaidthathehadbeenshownaroundseveral
churchesinMoscow."ItwasFebruaryandmiserablysnowingandeverychurchwas
packed,"hesays."Peoplewerestandingoutsideinthesnowandlisteningonspeakers.
AndIwasthinking,you'dneverseethisinAmerica."

RussiahasacomplexrelationshipwiththeOrthodoxChurch.DuringtheSovietperiod,
religionwasofficiallybanned,andallchurchpropertywasseized.Between1917andthe
SovietUnion'sfall,morethan300,000churchworkerswerekilledorimprisonedbythe
Sovietsecretpoliceandsecurityservices.ButsincethefalloftheSovietUnion,Orthodoxy
hasbecomenotjustpopularbutfashionable,saysGeraldineFagan,authorofBelievingin
Russia-ReligiousPolicyafterCommunism.Well-heeledMuscoviteshavestartedwearing
crossesroundtheirnecks.MostrestaurantsinRussia'sbigcitiesnowofferLentenmenus.

UnderPutin'sthirdterm,Orthodoxyhastakenontheadditionalroleofapoliticaltool,used
tounitethemostlyChristianpopulationagainstwesternliberalism,seenasthecauseof
the2012anti-governmentprotests.Inthewakeofthoseprotests,theKremlinpushedfora
2013lawbanningso-calledgaypropagandatominors,andjailedthepunkgroupPussy
Riotfora2012protestconcertinaMoscowchurch,whilepushingamorenationalist
agendaonstateTV.

ThemainconcernnowfortheRussianOrthodoxChurchisthat"religious,ideological,
nationalistdialogue"willreplacefaith,saysGeorgyMitrofanov,aStPetersburgpriest.
"ModernOrthodoxChristiansinRussiaarenotsomuchreligiouslymotivatedbychurchlife
astheyaresearchingforanewauthoritarianideologicalsystem,"hewarns.
AtTsargrad,therearesignsthatthechannel'sideologyisattractingabroadergroupof
supporters.YuriGrymov,aleadingRussianproducer,recentlysignedonasdirectorafter
workingatDozhd,Russia'ssoleoppositionTVchannel-andotherDozhdemployeesare
followingsuit."IwasaproduceronDozhdforayear-and-a-half,butwepartedways
becausewerealisedweweredifferent,"Grymovsaid."I'mfriendswithpeopleofdifferent
confessions,Iworkwithpeopleofdifferentconfessions.It'sjustthatrecentexperiencehas
shownmethatpeoplewhogotochurcharedifferentthanatheistsinawaythat'sforthe
better."

ForMalofeev,thisisallgoodnewsandlargelydowntooneman."UnderPutin25,000
churcheshavebeenbuilt.Canyoubelieveit?Twenty-fivethousandchurches!"Malofeev
exclaims."Inaddition,800monasterieswererestored,andthisEaster1.5millionpeoplein
Moscowwenttochurch-anewrecord.Thisisallhappeningbeforeoureyes.Putinhas
becomeahistoricalleader,thebestthatRussiahashadin100years,sincebeforethe
revolution.Wegotverylucky."

[returntoContents]

#21
PublicBooks
www.publicbooks.org
October15,2015
Russia,Today:Part1
EliotBorensteinandCarineClment

October15,2015-AmidtheannexationofCrimea,thefrozenconflictineasternUkraine,
andanemergingproxywarinSyria,manycommentatorshaveproclaimedthebeginningof
anewColdWarbetweenRussiaandtheWest.Butasideologuesoneithersidespread
theirmessagesthroughinternationalorganizationsandnewsmedia,ithasbecome
increasinglydifficulttounderstandthesecrisesandtheirorigins.TotheWest,theactions
ofVladimirPutin'scorruptregimeareerodingthefoundationsofthepostwarnation-state
andplungingtheworldfurtherintochaos.FromtheKremlin'svantage,ahypocritical,
decadentWesthasprecipitatedacoupinUkraineandexpandedNATOtoRussia's
doorstep.Freightedwithirreconcilablenarratives,disinformation,andmisleadinghistorical
analogies,scholarsandobserversalikeseemtolackavocabularytoadequatelydescribe
theWest'songoingdramawithRussia.

OursecondcollaborationbetweenPublicBooksandtheFrenchonlinejournalLaViedes
Ides/Books&Ideasseeksapathbeyondthisintellectualimpasse.Overthespaceofsix
articles,publishedinthreeparts,ourcontributorsexaminetheforcesthathaveledtoa
renewederaofglobaluncertainty.Inthisfirstpairofessays,AmericanslavicistEliot
BorensteinexaminesRussia'slove-haterelationshipwiththeWest,whileFrench
sociologistCarineClmentanalyzesthesystemthatsustainsPutin'sdomesticpower.In
ourNovember1issuewewillpublishasecondpairofarticlesbyPrincetonhistorian
EkaterinaPravilovaandFrenchphilosopherMichelEltchaninoff,followedonNovember15
bytwofinalpiecesbyAmericanlegalscholarMonicaEppingerandFrenchsociologist
CcileLefvre.
---

CAUGHTINABADROMANCE:WHATAMERICAMEANSTORUSSIA
EliotBorenstein
EliotBorensteinisProfessorofRussianandSlavicStudiesatNewYorkUniversity.Heis
theauthorofMenwithoutWomen:MasculinityandRevolutioninRussianFiction,1917-
1919(2000)andOverkill:SexandViolenceinContemporaryRussianPopularCulture
(2008).A2009Guggenheimrecipient,Borensteinisworkingonamonographentitled"Plots
AgainstRussia:ConspiracyandFantasyafterSocialism."Heisalsotheeditorand
developerof"AlltheRussias,"theblogsiteandwebportalfortheNYUJordanCenterfor
theAdvancedStudyofRussia.

Russiafarespoorlyintheheadlines,andnotjustbecausethenewsissooftenbad.The
Anglo-Americanworld'slimitedknowledgeaboutitscultureandhistorysaddlesRussiawith
painfullyobviousclichs,ofteninvolvingthewords"red"and"revolution."Butthebanality
prizemustgototheinevitable"FromRussia,withLove."1Ithasbeenalmost60years
sinceIanFlemingpublishedaJamesBondnovelbythatname(andmorethan50sincethe
moviewasreleased),yetthephrase,likeBondhimself,doesnotseemtobeheadedto
retirementanytimesoon.

Butitistimeforourcomplacencyaboutthenatureofthetiesbetweenthetwocountriesto
beshaken,ifnotstirred.Fleming'sstoryfeaturestwoRussianwomentryingtomake
contactwithBritain'stopsuperspyonewantstokillhim,theothertakeshimtobed.With
justafewsmalladjustments(suchasswappingoutBondforanAmerican),thetwo
extremescouldbeappliedtomanyRussians'feelingsabouttheUnitedStates,feelings
that,asisoftenthecaseincross-culturalrelationships,aremutuallymisunderstood.

PunditsintheWestanxiouslywringtheirhandsovertheriseofRussian"anti-
Americanism,"anotoriouslyvaguetermwhosemaineffectistomakeAmericansfeel
besieged.Russiahasbecomethelatestfocusforthenaivequestionwenevergettiredof
asking:"Whydotheyhateussomuch?"Inthiscase,though,thehostilitytowardsAmerica
comesfromaplaceoflove.Angry,spurnedlove.

Enemies:ALoveStory

Russia'sloveofAmericaisanoldstory,onethatisworthrecallingpreciselywhenrelations
havegonesosour.LikeHumbert'sLolita,Americahadaprecursor(shedid,indeedshe
did):anolder,andstillsimmering,affairwithWesternEuropeingeneralandFrancein
particular.Butinthetwentiethcentury,Russiawaspreoccupiedwithmodernityandwiththe
future.AninfatuationwithAmericawasinevitable.

TothosewholivedthroughWorldWarII,AmericawastheLend-Leaseprogram.Tothe
generationwhocameofageinthe1960s,Americawastheenchantedkingdomthatgave
birthtojazz(broadcastonVoiceofAmericaforyears),ErnestHemingway,KurtVonnegut,
andbluejeans.Formostpeople,thislovewaspoliticalonlytotheextentthatturningone's
attentiontothe"enemy"wasapoliticizedgesture.TheappealwasnottheUnitedStates'
economicsystemordemocraticinstitutionsUSboosterismtothecontrary,Russianswere
notseeking"freedom"orthe"AmericanDream."Theyweresimplycharmed.

WelikedtothinkofSovietcitizensasvirtuallyisolatedfromtherestoftheworld,imagining
theirnaivedelightwhenfinallyconfrontedwiththewondersofWesterncultureand
technology.Butthenaivetwasreallyours.Reportsofshortagesandlonglinesledmany
toassumethattheUSSR,ratherthanbeinganindustrialized,moderncountrywitha
capacioussocialwelfaresystem,wasmorelikeagodforsakenislandwhoseinhabitants
couldn'twaittostartacargocult.ThenovelistVasilyAksyonov,strippedofhiscitizenshipin
1980,recallshowexcitedhisnewAmericanlandlordwaswhenheheardthatthe
AksyonovswerefromtheUSSR:hetookthemtoamagicroomthatwentupanddown
fromfloortofloor,dependingonthebuttonspressed.Aksyonovwastoopolite(andtoo
amused)totellhimthattheSovietshadlongsincemasteredthesecretsoftheelevator.
IfweacceptthatUS-Russianrelationsareatleastinpartaboutlove,thenAmericaisthe
ultimatebadboyfriend.

Still,therewasonegapintheirknowledgeaboutAmericathatwouldprovedisastrous:the
SovietsdidnotknowthattheirloveforAmericawasunrequited.And,really,howcould
they?Theconflictbetweenthetwosuperpowersdefinedtheentireera,andthelimited
contactsbetweenthemnearlyalwaysinvolvedAmericanscholars,diplomats,oractivists
whowereemotionallyorintellectuallyinvestedinRussia(andwouldn'thavebothered,
otherwise).ThisisnottosaythatRussiaandtheSovietUnionplayednoroleinthe
Americanpsyche.Theideologicaldivideallowedforareductive,functionalistapproachto
Russiaanditsculture,turningtheSovietUnionintosomethingofatotalitarianDisneyland
fortheAmericanmedia/entertainmentcomplex.Sovietsmadegreatmovievillains.What
elsecouldRussiahavetooffer?

Russiahasalonghistoryofpreoccupationwithitsimageontheworldstage.America,on
theotherhand,isnotoriouslyself-absorbed,indeed,self-satisfied.Wedo,ofcourse,get
involvedinforeignwars,but,really,ourrelationshipwiththerestoftheworldisoneof
benignneglectpunctuatedbytheoccasionalrecollectionsthatwe'renotalonethen,likea
guiltybutdutifulchildpickingupaHallmarkcardonMother'sDay,weremembertosenda
drone.

AmericawasbrieflyinfatuatedwithRussiaandtheSovietUnionduringGorbachev's
perestroika,aperiodthatprovedasanomalousfortheUSasitdidforitshomecountry.
Thedamage,however,wasdone:foratleastfiveyears(lateperestroikathrough1993),
citizensofthe(former)SovietUnioncouldjustifiablyconvincethemselvesthatwewere
actuallyconcernedabouttheirwell-being.WesentthemMcDonaldsandPizzaHut,and
eventuallyhumanitarianaidintheformofchicken("Bushlegs,"asRussianscalledthem)
andleftoverDesertStormMREs.Moreominously,wesentour"experts"toreform/ruinthe
nationaleconomy,andactedasindefatigablecheerleadersforthecountry'snew
democraticinstitutions(evenwhenRussia'spresidentdisbandedandthenshelledthe
country'sparliamentin1993).

And,bytheendofthe1990s,wemoreorlessforgotaboutthem.IfweacceptthatUS-
Russianrelationsareatleastinpartaboutlove,thenAmericaistheultimatebadboyfriend.

LoveWillTearUsApart

Inretrospect,theturnagainstAmericashouldhavebeenpredictable.Whenweputour
stampofapprovalonaneoliberal,"democratic"regimethatsawincomesplummetand
crimerunrampant,webecamecomplicitinitsfailures.Eventhiscouldhavebeen
remedied,butweaddedinsulttoinjurythroughneglectandlackofrespect.Ratherthan
seeingRussiaasapartner(orevenanantagonist-atleastenemiesgetattention),we
movedintheinternationalarenaasifRussiadidn'tmatteratall.

The1999NATObombingofYugoslaviawasawell-knownturningpointforRussia,when
themediaandpopularopinionportrayedtheSerbianpeopleasvictimsofanoverreaching
predator.Russia'sthen-PrimeMinister,YevgenyPrimakov,wasflyingovertheAtlanticon
anofficialvisittotheUSwhenheheardthatNATOhadcommenceditsbombinghebriefly
achievedcultherostatusbyorderingtheplanetoturnaround.Themovewasquickly
dubbed"Primakov'sLoop,"anironicallyappropriatetermforadecisionmadebecauseof
theinformationloopfromwhichPrimakovhadbeenexcluded.

Russia'sangeroverthebombingswascast,bothinternallyandforexport,intermsofthe
longstandingbrotherlytiesbetweentwoOrthodoxSlavicnations.Butthesetieswereonly
(re)discoveredinthe1990sinotherwords,theRussianmediaandpoliticalelites
emotionallyreinvestedinSerbiapreciselywhenYugoslaviawascollapsing.Theimplicit
homologybetweenSerbiaandYugoslaviaononesideandRussiaandtheSovietUnionon
theothermeantthatSerbia'sstruggleswereseenasaproxyforRussia's.Whatthe
AmericanmediacastasahumanrightsandEuropeansecurityproblemwas,inRussia,
presentedasatestcaseforAmerica'splansforRussiaitself.

Itwasafterthebombingsthatanti-Westernconspiracytheoriesstartedtomovefromthe
margintothecenter.FirstcametherevivalofRussianmigrGrigoryKlimov'swarnings
aboutthesinister"HarvardProject,"anAmerican/Jewishplottousemindcontroland
geneticmanipulationtotransformRussiaintoanationofdebased,predatoryhomosexuals.
LongafixtureoftheRussianfarright,itspawnedS.Norka'sdystopianInquisitortrilogy
aboutRussia'snearfuture,whentheHarvardProjectischallengedbyanewOrthodox
inquisitionandastrongpresidentwhobringsordertotheland.

TheHarvardProjectwouldsoonbeeclipsedbythe"DullesPlan,"repackagedfroma
villain'smonologueina1970sSovietspythrillerandattributedtoEisenhower'sCIAchief.
Whatinthe1970swas,atbest,afuturethreattobeavoidednowlookedlikeaplanthathad
alreadycometofruition:Americanpopcultureturningpeopleintoidiots,"switch[ing]out
theirvaluesforfalseonesandmak[ing]thembelieveinthesefalsevalues."Whoknewthat
dubbed-overrerunsofSantaBarbaracouldbesodestructive?

Oneneednotbeadie-hardFreudiantoseethatlovingandhatingAmericaaretwo
versionsofthesamelibidinalinvestmenteitherway,Americaretainsanoutsized
importancethathauntsthecurrentproclamationsofRussianspiritualsuperiority.Andina
timeofincreasedstatecontrolovermediaoutlets,presentingahostileUnitedStateshits
thesweetspotbetweenpreexistingpublicsentimentandstatepropaganda.Asinmostof
thecasesinwhichRussia'swell-curatedstatemediacarefullydriveaparticularmessage
home,itisnotsimplyamatterofanauthoritariangovernmenttellingitscompliant
populationwhattobelieverather,itisasophisticatedmediaoperationthatconfirmsand
extendsbeliefsthatalreadyholdafairamountofcurrency.

Since2006,theRussianmediaandblogospherehavebeenclaimingthatformerSecretary
ofStateMadeleineAlbrightlamentedtheinjusticeofRussia'sshareoftheworld'soiland
mineralwealth(Siberiashouldthereforebeunderinternationalcontrol).Albrightherselfhas
deniedsayinganysuchthing,whilePutinhasmanagedtohaveitbothways("I'mnot
familiarwiththisquotebyMadameAlbright,butIknowthatsuchthoughtswanderthrough
themindsofcertainpoliticians").2Thisfakequoteispartofaperfectfeedbackloop,
reinforcingboththerapaciousnessofAmericans(andparticularlytheClinton
administration,responsibleforthebombingsinSerbia)andthegreatnessofRussiaitself.It
isthefamiliarpoliticsofressentiment,harnessingpublicprideandhumiliationintheservice
oftheelite'sagenda.

GivenhowmuchofcontemporaryRussianparanoidpoliticaldiscourserevolvesaround
homosexuality,perhapspsychoanalysisdoesprovidesomeusefulinsights.Klimov's
fantasyofagayJewishAmericancabaltryingtolureRussiaontothepathtodebauchery
looksalmostprescient:thecurrentanti-gayhysteriapositshomosexualityasnotsimplyan
internaldangertothebodypolitic,butasadiseasedeliberatelyexportedbyAmericaand
Europe(orasRussianhomophobesprefer,"Gayrope").Arecentepisodeofthereliably
rabiddocumentary/talkshowhybrid"SpecialCorrespondent"(whichairsonprimetimeon
Russianstatetelevision)followedashortfilmcalled"Sodom"abouttheexcessesof
toleranceintheUSandEuropewithadiscussionof"whatthisisallreallyabout."America
andEuropeareusingaccusationsofRussianhomophobiaasthepretextfortheirnext
roundof"humanitarian"bombings,whiletheStateDepartmentisrelentlesslypursuingthe
gayagendaattheexpenseofallelse.EventheSupremeCourt'smarriageequality
decision(liketheUSprosecutionofFIFAofficials)getsspunasananti-Russianact.

TherabidhomophobiainRussia'scontemporarypublicsphereisclearlyaboutmorethan
justdisdainforsame-sexlove.TohearRussiandefendersof"traditionalvalues"tellit,there
isnothingsofragileasheterosexualdesire.Theassumptionseemstobethat,assoonas
ayoungboyorgirlhearsabouthomosexuality,they'regoingtowanttobegay(because,
apparently,heterosexualsexmustbeaterribledrag).Homosexualityhascometostandin
forthewholespectrumof"Western"(andparticularlyAmerican)valuesthatcouldseduce
Russia'syouth.

Freud,inoneofhismoredatedmoments,arguedthatparanoiaisrootedinadenialof
homoeroticfeelings:"I'mattractedtohim"transformsintothemoreacceptable"Heis
persecutingme."Meanwhile,theRussianlegislaturehasrediscoveredthejoysof
repressionitisarareweekwithoutanewsstoryaboutsomenewbilltobansomething.
Mostfamous,ofcourse,isthe"gaypropaganda"law,makingvirtuallyanypositive
statementabouthomosexualitygroundsforpossibleprosecution(tosavethechildrenfrom
mythicalpredatorswhowantto"convert"them).Again,Americaisinevitablybroughtinto
thediscussion.

Butperhapstheanti-Americanhomophobesprotesttoomuch.Thelatenthomosexualityof
thehomophobeissomethingofaclich,butitsuggestssomethingaboutthegeopolitical
preoccupationsoftheguardiansofRussia'smorality.Theyare,Iwouldargue,tryingto
forgetthesinsoftheiryouth,whentheyexperimentedwithAmericanism.Thatisthenew
lovethatdarenotspeakitsname.

[returntoContents]

#22
http://ukrainecomment.wordpress.com
October15,2015
DIDKYIVSILENCEUKRAINE'SBIGGESTOPPOSITIONNEWSPAPER?PART1
ByBrianMilakovsky
Severodonetsk,Ukraine
BrianMilakovsky,avolunteerwithrefugeeaidorganizationsinKiev,Kharkivandthe
Donbas.BrianMilakovskyfirsttraveledtoUkrainein2009withtheFulbrightprogram,and
forthepastfiveyearshasworkedinRussiaasaforestecologist.Thisyearhereturnedto
easternUkraineforthreemonthstovolunteerwithrefugeeaidorganizationsandlearn
moreaboutthehumanitariancrisisthere.Heisauthorof"TimeforaLousyPeacein
Ukraine"publishedontheNationalInterest.
[Graphics,links,andVestiexcerptshere
http://ukrainecomment.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/did-kyiv-silence-ukraines-biggest-
opposition-newspaper-part-1/]

ThespecterofacrackdownonfreespeechinUkrainewasraisedthisspringbythemurder
ofoppositionjournalistandintellectualOlesBuzinaandthearrestofUkrainianjournalist
RuslanKotsaba,whowaschargedwithunderminingthedraft.Yetashowdownbetween
thegovernment,radicalactivistsandVesti,thecountry'slargestoppositionpaper,has
largelyslippedbyunnoticedbywesterncommentators.

ItcametoaheadinJulyofthisyearwiththeresignationofitseditor-in-chiefIgorGuzhva,
whowaslikelyforcedoutbythepaper'sowner,formerYanukovichallyandoligarch-on-the-
lamAleksandrKlimenko.Strictoversightwasimposedonthepaper,politicallysensitive
materialwithdrawnandafocuson"affirmativetopics"announced.

Inaseriesofpostswewillarguethatthiswasthecommencementofa15month
campaignbyKyivtointimidateoneofitsharshestcriticsintosilence,andnot,as
opponentsofthepaperinsist,amuch-belateddefensivestrikeagainstachannelof
Russianpropagandaandseparatism.

Background

TheVestimediaholding,whichincludesUkraine'smostpopulardailynewspaper("Vesti"),
themostpopulartalkradiostation(RadioVesti),themagazineVesti.Reporterandthe
televisionchannelUBRburstontothescenein2013undertheleadershipofmediaveteran
IgorGuzhva.Withthehelpofanonymousfinancialsupporthepoachedhisstafffromother
majorpapers,including"Sevodnya,"fromwhichhehadbeenfiredayearbeforefor
refusingtopullpicturesofPresidentYanukovich'sabsurdlyluxuriousestateMezhgorye.

Guzhva'sstrategytodistributethepaperforfreeinlargecitiesseemstohavesucceeded-
bythetimeoftheMaidanrevolutionVestiwasthecountry'smostpopulardaily.But
opponentshavepointedtothefreedistributionasproofofadarkeragenda-without
oligarchicorKremlinbacking,whocouldpossiblyaffordtohandouthundredsofthousands
offreepaperseveryday?

CoveringMaidan

Vesti'scoverageoftherevolutionwasrestrained,butshowedgrowingalarmattheviolent
radicalizationoftheprotestandtheincreasingbrutalityofthegovernmentforces.The
paper'scoverageoftheunfoldingchaosearnedittheireofmanyMaidansupporters.Later
afrontpageimageofabalaclava-clad,clubwieldingprotestorwiththeheadline"Dayof
mayhem"wouldbecitedasproofofVesti'sbiasanditsroleas"mouthpieceofthe
Kremlin".

Butothersrespecteditsreporters'willingnesstoreportfromthethickoftheconflict.Oneof
thesereporters,VyacheslavVeremii,wasmurderedinthelastdaysoftherevolutionwhen
heattemptedtophotographabandofarmedthugswhowerepreparingtoattackthe
protestors.Forthisreasonthepapermaintainedtheloyaltyofsomeportionofthe
protestors,includingMaidanSelf-DefenseactivistswhowouldcometotheaidofVesti
reportersmonthslaterwhentheywerebeingintimidatedbyasurlymobledbyradical
Maidanactivist(andvictimofabrutalkidnappingandtorturebytituskhithugs)Igor
Lutsenko.

Vestigaveextensivecoveragetotheprotestorsandtheirdemandsbutalsototheir
opponents(including,strikingly,thenotoriousBerkutriotpolice).Theyfollowedwithalarm
theviolentradicalizationoftheprotestandtheincreasingbrutalityofthegovernmentforces.
Inthe2015Vestibook"RevolutionDiary,"acollectionofVesti'sarticlesaboutMaidan,the
balanceandspreadofthereportingisstriking.Thepaperpublishedthepointsofviewof
barricadeactivistsnexttoBerkutcommanders,andoppositionpartyleadersnexttothe
pro-RussianMPOlegTsarev,whowouldlaterfleetoRussiaandbecomealeaderofthe
unsuccessful"Novorossiya"movement.

Coveringthe"RussianSpring"

IntheaftermathoftherevolutionVestibeganextensivecoverageoftheCrimeaannexation
andthegrowingcrisisintheDonbasregion.Itsjournalists,includingRussianwriters,
reporteddirectlyfromtheeasterncitiesseizedbytheseparatists.Theywroteofthe
dangerouslevelsofalienationtowardsthenewUkrainiangovernment:

"Manypeopletrulyholdtheseconvictions,andit'snotworthsimplifyingeverythingbysaying
thatwhat'shappeningintheDonbasisexclusivelytheworkoftheRussiansecurity
agencies.Theirinfluenceislikelythere,butit'snotRussiancitizensprotestingonthemain
squaresandjoiningtheself-defenseforces.It'smuchmoreseriousthanthat."
(Vesti.ReporterApril18,2014)

ThreearticlespublishedinVesti.Reporterinthisperiodwouldlaterbethebasisfora
criminalinvestigationintothemediaoutletbytheUkrainianSecurityAgency(SBU)on
chargesof"underminingUkrainiansovereignty."Thesearticlescontainextensivequotesby
pro-Russianactivistsandseparatistsupporters,whichdemonstrateboththesincere,
comprehensibleangeroftheeasternersandthedubiouscausestheyhadseizedholdofto
ventit:"protectingtheRussianlanguage,"Orthodoxmilitarism,revivaloftheSovietpast.
Thetoneofthearticlesisnotsympathetictowardseitherthepro-
Russianorpro-Kyivside,butrathertheyconveyareservedagonyattheirmutual
incomprehensionandmythmaking.

Tragically,nomeanswasfoundtoofferapoliticaloutletforthiseasterndiscontent,topeel
offthosewhowantedKyivlistentotheeastfromtheactivecoreoftheseparatist
movement.AlthoughmanyUkrainianswoulddisagreewithsuchanopinion,webelievethat
agenuinelyinclusivepoliticalprocessinitiatedbeforetheviolenceeruptedcouldhave
divertedmanyfuturesupportersofthe"PeoplesRepublics"fromthisradicalpath,andat
leastweakenedthestrengthoftheseparatistcause.ItisasignaltragedyoftheUkrainian
crisisthatVesti'scallswerenotheededandnosuchattemptwasevenmade.

Coveringthewar

AndsoVesti'sreportersbegancoveringthewarintheDonbas.Inthisperiodthelong-form
articlesofVesti.Reporterparticularlystandoutoftheiragonized,clear-eyedassessmentof
events.RussianwriterMarinaAkhmedovadescribedthejournal'smissionas"journalistic
diplomacy:"Wesimplyshowallthehorrorsofthiswarfrombothsides,withonegoal-to
driveitoutofourhearts.Onlyoncethathappenswill"fragileceasefires"becomeconcrete.

InthisblogwewillpublishaseriesofourtranslationsofVesti.Reporter'sbestfrontline
reporting.ButforreadersofRussianweofferdirectlinkshere:

SeveralofthesepiecesplayedacrucialrolefortheeditorsofUkraineCommentinforming
ourunderstandingofthewarintheDonbas.Thepersonalexperiencewethenaccumulated
intheregiononlyservedtoreinforcethesenseofmutualtragedycommunicatedby
Vesti.Reporter'swriters.

ThedailyVestialsoextensivelycoveredthewar,reportingonhighciviliancasualtiesfrom
theverybeginningofthe"anti-terrorismoperation."ThiseditorialstancesoonwonVesti
manyopponents.TogetherwithheadlinewecitedaboveaboutmayhemonMaidan,astark
frontpagewiththewords"Massiveciviliandeathsintheeast"andaniconicphotoof
residentsofStanitsaLuhanskafleeingtheirburninghomewouldlaterbecitesasproofof
thepaper'sbiasand"distortionoffacts".

ThefranklycriticalreportingofVestifromMaidanandthefrontlinesoftheDonbasWar
earneditenemiesfromboththenewgovernmentinKyivandfromthestreet.Inthenext
postinthisserieswewilldescribetheshowdownbetweenthemediaholding,theUkrainian
SecurityAgencyandradicalactiviststhatwouldlastmorethanayearandahalf.

[returntoContents]

#23
http://ukrainecomment.wordpress.com
October17,2015
DIDKYIVSILENCEUKRAINE'SBIGGESTOPPOSITIONNEWSPAPER?PART2
ByBrianMilakovsky
Severodonetsk,Ukraine
BrianMilakovsky,avolunteerwithrefugeeaidorganizationsinKiev,Kharkivandthe
Donbas.BrianMilakovskyfirsttraveledtoUkrainein2009withtheFulbrightprogram,and
forthepastfiveyearshasworkedinRussiaasaforestecologist.Thisyearhereturnedto
easternUkraineforthreemonthstovolunteerwithrefugeeaidorganizationsandlearn
moreaboutthehumanitariancrisisthere.Heisauthorof"TimeforaLousyPeacein
Ukraine"publishedontheNationalInterest.
[Graphicsherehttp://ukrainecomment.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/did-kyiv-silence-
ukraines-biggest-opposition-newspaper-part-2/]

Inourlastpostwedescribedhowitscritical,conservativeviewoftheEuromaidan
revolution,thenewgovernment'sreactiontotheso-calledRussianSpringandtheconduct
oftheDonbasWarearnedittheUkrainiannewspaperVestithedeepdistrustofthe
authoritiesandthemoniker"MouthpieceoftheKremlin"amongmanyUkrainians.Herewe
willdescribehowthepapercameunderpressurefromboththegovernmentand"activists"
(re:radicals)overthepastyearandahalf.

Accordingtoformereditor-in-chiefIgorGuzhva,inApril2014theholdingwasapproached
byfigureswithinthenewgovernmentwhoproposedthatVestihandoverpartofitsshares,
freeofcharge,asmeanstoavoidconflict.Thiswasrefused,andinMaybeganaseriesof
investigations,searchesandofficialdenunciationsofVestibyhighrankingofficials.

Firstthepaper'sofficeswereraidedandtrashedbyuniformedmenclaimingtobetax
authorities,althoughtheydidnotpresentanyidentification.Theyseizedthepaper's
servers.ThenextdayapressconferencewasheldbytheCabinetofMinisters,wherethe
allegedlyshadyfinancialschemeofthenewspaperwaspresentedtoassembledreporters.
However,Vestijournalistsweredeniedaccesstothepressconference,supposedly
becausetheydidnothave"accreditation".

ThegovernmentthenallegedthatVestilaundered93.6millionhryvnia($4.2million)through
acomplexshellgameofcompaniesinCrimeasupposedlylinkedtotheexiledKharkiv
oligarchSergeyKurchenko.Onthebasisofthesefindingstheaccountsofboththe
newspaperandGuzhvaweretemporarilyfrozen,butafterseveralweeksthecase
appearedtobeshelved.

TheninSeptemberanentirelynewaccusationwasraisedbytheUkrainianSecurity
Service(SBU),whenitallegedthatfourarticlespublishedbyVestithreatenedUkraine's
territorialintegrityandinviolability.TheSBUconductedanotherraidofthepaper'soffices
andpreventedanyemployeesfromleavingormakingphonecalls.Servers,laptopsand
personalnotebookswereseized.

Raid

OfficersoftheUkrainianSecurityService(SBU)confiscatingservers,laptopsandpersonal
notebooksofreportersduringaraidontheofficesofVestinewspaperinSeptember,2014.
ThepaperwasaccusedofthreateningUkrainiansovereignty.Source:vesti-ukr.com

ThecontentofthefourarticlesrevealsthattheSBU'sdefinitionoftreasonouscontentis
exceedinglywide.Inourfirstpostwedescribedthetoneandcontentofthreeofthearticles,
publishedinthelongf-formjournalVesti.Reporter.Theybluntlydisplaythealienationand
ragethatswelledintheDonbasafterinMarchandAprilof2014,andwhichRussiawould
soontapintowithitsseparatistproject.Butbynomeansisthereaderencouragedtoagree
withthem,or,forthatmatter,todisagreewiththem.Justtolisten.

Thefourtharticle,publishedinthedaily,detailsaccusationsbysoldiersandvolunteer
activistsaboutthesaleofmilitarysuppliesandthewithholdingofpayanddischarge
papers.Thepiecepresentsthepointofviewofthesoldiers,notesthatthearmyrefusedto
commentandputsforwardapartiallydissentingviewbyarmyveterans.

TheraidandcourtcaseearnedthecondemnationoftheOrganizationforSecurityand
CooperationinEurope(OSCE),whichcalledonKyivnottopressurecriticaljournalists.
Thisinvestigationtoowasshelvedwhenthegovernment'skeywitness,aforensiclinguist,
confirmedthelackofaninflammatorycontentinthefourarticles.

Notlongafterthis,RadioVestiwonanappealagainstadecisionbytheNational
CommissiononRadioandTelevisionnottopermittheholdingtobroadcastin26cities
whereithadpurchasedradiostations.TheCommissionhadnotofferedanyreasonforits
refusal,andmanyobserverssawitasanother"front"inthegrowingconfrontationbetween
thegovernmentandthecriticalmediaempire.
Thecourtofpublicopinion

Meanwhilepro-governmentactiviststargetedthepaper,peacefullyandotherwise.TheCivil
SectoroftheEuromaidanmovementheldfrequentanti-Vestidemonstrationsinthecapital.
Asoneprotestorganizershoutedthroughamegaphone:

"ThismouthpieceoftheKremlinismeantodestroytheconsciousnessofUkrainians,
deceivingthemabouttheeventsgoingonintheeastandincitingcivilwarinourcountry.
Webelievethatthearticlesinthisnewspaperkillnolessthanbullets."

RegularpicketswereorganizednearthepointsoutsideofmetrostopsinKyivwhereVesti
ishandedoutforfreeeverymorning.Youngpeoplewouldholdsignscallingonpasserby
nottotakeinthepaper's"Kremlinpropaganda."Frequentlytheywoulddressaszombies,
insinuatingthatVestizombifiesitsreaderswithmisinformation.

Theseprotestssoonescalated.InJuneacrowdofmaskedyouthsjeeredandthreatened
participantsinaConstitutionDaycelebrationorganizedatthepaper'soffices.Theirleader,
radicalparliamentarianIgorLutsenkowarned"Thisisourlastpeacefuldemonstration
aboutVesti.Wewon'thaveanymorepatienceiftheydon'tchangetheireditorialpolicy."
OnlytheinterventionofMaidanSelf-Defenseactivistswhohadmaintainedgoodrelations
withthepaperpreventedtheyouthsfromphysicallyassaultingtheeventparticipantsor
lightinguptheflaresthatVestireportersclaimedtheyhadbroughtinbackpacks.

Aweeklateralargermobofbalaclava-cladyouthssmashedthewindowsofVesti'soffices,
threwinflaresandbadlybeatasecurityguard.Thevideoshotbythepaper'ssecurity
camerashowstheabandonandviciousgleethatofamobconvincedofitstotallicense.

OlesVakhnii,theleaderofthenotoriousnationalistandskinheadorganizationChestnoe
Slovo("HonestWord")tookresponsibilityfortheattacks.WhenVestiapproachedhim
aboutthishesaid"Acceptedmoralnormsdon'tneedtobeappliedtoyou.It'sacceptableto
beatyouontheheadwithclubs,poisonyouwithgas."Vakhniiearlierspentfiveyearsinjail
fororganizinganattackontheofficesoftheLeagueofUkrainianVoters(allegedlyforitsUS
funding),thentwoyearsinjailforracistincitement.HeisyettobearrestedfortheVesti
attacksdespitethefactthathepostedafilmedconfessiononYoutube,althoughnowheis
underhousearrestforallegedlybeatingaKyivcityprosecutorwhohadopenedadifferent
caseagainsthim.

Inspringof2015VestiactivistsofthenotoriousRightSectororganizationblockedVesti
deliverytrucksattwoKyivmetrostationsandseized45000copiesofthepaper,whichthey
soldforscraptobuypatrioticschooltextbooks.Theyclaimed"Wearefightinganinternal
enemy,thepropagandanewspaperVesti...whichstandsforeverythingthatourbrothers
aredyingforintheEast."Latertheorganization'spresssecretarycommentedthat"The
mainthingisthatwearenotforcensorship,butforjournalisticstandardsandobjectivity."

Thevideoincludesafascinatingaltercationbetweenthe"Pravoseki"andagroupofsenior
citizenswhohadcometogettheirfreemorningpaper.TheelderlyUkrainiansbegin
haranguingtheheadactivist:

-Whodecidedthatthesepapersshouldbeconfiscated?
-Thecourts.
-Whatcourt?Whenandwhere?
-ThePeople'scourt.
-What,you're"thePeople'scourt"now?
-Yes,I'mthePeople.
-Huh!Justone!Andtherestofus,we'renotthePeople?
-Youaretoo.
-Wellwewanttoreadthatpaper!
-Goreadsomethingotherthanpro-Russianpapersthatsupportseparatism!Andwhydon't
youspeakUkrainian?

Thepensionerscontinuetoarguewithhim(manyofthemswitchingtoUkrainian)and
angrilycryingout"lawlessness!"

JustaswasthecasewiththeearliersackingoftheVestioffices,thegovernmentcouldnot
makeacaseevenwithafilmedcommissionofthecrime.
GuzhvaallegedthattheSBUrecruitsradicalstoattackgovernmentcriticsinexchangefor
stayingoutofjailthemselves.InadetailedpieceinVestioneofhisjournalistsquoteda
representativeofChestnoeSlovo,theradicalorganizationwhichtookresponsibilityforthe
Julyattackonhispaper:"TogetherwiththeSBUweworkagainstseparatismandthe
opposition,whowishtounderminenationalsecurityanddiscreditthegovernment."Inthe
organization'sofficesthereisacitationofappreciationfromSBUheadValentin
Nalivaichenkofor"significantcontributionstothemaintenanceandstrengtheningofnational
security."

Thearticle'saccusationsprovedparticularlyominouswhenthecontroversialanti-Maidan
journalistandcommentatorOlesBuzinawasmurderedafewdayslater,allegedlyby
extremenationalistsservinginoneofthevolunteerbrigadesintheeast.Inresponseto
publicshockatBuzina'sdeathawell-knownbattalionleaderwroteonFacebookthathe
wassurprisedpeoplewoulddoubtthatthejournalistwaskilledby"patriots":

Ifindthesepeopleinterestingwhojustalittlewhileagoshouted'Oy,boyscomebackfrom
thefrontandputthingsinorderhere!'[butnowareshockedbyBuzina'sdeath].Whatelse
didtheyhaveinmindby'puttingthingsinorder?'Atthefronttheydon'tteachyoutowaste
yourtimesittingincourthearingsorwritingcomplaints.

GuzhvaclaimedthatasmearcampaignhadbeenongoingagainstBuzinaforthepastyear,
ledby"apackofhysterical,intolerantmediainstigatorswhocallforreprisalsagainst
anyonewho,intheiropinion,hasanincorrectpointofview.Becauseofthemtheofficesof
Vestiweretrashedandourdistributorsattacked.AndpossiblyBuzinawaskilledbecauseof
them."

Endgame

OnJournalismDay(June5)atapressconferenceaboutfreedomofthepressPresident
Poroshenkoclaimedthatitisnothisjobtoorderthatsomemediaoutletoranotherbeshut
down.Buthethenadded"...Ifthetaxauthoritiesprovethenon-transparencyofVesti's
financing,thereshouldbenodoubtthatthecountrywilldefenditself..."

ThreedayslatertheTaxAuthoritiescalledin242currentandformeremployeesofthe
paperforquestioning,essentiallyanyonewhoreceivedtheirsalaryelectronically.Some
employeesclaimedthattheauthoritiesaggressivelybadgeredthem,threatenedthemand
theirrelativeswhileconvincingthemtocomedowntothestation.

Thiswassoonfollowedbyyetanotherraidonthepaper'sofficesbyuniformedmen
offeringnoi.d.Theyclaimedtohaveacourtordertosearchthepremisesof"VestiMass-
MediaLLC"eventhoughtthatcompanyisn'tlocatedinVesti'snewspaperoffices.Theydid
notallowjournalistsornewspaper'slawyersontothepremises,gavetheofficesanother
thoroughtrashingandonceagain,confiscatedtheservers.Around500peoplegathered
outsideoftheVerkhovnaRadaandTaxAuthoritytoprotesttheraid.

Theculminationofthe15monthstandoffwasathand.Guzhvaleftthecountryonvacation,
andfromabroadsuddenlycamethenewsthathehadhadsoldhissharesinthemedia
holdingtohispartnersandsteppeddownaseditor-in-chief.Ukrainianmediawatchers
quicklycirculatedtheversionthatVesti'smajorityowner,exiledoligarchAleksander
Klimenko,hadbargainedhiswaybackintoUkrainebyforcingtheoverlycriticalGuzhvaout
ofthepaper.Anonymoussourceswithinthepaper'sstaffclaimedthatoverseersfromthe
presidentialadministrationwouldbeinstalledtofilteroutanyimpropermaterials.Thenew
spokesmanforthepaper,Klimenko'scommonlawwife,announcedanewfocuson
"affirmativetopics."

Guzvhareturnedfromabroadandwasimmediatelysummonedtocourtonchargesoftax
evasion,whichpurportedlywerebasedonevidencefromthelatestraid.Thejudgedenied
theprosecutor'srequestforamassive17millionhryvnia($727,000)bail,imposingamore
standard1million($45,000).HealsoforbadeGuzhvatoleaveKyivwithoutexplicit
permissionfromthecourt.Guzhvaincourt

Atthepresenttimetheformereditorispreparinghisdefense.HeclaimsthattheTax
Agency,lackingthebasisforarealcaseafterayearofinvestigationandraids,manipulated
thefactsinordertocreatetheillusionofacrime.Inhiscomplicatedexplanation,thepaper
tookreturnablefinancialassistancefromafirminSumyin2013,butwasunabletoreturn
thesumintimebecausethefirm'saccountswerefrozenduringtheinitialinvestigationof
VestiinMayof2014.AccordingtoUkrainianlaw,thepapermustnowwaitfortheexpiration
ofthestatuteoflimitations(threeyears),andthenincludethissuminitsgrossincomeand
payincometaxonit."Butthetaxauthoritiesdecidedondirectforgery.Theychoseto
regardthefinancialassistancewereceivedasirrevocableanddemandthatweshould
haveincludeditinourgrossincomeandpaidincometaxesonitin2014.Andsincewe
didn'tdothat,theyhaveaformaloccasiontopresenttousthechargesoftaxevasion."

The"new"Vesti

TheholdingcuttieswithallRussianwritersandjournalists,whomadeupasignificant
contingentonRadioVestiandinReporter(includingMarinaAkhmedova,authorofsomeof
thejournal'smostpowerfulwarjournalismfromDonetsk).Theeditor-in-chiefof
Vesti.Reporter,GlebProstakov,describedthechangesthus:"wewilltrytolookatbroader
trendsandnotrunaroundafterthelatestnewsmakers....Morereportingformtheregions,
moreemphasisonurbanism.Butwewon'tshyawayfromstrongopinions,we'vekeptour
teeth."

ButitsoonbecameclearthatGuzhva'sexitpositedrealchangesinVesti'stoneand
editorialstance.AnalreadyprintedissueofVesti.Reporterwasheldbackfromdistribution,
whichsourceswithinthepaperattributetoanarticleabouttheintricaciesofPoroshenko's
innercircleandcompetitionwiththe"Georgiancourt"ofexiledreformersledbyMikhail
Saakashvili.Severalcopiesmadetheirwayintothehandsofmediacommentators,who
publishedscannedversionsonline.Thejournalitselfwassoonreprintedanddistributed
withoutthetouchyarticle.

NextinlinewassensationalreportingbyreporterSvetlanaKriukovaontheearlyelectionsin
thenortherncityofChernihiv.GennadyKorban,acorporateraiderandallyofthecountry's
mostprominentoligarch(IgorKolomoisky)ballotedagainstPresidentPoroshenko's
handpickedcandidate.Fromthefirstdaysofthecampaignitbecameclearthatthiswould
beanextraordinarilyuglyelection."Iwasmadeawarethatthispiecewouldneverget
publishedinReporterwhileIwasstillonassignment,"KryukovatoldtheeditorsofUkraine
Comment."Iwastravelingwith[candidate]KorbanandatonepointIturnedtohimandsaid
'Ihopethisstorywillbegood,becauseI'mgonnalosemyjobforit'."

InherpieceKorbanwasshowntobeacrudepopulist,earningthehumorousinternet
nickname"MarshalBuckwheat"aftersewingsupportbygivingoutfreebuckwheatkashato
thepoorandelderly.Manyvoterswereshowntobeinsuchdesperateeconomicstraits
thattheirvotewasvirtuallytheonlysaleableresourceattheirdisposal.

Moredamningly,thepresident'scandidateBerezenkoliberallyusedvariousschemesto
purchasethosevotesoutright.AtonepointinthepieceKorban'scampaignteam
surroundsalockedcarinwhichtheyhavebeentoldBerezenko'svotebuyersarelocated.
Thetwomeninsideareobservedtearingupsheetsofpaperandeatingthem.Afteramulti-
hourstandofftheyarehustledawaybythepolicebutasearchofthetrunkreveals500
envelopesstuffedwith400hryvniaeach($18)andanentirearsenaloffirearms.Laterone
oftheapartmentsisdescribedwherecityresidentscancometocollecttheir$18afterthey
showapictureofBerezenkoandpromisetovoteforhim.

Whenitbecameclearthatthepiecewouldneverseepublicationinthe"new"Vesti,
KryukovaresignedandtookherworktothecompetingpaperUkrainskaPravda.Itprovedto
beoneofthemosthotlydiscussedpiecesofpoliticaljournalisminpost-MaidanUkraine.

SeveralnewsroomveteransfollowedGuzhvaandKryukovaoutofthepaper,includingone
writerwhoclaimedthatthenewmanagementforcedthenewsstafftoremoveeventhe
smallestmentionofIgorGuzvha'scourtcasefromthepaper.Vesti.Reporter'schiefwar
correspondentInnaZolotukhynaquit,claiming"TheconceptofReporterwaschanged.Now
theydon'twriteabouttheATO[anti-terrorismoperation]there.AndIcontinuetothinkthatin
acountrywherethere'sawaron,thatshouldbetopicnumberone."AndinOctober
Zolotukhynawasfollowedoutbythejournal'seditor-in-chief,GlebProstakov.

Muzzled

TheextraordinarypressureexertedontheVestimediaholdingoverthelastfifteenmonths
shouldraiseseriousquestionsaboutwhethertheexitofitseditor-in-chiefwasmorethan
theresultofmerenewsroomandboardroompolitics.
ItappearsthatKyivjettisoneditscruderstrategytosilencethepaper-theaccusationsof
separatistsupportandassociatedraid-afteritearnedthecondemnationoftheOSCE.But
removingGuzhvawhileleavingthepaperlargelyintacttocontinuepublicationisalow-risk
neutralizationstrategy.IthasnotcaughttheattentionofKyiv'swesternbackers,whoclaim
theywillholdUkrainetohighstandardsofdemocratization.AsUSambassadortotheUN
SamanthaPowersstatedinJune,"Ukraineshouldzealouslyprotectfreedomofthepress,
includingforitsmostoutspokenandbiasedcritics-indeed,especiallyforitsmost
outspokenandbiasedcritics-evenastheso-calledseparatistsexpeljournalistsfromthe
territorytheycontrol,andevenasRussiashuttersTatarmediaoutletsinoccupiedCrimea."

GennadyKorban,well-experiencedincorporateraidingandUkrainianpolitics,described
whathadoccurredthus:"Ihaveasimple,inexpensiveandeffectivemethodforprivatizing
freedomofspeech.Youneedtodojusttwothings-getthesupportofthepresidential
administration,andthenslapanynewspaperyouwantwithfinesforfinancialviolations.
Afterthatthey'llputoutawarrantfortheeditorandyou'vegotfreedomofspeechinyour
pocket...ThisrecipewasfirstcookedupinRussiaafterVladimirPutincametopower.By
thismethodhehadhiswaywithfreedomofspeechinhishomeland."

ThequestionnowisifVesti'svariousmediaoutletsbegintoblunttheircriticismofthe
president,avoidcontentiousissueand"focusontheaffirmative,"willinternational
organizationsandthewesternpressrecognizethatUkraine'sbiggestoppositionpaperwas
muzzled?

InournextpostinthisserieswewilldiscussinmoredetailwhatVesti'sfatemeansfor
freedomofthepressintoday'sUkraine.

[returntoContents]

#24
MoscowTimes
October19,2015
PoroshenkoPressuresTVChanneltoKeepPutinHandshakeOff-Air
ByAnnaDolgov

AUkrainiantelevisionchannelhaspublishedastatementbyitsformerproducer,claiming
officialsfromPresidentPetroPoroshenko'sadministrationbannedthechannelfrom
broadcastingfootageofahandshaketheUkrainianleaderexchangedwithhisRussian
counterpartVladimirPutinatarecentmeeting.

ThehandshaketookplaceatthestartofameetinginParisonOct.2,butwhentelevision
channel112Ukrainawaspreparingareportaboutthegathering,itreceiveda"barrageof
calls"fromthepresidentialadministrationandsecurityservices"abouttheunacceptability
ofshowingthehandshakeontheair,"formerproducerViktorZubritskysaidonhis
FacebookpageSunday.

"So,PoroshenkoshookPutin'shand,butdidnotwantUkrainianstoknownaboutit,"
Zubritskysaid."Andsomehowstrangely,allofUkraine'stelevisionchannelsdidnotnotice
thatevent."

Thetelevisionchannelreprintedthepostinfullonitswebsite,withoutaddinganycomment.
Italsoincludedaphoto,creditedtoFrance'sForeignMinistry,ofPutinandPoroshenko
shakinghands.

ZubritskyalsoaccusedtheUkrainianpresidentofputtingpressureon112Ukraina,and
linkedarecentcourtwarranttosearchthechannel'sofficestothechannel'srefusalto
shelvethefootageofthehandshake.

"Poroshenko,withthehelpofhiscohorts...hasbeenusingtheusualarsenalofatyrant-
threatsofopeningorclosingcriminalcases,threatsofrevokingthedigital[broadcasting]
license,"Zubritskysaid.

Thechannelisunderinvestigationonsuspicionofmoneylaundering,Zubritskysaid,
describingthecaseaspunishmentfor112Ukraina'scriticalcoverageofthepresident.
"Thisfinalrefusalto'notshowhishandshake'hasledtoaUkrainiancourtapprovingon
Friday,Oct.16,awarranttosearchwithinamonththeofficesof112Ukrainatelevisionand
toseizeallcomputers,digitaldata-storagedevicesandsoon,"Zubritskysaid."Inother
words-tocarryouttechnicalmovestowardterminatingthetelevisionchannel'swork."

The112Ukrainachannelhasreceivedseveralgovernmentwarningsthisyearfor
supposedlyviolatingthetermsofitsbroadcastinglicense,Russia'sRBCbusinessnews
agencyreported.

PutinandPoroshenko,alongwithFrenchPresidentFrancoisHollandeandGerman
ChancellorAngelaMerkel,metinParisonOct.2inanattempttobringpeacetoeastern
Ukraine,whereMoscow-backedseparatistsarefightingKievgovernmentforces.

[returntoContents]

#25
Gazeta.ru
October13,2015
AntonLinnik,PoroshenkoControlsOnlyKiev.WhoWillWininUkraine'sCitiesWithMore
ThanMillionInhabitants

TheelectionsinUkraine,whicharejustovertwoweeksaway,willproducelotsof
surprises.[UkrainianPresidentPetro]Poroshenko'steamwilltakecontrolonlyofKiev,
wherevictoryisbeingpredictedfor[Vitaliy]Klitschko,thepresentmayor.Inotherregionsan
activestruggleisbeingwagedamongregionalleaders,withwhomPoroshenkowillnotfind
itthateasytoreachagreement.Propresidentialforcesmaymakeuseoftheadministrative
resource,andexpertsarenamingKharkivandDnipropetrovskashotspots.

AnactivestruggleforvotershasbeguninUkraine:billboardsthroughoutthecountrybear
thefacesofpotentialcandidatesforlocalorgansofpower,stallsandplaygroundswith
dedicatoryinscriptionsarebeingsetupinhouseyards,andcampaignersareactively
handingoutleaflets.Allthisatteststhataseriousstruggleisbrewingamongthepolitical
forces,andPresidentPetroPoroshenkowillfindithardtotakecontrolofthecountry'skey
cities-Kiev,Lviv,Dnipropetrovsk,Kharkiv,andOdessa.

Thetoughestrivalryistraditionallyovertherighttoleadthecapital.About30people,
includingmanyfamousnames,arenowaspiringtothepostofKievmayor.Thefollowing
haveadvancedtheircandidacies-ex-PrimeMinisterYuriyYekhanurov,professionalsoldier
VolodymyrRuban,legalexpertTatyanaMontyan,ex-politicalprisonerDmytro
Pavlyuchenko,ex-battalioncommanderBoryslavBereza,restaurateurSerhiyHusovskyy,
andothers.ButtherealstrugglewillgetunderwayamongVitaliyKlitschko,ex-KievMayor
OleksandrOmelchenko,andHennadiyKorban,ex-deputygovernorofDnipropetrovsk
Region.

"Accordingtoourforecasts,VitaliyKlitschkoandOleksandrOmelchenko,whoarouses
nostalgiainmanyKievresidents,willgetthroughtothesecondround.Butvictorywillstill
gotothepresentmayor,whoenjoysthesupportofoneinfiveresidentsofthecapital,"a
sourceintheKievadministrationsaid.Thepropresidentialpoliticalforceisalsocountingon
amajorityontheKievCouncil.

Accordingtoourinterlocutor'sinformation,HennadiyKorbanisnotevenreckoningon
becomingmayorbutisjustpreparingfortheparliamentaryelectionsjointlywithUkrop,a
newpoliticalforce.AllimportantvotesthatareputtotheSupremeCouncilattesttothe
coalition'simminentcollapse.Forexample,thedraftlawmakingchangestothe
constitutionwasadoptedonlywiththehelpoftheOppositionBloc,whereasSelf-Help,the
partyofLvivMayorAndriySadovyy(amemberofthecoalition),refusedtosupportthe
importantdocument.Itisthetensesituationinparliamentthatenablessomepolitical
analyststoassumethatnewelectionsofpeople'sdeputiesmaybescheduledasearlyas
nextspring.

Difficulttoreachagreement

ThebiggestchanceofwinninginLvivbelongstoAndriySadovyy,thelocalmayor.About10
candidateswishtocompetewithhim.Buttheyhavenochance.Accordingtoresearch
carriedoutthissummerbytheRazumkovCentre,42.5percentofLvivresidentsare
preparedtosupportSadovyyforthepostofmayor.Self-Helpwillalsogetamajorityof
votesonthelocalcouncil.TherightPRstrategyhelpedthemayortoachievesuchagood
result:Lviv'smayorisurgingallthemajorITcompanies,whoseofficesarenowbeing
searchedenmassebyrepresentativesofthelawenforcementorgans,tomovetothe
capitalofGalicia.Suchactivenessisyieldingfruit:TheflowoftouriststoLvivwillincrease
10-15percentthisyear,andthecityhasalreadystartedtoovertakeKievintermsofgrowth
ofbusinessactivity.Asourceinthepresident'sadministrationsaidthatPoroshenkois
unabletofindmutualunderstandingwithSadovyy,whodoesnotconcealhispresidential
ambitions."AndriySadovyyisarealaspiranttothepostofheadofstate,"Gazeta.ru's
interlocutorexplained.

ThesituationinOdessa,wheremorethan40peoplewillfightforthepostofmayor,ismore
unpredictable.Forexample,thefollowingintendtoadvancetheircandidacy-Eduard
Hurvits,ex-governorofOdessaRegionHennadiyTrukhanov,thepresentmayorandalso
SashaBorovyk,arepresentativeofthePetroPoroshenkobloc.Thestruggleissotough
thaton10October,followinganexplosionnearhishome,People'sDeputySerhiyKivalov
droppedoutoftheelectionrace.

Intheopinionofrepresentativesofthecitycouncil,Trukhanov,thepresentmayor,hasthe
bestchancenow,buttheOppositionBlocwilltakethemajorityonthecitycouncil.
GovernorMikheilSaakashviliwillfindithardtofindacommonlanguagewiththewinnersof
thelocalelections,andthiscouldhaveasubstantialimpactonhisprogrammefor
reformingtheregion.Forexample,Saakashvilihasalreadypromisedhissupporttoallwho
wishtoinvestinOdessa.Buthowisthistoberealizednowinpractice,forheis
responsibleforthedevelopmentoftheregion,notthecity?

HotSpots

ExpertsnametheelectionsinKharkivandDnipropetrovskasthemostproblematicones.
ThisisconnectedwiththefactthatHennadiyKernes,thepresentmayor,againstwhom
criminalproceedingshavebeeninstitutedforseparatiststatements,enjoysthegreatest
supportamongthepeopleofKharkiv.Buttheofficialhimselfassociatestheprosecution
withhisstance."Iaminoppositiontotheregime,Imeanthecurrentregime,becauseIdo
notunderstandwhatishappeningnow-people'simpoverishment,whattariffs,andso
forth,"Kernesdeclared.

VolodymyrFesenko,presidentofthePentaCentreforAppliedPoliticalStudies,doesnot
ruleoutthepossibilitythattheelectionsmaybewrecked.TheexpertpresumesthatKernes
maybethewinner,butacourtverdictonhimwillemergeaftertheelections-whichwill
makeitpossibletoneutralizehim.

ThemostcomplexsituationisbeingobservedinDnipropetrovsk,whereOleksandrVilkul,a
representativeoftheOppositionBloc,hasagoodchanceofwinning.AndriyZolotaryov,
leaderoftheThirdSectorcentre,confirmedthattheregioncentrewillessentiallybecome
oneofthehotspots."Itisnotaquestionthereofastruggleofparties,itisaquestionthere
ofastruggleofclans.ThecampaigninDnipropetrovskhasbeenfullofconflictfromthe
outset,andthereisagreatriskthatthecitymayendupadestabilizationpointbythetime
ofvoting,"hebelieves.Theregioncentreisofhugesignificancetothecountry'seconomy,
andvictoryforarepresentativeoftheOppositionBloccouldleadtotheemergenceinthe
cityofanotherself-proclaimedrepublic.Obviously,thisfactscaresPresidentPetro
Poroshenkomostofall.

Fortheparliamentarypartiestheresultsoftheirparticipationinthe25Octoberlocal
electionscouldbeunexpected,VitaliyBala,leaderoftheSituationsModellingAgency,
believes.

"Thiswillbeashock,"hesaid.Accordingtohim,the"heavyweightparties"werecounting
on"preserving"themselvesinpowerbasedontheupcomingelectionresults.But
sociologicalresearchshowsthatinlocalelectionspeoplearemoreinclinedtosupport
partiesthataregearedtolocalleadersandtopeoplewithauthorityintheregion.Local
politicalprojectsaresqueezingoutthemajorpartiesintheeastofthecountry,Vadym
Karasyov,directoroftheInstituteofGlobalStrategies,believes.

"Inanumberofregionsintheeastandsouthofthecountryeitherrepresentativesofthe
OppositionBlocorrepresentativesofnewpoliticalforcesconnectedwithlocalelites-Our
Land,Revival-willwintheelections,"VolodymyrFesenkoadded.Thisisconnectedwith
thefactthatthebigpoliticalpartieshavedevotedverylittletimetotheregions.

[returntoContents]

#26
Stratfor.com
October14,2015
Stratfor:aGrandBargainremainselusiveinUkraine

Summary:StratforprovidesastatusreportontheUkrainecivilwar,afesteringboilinthe
heartofEuropeandsparkthathawksonbothsidesareusingtorestartthecoldwar.These
conflictsusuallyendindiplomacythatpointseemsfaraway.

Forecast

Becauseofpoliticalconsiderations,KievwillnotfullysubmittoseparatistandRussian
demandsforamnestyand"specialstatus"powersineasternUkraine.

EuropewillencouragetheUkrainiangovernmenttobeaccommodating,buttheUnited
Stateswillpushforahard-lineapproach.

Russiawillkeepitsoptionsopenandwillnotabandonthepossibilityoframpingupmilitant
activityifKievandtheWestareuncooperative.

Analysis

Afterayearofslow-burningconflictineasternUkraine,therelationshipbetweenKievand
Moscowseemstofinallybeimproving.Fightingonthegroundhasdissipated,therehave
beenpositivedevelopmentsintalksoverthepastfewweeksandbothsidesbegantopull
heavyweaponrybackfromthelineofcontactinearlyOctober.Moreover,Russiaand
Ukrainehaveagreedonatemporarynaturalgasdealandwillbegindirectnegotiationson
Kiev'stermsofrepaymentforabondthatmaturesinDecember.Andinamajor
concessiontoKievanditsWesternbackers,theseparatistterritoriesofDonetskand
LuhanskannouncedOct.6thattheywouldpostponelocalelections.

ThesedevelopmentssignalprogresstowardendingthestandoffbetweenRussiaandthe
WestoverUkraine.However,abroadersettlementwillstillbedifficulttoachieveandis
unlikelytobereachedbeforetheendoftheyear.

GlimmersofCompromise

TensionbetweenRussiaandtheWestoverUkrainemountedduringthefirsteightmonths
oftheyear.Bothgovernmenttroopsandseparatistsregularlyviolatedthecease-firesigned
inFebruaryaspartoftheMinskagreement.Andcasualtiessteadilyincreased,reaching
nearly8,000sincethestartofthefightinginApril2014.Inthemeantime,RussiaandNATO
builtupsecurityandincreasedthetempoofmilitaryexercisesalongtheRussia-Ukraine
border.TheUnitedStatesandEuropeanUnionalsointensifiedsanctionsagainstRussia,
whileMoscowrespondedwithitsowneconomicrestrictionsontheWest.

TheUkraine-Russiaconflict

However,thingsbegantochangeinSeptember.Themonthbeganwithwhatwas
supposedtobeaone-weekcease-firetocoincidewiththebeginningoftheschoolyear.
Instead,thecessationoffightinghasheldforoverfiveweekswithrelativelyfewviolations
andnodeaths.Thiscalmonthebattlefieldhaslentmomentumtotheeffortstoimplement
theMinskprotocolsatatacticallevel,seenmosttangiblywiththepulloutofheavy
weaponryfromthelineofcontactbyUkrainianforcesbeginningOct.4.

Thiswithdrawal,inturn,promptedtherebelstostartremovingtheirheavyweaponry,and
onOct.6representativesfromDonetskandLuhanskannouncedthattheywouldpostpone
theirlocalelectionsuntil2016,amovemadewiththetacitapprovalofMoscow.

NegotiationsbetweenRussiaandUkrainehaveprogressedonotherissuesaswell.On
Sept.26,thetworeachedanaturalgasagreement,whichasofOct.12endedacutoffin
placesinceJune.Thedealistemporary,meanttolastthroughwinter-similartolastyear's
agreement.Nonetheless,thefinalaccordwastheresultofacompromiseonthepriceby
bothsides.

Therehasalsobeenmovementonanothercontentiousissue:thematurationofa$3billion
bondUkrainewassettopayofftoRussiabyDecember.RussianFinanceMinisterAnton
SiluanovannouncedOct.5thatheplanstomeetwithhisUkrainiancounterpartthisweek
todiscussthebondrepayment.Thiswillbethefirsttimesuchformaltalkshavebeenheld.
Uptothispoint,Kievhasinsistedthatitwillnotmaketherepaymentunlessitis
restructuredinawaysimilartoanAugustdebtreliefdealwithWesternbondholders.

Russiahassofarrefusedtherequest,butdirecttalksontheissuemayopenthewayfor
yetanothercompromisebetweenKievandMoscow,thoughtalkscouldalsostrengthen
Moscow'shandagainstKievinareassuchasUkraine'snegotiationswiththeInternational
MonetaryFund.

ObstaclestoResolution

Therecentcompromisesandengagementhavegivenrisetospeculationthatagrand
bargainmaybetakingshapeamongRussia,UkraineandtheWest.Moscowisnewly
cooperativebecauseofitsdramaticeconomiccontractionandbecauseofthepoliticaland
militarylimitsofextendingitspushintoeasternUkraine.SeveralEUcountriesarealso
interestedinde-escalatingtheconflict,especiallythosewhoseeconomieshavebeenhurt
byEuropeansanctionsandbyRussiancountersanctions.

Despitethegainsmadeinthepastmonth,abroadersettlementlikelywillnotbereached
beforetheendoftheyearforseveralreasons.Firstandforemost,thepathoutlinedbythe
Minskprotocolsisopentointerpretation.Thereisnocleardefinitionofwhatthe"special
status"giventotheseparatistterritoriesactuallyis.Therebelssaythestatusgivesthem
long-termautonomyoverissuessuchasdefenseandforeignpolicy,whileKievinsiststhe
statusisonlytemporaryandappliesonlytoareassuchasbudgetarypolicyandcultural
affairs.

Upholdingthecease-firewillpavethewayforfurthernegotiation,butcomingtofinalterms
willbefarmoredifficult.Second,theissueofamnestyforseparatistfightershasnotbeen
settled.MilitantsarecallingforablanketamnestywhiletheUkrainiangovernmentinsists
amnestyshouldonlybegrantedonanindividualandselectivebasis.

Third,eveniftheUkrainiangovernmentandtheseparatistsareabletoagreeonaway
forward,Kiev'sdomesticsituationwillcauseproblems.WhileRussiaandtheseparatists
increasethepressuretograntgreaterpoliticalconcessionsineasternUkraine,
ultranationalistgroups,particularlyRightSectorandSvoboda,havepushedintheopposite
direction.Thesegroupsopposeanycompromisewithseparatistsand,asaviolent
SeptemberrallyinKievagainstconstitutionalamendmentsshowed,theyareableto
destabilizethepoliticalsystem.ThisleavesKievinadifficultposition-favorablemoves
towardeithersidecouldleadtoblowbackbytheother.

Finally,theUnitedStatescouldposeanotherobstacletoresolution.CertainEuropean
countries,includingGermanyandFrance,areinterestedinde-escalatingtheconflict,but
theUnitedStateshasmaintainedanaggressiveposturetowardRussia.Washingtonhas
increasedfinancialassistance,heldmorefrequentmilitarytrainingsandmulledanincrease
indefensiveweaponsuppliestoUkraine.TheUnitedStateshaslesstolosebymaintaining
sanctionsagainstRussiaandhaslessofaninterestineasingthemthandoesthe
EuropeanUnion.

AgrandbargainwouldneedtoincludetheUnitedStates,butWashingtonisuninterestedin
adealthatdoesnotincludeacompletepulloutofRussiantroopsfromeasternUkraine.
RussiahasattemptedtouseissuessuchasitsgrowingroleintheSyrianconflicttobring
theUnitedStatestothenegotiatingtable,butsofarithasbeenunsuccessful.

TheseobstaclesdonotprecludeprogressinnegotiationsbetweenRussia,Ukraineandthe
West,andallofthemaresubjecttochange.Butthoughtalksmaywellleadtomoreroom
forcompromiseovercertainmilitary,politicalandeconomicissues,acomprehensive
settlementwillbeelusiveforthenearfuture.

[returntoContents]
#27
KyivPost
October18,2015
ReturntoVolnovakha:Ninemonthsafter13civilianskilledinRussian-separatistattack,
loyaltiesstilldivided
ByStefanHuijboom

VOLNOVAKHA,Ukraine-HerstylishblondehairandhighheelsturntheheadsofUkrainian
soldiersasshedescendsthebus,onesoldiercheckingherpassportatthecheckpointthat
leadstothesmallUkrainian-controlledcityofVolnovakha,some40kilometerssouthof
Russian-separatistterritory.

Thewoman,24-year-oldAnastasiaReva,isonherwaytoherparents,whostilllivein
VolnovakhaandwhoneverhaveleftthecityduringRussia'swaragainstUkraine.Reva
doesrespecttheactionsoftheUkrainianarmyinhernativecityof23,000people.

"ForsomeresidentshereitfeelslikeabunchofwestUkrainiansareoccupying
them,"shesaid.

VolnovakhamadeheadlinesonJan.13,whenRussianproxiesfiredmissilestowardsa
highwaycheckpoint,hittingacivilianbusandkilling12innocentpassengers.

Russian-separatistauthoritiesinitiallyadmittedtheattackthat"successfullyhitaUkrainian
blockpost,"butaftertheyfoundoutthatmissileshitacivilianbus,theywithdrewtheir
statementanddeniedanyinvolvement,sayingtheUkrainianarmywasbehindit.This"act
ofterror,"asboththeUkrainiangovernmentandtheRussian-separatistsdescribedit,
remainfreshinthememoriesoftheresidentsofVolnovakha.

"MymothergoesonceeverytwoweekstoDonetsktovisitmyyoungerbrotherwholives
there.WhenIheardthenewsofthebusattack,mybodyfeltparalyzed,fearingformy
parents.Itsimplymeantthatwhereveryouare,youareneversafe,"Revaexplained."Since
theattackmyparentsstartedtodisliketheUkrainianarmyevenmore.Manyinthistown
feelalienatedwithsomesoldiersfromwestUkraine,whomtheyjustcan'tsympathizewith.
Idon'thavestatistics,butmybetisthatthemajorityinthistownwouldpreferseparatiststo
'liberate'it."

TensionsremainasUkrainianarmysoldierspatrolthestreets.

Onesoldier,onlygivinghisfirstnameAnton,saysthatVolnovakhaisastrongholdforspies
andsaboteursthataidtheRussian-separatistsinDonetsk.

"We'reinthebiggesttownfromthesouthbeforeenteringtheenemy-heldterritories.The
enemyalsooperateshere,intheshadows,"Antonexplained

Heurgesoutsidersnottowalkoutsideinthenightbecauseofgangslinkedtothe
separatists.

"Youwon'tbethefirstthatwillbekidnappedfromwhowe'llneverhearbacksomething
again."

AntontalksaboutlastJunewhentheheadoftheVolnovakhatrafficpolice,knownbyhis
guerillaname"Zombie,"wasarrestedbecauseheactivelyaidedRussian-separatistforces,
givingoutinformationofUkrainianpositions,organizingdeliveryofweaponsand
coordinatingescaperoutesofsabotagegroups.

Donbashasalwaysbeenknownbyitsvarietyofcriminalgangs.Itseemsthatsomeof
thesegangshavechosensidefortheRussiancombinedseparatists.

OnMarch21,SecurityServiceofUkraineofficerVictorManzykwasmurderedin
Volnovakha.InDnepropetrovskadvancedweaponssuchasgrenadelaunchersandrocket
launcherswerefoundinanapartmentofoneofthesuspects.

Aftertheincident,InteriorMinisterArsenAvakovdisclosedthatatotalof11suspectswere
arrestedlinkedtodifferentparticipatingcriminalgangsintheDonetskarea.Fourofthem
weredirectlyinvolvedintheincident,makingthemthemainsuspects,accordingtoAvakov.
MayorSergeyDemchenko,anallyofex-PresidentViktorYanukovych,didn'twanttotalkto
theKyivPost.

ThedeputymayorofVolnovakha,IgorSeydamovich,waswillingtotalkthough.

"Allsuspectsarestillincustody,"hesaid.

Hedidn'twanttospeak,though,ofanydetailsabouttheprogressofacriminalcaseand
howmanywereinpre-trialdetention."That'samatterfortheprosecutor'sofficeandthe
SBU.Idon'tknowanythingaboutthat."

Seydamovichacknowledgedthatsupportfortheseparatistsisa"problem"inVolnovakha.

AntonclaimsthattheshootoutwaswelcomedbyagroupofVolnovakhaciviliansaswell.

"It'snosecretthatmanyherehavepro-Russianviews,andwishVolnovakhawouldbepart
oftheseparatist-territory.Civiliansthatheardaboutthemurdersawitasasignthatour,the
Ukrainian,controlwasshrinking,"heexplained.

Outsideasmallkiosk,amiddle-agedwomanputssomeofhergroceriesinherlarge
plasticbag.

FoodisscarceinVolnovakha,andthekiosksonthedesertedstreetsprofitfromthelargely
emptysupermarkets.

ValeriaBeletsky,54,complainstothecashierofthekiosk."Twomonthsagoyouwere
sellingmewaterfortwohryvnialess!"sheshoutedattheyoungwomanatthecounterafter
thoroughlyreadingherreceipt.

"DamntheUkrainians,"shemumbled.

BeletskywasbornandraisedinVolnovakha.

She'sseenRussia'swaragainstUkrainefromthestart,anddoesn'tsupporttheKyiv
government.

"They'rethieves!I'veseenbombs,grenades,deadpeople,andwhy?Becausethat
governmentinKyivdidn'trespecttheDonbaspeople'sdesiretonotbecomeEuropean,or
whatever!"shekeptshouting,becomingemotional."They'retalkingUkrainiantome.Idon't
understandthat.It'sasifabunchofstrangersoccupyushereinVolnovakha.Makethem
leave!"

AskingifBeletskywantstomoveandliveinDonetsk,oddly,sheanswersthequestionwith
afirm"no"withoutanyfurtherexplanation.

FortunatelyfortheUkrainiansoldiersinVolnovakha,there'speoplewhoactivelysupport
them.Oneofthemis21-year-oldVitaliyVolyanik,whowalksupfronttoagroupofsoldiers
thatstandsmokingacigaretteinfrontoftheVolnovakhatrainstation."GlorytoUkraine!"
Volyaniksaid,asthesoldiersrespond:"Heroesdon'tdie!"

Volyanik,anativefromDonetsk,explainshissupportforUkrainiansoldiers."They'rehereto
protectus.AnyonethatthinksthatUkraineisoccupyingVolnovakhashouldmovetothereal
occupiersthemselves.I'mfromDonetskandI'vefledmyhometown,becauseitwas
occupied.AndIthankthesebravesoldierswhoareheretoprotectme."

[returntoContents]

#28
WorldAffairs
www.worldaffairsjournal.org
October16,2015
ACautionaryNote:ReintegratingtheDonbas
ByAlexanderMotyl
ALEXANDERJ.MOTYLisprofessorofpoliticalscienceatRutgersUniversity-Newark
ThefightingintheDonbasmaybewindingdown,butUkraine'swarwithRussiawill
continueaslongasVladimirPutinbelievesthatUkrainemustbecomehissubject.

NowmorethaneverUkraine'ssurvivalasademocraticWesternstatedependsonthe
continuedstrengtheningofUkraine'smilitarycapabilityandtheaccelerationofreform.

AnostensiblypeacefulRussiaweddedtoimperialexpansionisnolessofamilitarythreat
toUkrainethananopenlyhostileRussiaweddedtoimperialexpansion.TheWestistoo
preoccupiedwithitsownproblemsandtooindifferenttoPutin'sdestructionofthepost-war
internationalordertosaveUkraine.

OnlyUkrainecanprotectitselffromfurtherRussianpredationsbyacquiringafirst-class
militaryabletodeterallbutthecraziestofRussianleaders.Meanwhile,afirst-classmilitary
isimpossiblewithoutastrongeconomy,whichinturnisimpossiblewithoutserious,
sustainedreform.

Asdifficultasintroducingreformhasbeen,it'sabouttogetmuchharder-fortworeasons.

First,theseemingendtofightingwillinclinesomeUkrainianpolicymakerstoconcludethat
theRussianthreathaswanedandthattheycanrelax.

Second,itnowlookslikeUkrainemayactuallyhavetoreintegratetheDonbasenclave
sometimeinthenearfuture.I'vebeenarguingadnauseamthatUkrainewouldbeinfinitely
betteroffbykeepingtheenclaveontheothersideofahighwall.Alas,myargumentmaybe
abouttobecomemoot,as-orif-Minsk-2isimplemented.

SignedinFebruary2015,theMinsk-2accordsproposeaseriesofsteps-acease-fire,an
exchangeofprisoners,aconstitutionalamendmentregardingtheDonbasenclave'sstatus,
Russianwithdrawal,localelections,andUkrainiancontroloftheenclave'sborderwith
Russia-thataresupposedtoendthewarandusherinpeace.Theproblemwiththedealis
thatUkraineexpectsMinsk-2toleadtoitsreassertionofsovereignty,thatRussiaexpectsit
toproduceUkrainiansubservience,andthattheseparatistsexpectittoreinforcetheirrule.

It'sthereforeperfectlypossiblethatMinsk-2willbreakdown,asallsidesrealizethereisno
waytofinessetheirincompatibledemands.Theresultcouldbeafrozenconflict,withthe
addedadvantagethatRussiamightbereluctanttorenewhostilitiesandincursanctions.
Werethattohappen,KyivshouldformallydeclarethattheDonbasenclaveisoccupied
territorythatfallsunderthepurviewoftheoccupyingpower,Russia.

IfPutin'sproxiesarelessstrategicallydaftthanheis,theymightpushforreintegrationand
therebyputUkraineinthehotseat.Asabsolutelyeveryoneknows,theenclave-andindeed
thewholeDonbas,eventhepartoccupiedbyUkrainianforces-hasbeenandstillisruledby
criminalclans,criminaloligarchs,criminalmafias,and-thelatesttwist-criminalseparatists
andcriminalwarlords.Mostofthepopulationisunremittinglyhostiletoeverythingthenew
Ukrainestandsfor.Theeconomyisinruins.

IfanyoneknowshowUkraineissupposedtoreintegratethiscancerousregionwithout
infectingitselfintheprocess,pleasetellme.

ThechallengewouldbeenormousevenifUkrainedefeatedtheRussianseparatistsand
occupiedtheterritory.AndUkrainehasnotdefeatedtherebels.Norwilliteveroccupythe
enclaveandimposeitswillwithoutreignitingthewar.

Instead,Ukrainewillhavetoreintegrateanunreconstructedandunreconstructableregion.
That'swhatMinsk-2mandates.Andthat'sbeenthedeclaredgoaloftheUkrainianpolitical
establishment.

Astheysay,becarefulwhatyouwishfor.Itmaycometrue.

There'sonlyonewayforapotentiallyreintegratedDonbasenclavetowreakminimal
damageonUkraine.

Kyivshouldquarantinetheterritoryanditsthugsbygivingit,andthem,almostcomplete
sovereigntywithinaconfederalrelationshipwithUkraine.

NeitherKyivnortheenclavewouldinterfereineachother'sinternalorexternalpolitical
affairs.Bothsideswouldpursuetheirowneconomicpolicies,refrainfromsubsidizingeach
other,keepallthetaxestheycollect,andpursuetradewithwhomevertheydesire.Each
sidewouldberesponsibleforlawandorder,speakwhicheverlanguageitdesires,
rememberwhatitwantstoremember,andhonorwhomeveritwantstohonor.Other
issueswouldbestickier(Wouldtherebeonearmyortwo?Wouldtheenclavepursueits
ownforeignpolicy?Wouldtherebeonepresidentortwo?),butnotimmunetocreative
solutions.

Russiaanditsseparatistthugs-alongwithFrance,Germany,andtheUnitedStates-would
behard-pressedtosaynyettosuchadeal,whileKyivandUkraine'shotheadscouldclaim
victoryanddeclarethatUkraineiswholeagain.

Doconfederationsworkinthemediumtolongterm?Rarely,unless,asinthecaseofthe
Swiss,therearespecialcircumstancesthatovercomethecentrifugalforcesbuiltinto
them.

IftheUkrainianconfederationworks,great.Ukraineproperwillreform,whiletheenclave
goestothehellofitschoice.Iftheconfederationdoesn'tworkandbothsidesagreetogo
theirownway-perhapsliketheCzechsandtheSlovaks-what'snottolike?

[returntoContents]

#29
MoscowTimes
October19,2015
What'sNextforRussiaandUkraine?
ByJean-MarieGuehenno
Jean-MarieGuehennoispresidentandCEOoftheInternationalCrisisGroup.

Themostacutephaseofthe18-month-oldUkrainewarisover,atleastfornow.Butnothing
issettledyet.

AfterspendingaweekinKievandMoscowwithadelegationfromtheInternationalCrisis
Group,itisclearthatRussiaisslidingdeeperintoeconomiccrisisandpoliticaluncertainty.
Ukraine,meanwhile,hasresolvednoneoftheissuesthatledtoitscrisisboilingoverinto
armedconflict.

Russia'sinterventionineasternUkrainehasbeenadisappointmenttoMoscow.The
Ukrainianarmyhasfoughtbetterthanexpected,andtheWesthasbeenmoreunitedin
imposingsanctionsthananticipated.

PresidentVladimirPutinnowseemstobedownplayinganyseparatistprojectforeastern
Ukraine.HestressessupportfortheFebruary2015Minsktalks,isreininginhiseastern
protegesandhasabandonedtheNovorossiaprojectthatwouldhavecreatedaterritorial
continuumallthewaytotheself-proclaimedrepublicofTransdnestr.ThepeopleofDonetsk
andLuhanskmaydisliketheauthoritiesinKiev,butthemajoritydoesnotembraceRussia,
andsustainingeasternUkraineisascostlyapropositionforRussiaasitwouldbefor
anyoneelse.

Noneofthefundamentalissuesthatledtoawarthathaskilledwellover8,000peoplehave
beenresolved.Twelvemonthsofhalf-heartedeffortstoreformUkrainehavenotreversed
25yearsofcorruption.ThereisanadmirablegenerationofyoungUkrainiansenergetically
committedtoEuropeanvalues,shamingcontemporariesinWesternEuropewhotaketheir
democraticinheritanceforgranted,butthejudiciaryremainssubservienttopowerand
money,thereisonlyakernelofreformedpoliceandoligarchsstillruletheroost.Kiev's
disregardforitscitizensintherebel-occupiedzonesintheeastwillfurthercomplicateany
futurereintegration.

Aboveall,Ukraine'sdysfunctionalstatemakesitaneasytargetformeddlingand
manipulation.KievfearsthatRussiawillnotabandonitspressure,butwillsimplyshiftfrom
themilitarytothepolitical-fundingandpromotingtraditionallypro-Russianpoliticianskeen
tocapitalizeonpublicdismayatrisingpricesanddisillusionwiththeirleaders.

InRussia,thecrisisisnolesssevere.ItstartedbeforethewarinUkraine,andbeforethe
collapseofoilpricesandtheruble.Thenon-diversificationoftheeconomyanddeep
demographicdecline-Russiahasthelowestlifeexpectancyofalldevelopedcountries-
havetakenaserioustoll.Russianeedsalongperiodoffargreatereconomicgrowthto
catchupwithWesternEurope.Rightnowgrowthisnegative,withdevastatingimpacton
thebudget:pensionswillnotmatchinflation,andtensofmillionsofRussiansfacea
significantreductionoftheirincome.

Thebasiccontractofthelastfewyears-anauthoritarianregimeinreturnforamodest
improvementinbasiclivingconditions-isbeingreplacedbyanewoneinwhichnational
pridesubstitutesformaterialsatisfactions.

Statepropaganda,whichdominatesthemedia,isbacktoStalinisttropes:aRussia
surroundedbyenemies,theWestfomentingrevolutionsofallcolors,andIslamistsaspart
ofawideWesternconspiracyagainstRussia,whichhasthebiggestMuslimpopulationin
Europe.

Moscow'spolicyofbombingIslamistsinSyriaandsupportingSyrianPresidentBashar
Assadthusaddresseswhatitseesasarealthreattoitsdomesticinterests,andatthe
sametimesendsamessageofresolvetoWesternpowers.Inshort,Russiahasgone
beyonddissatisfactionwiththestatusquotobecomearevisionistcountry.

Atthispointwheretrustbetweenthetwosidesisclosetozero,sharedpointsofreference
andcommonprojectsarevitaltoensurechangesoccurlegitimately,withoutanyrenewed
useofforce.AndthereismuchtheWestcanbegintodotostabilizetheconflict.

First,makefinancialsupporttoUkraine,onrigorousconditions,amuchgreaterpriority.The
painfulreformsthatUkraineneedstoconductwillbelesspainfulifthereismorefinancial
supportfromtheEU.

Second,prioritizejustice,ruleoflaw,andanti-corruptionintechnicalsupporttoUkraine.

Third,maintainaunitedfrontonsanctionssolongastheMinskagreementisnotfully
implemented.

Fourth,explorewithRussiaareasinwhichsomecommonworkcouldbedone.Thiscould
bejudiciousEUengagementwiththeRussia-dominatedEurasianUnion,orthenecessary
"de-conflicting"ofmilitaryoperationsovertheskiesofSyria,orexplorationofthecontours
ofaSyriansettlement,inwhichRussia,despiteitscurrentdefiance,willinevitablyplaya
part.

TheWestshouldbetoughonbothitsalliesandadversaries.SupportforUkraineshould
onlybesustainedifKievpushesthroughreforms,particularlyagainsthighlevelcorruption,
asitspeopledemand.And,whileengagementwiththeKremlinisimperative,theWest
shouldstressthatatruedialogueoncrucialinternationalissuescanonlybepossibleonce
MoscowactsontheMinskpeaceplanandpullsoutofeasternUkraine.

[returntoContents]

#30
RussiaDirect
www.russia-direct.org
October16,2015
8reasonswhytheDutchgottheMH17reportincomplete
ThereportpublishedbytheDutchSafetyBoardontheBoeing777MalaysiaAirlines
disastercannotbedefinitivebecauseitlargelyignoresthefindingsofRussianexperts.
ByVladimirEvseev
Dr.VladimirEvseevisDirectoratCenterforSocialandPoliticalStudies.Hehasmilitary
experiencefortwentyyears,hisresearchinterestsincluderegionalaspectsofthe
internationalsecurity,nuclearnon-proliferationandballisticmissiledefense.

OnOct.13,theDutchSafetyBoardpresenteditsfinalreportonthedowningoftheBoeing
777MalaysiaAirlinespassengerplane(FlightMH17)overtheDonbasregiononJuly17last
year.Thereportwaspresentedbytheheadoftheinvestigation,TibbeYaustra,attheGilze-
RijenmilitarybaseintheNetherlands.

OneofthemaincausesofthedisasterwasidentifiedasUkraine'sfailuretocloseits
airspacetopassengerplanes,despitethehostilitiesintheDonbasregioninvolvingsurface-
to-airmissiles(SAMs).Russianexpertsagreewiththatfinding,butnotethatbothsidesin
theconflictemployedairdefensesystems.

SomeoftheblameforwhathappenedwasapportionedtoMalaysianAirlines,whichwas
"awareofthepotentialrisksofflyingovertheconflictzone."Whenthetragedyoccurred,
therewerethreepassengerplanesintheskyabovethehotspot.Thatfactcannotbe
arguedwith,butforeignairlineshadnoinformationaboutwhataltitudewasdeemedsafe.

SAMsgenerallydonotgohigherthan2.2miles(3.5km)iffiredfromaportableairdefense
system,soanaltitudeof6.2miles(10km)isconsideredsafeforcivilaviation(whichis
why,forexample,passengeraircraftcontinuedtoflyoverAfghanistanduringthearmed
conflictthere).ButKievknewthatmorepowerfulanti-aircraftmissileshadbeendeployedin
theconflictzone,primarilyitsown,butdidnotinformforeignairlinesinadvance.

Whoistoblame?

Thereisawidedivergenceofopiniononthatquestion.Forexample,theinternational
commissionsetuptoinvestigatetheaccident(whichforsomereasonexcludednotonly
Russia,butalsotheInternationalCivilAviationOrganization)reachedtheconclusionthat
theBoeing777hadbeenhitbyaRussian-madeBUKmissilefiredfromthesettlementof
Snezhnoe,whichatthattimewaspartofthemilitia-controlledDonetskPeople'sRepublic
(DPR).

Accordingtotheinvestigators,ananti-aircraftmissilestruckthecockpitontheleftside,
whichcausedtheheadoftheplanetoseparatefromthefuselage,killingallpassengers
andcrewalmostinstantaneously.Itomitsthefactthatthistypeofmissiletargetsthe
middleoftheaircrafttoensureannihilation.Thecockpitisusuallyhitbypilotsfiringfrom
aircraftcannons.

AdifferentviewisheldbyRussianexperts.Firstofall,theynotedthattheinternational
commissiondidnotprovideevidencethatthebodyoftheplanedisplayedthecharacteristic
markofaBUKmissile(abutterfly-shapedhole).Andoneofthephotographssubmittedby
thecommissiondepictspartofaBUKsystemthatcouldnothaveremainedwhollyintact
onbeingfired.

Second,thereportonMH17wassubmittedtotheRussiansideasafaitaccompli,which
meantitcouldnotbeamended.Moreover,itleavesoutmostofthecommentspreviously
madebyRussianexperts.

Third,theDutchauthoritiesdidnotpermitRussianexpertstoinspectthecrashsite.Evena
monthafterthedisaster,notallthebodieshadbeenremoved(shrapnelwoundscouldhave
beenvitalcluesfortheinternationalinvestigation).Andcontrarytoestablishedpractice,a
substantialpartofthewreckagewasleftwhereitfell,whichhamperstheconductofafull-
scalestudy.

Fourth,therewasnothoroughanalysisoftheinstructionsoftheUkrainianairtraffic
controllerswho"led"theMalaysianplaneintotheconflictzoneandtheninexplicablyaltered
itsflightlevel.

RecalltheincidentonMarch17,1994,whenaC-130militarytransportaircraftcarrying
IranianembassypersonnelwasshotdownoverNagorno-Karabakhnearthetownof
Stepanakert,killingall19passengers,including9children,andthecrewof13.Accordingto
sources,theAzerbaijaniairtrafficcontrollersintentionallydivertedtheaircraftbyabout100
km(62miles)intothecombatzone,whereitwasshotdownbyanArmenianSAM.

Fifth,thecommission'sreportdidnotconsiderthepossibilitythatFlightMH17was
interceptedbyaUkrainianjet,eventhoughtherewasoneintheimmediatevicinity.Itwould
havebeencapableofbothkillingthecrewwithaircraftcannonand"backingup"theair
defensesystem(usuallytwoSAMsarelaunchedsimultaneouslyincaseoneisofftargetin
thisinstanceanair-to-airmissilecouldhavebeenthereserveoption).

Sixth,onJuly2,2015,theAlmaz-Anteyjointstock-company,themanufactureroftheBUK
system,submitteddocumentstotheinternationalcommissiononthefirstphaseofafull-
scalestudyusingascalemodelofaBoeing777.

Itshowedthattheaircraftcouldhavebeenshotdownbya9M38Manti-aircraftmissile,
whichisnolongerinservicewiththeRussianArmedForces.However,thecommission
ignoredthedocuments.

Thesecondphaseoftheexperiment,heldonOct.7,involvedadecommissionedIL-86
plane.ItwasconfirmedthattheMalaysianBoeing777wasshotdownfromanarea
controlledatthetimebytheUkrainianArmy-2.2miles(3.5km)southofthevillageof
Zaroschenskoe.HaditbeenfiredfromSnezhnoe(asstatedbytheinternational
commission),nosubmunitioncouldhaveenteredtheplane'sengine,whichisinfactwhat
happened.

Seventh,theUnitedStatesdidnotprovidetheinternationalcommissionwithdatafrom
satellitesthatwereabovethecombatzoneatthetimeoftheincident.

Eighth,therewasnoinvestigationofUkraine'sairdefensesystems,including,forinstance,
theirlocationatthetimeoftheincidentandaphysicalinventoryoftheiranti-aircraft
missiles.

WillRussiaandtheWestagreeonthecausesofthecrash?

Forthereasonsoutlinedabove,theDutchSafetyBoardreportmaynotbeconclusive.It
doesnottakeintoaccountthetotalityoftheavailabledata,andappearssubjectiveand
politicallymotivated.The"meticulous"investigationdidnottake15months-thattimeframe
wasmerelyadelayingtacticwhenconclusiveevidenceaboutRussianinvolvementcould
notbeverified.

Unfortunately,whenitcomestoairlinedisasters,Ukrainehasnotbeenentirelyblameless.
InOctober2001aRussianTu-154passengeraircraftwashitbyaUkrainianS-200anti-
aircraftmissileovertheBlackSea,whichhadbeenlaunchedduringamilitaryexercisein
Crimea.Therewerenosurvivorsamongthe66passengersand12crewmembers.It
cannotberuledoutthatsomethingsimilarmayhavehappenedintheskiesaboveDonbas.

[returntoContents]

#31
RussiaDirect
www.russia-direct.org
October16,2015
TheMalaysianBoeingsagaisfarfromover
The"final"MH17reportshowsthatthereisstillalongwaytogoindeterminingwhat
actuallyhappenedinUkraine.
ByIvanTsvetkov
IvanTsvetkovisAssociateProfessorofAmericanStudies,InternationalRelations
Department,St.PetersburgStateUniversity.Heisanexpertinthefieldofhistoricalscience
andcontemporaryU.S.policyandU.S.-Russianrelations.Since2003,hehasbeenthe
authorandadministratoroftheeducationalwebsite"HistoryoftheUnitedStates:Materials
forthecourse"(http://ushistory.ru)

Thelong-awaitedfinalreportoftheDutchSafetyBoardintotheMH17disasterrevealed
answerstomanyimportantquestions.Afterstudyingthepublishedmaterials,noone,for
instance,islikelytocontinuetopromotetheair-to-airmissiletheory.
Butthereportalsoshowsthatthefinalendofthistragedyisstillalongwayoff.Evenifthe
"truth"canonedaybeestablished,doubtswilllingerallthesame.

Anever-endingstory

TheinternationalandpoliticalscaleofMH17meansthatitcanneverbefiledaway,no
matterhowmany"final"reportsareproduced.Itsimpactoninternationalrelationsalready
hasbeenfarmoreseriousthanallpreviousincidentsofciviliandeathsinvolvingmilitary
missiles.

Thedebatesurroundingtheinvestigationofthetragedyhaslongmovedonfromsimple
finger-pointing.Atstakearetheveryfoundationsoftheexistingworldorder.Optionsto
circumventRussia'svetoontheUNSecurityCouncilandtograntnewpowerstothe
InternationalCourtofJusticeareonthetable.

AccordingtotheDutchSafetyBoard,thereisstillnoanswertothekeyquestionofthe
preciselocationoftheBUKlaunchsite,whichmeansthatafurther"criminal"investigation
isneeded.

Nodoubtatthisstagethetopicwillbecomeevenmoresensitiveandrequirenotonlyexpert
butalso"strong-willed"politicaldecisions.Ifthepoliticalwillisthereonallsides,itwillnot
betoodifficulttoexplorethesuspectedregionsandgatherthenecessaryevidence.

Expertsassertthateveninthewar-scorchedearthofDonbassoilsamplescouldhelp
locatethelaunchsite.Butwillforensicexpertsbeallowedtotakethem?

TheRussianviewofMH17

OnthesamedayastheDutchSafetyBoardpublisheditsreport,theAlmaz-Anteyjoint
stock-company,whichmanufacturestheBUKmissilesystem,announcedtheresultsofa
repeatexperimenttorecreatetheconditionsofthecatastrophe.

IncontrasttotheirDutchcolleagues,Russianexpertsconsideredtheavailabledatatobe
sufficienttodeterminethelaunchsitewithreasonableaccuracy.Usingmathematical
modelingtechniques,theypinpointedasmallareathatinJuly2014wasunderthecontrol
oftheUkrainianArmy.

Moreover,basedonthedamagetothehullofthedownedBoeing(inparticular,theshapeof
theentryholes),Almaz-Antey'steamofexpertsconcludedthatthemissilethatdestroyed
theplanewaslongagodecommissionedbytheRussianArmedForces(butoddlyenough
isstillinusewiththeUkrainianmilitary).

ItwasarepeatofwhathashappenedoncountlessoccasionssinceJuly2014:Inresponse
tothedisclosureofevidencepointingtoRussia'sguilt,theRussiansideproducesitsown
evidencethatshiftstheblameontoUkraine.

Somehavegrownutterlywearyofthistug-of-war,yetmanyparticipantsinthedebatein
Russiacontinuetobelievethatthecountryisbeingtriedinabsentia,withglobalpublic
opinionasthepresidingjudge.

Thatbeingthecase,thefinalverdictwilldependonthepersuasivenessoftheparties'
arguments.Letthetrialcontinueforaslongasnecessary,sinceeveryoneisinterestedin
thesamething-establishingthetruthandpunishingtheguilty.
What'swrongwiththeRussianversionoftheMH17story

Butthelogicofatrialinwhichthejudgeispublicopiniondiffersfromtraditionalcases,even
thoseinvolvingjuries.ItisevidentthattheMH17disasterhascausedgreatdamageto
Russia'sinternationalreputationalready.

Anditwillcontinuetoinflictdamageuntiltheheadlinesdisappearfromthepagesofthe
world'snewspapers.Itisnottheverdict,butthetrialthatistherealpenalty.Butitseems
thatmuchoftheRussianpoliticaleliteandexpertcommunitywouldprefertoflatlyreject
anyaccusations.

Whatmakespeoplerememberonetragedyandquicklyforgetanother?Whyinsome
militaryconflictsaremassciviliancasualtieswrittenoffascollateraldamage,andthe
attentionofinternationalobserversdivertedelsewhere,whileothertragedies,suchas
MH17,remainonthepoliticalagendaforyearsonend?

FormanyRussianexpertstoday,theanswertothisquestionisobvious:Russophobia.
HostileforcesintheWesthaveseizedtheopportunitytohumiliateRussiaandonceagain
presentthecountryinahighlyunfavorablelight.

Theonlywaytoresist,astheyseeit,istopersistentlydefendtheirpositionbyproviding
persuasiveevidencethatRussiaisbeingslanderedandattackedbyfoesonallsides.

Butitturnsoutinpracticethateachnew"irrefutable"argumentputforwardbyself-
righteousandpoliticallymotivatedRussianexpertsonlyprolongstheproceedings,which
havelongsinceacquiredthetraitsofapoliticalspectacle.

IfoneseriouslyconsidersRussia'snationalinterestsintheMH17case,itishardtoavoid
theconclusionthatchiefamongthemshouldnotbetoprovethecountry'sinnocence,but
tobringtheprocesstoanendwhatevertheresult.
ThereisnodoubtthatifonJuly17,2014,thepro-RussianseparatistsineasternUkraine
hadacknowledgedthattheyhadmistakenlyshotdownflightMH17,believingittobea
Ukrainianmilitarytransporter,Russiawouldhavebeensparedoneofworstepisodesof
internationalcondemnationinitshistory.

Ofcourse,Russia'sreputationwouldhavesufferedanyway-butwhoin2015wouldstillbe
debatingtheissueanddreamingupwaysofbypassingRussia'sUNSecurityCouncilveto?

Butitistoolatetostartback-pedalingnow.Thewarofwordshastobewagedtothebitter
end,andtogaintheupperhanditseemsthatlesstalkaboutentryholesandamore
resoluteandevenmoreadventuresomeforeignpolicyisrequired.

TheKremlinseemstobecountingonitsoperationinSyriatoresolveMH17.

[returntoContents]

#32
RussiaInsider
www.russia-insider.com
October18,2015
MH17FinalreportisNotaFinalReportIt'sJustaLimitedHangout
Ittellsasmuchofthetruthasithasto.Butnomore.
ByPatrickArmstrong
PatrickArmstrongreceivedaPhDfromKingsCollege,UniversityofLondon,Englandin
1976andretiredin2008after30yearsasananalystfortheCanadiangovernment,
specializinginfirsttheUSSRandthenRussia.HewasaPoliticalCounselorinthe
CanadianEmbassyinMoscowfrom1993to1996.Hehasbeenafrequentspeakeratthe
WiltonParkconferencesintheUK.
[Linksherehttp://russia-insider.com/en/mh17-final-report-not-final-report-its-just-limited-
hangout/ri10575]

"Limitedhangout"isspyjargonforapartialadmissionofthetruthtoattempttocontrolthe
exposureofaclandestineoperation.Thehopeisthatthepartialtruthwillsatisfythe
questionersandtheywilllooknofurther.Thephrasecameintopopularawarenessduring
theWatergatescandalin1973asthecoverstoryunravelled.TheDutchSafetyBoard
reportontheMH17disasterisanexample.It'sapartialstatement:somethingvery
importantisleftoutbutitisnotcompletelyleftoutbecausetheremaybealaterneedfor
"reconsideration".

ThesourcesandabbreviationsIusearebelow.

-RussianMoDbriefingJuly2014(MoD)(English)

-DutchSafetyBoardFinalReportOctober2015Video(DSBV)Text(DSBT)

-Almaz-AnteyFirstReportJune2015(AA1)(Video)(Almaz-Anteyisthemanufacturerof
theBukfamilyofSAMsystemswhichhasbeeninserviceinmanycountriessince1979.
Overtheyears,asiscommonwithevolutionarySovietandRussianweaponssystems,
therehavebeenseveraldifferentrocketsandwarheaddesigns.)

-Almaz-AnteySecondReportOctober2015(AA2)(SlideshowinEnglish)

InAugustIpublishedapieceatRInamed"QuestionsaRealMH17ReportWouldAnswer".
TheDSBreportfailsmytestbutitfailsitinaninterestingway:inalimitedhangoutway,in
fact.Isaidtherewerefourvitalpointsthatmustbeaddressed:

1.The"blackboxes"willtelluswhereMH17waswhenitwashit,whatdirectionitwas
goingin,whatspeeditwastravelling.

2.Analysisofthedamagepatternofthewreckagewillshowwherethemissilewaswhen
itdetonated.

3.Backtrackingfromthatpointwillshowfromwhereitwaslaunched.
4.Lethalfragmentswillshowwhatweaponhitit.

Thereportdealswith1satisfactorily,thereisaquestionabout4butitisinitsanswerto
numbers2and3thatweseethelimitedhangout.

ThereportwasdeliveredbyitsChairman,TjibbeJoustra,[quondamtheNetherlands'
NationalAntiterrorismCoordinator-isthatsignificant?Youdecide,DearReader-and
ChairmanoftheDSBsinceFebruary2011]whostatedthatitwasnottheDSB'sjobto
assignblame.TheDSB'sconclusionwasthatMH17wasbroughtdownbytheexplosionof
9N314Mwarheadascarriedon9M38seriesBuksurface-to-airmissile(SAM)(DSBT-9)
otherscenarioswereconsidered,analysedandexcluded.Itoffersanareafromwhichit
believesthemissilewaslaunched.

TheFlightDataRecorder(both"blackboxes"wereingoodshape)showedMH17flyingat
33,000ftheading115at293kts(542kph).Therecordingstoppedat13.20:03UTCat
48.12715N38.52630538E(DSBT-47).

IbeginwithmyprincipalconclusionthattheDSBreportisa"limitedhangout".

Byignoringthedamagetotheportwingandportengine,theBoardwasabletoshiftthe
approachrouteofthemissileawayfromKiev-heldterritorysouthofMH17'sroutetorebel-
heldterritoryinthesouth-east.

Theimportanceofleavingoutthewingandengine

TheDutchSafetyBoarddidnottakeintoaccountthedamagetotheportwingandtheport
engine(seebelow).Whileitdidprovideaphotoofthedamagedportengineintakeringat
DSBT-50,thereisnootherdiscussionofdamagetotheengineandIbelievethatthe
inclusionofthephotoprovidestheDSBwithan"out"shouldtherebeaneedforalater
"reconsideration"oftheevidence.Tosummarise(seebelow):theDSBestablishedapoint
atwhichthedetonationoccurredtheDSBunderstoodtheblastpatternofthewarhead
(DSBT-130butseeabetterrepresentationatAA2-35).Butitignoredthefactthatthe
existenceofdamagetotheportwingandportengineprovesthatthemissilehadtohave
comefromthesideofMH17andnotfrominfrontofit.Thatisthekeypoint:everythingup
tothatpointintheanalysisofthedestructionofMH17(leavingasidetherathersmall
numberof"bow-ties"-seebelow)iscloselyreasoned.Thesleightofhandoccurswhen
thewingandengineareforgotten.Concentratingonlyonthedamagetothecockpitallows
thepathofthemissiletobetwistedfromthesouthtothesouth-westasisrequiredbythe
"rebelsdidittheory".Alaunchpointfromthesouthrulesthatpossibilityout.

ThisisillustratedatAA2-21.BothAlmaz-Anteyreportscalculatedthefiringpointasbeing
nearZaroshchenskoyewhiletheDSBcalculatesitasbeingnearSnezhnoye.AA2-21
showsadamagecomparison:aBukfiredfromZaroshchenskoyedamagestheportwing
andportengine,aBukfiredfromSnezhnoyedoesnot.Thedamagetothecockpitissimilar
ineachscenario.

BecausethedamagetotheportwingandportenginewasignoredbytheDSBreport,they
wereabletomaketheapproachlineofthemissileclosertothedirectionMH17was
heading,whichallowedthemtocalculatethelaunchpointsoastoincluderebel-held
territory.Hadtheyincludedtheportwingandportenginedamage,theywouldhavebeen
forcedtoacceptalaunchpointfarthersouthintoKiev-heldterritory.

Inshort,theytoldasmuchtruthastheycouldwithoutcompromisingtherequiredanswer.A
"limitedhangout"indeed.

Buttherearesomeother-lesssignificant,tobesure-pointsthatshouldbeconsidered.

MissingRadarData

Thefirstpointworthyofattentionistheradardataor,rather,itsabsence.Wearetoldthat
"TheUkrainiancivilprimaryradarstationsintheareawerenotfunctioningatthetimeofthe
crashduetoscheduledmaintenance.Themilitaryprimaryradarstationswerealsonot
operational.TheUkrainianMinistryofDefencestatedthatthissystemwasnotoperational,
becausetherewerenoUkrainianmilitaryaircraftinthesectorthroughwhichflightMH17
flew"(DSBT-38).NATOhadanAWACSaircraftintheairbutthatsaidMH17wasoutofits
range(DSBT-44).ThusonlylimitedradarinformationwasavailablefromUkraineand
nothingfromNATO.

Thisisnotbelievable.Ignoringthe"scheduledmaintenance"stuff,theUkrainianMinistryof
Defencestatementthattherewerenomilitaryaircraftintheareaiscontradictedwhen
DSBT-185informsusthatKievclaimedthatamilitaryaircraftwasfiredatintheDonetsk
areaonthatveryday.Thatislessthan40kmsawayfromMH17.AstoNATO,itisabsurd
tothinkthatNATOhadanAWACSaircraftupthatwasnotlookingatthefightingarea.The
DSBacceptsthesestatementswithoutcomment.

Russiaalsoprovidedlimitedradarinformationbecause,itsaid,asthecrashoccurred
outsideofRussianterritory,itdidnotrecordtheprimarydata(DSBT-42).Thereport
spendssometimechidingRussiaforthis.

FlightPath

AnotherofthepointsthatImadeinmyRIpiecewasthechangeintheflightpathas
recordedintheFlightAwarewebsite.NomentionwhatsoeverismadeofthatintheDSB
report.Ididnotice,however,thattheflightplanasshownatDSBT-212showsaslightturn
totheleftattheGermany-PolandborderandaslightturntotherightattheKazakhstan-
Turkmenistanborder.Ifweremovethisslightdeviation,wehaveastraightlineflightpath
thatgoesovertheSeaofAzovastheearlierroutesdidbeforetheywerechangedon
FlightAware.

IstillbelievethatthisisapointthathasbeeninsufficientlydiscussedandIremindreaders
ofthescreenshotstakenoftheFlightAwaretracksshowingpreviousrouteswellsouthof
thetracktakenthatdaybyMH17shownhereandhere.Iremembernoticingthechangeat
thetimeandthinkingthattheflightpathof17Julywasthefirstquestionthathadtobe
answered.Again,theDSBmakesnomentionofanyotherroutestakenbythisdailyflight.

Fighterplanes

Astothefighterplanestorytheflatstatementismadethattherearenoaircraftshownon
theUkrainianradartracksexceptMH17andtwoothercommercialflights(DSBT-114).No
mentionwhatsoeverismadeoftheRussianpresentation(MoD9thillustration)thatshowed
afighterplaneclosetoMH17.(Butnotethecarefulstatementthatthereisnothingonthe
Ukrainianradartracks.PerhapstheDSBisleavingspaceforalater"reconsideration".)The
reportrulesoutcannonfirebecause1)therearetoomanyholesinthefuselagefora
limitednumberofcannonrounds2)thepresenceof"bow-tie"fragments(seebelow)3)
therewerenomilitaryaircraftinthearea(DSBT-126).ItreturnstotheissueatDSB-131
whereitarguesthatallpenetrationsofMH17camefromasinglepoint.

PersonallyIdonotfindthisveryconvincingandIdonotbelievethatthepresenceofa
fighteraswellasaSAMisexcluded,althoughitisclearthattheSAMwassufficienttobring
theplanedownandkillthecockpitcrew.ButtheDSBoughttohavesaidsomethingabout
theRussianstatementthattherewasafighterplanenearby.Andcertainlytherearemany
holesinthewreckagethatlookasiftheymaybecausedbycannonfire.Andthenthereare
thenumerousclaimedeyewitnessstatementsoffightersinthearea.Allthisshouldhave
beendiscussedand,ifrejected,rejectedwithseriousargumentsandevidence.

Thereconstructionandthedamage

Wenowcometoananalysisofthereconstructedaircraft.Or-andthisisapointofgreat
significance-thepartlyreconstructedaircraft.DSBVgivesagoodviewofthe
reconstructionat22:44.Weseethatthecockpitandpartofthelowerforwardpassenger
sectionisallthathasbeenconstructed.Missingaretheportwingandportengine.Thisis
thekeytothelimitedhangout.

DSBT-55beginsalongsectiondetailingwhatpartswererecoveredandfromwherethey
wererecovered.Everythingisaccountedforexcept-animportantexception-missileparts
consistentwithanBuk9M38missile(DSBT-80).Nolocationisgivenforthemandthereis
nochainofcustodygiven.Arethesethepartsreportedtohavebeenfoundonlyaslateas
August2015?Wearemerelyinformedtheywerefound"inthewreckagearea".
PhotographsappearatDSBT-82.

AlongsectionanalysesthesoundsfromtheCockpitVoiceRecorderandestablishesa
sourceoutsidethetheupperportsideofthecockpit(DSBT-112)Thisisassumedtobethe
locationofthecentreoftheexplosion.Thislocationisverifiedbyanalysingtheholes
(DSBT-124).Allthisisperfectlyconvincing.

About75fragmentswerefoundinthehumanremains.Someofthesearearguedtohave
comefromoutsidethroughtheaircraftskinsomephotosatDSBT-89.Twoofthese
(three?)areclaimedtobe"bow-tie"shaped(DSBT-92).Thesetwo-orisitthreeorfour?-
"bow-tie"shapedfragmentsareconclusiveasfarastheDSBisconcerned:theirassertion
thatitwasaBukwarheadtype9N314Mcompletelydependsonthesetwoorthreeorfour
fragments.JohnHelmerhasarguedthatthereisasuspiciousamountofsecrecyand
nationalsecurityaboutthesevitalpieces.

ThisisapointofcontentionwithAlmaz-Antey'sreportswhichmaintainthattheBukused
didnothavea"bow-tie"warhead.AA2,whichusedastatictestofaBukwith"bow-tie"
(Almaz-Anteycallsthem"I-beam")shapedparticlesinitswarhead,arguesthatthe
resultingdestructionpatternshowsbow-tie/I-beamshapedholes(AA2-27)(whichDSBT
doesnot)andmanymorebow-tie/I-beamfragments-therearemorethan2000inthat
particularwarheaddesign-inthewreckagethantwoorfour.FromthisAlmaz-Antey
concludesthatthewarheadusedwasnotthe9N314M(whichhasbow-ties/I-beams)but
theB9N314whichdoesnot.TheirpointisthatthisisthetypeofBukinUkrainianservice
butnolongerinRussianservice.

Launchpointofthemissile.

DSBT-144givestheestimatedlaunchpointfortheBuk.Itchoosesaratherlargeareato
theeastofTorezmore-or-lessinfrontofMH17.Inthatareaisasmalleroneitclaimsto
havebeenprovidedbyAlmaz-AnteyandastillsmalleroneprovidedbytheKievauthorities.
Thereforeamissilefiredfromanyofthesepositionswouldhavebeenapproximatelyhead-
ontoMH17(fromdirectlyhead-ontoabout30).ThisisonethingtowhichIwillreturn,butI
mustsayIdonotunderstandwhattheDSBistalkingaboutwhenitincludesanAlmaz-
Anteyestimateofthelaunchpointinthisarea:neitherAlmaz-Anteypresentationgivesan
origininthatarea.Aswesawabove,Almaz-Anteygivesanestimatedfiringpointthatwould
placethemissilelaunchpointmuchmoretotherightofMH17-atroughly60fromits
course.Whichbringsusbacktothekeypoint:ignoringthedamagetotheportwingand
portengineallowstheDSBtomakethemissiletrackmoretothefrontofMH17'scourse.
Suchanoriginisimpossibleifthedamagetothewingandenginearetakenintoaccount.
TheDSBreportelidestheissuealtogetherbutdoesprovidean"out"byshowingaphotoof
theenginedamage.

Conclusion

Thereareanumberofquestionsthatcanberaisedaboutthereport:thelackofprimary
radardatafromUkraineandNATOisjustnotbelievableandtheauthorsshouldnothave
blandlyacceptedit:therewereUkrainianfightersintheairandnooneshouldpossibly
believethatNATOassetsweren'twatchingthearea.

ThereportairilyignorestheRussianMoDclaimofafighterplanenearMH17(although
leavesitselfanoutbysayingtheUkrainiandatashowednothing).

The"flightroutequestion"iscompletelyunaddressed.

Toomuchhangsontheverysmallnumberofbow-tie/I-beampieces.

Bythemainthingisthat,becauseithasignoredthedamagetotheportwingandport
engine(althoughleavingaphotoofthelatterinthereportsoastoprovideanout),itisable
toshifttheapproachlineofthemissileawayfromKiev-heldterritorytothesouthofMH17's
routetorebel-heldterritoryinthesouth-east.

Sowhathappened?

IagreethatwewillprobablynotknowuntiltheregimeinKievcollapsesorsomeEdward
Snowdenrevealssomething.(Although,asitnowappearsthattheKievregimeisactually
questioningtheofficial"heavenlyhundred"sniperstory,discussedherebyGordonHahn,
whocansaywhat'snext?).

Iwouldsuggestthefollowingpossibilities.
TheKievforcesdeployedBuksbecausetheyhadconvincedthemselvesthatRussian
aircraftwereshootingtheiraircraftdown(DSBT-183).

-TheythoughttheyhadatargetandfiredandhitMH17byaccident,

-Or,whilepractisingtheyshotitdownbyaccident.

-(ItshouldberecalledthatUkrainianairdefenceforcesshotdownapassengeraircraft
in2001andliedaboutituntiltheycouldlienomore.)

ItwasshotdownonpurposesoastocreateanatrocitythatcouldbeblamedonRussia.

-ByorderoftheKievgovernment,

-Or,bysomeentitynotunderKiev'scontrol,

-Perhaps,eitherway,bysuggestionofsomeagencyintheUSA

ItshouldberecalledthattheUSAin1962didseriouslyentertainaschemetoshoot
downapassengerplaneandblameitonCastro.("Itispossibletocreateanincidentwhich
willdemonstrateconvincinglythataCubanaircrafthasattackedandshotdownachartered
civilairliner..."Admittedly,theplancalledfornopassengerstobekilled).

Themediadogisnolongerbarking

Iwoulddrawthereader'sattentiontothemediacoverage.Amediacampaignblamingthe
rebelsandRussiabeganalmostimmediatelyafterthecrashontheotherhand,themedia
hasbeenverysilentabouttheDSBreport.TheDailyMailcanserveasanexampleofboth:
"Anythingtoconfess,Putin?Russianpresidentinchurchasworldleaderswarnhimyou
can't'washyourhands'ofMH17disaster"18July2014("Amidgrowingevidencethatthe
flightwashitbyasophisticatedsurface-to-airmissile,launchedfromareascontrolledby
pro-RussianrebelsintheseparatisteasternregionsofUkraine,fingershaveincreasingly
beenpointedatRussianpresidentVladimirPutin,whodeniesinvolvement.")and"Russian
missilekilledpilotsandcutjetinhalfbutpassengerscouldhavebeenconsciousforuptoa
minuteasplaneplunged,revealsofficialreportintoMH17downedoverUkraine"17October
2015(ratherneutralcoveragefullof"hesaid,shesaid").Andthestoryseemstohave
disappeared.Acynicmightbeexcusedforwonderingifsomecentralagencyputsoutthe
storyline.Ifindthissuggestive.

Towatch

AsforfurtherdevelopmentsIrecommendAlexanderMercouris'pieceonRI-thereare
somelegalcasescomingupthatmayproveinteresting.IalsorecommendJohnHelmer's
writingsonthesubjectathisblogDanceswithBears.Thestoryappearstobeunravelling
inseveralplacesatonce.Healsogoesintomoredetailsonthetinynumberofbow-tie/I-
beamsonwhichtheDSBhangssomuchofitscase.

Staytuned,theremaybemoretocome.


[returntoContents]

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MatthewDalSantohawkshisproductenergeticallyinAustralia.It'ssubtextisalwaystharRussiaismoresinnedagainstthan
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Subject:2015#254Johnson'sRussiaListTheBestof2015

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Johnson'sRussiaList
2015-#254
31December2015
davidjohnson@starpower.net
AprojectsponsoredthroughtheInstituteforEuropean,Russian,andEurasianStudies(IERES)atThe
GeorgeWashingtonUniversity'sElliottSchoolofInternationalAffairs*
www.ieres.org
JRLhomepage:www.russialist.org
ConstantContactJRLarchive:
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs053/1102820649387/archive/1102911694293.html
JRLonFacebook:www.facebook.com/russialist
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*SupportforJRLisprovidedinpartbyagrantfromCarnegieCorporationofNewYorkandtheOpenSociety
FoundationstotheGeorgeWashingtonUniversityandbyvoluntarycontributionsfromreaders.Thecontents
donotnecessarilyrepresenttheviewsofIERESortheGeorgeWashingtonUniversity.

"Wedon'tseethingsastheyare,butasweare"

"Don'tbelieveeverythingyouthink"

Youseewhatyouexpecttosee

DJ:Ijustdecidedtodothisyesterday.Astherehavebeenmorethan10,000
itemsinJRLin2015thisisatbestaverycursorysurvey.Manyverygood
piecesareleftout.Themaincriteriaisthattheauthorsaretryingtohelpus
understand.Ararercommoditythanitshouldbe.AsIhavesaidbeforethe
mostimportantthingstopayattentiontoarethemajorstatementsofRussian
leaders.Therestofthearticlesarenotinanyparticularorder.

Inthisissue
THEBESTOF2015
1.Putin.
2.Medvedev.
3.Lavrov.
4.RussiaDirect:TheUkrainecrisishasbecomemoredangerousthanjustanewCold
War.RDExclusive:RussiaDirectsatdownwitheminentRussiascholarRichardSakwaof
theUniversityofKenttodiscusshisnewbookFrontlineUkraine:CrisisintheBorderlands
andtoanalyzethegeopoliticalchallengesaheadin2015.
5.MoscowTimes:FyodorLukyanov,PutinWantsPeacefulCoexistenceWiththeWest.
6.CarnegieCouncilforEthicsinInternationalAffairs:TheUnitedStates,Russia,and
Ukraine:ReportfromMoscow.InterviewwithDmitriTrenin.
7.RussiaDirect:LegvoldandTrenin:HowtofixtheUS-Russianrelationship.Atarecent
symposiumhostedbyTuftsUniversity,twoleadingRussiaexperts-RobertLegvoldand
DmitriTrenin-discussedthefutureoftheU.S.-Russiarelationshipandwhatitwilltaketo
solvetheUkrainiancrisis.
8.Irrussianality:PaulRobinson,THENEEDFORSTRATEGICEMPATHY.
9.KarenHewitt:WhatisgoingoninRussia?TheviewsandvaluesofordinaryRussians.
10.RussiaInsider:AlexanderMercouris,MyFirst-HandAccountofaProvincialRussian
City(It'sBustling!).TravellingalongtheTransSiberianRailwayfromMoscowtoPerm
revealsabustlingmoderncity-totallydifferentfromthedarkprovincialRussiaofwestern
fancy.
11.TheNationalInterest:NicolaiPetro,Russia'sMoralFrameworkandWhyItMatters.A
lookintoRussia'smoralframeworkandtherelationshipithaswithreligionandstatevalues
couldhelpusbetterunderstandwhatmakesMoscowtick.
12.http://gordonhahn.com:GordonHahn,Putin:ARussianNeo-Traditionalist,Nota
WesternConservative.
13.Forbes.com:MarkAdomanis,Russia'sEconomy:NotJustNaturalResources.
14.ChristianScienceMonitor:FredWeir,SpurredbyWesterncriticism,Russians
experiencesomethingnew:patriotism.Inthepast,Russiawasanempire,thena
communistcolossus,thena'defeated'powerexpectedtoadoptWesternways.Butcurrent
tensionswiththeWestarefosteringwhatmaybethebirthofadistinctRussian
nationalism.
15.http://warontherocks.com:MichaelKofman,TheSevenDeadlySinsofRussiaAnalysis.
16.TheNationalInterest:MatthewDalSanto,Putin'sPopularity,Explained.
17.FinancialTimes:ThomasGraham,Europe'sproblemiswithRussia,notPutin.Moscow
isnotarisingrevolutionaryforcebutoneseekingtorestorepower.
18.TheIndependent(UK):MaryDejevsky,Onceagain,theWestfailstounderstand
Russia.Westernleadersarestayingawayfromthisyear'sVictoryDay,whichmournsthe
lossof20millionRussianswhodiedtodefeatNaziGermany.
19.RussiaInsider:Shellback,TwoCenturiesofRussianSurprises--WhyAreWe
Surprised?UnderestimatingRussiawillsurpriseyou.
20.Counterpunch.org:HalynaMokrushyna,PerpetratorsHonoringTheirVictims,orAn
IncomprehensibleLogicConcerningDonbas"Terrorists"
21.FairObserver:OlenaLennonandBrianMilakovsky,IsEurope'sBufferZoneinUkraine
KeepingitSafe?
22.www.rt.com""KievgovtresistsonlysolutiontoUkrainecrisis-fullautonomyof
Donbass."(interviewwithAnatolLieven)
23.RossiiskayaGazeta:SergeyKaraganov,BiddingFarewelltotheCivilWar.Anationthat
hasnotburieditsperishedfellowcitizenscannotrespectitselfandmoveforward.
24.SarahLindemann-Komarova:RunningforOfficeinSiberia:Andthewinneris...Lastina
seriescoveringtheDistrict#35NovosibirskCityCouncilelection.
25.www.belgraviadispatch.com:GregoryDjerejian,REALISTICAPPRAISALOFRUSSIA'S
POLICYISN'TTANTAMOUNTTOAPUTINAPOLOGIA.
26.TheUnzReview:AnatolyKarlin,RussiaandtheDepressionThatWasn't.
27.ValdaiDiscussionClub:DavidLane,IstheRussianFederationaThreattothe
InternationalOrder?
28.RussiaBeyondtheHeadlines:BryanMacDonald,Russiaavoidsrevolutionagain.
NaysayersarekeentopredictRussia'sdemise,butdespiteadifficultyearpoliticallyand
economically,thecountryhasfailedtofallapart.
29.MoscowTimes:MarkGaleotti,WestHasLosttheRighttoLecturePutin.
30.Journalitico:DanielleRyan,TheProblemWithPropaganda.

#1
Putin

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/press_conferences/49261
DirectLinewithVladimirPutin
DirectLinewithVladimirPutinwasbroadcastliveonChannelOne,Rossiya-1andRossiya-
24TVchannels,andMayak,VestiFMandRadioRossiiradiostations.
April16,2015

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50380
InterviewtoAmericanTVchannelCBSandPBS
VladimirPutingaveaninterviewtoAmericanjournalistCharlieRoseintherun-uptohis
addressattheUNGeneralAssembly's70thsession.
September29,2015

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50548
MeetingoftheValdaiInternationalDiscussionClub
VladimirPutintookpartinthefinalplenarysessionofthe12thannualmeetingoftheValdai
InternationalDiscussionClub.
October22,2015

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/messages/50864
PresidentialAddresstotheFederalAssembly
VladimirPutindeliveredtheAnnualPresidentialAddresstotheFederalAssembly.The
AddresswastraditionallydeliveredattheKremlin'sStGeorgeHallbeforeanaudienceof
morethan1,000people.
December3,2015
http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50971
VladimirPutin'sannualnewsconference
ThePresident'snewsconferencewasbroadcastlivebyRossiya-1,Rossiya-24and
ChannelOne,aswellasMayak,VestiFMandRadioRossiiradiostations.
December17,2015

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#2
Medvedev

http://government.ru/en/news/16508/
The6thGaidarForum
14January201512:30RANEPA,Moscow
TheGaidarForumisaninstitutionalplatformfordiscussingthekeychallengesfacingthe
worldtoday.Thecentralthemeofthe2015forumisRussiaandtheWorld:New
Dimensions.
http://government.ru/en/news/17768/
Governmentreportonitsperformancein2014
21April201512:00TheStateDumaoftheRussianFederation,Moscow
"TheGovernmentoftheRussianFederation(...)shallsubmittotheStateDumaannual
reportsontheGovernment'sperformance,includingonissuesformulatedbytheState
Duma."(ConstitutionoftheRussianFederation,Article114,Clause1,Subclause"a")

http://government.ru/en/news/18220/
DmitryMedvedev'sinterviewwithRossiya1TVnetwork
23May201512:30Moscowregion
PrimeMinistergaveaninterviewtoSergeiBrilev'sprogrammeVestivSubbotu.

http://government.ru/en/news/19772/
Thenewreality:Russiaandglobalchallenges
23September201520:00
ArticlebyDmitryMedvedev.

http://government.ru/en/news/20488/
DmitryMedvedevisinterviewedbyRossiiskayaGazetaonthepaper's25thanniversary
11November201500:00
DmitryMedvedevhaspresentedanHonoraryCertificateoftheRussianGovernmentand
respondedtoquestionsfromRGGeneralDirectorPavelNegoitsa,Editor-in-ChiefVladislav
FroninandcorrespondentVladimirKuzmin.

http://government.ru/en/news/20945/
InConversationwithDmitryMedvedev:Interviewwithfivetelevisionchannels
9December201512:00Moscow
PrimeMinisteransweredquestionsfromTVanchorsIradaZeinalova(ChannelOne),Sergei
Brilyov(Rossiya),KirillPozdnyakov(NTV),YelizavetaOsetinskaya(RBCTV)andMikhail
Fishman(TVRain).

[returntoContents]

#3
Lavrov

http://www.mid.ru/en/web/guest/foreign_policy/news/-
/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/1475621
3June2015
RussianForeignMinisterSergeiLavrov'sExclusiveInterviewwithBloombergTelevision's
RyanChilcote,Moscow,June2,2015

[returntoContents]

#4
RussiaDirect
January5,2015
TheUkrainecrisishasbecomemoredangerousthanjustanewColdWar
RDExclusive:RussiaDirectsatdownwitheminentRussiascholarRichardSakwaofthe
UniversityofKenttodiscusshisnewbookFrontlineUkraine:CrisisintheBorderlandsand
toanalyzethegeopoliticalchallengesaheadin2015.
ByPavelKoshkin

WithnoendinsightfortheUkrainiancrisisin2015,leadingacademicsarebeginningto
offertheirinsightsonhowtoaddressthisgeopoliticalstandoff.AmongthemisRichard
Sakwa,professorofRussianandEuropeanpoliticsattheUniversityofKent.Hisnewbook
FrontlineUkraine:CrisisintheBorderlandsprovidesanexplanationoftheoriginsofthe
crisisinUkraineandtracksdownthecircumstancesthatprovokedtheintense
confrontationbetweenRussiaandtheWest,whichhasbeendescribedbysomeexperts
asanewColdWar.

"TheasymmetricalendoftheColdWareffectivelyshutRussiaoutfromtheEuropean
alliancesystem,"Sakwasaid."Thefailuretoestablishagenuinelyinclusiveandequal
EuropeansecuritysystemimbuedEuropeaninternationalpoliticswithpowerfulstress
points,whichin2014producedtheinternationalearthquakethatwecalltheUkrainecrisis."

Heseesthiscrisisas"theworstinternationalcrisisinEuropesincetheendoftheCold
War."AsSakwaseesit,thecurrentcrisishascalledintoquestiontheideaofaGreater
Europe,orawayofbringingtogetherallendsoftheEuropeancontinentintoanewgrouping
thatSovietPresidentMikhailGorbachevoncecalledtheCommonEuropeanHome.
AccordingtoSakwa,thecrisisisamajorchallengetoamultipolarandpluralisticconceptof
Europe.

RussiaDirectconductedaSkypeinterviewwithSakwatofindoutaboutthemajorideasof
hisbookandhowtheycanbeappliedtominimizethecurrenttensionsinrelationsbetween
Russia,Europeand-morebroadly-withtheWest.Inaddition,Sakwatalkedaboutthe
U.S.-Russiageopoliticalface-off,thecurrenteconomiccrisisinRussiaanditsimplications
fortherestoftheworld.

RussiaDirect:Yousaythatyournewbookis"anattempttoexplainhowEuropegotintothis
mess."So,howdidBrusselsandMoscowgetintothismess?

RichardSakwa:Thereareseverallevelstothis,andthefirstlevelistheoverallgeopolitical
one,thefailureoftheEuropeanUniontoachievewhatmanypeoplenowadayscallthe
GreaterEuropeanvisionofunitingthecontinentaftertheendoftheColdWar.Andthereis
thefailureofallsidesthatIcalltheasymmetricalendoftheColdWar.Thetwocame
togethertocreatethecrisis.

Andso,insteadofaGreaterEuropeanvisionthatisbuiltonGorbachev'sideaofaCommon
EuropeanHome,wehadanextensionofwhatIcalltheWiderEuropeanagenda,a
Brussels-centricviewoftheworld,accordingtowhichtheEuropeanUnionisthemainform
ofEuropeanunity.And,ofcourse,thisbydefinitionexcludesRussia.So,therewasan
exclusivedynamic.AndthefinalelementofthatisthatEuropeitselfbecamemoredeeply
embeddedinwhatIcallthe"newAtlanticism"-theeffectivemergeroftheEuropeanUnion
withNATO[andtheU.S.]Andthisisawholenewconstellationofpowerthatsystematically
excludesRussia.

Therewasanotherlevel:theinternalcrisisinUkraine.WehadtwovisionsofUkrainian
statehoodthathavebeencontested.Basically,thestrugglehasbeenbetweenthemonist
vision-thatis,anUkrainianizingversion-andamorepluralisticvision.Andtoday'sbattleis
notoverindividualforcesbutthestruggleoverwhowilldecidewhatitmeanstobe
Ukrainian.So,thesetwocrisescametogetherwithdevastatingconsequences.

ThemonistvisionappealstothetraditionofUkrainianstatehoodthatstressesseparation
fromothereastSlaviccountries,aboveallRussiaandBelarus.ItstressesUkraine's
distinctivedevelopment.Onthehand,thepluralisttraditiondrawsontheideaof
MalorussianismtosuggestthatUkraineisamulticivilizationalcommunityofdifferent
nations,althoughallcanbeequallyloyaltotheideaofanindependentsovereignstate.

RD:TowhatextentdotheseideashelptofindtherootsofthecurrentcrisisinUkraineand
understandit?

R.S.:WeneedtoadoptamorepluralisticvisioninunderstandingtheinternalUkrainian
issues,butalsoamorepluralisticvisionofEuropeaswell.WhatIamsayinginthebook
contradictsthosewhoseeAtlanticismandNATOenlargementastheonlygameintown.I
amsayingthattherearemoreoptionsavailable,abovealltheideaofamultipolarand
pluralistEurope.

Thiswouldhelptranscendthenegativelogicof"Russiavs.theWest"andoffertheideaofa
morepluralisticEurope.YoucanbegintomovetowhatIwouldargueforistheneedofa
Helsinki2Meeting,apeaceconferencedidn'ttakeplaceattheendoftheColdWar.This
wouldbeameetingofequalswithinUkraineandEuropewithequallydifferentviews-
Russia,Hungary,Turkey,Ukraine-aboutthechallengesfacingthecontinent.

RD:Onecouldarguethatmultipolarityisasortofbuzzword,usedbytheKremlininits
publicitycampaigntoaccountforitsrecentforeignpolicyinitiativestounderminetheUnited
States'globalinfluenceandpoliticalheft.Infact,itcanbeseenasatoolofRussia's
propagandatojustifyitscontroversialpolicyinUkraine.

R.S.:Ofcourse,multipolarityisusedinstrumentallybysomeRussiansonsome
occasions.Butthedebatetodayisn'tsomuchaboutsubstantiveissues,it'saboutwhohas
therighttohavedifferentviews.Thereisnotsomuchageopoliticaldebate:Discussions
todayareaboveall"geoideological,"atypeofcontestationinwhicheverybodytriestode-
legitimatetheviewsofothers-nottodefeatthemintermsoflogic(asitwere),buttode-
legitimatetheveryexistenceofanalternativeview.Thatisafundamentaldangerthatthe
worldfaces.Inanutshell,itishegemonismvs.apluralistreality.

RD:Yes,butagainthewaragainsthegemonismisusedbytheKremlintopointfingersat
Washingtonandblameitspolicy,whileU.S.attemptstoexertitsinfluencecanbejustseen
asanattempttomaintainitsleadershipthatitachievedthankstoitseconomicand
geopoliticalclout.

R.S.:Leadershipisacodeword.Otherswouldcallithegemony.And,ofcourse,theUnited
Statestriestomaintainitshegemonyintheformofaclaimtoworldleadership.Ontheone
side,theUnitedStatesconsidersitsleadershipasaguaranteeofarangeofliberal
universalpublicgoods.

ButthereisanothersideoftheU.S.hegemonywhichisfardarker,farmoreimperialistic.
ThereisaconstantbattlegoingonwithintheUnitedStatesbetweenitsliberaluniversalism
andmilitaristichegemonism.MyfinalpointisthattheworldischangingandtheU.S.hasto
learntoshareleadershipwithothers.Andthisisthebiggestchallengeforit.

RD:Doyouagreethatnowwearewitnessinganew(full-fledged)ColdWarbetween
RussiaandtheWest,orisitjustacyclicalconfrontation,provokedbytheCrimeatussle?

R.S.:ItisnotaColdWar,butisnotcyclicaleitheritismoresubstantivethanjustnormal
upsanddowns,farmoresubstantive,thisisthemomentoftruth.So,weareintoanewball
gameentirelyreflectingsomefundamentaleconomicandpoliticalshiftsinworldpower.
However,Iwouldn'tcallthisa"ColdWar"becausetheterm"ColdWar"focusesattentionon
thepast,whereastoday'sconflictissomethingfundamentallynew.

RD:So,howshouldwecallit?

R.S.:Youcancallitanintensificationofthecoldpeacehowever,Iamaverseaboutthe
term"ColdWar"becauseifyouusethetermmeansthatyoulosetheintellectualspecificity
ofthepresentsituation,theconstructionalframeworkofwhatmakesthisconflictepochal.
Thistermismisleading.Again,weareintoanewballgame.Whatisthenewballgame
called?Idon'tknow,butIamworkingonit.

RD:Previously,youmentionedtwooriginsoftheUkrainiancrisis-geopolitical(thefailureof
theGreaterEuropeproject,NATOexpansion)andinternalones(thefailureofagreementon
thenatureofUkrainianstatehood).Givenallthis,whatshouldwedotominimizethe
implicationsofthecrisisinUkraine?

R.S.:Everybodyhastomakecompromises.Ontheoneside,Russiahastomake
unequivocalcommitmenttoUkrainianintegritywithoutCrimea.Ofcourse,thereshouldbe
compromisesfromtheWesternsideaswell.However,atthemoment,thereisno
intellectualframeworkintheWesttounderstandwhatisgoingoninRussia'sforeignpolicy
and,morebroadly,tothestructureofinternationalpower.Thepointisthatifthecrisishad
notbeenprovokedbythesituationinUkraine,thennodoubtsomethingelsewouldhave
actedasthecatalyst.AswesawbeforetheSochiOlympics,therewasanextraordinarily
tenseenvironmentforatleasttwoyearsbeforeEuromaidanandCrimea'sannexation.

AndAtlanticistsareinstrumentallyusingthiscrisisthisnow.Ithastobeaverypatient
intellectualworkexplainingthatthesituationismorecomplexthantheAtlanticists-
includingneo-consinLithuania,UK,theU.S.andelsewhere-wouldpresentit.Itisavery
dangerousconstellationofpowerdominatingatthemomentinWesternthinking,andthere
isadisturbingabsenceofcritique-thelackofintellectualchallenge.

RD:GiventheRepublicans'dominationintheU.S.Congress,theirhawkishattitudetothe
KremlinandPutin'shawkishintransigence,willMoscowandWashingtonbeabletofind
commonground?

R.S.:Idon'tthinkthingsaregoingtobebetterforthenextfewyears.Itisacomplete
stalemate.Ontheonehand,themajorgoalistounderstandthedynamicsofthestandoff.
Andbyunderstandingthedynamics,youcandevelopalternatives.WithRussia'srelations
withtheUnitedStatesgoingtobebadformanyyears,theEuropeanUnionandsome
leadingEuropeanstatescouldactasintermediariestobegintode-escalatethecurrent
conflict.

RD:Previously,GermanyhasbeenasortoftheintermediarystatethatcouldhelpRussia
andtheWestfindcommonground.Butnow,Berlinseemstohavebeendisappointedby
Russia'sreluctancetocomeupwithacompromise,asindicatedbyarecentinterviewof
GermanyChancellorAngelaMerkel.So,whowillhelptheKremlininthiscase,ifevenits
traditionalandreliablepartnersseemtobegivingup?

R.S.:IthinkthatGermanyisstillabletoactasaninterlocutorinageopoliticalsenseto
regulatetheUkrainiancrisis.However,GermanyunderMerkelhastotakebigdecisions:
NowitismoreimportantforBerlintomaintainitsallianceandallegianceswithintheAtlantic
community,toensuretheconsolidationofitsinfluencewithintheEuropeanUnion.

ThespecialrelationsbetweenRussiaandGermanyforthetimebeingareover,but
GermanyisstillanimportantactorinregulatingboththeUkrainianandthebroader
Europeancrisis.Yet,itdoesn'tmeanthattodayRussiahasalmostnoonetoworkwith
withintheEuropeanUnion.

RD:WhataboutFrance?Doesithavethepotentialtobeaninterlocutorbetweenthe
KremlinandtheWest,giventheDecembervisitofFrenchPresidentFrancoisHollandeto
MoscowtofindcommontheUkrainiancrisis?

R.S.:Previously,FranceinvitedRussianPresidentVladimirPutinandhisUkrainian
counterpartPetroPoroshenkotoNormandyinJune,whichwasquiteuseful.So,thereis
thepotentialforFrance.Butontheotherhand,PresidentHollande'spositionis
exceptionallyweakinternally.So,hewon'tbeabletodomuch.

RD:So,whatotherEuropeancountriescanbeseenasintermediariesinthiscase?

R.S.:Equally,Italycouldbealsoagoodpartner,withstrongeconomiclinkstoRussiaand
anindependentpositioninEuropeanpolitics.Therearefewcountriesthatmaybeableto
findawayoutfromtheimmediateconflictand,mostimportantly,animmediatesolutionof
theUkrainiancrisis,becauseitisapermanentsourceofcrisisintheEuropeanbodypolitic.

TherearenoothercountriesthatcaneffectivelyacttoregulatetheEuropeancrisisindeed,
theUK,LithuaniaandothershavebeenabletoturntheEuropeanUnionfromapeace
projecttoonethatcontinuestheColdWarbyothermeans.

RD:HowdoyouseeResolution758adoptedbyU.S.HouseofRepresentativesandthe
UkraineFreedomSupportAct,bothaimedatcondemningRussiaforitspolicyinUkraine?
DoyouagreethatthesedocumentscouldfuelfurtherU.S.-Russiaconfrontationandleadto
awar,assomepredict?

R.S.:Oneandtheotherresolutionobviouslyonlyexacerbatethesituation.Theyreflecta
verynarrowvisionoftheworld.Thesedocumentsarenothelpfulatall.Theyarebasically
declarationswhichcouldleadtorenewalofconflictinUkraine.Weareinasituationof
extraordinarydangerforhumanityweareinapre-warsituationnowandweneedtofind
argumentsforpoliticianstocalmthemdown.Theseresolutionsmightbringusclosertothe
abyss.Weshouldn'tunderestimatethedangerthathumanityfindsitselfin.

RD:DoyouagreethatRussia'scurrenteconomicturbulence(fallingruble,shrinkingGDP,
gloomyforecastsfor2015)istheresultoftheWestern-ledsanctionsand"thepricefor
Crimea,"astheKremlin'spoliticalopponentsargue?

R.S.:Absolutely.Russia'sweakeconomybecomesweakeraftersanctions:Ithasbeen
punishedforitsactionsandthetensionsofalargergeopoliticalandEuropeansituation.

RD:Ifafull-fledgedcrisishitsRussiain2015-2016,willRussia'scurrentpoliticalregime
survive?

R.S.:Thecrisiscouldgetfarworse.Nevertheless,theregimehasenormouspopular
support,asindicatedfrompublicopinionpolls.Butthissupportisbuiltondeliveringpublic
goods-security,risingstandardsoflivingandsoon.Theregimewillsurvive,althoughit
maybeforcedtochangesomeofitscharacteristics.Thesystemisverycomplex,with
manydarksidesaswellaspositivesaspects.ThedangeristhatMoscowwilloverreact
andprovokeachainreaction.Inthissituation,Russiashouldadoptacalmpositionand
reactwithoutexcesses.

RD:SomearguethattheeconomicandpoliticalcrisisinRussiamightbackfireandhave
negativeimplicationsfortherestoftheworld.Isitreallythecase?

R.S.:Itcould.EventhoughRussiaisnottheworld'sbiggesteconomy,itisoneofthe
biggest:Itrepresents4percentoftheworld'sGDPandwasthe8thlargesteconomyinthe
world(beforetherublecollapse).In1997,eventherelativelysmalleconomyofThailand
wasenoughtocauseaneconomicmeltdowninSoutheastAsiaand,then,aglobalcrisis
soamajoreconomiccrisisinRussiacouldhaveadevastatingeffectontheEuropeanand
worldeconomy,whiledestabilizingworldeconomicandglobalgovernance.

[returntoContents]

#5
MoscowTimes
April20,2015
PutinWantsPeacefulCoexistenceWiththeWest
ByFyodorLukyanov
FyodorLukyanoviseditorofRussiainGlobalAffairs.

Thelatestlivecall-inshowinwhichPresidentVladimirPutinansweredquestionsfrom
ordinaryRussiansdidnothaveanysensationalhighpoints,butitwasanimportant
indicatoroftheleader'smood.

Putinrepeatedallofhisstandardphrasesandideas,butwithoutthepassionandtension
seeninmanyofhispublicappearancesinrecentyears.Hiscommentsrevealednodesire
foranescalationofthecurrentconflict.Ifanything,theyconveyedacertaincalmfatalism,
thoughnothopelessness.

Putinconcededthat,yes,acertainsituationhadarisenduetosanctionsandworsening
relationswiththeWest,butthatRussiamustlookfornewopportunitiesandusethecurrent
circumstancestoitsadvantage.

Putinalmostcompletelyrefrainedfromhisusualaccusationsandrecriminationsagainst
theUnitedStates,notbecausehehadachangeofheart,butbecausehispositionisso
clearthatitrequiresnofurtherexplanationorrepetition.Andjudgingfromthecomments
fromviewersthatappearedinacontinuousrollingtextonthescreen,nobodyneededany
convincingwithregardtotheUnitedStates.

AtypicalexchangeconcernedthefateoftheMistralwarships.Putinsaidthatthefaileddeal
wasnotaproblem,thatRussiadidnotreallyneedtheshipsanywayandhadonlyordered
themtostrengthenrelationswithFrance.HeaddedthatRussiadoesnotneedFranceto
payapenaltyforbreachofcontract,thatParisshouldsimplyreturnthemoneyMoscowhas
alreadypaidfortheships.

AmoreinterestingmomentcamewithaquestionaboutrecentattemptstoequateStalinism
withNazism.Putininitiallygaveatraditionalexplanationofwhy"theuglynatureoftheStalin
regime"wasincomparabletothecrimesoftheNazis.

Andthenhemadethisunexpectedremark:"Intruth,we,orratherourpredecessors,gave
causeforthis.Why?BecauseafterWorldWarII,wetriedtoimposeourowndevelopment
modelonmanyEasternEuropeancountries,andwedidsobyforce.Thishastobe
admitted.Thereisnothinggoodaboutthisandwearefeelingtheconsequencesnow.
Incidentally,thisismoreorlesswhattheAmericansaredoingtoday,astheytrytoimpose
theirmodelonpracticallytheentireworld,andtheywillfailaswell."

Thatputaninterestingtwistonthegovernment'smassivecampaigntoforbidany
denigrationofthepast-inotherwords,toprohibitcastingdoubtontheactionsoftheSoviet
Union.ItwouldnormallybeunacceptabletocomparethepastactionsoftheSovietUnion
withwhattheUnitedStatesisdoingtoday,butthatisexactlywhatPutindid.

Anditsendsawake-upcalltothosewhohadbeenhopingtobuildRussia'sfutureoutofits
Sovietpast.
Andalthoughtheshowlackedanyremarkablehighlights,itofferedplentyoffoodforthought
andmarkedaconclusionofaperiodpackedwithemotionsandevents.Fortheauthorities
tomaintainthestronganti-Westernsentimenttheyhavemanufactured,theymustnowtake
theconflicttothenextlevel,andthatisdangerousandextremelyexpensive.

Turningbackisimpossible.TheCrimeandecisionisirreversible,withoutputtingtheentire
politicalmodelatrisk.AnybacktrackingonsupportforeasternUkrainewouldleadto
seriouspoliticalrepercussionsathomeandwouldgenerallybeperceivedasacleardefeat
fortheKremlin.

MoscowcannotrestoreitsformerrelationswiththeWest.Regardlessofwhethersanctions
arelifted,thebasisforcooperationthatwasrootedinthebalanceofpowersofthe1990s
hasbeenlost.AndRussiahasnoanalogousrelationsleftwithotherpartners.Itsonly
choicenowistolookforsuchopportunitieselsewhere,withnoguaranteeitwillfindthem.

ThatiswhyMoscowprefersthestatusquothatdevelopedbetweenRussiaandtheWest
followingtheacutephaseofthewarinUkraine.Touseatermthatisonceagaininvogue,
Russiaisenteringintoa"frozenconflict"withEuropeandtheUnitedStatesthatnoneofthe
partieslike,butthattheyallprefertoopenconflict.

ItisnocoincidencethatPutindevotedagreatmanyofhiscommentstomacroeconomic
indicatorsinRussia.Heseemedtobepleasantlysurprisedthatthesituationisunder
control,andthatthingsareactuallyimprovinginsomeareas-especiallybecausethe
economicoutlookattheendoflastyearwasbleak,tosaytheleast.Thepresident
mentionedseveraltimesthatRussia'seconomyhadwithstoodtheheavyblowitreceived,
andheapparentlyconcludedthatitcouldthereforecontinueoninitscurrentconditionfor
quitesometime.

TheKremlindoesnotwanttoprovoketheWestintoapplyinggreaterpressure,butitwill
refrainfromdoinganythingtoreducethecurrentpressure.Thatisafatalisticapproachthat
essentiallysays:"Whateverwillhappen,willhappen,buttheworstisbehindus."

IntheColdWarterminologythatisagaingainingcurrency,theconfrontationismovingintoa
phaseof"peacefulcoexistence."Thatisnotarapprochement,butrecognitionofthefact
thatneithersidecanfullygaintheupperhand.Andthatmeansbothmustcooperate
whereverpossibletominimizetherisks,evenifthatinteractionislimitedtocertain,specific
areas.

Ratchetingdowntheconflictdoesnotnecessarilymeanthatthetwosideswanttoendit,
butratherthatittheywanttocontainitwithinamanageableframework.Thisisespecially
importantnowbecausethenumberofprovocativeincidentsinvolvingwarshipsandmilitary
aircraftflyingwiththeirtranspondersoffhasincreasedmarkedlyinrecentmonths,
indicatingthatbothsideshavelargelyforgottenandmustquicklyrelearnthe"safety
measures"thatwereinplaceduringthefirstColdWar.

Thehistoryofthesecondhalfofthe20thcenturysuggeststhat,inevitably,relations
alternately"warm"and"cool"inaglobal"frozenconflict.""Peacefulcoexistence"always
followsheatedconfrontationwheneveroneorbothsidesfeelsithasgatheredenough
strengthtogainalittleground.

Ontheotherhand,duringthatColdWar,abalanceofpowersexistedthatguaranteed
neithersidecouldachievecompletevictoryovertheother.Thatmechanismismissingnow,
butthereisa"largerworld,"aninternationalcommunitypursuingitsownambitionsand
copingwithitsownproblemsquiteindependentlyofRussia'sconfrontationwiththeWest.

Thatfactexertsamoderatinginfluenceonthecontendingsidesbecausetheinterestsof
that"largerworld"mightormightnotcoincidewiththeirs.Thatcounterbalancedidnotexist
duringthefirstColdWarbecauseglobalpoliticswerecompletelytiedupintheU.S.-Soviet
confrontation.

Thedownsideofthecurrentphaseof"peacefulcoexistence"isitslackofinnerreflection
anddebate.Duringthecall-inshow,PutincategoricallyrejectedtheveryideathatRussia's
policytowardUkrainehadfailed.Hismessagewasessentially:"Russiaisnottoblame.It
didwhatithadtodo."
Westernleaderstakeasimilarapproach,heapingalloftheblameonRussiaandclaiming
thattheyonlywantedthebestforUkraine.Apparentlythetwosideswillbeginformulatinga
newpolicyonlywhenthesituationintheworldbecomessobadthattheyfinallyunderstand
thatoldColdWar-eraapproachesareinadequatetothecurrentsituation.

China'srisinginfluence,thewideninghavocthattheIslamicStateiswreakingandthe
greaterpotentialforbothprogressanddestructionthatnewtechnologieshaveunleashed-
alongwithnumerousotherfactors-arehasteningtheadventofthatterribleday.

[returntoContents]

#6
CarnegieCouncilforEthicsinInternationalAffairs
www.carnegiecouncil.org
February27,2015
TheUnitedStates,Russia,andUkraine:ReportfromMoscow
InterviewwithDmitriTrenin

DAVIDSPEEDIE:I'mDavidSpeedie,directoroftheprogramonU.S.GlobalEngagement
hereattheCarnegieCouncil.It'saveryspecialpleasuretowelcometodaysomeonewho
hasbeenagoodandtrustedfriendfortwodecades,Iwouldthink,DmitriTrenin.

LetmejustbrieflysaythatDmitriTreninservedintheSovietandRussianarmedforcesfor
twodecades,from1972to1993.HethentaughtattheWarStudiesDepartmentofthe
MilitaryInstitutefrom1986to1993.HeretiredfromtheRussianarmyin1993andthenheld
apostasaseniorresearchfellowattheInstituteofEuropeinMoscow.In1993,hewas
alsoaseniorresearchfellowattheNATODefenseCollegeinRome.Then,ofcourse,he
joinedtheCarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace,wherehenowdirectstheCarnegie
MoscowCenter.

SowithDmitriTrenin,wehavetrulyaseasonedperspective,bothfromthepointofviewof
militarypolicyandintellectualanalysisofthedevelopmentsinRussiaatthemoment.

Dmitri,awarmwelcometotheCarnegieCouncil.

DMITRITRENIN:It'sagreatpleasuretobewithyouhereattheCouncil.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Wespokeafewmonthsago,Dmitri.Atthattimeyousaidsomethingthat
wasverystriking,andthatisthatwewouldlookbackontheperiodof1992to2014,barely
morethan20years,astheinter-ColdWarperiod.Iwouldassumethatnotmuchhas
happenedintheinterveningweeksandmonthstochangethatanalysis.

DMITRITRENIN:Unfortunately,IthinkwehavemoreevidencethatthisiswhatIthoughtit
wasandstillthink-aperiodbetweentwoconfrontationsbetweenMoscow,ontheonehand,
andtheUnitedStates,ontheotherhand.Ofcourse,youcannothavetheColdWarrepeat
itself,buttheconfrontationthatoneexperiencestodaycouldbeeverybitascoldand
potentiallycouldevenbemoredangerousthantheColdWarofthe1940sthroughthe
1980s.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Whathasbeenlostatthismomentintime,itseemstome,istheability
thathasbeenattimeshaltingandincomplete,buteven,startingtowardstheendofthe
ColdWar-theabilitytofindsomekindofaccommodationbetweenthetwosides,asitwere.
TheRussianspecialistRobertLegvoldspokerecentlyofthelossofwhathecalled"useful
ambiguityintherelationship."Instead,wearekindofinwhatmightbeseenastheColdWar
atitsheight,placingallblameforallthatiswrongintherelationshipontheotherside,rather
thanrecognizingshortcomingsonboth.

Isthatprettymuchontarget?

DMITRITRENIN:Ithinkit'safairanalysis.IthinkwhathaschangedisalsotheideathatI
thinkbothsidessharedverymuchattheendoftheColdWarthatnoonewasperfect,that
mistakesweremadebybothsides,thatbothsides,ifyoulike,lostthebenefitofajointly
foughtandjointlygainedvictoryintheSecondWorldWar,thattheystumbledintotheCold
Warthattheydidn'tneed,andthattheycouldonlygetoutofthatpredicamentthroughjoint
efforts,recognizingagainone'sownmistakes.
Ithinkwenowhaveasituationinwhicheachsidebelievesithasamonopolyontruth,a
monopolyonwhat'sright,andtheothersideisbasicallydoingthingsallwrong.Thatis
potentially,asIsaid,adangeroussituation.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Wearenothere,obviously,toassessblame.Itwouldbewrongtofallinto
thattrapofsayingthatonesideisallinthewrongandtheotherisintheright.However,
therearesomecommentatorsherewhofeelthattherehavebeenmeasurestakencertainly
inwhatyounowcalltheinter-ColdWarperiodthatweredesigned,ifnottohumiliate
Russia,atleasttogetthemessageacrossthattheColdWarisoverandwewon.There
areotherseriousthinkers,likeAmbassadorJackMatlock,forexample,whoservedunder
RonaldReagan,whobridleandareindignantatthatnotion.Hehaswrittenveryeloquently
astotheshortcomingsofthatview.

Ontheotherhand,PresidentPutinatonepointproposedanewpost-ColdWarsecurity
architecture.Ithink"fromLisbontoVladivostok"wasthesortofcatchphrasethere.Ithink
I'mrightinsayingthathe,andindeedYeltsinbeforehim,eveninquiredaboutNATO
membershipforRussiaandwerefairlysingularlyrebuffed.Putinhasbeenoneofthemost-
oneofthefavoritethingsattributedtoPutinishisdescriptionofthetragedyofthefallofthe
SovietUnion,buthealsosaysthattheSovietUnioncanneverbereconstructed.

What'sgoingoninthatwholeblame-gamescenariofromtheRussianpointofview?

DMITRITRENIN:Idon'tthinkoneshouldfocusverymuchontheapportionmentofblame.
Let'strytotakethesituationmoreorlessobjectively.

Russia,atthetimeofthedisintegrationoftheSovietUnion,wasintenselyinterestedin
beingdrawnintotheWesterncommunity.Therewasaveryclear,verybroadlysupported
notionthatRussiabelongedintheWest,thatRussiawasaEuropeancountrycoming
home.PresidentYeltsintalkedaboutNATOmembershipforRussia.Hisprimeminister
talkedaboutEUmembershipforRussia.PresidentYeltsinalsoaskedthen-president
GeorgeH.W.BushforabilateralU.S.-Russiamilitaryalliance.

SoRussiawasinterestedintwothings-actually,inonething:integratingitselfintothe
Westernsystem.ItalsowasreadytoacceptU.S.primacyinthatsystem,whichwas
extraordinary,ifyoulike,givenRussia'sattitudetoitssovereignty,independence,andstuff
likethat.

ButthiswasnotreallyappreciatedintheWest,intheUnitedStates,foravarietyof
reasons.Someofthesereasonsareprettyserious.Onewas,"Well,wedon'thavetodo
thatnow,becausewearenotpressedintoit."NATOdidnotcomeaboutassomeone's
intelligentdesign,butratherasaresponsetotheperceivedthreatofacommunisttakeover
inWesternEuropeandtheaggressivenessorwhateverofStalin'sSovietUnion.Thatwas
aresponse,ratherthanapolicythattheUnitedStateshadatthetimeoftheendoftheCold
War.

ThesituationwasabsolutelydissimilarattheendoftheColdWar.TheUnitedStateswas
notthreatenedbyanyone.Russia'sassistancewasnotneededinordertorepelthatthreat.

Secondly,Ithinkpeoplerealized,eventhoughnoteveryonetalkedaboutit,thatRussiamay
beweaktoday,RussiamayacceptU.S.primacyforthetimebeing,butlook20yearsdown
theroad.Russiawillbestronger.Itwillchallenge,onewayoranother,U.S.leadership.If
Russiaiscomingtotheclub,itwillnotbecomingthewayGermanyandJapanwere
coming-overtly,obviouslydefeatedpowers,theU.S.occupation.Russiawasgoingto
positionitselfessentiallyasaco-leaderalongsidetheUnitedStates.Thatwasaclearthreat
toU.SleadershipinNATOandotherWesterncouncils.PeoplethoughtRussiawithin
WesterncouncilswasnotgoingtodomuchgoodtotheUnitedStates.Potentiallyitcould
beaverydisruptiveforce.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:NATO,ofcourse,isinterestinginanumberofways.Irememberinthe
earlytomid-1990s,therewasawholeself-analysisofNATOanditsfuture.Infact,itmay
havebeenSenatorLugarwhosaid,"Outofareaoroutofbusiness."Inotherwords,NATO
hadto-and,ofcourse,withAfghanistanandelsewhere,towhateverextentonewantstosay
successfully,ithastriedtoreconfigure,tosomeextent.

Iwanttocomebacktotheperceptionquestionalittlebit,onbothsides,inaminute,but
clearlyweoughttotalkaboutUkraine,becausethat'swherethemutualangstcomesinto
sharpestfocus,currentlywhat'sgoingoninUkraine.Letmejustthrowoutacoupleof
thoughts.

Firstofall,inourlastconversation,youtalkedaboutmovementsintoUkraineasa
humanitarianinterventiononRussia'spart.Isthatanopinionyoustillshare?

DMITRITRENIN:TherearemanyelementstoRussia'sinvolvementinUkraine.Thereisan
elementofhumanitarianintervention.Thereisanelementofgeopoliticalstruggle.Thereis
anelementofallthecivilwarinwhichRussiaissupportingonesidewithinUkraine.So
therearemanyelementshere.

"Humanitarianintervention"-IthinkishowthisispresentedtotheRussianpeople.Russiais
therebecausetheUkrainianmilitary,throughitsindiscriminateuseofforce,isthreatening
thelivelihoodsandlivesofsomanypeopleinEasternUkraine,andRussiahastosupport
thosepeople.

Again,thisisonlypartofthestory,butthisisthepartofthestorythatgetsthemosttraction
intheRussianmediathesedays.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Ofcourse,itgetsnotractionintheWesternmedia.Whathappensinthe
WestisthatPoroshenko,asIrememberwhenhewaselected,pledgedtoengagethe
peopleofDonbass,ofEasternUkraine.Ofcourse,theengagementturnedouttobemilitary
engagement.

Again,whatwetendtoreadintheWesternmediaishowRussia,forexample,didnotlive
uptotheMinskagreementfromSeptemberoflastyear,willprobablynotliveuptotheMinsk
agreementjustconcluded,thesecondround.Yetthereareallsortsofwaysinwhich
PoroshenkoandtheKievregimehavealsonotliveduptotheMinskagreementsintermsof
lookingtowardfederalarrangements,humanitarianassistance,somedegreeoffederal
accommodationofvariousthingsthatwereinMinsk,andIthinkweretakenout,butnow
ratifiedbytheRadaorwhateverhaveyou.Soagain,wegettheblamegamecominginto
play.

Inadditiontojustwhat'snotreportedintheWesternmedia,obviouslythereareotherthings
thatseemtoberelevant.Therearewhatarecalledthe"IronHorse"armedcavalryunitsin
theBaltics,theWesternmilitaryunits.ThereareU.S.warshipsandaircraftintheBlack
SeasupportingGeorgia.Arethesenotjustelementsofcontroversialbehavioronourpart
thatstokethefireevenmore?

DMITRITRENIN:IthinkwearewitnessingareturnofaColdWarmilitarystandoff"lite."
Thatisverysad,ofcourse.Butmorethansad,thiscouldleadtomilitarymiscalculation.
Thiscouldleadtotoocloseengagements,toomuchprovocationthatcouldamplifythe
movesoftheotherside.Youhaveadynamicwhichisnotonlyunhelpful,butwhichis
actuallydangerous.

Iwilladdtowhatyouhavejustsaid.TheRussianmovesofincreasingthenumberofflights
bytheRussianAirForce-sometimesthoseflightscomeclosetoWesternaircraft,and
WesternaircraftcomeclosetoRussianbombers.Peoplescrambletodefendtheir
airspaceagainstanintruder.Sometimesthatmayleadtoacollision.Itmayleadtoan
emergencysituation.It'sonethingtodealwiththatsituationwhenthegeneralenvironment
iscalmandsortofpeaceful.

Ofcourse,militarypeopleneedtotrain,noquestion.Theyneedtoexercise,noquestion.
Butundertheconditionsofaquasi-permanentcrisisintherelationship,accidentsofthat
kindcouldleadtoseriousbreachesofpeace.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Againwearebacktothefuture,backtotheColdWar,inthesensethat,
yes,theyhavetotrain.Butwhenrelationshipsarebetter,shallwesay,whenthereis
dialogue,whenthereisback-channel,whenpeopleknowwhattheotherisdoing,thereisa
wayofsharing,"We'regoingtobedoingthis.We'regoingtobecarryingoutthese
exercises."Inatimelikethis,thesharingofwhatyouaredoingintermsofmilitary
exercisesmaybelost.Isthattrue?

DMITRITRENIN:Ithinkit'strue.Ithinkit'sverytrue.Ithinkwhatyousaidisalsoverytrue-
backtothefuture.Wearerevisitingsomeoftheelementsofalandscapethatwethought
waslonggone.Wethoughtthatitallbelongedinhistory.Weseethathistoryishauntingus.
Historyiscomingback.Thatisprettydepressing.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Theotherthingis,weare,afterall,theCarnegieCouncilforEthicsin
InternationalAffairs,andoneoftheethicaldocumentsthatweliketorefertowithsome
frequencyareMorgenthau'sprinciplesofrealism.Therearevariousexcellentprinciples
containedtherein:avoidingthecrusadingspiritinforeignpolicy,beingabletoseethings
fromtheotherside'spointofview-notcapitulatingorautomaticallygivingin,but
understandingwheretheothersideiscomingfrom-anddon'tgetyourselfintoaposition
fromwhichthereisnoturningback.

TheseareallsortofethicalaswellasstrategicquestionsthatIthinkwefailtotakeinto
accountwhenitcomestoRussia,andparticularlythequestionofunderstandingtheother
pointofview.Iwrotesomethingrecentlyandreallyfocusedonthis.Thatis,thereisno
countryontheplanetwithwhichtheUnitedStateshasarelationshipthatcomparesto
Russia'srelationship-historical,cultural,ethnic,strategic-withUkraine.

YousaidsomethinginourlastdiscussionthatIreallywouldliketorepeat,becauseitwas
fascinating.Youpointedtoasituation100yearsagointhecivilwarinRussiainvolvingunits
intheeasternpartofUkrainethatwereonthesideofthecommunistsatthattime.Itwasan
interestingsliceofhistorythatshowshowfarthisgoes-well,itgoesbackfurtherthan100
years.Canyoujustrestatethat?

DMITRITRENIN:ThecivilwarthatfollowedtheBolshevikRevolutionin1917perhapswas
foughtmostintenselyinUkraine.Ukrainehadawholerangeofgroupswhofoughtfor
power.SomeofthemwerebonafideUkrainiannationalists,let'ssayofaWesternUkrainian
school.That'sthehotbedofUkrainiannationalism,intheformerconfinesoftheAustro-
HungarianEmpire,inLemberg,whichwasthenthenameforwhatisnowLviv.

ButUkrainealsohaditsfairshareofcommunists,allsortsofsocialists,andalsoallsorts
ofprettyanarchisticelements,someofthemsimplybandits.Allthiswentforthreeyears,
moreorless,theterritoryofUkraine,withitsvariousgovernmentssucceedingoneanother
inplaceslikeKiev,andsometimespeoplealigningnotsomuchwithsomebody,butagainst
somebody.Thereweresomefiguresthatreallyinspiredaweinlaw-abidingcitizensthat
remained,peoplelikeSymonPetliura,becauseoftheclearlyanti-Semiticelementinhis
group.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:And,ofcourse,LembergwasalsoalargeJewishpopulation.

DMITRITRENIN:Yes,butLemberginthosedayswasoutsideoftheRussianempire.Itwas
giventoPolandasaresultoftheFirstWorldWar.

Soitwasahodgepodgeofdifferentgroups.It'sinterestingthatinthosedaysUkrainehad
severalcompetinggovernments.What'snowDonbasswasknownin1918-1919asthe
Donetsk-KrivoyRogPeople'sRepublic.TheDonetskPeople'sRepublicdidexist.It'snota
newname.It'sveryinteresting.Wearenowdiscussingitasifit'sjustarecent
phenomenon.Itisarecentphenomenon,butithassomehistorybehindit.

TherewasanotherrepublicinLviv.ItwascalledWesternUkrainianPeople'sRepublic.
BeforetheareawasattachedtoPoland,theyusedtohavetheirowngovernment-very
briefly,ofcourse.

ThereweresomeRussiangenerals,UkrainianHetmans,Bolsheviks,whoever,whoruled
thevariouspartsofUkraineandviedforpower.And,asIsaid,therewasaverystrong
anarchisticelement.

I'msayingallthatbecausenotallofthatishistory.IfyouthinkthatDonetskandLuganskare
simplyproxiesoftheKremlin,youwillbedeludingyourself.Thereismuchmoretoitthan
justbeingKremlin-friendlyor"pro-Russian."Therearemanyotherthings.Ibelievethat
historymatters,anditmattersalotinUkraine.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Exactly,andit'snotjustthatthatpartofitisnotnew,ishistory,butinthe
currentsituation,clearlyinWesternUkraineandinKievyouhaveafairlymotleyassembly
ofgenuinereformersofsomerathernastyforces.Someofthemarerepresentedinthe
post-Maidangovernment-Svoboda,whichhasbeencondemnedbytheEuropeanUnionas
racist,xenophobic,andanti-Semiticasrecentlyas2012.Sothereisthishodgepodgeof
characters,inwhatisnow,asitwasthen,asyoudescribed,aprofoundlydividedcountry.

DMITRITRENIN:Right.Thissituation,tosomeextent,continues.We'resittingherein
March2015.Wedon'tknowwhatwillhappeninUkraineoverthenext12months,towhat
extentUkrainewillremaininonepiece,whatthecombinedresultwillbeofheightening
economichardships,mountingsocialtensions,intensifyingpoliticalinfighting.

EvenifyouleavethewarintheEasttoonesideandfocusontherestofUkraine,thingsare
notgoingtobeveryeasy.Thingsarenotgoingtobeveryquiet.AsUkrainiansaddress
thoseverydifficultandseriousissues,quiteafewofthemmaybeledbythisorthatversion
ofanideologythatseekssimplesolutionstothings.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Backjustforamomenttothequestionofperceptions,amilitary
presenceintheBlackSea,thelackofrecognitionoftheimportance-clearly,somehave
writtenthatUkraineisfarmoreimportantforRussiathanitisfortheWest.That'sseenin
someoftheindecisiveattitudeamongsomeEuropeans,forexample,onthequestionof
armingUkraine.Thereisafairlyhealthydebategoingoninthiscountryaboutwhetherwe
shouldbesendingheavyarmstoUkraine.

Again,howistheWesternperceptionseeninRussia?Clearlytherearesomenotable
exceptionstotheaveragecommentatorinthemainstreampress.JohnMearsheimer,
StephenWaltatHarvardwroteapiecelastweek."WhyArmingKievIsaReally,ReallyBad
Idea,"wasthefairlyevocativetitle.ImentionedJackMatlockbefore.

ButthereisalsoafairlyprevalentviewthatRussiashouldjustgetoverallthissenseof
post-ColdWarangst,NATOexpansion,thebombingofSerbia,missiledefense-"It'sallover
anddonewithjustgetoverwithit."

Mydistinctsenseisthatit'snotthateasyforRussianstotakeupthatpointofview,
particularlyinthecurrentsituationwithUkraine.Again,mysenseisthatthecondemnation
ofRussiaonallsortsoffronts,fromhumanrightstoconductinUkraine,thesanctions,of
course,andthethreats-thisisasortofcocktailthatonlyplaysintothehandsofanti-
Westernfeeling.

DMITRITRENIN:Ithinkthatithasalreadydonethatjob.Anti-Westernfeelinghasnever
beenasstronginthepost-ColdWaryearsasitisnow.Ithinkthatforavastnumberof
Russians,theUnitedStateshasreemergedastheprincipaladversary,whichisavery,very
sadfact.

Insomeways,thisisajudgmentthat-letmeputitthisway.Itwouldbewrongtoascribe
everythingtotheKremlinpropaganda.Alotofprettywell-educatedRussians,peoplewith
enoughtimeandenoughresourcestostudyinternationalrelationsthemselves,havecome
totheconclusionthatRussiaisessentiallyseenasthecountrythatlosttheColdWar,the
countrythathadtopaythepriceofdefeat,thecountrythathadbasicallynorighttoprotect
itsgeopoliticalinterestsoutsideofitsbordersthattherewerenolimitstohowfarNATO
expansionshouldgo.Russiawasnottobeconsultedonthatissue.Russiawasnottobe
consultedontheissueoftheenlargementoftheEuropeanUnion.

Again,thesovereigntyofallstatesbetweenRussiaandtheWestmatteredalot.But
Russia'suneaseorsuspicionsorwhathaveyouwithregardtotheWestcomingcloser
andclosertoitsownborderswasseenasessentiallyevidencethatRussiahasnotbeen
abletoreformitself.IfacountrylikeRussiaseestheUnitedStatesanditsalliesas
potentiallyanadversary,thenthereissomethingwrongwithRussia.IftheRussiansmilitate
againstNATOenlargement,itmeansthattheyhavesomenewimperialistdesigns
themselves.

Soyouhavethat.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:That'sanoddsortofswitchingofroles,isn'tit?Onesideisexpandingto
Russia'sborders,butwhenRussiaprotests,theyaretheoneswhoarethenew
imperialists.Thereisalogicalfallacytheresomewhere.

DMITRITRENIN:Thiswholeargumentisbuilton,Ithink,averyimportantstatement,avery
importantfoundation,andthatstatementrunslikethis:Therecanbenomoralequivalence
betweenRussiaandtheWest.That,Ithink,iskeytothenewnarrative.Ifthereisnomoral
equivalence,itmeansthattheWestcandoanythingbecausewhateveritdoes,itiseither
goodorwillbecorrectedbytheWestitself.Russiahasabsolutelynoright,nomoralrightat
all,toquestionanything,becauseit'sstillacountryonprobation.Itusedtobeacountryon
probation.Nowit'sthecriminalagain.Theoldcriminalhascomeback,theoldconvict.

That,Ithink,iskey.ItdoesnotonlypertaintoRussiaandtheWestitpertainstoRussia
andanyoneelse-RussiaandUkraine.Therecanbenomoralequivalence.Ukraineis
alwayshigher.Georgiaisalwayshigher.YounameanycountrywithwhichRussiamay
haveaproblemitwouldstandonahighermoralgroundintheeyesofthepeoplewho
adoptthatvisionthanRussiaitself.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:IntheStateoftheUnionaddressinJanuary,PresidentObamawaspretty
muchdismissive,bothintermsofsubstanceandtimeallottedtoRussia.Hesaidtwo
things.ThefirstwasthatbasicallyRussiawaschronicallyisolatedfromtherestofthe
world,andthesecondwasthatRussiawasaneconomicbasketcaseRussiawasin
economicfreefall.Ican'tremembertheexactwording.

Justtotakealookattheseinorder,itseemstomethat-well,what'sinterestingisthatabout
30yearsago,IrememberitbeingclaimedthatwewerepushingChinaintotheSoviet
camp.Nowitseemsit'stheotherwayaroundwe'repushingRussiaintotheChinacamp.
IthasalwaysbeenarguedthatRussia-Chinatogetherisnotalogicalpartnership,butitwas
onethatwasbeingrenderedinevitableorboundtohappen.

Obviouslyyouhadthebigoildealafewmonthsago,the$400billionoildeal,andthenthe
jointnavalexercisesthatwereannounced,Iguess,lastmonthorearlierintheyear,where
theChineseofficialwasquoted"resultedfromconcernwithU.S.attemptstoreinforceits
militaryandpoliticalinfluenceintheAsia-PacificRegion."

SonotjustChina,butitseemsthatwithRussiareachingouttoVietnam,toIndia,evento
Japan-isRussiareallysoisolatedatthispoint?

DMITRITRENIN:Russiaisnotisolated,Idon'tthink.Idon'tthinkit'spossibletoisolatea
countryofRussia'ssizeinternationally.EvenintheWest,it'snotisolated.Therearevery
clearproblemsinRussia'srelationswithWesterncountries,butIthink,asthechancellorof
Germanysaidmanytimes,youcannothavesecurityinEuropewithoutRussia,oreven
againstRussia,youcannothavesecurityinEurope.WhenthegoinggottoughinUkraine,
thechancellorofGermanyandthepresidentofFranceflewtoMoscowtodiscussthings
withVladimirPutin.

Laterthisyear,VladimirPutinwillbehostingtwoforumsinthecityofUfa,whichisjustwest
oftheUrals.OneforumwillbethatoftheShanghaiCooperationOrganizationthatunites
China,Russia,thecountriesofCentralAsia,andtowhichtwomajorcountriesare
accedingthissummer.OneisIndia.TheotheroneisPakistan.TheShanghaiCooperation
Organization,withRussiainthechair,ismovingtobecometheprincipalforumfor
continentalAsia.Itwillhaveinthesecondhalfofthisyearallthemajorpowersof
continentalAsiaasmembers:China,India,Russia.WecanaddPakistan.Wecanadda
fewothercountries.TurkeyandIranareveryinterestedingettingclosertothatorganization.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Hasn'tIranhadanobserverstatusatsomepoint?

DMITRITRENIN:Iranhasanobserverstatus.Iranhasdesiredforalongtimetojoin.There
isaformalobstacleofUNsanctionsimposedonIranthatpreventsIranfrombeing
accepted.Butatsomepoint,thisthingmaygiveandIranmaybewelcomedasamember.

TheothergroupthatPutinwillbefetinginUfaisBRICS,ofcourse-Brazil,Russia,India,
China,andSouthAfrica.That'stheclubofthenon-Westernemergingeconomies.

RussiaisalsoreachingouttoseveralU.S.friendsandallies.Mr.Putin'svisittoJapanison.
Justlastmonth,aJapanesedeputyforeignministerwasinMoscowpreparinggroundfor
thattrip.RussiaisactivelypursuingrelationswithSouthKorea,anotherU.S.ally,aswellas
NorthKorea.RussiahassignedmajoreconomicdealswithTurkey,anotherU.S.ally,which
isanimportanteconomicpartnertoRussia,alsoapartnerinenergytrade.Egypthasseen
itsrelationshipwithRussiaimproveoverthelastyearorso.Iranian-Russianrelationshave
rarelybeensoactivelypursuedbythetwogovernments.

Apartfromthat,RussiahasbeentryingtowinnewfriendsinplaceslikeLatinAmerica,
SoutheastAsia,andelsewhere.EvenwithinEurope,Mr.Putinhasmadeararevisitthese
daystoHungarytotalkenergy.HehasreceivedthepresidentofCyprusinMoscow,who
basicallyofferedRussiabasingrightsfortheRussiannavyonhisisland.Russia'srelations
withIsraelaresolid,andtheyhavenotbeenaffectedsofarbytherapidandmassive
deteriorationinU.S.-Russianrelations.

SothepictureisverydifferentfromRussiabeingaroguestate,inisolation,reelinginits
owncageandunabletomoveanywhere.Thesituationisquite,quitedifferentthanthat.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:That'sterrific.Thankyou.

Brieflyontheeconomy,theideathatRussia'seconomyiscollapsing-itwasreportednottoo
longagothatMoody's,therespectedevaluation-typefirm,hassaidthatRussia'sreserves
areenoughtocoverexternaldebt,andthemovetothefloatingcurrencywilltosomeextent
mitigate,obviously,thespiralingdownofoilprices,thefluctuationsinoilprices.Clearlyoilis
stabilizingabit.It'snotjustRussiathatissufferingfromthis.

Again,itwouldseemtomethatit'sUkraineandthecollapseofthehyrvniathatperhaps
oughttoberegardedastheeconomicbasketcase,notnecessarilyRussiaatthispoint.

DMITRITRENIN:Well,RussiaandUkraineareinverydifferenteconomicsituations.
There'snoquestionthatRussiaisfacingthemostsevereeconomictestin15yearsright
now.ThekindofresponsethattheRussiangovernmentwillultimatelygivetothatcrisiswill
determinethefutureoftheRussianeconomy,andmaybemorethanjustthefutureofthe
Russianeconomyintheyearstocome.SoIwouldn'twanttominimizethechallengesthat
Russiaisfacing.

Ontheotherhand,thiscrisiscouldbeasalutaryone,ifproperlyused.Ifyouwanttoreform
youreconomy,diversifyit,makeitmodern,oilat$100isnotyourfriend,notevenoilat$80.
Ifoilhits$60,$50,or$40,thisiswhenyouhavenochoicebuttodiversify,buttoinnovate
anddootherthings.WhetherRussiawilldoitornotwilldependverymuchontheRussian
governmentandontheRussianpeople.

WhatI'msayingisthatthecrisisforthefirsttimeisgivingRussiaanopportunitytoweanoff
thisoverlybigrelianceonoilandgasandhydrocarbonsmorebroadly.

Ithink,asaRussian,youfeelthatyouhavenotdoneagreatjobwithyoureconomywhen
theeconomicsituationwasgood.TheRussianeconomytodayisnotwhatitcanbe.Ifyou
usethecrisistochangetheeconomy,tostartproducingmore,todevelopyourown
domesticmarketmore,todevelopyourparticularlymedium-andsmall-sizeenterprisesif
youmanagetode-monopolizeyoureconomysothatit'snottotallycontrolledbyafew
monopolieshereandthere,thenIthinkthiscrisiswillgodowninhistoryasagoodcrisisfor
Russia.

Ithinkpeoplearepreparedtosuffer,buttheywillnotsuffersimplytopleasethefatcats.If
theyseethatsomethinggoodiscomingoutofthegovernment'spolicies,thentheywould
acceptatemporarylossinlivingstandards,andtheywillbecompensatedbyadifferent
kindofaneconomyandadifferentkindofafutureforthemselvesandtheirchildren.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:It'sanexcellentprescription,Dmitri.Isitgoingtobefilled,especially
whenyoutalkaboutmonopolies?

DMITRITRENIN:Ihaveaproblemwiththat.Russiaisruledbythesamepeopletodayasit
hasbeenruledforthepast15years.Thepeoplewhomissedtheprevious15years,inmy
view,shouldnotnecessarilybetrustedtoreformnow.

ButI'mkeepinganopenmind.Thingsarechanging.Peoplemaychange.Peoplemaybe
rotatedoutofpower.Russiamayfinditselfinasituationinwhichitwillhaverunoutofall
badoptions.Whenyouhaveyourbacktothewallandallthebadoptionsthatyouhad
exercisedtotrytobuyyourselfmoretimesothatthingsremainedthesame,allthese
optionshavebeenexercised,thenyouhaveonlythegoodoptions.Butthegoodoptions
alwaystendtobethehardestandthemostdifficultones.

Idon'tknow.AsIsaid,IhavenoillusionsaboutthepeopleinpowerinRussiatoday,notthe
peoplewhowouldbeabletodo-Ithinkthereiscapacityforreform,noquestion.Russiahas
abodyofveryprofessional,veryexperiencedpeople.I'mtalkingmoreaboutthepolitical
masters.Thepoliticalmastershavelittleinterest,frankly,inreform,becauseitgoesagainst
thegrain.Itgoesagainsttheirowninterestsoften.We'llsee.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Twofinalquestions,oneofwhichdealswithinRussiaitself.Youhave
indicatedthattherearevarioussortoflevelsor,shallwesay,differentkindsofforceswho
arepullingstringsorhavetheearoftheKremlinandsoon.

IthinkyouknowthatwehereattheCouncilforthelasttwoyearshavebeenembarkedona
majorprojectthatlooksatthenewEurasianisminRussiaandthewaythathasspreadinto
someoftheextremerightmovementsinEurope,basicallyacrossEuropeasfarasFrance,
theNetherlands,andsoonandsoforth.It'salittlecomplicatedinaplacelikeGreece,
wherethereseemstobesomedialoguewithboththeextremerightandthenewleftist
government,Syriza.It'scleartheyhaveaverycomplicatedsituation.

Canyousayalittlebitaboutthismovementthatclearlyis"anti-Atlanticist,"which,of
course,meanstheUKandtheU.S.basically?Howconnectedisitinthecorridorsof
power?Towhatextentdoitschiefproponents-andhere,obviously,thenameAleksandr
Duginhascomeupwithsomefrequency-whatsortofroledothesepeopleplay?How
influentialarethey?

DMITRITRENIN:Ithinkthattheyhavebeenabletorisefrombeingmarginal,underdogs,
almostirrelevantinthe1990s,tobeingverymuchpartofthemainstream,tobeingvery
closetoPresidentPutinandhisentourage.Thepeoplewhosharethoseviews-many
peoplewhosharethoseviews-formpartofwhatisknownastheIzborskClub,whichis
namedafterafortressontheRussianwesternborderintheBaltics,amedievalfortress.I
thinkthesepeoplehaveseentheirtheoriesvindicatedbywhathappenedinthelast25
years.Theyarehavingaballtoday.

Again,thisismoreofanintellectualmovement.Itfeedsintothegeneralphilosophical
environmentthatinformstheleadershipofRussia.Iwouldn'texaggeratethespecific
influenceofindividualmembersonthedecision-makingprocess.TheymaybeamongMr.
Putin'sfavoriteintellectualstoday,butMr.Putinhasremained,aboveall,apragmatist.

Eurasianismalsohasagoodanswer,atleastfromthestandpointofEurasianismitself,
abouttheWest.TheWestisnottobetrusted.YouneedtostanduptotheWest.Theywill
onlyrespectforceandtheyonlyrespectstrength.Soyouhavetobestrong,notonly
militarily,butalsoineconomicandotherways.

Idon'tthinktheyhaveagoodanswertotheriseofChina,anothergreatpowerthatmeritsa
lotofattention.Russiatraditionallyinsistsonbeingindependentandsovereign.Itdoesn't
mattersovereigntowardwhom,sovereigntowardthemostpowerfulnationofthetime.
Todayit'stheUnitedStatesofAmerica,sosovereigntyvis--vistheUnitedStatesisatop
goal.

ButinEurasia,itisChinathat'srising.It'sChinathatisbecomingthehegemonofEurasia.
YoumentionedPutin'sideasof"LisbontoVladivostok"asGreaterEurope.Therealitytoday
istheemergence,inmyview,ofwhatIwouldcallGreaterAsia,fromShanghaitoSt.
Petersburg,withChinaverymuchdrivingtheprocess.Eurasianistsareyettogivean
answertotheChinaissue.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Abigquestion.

DMITRITRENIN:Itis,andaseriousone.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Finally,backtotheBobLegvold's"thelossofourusefulambiguity"and
thefinger-pointingandsoon,andwhatthathasmeant.Clearlytherearenumerousmissed
opportunitiesintermsofglobalissuesinwhichtheUnitedStatesandRussiareallyhaveto
engageeachother,everythingfromclimatechangetocatastrophicterrorism-Russia,I
think,hashadmoreincidentsofterroristattackthananyothercountrysincetheendofthe
ColdWar-and,ofcourse,veryobviously,anissuethatyouthinkaboutalot,thearms
control,theIntermediate-RangeNuclearForcesTreatyandothersthatmaybeunraveling.
Istherenoback-channelcommunicationatthispoint?

Lookintoyourcrystalballandtrytogiveussomehope.

DMITRITRENIN:Ithinkit'sverysadthatwedon'thavethisback-channel.It'sverysadthat
theonlychannelthatseemstobeworking,atleastvisibly,istheonebetweenSecretary
KerryandMinisterLavrov.Thepresidentstalkoverthephone,butveryinfrequently,andI
don'tthinktheconversationpleaseseitherparty.

Ithinkthatinorderfortherelationshiptobestabilized-beforeitgetsimproved,Ithinkwe
needtohaveitstabilizedandhaveitfollowsomemutuallyagreedupontemporaryrules.
Forthat,Ithinkweneedsomelegworkandweneedsomebrainwork.Thiscanhardlybe
donebypeoplewhoareformallyongovernment'sduty,eitherinWashingtonorinMoscow.

Ithinkthat,ratherthanthat,trustedrepresentativesofthetwocountries'political
establishmentsneedtobeencouragedtoengageinseriousdiscussionsofvariousissues,
totallyopen-eyed,withoutanyillusionwhatsoever,butwithaclearaimofestablishingareas
whereU.S.-Russianinteractionisactuallyfeasible,wherethereisenoughofcommon
interestthatwouldmakethetwocountriescooperateinabonafidefashion.It'simportant
thatthepeoplewhoareleadingthatchargehaveeasyaccesstotheirpresidents.

Ihavesomethoughtsandideasaboutwhomightfulfillthatrole.Iknowthatafewattempts,
earlyattempts,havealreadybeenmadeinthatdirection.Muchofthat,Ithink,willhaveto
remain,forthetimebeingatleast,offtherecord,andpeoplewillnotbegivingmany
interviews.Butunlesswemanagethismechanism,installitandmanageit,we'regoingto
havearelationshipthatwillbesubjectedtosurprisesandthatcanbesuddenlywreckedby
astraybullet.Andthengodhelpus.

DAVIDSPEEDIE:Iwillresistthetemptationtoaskyoufornamesoftheseconstructive
individuals,since,asyousay,ithastobeofftherecord.

OurguesthasbeenDmitriTrenin,directoroftheCarnegieMoscowCenteroftheCarnegie
EndowmentforInternationalPeace.

Dmitri,thankyousomuchforyourtime,foryourinsightsonsomanyelementsofthisvery
complexsituationthatprevails,andforyourwisdom.

DMITRITRENIN:David,it'sapleasure.Thankyousomuch,

[returntoContents]

#7
RussiaDirect
www.russia-direct.org
March7,2015
LegvoldandTrenin:HowtofixtheUS-Russianrelationship
AtarecentsymposiumhostedbyTuftsUniversity,twoleadingRussiaexperts-Robert
LegvoldandDmitriTrenin-discussedthefutureoftheU.S.-Russiarelationshipandwhatit
willtaketosolvetheUkrainiancrisis.
EkaterinaZabrovskaya

ThereislittlechanceformovingU.S.-Russiarelationsforwardoutofthecurrentcrisisdue
tofundamentaldifferencesinhowbothnationsviewtheworld,sayRobertLegvoldof
ColumbiaUniversityandDmitriTreninofCarnegieMoscow.Theonlywayoutistostart
expertdialoguebetweenthetwocountriestohelpdecisionmakersfromMoscowand
Washingtoncomeupwithamutuallyagreeablesolution.

ThediscussionbetweenLegvoldandTreninwasacenterpieceofthefour-dayEPIIC
(EducationforPublicInquiryandInternationalCitizenship)Symposium"Russiainthe21
century"lastweek.OrganizedbytheInstituteforGlobalLeadershipatTuftsUniversity,with
thesupportoftheCarnegieCorporationofNewYork,theconferenceattractedleading
RussiaexpertstodiscusstopicsrelatedtoMoscow'sroleinthemodernworldorderand
thefutureofRussia-U.S.relations.

HereisanabridgedversionoftheLegvold-TrenindialogueattheEPIICSymposium.

IsthisanewColdWar?

RobertLegvold:Iamsomebodywho'sarguing-nottotheentirepleasureofmy
professionalcolleagues,peopleingovernmentwhetherinMoscoworhere-thatweare
indeedinanewColdWar.

Therearefeaturesofwhatishappeningnowintherelationshipthatdoeshaveclose
resemblancetotheearlyphasesoftheoriginalColdWar.

WhyIhavestartedthinkinginthesetermswasbecauseDmitriTrenininMarchof2014
wroteapiecethatwascalled"WelcometoColdWarII."

Withinafewmonthshechangedhismind.HesaidtheColdWarwasnottheright
comparison.WhiletheoriginalColdWarforthemostpartremainedcold,it'snotentirely
clearthatthisonewill.

So,Dmitri,wheredoyoustandtoday?

DmitriTrenin:Istandbywhatyou'vejustdescribed.Ibelievethathistoricalanalogiescould
beusefulbutonlytoanextent.

ItwasimportantlastMarchtosoundalarmbellsthatCrimeaandUkrainewerenotjust
temporarytransientphenomena,thattherewassomethingveryserioushappeningjustin
frontofoureyes.

TheColdWaranalogyinthosedayswasanappropriateone.Butthedeeperyoulookinto
that,themorethisanalogybecomesunhelpful.

Weareinconfrontation.Thebadthingaboutthisconfrontationisthatit'sheldverymuchon
theRussianside.Idon'tthinkthattheU.S.believesthatthisisaconfrontationwithRussia.
Foralotofpeople,Russiaisathreatbutnotabigone.As[U.S.PresidentBarack]Obama
said,somethingbetweenEbolaandISIS[IslamicStateofIraqandtheGreaterSyria].

ThestakesareverydifferentforWashingtonandMoscow.Thisinjectsaveryimportant
aspectofasymmetryintothesituation.

So,Iamdeeplyworriedandconcerned.Ithinkthisconfrontationcouldbemoredangerous
itcouldgetoutofhand.Itcouldpushusinadirectionthatpeopledonotanticipate.
BecauseduringtheColdWartherewasafeelingsharedbyeveryonethatitwasdead
serious.

Ifit'snotanewColdWar,thenwhatisit?

R.L.:Frommypointofview,therelationshiphasgoneoverthecliff.

Thereissomethingthathaschangedinthelastyear.

Throughoutmuchofthepost-ColdWarperiod,therewasatendencyonbothsidesto
operatewitha"usefulambiguity."Thatis,wedidn'tknowwhethertheothersidewasfriend
orfoe.

Nowthereisasymmetry,Dmitri.Eachcountryhasdefinedtheothersideasanadversary.
Thisisdeterminingourpoliciesmorethananythingelseinthepastandwillaffectthewayin
whichweredesignNATOtodealwithRussiaasathreat.

ThereasonwhyIusethephrase"ColdWar"isbecauseonlywiththatnotioncanyoubegin
toconveytheconsequencesofwhat'shappening.

ThetendencyintheU.S.istostartwithanassumptionthatthisisutterlyunequal:Russia
doesn'tmattertousinthewaywemaymattertothem.

Buttheconsequencesofhavinggottentothispointarenotmerelythedangersaround
UkrainebutaroundinstabilityinCentralEuropeasawhole.Itistheunpredictableregion
suddenlyagain.

D.T.:OneotherdistinctionbetweenthesituationtodayandtheColdWaristhat,asseen
fromthispartoftheworld,nocompromiseispossible.

IntheColdWaryoucouldcompromisewith[SovietleadersJoseph]Stalin,[Leonid]
Brezhnev,and[Nikita]Khrushchev.Compromisingwith[RussiaPresidentVladimir]Putinis
somehownotacceptable.

So,Iamprettypessimisticonwhereweare.

ThisisclearlymorethanjustaboutUkraine.It'sabouttwofundamentalthings.

ThethingfundamentalfortheU.S.isthatRussiaischallengingU.S.leadership,essentially
theworldorderthattheU.S.leads.Nomajorthingscangounpunishediftheygoagainst
thegrainofthepeoplehere.ThefundamentalthingforRussiaistheabilitytomovearound
withoutanyconstraintsanddowhattheRussianleadershipthinksisimportantforthe
Russiannationalinterest.

HowdidRussiaandtheUSgettothecurrentcrisis?

D.T.:We'vebeenbadlyservedbytheidea-averypopularoneinbothcountries-thatthe
U.S.,asseenfromRussia,isinadeepdeclineandthatRussia,asseenfromtheU.S.,has
beenindeclineforthepast25yearsandwillcontinuetobeindecline.

Thismisinformsusandpushesusalongaprettynarrowanddangerousroad.

R.L.:Frankly,itdoesn'tmakeanysensethattheU.S.-Russianrelationshipiswhereitis
today.

Iwasatameetingandoneoftheparticipantssaidtome:"So,areyougoingtogoandtryto
makesenseoutofsenseless?"Andthat'sessentiallywhat'sinvolved.

Howdidwegooverthecliffinourrelationship?Iampreparedtoplaceprimary
responsibilityforthefinalpushovertheclifftothedecisiontoannexCrimeafortwo
reasons.

It'sthefirsttimeamajorpowerhasliterallyseizedtheterritoryofasovereigncountrysince
WorldWarII.Secondly,in1994whenUkrainegaveupitsnuclearweaponsandsignedthe
Budapestmemorandum,thecommitmentintheU.S.,GreatBritain,andRussiawasto
guaranteeUkrainiansovereignty.AndnowwearetryingtocontroltheIraniannuclear
programandpartofthedealissecurityassurance.

Butwedidn'tgethereonlybecauseofwhathappenedbetweenNovember-Decemberof
2014andFebruaryof2015inUkraine.

WhateverthenatureoftheregimeinRussia,whateveryouthinkofitsmotivations,wegot
herebythethingswedidandwedidn'tdofor20years.Becausewedidn'tunderstandwhat
thestakesare.

D.T.:IwouldagreewithyouthattheconflictinUkraineisaresultof20plusyearsoffailures.

Thebestwaytomakesurethatthethereisnolongeraconfrontationbetweentwopowers
istointegratethepowerthatfounditselfadifficultsituationintoawidersystemthatitwould
feelcomfortablewith.

ThiswasdonetoFranceacoupleofyearsaftertheNapoleonicwarsandtoWestGermany
aftertheSecondWorldWar.ThatwasnotdonetoGermanyaftertheFirstWorldWar.

Foranumberofreasonspeopledidn'tthinkthatRussiawasworthspendingtoomuch
money,capital,energytomakeitasolidpartnerwithinanintegratedsystem.

TheintegratedsystemthattheRussianswantedwassupposedtobeasecuritysystem.

OnegoodreasonwasthatpeoplewerenotsurethatRussiawouldplaybytherulesif
integratedintothissystem.

WhateverwecansayaboutalliancesthattheU.S.leads,whateveryouthinkaboutRussia
ithasneversofarrecognizedaleadertoitselfintheoutsideworld.

That'swhereIseeafundamentalproblem.

IthoughtthatwegotherebecausewefailedtointegrateRussia.ButthenI'maskingthis
question:"WasitpossibletointegrateRussiaonthetermsthatwouldhavebeen
acceptablefortheU.S.?"AndtheanswerthatIhaveis:"Unlikely."

Howcanwegetoutofthecurrentcrisis?

D.T.:Idon'tknowwhetherwecaneventalkaboutawayforwardnow.

Ithinkthebestwecanhopeforisthatthemoredangerouspathwillnotbetaken.

Wehavetomakeeveryefforttomakesurethattheprettyshakycease-fireineastern
Ukrainetodaystays,thatit'ssolidifiesovertime,thattheconflictdoesn'tescalate,enlarge
orbecomeareallarge-scalewar.

R.L.:IntermsofDmitri'spessimism,Ithinkintheneartermthelikelihoodofeitherside
backingdownfromitscurrentpositionandtakingsignificantstepstomoveofftheroadwe
areonisveryunlikely.

NottheleastbecauseintheU.S.thepressureinthemediaandCongressisintheother
directioneveniftheadministrationwaswillingtogoinamoreconstructivedirection.

Iamnotoptimisticatthemomenteither.ButIdothinkitistimeinthesecircumstances
whenuniversitiesandresearchorganizationsneedtobegindoingsomething.

Howdowegoinanotherdirection?Youcan'tbegindoingitunlesswethinkthatit'surgent.
Unlesswethinkthatthestakesarehigh.

It'snotjustabouttheRussia-U.S.relationship.Itisgoingtoaffectothers.
[returntoContents]

#8
Irrussianality
http://irrussianality.wordpress.com
December31,2014
THENEEDFORSTRATEGICEMPATHY
ByPaulRobinson
PaulRobinsonisaprofessorintheGraduateSchoolofPublicandInternationalAffairsat
theUniversityofOttawa.PaulRobinsonholdsanMAinRussianandEasternEuropean
StudiesfromtheUniversityofTorontoandaD.Phil.inModernHistoryfromtheUniversityof
Oxford.Priortohisgraduatestudies,heservedasaregularofficerintheBritishArmy
IntelligenceCorpsfrom1989to1994,andasareserveofficerintheCanadianForcesfrom
1994to1996.HealsoworkedasamediaresearchexecutiveinMoscowin1995.

AmongthebookswaitingtobereadonmybookshelfisASenseoftheEnemy:TheHigh-
StakesHistoryofReadingYourRival'sMind,byZacharyShore.Thiscaughtmyattention
becausefifteenyearsagoShorelivedonthesamecorridorasmeatStAntony'sCollege,
Oxford,whilewewerebothwritingourdoctoraltheses.Also,thesubjectmatterfitswellinto
myforthcomingcourseonIrrationalityandForeignPolicyDecisionMaking.Thebookisa
studyindecisionmaking,andjudgingfromwhatIhaveskimmedsofar,itadvancesafairly
simplethesis:successfulforeignpolicydependsuponwhatShorecalls'strategicempathy',
thatistosayanabilitytounderstandwhatmotivatesyourenemy.Thisdoesnotmean
imaginingwhatyouwoulddoifyouwereinyourenemy'splace.Ratheritmeansreally
understandingthem,theirdesires,theconstraintsunderwhichtheyoperate,andsoon.

Iwouldtakethisfurtherandsaythatstrategicempathyisimportantnotjustwhendealing
with'enemies'butinpoliticsmoregenerally,andthatitispreciselythelackofsuch
empathywhichhaspulledRussia-Westrelationsintothemesswhichtheyaretoday.

TheresponseofbothRussiaandWesternstatestothecrisisinUkrainehasbeentothrow
insultsatoneanotherandtoresorttoconspiracytheories.TomanyintheWest,Russian
behaviourinUkraineistheproductofadeliberateplanofimperialexpansiontomany
Russians,thecivilwarinUkraineistheresultofalong-termAmericanstrategyto
destabilizeandweakenanypotentialrivals.WithinUkraine,thecurrentgovernmentviews
thewarassolelytheconsequenceofRussianaggression,whereastherebelsview
themselvesasvictimsofgovernmentbarbarity.Nomatterwhoyouare,somebodyelseis
entirelytoblame.Noeffortismadetounderstand,letaloneempathizewiththeotherside's
pointofview.
Underlyingallthisisasenseonbothsidesofmoralrighteousness.Thedivisionoftheworld
intogoodguys-us-andbadguys-them-discouragesanyefforttopromotestrategic
empathy,forthelattercomestoberegardedasappeasingevil.Butstrategicempathydoes
notrequirethatoneconcedethattheothersideisright.Rather,throughabetter
understandingofothers'actions,oneincreasesone'schancesofpursuingsuccessful
policies.

So,forinstance,thegovernmentwhichcametopowerinUkraineinFebruary2014
arrogantlyignoredtheconcernsofthoseprotestingagainstitonthegroundsthattheywere
simplystoogesofMoscowanddidnotrepresentgenuinepublicopinion.Theresultwascivil
war.Thegovernmentwouldhavedonebettertounderstandthatsomeofitscitizensdid
rejectitandneededreassurance.

Meanwhile,WesternstatesfailedtounderstandhowimportantUkraineistoRussia,and
thusfailedtounderstandhowRussiawaslikelytoreacttotheforcibleoverthrowofthe
Ukrainiangovernment.Fixatedon'Russianaggression',Westernleadersmadenoeffortto
understandtheopinionsofthosefightingagainstKiev.Consequently,Westernleaders
reinforcedtheinflexibilityoftheUkrainiangovernment,andsomadeabadsituationeven
worse.

Russianleadershavealsomademistakes.TheannexationofCrimeaincitedthe
governmentsinKievandtheWesttoseetheeventsinEasternUkraineasarepetitionof
thoseinCrimea,andsotoviewtheprotestsagainstKievasbeingnotanexpressionof
legitimateopinionbutratheraprecursortoRussianinvasion.Russianactionsinstilledfear
andencouragedintransigence.Moscowdoesnotseemtounderstandthis.

IfIhaveabloggingwishfor2015,then,itisforbothRussiaandtheWesttotryharderto
understandhowtheworldlooksfromtheother'spointofview.Moralcertitudemaybe
emotionallysatisfying,butstrategicempathyisfarmorelikelytoleadtopeace.

[returntoContents]

#9
Subject:WhatisgoingoninRussia?TheviewsandvaluesofordinaryRussians
Date:Thu,17Dec2015
From:KarenHewitt<karen.hewitt@conted.ox.ac.uk>

IamattachingthetalkwhichIhavegiven(withadaptations)tovariousgroupsofnon-
professionalswhoareinterestedinRussia.Someprofessionalsintheaudience,
sometimes,butitwasnotintendedforthem.

---

WhatisgoingoninRussia?
TheviewsandvaluesofordinaryRussians(2ndJuly2015)
ByKarenHewitt
Lecturer,OxfordUniversityDepartmentofContinuingEducation

Ihavespentthelast26yearstryingtoexplainBritaintotheRussiansand-toamore
hesitantextent-RussiatotheBritish.SinceIspenduptotwomonthsayearincitiesall
overRussia,livingandtalkingwithRussians,andnotseeingorspeakingtoother
westerners,Imaymisunderstandalot,butIamnotlikeajournalistlookingforastoryand
listeningtootherjournalists.

WhatwehearinBritain-andinWesternmediagenerally-aboutwhatisgoingoninRussia
issodifferentfromwhatIobserveinallthosecitiesandtowns,intheuniversitiesand
schoolsandpublicoffices,intheshopsandmarketsthatIfeelanobligationtochallenge
ourmedia.ThesituationhasbeenhugelyexacerbatedbytheUkrainecrisis-inwhich
outrageousthingshavebeensaidonbothsides-butwithfarlessevidenceandfarmore
falsificationonthe'Westernside'.Thattherearesignificantliesinthemassmediaofboth
countriesisclear.Thatthereisdisturbingignoranceonoursideisclear.SoIdecidedtobe
moresystematicthanusualinexploringwhatordinarythoughtfulRussiansbelievedwas
goingon.Toasklotsofquestionsandtotakelotsofnotes.
AbriefhistoryofRussiaasseenbyRussianssincethe1970s.

Manygenerationsamongmycorrespondentsbutthisbackgroundshouldhelp

AnyonebornintheSovietUnioninthe1960sand1970swouldhavespenttheirchildhoodin
apredictableworld.Theyhadahome,albeitoftenacommunalhome,food,electricityand
(usually)runningwater,paidemployment,seriouseducation,anationalhealthservice,
cheaptravelwithinthecountry,longholidaysinthesummer,andanethoswhich
encouraged'joining'thingsanddoingthingstogether.Lotsofsummercamps,lotsofsport,
lotsofgroup'voluntarywork',lotsofjointprojectsinwhichgrown-upsandchildrenjoined
(suchasbuildingcommunitycentres.)

Thislifewasreassuringinmanyways.Itdidnotencourageindividualdecisions,work
basedonenterpriseandpersonalinitiative.Itdidnotencouragedissent.ByEuropean
standards(thoughnotbythestandardsofmostoftheworld)whatwasavailableinhomes
anddomesticproductswaslimitedandshoddysteppingoutoflinecouldbeandoftenwas
punishedthoughwithnothinglikethewidespreadferocityoftheStalinyears.Formost
grown-upsitwasamatteroflookingoveryourshoulderandteachingyourchildrentobe
discreet.Butformostchildrenthemselves,thevirtuesoftheSovietsystem-stability,lotsof
attentiontochildrenasagroup,andafirmideologyorbeliefcouchedinoptimisticand
cheerfulterms-gavethemahappychildhood.

InmyearlyyearsinRussia(Iwentfirstin1984)andthenannuallyormoreoftenfrom1988)
Iwasatfirstsuspiciousofthesewidelyprevalentaccountsofhappychildhoods.What
aboutthosewhowereoftenunhappyortraumatised-byfamilies,byindividuals,bysocial
expectations?.TheSovietUnionmusthavehadnumbersofunhappychildren,especially
thosetrappedbyillnessorthealcoholismoftheirparents.Butthesystemwaschild-friendly
initsvaluesandpractices.Thedifficultiesandrestraintsbecomemuchmoreobviousas
thosechildrengrewup-ifyouweresomebodywhowantedtoargue,whowantedtogo
yourownway,whowantedtotakeinitiativesorwholoathedcommittees.

Mostadultswereprobablyreasonablycontentwithinworkgroups-andtherewasworkfor
everyone,evenifitwasnotverystrenuousandinvolvedlongholidaysgoingonholidayin
groupswasalsonormal.Morepeoplewereabletomoveoutofcommunalflatswherethey
hadjustoneroomoftheirownintotheirownflats.Intermsofgettingholdofthings-the
systemworkedlikeablackmarket-adeficitmarket-peoplelearnthowtousethesystem.
ProsperityseemedtobegentlyincreasingevenasBrezhnevslept.

ButBrezhnevdiedin1982bywhichtimetheeconomicproblemsoftheSovietsystemwere
becomingalltooobvious,atleasttothoseinpower.HewasfollowedbyAndropovwhodied
in1984andChernenkowhodiedin1985,leavingthewayclearforMikhailGorbachevto
becomeGeneralSecretaryandhenceleaderoftheSovietUnion.Russians-andtheother
Sovietpeoples-wereabouttoenteryearsandyearsofchaosafterdecadesofstabilityand
stagnation.

Gorbachevhadtodealwiththeconsequencesofeconomicstagnationandthecollapsing
priceofoil.Therewerenoresourcesleft.Hetriedtoliberalisemarkets-andpolitics.
Politicalliberalisationwasmoreexciting,especiallyforeducatedpeople,andwentfar
fartherthananyonehadenvisaged,veryquickly.That'swhatmostWesternersremember.

Buthowdoesanyoneturnablackmarketintoacapitalmarket?Ifwhatyoucanbuyis
regulatedbyalackofgoodsratherthanalackofmoney,howdoyoufreeupanddoubleor
trebleyourdomesticproduction-andkeepsomekindofcontrolofmoneysothatpeople
learnwhatyoucanspendandwhatyouhavetosave.How,infact,tochangetotallythe
relationshipbetweenwork,productivityandmoney,ifthepeoplegoverningthecountryand
tryingtodothishavehadnoexperienceofourkindofeconomyandsocialstructures?

Andjustasimportant-howdoyouteachpeopleaboutmoneywhohavelivedalltheirlives
withrationing?Rationingisfair-andalsoget-roundable.Gettingrounditdependsonwhat
youcanbarter.Moneyisnotsosignificant.

TheSovietperestroikareformsmeantthatpeoplestartedlosingtheirjobs.Peoplewere
paidless.Inflationtookhold.Butatthesametimetherewasnothingintheshops,because
ifyouwerecontrollingsuppliesanditseemedlikelythattheypricewouldgoup,youheld
backthegoodsinthewarehouses.Peoplewereworriedabouttheincreasinglackofcontrol
andresponsibilityasotherpeoplestartedshowinginitiative.
ForatleasttwoyearsbeforetheSovietUnionwasbrokenup-deliberatelybySoviet
leaders-inDecember1991-peopleweregettingmoreandmoreconfusedbydifferent
economicandvaluesystemsthatwereco-existing,thoughtheymadenosenseoperating
together.

On2ndJanuary1992,Yeltsin,nowPresidentoftheRussianFederation,divorcednowfrom
allthoseothercountrieswhichhadmadeuptheSovietUnion,declaredthatpriceswere
liberalised.Sellerscouldchargewhattheywanted.Withafewexceptionspriceswouldnot
becontrolledbythestate.(Rathertoolate,herealisedthatinfactstateassetstechnically
belongedtothepeople.)Bythetimehisadvisershaddevisedvouchersforthepopulation
sothattheycouldrealisesomeoftheirassets,thevastwealthofthecountrywasinthe
handsofreallycleverruthlessentrepreneurs-thepeoplewhomwecall'oligarchs'andtheir
slightlylesserranksoftheveryrich,called'NewRussians'.Naturallythesepeoplewere
helpedbytheadviserswhofloodedinfromWesterncountriesandwhowereeagertoturn
Russiaintoa'Western-style'countrywhichwouldbehelped/controlledbyexperienced
'democracies'.(LotsofmoneywasputintoRussiatohelpwithdevelopingcivilsociety,but
itwasatinyfractionofthemoneyputintoRussiainordertoexploitaneconomicsituation
whichwasdevastatingthepopulation.)AndsobeganwhattheRussianrefertoas'the
nineties'.

Thecountrysufferedhyperinflationandthereforethepeoplelostalltheirsavingstheylost
theirjobsindustrycollapsedasdidtheagriculturalfarms.Onedisasterfuelledanother:for
exampletheSovietwelfaresystemvanishedsinceitmadenosenseinanew
entrepreneurialworld.Thecreakybutuniversalnationalhealthservicewas-Russianswere
told-notthewaytosolvehealthproblems.EveryoneexcepttheBritishexplainedyou
shouldprivatisethehealthsystem-whichmeantthatmostpeoplecouldnotafforddoctors
exceptthosebravedoctorswhowentonworkingwithoutpay.Nobodycouldpaytheschool
teacherseither,butteacherswereoldladieswhowentonworkinganyway,andwhowere
officiallydespisedforit.

Mostofthepopulationlivedonorganicvegetablesgrownontheirowndachaplots.Butthey
couldbuyMarsbarsandSnickersbarsandincreasinglycheapcomputerswhichthe
childrendemanded.Meanwhiletheshopsbegantofillwithposhforeigngoodsboughtwith
dollarsbythose(mostlyinMoscow)whohadmanagedtolandjobswithforeignfirms.So
thissocietywhichhadinSoviettimesbeenbasedonprettyequaldistributionofwealth
becamethemostunequalofsocieties-thefabulouslyrichtheveryrich,andthevast
majorityofthestrugglingpoorwhowonderedeverymonthwhethertheywouldgetpaid.And
thenthehomeless.

Thedeathrateshotup-themajorityofmenweredyingbeforetheyreached60-ofillness,
alcohol,joblessness,andessentiallyofbrokenhearts.Thebirthratewentrightdown:why
havebabiesinthischaos?Andtherewasnocheerfulideologytokeeppeopletogether.In
facttherewasnocoherentsystemofvaluesatallwhich,evenwhenmostpeopleare
essentiallydecent,isdeeplytraumatising.

By1997,withYeltsin,analcoholicinthralltothesquabblingcourtiersaroundhim,the
economylookedbrieflyasifitwasslowlynormalising.Inflationhadcomedownto,say,25%
-andpeoplewerefindingwaystowork.Butthentherewereworldeconomicconvulsions,
andRussia(bynowhugelyindebttothemoneyinstitutionsoftheworld)defaultedonits
debtsin1998.Onceagaintherewasseriousinflationandthistime-becauseforeign
investorswereaffected-theworldtooknotice.ButtheRussianpopulationmostlylaughed.
Theyhadlostalltheirsavings,theirassets,theirrighttopublicassetsandtheirsecuritysix
yearsearlier.Theyhadlittleornothinglefttolose.AndsoRussiastaggeredinto1999,with
thepeople,onthewhole,disillusioned,confused,ashamedandexhausted.Attheveryend
of1999,Yeltsinannouncedthathewasresigning,andthat,untilproperelectionsshould
takeplace,hewasappointingsomeoneelsetotakeover-someonevirtuallyunknownto
thepeople-VladimirPutin.

PutinhasbeeninpowerasPresidentfor11years,andintandemwithPresidentMedvedev
for4yearsfrom2008-2012.FromtheWesternpointofview-forreasonswhichare,Ithink,
deepinUSgeopolitics,Putinwasratherquicklydemonised.

FromthepointofviewofordinaryRussianshebroughtstability,coherentpoliciesanda
doubling,trebling,oftheirpersonalincomesandthewealthofRussia.Hemadethe
oligarchspaytaxes,hebrokeupsomeoftheillegalempiresofenergywealthand
nationalisedthem,HedealtwithlocalwarlordsindistantpartsoftheRussianfederationand
insistedthatgovernorsshouldbeappointedfromMoscow,sothathecouldkeepaneyeon
them.Withtheoilmoneyhisgovernmentbuiltupahugeemergencyreservesothatit
wouldneveragainbethebasket-caseofworldeconomies,andheandhisministers
devisedandlargelycarriedoutfederal-wideimprovementprojectsinEducation,Health,
AgricultureandInfrastructure.Peoplearehugelybetteroffthantheywere,andalthoughof
coursethereareplentyofpoorpeople,theytooarebetteroffthantheywere.(The
homelesshavegonefromthestreetsofPerm,where-aswitheverywhereelseinRussia)
theywereobviousandpitifulandshamefultotheirfellow-citizensinthe1990s.)Notallof
thisisattributabletothepoliciesoftheGovernment,stilllesstoPresidentPutin-oilprices
areimportant-butfromtheordinaryRussian'spointofview,theyhavemuchtobethankful
forunderPutin.

ThereismorecensorshipthantherewasinYeltsin'syearswhentherewasnocensorship
atall-aboutanything.Thereareoppositionwebsitesandsomenewspapersbutother
oppositionnewspapershavetheireditorsreplacedbytheauthorities.Therearestate
televisionchannelswhichfollowthegovernmentlinewithdailyfocusonthePresidentand
thekindof'analysis'bywhichthedecisionsofthegovernmentarealwaysshowntobe
correctontheotherhand,thesenewsprogrammesshow-onthewhole-moreofwhatis
goingonintheworldthanournationalBBCprogrammes,forexample.

[Asforotherdomesticproblems:IhaveyettohearateacherinhighereducationinRussia
whodoesnotcomplainabouttheMinisterofHigherEducation,theloweringofstandards,
thelackofattentiontothehumanities,thechasingaftermoneyratherthanscholarship,etc
etc.(WhenItelltheseindignantpeoplethatyoucanhearexactlythesamecomplaintsin
Britain,theyareastounded.SurelyBritainisacivilisedcountry?!.)

Corruptionisalsoacomplaint:whyhaven'tPutinandMedvedevdonemoretocombatit?In
facttheyaredoingsomething.Russiaisslowly-buttooslowly-climbingupthelistwhere
theleastcorruptnationsareatthetop.136outof175countries.Butthereareinteresting
observationsbyordinaryRussiansaboutthiscorruption.]

Sowherearewenow:orratherwherewereweinlateFebruary2014whenthecrisisin
Ukraineerupted.?

WhatcanIsayaboutthiswhichwon'tbeshouteddownbyonesideortheother?

Ukraineisanunhappycountry,puttogetheroutofseverallargeareaswithdifferent
histories,cultures,faithsandloyalties.In23yearsitsleaders,mostlyquarrellingoligarchs
fromallsides,havefailedtothinkaboutUkraineasapluralistcountrythatcandevelopits
ownpluralistsenseofpride.Theeconomyhasdroppedmorethanthatofanyotherpost-
Sovietcountryandmanypeopleliveinrealdesperatepoverty.

UkraineisrelatedtoRussia.Ifyouaskhow-myanalogyistosay:takeWales,Scotland,
NorthernIrelandandtheRepublicofIreland,rollthemintooneandsaythisisanationwhich
hasalong,longrelationshipwithEngland.Imaginewhatyouwouldsayaboutthat.Itwould
notbeeasy.Ukraine'srelationshipwithRussiaisintimate,historical,fullofloveand
solidarity,butdamagedbybitternessandasenseofoppression.Lotsandlotsoffamilyand
friendsonbothsides.AndthreemillionUkrainiansworkinginRussia.

NowforthequestionswhichIhaveaskedRussians-hundredsofRussiansfromtheArctic
totheCaucasus,fromSmolenskacrossEuropeanRussia,acrosstheUrals,toSiberiaand
ontothefareast,toVladivostok.IhavebeentoalltheseplacesandIhavetalked.Ihave
extensivenotes.ButIknowthatIcanbebiasedasweallcan,inwhatIwanttohear.SoI
circulatedabout300universityteachersofEnglishwith8questions,andaskedthem-
entirelyoptionally-fortheiranswersandthoseoftheirfriendsandrelations.LaterIturned
thequestionsintoRussianandaskedespeciallyfortheopinionsofmen.AsaresultIhave
about70detailedanswersfromteachers,lawyers,engineers,ITspecialists,business
people,journalists,students,pensioners.Educatedpeople-sonotsociologicallyaccurate
BUTtypical,itseemstome,intherangeofanswersandthekindofanswersthattheygive.

Somepeoplewouldsaythatintheiranswers,theseordinarythoughtfulRussianswere
undulyinfluencedbymass-mediapropaganda.TothatIwouldsaytwothings:astartlingly
highproportionofRussiansusetheinternetandwatchforeignTVchannels.Theyhave
accesstomanysourcesofinformationandmisinformation-morethantheirBritish
equivalents.Andevenmoreimportant,millionsandmillionsofRussiansincludingprobably
morethan50%ofthissamplehavefriendsandrelationsinUkrainewhomtheyphoneor
writetoorskypewith,oftendaily.Theyarelivinginacomplicatedconnectedworld.Of
coursetheirviewsarenotjustparroted.

(1)AreyoumoreorlesssatisfiedwiththeannexationofCrimea?Thevastmajority,about9
outof10approvedofCrimeasecedingfromUkraine.Theyobjectedtomyword,
'annexation'.TheCrimeausedtobelongtoRussia,itsinhabitantshadlongwantedtoreturn
toRussia,theyheldareferendumandtheyvotedtoleaveUkraineandthen-toaskRussia
toaccepttheautonomousrepublicaspartoftheRussianFederation.

AlthoughRussianspecialforcespoppedupallovertheplace,noviolencetookplaceand
no-onewaskilled.(Iwassurprisedthatmyrespondentsdidnotmakemuchmoreofthe
peacefulchangeofpower)

TheRussianssaid'Itwasrighttoletthemdecide:theyhavedecided.'

Anumbercomplainedthattheirownhard-earnedsalarieswerebeingtaxedtopayfor
economicaidtoCrimea.ThiswasnotidealforRussiaandsomeofmyrespondentsshould
beputdownas'againsttheinclusionofCrimea'.Buttheydidnotdoubtthatitwasavery
goodmoveforthepeopleofCrimea.

OneortwopointedoutthatprobablythemainaimoftheRussiangovernmentwhichwas
certainlyactiveintheprocess,wastoensuretheintegrityofSevatopol.

Asforthesmallminorityofthosewhodisapproved,theydidnotexplainWhy-exceptone
whosaidthatitwasagainstinternationallaw.Perhapstheothersfeltthesameobjection,
buttheyansweredwithavigorous'No',andleftcommentsandexplanationstothosewho
supportedwhathappened.

IspokeatlengthtoathoughtfullysardonicCrimeanteacherwhosaid'Mostofusvotedto
leaveUkraineandthentojoinRussiabecausewewereterrifiedofbecomingvictimsof
violencelikethewretchedeasternUkrainians.Eveninthoseearlydayswecouldseewhat
washappeningastheKievgovernmentturnedagainstthepeopleinDonbass.Andwesaid,
Noway!Wemustescapethat.SothankyouEastUkrainiansforshowinguswhatwould
havebeenourfate!

ShesaidtheCrimeanTartarswereworriedatfirst,butafterayearmostofthemhave
stoppedbeingworried.

(2)WouldtheAnnexationofeasternUkrainebeagoodidea.Alargemajoritysaid,'Certainly
not!Whatfor?RussiahasneversoughttograbeasternUkrainewhichbelongstoanother
country-utterlyunlikeCrimea.'Thisbigmajorityinsistedthatthiswasaninternalproblem
whichUkrainemustsortoutforitself.Butofcoursethisopinion,pureasitmightbeis
difficult-remembermyanalogywithScotland/Wales/NorthernIreland/Ireland.Many
Russiansfrequentlyexpressedpityforthevictims.Andmanyknewrelationsandfriendsin
theDonetskandLuganskseparatistregionswhowerehopingforsomekindofsupport.

Ayearago,answerssuchas'Itisnothingtodowithus.''Itisunimaginablethatwewould
invadeUkraine'wereevenmorecommon.InAprillastyear(2014)Imetno-onewho
thoughtthatRussiawouldorshouldinvadeeasternUkraine.Butmymostrecent
responseshaveincludedsomelongandthoughtfulruminationsontheproblem.Onlyone
saidfirmly,'InvadeUkraineandbringthecivilwartheretoaquickhalt!'andonesaid'so
manypeoplearesuffering,somanycivilians.Perhapsweoughttodosomethingtoavoid
genocide.'Buttherewasmoreof'Iftheseparatiststhinktheycannolongerlivewithin
Ukraine,afterayearoffighting,whatshouldRussiadothen?Ifthereisnohopeforpeace?'

Hereisonesuchresponse.

'Ihonestlydonotknow.TheUkrainiangovernmentissetonnotgrantinganydegreeof
autonomytotheregion,andtheRussianlanguagehasbeendeniedthestatusofthe
secondofficiallanguageconsistently,despitethefactthatalargeproportion(morethanhalf
accordingtosomesources,bothRussianandforeign)ofthepopulationtherespeaks
Russianastheirfirstlanguage.However,tomethatdoesnotmeanthatRussiashouldtake
overbymilitaryforce,asthiswouldbeaninvasionofanothercountry'sterritory,whichis
completelyinacceptable.Atthesametime,Iamappalledatthedouble-standardtheEU
hasshowninthismatter:whileupholdingtherightsofethnicminoritiesinEuropean
countries,theEUopenlysupportsagovernmentthatdiscriminatesagainsttheirown
people.IbelievethattheRussiangovernmentisrighttoapplypoliticalandeconomic
leverageinordertosupportthelargeRussiancommunityinEasternUkraine.'

TwopeopletookwhatIwouldcallaUkrainianline.TheyexplainedthattheeastUkrainian
separatistsare'terrorists'.

AndvariouspeopleinRostovwhoaregoingbackwardsandforwardsacrossthefrontier
pointedoutthatafterayearoffighting,themilitiasfightingforDonetskandtheseparatists
werealmostasbadastheUkrainianNazimilitias.

SeveralrespondentshadexperienceoftherefugeeswhocametoRussia.Onesaidthat19
membersofherhusbandsfamilyhadnowmovedacrossthebordertoRussiawherethey
hadrelatives.Maybetheywerenotexactlyrefugees-buttheyhadlefttheirhomesandjobs
andordinarylifetoescapetoRussia.[Ihavepersonallyinterviewedatlengthashy20-year-
oldrefugeefromUkraine,livingnowinPerm.Hisownstoryshowedthatmilitias(probably
onbothsides)loseallsenseafteratime.]

(3)DoyoubelieveyourgovernmentwhenitsaystheRussianarmyisnotfightingin
Ukraine?

Thiswasatrickyquestion.Fewpeoplesimplysaid,'Ibelievethem'or'theyareliars'.They
allknowthat'theWest'accusesRussiaofusingitsmilitarytodestabiliseUkraine.Theyall
knowthatPutinandhisministerssaythisisnottrue.Sowhoisright?
Somepeoplesaid'Iknowlotsofpeopleinthearmyandtheydonotknowanyonewhois
fightinginUkraine.Rumoursareboundtobeflyingabout,soiftheysaytheyknownothing,
thentherearen'tanysoldiersthere.'

Anotherargumentwasasfollows:

'Theclaimistrue.I'mnotapersontotakeontrustwhatevertheauthoritiesandmass
mediasay.I'vewitnessedbittermomentsofblindingmynation(Afghanistan,Chechnya),
butthoselieswereevident:mothersburiedtheirsonsinSiberia,NizhnyNovgorod,
Volgograd,Rostov,Ekaterinburg...andwiththat,youunderstand,thearmypresenceinan
ariawasimpossibletoconceal.I'm45nowandbelongtothegenerationofmotherswhose
sonsaredraftage.Since2014I'veheardofnotasinglecaseofamotherlosinghersonin
militaryoperationsinDonbass.'
[Infactmothershaveprotested,buttherehavebeensmallnumbers,andgovernment
effortstosuppresscomment.Sothatisn'tquitetrue.]

Otherssaid,'OfcoursetheRussianarmyisn'tthere.IftheyweretheycoulddefeatUkraine
inaweek.ORWhydoesn'ttheKievgovernmentpresentproof-photos,satelliteevidence,
capturedprisoners.Notjusttwoprisonersandfivepassports,-asifsoldierswouldhave
theirpassportsanyway.TheAmericanskeeptalkingaboutthishugeRussianarmy,butthey
havenotseenit,andtheycannotidentifyit.

Alotofpeoplesaid,'Idon'tknow'.

Manysaid-'weknowthatthereareRussianvolunteers.Iknowofpeoplewhohave
volunteeredtohelptheeastUkrainians.'

Andwhoarethesevolunteers?Welltheymaybeenthusiasticidealisticstudentsfriends
havetalkedtomeofseveralsuchstudentsandhavedescribedtheiraccounts.Other
comments:Iftherearerealarmypeoplethere,Ibettheyhavebeensentbyexasperated
officerswhowantustoDOsomething.Notchiefcommand,butlowerdownwheretheyfeel
Russiaisnotrespondingtoadisasterasitshoulddo.

Someonesaid:IknowthoseboyswhodrivethelorriesfullofhumanitarianaidtoDonetsk.
Theyarenotagainsttheaidbuttheyaresofrustrated.'WhylettheUkrainianmilitias
destroyallthesecivilianswithoutresponding.'Andsomebodyelsesaid'Veteranscan'tlive
withoutwar.IftheywereprofessionalsoldiersoncetheywillgettoUkrainesomehow.'

ButistheRussiangovernmentlying?

Oneinspiredpersonsaid-'Ithinkwhattheysayis80%true.
Andhereisaprovincialjournalistwhoseemstoknowwhatheistalkingabout:

'ItwasahabitintheUSSRtoconcealthepresenceofitsmilitaryinwarzones.[Hegives
examples]PeoplelivinginRussiawellunderstandtheirrecenthistory.Theyknowthatifour
weaponsarefiredinUkraine,thereareRussiansoldiersfiringthem.Notthearmy,not
thousandsofcompanies,notwholedivisions.Nottheairforce,notballisticmissiles.But
specialforces,signallers,reconnaissancetroops,tankdrivers.Theyarethere.Notinthe
statistics.ButthecoffinsarrivebackinRussia.

Isuspectthatrespondentsaying'it's80%true'wouldagreewithhim.Smallnumbersof
specialforces.TheRussiangovernmentis20%lying.Others,intheiranswerssuggest
somethingsimilar.

'Ithinkit'snotcompletelytrue.Itwouldbealietosay,thattherearelargegroupsofRussian
soldiersfightingforDonbass,butitwouldalsobealietodenyRussianarmy'sparticipation.
Idonotknowtowhichextendourarmyisinvolvedandit'shardtofindoutamongstallthis
propagandafrombothsides.ButstillIbelieve,thatmostofrebelsfightingforDonbassare
Donbasspeople.'

Andthencomesthetroubledjustification.

'Itishardformetojudgeas,obviously,wearebrainwashed(aswellasalltheothers).I
thinktheremightbesomeonefromRussiafightinginDonbassbutIalsothinkpeoplefrom
Donbassneedsomeonetohelpthem.WhatweseeistheUkrainiangovernment
oppressingtheRussianpopulationintheirhistoricallymulticulturalcountry.Formeit'slike
oppressingpeoplewhospeakFrenchinCanada.EuropeisnotwillingtohelpDonbassand
whenIsee(onTV)thecivilianpopulationofDonbass(theold,womenandchildren)being
killedbytheUkrainiangovernmentIcan'tbutjustifythepresenceofRussiansinDonbass
helpingtheir"brothers".'

(4)WhatmoreofpracticalactioncanRussiataketohelpsolvethecrisisinUkraine?

Tothisquestiontherewaswidespreadgloom-'Thereisnothingmorethatwecando.''This
isaquestionsfortheUkrainians,itisnothingtodowithusandtheydonotwanttosolveit.'

TheminoritywhothoughtthatRussiawasactivelymeddlinginDonbasssaid'Withdrawall
ourmilitary,andtheUkrainianswilldefeattheseparatists,sothewarwillstop.'Or'Russia
wantsadestablisedUkraineunderitscontrol.Soitdoesnotwantthewartostop.'Ihad
perhaps3answerslikethat.Iwrotetooneoftherespondentsaskingifhecouldexplain
howadestablisedUkrainecouldbeintheinterestsofRussia:expensive,messy,very
unpopularwiththemajorityofRussians,invitingthewrathofwesterncountries,andruining
evenfurthertheUkrainianeconomysothatitcannotpayitdebtstoRussia.Myrespondent
repliedthattherewereseveraltheories-helisted7-allofthemingenious,far-fetched,and
milesfromreal-politikwhichiswhatPutinisusuallyaccusedof.

Manypeoplementionedcontinuinghumanitarianaid-whichisgettingmoreurgent,not
lessdecenttreatmentofrefugees,long-termvisitorsandimmigrantsfromUkraine.

ThegloomincludedassumptionsaboutAmericanintentions.'Thewarwillnotstopbecause
theUSdoesnotwantittostop.ProbablytheEUwouldlikeittostop,buttheEUis-and
hasbeenforalongtime-America'spoodle."

Thisthoughtfulanswer-fromanothersceptic-sumsupmanyresponses:

'IthinkthatRussiahasdonemorethanenough.In1995Russiamanagednottofullystop,
butatleastkickstartthepeaceprocessinChechnyaattheverybrinkofobviousmilitary
victoryovertheIslamists.Stillourgovernmentwaswiseenoughtoseefurtherthan
immediatepoliticalgain.SoPoroshenko'steamaswellasothernegotiatorshavealotto
learnfromRussiawho,unlikemanycountriesinEuropeknowshowtodealwithsuch
problems.IthinkthatPoroshenkohadbetterchancesinthebeginningwhenDonbass
claimedmoreautonomyforlocalauthoritiesandespeciallytaxfreedoms.Thesituationis
worsenow.Itwouldbebestforbothpartiestostopfightingandstartnegotiating.Jaw-jawis
alwaysbetterthanwar-war.Butnobodycares.'

Onepersonwasblunt:'Idon'tknowwhatRussiacando.ButI'msurethattostopartillery
firingintheeastUkrainetherewillbeenoughonetelephonecalltoUkrainefromtheUS.'
(5)Whataboutthesanctions.Shouldtheybelifted?

ThreemonthsagoIwasinacarwithalawyeragedabout60.Theconversationhadturned
tosanctions.Thelawyerwasrapidlybecomingapoplectic,notsomuchwithrageaswith
theextremefrustrationoftheintelligenthavingtodealwiththestupid.Hekepttakinghis
handsoffthewheel,andIfearedthatwemightbeseriousvictimsofthisinternational
devicetomakeRussia'behave'.

'Sanctions!'saidmyfriend.'Whatonearthhavesanctionstodowithus!Wedidn'tstartthe
war!Wearenotprosecutingthewar!ThewarisbeingfoughtonUkrainianterritoryby
UkrainiansagainstotherUkrainians.BywhatlogicshouldtheUSimposesanctionson
RussiawhichhasnothingtodowiththetroublethatAmericaitselfstirredup.Howareweto
blame?'

Ifinlessvigorousterms,thatviewisalmostuniversal.Eventhestronganti-Russian-
Governmentrespondentsthinkthatthesanctionsareillogical,ineffective,andcausing
unnecessarytroubletobusinesstryingtodevelopinternationally.Thepaintoordinary
peoplehasbeentheRussiangovernment'sreversesanctionsinwhichfoodfromtheEUis
barredfromenteringRussia.Interestinglyno-oneobjectedtothisinthesenseofsayingthat
theRussianresponseshouldbeabolished.Sanctionsandcounter-sanctionswerepartof
thepackage.

AlmostnobodyexpectedthemtobeliftedpeopleregularlypointedoutthattheUSisnot
hurtbythem,andwishestogoonhurtingRussia,whiletheEUishurtbythem,andmany
Europeancountries,letalonetheirbusinessesandproducerswouldliketoseethemlifted,
buttheEUisAmerica'spoodle.(ThisviewiscertainlydrawnlargelyfromRussianmedia
andpropaganda.Italsohappenstobetrue.)

Giventhattheyareheretostay,howhavesanctionsaffectedordinaryRussians.Therewas
adistinctdividebetweentheresponsesofpeoplefromMoscowandStPetersburgand
thoseoftherestofthecountry.Thepeopleinthecapitalsmisstheforeigncheeses,and
chocolateandthedoublingofthecostofforeigntravel.Mostoftherestofthecountryis
lesstroubled:Icouldn'taffordthoseforeigngoodsanyway.IalwaysbuyRussianfoodand
thereisplentyofitanditisgood.

Also,manypeoplearguedthatthesanctionshavethrowntheRussianeconomybackonits
ownresourcesandproductions.Sotherearemorelocalbusinesses,moreinitiative,less
dependenceonimportsgenerally.Sothesanctionsareactuallyimprovingtheeconomy.

Nowthatlastpointiscertainlypartofwhatthegovernmenttellsthepeople.Idon'tknow
howfaritistrue.Probablythegovernmentdoesn'tknoweither,becauseRussiaisahuge
country.Butoneortwopeoplementionedspecificnewactivitiesintheirareas.

Everyonesaidthatpriceshadgoneup-partlybecauseofsanctions,partlybecauseoflow
oilprices.Butthiswaspartoflife.Nofinancialdifficultieswerelikethedisastersof15years
ago.Anuisance,atighteningofbelts,apulling-together.

It'sstrangebutthefactisthatsanctionsimposedonRussiahaveunitedourcountry.

Orfromsomeonemoresceptical,andinotheranswerscriticalofthegovernment:

'IfyouhatePutin,punishhim,butifyouhatealltheRussians,wewillalsohateyou.The
mostseveresanctionswereimposedaftertheMH-17tragedy.[TheMalaysianairliner
crash]TheWestwasnotright.Wedon'tknowwhowasreallytoblame!Theother
sanctionshavenotmuchangeredmeandmyfriends.Ihopethesanctionswillbelifted.'

NOWFORFOURMOREGENERALQUESTIONS.

Question6.IsadrawingtogetheroftheRussianOrthodoxChurchandStateagoodidea?

Igotawiderangeofanswerstothis,butratherlittleanalysis.IfIdividethemintothree,the
smallestgroup-butstillareasonablenumber-said'Surelythisisagoodthing'.'Whatis
theproblem?"'Russianshavealwaysbeenspiritual'.

Thenextgroup-athird,say-saidthattheydidnotunderstandmyquestionbecausethey
didnotrecognizethesituation.TheRussianConstitutioninsistsonaseparationofChurch
andStatedifferentreligionsarerecognizedwithintheconstitutionthepoliticalelite
sometimesmakeofficialvisitstoMosquesandBuddhisttemplesandSynagoguesaswell
astheOrthodoxChurchwithwhichabigmajorityoftheethnicRussianpopulationidentify.
Thepaperspublishphotosofpoliticalleaderswithlotsofleadersofdifferentfaiths:thatis
partofacknowledgingthevariedculturesthatmakeuptheRussianFederation.Russiais-
andisrecognized-asamulti-faithandno-faithculture.

ManypointedoutthattheythoughtofthemselvesasRussianOrthodox,butthiswasfor
themaculturalidentificationratherthanaspiritualone.Theydidn'texpecttogotoChurch,
butitwasusefulforthesoultotakethefastseriously.[FastinginLenthasrecentlybecome
almostanobsessionIaminRussiaduringAprileachyear,andsoIarriveattheheightof
theFastingSeason.Fastingmeanscuttingoutmeat,butteranddairyproduce,sometimes
fishbutrarelyalcohol.Sointhebakerytheywillwarnyouthatsuchandsuchaloafisnot
goodforLentFastingbecauseitcontainsmilkinrestaurantsandincanteensthereare
specialLentmenus.Withamixtureofmoaningandenthusiasmmuchofthepopulation
joinsin,atleastduringtheweekbeforeOrthodoxEaster.Thentheyhavehugefeastswith
eggsandspecialdecoratedcakesandagloriouscreamcheesedishflavouredwithmany
goodthings.AtsuchmomentsmanyRussianswilllookatyousolemnlyandsaytheyare
Orthodoxatheart-butinthenextbreaththeycanbegintomockfatcorruptpriests.]

Anyway,thisgroupcan'tunderstandmyquestionbecausetheydon'treallythinkitis
happening.

Andthenaslightlylargergroupadmitthattheyareworried.Mostofthemarenotworried
verymuch.WhenIhaveaskedfriendswhoarereligiousthemselves,theyhaveshaken
theirheadsslowlyandsaid,'Idon'tlikeit.Ithinkreligionisaprivatethinganditisnopartof
myreligiontobereflectedinwhatourgovernmentdoes.'

Others-non-believers-weremorescathing.TheOrthodoxChurchisaninstitutionwhich
isalwaystryingtogetmorepower.That'satendencyinallcountriesbutitshouldbe
resisted.

SeveralsaidthattheOrthodoxChurchisnowdefactoanarmofgovernment-'AndwhatI
hatemostaboutitisthattheseelitesusedtobeatheistsandnowtheyadorethechurch.'
and
'It'saveryworryinginfluence,mostlyduetotheRussianOrthodoxChurch'slong
connectionstotheFSB(formerKGB).'

TheactualviewsthattheChurchseekstoimposeonthepeople-oratleastitdeclaresits
positionwithseemingKremlincomplicity-includestrongdisapprovalofgaypeople,strong
disapprovalof'westernmoralstandards',andabeliefthatRussiamusttakeitsown
spiritualpath.Whichtendstoproudisolationism.

Sosomeoftheobjectionsbythisgroupareto'Mediaevalopinions-butwhatcanyou
expectoftheChurch?'resentmentthatanyinstitutionistellingyouwhattodowiththatkind
ofauthorityattacksontheassumptionthatthereisaconnectionbetweentheChurchand
the144millionRussians-whoarediversewithdiverseopinions.Still,thismoderate
answerwasmosttypical.

'Idon'tthinkit'sagoodidea.Butrightnow(asIseeit)Russianpeopledonotseeanythreat
inthat.AlotofpeoplefromRussiadonotbelieveinsaintlinessofclergy.Wehaveseena
lotofphotographsinourpressandblogosphereshowingpriestsinluxuriouscarsand
wearinghugelyexpensivecloaks.Wemaygotochurch,wemayskipchurch.It'snotabig
deal.That'swhymostofusdonotcareabouttheproblem.'

ThatwascertainlytheviewofstudentsinclasseswhereIaskedthequestion.'Nobigdeal.'

FinallyIhadseveralrespondentswhoretorted,reasonablyenough-Whataboutyour
QueeninWestminsterAbbey?WhataboutyourArchbishopinCanterbury?Our
constitutionissecularyoursisnot.

Questions7and8OnActivestudentsandontheImmortalLegion.

ThesewerealternativeQuestionsIwaswantingtofindoutiftherewasanincreaseofcivic
activityinRussiarecently,and3peoplefrom3differentcitiesspontaneouslymentionedthe
increasedenthusiasmoftheirstudents.Butthequestionwasobviouslyirrelevantfornon-
universityrespondentssoIreplaceditbyoneabouttheImmortalLegionwalksonVictory
Day.Neitherturnedouttobeanidealquestionbuttheyraisedsomeinterestingpoints.

Plentyofuniversityteacherssaidthatstudentsarestudents,theyvary,someyearsare
moreactivethanotherstheyareignorantandimmatureexceptforafew....'Averydulllot
thisyear...'Etc.

Butasignificantnumbersaidthatmoreandmoreoftheirstudents(atleastinthe
humanities)weretakingupvoluntaryworksuchashelpinginorphanages,visitingelderly
people,donatingblood.Thestudentsorganizesuchactivitiesthemselves,butclearlythere
isanationalmoodgoingroundthecountry.Itiscertainlyhelpedbygovernment-approved
media.Butthatdoesn'tmeanthatitislessreal.Twoyearsagotherewerereally
devastatingfloodsintheRussianFarEastThousandsofhomesdestroyed,tensof
thousandshomeless.ThroughTVchannelstherewereappealsformoneyandhelp,and
thousandsofstudentsvolunteered.Normaldecentresponses.Butmanyteachersthought
thattheresponsewasmorevigorousthanitwouldhavebeeninearlieryears.Also,
followingtheexampleofBritain,muchwasmadeofstudentvolunteersattheSochi
OlympicGames.Ispoketolotsofstudentswhowentthereasvolunteersandtheywereas
excitedastheirBritishcounterparts.Asaresultithasbecomefashionabletobehelpfuland
tovolunteerforRussianactivities.(AndIdonotuse'fashionable'cynicallybutasawayof
tracingatrend.)

Moreoverseveralrespondentsnotedthatstudentsaremorepoliticallyactive.Ofcourse
theyareasmallminority,butbiggerandnoisierthantheywere.Hereisanenthusiastic
commentfromoneteacherinherthirties.

'Mystudentsareveryinquiring,I'vebeenteachingfor11yearsalreadyanddothinkthatthe
youngpeoplearemoreopen,sensitiveandwhatisreallyamazing-patriotic!About10
yearsago90%ofstudentsofForeignLanguagesDepartmentwantedtoleavethecountry
andnowtheyallwanttostay,theybroadentheirhorizon,getinvolvedintomanyvoluntary
projects,theyhelpsomanypeople!'

NowIwanttolookattheotherquestion.WhatdoyouthinkoftheImmortalLegion.InSoviet
timesthereweretwoimportantnationalholidays-1stMayand9thMay.1stMay-workers'
day-wassolinkedwiththeSovietUnionthatitcouldnotbecelebratedexceptasa
communistfestival.Soitisstillapublicholiday,butmostofthepopulationwhocandoso
rushofftotheirdachastobeginplantingforthesummerseason.It'saspringbreakof
severaldays.

9thMaywascelebratedinSoviettimesasthegreatVictoryOverFascismDay.Military
hardwarewasbroughtoutontoRedSquare,andincitiesandtownsupanddownthe
countrythearmyparadedandpeoplebothrejoicedintherepellingofinvadersfromtheir
homelandandmournedthemillionswhohaddied.Ithasalwaysbeenapublicholidaybutin
the1990snotsomuchwasmadeofthedisplay.TheRussianFederationwasnotatwar,
theGreatPatrioticWaroftheSovietUnionwasaboutadifferentworldinadifferentcountry,
andRussianshadotherthingstoworryabout.

InPutin'stime,notimmediatelybutslowly,VictoryDayhasbeenbroughtbackasapatriotic
holiday,withtheideaofunitingallthepeople.With27milliondead,everySovietfamily
suffereddeaths,letalonethewoundedandtraumatizedwhodidreturn.And'Sovietpeople'
includedofcoursethepeopleslivinginwhatisnowtheRussianFederation.Sothis
seemedtobeadaytobringthemalltogether.

Isitadayforshowingoffthemilitary?Notnearlysomuchasitusedtobe-untilthisyear
whenPutinmadeitclearthatthedisplayofmilitaryequipmentdidhaveapoliticalagenda.

Thisyeartherewasahugeofficialbuild-uptothe70thAnniversary.Everywherewere
posters,declamations,exhibitions,people-participationineventsbeforethegreatday.But
alsoinresponsetoaggressiveandhostileactionsbythewest,therewasalsoalotof
militarystuffondisplay.

Severaltimes,ascarefullyasIcould,Iraisedthequestionofwhetherthiswasan
appropriatepublicholiday70yearsaftertheevent.'Younolongercelebratethrowing
NapoleonoutofRussia.WhenareyougoingtostopcelebratingthrowingtheNazisoutof
Russia?'
AndalmostalwaystheanswerwasasifIhadseriouslyhurtthepersonIasked.

'Karen,surelyyouunderstand-somanypeopledied.Andtheydiedforus,andwemustnot
forgetthat.Childrenforgetsomuchthesedayssoitisveryimportanttotellthemabout
theirgreat-grandfathers.'

'ButwhyVictory?Isn'tthisabittoolateforCelebratingVictory?'

'Itdoesn'tmeanthatwearethinkingofotherpeoplesasenemies.Itmeansthatweare
proudofourselves.'

NowtotheImmortalLegionortheImmortalRegiment.Aboutfouryearsagoinsome
Siberiancity,agroupofpeopledecidedtowalkbehindtheusualmarchingsoldiersand
youthfulcadets,holdinghome-madeposterswithaphotographofsomeoneintheirfamily
whohadbeenkilledinthewar.Itwasalocalinitiativewhichcaughtonveryquicklyand
spreadacrossthecountry.By8thMay2015(whenIwasinPermaspartofanofficial
Oxfordcitydelegation)thousandsofPermiansspenttheeveningmakingpostersreadyfor
awalkinaprocessionthenextday.AndsoinPermonMay9th,outinthebigparadearea
wehadballetandsoldiers,children,andaPerm-madetankthatwentallthewaytoBerlin,
mountedonalorry-thatgotbigapplause-andlargishcrowds.Butafterthesedisplays
therecame,walkingdownKomsomolskyProspect30,000Permcitizens,carryingposters.
[Population-onemillion.]
Itwasentirelypeople-leditwasentirelycivic,anditwasverymoving.

Whatdidmyrespondentssay.Almostallofthemsaidthatthiswasawonderfulideathat
camefromthepeople,representedthepeople,andgaveprideandlovetoeveryone.Even
themostextremescepticsaid'OnthismatterIhavenotyetmadeupmymind'whichwas
somekindofgrudgingapproval.Butoneyoungpacifist-humanistcouldnotquiteapprove.

'Again,adifficultquestion.Ontheonehand-ImmortalLegionisagoodideafornational
rejoicingandpreservingthenationalhistoricalmemory.Itcaughtpublic'sattentionandwas
widelyshownonTV.Butontheotherhand-isn'titbettertoshownationalrejoicinginsome
moresociallyusefularrangements?Helpingthepoor,orphansorevenjustplantingtrees.
Tomyminditwasbetter,whensomeyearsagowehadacelebrationofVictorydayplanting
apinetreeandplacingasignwithanameofrelative,whodiedduringthewar.Ithink,our
ancestorswouldhaveapproveditmore.'

OneofthewordsthatappearedinanswerstothesetwoquestionsaboutCivicSocietywas
'patriotic'.Itoccurredquiteoften.Anditraisesthequestionofwhen'patriotism'isagood
thingandwhenitisnot.

OneoftheaccusationslevelledagainstPutinby'theWest'isthathehasencouragednasty
kindsofnationalismthatinordertobolsterupRussiahehasgivenquietsupporttovarious
neo-NaziRussiangroups.

Iwanttosaysomethingaboutthisimmediately.Idonotdoubtthatthereareunpleasant
Russian'nationalists',justasthereareunpleasantBritish'nationalists'quiteanumberof
whomexpecttoseeincreasingattentiontotheirviewsinthiscountry.Russianneo-nazis
havetheirwebsites,theiranti-Muslim,anti-Semite,anti-Caucasian,anti-Ukrainianviews.
Theyhavedrunkenfracasandtheycanbemurderous.ButIhaveneverseenorheardany
Russianapprovingofsuchgroups-includingthemostfiercelypatrioticandenthusiastic
followersofofficialRussianpropaganda.OfcourseImeetaselectednumberofpeople
bothinRussiaandinBritain.Idon'tmeetextremenationalistsinBritain.Butinbothcases
thesepeopleseemtobefringegroups,notwelcomedatallbygovernmentsorofficials.

OnVictoryDayinMoscow,asIsaid,thegovernmentbroughtoutmissilesandadvanced
armaments-thebiggestdisplayever.InthatsenseRussiannationalismwastothefore.In
ashortspeechPutinthankedtheAmericans,theBritishandotheralliesforhelpingto
defeatNazismin1945-andquietlyindicatedthattheyhadchosennottocomeonthis70th
anniversary.HetalkedaboutthefightforhumanitytowhichalltheseRussiancitizens'
ancestorshadcontributed,AndheshowedoffRussianstrengthtotheforeigndignitaries.

Then-advancingonRedSquarecameamassofordinarypeople.Andtotheconfusionof
theChinesePresident,Putingotdownoffthetribunalandwenttojointhewalkers,carrying
apictureofhisownfatherwhofoughtinthewar.Inthiscrowdhewasoneofhalf-a-million.
Isthisanexampleofgrotesquegovernmentpropaganda?IsitanexampleofthePresident
takingoverthelocalcivicdemonstrationsofthepeople?OrisitawayforthePresidentto
bepartofthepeople.(Hewasafterall,walkinginthemidstofthousandssomeofwhom
probablydidnotfeeltotallyenthusiasticabouthim.)

WouldObamadothis?WouldCameron?Doesitmatter?

IaskthesequestionsasIcomeontothelastquestionwhichIsentouttomyreaders.

(8)HasRussiachangedrecently.Andifso,forthebetterortheworse.

Somepeoplesaidnothingmuchhadchangedexceptpriceshadgoneup.Usuallythe
implicationseemedtobe-lifeisgenerallydullorgloomyandwehavetoputupwithit.

Asmallishminoritysaidithaddefinitelychangedfortheworse:norespectforhumanrights,
toomuchChurch-propaganda,terriblemass-media,agenerallybrain-washedpopulation.

"Russiahaschangedfortheworsebecauseoftheactivegovernmentalpropaganda:all
thosetalksabout'externalenemiesofRussia','Russianspiritualbonds',and'greatnessof
Russia'makemesick."

Themajorityhoweversaid,'Yes,somethinghaschanged.Acomingtogetherofpeople,a
senseofbeingRussianwithpride.'Sowhatmakesonerespondentsickisobviously
relatedtothepridefeltbyothers.Isit,though,morethangrandwordsfromtoppeople
transmittedthroughthepopulation?

Hereisacommentbyaverythoughtfulcorrespondent.

'Russiahaschangedalotforthelasttwelveyears(notmanychangessince2013,asIcan
see).Thereareverygoodthings-forexample,inbiggercitiesrathersuccessfulwork
againstcorruptionisbeingheldpeoplehavebecome"sated"withfood,goodsand
pleasuresandarelookingforsomethingelse.Andstill,therearethingsthatseemtome
sadandsavage-thementioned"closeness"ofStateandChurch,sometypesof
discrimination,censorshipinmedia,forexample.'

Andnow,fromaprovincialcity-andIcouldhavepickedupmanyothercomments:

'IthinkRussiahaschangedandischangingforthebetter.Peoplearebecomingmore
patriotic,theyaremoreconfidentintheirfuture(youcanseethatbythenumberofbabies
beingborn)-ourbirthrateisdefinitelygoingup!Morepeoplearewillingtoworkforthe
benefitofthecountry.Notonlyfortheirpersonalsurvival.

'AnotherthingthatInotice,sinceIamintouchwiththissphere,isthattheyareclosing
downalotoforphanages,becausetherearejusttoofewchildreninthem.Theyare
mergingseveralorphanagesintoone,becausewedon'tneedthatmanyanymore.One
reasonisthatlessandlessbabiesandchildrenareabandonedandtheotherthingisthata
lotarebeingadopted.Thereisawholeboomofadoptions,Iknowseveralfamilies,who
haveadoptedchildrenevenhavingtheirownones.Thatisanotherpositivetendencythat
saysthatpeoplearebecomingmoreempathictoothers,theyarenotonlycenteredaround
theirpersonallives,butlookingoutward,tryingtohelptheir"neighbours".

'Anationalideaisbeingformedagain,whichhasbeensadlylackingafterthefallofthe
USSR.'

Orassomeoneelseputit:

"Thisdidnothappenovernightbutgradually.Thepeoplearestraighteningtheirshoulders..."

IcouldgoonbutIwillleaveitthereandwaitforquestions.

Answerscamefrom:Arkhangelsk,Barnaul,Belgorod,Blagoveshensk,Chelyabinsk,Chita,
Khabarovsk,Kolomna,Krasnodar,Kurgan,Kursk,Magnitogorsk,Moscow,Naberezhny
Chelny,Novgorod,Omsk,Perm,Piatigorsk,Rostov-on-Don,Samara,StPetersburg,
Tomsk,Tula,Tver,Ulan-Ude,VladivostokandYekaterinburg.

Extracontributionswhichareofinterest:
AreyoumoreorlesssatisfiedwiththeannexationofCrimea?

'Yes.In2010(!!!)IhadabackpackingsummertravelintheCrimeaandstayedovernights
atdozensofordinaryhomesIhadneverknownbefore.IreturnedtoRussiaratherstartled
withthepovertyanddespairthosepeoplelivedin,aswellaswiththeirstrongresolutionto
startmilitaryactionsagainstKiev,incasetheUkrainiangovernmentproceededwiththe
pro-NATOpolicyandturnedtheirbackonRussia.Lotsofpeoplewerekeepingarmsinthe
cellars(Isawthat!!)andmenspokeabouttheirreadinesstodefend"Crimea,theRussian
land"(asoneCossack,aged30said,"WeareRussian,andifKievevertrenchesonour
righttobeRussian,weareorganized,armedandreadytocombat,we'lldefendourland").
TheatmosphereofhatredbetweenvariouspartsofUkrainewasshockingandreally
frightening.Itwasevident,itcouldn'tlastlong.'

'So,whatIwanttosayis:1)theconflictinUkraineisaresultoflong-timedomestic
tensions2)anyforcesthathavebeenfuelingtheconflictaremerelyusingthegroundthat
becamebadlyillbecauseofunwiseactionsoftheUkrainianleadersinthe00s3)theother
scenarioinMarch2014wouldhaveprobablymeantseverestcivilwarinUkraine,withmuch
moredrasticconsequencesforUkrainiansthantheyarehavingnow.'

(4)TheRussiangovernmenthasrepeatedlycalledforanegotiatedpeacesettlementin
EasternUkraine,andworkedattheMinsk1andthentheMinsk2agreements.Isthere
anythingmore-anythingpractical-thattheRussiangovernmentcandotobringabout
peace?

'Ithinkno,becauseit'snotourproblems,reallyIdon'tunderstandwhywholeWorldasks
Russiatomakesomethingforpeace.TheproblemfirstconsideredUkraine,theirpolitic,
economicandsocialhabits,theymakeitbyowncauses.ManyofUkrainepeoplewantsto
liveinRussia,ECandothercountries,becausetheycan'tliveinUkraine.Whatandwhy
shouldwedoelse.Russiahelpsrefugees,butECandUSAdon't,sowhy?'

HasRussiachangedforbetterorworse?

(Anextremeview,butonewhichissupported(orseemstobesupported)byofficial
governmentpropaganda.)'IdonotwantmychildrentoliveaccordingtoEuropean
stereotypesandstandards-andthey,toputitmildly,havedegradedrecently,iftorecall
onlythegaypolicy!!!ThisisDEGRADATIONofthemoralvaluesandthisisdiseasedmind
whichisbeingimposedonRussia,astrongandindependentnation.Idonotwanttolive
amonggaysandlesbians.Theseareabnormalcaseswhicharepopularizedbymighty
EuropeansandAmericans,whowanttocontroltheworld,butareactuallylosingthegame,
becauseit'simpossibletooppresspeoplewhohavetheirownidentities(Russians,
Muslims,Jews...).'

[returntoContents]

#10
RussiaInsider
www.russia-insider.com
September21,2015
MyFirst-HandAccountofaProvincialRussianCity(It'sBustling!)
TravellingalongtheTransSiberianRailwayfromMoscowtoPermrevealsabustling
moderncity-totallydifferentfromthedarkprovincialRussiaofwesternfancy
ByAlexanderMercouris
AlexanderMercourisisawriteroninternationalaffairswithaspecialinterestinRussiaand
law.HehaswrittenextensivelyonthelegalaspectsofNSAspyingandeventsinUkrainein
termsofhumanrights,constitutionalityandinternationallaw.Heworkedfor12yearsinthe
RoyalCourtsofJusticeinLondonasalawyer,specializinginhumanrightsand
constitutionallaw.HisfamilyhasbeenprominentinGreekpoliticsforseveralgenerations.
Heisafrequentcommentatorontelevisionandspeakeratconferences.Heresidesin
London.

AsIreportedforRussiaInsiderafewweeksago,IhaverecentlyvisitedPerm,animportant
industrialcityintheUrals.

ThisismyfirstvisittoaRussiancityotherthanMoscoworSt.Petersburg.
ThetripwasmadepossiblebytheOxfordRussiaProject.Thisis-amongstmuchelse-an
academicexchangebringingtogetherheadsofEnglishDepartmentsfromacrossRussia
andBelarusforseminarsandmeetingswithmajorfiguresintheliterarysceneinEngland.

IamnotawriterandIdonotteachEnglishliterature,butthroughthekindnessofKaren
Hewitt-theextraordinarilygiftedcoordinatoroftheproject-Iwasabletoaccompanymy
wife,whoheadsanEnglishliteraturedepartmentataUniversityinEngland,andwhoisa
regularparticipantintheproject.

ThoughIdidnottakepartinanyoftheseminars,throughthekindnessofthestaffofPerm
StateUniversity(Iwouldspeciallymention-andthank-myoutstandinghostessSvetlana
Polyakova,togetherwiththedeanofhistory,IgorKirianovandhisdaughterOlgaKirianova)I
hadanexceptionallyfullseriesofmeetings,meetinganextraordinaryvarietyofpeoplewho
werekindenoughtogivemetheirtimeandtoanswermymanyquestions.

Theresultwasanexcitingandstimulatingvisit,whichansweredmanyquestions,and
posednewones.

OverthenextfewweeksIintendtowriteaseriesofpiecessettingoutmyimpressions.

BeforehoweverIdosohoweverthereisonegeneralpointIwanttomake.

TheoverwhelmingimpressiontheWesternandRussianliberalmediaconveyoflifein
RussiaoutsideMoscowandSt.Petersburgisoneofgrindingpovertyandharshness.

ArecentarticleinTheEconomist,withtheominoustitle"Russia'sEconomy:ThePathto
Penury",isacaseinpoint.Thearticlestartswithatypicallygloomyopeningparagraph:

"Almost500km(310miles)separateMoscow,Russia'sglitteringcapital,fromitslesser-
knownnamesake,adyingvillagedeepintheforestsoftheTverskayaOblast.

TheroadthatconnectsthembeginsassmoothasphaltbesidetheredwallsoftheKremlin
andendsasarutteddirttrackamidabandonedwoodenhomes.

Thecharactersthatpopulatethetownsandcitiesalongthewayoftenliveverydifferent
lives.

ButasRussia'srecessiondeepens(thecountry'sGDPshrankby4.6%inthesecond
quartermeasuredyear-on-year),theeffectsresonateacrosseverystratumofsociety."
Itproceedstopaintapictureofmiseryandhopelessness,withtheclearimplicationthatthis
ishowlifeislivedbeyond"Russia'sglitteringcapital"-Moscow.

HavingnowactuallyseenPermandmetwithpeoplefromacrossRussiawhowere
attendingthevariousseminars,andhavingalsoseenoneofthesmallsettlementsonthe
railwaylinkingMoscowtoPerm,Icansaythisiscompletenonsense.

ThereispovertyinRussia,ruraldepopulationdoesoccur,andtherearepoorvillagesand
regions.TosupposethatthewholecountryoutsideMoscowandSt.Petersburgislikethat
ishoweversowrongastobegrotesque.

TherealityofPermisofabustlingmoderncity,withpowerfulindustries,adynamic
university,andahighlydevelopedculturallife.Basedonwhatpeoplefromotherregionstold
me,itisbynomeansuntypical.

ThatisnottosaythatPerm-likethecountryasawhole-isfreeofproblems.Overthe
courseoftheseriesofarticlesIintendtowriteIshalltouchonsomeofthem.

Howeveraproperunderstandingofthecountryandofitsproblemsisonlypossibleonce
themythsarebanishedaway.Giventheimmensetractionthesemythshave-andthe
interestsomehaveinperpetuatingthem-banishingthemisnoteasy.Howevertheeffort
hastobemade,andPermisasgoodaplacetostartasany.

[returntoContents]

#11
TheNationalInterest
September24,2015
Russia'sMoralFrameworkandWhyItMatters
AlookintoRussia'smoralframeworkandtherelationshipithaswithreligionandstate
valuescouldhelpusbetterunderstandwhatmakesMoscowtick.
ByNicolaiN.Petro
NicolaiN.PetroisaprofessorUniversityofRhodeIsland.

Russia'smoralframework,particularlyasitappliestocontemporaryRussianforeignpolicy,
differsmarkedlyfromthatoftheWest.

Whilepost-SovietRussiahasnoguidingideology,itdoesarguethatcertainvalues,if
adoptedassharedprinciplesofbehavior,aremorecongenialtointernationalorderthan
others.Russiawouldliketoseesuchprinciplesofbehaviorbemorewidelyadopted,but,
recognizingthateachnation'sculturaldevelopmentisunique,itverymuchopposesefforts
topromoteanyonesetofethicalvaluesbeyonditsborders.Hence,theonlytimethatthe
internationalcommunitymaylegitimatelyappealtotransnationalethicalnorms,iswhen
sucharesanctionedbytheUnitedNations.Thisisahighbar,but,Russiaargues,ithas
beensethighonpurpose,toavoidabuse.

ThespecificvaluesthatRussiaseesasmorecongenialtointernationalorderarethose
sharedbyRussia'sfourtraditionalreligiouscommunities-Judaism,Christianity,Islamand
Buddhism.Theircomfortableinteractionwitheachotherandwiththestate,Russiaargues,
demonstratesthatreligionneednotbeasourceofconflictinthemodernworld.Indeed,
RussianspokesmenhaveoftenarguedthatWesternnationscouldlearnalotfromthe
Russianmodel.

ThismoralframeworkhasledtofourareasoffrictionwiththeWest.

Thefirstinvolvesthenatureoftheinternationalorder.Sincetheriseofhumanrightsand
democracyasexplicitU.S.foreign-policyobjectivesinthe1970s,Westernpoliticalleaders
havearguedthat,inthebestofallpossibleworlds,foreignpolicyisareflectionofdomestic
politics.Thetheorybuiltaroundthisassumption-"democraticpeacetheory"-initsmost
popularformistakentosuggestthatdemocraciesdonotgotowarwitheachother.States
thatpromotedemocracyarethereforepromotingamorallydesirableinternationalorder,
whereasstatesthatobjecttosucheffortsaredeemedimmoral.

AsWesternconcernfordemocracyandhumanrightshasoutpacedthatofinternational
institutions,theUnitedStatesanditsallieshavesoughtwaysaroundtheseinstitutions,by
assertingthatWesternvaluesarethedefacto,ifnotdejure,internationalstandard.When
severalWesternnationsactinconcert,therefore,theydonotrequireanyexplicitmandate
fromtheUnitedNations.ThishasbeenasourceofconsiderablefrictionbetweenRussia
andtheWest.

Athirdsourceoftensionstemsfromtheerosionoftraditionalreligionsasthearbitersof
moralityintheWest.ForsomeintheWest,itfollowsthatinternationalsocietymustnow
findsomealternativenormativeframework.Sincethevaluesofindividualism,secularism
andmodernizationledtotheriseoftheWest,accordingtothislineofthinking,theyserve
asappropriatebenchmarksfortherestofhumanity.

Finally,intoday'sRussianOrthodoxChurchiscloselypartneredwiththestate.Itprovides
bothintellectualandmoralsupporttomanystatepolicies,notbecauseithasto,but
becauseitwantsto.ThecurrentmoralframeworkofRussianforeignpolicyis,indeed,its
view,whichtheChurchpromotesbecauseitisconvincedthatcreatinga"congenial
internationalorder"willassistitinitsthreefoldsalvificmission-tosaveindividualsouls,to
saveallnationalculturesthathavebeenbaptizedintoChrist,andtosaveallmankind.
Needlesstosay,thisisasfarfromthedoctrineofseparationofChurchandStateasEast
isfromWest.

ThemoralcontoursofthepresentEast-Westconflictshouldnowbereadilyapparent.
Russiaopposestheadoptionofanysinglesetofculturalvaluesasthestandardfor
internationalbehavior.ManyintheWestcounterthatWesternvaluesarenotjustalone
culturalstandard,butthedefactouniversalstandard.Russialabelsthisunilateralismand
advocatesamultipolarworldorderbasedonpluriculturalismasabetteralternative.

Pluriculturalismarguesthatthereisaninherent("God-given,"accordingtoVladimirPutin)
valuetodiversityamongnations.Thisisdistinctfrommulticulturalismwhichvalues
diversitywithinnations.Russiaassignsdiversitywithinnationsalowerprioritythanitdoes
diversityamongnations.Bycontrast,Westernstatesmoretypicallyprizediversitywithin
nations(therightsoftheindividual),whereasamongnationstheyseektosubordinate
nationalculturaldifferencestostandards,suchashumanrights,thatexpressmodern
Westernvalues.

Thepotentialforinternationalconflictisobvious,butitishardlyinevitable.Foronething,if
welookatthisdebateinhistoricalandreligiouscontext,weseethatithasdeeprootsinthe
West.

Thus,Russia'spluriculturalism,whicharguesthatnationalculturaldistinctionsimpose
certainmorallimitsontheconductofforeignpolicy,usedtobecalled"American
exceptionalism"inthiscountryandwastypicallycitedasthereasonAmericadoesNOTgo
abroad,asJohnQuincyAdamsputit,"insearchofmonsterstodestroy."Contrastthisto
presidentObama'sassertionlastyearatWestPointthat"Americamustalwaysleadonthe
worldstage.Ifwedon't,nooneelsewill,"whichtakesitforgrantedthatsubjectingall
nationstoAmericanleadershipisamoralgood.

Justhowmuchourmoralframeworkhasshiftedovertimecanbegleanedfromthefact
thattodaythebestknownarticulatorofAdams'concernthat,shouldAmericabecome"the
dictatressoftheworld:shewouldbenolongerbetherulerofherownspirit,"isnoteven
American.ItisVladimirPutin.

NoristheOrthodoxChurch'smoralframeworkas"anti-modern"or"anti-liberal"asit
appearstobeatfirstblush.ThewritingsofseniorRussianclergyonthesesubjectsquite
nuanced,arguingthatboththeEnlightenmentandliberalismwerebothvaluableand
progressivesocialidealsintheirday,butthathavingabandonedthemoralframework
providedbytheChurch,theyhavedeformedandbecomemonstrous.

WhattheOrthodoxChurchdoesreject,andthiswholeheartedly,issecularism.Andthefact
thatcontemporaryWesternsocietiestendtoregardsecularism,alongwithmodernityand
liberalism,asformingthequintessentialWesterntrinityofvalues,issomethingthatthe
RussianOrthodoxChurchiskeentoreverse.

Thisis,ofcourse,aconflictofvisions,andsomepoliticalfalloutfromitisinevitable.Itis
alsounderstandablethat,inseculardiscourse,theRussianOrthodoxChurchisoften
treatedasapoliticalactor,becauseitclearlyis.Itisalsoaneconomicactor,alegalactor,a
culturalactor,aneducationalactor,insumitisactiveinliterallyeverysphereofpubliclife.
Thequestionweoughttoponder,however,ishowbesttopreventthisconflictofidealsfrom
spillingoverintooutrighthostility.Onewaytomitigatethepoliticalrepercussionsthatderive
fromourconflictingeschatologiesmightbetorecognizejusthowlittlethissecularactivity
meanstotheOrthodoxChurch.

WeshouldneverlosesightofthefactthattheChurchseesitself,firstandforemost,asa
supernaturalactor-themanifestationoftheHolySpiritinhistory.Whatdopoliticalbattles
matterwhenoneiscompetingforeveryindividualsoul,fortheverysoulofmankind?This
latteristheonlystrugglethathasmeaningfortheChurch,thatisitsraisond'etre,andits
outcomewillnotbedecidedbypolitics.

Moreover,inthisall-definingbattle,theChurchhasanalmostinsurmountableadvantage
overallpoliticalactors,governments,andevennations.Itstimeframeforsuccessis
eternity,whichisawfullyhardtobeat.

ButhowsuccessfulcanRussiabeinitseffortstopropagateitsmoralframework?How
attractiveisit?Theanswerdependsonwhichregionoftheworldoneistalkingabout.

Ifsoftpoweristhoughtofastheuseofreligiousand/orculturalaffinitytoachieveforeign
policyobjectives,thenitisnotsurprisingthatmostofRussia'sneighborsremainquite
receptivetoRussiansoftpower.Sometimes,asinUkraineandGeorgia,thismutual
dependencyismanifestedina"love-hate"relationshipthatkeepsRussiaatthecenterof
publicattention,evenasnationalelitesdesperatelyseektodistancetheircountryfrom
Russianculturalinfluence.

CultureandreligionthereforeremainpowerfulassetsinRussia'seffortstoestablisha
EurasianUnionandtoimpedealternatives,sinceitisalwayseasiertoforgepoliticaland
economicallyattractiveoptionsfromacommonculturalfoundation,thantoattemptthe
reverse.

ButtherealtestforRussiansoftpowerwillbewhetheritcanshapepreferencesinareasof
theglobethathavetraditionallybeenoutsideitsculturalinfluence.Toexpanditsreach,
Russiaispromotingtwosimplemessagesthatarelikelytoresonatedeeplywithmanynon-
Westernstates.

Thefirst,isthatitisalrightfornon-Westernnationstobetruetothemselves.Tosucceedin
theworld,onedoesnothavetomoveinlockstepwiththeWesternmodelofdevelopment.
TheriseoftheBRICS,Russiaargues,hasproventhatdiverseapproachestodevelopment
cancompeteverysuccessfullywith"theWashingtonConsensus,"andthatlocaltraditions
canprovideareservoirofsocialresourcesthatcanbeusedtoenhanceglobal
competitiveness.

ThesecondmessageisthatitisalrighttochallengeprevailingWesternnotionsconcerning
theadvantagesofaconsumerorientedsociety.Inmanynon-Westernsocieties,
consumerismisblamednotonlyforleadingdirectlytospiritualcrisis,butalsotoresource,
demographic,andecologicalcrises.Thecommonresponsehasbeentoseeka
sustainable,autochthonousspiritualdevelopment,uponwhichtobuildasustainable,
autochthonouseconomicdevelopment.

Inhisbook,TheRighteousMind,professorJonathanHaidthighlightsthevastvaluesgap
thatexistsbetweenthe"Western,Educated,Industrialized,Rich,andDemocratic"nations
(WEIRD),andnationsthatpreferan"ethicofcommunity"oran"ethicofdivinity."Inthese
latter,Haidtwrites,"thepersonallibertyofsecularwesternnations"-includingthe
unrestrainedfreedomofexpression-"lookslikelibertinism,hedonism,andacelebrationof
humanity'sbaserinstincts."

Whathastransformedthisratheramorphousvaluesconsensusintoadiscernibleglobal
agendaforanewworldorderisthegrowingsensethattheWest,thoughstilldominantin
power,wealth,andresources,lackstheculturalandspiritualcapacitytodealwithmany
emergingglobalcrises.Traditionalreligionsalsotypicallyreinforcetheideathatthereisa
limittohumanity'sabilitytotransformitselfanditsenvironment,andthattoassertthe
contrary,as"WEIRD"valuesdo,isdangeroushubris.

MostWesternanalysts,however,cannotfathomwhythiswouldleadtoaconfluenceof
interestsamongcountriesasdiverseasBrazil,Russia,India,ChinaandSouthAfrica.[1]
Perhapsabetterwaytothinkofitisthis-thesoftpoweroftheBRICSisanexpressionnot
ofanyonesetofnationalvalues,butofthecommonvaluesthat,accordingtothesestates,
oughttounderlieanewinternationalorder.

Russia'smoralframeworkfitsthisagendalikeaglove,magnifyingtheimpactofRussian
softpower.Russianowbelievesthatitcanrelyonacoreconstituencyofstatestoassistit
inthefaceofintensewesternhostility,sinceitseffortsbenefitnotonlyRussia,butindirectly
allnationsthatsharethedesireforanewinternationalorder.

Thisisanextendedversionoftheauthor'spresentationon"Russia'sSoftPower:AMatter
forChurchandState"attheCarnegieCouncilforEthicsinInternationalAffairsinNewYork
City,September10,2015.

[1]AnotableexceptionisprofessorGilbertRozmanwhoselatestbook,TheSino-Russian
ChallengetotheWorldOrder,arguesthatadeepculturalaffinityhasemergedbetween
ChinaandRussiathatisbasedonthecommongoalofreshapingthepresentWestphalian
internationalsystem.

[returntoContents]

#12
http://gordonhahn.com
December8,2015
Putin:ARussianNeo-Traditionalist,NotaWesternConservative
ByGordonM.Hahn

ManyinthatsmallbutnotinsignificantminorityofWestern,includingAmerican
conservativeswhotoonedegreeoranothersupportmanyofRussianPresidentVladimir
Putin'sactionsdosooftenundertheillusionthatheisaconservative.Towhatextentdo
Putin'spositionscorrelatewithWesternconservatismandtowhatextentdotheydiffer?

PutinisnotaconservativeintheWesternorAmericansenseoftheterm.(Neitherishea
StalinistorrestoreroftheSovietorevenRussianemoireofold.Indeed,Putinhasjust
approvedanewmonumentandmuseumtobebuiltindowntownMoscowdedicatedthe
victimsofStalinismandcommunism.)

RussianNeo-Traditionalism,NotConservatism

AlthoughsomeofthepositionsPutinstakesoutinbuildingapost-SovietRussian
traditionalismoverlapwithviewsheldbysomeWesternconservatives,PutinisaRussian
traditionalistandstatistratherthanaWestern-styleconservative.

Putin'snewRussiantraditionalismorneo-traditionalismisbasedonseveralprinciples:(1)
statism,(2)stability,(3)freedomof,notfreedomfromreligion,and(4)culturalandsocial
conservatismortraditionalism.

Putin'sStatism

Putinisastatistinpolitics,economics,andsocioculturalmatters.Inpolitics,thestateand
politicalstabilityarealmostalwaystobegivenpreferenceoverindividuallibertyand
freedomwhentheseprinciplesclash.Forexample,ifmasspublicdemonstrationsrunthe
riskofdevolvingintoviolenceorattemptstooverthrowtheauthorities,thenthose
demonstrationswillbebannedorotherwiserestricted.

ThisisnottosaythereisnofreedomofassociationandspeechinRussia.Thereare
politicalprotestsheldsomewhereinRussiaeveryday,andallpointsofviewcanbeheard
onthestateandprivateairwaves,printmedia,andInternet.Anotherexampleisthestate's
willingnesstoblocktheparticipationofsomepoliticalpartiesinelectionsforfeartheymay
destabilizethelegislativeandpoliticalprocess.Anotheristhestate'scompletecontrolof
nationaltelevisionbroadcastingor'airwaves'(excludingsatelliteandInternettelevision),
thoughownershipinradio,printandInternetisdecentralizedandincludesprivatevendors.

Insimpleterms,PutinandmanyRussiansarewillingtorestrictpoliticalandcivilrightsin
ordertoensurethereisnoriskofpoliticalinstabilitywhatsoever.Thisisanapproachalmost
allAmericanconservativesabhor.Russianliberalsandleftists,ontheotherhand,arequite
eagertoputcontrolsonmedia,especiallyconservative-dominatedtalkradioshows,to
enforcepoliticalcorrectness(conformity)inthemedia,schools,universities,andthe
workplaceinordertoensure'balance,'andtoenforcereversediscriminationagainstwhite
males,callingitaffirmativeactionandbreakingtheglassceiling.Onthislastcategory,Putin
wouldmostcertainlynotaver.

Thesameistruewith'Putinomics'.SincePutin'sarrivalintheKremlinin2000,thestate's
roleintheeconomyhassteadilyexpanded.Putinnationalizedlargechunksofmajor
industries,creatingnationalgiants,andincreasedthestate'sshareintheeconomyfrom
minority-ownershiptomajority-ownership.Therehasbeennomajorrestructuringthrough
privatizationorsignificantsectoraldiversification.Exportsofenergy(mostlyoilandgas),
naturalresources(gold,diamonds,coal)andunfinishedproducts(steelandothermetals)
comprisemostofRussia'stradeexportsandbudgetrevenues.Exceptionsarethenuclear
energyindustry(state-owned)andtheprivatebuthighlysubsidized(asintheWest)
agriculturalproductionandfoodmanufacturingindustries,whererealreformshave
producedgloballycompetitiveindustries.Regardless,fullyorpartlystate-ownedcompanies
accountforsome60percentofRussianstockmarketvaluation,comparedto80percentin
China.State-ownedbankscontroloverhalfofRussia'sbankingoperations.

In2011,theRussianbusinessweeklyBiznesivlast'(BusinessandPower)examinedthe
state'sshareincompanies'totalshareholdervalueinordertodeterminethelevelofstate
participationinkeyeconomicsectors.Theresearchshowedthatstateparticipationwas
greatestintransportation(railways,oilandnaturalgaspipelines)withthestateholding75
percentofassets.Othersectorsregisteredasfollows:aerospaceandshipbuilding-57
percent,electricity-50percentormore,naturalgasproduction-50percent,productionof
electronichardware-27percent,machine-building-15percent,telecommunications-14
percent,construction-9percent,oilindustry-23percent,oilrefining-8percent,andnon-
ferrousmetalsproduction-3percent.Thesteelindustry'sassetsarecompletelyunder
privateownership
(http://rbth.com/articles/2012/03/23/what_kind_of_capitalism_has_russia_built_15160.html).
However,muchoftheprivatizationinthesespheresoccurredinthe1990snotunderPutin.
Indeed,in2004theKremlinnationalizedoneofRussia'slargestoilcompanies'Yukos',and
in2011Putinreversedmosttheprivatizationofelectricityproductionandsupply,whichwas
atestcaseofprivatizationformajorsectorsintheeconomy.

Beyondsectoralownershipanalysis,therearesomeareaswheretheeconomyhasseen
liberalizationinthePutinera,butithasbeenachievedbywayofastate-driven
modernizationthatseekstokeepanyeconomicliberalizationfromaffectingthepolitical
economyandpoliticsproper.Thiscanbeseenfromthesphereswhereliberalizationhas
occurred:businessfreedom,tradefreedom,fiscalfreedom,laborfreedom,andfreedom
fromcorruption(www.heritage.org/index/country/russia).Anothercaveathereisthatalmost
allthesesuccessesaretheresultsofreformscarriedoutduringDmitriiMedvedev's
presidency.Thus,itdependsonhowmuchfreereinonethinksMedvedevhadinorderto
determinehowmuchcreditthenPrimeMinisterPutindeserves.Medvedevbilledhimselfas
aReaganite/Thatcheriteconservativeineconomicsattheoutsetofhispresidency,butthe
promisedrobustprivatizationprogramnevermaterialized,leavingtheeconomylargely
state-runandstate-owned.

ItisreallyonlyinthesocialandculturalrealmsthatmanyofPutin'sviewsapproximate
Westernconservatism.HedefendsreligiousfreedomagainstattemptsbyRussianliberals
torestrictreligiousfreedom.Forexample,ratherthanbanningreligiouseducationinpublic
schools,Putin'sEducationMinistryimplementedaprogramofchoice,wherebyparents
couldchoosefromcoursesonRussianOrthodoxChristianity,Judaism,Islam,Buddhism,
andethicsfortheirchildren.Officialstatefunctionsandchaplainsforthemilitaryincludethe
clergyofRussia'sothertraditionalreligions-theROC,Judaism,Islam,andBuddhism.
Statefundshelpfinancethebuildingofchurches,synagogues,mosques,anddatsans.To
besure,PutinhasgivenprideofplacetotheRussianOrthodoxChurch(ROC)butonly
slightly,and80percentofbelieversinRussiaidentifythemselvesasRussianOrthodox.

Inconsistentwithhispro-religioussocio-culturalpositionisPutin'stoleranceoffree,state-
fundedabortions,whichremainsanon-issueinRussianpolitics-aholdoverfromthe
SovieterathatWesternliberalsdonotchallenge.

Consistentwithhisreligiousstance,Putinhasputmodestlimitsonhomosexuality,
specificallythebanningofpropagandizinghomosexualityandtransgenderismtochildren.
Asanaside:clearly,anysanegaypersonwouldmuchprefertoliveinRussiathaninthe
manyrepressiveIslamiccountrieswithwhichtheU.S.hashadcloseties.Asanother
aside:IdonotrecallU.S.PresidentBarackObamalecturingtheSaudiKingabouttheneed
toobservegayrights,includinggaymarriage,thestuffoffun,prosepctiveSaturdayNight
Livesketch.

Oneareawheresomeconservativesseemtosufferfrommilitaryenvyistheirsometimes
supportorunderstandingforPutin'srobustforeignpolicyandmilitaryadventures.
Conservativestendtobemorehawkishthanliberalsandleftists,puttingasidethefactthat
someliberalsarebecomingrathergunghowhenitcomestohumanitarianinterventions
thatoftendonotinvolveavitalAmericaninterest.Mostconservatives,excludinglibertarians
andsomeothers,respectaleaderwillingtostandupforthecountry'snationalinterestsand
security.TheconservativecritiqueofPresidentObama'sforeignpolicyissometimes
couchedintermssuchas:'AtleastPutindefendshiscountry.'

Conclusion

PutinisaRussiantraditionalistandstatistratherthanaWestern-styleconservative.His
views,whileclosertothoseofAmericanconservativesonsocialissues,aremuchcloser
toAmericanliberalandleftistpositionsregardingstateinterferenceintheeconomy.Putin
hasachievedintheRussianeconomywhatPresidentObamaandotherAmericanand
evenEuropeanleftistscanonlydreamof,fornow.Eveninpolitics,Putinisclosertothe
increasinglyintolerantleftthantheright.

Sowhichisgreater-theextenttowhichPutin'spositionscorrespondwithconservatismor
differfromconservatism?Itappearsthelatterandbyaconsiderable,notconservative
margin.

GordonM.HahnisanAnalystandAdvisoryBoardMemberoftheGeostrategicForecasting
Corporation,Chicago,IllinoisaSeniorResearcher,CenterforTerrorismandIntelligence
Studies(CETIS),AkribisGroup,SanJose,CaliforniaandanAnalyst/Consultant,Russia
OtherPointsofView-RussiaMediaWatch,http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com.

[returntoContents]

#13
Forbes.com
April25,2015
Russia'sEconomy:NotJustNaturalResources
ByMarkAdomanis
[Chartsherehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2015/04/25/russias-economy-not-
just-natural-resources/]

Russia'seconomydoesn'tgetalotoflove.It's"Nigeriawithsnow,""BurkinaFasowith
rockets,"or,inJohnMcCain'soft-repeatedquip,"agasstationmasqueradingasacountry."

Tobesure,naturalresourcesgenuinelyplayalargerole.Itwouldbefoolish(and
inaccurate!)totrytototallydiscountthehugeinfluenceofcompanieslikeGazprom,
Rosneft,andseveralotherstate-runresourceextractors.TheRussianstate'sfinances
reallyarebasedontheheavytaxationofenergyproducers,andtheKremlinwouldbeina
worldoftroubleiftheoil/gasspigotevertrulyrandry.

ButRussia,despitewhatyouoftenhear,ismorethanjustagasstation.It'smanufacturing
andservicesectorsaren'tparticularlycompetitivebyworldstandards(veryfewpeoplein
NorthAmericaarebuyingRussiancars)buttheydoexist.

UsingWorldBankdataonnaturalresourcerents,officiallydefinedas"thedifference
betweenthevalueofcommodityproductionatworldpricesandtotalcostsofproduction,"
it'sinstructivetocompareRussia'sleveltothoseinthemembersofOPEC,theprototypical
petrostates.

Asisclearfromthechart,naturalresourcerentsareanon-negligiblepercentageof
Russianoutput.Buttheserentsarenowherenearashighasinmanyoftheworld'slargest
oilproducers.Russianresourcerentsaren'tevenparticularlylargecomparedtootherpost-
Sovietstates:Azerbaijan(36%),Kazakhstan(29%),andUzbekistan(20.1%)allhad
proportionallylargerrents.

It'salsointerestingtocompareRussia'sactualGDPpercapitawithwhatitwouldhave
beenifallnaturalresourcerentswereeliminated.Here,again,Russiajustdoesn'tappear
tobeparticularlyexceptionalwhencomparedtoOPECmembers.

Indeedafteradjustingforresourcerents,Russia'sGDPpercapitawouldberoughly
$19,000,alevelthatisbroadlysimilartopost-communistcountrieslikeBulgaria($15,600),
Poland($22,800),andRomania($18,000).Russia'sadjustedGDPpercapitaalso
comparesreasonablywellwithadjustedpercapitaincomesinotherresource-dependent
post-SovietstateslikeAzerbaijan($10,500)andKazakhstan($15,500)ormajoroil
producerstowhichitisoftencomparedlikeLibya($12,000),Venezuela($13,500),orIran
($9,000).

Sowhatisthetakeaway?IsitthatRussia'seconomyissomekindofbuddinghegemon?
No.Theimportantthingtorememberisthat,whenyoucompareittothoseofotherpost-
SovietstatesorOPECmembers,Russia'seconomyisnotuniquelyprimitiveorresource
dependent.WeneedtokeepthisinmindnottobolsterRussians'tenderfeelingsbut
becauseifyouformulatepolicybasedontheassumptionthatRussiaisa"gasstation
masqueradingasacountry"thatpolicywon'tworkverywellbecauseRussiaismuchmore
thanjustagasstation.

Indeed,asshownabove,Russiaminusallofitsincomefromoil,gas,timber,andminerals
isbasicallyamuchlargerversionofRomania.Romania,ofcourse,isn'texactlyan
economicmiracle,butitisademocraticmemberingoodstandingoftheEuropeanUnion
andNATO.

[returntoContents]
#14
ChristianScienceMonitor
May18,2015
SpurredbyWesterncriticism,Russiansexperiencesomethingnew:patriotism
Inthepast,Russiawasanempire,thenacommunistcolossus,thena'defeated'power
expectedtoadoptWesternways.ButcurrenttensionswiththeWestarefosteringwhat
maybethebirthofadistinctRussiannationalism.
ByFredWeir,Correspondent

MOSCOW-ThesnappingpointcameforPavelMelikhov,hesays,whenheheard
PresidentObamacompareRussiatoadisease.

InaspeechtotheUNlastSeptember,thepresidentlistedthetopthreatstoglobalsecurity,
withEbolacomingfirst,"RussianaggressioninEurope"second,andtheIslamicState
groupinthirdplace.Mr.Melikhov,amiddle-agedMoscow-areabusinessman,saysthat
momentcrystallizedhiswayofthinkingabouthiscountryanditsplaceintheworld.

HehadfeltsupportivewhenMoscowannexedCrimealastyear-asdidahugemajorityof
Russians-andsayshebelievedthatPresidentVladimirPutinwasdefendingRussia's
naturalinterestsbybackingRussian-speakingrebelsineasternUkraineagainsta
revolutionary,anti-MoscowgovernmentthattookpowerinKievlastyear.ButMr.Obama's
remarkjoltedhimbyrevealingagapingchasmbetweenwhatseemedobvioustohim,asa
Russian,andthewaypeopleintheWestseemtoperceivethesameevents.

Recommended:Sochi,Soviets,andtsars:HowmuchdoyouknowaboutRussia?
"Itwasn'tjustme.Allmyco-workerswerestunned,"hesays."TheleaderoftheUSputour
countryonablacklistwithavirusandaterroristorganization.Thatsaysitall.Themasks
areoff.TheUSisnotafriendit's'us'and'them'now.Ihavefinallyandcompletely
understoodthat."

Melikhovisnotanoutlierintoday'sRussiaindeed,heappearstobepartofthenew
normal.Overthepastyearsomethinghashappenedinthebroadpublicmind,whichlooks
tosomeexpertslikethebirthofadistinctRussiannationalismforthefirsttimeinhistory.

Inthepast,Russiawasanempire,thenacommunistcolossus,thena"defeated"power
thatwasexpected-evenbyitsleaders-toadoptWesternways.Tobea"Russian"always
meantbeingpartofastatewithgrandambitionsandanideologythatdidnotaddress,or
evenadmit,aseparateRussianexistence.

ButamidaglobalgeopoliticalcrisisoverUkraine,itspro-Europeanrevolution,andthecivil
warittriggered,"weseeRussiansgropingforanidentitymoreintenselythaneverbeforein
thepastquartercentury,"saysMashaLipman,anindependentpoliticalexpert.

"There'saclearnationalistdrive,yetstillnoclarityonwhatthenewidentityis.Russiaisno
longeranempire,butnotyetanationstate,"shesays.

Patriotism,awakened

It'snotthatMelikhovwasunpatrioticbefore.Whenhewasaboy,hewasaregularat
Desantnik,aprivatedowntownMoscowmilitary-patrioticclubstartedinthe1980sandrun
byformerspecialservicesofficers.There,youngpeoplearetaughtparamilitaryskillslike
hand-to-handcombat,flying,parachuting,andmarksmanship.

Theclub'spresidentisYuryShaparin,aveteranoftheSovietUnion'swarinAfghanistan,
whosayshefoundedtheclubtofosterpatrioticvaluesamongyoungpeopleinpractical
ways,mainlythroughphysicaltraining.Hekeptitgoingthroughthebitteryearsfollowingthe
USSR'scollapse,whentheeconomyimplodedandthen-PresidentBorisYeltsinledRussia
downapaththatseemedtoacceptnotonlytheWest'shegemony,butalsoitspolitical,
economic,andculturalvalues.

"ThereseemedlikenoroomforbeingaRussian.ItwashardtofeelpatrioticunderYeltsin,"
Mr.Shaparinsays,standinginDesantnik'sgym,whereaboutadozenyoungpeopleare
learningtokickbox.NearbythereisarackofKalashnikovrifles,forshootingpractice.

Thepastdecade-and-a-halfunderMr.Putinhavebeenyearsofrelativeprosperity,when
peoplegotonwiththeirprivatelivesandpaidlittleattentiontopolitics.But,accordingto
Shaparin,theeventsofthepastyearhaveawakenedasenseamongRussiansthatthey
arenotlikepeopleintheWest,theircountryhasitsowninterests,andtheyhavenooneto
relyonbutthemselves.

"Wedon'twishforwar,andwedon'tfeeltheWestisanenemy,butmanypeoplenowsee
thattheyaretryingtoforceusintoabox,surrounduswithmilitarybases,makeusgiveup
Ukraine,andbreakupwhat'sleftofourcountry,"hesays.

"WhatweteachhereisthatRussiacanbesaved,andallthesesanctionsandNATO
threatscanbedefeated,ifRussiansgrowmoreaware,learntobestrongandfit,andbe
willingtoworktogethertobuildabettercountry.Nothinggoodwillcomefromgivinginto
outsidepressure."

Anti-Americanism

Publicopinionsurveysoffersnapshotsofthisemergingmood.

MostfrequentlycitedaretheapprovalratingsofPutin,whichhaveremainedata
stratospheric80-pluspercentoverayear-aspanthatstartedwithanti-Moscowrevolution
inKiev.Thatwasfollowedbyfalloutofallkinds:thehastyannexationofthemainlyRussian-
populatedCrimeanpeninsulacovertKremlinsupportforpro-Russianseparatistsin
Ukraine'sbittercivilwarincreasingWesternsanctionsonRussia'seconomyalongwith
effortstoisolateMoscowontheworldstageaharsheconomiccrisisandanear-
catastrophicplungeinthevalueofthenationalcurrency,theruble.

AyearaftertheannexationofCrimea,apollbythestate-runVTsIOMagencyfoundthattwo-
thirdsofrespondentsapprovedoftheaction,and89percentbelievedtheterritoryshouldn't
bereturnedtoUkraineunderanycircumstances.AMarchsurveybytheindependent
LevadaCenterfoundthat68percentbelievethatRussiaisa"greatpower,"upfrom30
percentinanidenticalpolltaken10yearsago.

AnotherrecentVTsIOMpollfoundonlyaslightmajorityofRussianswereevenawareof
Westernsanctionsagainstthecountry,butofthose,wellover80percentbelievedthe
sanctionswereimposedwithillintenttowardRussia.Lessthan1percentthoughttheWest
had"goodintentions."

Mostalarmingly,anti-Americansentimentisatitshighestpeaksincereliablepollingof
Russiansbeganinthemid-1980s.AccordingtoaMarchLevadasurvey,73percentof
respondentshada"negative"attitudetowardtheUS,upfrom56percentayearearlier.

'Aprocess,notanaccident'

Thesedatapointsconnecttomakeacoherentpicture,sayexperts.TheUkrainiancrisis
wasjustatriggerforaprocessthatwaswaitingtohappen,saysOlgaKamenchuk,an
expertwithVTsIOM."Suchchangesinpopularviewsdonotcomeoutoftheblue."

RussianshavebeenmentallydistancingthemselvesfromtheWesternmodeloflifefor
sometime.ButtheUkrainiancrisisbroughtforthaflurryofreactions,includingsolidarity
withRussian-speaking"compatriots"suchasCrimeansandeasternUkrainians,thesense
thatahostileWestisworkingtosurroundRussiaandthwartitsregionalinterests,and
vagueryearningsforadeepersenseofnationalpurpose.

"WhateverishappeninginmodernRussiaisaprocess,notanaccident,anditcanbe
expectedtounfoldfurther,"saysMs.Kamenchuk.

TheKremlinhasworkedhardtoshapetheseperceptionsandharnessthemtoensureits
ownpoliticalsurvival.Somebasicconceptsofthenewpatriotismhavebeeninitially
expressedbyPutin,thenamplifiedbythevaststatepropagandamachine,whichdominates
whatmostRussiansseeandhear.

Theyincludethenotionofthe"RussianWorld,"whosegeographyextendsbeyondRussia's
borderstoembracepeoplewhoselanguage,culture,andmindset-thoughnotnecessarily
ethnicity-areRussian,suchasCrimeans,Abkhazians,Transdnistrians,andquiteafew
otherfar-flunggroups.

TheassertionthatRussiahasaresponsibilitytoprotectsuchpopulations,andperhaps
gatherthembacktotheMotherland,hassetnervesjanglingaroundEasternEurope.
Another,alsooriginatingwithPutin,istheclaimthatliberals,gays,andother"Westernized"
Russiansrepresenta"fifthcolumn"thatthreatenstosubvertRussiansocietyfromwithin.

"ForRussianmassopinion,theappealtoforceisverypopular.Forceincreasesrespect,"
saysAlexeiGrazhdankin,deputydirectoroftheLevadaCenter."Russianseasilyaccept
thattheWest'santagonismtowardourcountryisbasedonpurehostility.Evenifliving
standardsareworsening,theydon'tdoubttheofficialexplanationthatit'sdueto'enemy
action'andnotourownpolicies.Basically,Russianshavealwayswantedtoliveinastrong
country,andtheyarepreparedtopayapriceforthat."

Thelimitsofpatrioticsentiments

ButwhileRussiansmaybemorepatrioticthaneverintheirhearts,mosthaveyetto
expressthatpatriotismthroughaction.AttemptstoconvinceRussianstoactuallyjoin
patrioticorganizationsandstagehuge,Soviet-stylepro-Kremlinstreetdemonstrations,
havenotproventobesosuccessful.

NikolaiStarikovisawriterandorganizeroftheapparentlyindependentAnti-Maidan
movement,whichseekstoraisepatrioticconsciousnessandactivelyopposeanysignof
Ukrainian-style,pro-democracyrevolutioninRussia.

HepresidedoverasmalldemonstrationofhissupportersoutsidetheUSembassy,ona
blusteryAprilafternooninMoscow.About50protesters,mainlyuniversitystudents,heldup
bannersdecryingNATOexpansionand"USinterference"inUkraine.

"OurAmericanpartnershaveunleashedawarinsidetheRussianWorldandatRussia's
frontiers.TheydonotconcealtheirplanstochangetheregimeinRussia,"hesays.

ButmostMuscovites,hurryingbyinthelatewintersnowstorm,seemedcompletely
oblivious.Itwasatinyturnout-thoughtheAnti-MaidanmovementdebutedinFebruarywith
amarchofabout35,000supportersthroughdowntownMoscow-andtheentiregroup
foldedtheirbannersandhurriedawayafterabout15minutes.

"It'sdifficulttoorganizepeople,sothattheygettogether"Mr.Starikovlaments."Public
opinionischangeable."

Infact,theKremlindirectlysponsoredseveralyouthmovementstoopposeanydomestic
pro-democracyrevoltfollowingthe2004"OrangeRevolution"inUkraine,includingNashi
andtheYoungGuard,butdespitetheinfusionofconsiderableofficialresources,those
attemptspeteredoutafterafewyearsleavinglittletracebehind.

AmassiveRedSquarerallyinMarchtocommemoratetheannexationofCrimea,ledby
Putinpersonallyandthemed"WeAreTogether!",wasslightlymarredbysocialmedia
postingsshowinghundredsofparticipants,mainlyyoungpeople,lininguplatertoreceive
theirpayouts.

'Atimeofgreatopportunity'?

"Ofthetwopillarsofthecurrentnationalistconsensus,oneistransient.Thatisthe
extremelybroadsupportforPutin,butPutinwillnotbeforever,right?"saysMs.Lipman.
"Theotheristoonegative.Anti-Westernsentimentmaybedeepandgenuine,butbeing
anti-Westerndoesnothingtohelpshapeasenseofwhoweare."

Melikhov,thebusinessman,hasatentativeanswertothat.

"Weshouldusethissituation,andallthisenergy,"hesays."I'veneverseenatimewhen
peoplefeltsoconsolidatedandreadytobeconstructive.Forme,patriotismmeanstogo
outandbuildsomething,improvemybusiness,helpotherstostartsomething.Thiscould
beatimeofgreatopportunityforourcountry,andourselves."

[returntoContents]

#15
http://warontherocks.com
December23,2015
TheSevenDeadlySinsofRussiaAnalysis
ByMichaelKofman
MichaelKofmanisanAnalystattheCNACorporationandaFellowattheWilsonCenter's
KennanInstitute.PreviouslyheservedasProgramManageratNationalDefenseUniversity.
Theviewsexpressedherearehisown.

Astheclockcountsdowntotheendofanothertumultuousanddifficultyearofdealingwith
Russia,thenaturalinstinctistolookbackonthebattlesandsurprisesof2015withaneye
tomakingpredictionsforthecomingyear.Thereismaterialaplenty:thebattleof
Debaltseve,Moscow'soperationsinSyria,acrisiswithTurkeythatstillburnsbright.Anew
yearoffersnewopportunitiesforprognostication:WherewillRussiastrikenext?Whatis
Putinthinking?Whatarethelikelyflashpointsof2016?Insteadofthistraditionalexercise,
Russiaexpertsshouldreflectonayearofdiscussions,briefings,roundtables,merciless
PowerPointdecksabouthybridwar,andoccasionalspatsinthevirtualpagesofoutletslike
WarontheRocks.Whatarethenaggingquestions,questionableassumptions,and
unknownsthatbesettheanalyticalandpolicymakingcommunity?

ExpertsandpolicymakerswhodealwithRussiaarelivinginahigh-tempoenvironment,
keepingpacewithmilitaryinterventions,crises,andthefrequenttwistsinbilateralrelations.
However,inanysuchendeavor,itispossibletolearnlessonsthatarenottrue.Thisismy
ownattemptatpresentingalistofquestionablebitsofanalysisandassumptionsthatexist
withinthecommunity.Indoingso,Ihopetopushpeopletocriticallyexaminehowtheylook
atRussia.Whydowesaysomeofthesethings,andmoreimportantlywhydowethink
them?

1.TheRussianGovernmentisBrittle.Orisit?

PresentingVladimirPutin'sregimeasbrittleisoftenanalyticalshorthandforarguingthathis
regimeisdangerousinthenearterm,butequallylikelytoimplodeinshortorder,with
Russiadescendingintoturmoilandinstability.Indeed,Moscowhasaccumulatedsomany
domesticandforeignpolicyproblemsthatitwouldmakethisalogicalassessmentwereit
notforthepoortrackrecordofsuchpredictions.Witheachnewoutbreakinwhathas
becomeanalmostroutineseriesofpolitical,economic,orforeignpolicycrises,asegment
oftheRussia-watchercommunityinvariablybeginstomakepredictionsofPutin'simminent
demise.Unfortunately,thescienceofpredictingregimechangeseemstolagsignificantly
behindastrology.WeshouldrememberthatfewpredictedtheSovietUnion'srapiddemise,
thestartoftheArabSpring,oranticipatedtherapidfallofVictorYanukovichinUkraine
followingthestartoftheMaidan.

Therearetwoongoingcasestudiesonthemeritofsuchpredictions.ThefirstisPakistan,a
countrythatbythesametheoryshouldhavecollapsedlongagoundertheweightofits
manyproblems.ThesecondisNorthKorea,whichsoldiersondespitedecadesof
predictionsandestimatesoftheregime'simminentimplosion.AsformerSecretaryof
DefenseRobertGatesremarkedonourabilitytopredictthenatureandlocationofthenext
conflict,"ourrecordhasbeenperfect"giventhat"we'veneveroncegottenitright."The
sameshouldbesaidofourabilitytojudgeregimebrittleness.Thepointisnotthatneo-
Kremlinologyorassessmentsofpoliticalstabilityareawasteoftime,butthatthisisa
singlelayerofanalysisthatshouldbetakenwithahealthydoseofskepticism.

UndoubtedlythosewhoregularlypredictPutin'sdownfallwillonedaybevindicated,butfor
planningandanalyticalpurposes,ourexpectationsshouldbetempered.Thenexttestof
politicalbrittlenesscomesin2018whenwewillseehowreadyandwillingtheRussian
publicistoacceptPutin'sautomaticre-election.Nobodyknowswhatthestateofthe
economy,currencyvaluation,foreignexchangereserves,oilprices,orinternationalposition
ofRussiawillbethatyear.

2.TheUnitedStateshasaPutinProblem,notaRussiaProblem.OrDoesit?

Theindividualsinpowermatter,andanotherRussianleadermaynothavechosentoannex
CrimeaorinvadeUkraineinresponsetotheMaidan'svictory.Thatbeingsaid,thelingering
debateonwhethertheUnitedStateshasaPutinproblemoraRussiaproblemisan
unsettledone.IfoneassumesthattherealproblemisPutin'sregime,howeverlongitmight
last,thenthenaturalcourseofactionistoavoidanybargainswithRussia,cauterizethe
damagetothebilateralrelationshipandwaitforanotherleader.Mypersonalviewisthat
whoeversucceedsVladimirPutinwillnotprovetobeallthatdifferent,andwilllikelyfollowa
similarpolicypath.
RussianhistorysuggeststhatPutinisanythingbutanaberrationinleadership,pursuing
securitydilemmasinthesamemannerofmanypreviousoccupantsoftheKremlin.Seeing
Russia'ssecurityspaceasazero-sumgameandsecuringitbylimitingthesovereigntyof
itsneighborsisalmostcanonforRussianforeignpolicy(asitwasforSovietpolicy).We
shouldaskifPutin'sforeignpolicyisfundamentallysodifferentfromthatofBorisYeltsin,
Russia'sfirstdemocraticleader,orifRussiawassimplytooweakduringYeltsin'sruleto
challengethepost-ColdWarsecurityarrangementsinEurope.Inearly2014,Henry
KissingerwarnedWashingtonnottofixateonPutinwhenhewrotethat"FortheWest,the
demonizationofVladimirPutinisnotapolicy,itisanalibifortheabsenceofone."

YeltsintoobelievedintheapplicationofforcetoachievedesiredpoliticalendsinRussiaand
onitsperiphery.ExamplesarefoundamongRussianinterventionsinTransnistriaand
Tajikistanin1992andAbkhaziain1993,theuseoftankstosuppressaconstitutionalcrisis
inMoscow,theFirstChechenWarin1994-96,andtheRussianparatrooperdeploymentto
seizePristinaInternationalAirportin1999aheadofNATO'sdeploymentinKosovo.In
retrospect,thatadministrationwasnotshortonmilitarygambits,complaintsaboutNATO
expansion,orgripeswithU.S.militaryinterventions.ThecharacterofYeltsin'sgovernment
wasquitedifferentfromPutin'sregime,butarguablyitwasunderhisleadershipinthe
1990sthatRussiabeganandendeditsbriefflirtationwithdemocracy.Intruth,wehave
Yeltsin'spresidencytothankforPutin.

Putin'sviewoftheworldmayhaveevolvedduringhisrule,butthereislittleevidencethat
weshouldexpecthissuccessortotraveladifferentpath.Thusfar,thereisnothingto
suggestthatthenextRussianleader,whenfacedwithasimilarinternationalandregional
environmentwillnotattempttoengagetheWest,leavedisappointedandreverttothe
ruthlesspursuitofRussiannationalinterest.Anotherquestionseldomraisediswhether
U.S.policytowardsRussiawouldtrulychangeifitstroublesomeleaderweretodisappear
tomorrow.

3.MoscowCannotKeepThisUp.OrCanit?

CurrentdiscourseonRussia'seconomicfrailtyfoldsintothebroaderdiscussionon
whetherornotMoscowcansustainthecurrentstateofconfrontation.Inotherwords,how
longcanMoscowkeepthisup?TheunderlyingquestioniswhetherRussiawillceasebeing
aprobleminthenear-tomid-termbysuccumbingtoitseconomicwoes.Thenarrativethat
RussiawillrunoutofmoneyisprevalentintheWest,eventhoughMoscow'sforeign
reserveshavebothstabilizedandshownamodestreboundinrecentmonths.Thebigger
questioniswhydowetalkaboutRussiaasthoughitwasabankoracompany?Did
Russiagooutofbusinessafterthe1998default?

WhatistheactualconnectionbetweenWesternsecurityconsiderationsvis-a-visRussia,
itsforeignandnationalsecuritypolicy,andtheamountofmoneyithasonhand?Putin
announcedambitiousmilitaryreformsin2009,whenthepriceofoilfellto$35perbarrel.
RussiainvadedUkraineandannexedCrimeain2014eventhoughtheRussianeconomy
wasclearlyenteringarecessioninlate2013.Lookingfurtherback,Russianspersevered
throughthefinancialdefaultandcurrencycrisisof1998,manygoingthebetterpartofa
yearwithoutsalaries.PutinwasanointedasYeltsin'ssuccessorfollowingthiseconomic
carnage,andintheaftermathlaunchedtheSecondChechenWarin1999,aprolonged
conventionalandcounterinsurgencycampaign.

Thisdiscussionbegsamoreessentialquestionastowhetherornottheeconomyhasever
beenafoundationofRussianpowerintheinternationalsystem.InapreviousarticleforWar
ontheRocks,IarguedthatRussiahasoftenappearedtobethesickmanofEurope,
technologicallybackwards,withalacklustereconomy,andapoliticalsystemthat
consistentlylagsbehindtheneedsofitssociety.Thatbeingsaid,despiteWesternfearsto
thecontrary,theSovietUnionwasneverasuperpowerbyvirtueofbeingaserious
economiccompetitortotheUnitedStates,letalonetheWest,atbestattaining57percentof
America'sGNPinthelate1960sbeforefallingbehind.

Today,plentyofseniorU.S.officialsconsiderRussiatobeastrategicthreatandaserious
opponenttoNATOeventhoughitsGDPisbarelyatenthofAmerica's.Inarecentinterview
discussingRussia,DeputyDefenseSecretaryRobertWorkappliedMearsheimer's
definitionofagreatpowertoMoscow,highlightingthereturnofgreatpowerpoliticsinthe
internationalsystem.Granted,hesaidthiswasanarrowlens,butiftheUnitedStates
considersRussiatobeagreatpower(orregionalpowerwithabignucleararsenal)when
itseconomyrepresentsamere3.3percentofglobalGDP,thentheconnectionbetween
economicfundamentalsofpowerandRussia'spositionintheinternationalsystemmerits
furtherdiscussion.

4.RussiaCannotSustainMilitaryOperations.OrCanit?

FollowingcloselythediscussionofeconomicweaknessisageneralsentimentthatRussia
isunabletosustainmilitaryoperationsduetofinancialorforceconstraints.Goingbackto
early2015,thenotionthatRussia'sarmedforcesaretieddownor"stuck"inUkraineseems
tohavedissipated.Themeritofsuchestimateswascastintodoubtwhen,inSeptemberof
thisyear,RussiawassimultaneouslysustainingitsdeploymentinUkraine,conductingthe
expensivestrategicexerciseCenter2015,anddeployinganexpeditionaryoperationto
Syria.Itoowaswronginarguingthatlogisticalandfinancialconstraintswouldlimit
Moscow'sinvolvementinSyriagivenitslackofassetstosustainexpeditionaryoperations.

Muchtomyownsurprise,RussiasurgedsealiftbyreflaggingTurkishcommercialshipsto
supportitsincreasingtrooppresenceandbaseexpansions.ForMoscow,necessityisthe
motherofinvention,whereasfortheUnitedStatesitisusuallythemotherofprocurement.
Russiaalsofoundplentyoffundingtotestexpensivelandattackcruisemissilesofalmost
everyvariety.Inarecentpressconference,Putinshowednosignsthateconomic
constraintswouldimpactmilitaryoperations.Instead,itseemsRussiacansustainthisand
allotherlinesofeffortforatleastafewyears.At4.2percentofGDP,or3.3trillionrubles,
Russia'sdefensebudgetisthehighestithasbeensincethecollapseoftheSovietUnion.

Toooftenwetradeinouranalyticalexpertiseforanaccountant'sglasses,asthoughwe
couldcounttheRussianMinistryofDefense'smoneyoritsavailabletroopsbetterthanit
can.Ontheissueofsustainmentofmilitaryoperationsweneedadoseofanalytical
humility.

5.RussiaisStillaPowerinDecline.Orisit?

IfundamentallybelievethatRussiaisapowerinstructuraldecline,butincreasinglyI
wonderabouttherelevanceofthatassessment.Itseemswitheachyearwecaninferless
andlessfromsuchastatement.CelesteWallanderandEugeneRumer,twolongtime
RussiaexpertswhomIholdinthehighestregard,oncewrote:

"Despiteseveralyearsofeconomicgrowthandanewdynamicleader,Russiaremainsa
powerindecline.Neitheritsrecenteconomicsuccessnoritsvigorousleadershipis
sufficienttomakeupforthelong-termlossesthecountryhassufferedortocompensatefor
thecontemporaryshortcomingsthatbeliekeyelementsofRussianpower."

TheonlyproblemwiththisremarkablepieceinTheWashingtonQuarterlyisthatitwas
publishedinlate2003.Roughlyadecadelater,PresidentObamasimilarlyopinedthat
Russiaisa"regionalpower"actingoutof"weakness."ManyofRussia'sunderlying
weaknesseswereastruethenastheyarenow,butifRussiaisdeclining,itisdoingsovery
slowly,anditsleadershipdoesnotacceptsuchapredestinedfate.Asimprobableasitmay
be,absentasuddenRussiancollapse,atsomepointwemaybeforcedtoadmitthat
Russiaisdecliningsoslowlythecountrymightjustbemuddlingthrough.

6.DemographyWillDetermineRussia'sFate.OrWillit?

Russia'sdemographicproblemsarecommonlyreferencedasoneofthedriversofits
supposedlyassuredstructuraldecline.Analystsoftenmentiondemographytoeitherblithely
supportthenotionthatRussiawillsimplyceasetobeaproblemfortheWestinthelong
term,orworriedlyspeculatethatthecountrywillbecomedangerouslyunstable.Butwhat
mightRussia'sdemographicstrulydetermine?WillRussiasomehowbelessofastrategic
threatoraconcernfortheUnitedStatesifithasasmallerpopulation?Itisalmostcertain
thatRussiawillhaveenoughmanpowertomaintain1,550strategicnuclearweapons,along
withaconventionalforcetoovermatchanyofitsneighbors,saveChina.Perhaps
counterintuitively,intheshortterm,Russia'sarmedforceshavesteadilyincreasedinsize
fromroughly667,000-700,000in2012to900,000today.

Whenconsideringlong-termalternativefuturesitisworthnotingthatRussia'seconomy
andnationalbudgetisinexorablydependentonenergyandresourceextraction.Theseare
industriesthatarenotlabor-intensive.Atthesametime,Russiaisthebeneficiaryofalarge
laborinfluxfromformerSovietRepublics,oftenmakingitthethird-orsecond-highest
recipientofmigrantsintheworld.CanRussianationalizesuchlaboratthecostofinternal
socialcohesion?Howmuchwillitsgovernmentbudgettrulysufferfollowingalaborforce
contraction?Isitevenfairtoassumethatwarfareorsimilarstatetaskswillremain
manpower-intensive30yearsfromnow?AreRussia'sdemographicproblems
fundamentallydifferentfromthoseofotherdevelopedstates,includingmanyU.S.allies?It
strikesmethatRussia'sdemographicdeclineismoreofanopen-endedquestionthana
definitivestatementonthefutureofthecountry.

7.ForPutin,It'sAllAboutRegimeSurvival.Orisit?

Moscow'sannexationofCrimea,invasionofUkraine,andlaunchofoperationsinSyriaare
sometimesexplainedasthethroesofafallingpoliticalsystemengagedina"survival
project."Theunderlyingtheoryunifyingtheseactionsisregimesurvival,brilliantlyadvocated
byLiliaShevtsovainanumberofarticlesandop-eds.Theproblemwiththisapproachis
thatregimesurvivalcircularlyexplainseverythingandabsolutelynothingatthesametime:
Thereisnopoliticalregimeonearththatisnotinterestedinitssurvival.Regimesurvivalisa
constantmotivationformany,ifnotall,politicalsystemsandpoliticians.Itissofungiblean
analyticalapproachthatitlendsitselfusefultoexplaininganyandallpolicychoicesby
Putin.

Atitscore,thisargumentarbitrarilytakesthedomesticpoliticaloutcomesofMoscow's
actions,suchashighapprovalratingsathome,oraresurgentsenseofnationalism,and
movesthembackintimetobecometheprimaryobjectivesofforeignandnationalsecurity
policy.Thatcouldbetrue,butitseemsimpossibletoproveordisprove.Regimesurvival
maynotbeanincorrectexplanationofMoscow'smotives,butitiscertainlyincompleteas
ananalysisoftherealsourcesofRussiandecision-making.

RussiaAnalysisinPerspective

InmyownnarrowlaneofRussianmilitaryanalysis,thereisalwaysroomforamore
balanced,informed,andnuancedunderstandingofRussia.Perhapsthegreatestwoeof
discussionsonRussianmilitary,strategy,anddecision-making(otherthandebateson
hybridwarfare)istheconstantseesawbetweentwoextremes.Toooften,weareengaged
inanasininedebateastowhetherRussia'smilitaryisfivefeettallor12feettall.
Assessmentstendtotrackmorecloselywithwhereonesitsinthepolicymakingornational
securityestablishment,versuswheretheRussianmilitaryactuallyis,andwhatitcando.
HereIbelievethestartingpointshouldalwaysbeBismarck'sobservationthat"Russiais
neverasstrongasshelooksnorasweakasshelooks."Whenitcomestodecision-
makinganalysis,Putinisregularlycastinstarktermsaseitherabrilliantstrategist,
outfoxingtheWestateveryturn,orcompletelyincompetentwithoutanynotionofwhathe
willdonext.

PerchancethebroadestandmostvexingquestionforU.S.decision-makersandexperts
todayisthis:HowdowedeterRussia?Itisasvagueasitisrecurrent.Theshortansweris
thattheUnitedStatesdoesdeterRussia,whichiswhywe'reallstillhere70yearsafter
nuclearweaponswerefirstused.Amoreanalyticallyinteresting-andpoliticallyvaluable-
questionwouldbehowtheUnitedStatesshouldmanagegreat-powercompetitioninthe
internationalsystemandkeepconfrontationwithRussiafromescalatingintowar.Ifcrises
areinevitableamongthemajorplayers,anditseemstheyare,thenmanagingescalation
dynamicsisparamount.Whenfacedwithaproblem,bureaucracieshaveapredilectionfor
pursuingactivityandconfusingitforachievement,toparaphraseFareedZakaria.Tobetter
structureapolicyorastrategytowardsRussiaweshouldconfrontourownunderlying
assumptionsandthemeritsofprevailingnarratives,andmorerigorouslyseektofillexisting
gapsinanalysis.

[returntoContents]

#16
TheNationalInterest
December14,2015
Putin'sPopularity,Explained
ByMatthewDalSanto
MatthewDalSantoisaDanishResearchCouncilpost-doctoralfellowattheSaxoInstitute,
UniversityofCopenhagen,whereheisleadingaprojectonhistoryandidentityinmodern
Russia.ThisarticlewasoriginallypublishedontheInterpreter.
Ifnothingelse,VladimirPutinisagreatpoliticalsurvivor.Whenprotestsbrokeoutin
Moscowfouryearsagoagainsthisreturntothepresidency,manyintheWestwrotehimoff
(awidelycitedworkproposedtotellHowRussiaFellinandOutofLovewithVladimir
Putin).However,onDecember3Putindeliveredyetanotherannual'StateoftheNation'
addressasPresidentofRussia.Rarelyhashebeensopopular.

Eventoday,Westerncommentatorsoftengivetheimpressionthatthey've'seenthefuture
andthefutureisnotPutin.'ButsurveysbyRussia'sindependentLevadaCentreprovide
littleevidenceofabrewingpeople'srebellion.Onthecontrary,theKremlinisoneofonly
threeinstitutionsthatmoreRussianstrustthandistrust(thearmyisat64percent,andthe
Churchandotherreligiousorganizationsareat53percent).Fully80percentof
respondentssaidthey'completelytrust'Putin.
Howshouldthisbeunderstood?

MainstreamWesternmediausuallycastPutin'spopularityastheresultofRussians'heavy
relianceongovernment-controlledtelevision,i.e.'brain-washing.'Butsuchaone-sidedview
maymisrepresenttherelationshipbetweenpowerandpublicopinion.Tellingly,only34
percentofRussianssaytheytrustthemedia.

The'brain-washing'theoryalsomisseswhatispossiblythemostsignificantfeatureof
modernRussia:forthefirsttimesincethe1991collapseoftheSovietUnion(ifnotthe1917
revolution)governmentpoliciesreflecttheattitudesandopinionsoftheconservative
majorityofRussiansratherthanaWesternizing,neo-liberal(orMarxist)elite.

Since1996,theLevadaCentrehasbeenaskingRussianswhattheywantoftheir
presidents.Theirexpectationshavechangedlittle.In2012(thatis,evenbeforetheoutbreak
oftheUkrainecrisis),Russians'topfourprioritieswere:restoringRussia'sgreat-power
status(57percentversus54percentin1996)lawandorder(52percentversus58
percent)afairerdistributionofthenationalwealth(49percentversus37percent)and
increasingthestate'sroleintheeconomy(37percent,unchanged).

SuchattitudesreflectcontinuingnostalgiaforelementsoftheSovietsystemand
dissatisfactionwiththeWesternizingpathfollowedaftertheUSSR'scollapse.In2012,only
aminority(16percent,upfrom13percentin1996)believedRussiashouldcontinueto
pursuetheliberalreformsoftheYeltsineraandevenfewer(5percentdownfrom6percent)
thoughtconvergencewiththeWestsomethingtobedesired.

Today,however,70percentofRussianssaythey'reproudoftheircountry,whereasless
thanhalfdidsoadecadeago.Significantly,since2014,68percentofRussiansbelieve
theircountrytohaveregainedgreatpowerstatus.

Overwhelmingsupportfor'buyingRussian'-aboveall,whenitcomestogroceries(91
percent)-confirmsconsensusaroundimportsubstitution(aself-imposedresponseto
Westernsanctions)asalongoverduehelpinghandtoRussianindustryand,especially,
farms.

Ofcourse,thiscoincidenceofgovernmentpoliciesandpublicopiniondoesn'tmakeRussia
ademocracy.Butsuchpollsfrequentlyfunctionasdemocracy'sproxyintheWest,sowhy
notinRussia?

Themainpointis,however,thatRussia's'conservativeturn'sincePutin'sreturntothe
KremlininMarch2012-widelydeploredintheWestasacreepingauthoritarianismwith
rootsonlyinthewilesofPutin'smind-maybeclosertotheworldviewofRussia's
conservativeandpatrioticmajoritythanmostWesterngovernmentswouldcaretoadmit.

Inforeignandeconomicpolicy,Russia'spost-Sovietgovernmentmayneverhavecleaved
asclosetotheviewsofthemajorityasitdoesnow.That'stheviewofIgorOkunev,avice-
deanattheMoscowStateInstituteofInternationalRelations,whomIspokewithrecentlyin
Moscow.

"Historically,theRussiangovernmenthasalwaysbeenmoreliberalthantheRussian
population.UnlikeGorbachevandYeltsin,whatIthinkPutinhasdecidedtodoisacceptthis
anduseitasthebasisforhissupport.That'sbeenhisstrategysincetheprotestsof2011.
Thatwaswhenhedecidedtoabandontheliberalminorityandembracetheconservative
majority."
MikhailRemizov,directorofRussia'sInstituteofNationalStrategy,sharesthisview,saying
inarecentinterview:"Russiandemocracymustbydefinitionbeconservative,populist,
nationalistandprotectionist."Until2012,hesaid,theconservatives"whoreallyenjoythe
sympathiesofthemajorityofthenationoccupiedtheplaceofanopposition.Realpower
remainedinthehandsoftheneo-liberalelitethathadrunthecountrysincethe1990."

Thishasnowchanged."Putinisfalselypresentedasanationalist,"saidRemizov."Ina
Russiancontext,he'sasovereigntist.Butingeneral,theagendaoftheKremlintodayis
formedbytheoppositionofthe2000s:theconservative,patrioticmajority."

YetWesterngovernmentsoftentreatRussia'sminorityliberaloppositionastheavant-garde
ofahiddenliberalmajority.ToDmitriTrenin,directoroftheCarnegieMoscowCentre,
however,thisisbettingonthewronghorse."Thisisn'tjustaboutPutin,"hetoldagroupI
waswithinMoscow."It'saboutthenatureofsocietyasawhole.Putinhasbeenabletorule
thiscountryinanauthoritarianwaywiththeconsentofthegoverned."Theimaginedliberal
majoritylookingtotheWestforemancipationdoesn'texist.Russianliberals,hesaid,"have
thesameproblemtherevolutionarieshavealwayshadinRussia:theylookdownonthe
restofthecountryasdupes."

ButTreninisjustaspessimisticabouttheabilityofRussia'spresentrulerstoaddressthe
country'sunderlyingproblems."Wewillhavetoexpectsomesortofupheaval.Thedams
willhavetobebrokensomehow."

Forallhispopularity,then,hasPutinreturnedRussiatoitspre-revolutionaryimpasse?

Intsaristtimes,abourgeois,liberaleliteeagertoimitateWesternEuropesocially,politically
andeconomicallyclashedwiththeconservativeandcollectivistworldviewofanOrthodox
peasantry(andtheireducatedSlavophilepatrons,mostfamouslyDostoyevsky)unwillingto
seeRussiarenounceitsdistinctiveways.

Betweenthem,theImperialgovernmentarbitratedham-fistedlyuntil,in1917,theFirst
WorldWarsweptitaway,andadisciplinedbandofrevolutionariesseizedpowerinthe
nameofadifferentWesternideology,Marxism.

SomethinkrevolutionwillbeRussia'sfateagain.Others(notablyChathamHouseexpert
RichardSakwa)believeRussia'spathtodemocracyliesinmodifyingthesystemthatPutin
hascreated.Indeed,thecountry'sveryconsensusbehinditspresidentcouldmeanthatthe
nextstepinsucha'democraticevolution'iscloserthanwethink."Thiscouldbeanideal
momentforPutintoexperimentwithpoliticalcompetition,"saysRemizov,"precisely
becauseofthestrengthofhisposition."

Allthesame,Westerngovernmentsshouldn'thavetoomanyillusions.IfRussians'present
sentimentsareanythingtogoby,thecatch-22ofRussiandemocracy,whenitarrives,may
bethatitlooksratherlikePutin'sRussia.

[returntoContents]

#17
FinancialTimes
June1,2015
Europe'sproblemiswithRussia,notPutin
Moscowisnotarisingrevolutionaryforcebutoneseekingtorestorepower
ByThomasGraham
ThewriterisaformerseniordirectorforRussiaontheUSNationalSecurityCouncilstaff

ThewestactsasifithadaVladimirPutinproblem.InfactithasaRussiaproblem.The
RussianpresidentstandswithinalongtraditionofRussianthinking.Hisdeparturewouldfix
nothing.Anyplausiblesuccessorwouldpursueasimilarcourse,ifperhapswithalittleless
machismo.

TheRussiaproblemisnotnew.Itemerged200yearsago,attheendoftheNapoleonic
period,withtheopeningupofwhatwewouldtodaycallavaluesgap.Inthe19thcentury
RussiamaintainedanautocraticregimeasEuropemovedtowardsliberaldemocracy.

YetRussiaremainedagreatpower,essentialtoEuropeansecurity.HowtoprotectEurope
inthepresenceofapowerfulstatethatisalieninworldview?Thatwastheproblemthen,as
now.

EuropeanstatesseeksecurityinbalanceRussiaseeksitinstrategicdepth.Thatview
growsoutofitslocationonthevast,nearlyfeaturelessgreatEurasianplain,acrosswhich
armieshavemovedwithease.

Historically,Russiahaspusheditsbordersoutward,asfarawayaspossiblefromits
heartland.Itdidnotstopwhenitreacheddefensiblephysicalborders,butonlywhenitran
intopowerfulcountervailingstates.Wherethewestsawimperialism,Moscowsawthe
erectionofdefences.

Overtime,resistancefromtheGermanicpowersinthewest,GreatBritainandthentheUS
inthesouth,andChinaandJapanintheeast,cametodefineRussia'szoneofsecurityas
northcentralEurasia,theformerSovietspace.

ForMoscow,statestherefaceachoicenotbetweenindependenceandRussian
domination,butbetweendominationbyRussiaorarival.Thatstruggle,
Moscowbelieves,isplayingoutinUkraine.

Alsooutofsecurityconcerns,RussiahasopposedthedominationofEuropebyasingle
powerandremainsuncomfortablewithgreaterEuropeanunity.Thereasoniseasyto
grasp:RussiacanbetheequalofGreatBritain,France,orGermany,butitcanneverbethe
equalofaunitedEurope,whichinpopulation,wealth,andpowerwoulddwarfitastheUS
doestoday.DrivingwedgesbetweenEuropeanstates,andbetweenEuropeandtheUS,
mightforestalltheemergenceofaseriousthreat.

Russia'sfearsareamplifiedbyasenseofvulnerability.Itseconomyisstagnating,its
technologyisnolongercutting-edge,andoutsideforces-China,thewestandradicalIslam
-arechallengingitintheformerSovietspace.Thetemptationistoacttoughtocoverupthe
doubtsby,forexample,flauntingnuclearcapabilities.

Aftermorethan20yearsofhopethatRussiacouldbebroughtintothewest-led
internationalorder,there-emergenceoftheRussiaproblemhasshockedthewest.Butthe
threatislimited.Thisisnotarisingrevolutionaryforcebutadecliningstateseekingto
restoreitspower.

Itcanbemanaged.OnewayistorevitalisetheEuropeanproject.Thatmeansdealing
vigorouslywiththeissuesfuellinganti-EUforces-thedemocraticdeficit,immigrationand
inequality.

Tobesure,stepssuchasaNatopresenceintheBalticsandrobustplanningforhybrid-war
contingenciesarenecessary,butthewestneedstoavoidover-militarisingitsresponseto
whatislargelyapoliticalchallenge.

Atthesametime,moreshouldbedonetohelpUkrainerepairitseconomyandbuilda
competentstateasabarriertoRussia'sassaultonEuropeannormsandunity.

Yetcontainmentwillnotworkinourglobalised,increasinglymultipolarworld,asitdidduring
thecoldwar.Thewestcannotcontainoneoftheworld'slargesteconomies,anditis
geopoliticalmalfeasancetoweakenundulyapowercriticaltotheequilibriumwehopeto
createoutoftoday'sturbulence,particularlyinAsia.

ThehardtruthisthatUkrainecannotberebuiltwithoutRussia.Itissimplytoorelianton
Russiaeconomically,andRussiahastoomanyleversofinfluenceinsideUkraine,foritto
beotherwise.Containmenthastobeleavenedwithaccommodation.Findingtheright
balanceisthechallenge.

[returntoContents]

#18
TheIndependent(UK)
May4,2015
Onceagain,theWestfailstounderstandRussia
Westernleadersarestayingawayfromthisyear'sVictoryDay,whichmournsthelossof
20millionRussianswhodiedtodefeatNaziGermany
ByMaryDejevsky
Oneofthecountry'smostrespectedcommentatorsonRussia,theEUandtheUS,Mary
Dejevskyhasworkedasaforeigncorrespondentallovertheworld,includingWashington,
ParisandMoscow.SheisnowthechiefeditorialwriterandacolumnistatTheIndependent
andregularlyappearsonradioandtelevision.SheisanHonoraryResearchFellowatthe
UniversityofBuckingham.

WhyareWesterncountriesbyandlargesoindulgentoftheanniversariesthatcontributeto
theirownnationhood,andsoinsensitivetowardsthoseofothers?
OnSaturday,PresidentVladimirPutinwilltakethesaluteatagrandmilitaryparadein
Moscow'sRedSquare.VictoryDay-9MayiswhenRussiacommemoratesitspartinthe
AlliedvictoryoverNaziGermany-isatoncethemostsolemnandovertlypatriotic
occasion.ItisoneofthefewpublicholidaystohavemadethetransitionfromtheSovietto
thepost-Sovietcalendarintact.

VictoryDaywasahighlightoftheyearIspentasanexchangestudentinVoronezh-acity
rarelymentionedwithouttheaccompanyingphrase"thelastfrontbeforeStalingrad".
Preparationstookweeks:placardswerepaintedbuntingandflagsadornedthestreets.It
wasahugehonourtobeartheuniversitystandard.Foodstocksintheshopsmiraculously
improved.

ReportingfromMoscowoveradecadelater,IrecallthebarrierspileduparoundRed
Square,theovernightarrivalofthetanksand,aboveall,thesuffocatingstenchoftheirfuel,
astheironmonsterswaitedtojointhetriumphalformation.TheVictoryDayparadewas
somethingtoclingto,evenastheSovietUnionnearedcollapse.

Thisyear'scommemorationwillbesecondtonone.Asthe70th,itisaround-number
anniversary.AswiththeplethoraofSecondWorldWaranniversariesbeingcommemorated
thisyear,thisisprobablythelasttimethattherewillbeanythinglikeaquorumofthosewho
actuallyparticipatedinorwitnessedtheseeventsabletoattend.

Then,ofcourse,thereisthetrickier,mostcontemporaryandspecificallyRussian,aspect.
ThisyearisanopportunityfortheKremlintodemonstratethatRussia,asagreatpower,is
back.TheadvanceofthedecadentWesthasbeenhaltedinUkraineandthesacred
territoryofCrimeahasbeenreturnedtothemotherland.

AllthisiswhyWesternleaders-whowenttoMoscowenmasseforVictoryDay's60th
anniversary-arestayingaway.TheydonotwishtoassociatewithPutin-certainlynotwhile
Ukraine'sveryexistenceasasovereignstateisunderthreat.Theyespeciallydonotwantto
appearataRussianmilitaryoccasion,whichcouldbeseenassignallingacceptanceofthe
eventsofthepast18months.

StrictlyspeakingthereisnoWesternboycott,andtherearedegreesofabsence.The
CzechpresidentwillgotoMoscow,butnotattendtheparade.AngelaMerkelwillarrivea
daylaterandlayawreath-anactthatmightanywayseemmoreappropriateforaGerman
Chancelloratawartimeanniversary.AsfortheUK,whoknowswhotheprimeministerwill
bebySaturday?Decliningtheinvitationwasexcusable,regardlessofUkraine.

Somemayseetheattendancelist,headedbytheChineseandIndianleaders-butnotby
NorthKorea'sKimJong-un,whohasjustcriedoff-followedbytheautocratsofCentral
Asia,asevidenceofwhereRussia'sforeignpolicyisnowheading.Maybe.Butthe
Kremlin'sresponsetotheWesternstay-awaysuggestsotherwise.Ithasbeenpeevish,but
alsoshotthroughwithincomprehension.ForRussians,whatishappeninginUkraineand
Russia'spartinthevictoryof1945arequalitativelyandquantitativelyquitedifferentthings.

Each9May,RussiadoesnotjustcelebratevictoryoverNaziGermanyitmournstheloss
ofmorethan20millionwardead,anditreconsecratestheideaofRussiansufferingtosave
Europe.InconversationwithRussiansinrecentweeks,Ihavehadtofieldastreamof
injuredquestionsalongthelinesof"hastheWesteverunderstoodRussia'ssacrifice?"
and:"WilltheWesteverappreciateit?"ThenotionthatUkraineisarealstumblingblock
hereisbeyondcomprehensionthestay-awayisratherseenasfurtherproofthatRussia
willnever,ever,beconsidered"oneofus".

Countrieskeepmemoriesalive,oftenunrealisticallyflatteringones,formanyreasons.Last
June,inarecognitionofthewartimealliance,Putinwascontroversiallyinvitedtojointhe
AlliedcommemorationoftheNormandylandings,atatimewhenRussia'sseizureof
Crimeawasevenfresherinthememorythanitisnow.Butthisofferedanopportunityfor
WesternleadersandforPutintospeaktheirminds,whilepreservingdignityoneitherside.
OneresultwasthefirstformalmeetingbetweenPutinandUkraine'snewlyelected
president-withoutwhichUkraine'ssituationmightbeevenworsethanitistoday.

TojoinPutinonthepodiumforSaturday'sparadewouldnotbepoliticbuttodineinthe
Kremlinortakepartinawreath-layingwouldsurelynotbeoutofplace.MostWesterners
mightnotfearanyresurgenceoffascisminUkraine,butdiscussionwithPutinandothers-
whosefathersfoughtonthatfrontandothers-couldaffordanunderstandingofwhymany
Russiansmight.Inrecentyears,theWesthasmissedoneopportunityafteranotherto
understandhowRussia'spastinfluencesitspresent.Andhereisanothergone.

[returntoContents]

#19
RussiaInsider
www.russia-insider.com
November2,2015
TwoCenturiesofRussianSurprises--WhyAreWeSurprised?
UnderestimatingRussiawillsurpriseyou
ByShellback
ShellbackisthepseudonymofsomeonewhostartedworkingforaNATOmilitarystructure
intheBrezhnevyears.

TheUSA/NATOhasbeensurprised-orisstunnedabetterword?-bytheRussian
operationinSyria.Thefactthatitintervenedthespeedwithwhichitdiditthesecrecywith
whichitdiditthenumbersofsortiesbeingflowntheaccuracyandeffectivenessofthe
strikes.ButespeciallybythediscoverythatinsignificantboatsintheCaspianSea-ofall
places-haveasurprisinglylongreach.McCain'sgasstationorObama'snegligibleRussia
couldn'tpossiblybeexpectedtodosuchthings.And,ifhalftherumorsaboutRussia's
"A2/ADbubble"aretrue,there'sanotherhugesurpriseaswell.

Russia,overitsmillenniumofhistory,hasbeenusuallysuccessfulinwar,andespeciallyso
whendefeatinginvaders.TheMongolswereeventuallyseenoff,theTeutonicKnightssent
home,thePolish-Lithuanianinvadersdrivenout,theSwedesdefeatedandNapoleonand
Hitlerwerefollowedhomebyavengingarmies.TheWestisonlyfaintlyawareofthisrecord:
ittendstorememberRussia'sraredefeatsliketheJapanesewarorWorldWarIand,when
Russia(ortheUSSR)wins,thecommonopinionintheWestisthatvictorywasreallyowed
tofactorslike"GeneralWinter"orendlessmanpower.Inshort,theWesternmemeisthat
doesn'treallywin,theothersideloses.

Thisis,toputitmildly,incorrect.DominicLieven'sbook"RussiaAgainstNapoleon"
destroysthememe.TheauthorestablishesthecasethattheEmperorAlexanderandhis
governmentforesawthatwarwithNapoleonwasinevitable,studiedhowNapoleonfought
andmadethenecessarypreparationstodefeathim.Anddefeathimtheydid.Fightingan
armyasbigastheonethatinvadedin1812ledbyasbrilliantacommanderasNapoleonis
nevergoingtobeeasyandAlexanderprobablydidn'tenvisageabattleasbloodyas
Borodino,soclosetoMoscow,tobeindecisive.I'msurenobodyplannedforMoscowtobe
occupiedandburned.But,evenso,Alexanderheldtohispurpose.HeknewthatNapoleon's
typicalcampaignwasaswiftbattlefieldvictory,followedbynegotiations,perhapsthelossof
afewbitsofterritory,arelativeortwobeingmadeintoaprince,andthenthegatheringof
thedefeatedpowerintotheFrenchcamp.Inshort,Napoleon'sexpectedheandAlexander
wouldmeetagainwhenAlexanderhadbeentaughtalesson:Russiawouldthenrejointhe
"continentalsystem"anditsnavywouldkeeptheRoyalNavyoutoftheBaltic.Something
limitedlikethat.ButAlexanderwasfightingadifferentwarandnevercametohim.Moscow
burnedandNapoleongaveupwaitingandwenthome.Certainly,"GeneralWinter"played
hispart,buttheFrenchretreatturnedintoaroutastheyweredrivenfasterandfasterbythe
menacingproximityoftherebuiltRussianArmy,harriedbywarmlydressedCossack
raiderswithendlessremountsandenragedpartisansrousedintothefirstGreatPatriotic
War.Thisfamousgraphtellsthestory:fourhundredthousandwentin,tenthousandcame
outandtheRussianarmyfollowedNapoleonallthewaybacktoParis.Lievenexplainsthe
planningandtheenormouslogisticsoperationwhichsustainedalargearmyallthe1500
milesfromMoscowtoParis.VeryfarindeedfromtheWesternstoryofmassesofmen
hurledatafreezingenemy.
Inshort:AlexanderunderstoodhowNapoleondidthingsandsurprisedhimwithproper
preparationandafullstrategy.This,Ibelieve,istheessenceofthe"Russianwayin
warfare".Knowandunderstandtheenemyandsurprisehim.Wehavejustseenthisagain
inSyria.And,forthatmatter,overandoveragainintheUkrainecrisiswherenothinghas
gonethewayNuland&Cointended.AndinOssetiain2008.

WhiletheFirstWorldWarwasadisasterforRussia,surpriseandintelligencewaspresent.
Germany'splantodealwithenemiesbotheastandwestassumedRussiawouldtakeso
longtomobilizethatthebulkoftheGermanArmycouldbesentwesttoknockFranceout-
asithaddonein1870-andreturnintimetomeettheRussians.TheRussians,who
perhapsknewthis,attackedearlyandthrewtheGermansintoconsternation.Theirattack,
however,wentwrong:theRussiancommanderswereincompetent,theGerman
commandersweren'tandtheGermansweresaved.Intelligenceandsurprisewerethere,
buttheexecutionwasbungled.Asecondintelligence/surprisewastheBrusilovOffensivein
1916(againsomethingnotmuchknownintheWest).Theattackwasnotablefortwo
innovationslateradoptedintheWesternfront:ashort,intense,accurateartillery
bombardmentimmediatelyfollowedupbyattacksofsmallspeciallytrainedshocktroops.
VerydifferentindeedfromthesynchronousSommeoffensiveonthewithitsprolonged
bombardmentandtheslowadvanceofthousandsofheavilyburdenedsoldiers.But,inthe
end,Russiawasoverwhelmedbythestrainsofthefirstindustrialwarandunderminedby
GermanandAustriansubterfugesandcollapsed.Intelligenceandsurpriseweren'tenough.

IntelligenceandsurprisereturnedintheSovietperiod.IntheFarEastwesawtheperfect
combinationofsurprisein1939withtheannihilationofaJapanesearmyatthebattleof
Khalkin-Golandintelligencein1941withRichardSorge'sdiscoverythatJapanwasturning
south.ThisintelligenceallowedStavkatotransferdivisions,thattheGermanshadnoidea
existed,toMoscowandsurprisethemwiththefirstSovietvictoryattheBattleofMoscow.
CertainlyHitlersurprisedStalinwithhisattack(althoughheshouldn'thavebecauseSoviet
intelligencepickedupmanywarningsigns)butthatappearstohavebeenthelastGerman
surpriseofthewar.FromthenonitwastheSovietswhoforesawGermanplansand
surprisedthemtimeandtimeagain-thecounterattackatStalingradandtheentireBattleof
KurskbeingtwoofthemostdramaticexamplesoftheSovietspreparingforwhattheir
intelligencetoldthemwascomingandachievingcompletesurprisewiththeircounter-
attack.Again,surpriseandintelligence,almostallofitontheSovietside.(Whichshould
makeonewonderwhatReinhardGehlen,headoftheGermanArmy'sSovietintelligence
sectionhadtoselltheAmericansin1945,shouldn'tit?)

Sothen,SyriaisjustthelatestexampleofsomethingthathasbeenpresentinRussianand
Sovietwar-fightingdoctrineforatleasttwocenturies.

Agoodpieceofadvice,then:ifyouarecontemplatingawar(evenanon-shootingwar)
againstRussiayou'dbetterassumethattheyhaveaprettygoodideaofwhatyouaredoing
butthatyouhaveverylittleideaofwhattheyaredoing.

It'smuchmorelikelythatyouwillbesurprisedthanyouwillsurprisethem.

LotsofpeopleinlotsofplacesoverlotsofyearshaveunderestimatedRussia.Mostof
themhaveregrettedit.

IsthereanythinginthelastcoupleofyearsintheWest'santi-Russiacampaignthatwould
causeanyonetothinkotherwise?

[returntoContents]

#20
Counterpunch.org
November13,2015
PerpetratorsHonoringTheirVictims,orAnIncomprehensibleLogicConcerningDonbas
"Terrorists"
ByHALYNAMOKRUSHYNA
HalynaMokrushynaiscurrentlyenrolledinthePhDprograminSociologyattheUniversityof
Ottawaandapart-timeprofessor.SheholdsadoctorateinlinguisticsandMAdegreein
communication.Heracademicinterestsinclude:transitionaljusticecollectivememory
ethnicstudiesdissentmovementinUkrainehistoryofUkrainesociologicalthought.Her
doctoralprojectdealswiththememoryofStalinistpurgesinUkraine.Inthesummerof
2013shetravelledtoLviv,Kyiv,KharkivandDonetsktoconductherfieldresearch.Sheis
currentlyworkingoncompletingherthesis.Shecanbereachedathalouwins@gmail.com.

AmonumenttotheinsurgentsandcivilianswhodiedinthewarwiththeUkrainianarmyin
2014-15wassolemnlyopenedonNovember4,2015inDebaltsevo,asmallcityonthe
territoryoftheDonetskPeople'sRepublic.Theceremonywaspresidedbytheleadersof
theDPR,theheadoftheDebaltsevocityadministrationanddeputiestotheDPR
legislature.Manyhundredsoflocalcitizenstookpart.

AlexanderZakharchenko,theheadoftheDPR,gaveanaddresstotheceremonyinwhich
hestatedthattheDonetskPeople'sRepublicshouldhonourthosewhodefendedwitharms
theircityandtheirchildren.AsolemnliturgywasservedbytheprovostoftheAlexander
NevskiOrthodoxChurchofDebaltsevo.Hestated,"Wearegatheredhere,ontheDayof
OurLadyofKazan,foraprayertohonourourdeadwarriorswhosacrificedtheirlivesfor
ourland."

Theplaqueonthemonumentreads:"Eternalmemorytothebrothersandsisterswhogave
theirlivesfortheliberationofDebaltsevofromUkrainianaggressors,2014-2015".Thenews
isreportedbytheDonetskNewsAgency(DAN).ItreferstoDebaltsevoasa"herocity"for
havingresistedan"occupation"byUkrainianaggressors,atitlereminiscentoftheSoviet
traditionofbestowingthetitleoncitiesthatbecamecentresofactivefightingagainstNazi
invadersduringWWII.

Thepro-UkraineinformationagencyOstroV,whichpublishesanalysisofeventsinDonetsk
andLuganskinRussianlanguage,publishedashortitemontheNovember4ceremony
whichwastakenfromDAN.OstroVcallsDANa"separatist"agency.TheitemonOstroV's
websitehasatellingtitle:"Theheightofcynicism!Ringleadersofthe"DPR"openedin
Debaltsevoamonumenttociviliansthattheythemselveskilledbrutally".Thentheagency
proceedstoexplainthatwhile"liberating"(itsownquotationmarks)Debaltsevofromthe
Ukrainianarmy,therebelsshelledthecitywithheavyweaponry,killingalargenumberof
civilians.

QuotingU.S.AmbassadortotheUnitedNationsSamanthaPower,theOstroVagency
explainsthatabout500corpsesofcivilianswerefoundinbasementsofDebaltsevo.The
victimsweresaidtobeseekingcoverfromtheshellingoftheir"liberators"(quotationmarks
bytheagency),thatisDPRforces.OstroVdoesnotsaywhenPowermadethisclaim,nor
onwhatoccasion.Italsoquotesherassayingthatcivilianswereriskingtheirlivesbyeither
hidinginbasementsorfleeingthecitybecauseroadswerealsoshelledbythe"terrorists"of
theDPR.OnewonderswhyOstroVdoesnotquoteUkrainiansourcesandinsteadrelieson
theUSrepresentativeforfindingoutwhatishappeninginUkraine.

TheshortOstroVshortarticlestatesthattheleaderswhospokeatthesolemnopeningof
theDebaltsevomonumentonNovember4"traditionallyshiftedtheresponsibilityfortheir
crimesontoUkraine".

"Themonument...islocatedinapublicpromenadeadjacenttotheoccupation'city
administration'ofDebaltsevo",informsOstroV.Again,quotesaroundthe"city
administration"andthequalification"occupation"clearlyshowtheagency'sinterpretationof
theDPRas"terrorists"whotookDebaltsevobyforceandholdnowallthecitizensas
hostages.NotonlydotheterroristsblametheUkrainianarmyfortheircrimes,they
purportedlyshelltheirownpositionsbecausetheydonotgiveadamnforthelivesof
civilians!Theseterroristsaresowickedandcynicalintheirperfiditythattheyevenerecta
monumenttotheirownvictims!

TheauthorsoftheOstroVwebsitereportdidnotbothertoexplainwhytheDPR
"ringleaders"wouldengageinsuchanactofcommemoration.Indeed,whydidtheystagea
commemoration?

Whenandwhereinhumanhistoryhaveperpetratorserectedmonumentstotheirvictims?
Thereareinnumerableinstancesofcommemorationofvictimsbytheirrelatives,social
groupsrepresentingthevictimizedstrataofthepopulation,orthestateclaimingto
representthem.ButIhaveneverheardofaninstancewhereanexecutionerwoulderecta
monumenttohisownvictims,goingsofarastocallthem"brothersandsisters"!Butthese
Russia-backedterroristsfromtheDPRaresoevilthattheircrueltyisinhumaneand
transcendsourcommonunderstandingofhumanmotivation.Orsoweareexpectedto
believe.
ThatistheonlyplausibleexplanationoftheDPRleaders'actfromtheOstroVpointofview.
Thepublicationdoesnotspellthisout,butitiseasilydiscerniblefromthewayinwhichit
presentedthenews.

TheaforementionedtitleoftheOstroVreportstrikesmeasyetanotherexampleofthe
dehumanizationofDonbasresidentsbytheUkrainiangovernmentandmuchofthe
country'smedia.Ianalyzedthisphenomenoninsomedetailinmypresentationatthe2015
annualconferenceoftheCanadianAssociationofSlavicStudiesandattheinaugural
conferenceinWinnipeginSeptember2015oftheGeopoliticalEconomyResearchGroup
(GERG)attheUniversityofManitobainWinnipeginSeptember2015.Youcanreadmy
presentationhereattheGERGconferencewebsite.

Pro-Western,"civilized"UkrainiansdenytheDPRinsurgentstheirhumanity.Itismade
crystalclearinUkrainianmediainterpretationswhoisthegoodandwhoisthebad.Pro-
WesternUkrainianswhoclaimtorespecthumanlifeandfreedomofopinioncannotaccept
anysuggestionthattheDPRleadersandthepopulationoftheDPRsincerelymourntheir
fellowcombatantsandcitizenswhodiedinthecivilwarinDonbas.Peopleonallsidesdied
fromtheshellingoftheUkrainianarmyand,yes,alsofromshellsfiredbyDPRforces.This
wasawarinwhichcasualtieswereunavoidable,tragicasthatwas.Butitisexceedingly
raretofindreportedinUkrainianmediathatthiscivilwarwasunleashedbyKyiv
governmentandbroughttotheDonbashomelandpreciselybecauseEuromaidanKyiv
couldnottoleratedissentingopinionthere.

OstroV'scoverageoftheopeningofamonumentinDebaltsevoisanexampleofsuch
blindnessandnon-respectoftheOther.ItcannotseethattheDPRisalegitimate
expressionofpoliticalself-determination,nota"terrorist"projectimposedonthepopulation
by"Russia-backedrebels".OstroVdoesnotmentionthatsome500peoplewerepresentat
theNovember4ceremonyinDebaltsevo,andthataftertheopeningofthenewmonument,
theprocessionthenwenttotheMemorialofEternalGloryconsecratedtothosewhodiedin
theGreatPatrioticWar.Onthatday,forthefirsttimeinmanyyears,theEternalFlamewas
relitthankstotheeffortsofthelocalauthorities.TheheadoftheDPR,Alexander
Zakharchenko,spokeandgavethankstotheveteransstillaliveandthosewhodiedfor
passingtothegenerationsthatfollowthemthespiritandstrengthwithwhichtheyfoughtin
theGreatPatrioticWar.

ThespeechbyZakharchenkoisbutoneofnumerousofficialproclamationsoftheDPR
whichtraceacontinuitybetweenthepresent-daycombatantsofDonbasandtheir
grandfathersandgreatgrandfatherswhodefeatedNaziGermanyintheGreatPatrioticWar.
AstheSovietarmyfought70yearsago,todaytheDPRarmyisfightingagainstUkrainian
extremenationalistswhowereNazialliesinthepastandwhonowwanttoinvadeDonbas
andtodestroyitshistoricmemory.Present-dayciviliansandinsurgentstowhosememory
themonumentinDebaltsevoisdedicateddiedforvictoryinthisfight.

Intoday'sMaidanUkraine,celebrationsoftheSovietvictoryinWWIIarefadingaway.Inthe
memorypoliticsofthenewEuromaidanUkraine,thenotionoftheGreatPatrioticWaris
increasinglycalledamyth.Andyet,this"myth"remainsafundamentalbuildingblockofthe
collectiveidentityofmillionsofUkrainiancitizens.TheheroismandpatriotismofSoviet
Ukrainiansoldiers,praisedinhistorymanualsandglorifiedinsong,isnowdissolvedintoan
interpretationofUkraineashavingbeencaughtbetweentwinevils-NaziGermanyandthe
Stalin-ledSovietUnion(readpresent-dayRussia).Newcommemorationritualshavebeing
createdinUkrainewhicharecopiedfromEuropeanhabitswithlittleornobearanceon
Ukrainianhistory.Thisyear,inadditiontomarkingMay9,traditionalVictoryDayinUkraine,
May8wasofficiallymarkedforthefirsttimeinUkraine'shistoryasadayofWW2memory
andreconciliation.

Idoubtverymuchthatthisnewcommemorationdatecanassistreconciliationforacountry
thatisdividednotonlybythememoryofthepastbutalsobydivergentvisionsofthefuture.
DonbasdoesnotwanttointegrateintoEurope,asmanyintherestofUkraineseemingly
want.Andforthatdissentingopinion,pro-EuropeanUkraineisdehumanizingDonbas.As
longastheUkrainianpoliticalandintellectualeliterefusetorecognizeDonetskandLugansk
residentsashumanbeingswithviewsandvaluesdifferentfromtheirownbutnoless
authentic,therewillbenopeaceinUkraine.

Notes:
(1)Debaltsevoisasmallcity,population25,000,intheeastoftheDonetskoblastof
Ukraine,neartheborderwiththeLuhanskoblast.Itisastrategicallyvitalroadandrailway
junction.ThecitybecamethelocationofveryheavyfightingbetweenUkrainianarmed
forcesandmilitiasandtheDPRinsurgencyinthesummerof2014.Ukrainesucceededin
capturingitforatime.InJanuaryof2015,afterUkrainehadrenewedamilitaryoffensive
againstDonetskandLugansk,itsforcesbecamevulnerableaftertheyhadoverextended
themselvesinandaroundDebaltsevo.AcounteroffensivebyDPRforcessucceededin
recapturingthecityonFebruary18,2015,destroyingtheoccupyingUkrainianforceswho
sufferedhundredsofcasualties.ThisfightbecameknownastheBattleofDebaltsevo.

(2).ItisstatedontheOstroVwebsitethatitisfundedbytheNationalEndowmentfor
Democracy,theMediaDevelopmentFundoftheUSEmbassytoUkraine,andthe
InternationalRenaissanceFoundation,whosefounderandsponsorisGeorgeSoros.Itis
partofthePolish-CanadianProgramofsupportfordemocracy,co-financedbythe
DepartmentofForeignAffairsofthePolishRepublicandtheDepartmentofForeignAffairs,
TradeandDevelopmentofCanada.

[returntoContents]

#21
FairObserver
www.fairobserver.com
December4,2015
IsEurope'sBufferZoneinUkraineKeepingitSafe?
BYOLENALENNONANDBRIANMILAKOVSKY
OlenaLennonisanadjunctprofessorofForeignPolicyandConflictResolutionatthe
UniversityofNewHaven.BrianMilakovskyworksonhumanitarianissuesineastern
Ukraine.HehasbeenlivingandworkinginRussiaandUkrainesince2009

UkrainemustprotectcivilianpopulationsintheDonbasregionandseekapoliticalsolution
totheconflict.

EuropeanandAmericanforeignpolicyeliteshavecometoregardthebrutalwarineastern
Ukrainealmostentirelythroughthelensofgeopolitics.Theterriblehumansufferingofthe
warremainsanunfocusedforegroundthattheygazethroughata"resurgentRussia,"
"Europeinthebalance,""challengestoworldorder."

Thedistortingeffectofthisdistancebecamevisibletotheauthorsofthisarticle,oneof
whomspentSeptember25rubbingelbowswithpolicymakersatthecongressionalforum,
andtheotherastheguestofayoungUkrainianfamilyonthefrontlinesofthisconflict.

MAINTAININGTHEILLUSION

TheforumbroughttogetherprominentUkrainian,EuropeanandAmericanpoliticiansand
activiststoadvocateforhumanitarian,economicand"yes,militaryaid"asUkrainegradually
recedesfromtheheadlines.Buttheywerematchedbynumerousspeakerswhocalledfor
areignitionoftheveryconflictthathasbroughtthatcrisison.TheystatedthatUkrainians
mustbearmedforthepreservationofEuropeanorder,because-asformerGeorgian
AmbassadorTemuriYakobashviliputitduringadiscussionattheforum-"theyaretheonly
oneswhoknowhowtofightRussians."

Lestanyonethinkthatareturntoarmedhostilitiesmightcomeattoohighacostforthe
alreadytraumatizedcountry,Ukrainewasremindedoverandoverthatthestakesarepan-
European,ifnotglobal.

"AsuccessfuldemocraticstruggleinUkrainewillhelprevivethedemocraticspiritinEurope
andtheUnitedStates,"saidCarlGershman,presidentoftheNationalEndowmentfor
Democracy."Ukrainecansucceed,andifitdoes,itwillnotjustbeatriumphforthe
Ukrainianpeople.ItwillalsomakepossibleaEuropethatiswholeandfree."Similarly,
GeneralWesleyClarkemphaticallystatedinhiskeynoteaddressthat"muchofmankind's
futureisbeingdecidedinUkraine"and"ifUkrainecompletesthistransitiontoWestern
democracy...there'snomorewarinEurope.Ever.Ever!"Nopressure.

Astonishingly,bellicosestatementslikethoseofYakobashviliandClarkreceivedcheersand
applausefromtheaudience.Whilethesestatementsmaysoundlikeacomplimenttothe
Ukrainianpeople,thispositionreducestheircountrytoabufferzone-aperpetualfrontline.
NeitherAmericannorEuropeanpoliticianscanaffordtotelltheirdomesticaudiencesthat
theyarenotdoingenoughtostoptheRussianaggression(especiallygivenitsrecent
involvementinSyria).Andsotoagreatextent,Ukraineisexpectedtobemoreaggressive
initsfightagainstRussiainordertomaintaintheillusionthatthereisstillprogressin
containingMoscow.

Andbehindthecold,pragmaticconceptofa"bufferzone"hidesitstruemeaning:"buffer
people."ItisUkrainianswhoaretoengagetheRussianarmedforceswiththelong-
promisedadvancedweaponry,andUkrainianswhowillcomprisetheentiretyofthe
collateraldamage.

WhileUSPresidentBarackObamavetoedthenationaldefensebudget,whichincluded$50
milliontowarddefensiveweaponsforUkraine,heannouncedthatWashingtonwouldstill
supplyUkrainewithcounter-batteryradarsystems.AndifUSofficialsdon'tseeprovisionof
radarsaspotentiallyescalatingtheconflict,Russiacertainlydoes-anditalreadythreatened
retaliation.

Obamaiswisetoavoidthemoreescalatorymove.Thecostofareturntofull-onwarfor
Ukrainewouldbeuntenable.AttheUnitedNations'conservativeestimate,thewarhaskilled
8,000peopleanddisplacedapproximately1.4million.Thelife-givingminingandindustrial
sectorsofDonbasareravaged,andtheeconomiccrisisinducedbythewarisspreading
thateffectfarintogovernment-controlledterritory.

ONTHEGROUNDINDONBAS

Figurescannotexpressthefullcostofsufferingandstrife,andthedeepalienationinthe
easternUkraine.OneoftheseauthorsspentthelovelyautumndayofSeptember25far
fromWashingtonatayoungfamily'shalf-finishedhomeontheDonbasfrontline.Denisand
Yuliasurvivedtheshellinginsummer2014,whentheUkrainianarmydrovetheseparatists
outoftheircity.Butthatwinter,theirhomewasdestroyedbyadirecthitfromseparatist
artillery,killingbothofYulia'sparents.

Theyreturned,andformonthsclearedtherubbleandplantedtheirgardenunder
intermittentshelling.Theirchildrenlearnedtoidentifythesoundofdifferentshellsasthey
passedoverheadinbothdirections.Withthehelpofaidorganizationsandvolunteers,they
beganrebuildingtheirshatteredhome.GazingatthecinderblockwallsoftheirhouseYulia
sighs:"Formeandthekids,thisisalreadyhappiness.Justgiveuspeacesowecanenjoy
it!"

Justgiveuspeace.

ThisisthephraseonehearsfromsomanyrefugeesandfrontlineciviliansinDonbas.From
peoplelikeNatasha,whofledtheSyrianconflictthreeyearsago(shewasmarriedtoa
Kiev-educatedArab)fortherefugeofherparent'shomeinLuhansk.Whenthecitycame
underfirebytheUkrainianarmylastspring,sheandherchildrenbecamerefugeesagain,
movingtoagovernment-heldtownacrosstheriver,whichitselfwasunderconstantfire
untilthegunswentsilenttwomonthsago.

Andnow,inthemidstofitsunaccustomedandfragilesilenceNatasha,Yulia,Denisand
thousandslikethemarecautiouslyallowingthemselvestohopethatthisisnomerelullin
thefighting,buttheendofthewarthathasoverturnedtheirlives.Thisisreflectedinthe
fallingnumbersofinternallydisplacedpersons(IDP).InOctober,theUNRefugeeAgency
(UNHCR)reportedroughly1.5millionIDPsinUkraineamonthlater,thenumberdroppedto
under975,000-astaggering35%decrease.Encouragedbythereducedfighting,peopleare
returningtotheirhomes.

Iftheirhopeisrewarded,andtheyarenotforcedtospendanotherwinterhidingfromthe
bombsinfreezingbasementsandrootcellars,thenitcouldbecomeapotentforcefor
reconciliationandstabilizationinUkraine.

PEACEISVICTORY

TreatingUkraineasashieldagainstRussia,asa"bufferzone,"couldmeankeepingthat
countryinanearperpetualstateofarmedconflictandeverythingthatEuropehopesto
reduceonitsperimeters-instability,povertyandmassrefugeeflows.
TheUSshouldincreasediplomaticsupporttoresolvetheMinskAgreement'scentral
quandary:Iftheso-calledpeople'srepublicsaretoremaininUkraine,howwilltheytakepart
inthepoliticsofacountrytheyhaverecentlybeeninarmedconflictwith?

Anysustainableresolutionislikelyproveasmessyasthepoliticalresolutionthatendedthe
fightinginBosnia20yearsago.Thehorse-tradingandgerrymanderingofthatdealwere
repugnant,butunquestionablypreferabletothefratricidethatprecededit.

StabilizingDonbaswillalsorequireUkrainetorethinkitseconomicblockadeofthe
breakawayregions.IftheartificialinternalborderbetweenthetwohalvesofDonbas
remainsapersistentbarriertotrade,thenbothsidesaredoomedtoeconomicdecline.Itis
onlyaquestionofwhichsponsorcanpropupitsDonbaslonger.

Evenifeconomicrelationsintheeastarerestored,hugeinjectionsofforeignaidwillstillbe
necessarytopropuptheeconomyofUkraineproper.InMarch,theInternationalMonetary
Fund(IMF)approvedUkraine'srequestfor$17.5billion.Forgoodmeasure,theUShas
committed$2billioninloanguarantees.Howeverlaudable,thisleveloffinancialsupportis
nothingcomparedtothehundredsofbillionstheEuropeanUnionhaspouredintoGreece
andinthewordsofDavidR.Cameron,directorofYale'sPrograminEuropeanUnion
Studies,WesternassistancetoUkrainehasbeen"quiteliterally,nothingbutcheaptalk."

WesternleadersshouldfocusonhelpingUkrainestaveoffeconomiccollapseintheeast,
capitalizeonthisrenewedsenseofhopeandcontinuetosearchnonmilitarysolutions.With
thereturnofcivilianpopulationstoDonbas'conflictzones,thestakesareonlygetting
higher.Noweapon,howeverprecise,willeliminateUkraine'senemies,deterRussiaor
makeEuropesaferwithoutthepoliticalwilloftheconflictingsidestoagreetoapeaceful
coexistence.

Yakobashviliisrightinsayingthat"asuccessfulUkrainewillbeacrucialpartofthe
EuropeanandEuro-Atlanticeconomicandsecurityarchitecture,andastimulusfortherest
ofthepost-Sovietregion,especiallytoRussia,toreformanddragthemselvesoutofthe
swampofcorruptionandforcedideologies."Ukrainianscanberolemodelsforhumanism
anddemocracy,andtheplacetostartisinthevolatileperipheralzoneoftheeast.

IfUkraineistobecomeamodelandnotacautionarytale,thentheWestmusthelpitto
protectcivilianpopulationsinDonbasandseekapoliticalsolutiontothisconflict.

[returntoContents]

#22
www.rt.com
February19,2015
"KievgovtresistsonlysolutiontoUkrainecrisis-fullautonomyofDonbass"

TheKievleadership,atleastPMArsenyYatsenyuk,isresistingtheonlysolutionwhichcan
endtheUkraineconflict-fullautonomyfortheDonbassregion,AnatolLieven,of
GeorgetownUniversitySchoolofForeignService,toldRT'sIntheNow.

RT:LastyearWesterngovernmentsclaimedtheywouldbeabletobringprosperityand
democracytoUkraine.CouldUkrainianleadersandtheirforeignsupporterspredictwarand
disorderaftermassprotestinthecountryayearago?

AnatolLieven:No,Idon'tthinktheypredictedit.ClearlytheAmericangovernmentwastrying
tobringaboutthefallof[Viktor]YanukovichbutIdon'tthinkthattheypredictedwhatwould
follow.Onecouldsaythattheyshouldhavepredictedit,butthatisadifferentmatter.Oneof
thestrikingthingsisthatthereweresomanyso-calledexpertsintheWestwhowere
completelyrecklessandirresponsibleinthisregard.

RT:WhatdoyouthinkwastheinitialplanorhopesforUkraine?

AL:Thethingisthatdifferentpeoplehaddifferentplans.WhenitallstartedAmericawasnot
reallyinvolved.ThiswassomethingthattheEUpushed,aboveallbyPoland,andtosome
extentbytheEUpoliticianslikeCarlBildt,initiatedthisEuropeanassociationagreement
whichwasintendedtoblockpossibleUkrainianmembershipoftheEurasianUnion.This
wasanewthing.TheUSessentiallygotonboardlater,asthecrisisdeveloped.Butasthe
crisisdevelopedclearlytheUS,oratleasttheUSdiplomatsontheground,likeVictoria
Nulandfollowedtheiroldplaybookoftryingtopromotewhattheysawwasfreedom,tryingto
createananti-RussianregimeinUkraine.Eventuallytheintentionwasclearlytotake
UkraineintoNATO.

RT:HowdoyouevaluatethejobthatPetroPoroshenkoandArsenyYatsenyukaredoing
consideringhowandwhathasevolvedintheEastofUkraine?

AL:Ofcoursenotabrilliantjobatall,butthentheyareinaverydifficultpositionaboveall
economically.TheUkrainianeconomyiscollapsingWesternaidisonlyenoughtokeepit
tickingalong.UkraineisstillmuchmoredependentonRussiaandofcourserelationswith
Russiahavedeterioratedbadly.Fromthatpointofviewtheyareinaverydifficultsituation.
TherearealsostrongdifferencesbetweenYatsenyukandPoroshenko.Itappearsthat
Poroshenkoisconsiderablymoremoderateandpragmatic.Yatsenyuk,possiblywiththe
encouragementoftheAmericanhardliners,isagreatdealmorenationalistic.Theproblem
isthattheyarestronglyresistingtheonlykindofdeal,atleastYatsenyukis,whichcan
actuallybringanendtothisconflict...thefullautonomyfortheDonbass.They'vedragged
theheelsandtriedtoblockthat.Onecouldsaythattheseparatists'leadersaredoingthe
samething.Butclearlywithoutanagreementonautonomytherecan'tbeevenahalfway
successfulendtothiswarfromtheUkrainianpointofview.Yatsenyukseemstobe
fantasizingaboutthepossibilityofamilitaryvictory.

RT:WhataboutWednesday'sretreatofUkrainianforcesfromDebaltsevo?Doesitmean
thatwe'relookingattheendofthewar?

AL:Ithinkthatispossible.Whathasnowbeenestablishedisamuchmoreviablefrontline.
ClearlyaslongastheUkrainiansheldDebaltsevotherewasgoingtobeendlesstrouble.
Hopefully,thepro-Russiansidenowhaswhattheycouldseeasadefensibleborder.
Therefore,perhaps,willbewillingtoaccepttheceasefireandgoforwardalongthelinesof
autonomy.ButofcoursethatalsodependsontheUkrainiangovernmentbeingwillingto
acceptthepresentsituation.

[returntoContents]

#23
RossiiskayaGazeta
August27,2015
BiddingFarewelltotheCivilWar
Anationthathasnotburieditsperishedfellowcitizenscannotrespectitselfandmove
forward
BySergeiKaraganov,DoctorofHistory,headoftheworkinggrouponhistoricalmemoryat
thepresidentialCouncilontheDevelopmentofCivilSocietyandHumanRights

ManyencouragingchangesaretakingplaceinRussia'shistoricalmemorypolicy,withallits
contradictions,sensationsandfalsesensations.Effortsarebeingmadetorestorethe
memoryofthe"forgottenwar"(WWI),whichformanyyearswasreferredtoas
"imperialistic."AmonumenthasbeenunveiledinMoscow,tobefollowedbymanymore,
andlocalmuseumsaresettinguprelevantexhibitions.

AnothermajorstepinrecreatingacomprehensivepictureofRussianhistorywastakenin
August2015whenthefederalgovernment,onordersfromthePresident,adopteda
conceptofstatepolicyforperpetuatingthememoryofthevictimsofpoliticalrepressions.
Thedocumentwasdraftedbygovernmentagenciesandpublicorganizations,aboveall,by
thepresidentialCouncilontheDevelopmentofCivilSocietyandHumanRights(SPCh).

Asisoftenthecaseinourcountry,thedocumentdidnotcomeeasy.Almostfiveyearsago
agroupofenthusiastsassociatedwiththeSPChinitiatedandpresentedaprogramfor
commemoratingthevictimsandrestoringhistoricalmemory.Weweredrivenbyseveral
principalconvictions.

First,anationthathasnotburieditsperishedfellowcitizenscannotrespectitself,standtall
andgoforward.Likewise,apersonwhohasnotburiedhisbelovedonesdoesnotdeserve
eitherself-respectorrespectofotherpeople.
Second.Forallitsachievements,the20thcenturywasoneofthemostterribleperiodsin
thehistoryofRussia.WorldWarI,thefratricidalCivilWar,andtheGreatPatrioticWar
claimeddozensofmillionsoflives.Plusrepressionsthatkillednotjustmanymillionsof
people,butthebestmenandwomenofthecountry,membersofthegentry,theclergyand
intelligentsia-thekeepersofhistoricalmemoryandnationalidentity-aswellaspeasants
whowerethebackboneofthenation.Theywerefollowedbymanyintellectuals,
administrativecadresandmembersofthemilitary.Entirepeoplesweredeported.
Traditionalvalues,faithandmoralsweredestroyed.Inpointoffact,thebestcitizensandthe
bestincountry`ssoulweresystematicallyeliminatedforseveraldecades.Russiamust
partwiththatperiod.

Third,aconsiderablepartofnationalhistory,thebasisofthepeople'sidentity,waseither
expurgatedordistortedintheirminds.Restoringthememoryofthevictimsispartofthe
worktobedonetorecreatehistoryinitsentirety.

Ourdocumentatfirstdrewstrongoppositionfrompartofsocietyandwasattackedinmass
mediawhichforsomereasoncalleditaprogramofde-StalinizationeventhoughIandmy
colleaguesmadeitclearthatitwasaprogramtorestoreidentitythroughrespectforthe
memoryofthefallen.Besides,wedidnotthinkitrighttoholdonlyStalinresponsiblefor
manyfellowcitizenswhohadplungedthecountryintotherevolutionandrepressions.

Buttheattack,obviouslysupportedbysomeoneinfluential,judgingfromitsintensity,helped
ratherthanharmedbymakingtheideamorepopular.Itwassadthoughthatyoungpeople,
anewcreativeclass,didnotsupporttheprogramfouryearsago.Apparently,itdidnot
excitethem.Butthousandsofpeopleandaboutadozenofpublicorganizationsfamiliar
withtheproject,abovealltheInternationalMemorial,workedwithunprecedented
selflessnessandenergy.About800localmonumentshavebeenerectedacrossthe
country,anddozensofbooksandarticleswerepublished.Theworkofourgrouphelpedto
unitemanyseparatehistoricalmemorymovements.IstillcannothelpsmilingwhenIrecall
thefirstmeetingwehelpedtoorganizebetweentheheadsofMemorialandtheButovo
ShootingRange,whoalsorepresentedtheOrthodoxChurch.Untilthenbothsideshad
commemoratedtheirvictimsseparately.Nowtheydoittogether.Philanthropists'donations
allowedustolaunchandoperatethewebsitewww.istpamyat.ru,whichhasconsolidated
manysourcesofinformationconcerningvictimsofrepressions.Wealsodrafteda
commemorationprogramwhichthenservedasthebasisforthepresentconcept.We
thoughtthecountryneededasignofstatesupportforthegoalsandobjectivesdeclaredin
theprogramthatwouldsendasignaltobothbureaucratsandsociety.

Theconceptsendssuchasignaltoallofus.Thereisnoneedtodescribeithere,foritcan
easilybefoundontheInternet.Iwillonlymentionitsunderlyingprinciples:recognizingthe
continuityofthehistoricaldevelopmentofthecountryacknowledgingthetragic
consequencesofthesocietalsplitthattriggeredtheturmoilof1917,theCivilWar,and
masspoliticalrepressionsadmittingtheneedforanobjectiveanalysisoftheSoviet
period'sachievementsandtragicchapters,includingmassrepressionscondemningthe
ideologyofpoliticalterror.

AtoneofthemeetingswiththePresidentin2013wesuggestedbuildinganational
monumenttothevictimsofpoliticalrepressionsinMoscow.ThePresidentsupportedthe
ideathathadbeentoolongincoming.Acontestofdesignswasorganized,andabout300
projectsweresubmitted.Thewinnerwillbeannouncedsoon,andtheconstructionwillstart
atthesiteselectedbytheMoscowcityauthoritiesattheintersectionofSakharovAvenue
andtheGardenRingroad.Thefederalgovernmentwillmeetpartofthecosts,forourstate
isthelegalsuccessoroftheonethatprosecutedandkilledpeople.Therestwillcomefrom
people'sdonationsasasignofpersonalgriefforthefallenandrecognitionofthe
responsibilitybornbyourfathersandgrandfathersfortherepressionstheycarriedout.

ThebigandmodernGULAGMuseumwillopeninMoscowonOctober30designatedas
DayofRemembranceoftheVictimsofPoliticalRepressions.Theprojectwasinitiatedby
theMoscowcitygovernment.TheGardenofMemoryhasbeensetupattheButovo
ShootingRange,anditsmuseumwillgetanewbuildingtoexpanditsexhibitions.Workon
abillfullyrehabilitatingthevictimsofpoliticalrepressionsisinitsfinalstage.

Inanotherencouragingdevelopment,peopleunitedinthe"LastAddress"publicmovement
haveinstalledmemorialplaquesonseveraldozenhousesinMoscowandSt.Petersburgto
commemoratethosewhohadlivedthereandbeenkilledduringrepressions.
ButtherearestillmanydangerousvoidsinRussianhistoricalmemory.Oneofthemishow
societyandthestateperceivetheCivilWarprecipitatedbythesplitofsocietyanditselite,
itsincapabilityandlossofresponsibilityforthecountry,withallthetragicconsequences
thatfollowed.Aquarterofacenturyago,themajorityofpeopleinthecountrysupportedthe
Reds,thentheWhites.It'stimetounderstandthatbothwerewrongbyallowingthesplit
andstartingafratricidalwar.Nowsocietyisdividedagain,eventhoughdifferently,and
needstoberemindedofthedramaticresultsofthepreviousspiltandirresponsibilityof
elites.Butmostimportantly,thatthecountryandMotherlandareabovepersonalconvictions
andindividualfates.

Spainisanexampleofhowtobidadignifiedfarewelltoacivilwar,whichwasalsotragic
butnotasdisastrousasours.Itbuiltalargememorialcomplexwherepeoplefromboth
warringsideswerelaidtorest.Ontopofthememorialareacrossandanepitaphreading
"TheylovedSpain."

It'stimeweputanend,atleastasymbolicone,toourownCivilWarthatstartedalmosta
hundredyearsago,in1917.Ithinkthereshouldbeamonumenttoo.Ivisualizeitquite
clearly:MotherMotherlandisbestowingforgivenessonthekneltWhiteofficerandtheRed
commissarwearingabudyonnovka.OneofthemhadfailedtodefendtheoldRussiaand
diedignominiouslyabroadtheotheronehadwontoperishinrepressions.Thisisahard
issuefornationalconscience.ButitistimetobidfarewelltotheCivilWarthrough
discussion,atleastdeepwithinus,andfillthisvoidinhistory.

[returntoContents]

#24
RunningforOfficeinSiberia:Andthewinneris.....
LastinaseriescoveringtheDistrict#35NovosibirskCityCouncilelection.
September17,2015
BySarahLindemann-Komarova
[Founder,SiberianCivicInitiativesSupportCenter1995-2014.Helpedtoestablishthisas
thehubforthefirstcivilsocietydevelopmentsupportnetworkintheformerSovietUnion.]

Articlewithpictures:
http://medium.com/@ECHOSiberia/running-for-office-in-siberia-and-the-winner-is-
980b2b069ccb

Earlierepisodes:
http://medium.com/@ECHOSiberia

ElectionDay:Thegloriousdaysof30degreeSiberianIndianSummersunshinewereover.
Itwassixdegreesandraining,theweatheryoudonotwantifyourchancesofwinning
dependonalargeturnout.ThiswasthecasewithNataliaPinusinDistrict#35.Nikita
Galitarov,hermajoropponent,aggressivelytargetedpensioners,thecertainvotersin
Russia.Shewascountingoninspiringanewgrouptobecomeactive.Thebigdare.A
chancetoprovethepotentialofgrassrootsdemocracyinRussiaandbuildonthelegacyof
thiscommunity.Akademgorodok,theplacewhereperestroikawasbornattheInstituteof
EconomicsacrossthestreetfromthecoffeeshopthatwouldserveasElectionDay
headquartersforNatalia'scampaign.Twopostersstuckonthewallweretheonlyindication
thiswasnotyourordinarycaf.Onewasasign,"HeadquartersforNataliaPinus
supporters".Theother,achart,listedpollingplacesandtimeintervals.Nataliawasthere
alongwithAlla,hergoodfriend,whowasinchargeofregisteringthevotercountreportedby
observersevery2hoursfromeachofthe15stations.Anothermanwashunkereddownin
thecorner.Galitarov'sguy,helookedexactlylikeathugsentbyaconstructioncompanyto
intimidateyoushouldlook.AtleastinRussiabecausehewasdrinkingteaandplayingwith
afancyphoneandcomputer.WorldswerecollidingatHeadquartershighlightingthestakes.
Wasitpossiblea29yearoldcandidate,whodidnotliveorworkhere,whoseonly
distinguishingcharacteristicswereapileofmoneyandmasterfuldirtytrickskills,couldend
uprepresentingthiscommunityintheCityCouncil?Theonlycertaintywastheweatherand
itwasraining.Foranelectionthathadmorphedfromaneight-personracetoamythical
battlebetweengoodandevil,thiswasnotgood.

Initially,thepollingstationshadmoreofficialpersonnelthanvoters(electioncommission
members,observers,policeanddoctors).Ifanythingwasreallyoff,itwouldbenoticedby
allotofpeople.By10AM,theGalitarovpeoplehadplasteredanewbatchofpostersonmy
building,aclearviolationoftherules.Igotacallfromafriendjustasitstartedtohail.She
wasemphaticseveraldaysago,"neverforNatalia".Now,shewasoutraged,"Whatisgoing
on?Whatugliness!ANIGHTMAREishappening!"ShewasgoingouttovoteforNatalia.
Maybetheyhadtakenthesteptoofar,notinthiscommunity,theAkademgorodokwagons
werecircling.

Hypothetically,anythingovertheofficial24%turnoutestimatewouldbeinNatalia'sfavor.
The2PMcountwasgoodwith18.99%.BetshadbeenplacedandDanil,asupportive
presencethroughoutthecampaign,tookthehigh-endpositionwith31%.Nataliawas
talkingtothenochance,butniceguy,candidatefromthedemocraticsocialistAJust
Russiaparty.Theycomparednotesaboutthecellphoneterrorismtheirteamsexperienced
thismorning.Supporterswereplayingabuildingblocktowergame.Theobjectivewasto
removeawoodenpiecewithoutcausingthestructuretocollapse.Theperfectwaytokill
time,practicingthestrategyanddisciplinethatkeptNatalia'scampaignfromcollapsing
whenshesaid"no"toUnitedRussiaafterwinningtheprimary.TheGalitarovthugwasgone
whenthetowerfell.Thisremindedmeofaquotebytherecentlyelected,firstfemaleMayor
inBarcelona."Inthestoryofhumanity,everythingisimpossibleuntilitbecomespossible".
Justlikethebuildinggame,youwillnotknowifyougotthebalancerightuntiltheblockis
completelyremoved.

By6PMturnoutwas27.3%.Nataliawasoutvotinganddeliveringdinnerstovolunteers
throughoutthedistrict.Leonid,campaigncoordinator,isinchargetalkingtovolunteersin
thefieldandscanningtheInternetfornews.A30yearoldphysicistattheNuclearPhysics
Institute,politicsishishobby.Meanwhile,amanIneversawbeforewasholdingcourt.He
describedhowaProfessorinTomsksoldhisvoteandthenoutsmartedthebuyer.He
organizedtwopiecesofblackthreadtolooklikeacheckmarkontheballot,tookthe
confirmationpictureandthenremovedthem.Sincethismanseemedtoknoweverything
aboutelectionsIasked,"What'sthedealwithGalitarov?Whyisthismansointenton
representingAkademgorodok?"AccordingtoAkadem'sversionofDeepThroat,United
RussiawasreallyinterestedinNatalia'sprimaryperformance.Nobodyvotesinprimaries
sotheywereimpressedwiththetinynumberofvotessheturnedout(204),andevenmore
withthegapbetweenherandsecondplace(65).Then,Nataliapolitelydeclined.Inher
account,thePartyrepresentativetookthenewscalmlyandwishedherwell.InDeep
Throat'saccount,thatwasitforher.TheytoldGalitarovtotakethe18millionrubleshewas
planningtospendinanotherdistrictanduseittodefeatNatalia.HeestimatesthatNatalia's
surprisingstayingpowerforcedthefinalcostofhiscampaignto20million.

PollsclosedateightbutCityCouncilvotesarethelastoffourracescounted.Sometime
aftermidnighttheofficialwinnerwouldbedeclared.Headquarterswasstayingopen
trackingresultsuntilthecafclosedatmidnight.Nataliawasbusyonthephonegetting
updates.Allaoccupiedthecornerseatformerlyheldbythethug.Shefilledinchartsdrawn
onXeroxpaperusingamagnifyingglasstosee.Thefirstresultwasfromaschoollocated
inNatalia'sbaseterritory.Thenewswaspromising,thesizeofthewinsignificant.Itgave
hera40votecushiontomakeupforlosseselsewhere.Iaskedoneofhersupporterswhat
hethoughtwasgoingtohappen.Hesaidanyattempttoinfluencethevotewouldhappen
beforetheballotsarecountedbecauseNovosibirskdoesn'thavea"system".Hedefineda
"system"asnoacceptedhierarchywithpowertointervene.Breakinganelectionlaw
procedureisacriminaloffense.Ifthereisn'ta"system",noonewillriskdoingit.Iasked
howyouknowifthereisa"system"?Afriendofhiswasanobserverinaneighboring
region.Apoliceofficerorderedhimtostandthreemetersawayinacornerwhilethey
countedthevotes.Theywouldarresthimifheignoredthepoliceorder.Thatisa"system".
Itwaspossibletomakesmalladjustmentsduringthecount.Legallythecommissionis
requiredtoholdupeachballotandannouncethenamebeforeplacingitonapile(think
chadsin2000).Sometimes,experiencedcommissionmembersspeeduptheprocess.
Theymakepilesfirstandthencounttheballotsbutheexpectedanhonestcounttonight.

At11:30PMAllawasperchedoverhersheets,magnifyingglassinhand,counting.Results
fromGalitarovterritoryweresurprisinglygoodforNatalia.Losseswereonlybyafewvotes.
Inothernews,CommunistPartywinsinterritoriesNataliacarriedasDeputydemonstrated
theconfusednatureofRussianpolitics.Andre,theDirectorofAcadem.infoandAkademTV,
wasthere.Hepledgedtoshavehisbeardandsharewhatlookedlikewaterinabeautiful
corkedglassbottleifshewon.Closingtime,Andregrabbedthemysteriousbottleand
invitedeveryonetocontinuethevigilathisoffice.Nataliawentshoppingforsnacks.There
wasnosenseofexcitement,justtimetomoveon.OutonthestreetAndrerevealedthe
bottlewashispersonalrecipesamogon(Russianmoonshine),50proof."Youneverhad
anythinglikeit,noheadache".
Thereisauniqueatmospherecreatedwhenyouswitchonofficelightsinthemiddleofthe
night.Thatflorescentintensityappliestowhateverisgoingonbecauseotherwiseyouwould
behomesleepinglikeeveryoneelse.Allawasthefirsttosettleinspreadinghercharts
acrossthebestdeskandclaimingthebestchair.Nataliaarrivedandlaidoutaspreadof
delicaciesthatconstitutethesecrettoRussianscapacitytosopupalcohol(fishandmeat,
picklesandeggplantrolls,almondsandpistachios).Theyarealsodisciplineddrinkers.
Thereisaritualtoit.Nothinggetsuncorkeduntilthereissomethingtotoast,victoryor
defeat.Theresultsalreadyinshouldhavebeengoodenoughtoinspiregiddyconfidence
amongthecampaignstaff.Therewasnone.IwassuretheyallknewwhatIlearnedtonight,
20millionrublesspenttodefeather.Someonemusthaveatrickuptheirsleeve.Natalia
workedthephones,Allacountedandrecounted,thecoordinatorcollectedsignedofficial
talliesfromobserverswhiletherestmadesmalltalk.Iwondered,ifnotthecount,whatwill
bethesignalitisoktostartdrinking?

Natalia'sphonerang.Whoeverwasontheothersidewasdoingmostofthetalking.Natalia
utteredshort,somberrepliesendingwith"Thankyou"beforeclickingoff.Thegangstaredat
herwaitinguntilsomeonefinallyasked,"whowasthat?"Nataliaanswered"Galitarov",again
silenceuntilsheadded,"hecongratulatedme".Noonewhooped,itwassoanti-climaticI
forgottocapturethemomentonfilm.Andrestartedtouncorkthechampagne,theonlyone
withasmile,asAllasaidsomethingaboutamissingsignatureandNataliastartedtoeat
pistachiosbeforereturningtolookatwhatshewasworkingon.Thiswasactuallyit.Iturned
onthecameraandgotabusinessasusualscenewhileAndreworkedonthecorksoI
decidedtoprompt.

Me:Natalia,whowasjustonthephone?
Natalia:Myopponent.
Andre(laughing):MAINopponent.
Natalia(slightsmileonherfaceasshecontinuestopickatthepistachios):Yes,main
opponent,Galitarov.
Me:Andwhatdidhesay?
Natalia:HesaidIcongratulateyouforthehonestwinandthensomekindofthoughtsabout
thingsIhadchargedhimwith...

SheshiftedfocusbacktoAllamumbling,"Idon'trememberaccusinghimofanything".
Andreemptiedtheentirebottlefillingsevenwaterglasses.Nataliaturnedaroundandasked,
"Whydidyoudothat?"Iassumedshedisapprovedoftheportionsbecauseshewantedto
pacethedrinking.Itturnedoutshewantedjustasipofchampagneforthetraditionalfirst
toast.Then,moveontothesamagonwithoutriskinga50proofheadache.Icontinuedto
waitforbehaviorIassociatedwithanelectoralfairytaleending.Wasitexhaustion,shock,
Russianpessimismevertriumphingovervictory?No,nooneknewhowtoreact.There
wasnoprecedentforthis.Theresponsetothisvictoryshouldbedifferent.Barbra
Streisand'sversionofFDRsrousingup-tempovictorysong."HappyDaysareHereAgain"
asacontemplative,defiantballadthatacknowledgesthefightisnotoveryet.Thethirdtoast
andIgetthetriumphantsoundbite.Asynchronizedclinkingofglasses,"TotheFIRST
victory!"andeveryonelaughs.

Epilogue

Intheend,afterallthepromises,Galitarov's"Idoitnow",Heating/KGBMan's"Warmthin
yourhome",Scienceman's"ContinuetheworkofLavrentevthetownsfounder",itwas
Natalia'ssimple,"IloveGorodok",thattookthepoliticsoutofitandwon.Anothermajor
factor,theGalitarovcampaignstrategistsmisjudgedthiscommunity.Ofthe31%ofeligible
voterswhoparticipatedinAkademgorodok,26.13%supportedNatalia.Galitarovsqueaked
outsecondplacewith16.77%toScienceman's16.27%.TheAJustRussianiceguycame
infourthandtheinvisibleUnitedRussiacandidatefifth.

EmotionalFacebookmessagesmadeclearthemeaningofhervictory.Theyalso
appreciateditssource,anhonestcampaign,manydescribingitasbeautiful.The
techniquessheusedarewellknown,easytounderstand,canbetaughtandreplicated.
Moreproblematic,thequalitiesNataliadisplayedasacandidate.Theyarerare,hardto
understandandimpossibletoteach.Liketryingtocatchlightninginabottle,butthatiswhat
makesthemsopowerfulwhentheyappear.Shewillneedallofthem,andthensome,asa
Deputyifsheisgoingtoachieveanythingatall.Thenew50memberNovosibirskCity
Councilmetforthefirsttimethreedaysaftertheelection.ThePartycountis:32United
Russia,12CommunistParty,2right-wingultranationalistLDPR,1socialdemocraticA
JustRussia,1neo-liberal(butwhoreallyknows)CivicPlatformPartyandtwoindependents
(includingNatalia).Iamconfidentofonlythreethings.Nataliawilltryherhardesttogetthe
resultsshecampaignedfor,itwillbeinterestingtoseewhathappensandfor,itwillbe
interestingtoseewhathappensandtheshorelineofcynicismhasreceded....atleastin
Akademgorodok.

[returntoContents]

#25
www.belgraviadispatch.com
March14,2015
REALISTICAPPRAISALOFRUSSIA'SPOLICYISN'TTANTAMOUNTTOAPUTIN
APOLOGIA
ByGregoryDjerejian
GregoryDjerejianisManagingDirectorandHeadofAsia-Pacificforaglobalasset
managementfirm,particularlyactiveincommercialrealestate,hotel&resortdevelopment,
companyacquisitions/disposalsandalternativeinvestments.

GideonRachmanisperhapsthemostperceptiveforeignaffairscolumnistwritingtoday,but
hegetsitbadlywronginhiscolumn("VladimirPutin'ssurvivalstrategyisliesandviolence",
March2),succumbingtospeculationinthewakeofBorisNemtsov'stragicmurder.

Mr.RachmanseekstotarasPutin"apologist"anyonewhobelievestheRussianPresident
isdrivenbylegitimatenationalinterests.Instead,Putinissolelyoutto"savehisownskin"
withthisthe"redthread"drivingallhisactions(includingMr.Nemtsov'smurder,itisallbut
pronounced).AswiththeSovietUnion,wemustnowadoptacontainmentpolicywith
Russia,hisargumentgoes.

Thiswouldbeahistorictragedy,butonefromwhichwecanstillstepback.Toavoid
Pavlovianrecoursetoneo-containmentwemustceasespillingendlessinkcastigatinga
noxiousMr.Putin(asHenryKissingerhaswritten,"demonizationofVladimirPutinisnota
policyitisanalibifortheabsenceofone.").Insteadweshouldadoptabroaderpurviewthat
elevatespolicy-makingawayfromserialrecrimination,perhapswithsomeofthebelow
threeobservationstoinformus.

First,realismadvisesoneavoidingprotractedcogitationsaroundthepotentialmotivations
ofstatesman.Behindthenicetiesofmyriadcommuniques&pronouncements,international
politicsremainrootedininterestsdefinedbypower,andinprecinctswellbeyondthewalls
ofTheKremlin.Policyshouldbeguidedbythisreality,ratherthanheatedspeculations
aroundtheprecisemotivationsofindividualstatesman.

Second,weshouldberemindedthatPutin,asaWestern-facingSaintPetersburgian,
profferedhishandtotheWestinthepast(indeed,evenMr.Nemtsovpreviouslysupported
Putin).Wesawthisopennessafter9/11whenPutinassistedtheU.S.initsanti-terror
campaign,notablywithrespecttoAfghanistan.Alas,ratherthanbuildonsuchmomentum,
PutinwaspaidbackwithroundsofNATOexpansion,apull-outfromtheAnti-Ballistic
MissileTreaty,theoversteppingofU.N.authorizationsinbothIraqandLibya,andcookie
dispensationsinMaidan.

Third,ashakycease-firewilllikelyultimatelyfail-toUkraine'sgravedetriment-unlessworld
powersmovefromtacticalcrisismanagementtomorestrategicconflictresolution.This
mustinvolveUkraineforsakingNATOmembershipinreturnforrestorationofitsborders
(ex-Crimea),aswellasprovisionofbonafidelanguageandminorityrightsina
decentralizedDonbass.NotleastgiventheparamountNATOissue,onesuspectstheU.S.
cannotcontinuetogetawaywithlargelysubcontractingitsUkrainepolicytoAngelaMerkel.

TodaytherhetoricfromWashingtonandLondon(thankfullynotyetfromtheWhiteHouse)
resoundswiththedogsofwar:armingUkraine,"frontlinestates"withNATO"command&
controlcenters",essentiallyarenewedmilitarytrip-wirebestridingMoscow's(shrunken)
frontiers.Howdoweexpectadeclining,humiliatedpowertorespondinthecircumstances?
VladimirPutin'sapprovalratingsareveryhighforareasonbeyondablepropaganda.
Deeperhistoriccurrentsandrealitiesareafootthatweignoreatourownperil.

[returntoContents]
#26
TheUnzReview
www.unz.com
August21,2015
RussiaandtheDepressionThatWasn't
ByAnatolyKarlin
[Chartsandlinksherehttp://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-not-in-depression/]

NearlyeveryotherdaybringsanotherscaryheadlineaboutRussia'seconomicapocalypse.
InflationisrobbingRussiansofbuyingpowerandPutinpropagandistsaredenyingit.The
"wheelsarecomingoff"theregimeaccordingtoourfriendsattheRFERL,theendofthe
regimeisnighaccordingtoBillBrowder,andPutin'sdaysarenumbered,atleastinthe
creativeimaginationofUkrainiannationalistacademicAlexanderMotyl.

MashaGessen'sfriendscannolongergettheirlittleGruyres,the"legendary"(primarilyfor
losinghisclients'money)MoscowinvestorSlavaRabinovichispredictingfoodshortages,
andthingsareonlyabouttogetworsewithoilfallingto$25perbarrelandtherubleto
125/$1,atleastaccordingtotheKhodorkovsky-fundedInterpretMag'sPaulGoble,whohas
madesomethingofaprofessionalcareerforecastingRussia'stakeoverbyMuslimsandthe
Chinese.

AmbroseEvans-Pritchard,theguywhohaspredictedalltwelveofChina'spastzero
recessionsamongstotherforecastingaccomplishments,saysthatRussiais"inafull-
blowndepression."

OnewouldthinkfromallthenoisethatwearelookingatsomesortofGreece-like
depression,oranimminentrerunofthecollapseofthepost-Sovieteconomyinthe1990s.

Nowfortheratherbanalreality.RealGDPisexpectedtocontractbyaround2.7%thisyear
accordingtotheWorldBank,butthenrecoverto0.7%in2016and2.5%in2017.

Thereasonsbehindthisarelikewiseprettybanal.Theydon'thaveagreatdealtodowith
Westernsanctions,whichhurttheabilityofRussiancompaniestoraisecapitalbut
otherwisehavehadlittlebite,andtheyhaveevenlesstodowithanyparticularfeatureof
Russia'spoliticalsystem/kleptocracy/lackofeconomicfreedomsthatbothanti-Russian
establishmentpunditslikeArielCohenandpro-WesternliberalsinRussialikeformer
FinanceMinisterAlexeyKudrinliketoclaimasdoomingittoeconomicstagnation.Ifthey
wereright,thenEast-CentralEurope-mostofwhichisratedasaloteconomicallyfreer
andlesscorruptthanRussiaonthevariousindicesthatproclaimtomeasuresuch-would
notalsohavebeenstuckinarelativeeconomicrutsincearound2007.

No,thereasonforRussia'srecessionisquitesimpleandboilsdowntothesharpcollapse
inoilpricesfrom~$100in2014to~$50thisyear.

ThoughtheRussianeconomyisaboutfarmorethanjustoil-naturalresourcerentsare
18%ofGDP-itistruethatoilisthekeycomponentofRussia'sexportbasket.Sowhenoil
pricescollapse,intheabsenceofmassiveandunsustainableinterventions,theruble
devalues.Thisisindeedwhathappened.Importswentdown,goodsbecamemore
expensive,andinflationrose.TheCentralBankjackedupinterestratesinordertoprevent
runawayinflation,butatthepriceofadeclineinaggregatedemandandconsequentlya
short-rundecreaseintheGDP.Ifoneisreallysearchingforacomparison,thecorrectone
wouldbenottoGreece(whichislockedinamonetarystraitjacketbytheECB)nortothe
lateSovietUnion(whollyirrelevant)buttotheVolckerrecessionintheearly1980sUS.

Thereisnowaverysubstantialoutputgap.DependenceonWesterncreditisnowmuch
reducedrelativeto2013,tosaynothingof2007.Meanwhile,thereareactiveandserious
effortstodevelopRussia'sownfinancialsystem,whichremainswoefullyunderdeveloped
foraneconomyofitssizeandscope.

Finally,evenifoilpricesdroppermanentlyto$50-whichisentirelypossible,giventhe
removaloftheIransanctions,thiswouldnotmeantheRussianeconomywouldbe
necessarilydoomedtoyearsofstagnation.Tothecontrary,econometricmodelingby
RussianeconomistSergeyZhuravlevindicatesthatitwouldresultina~1.5yearrecession
(whichbeganinmid-2013,versus2012inhismodelbutotherwiseitremainsveryrelevant)
followedbyacceleratedGDPgrowththankstoexports.
Otherwise,macroeconomicindicatorsremainunremarkable.Corporatedebtrepayments
scheduledforthesecondhalfoftheyeararetwicelowerthaninthefirsthalf.Thebudget
deficitisforecasttobe3-4%ofGDPfortheyearandoverallstatedebtlevelscontinuetobe
verylow.(Incidentally,thisfigureis20%forSaudiArabia.Whichshouldputthenailinthe
coffinoftheidioticconspiracytheorythatthefallinoilpriceshasbeenorchestratedbythem
andtheUStoundermineRussia).
.
Unemploymenthasbarelybudged,notevenreaching6%atitspeak.Incomparison,itwas
at10%throughoutmuchofthe1990s.Thisisalmostentirelyanoutputrecession.

Nowinevitablywhenrecessionsoccur,livingstandardstendtofall,andpeoplehavetolive
morefrugally.ReadingtheWesternmedia,onewouldthinkthattherecessionhasledtoa
tsunamiinworkerprotests,criminality,andeliteintriguesagainstPutin.

Butinstatisticalterms,therealimpactsofthedownturnhavebeenmodest.Accordingto
Levadaopinionpolls,thepercentageofpeoplehavingdifficultybuyingfoodandclothing
increasedto32%thisyearfrom21%in2014,butthisisstilllowerthanthefigurefor(pre-
crisis)2012,whenitwasat33%,tosaynothingoftheearly2000s(higherthan50%)orthe
1990s(around80%).ThepercentageofRussianswhospendeither"almostall"or"two
thirds"oftheirincomesonfood,anothermeasureofpoverty,is26%thisyear,completely
unchangedfrom2014,andactuallylowerthanin2013(33%)orthe2000singeneral
(40%-50%),toagainsaynothingofthe1990s(consistentlyaround80%).Thesenumbers
havebeenconfirmedcrediblebyobserverssuchasRussiaInsider'sGilbertDoctorowand
AlexanderMercouris,whohavepersonallyassessedthesituationontheground,instark
contrasttotheNewYorkTimes'MashaGessen'srelianceonher"Jesuisfromage"liberal
Russianfriend.

ItisdeeplyunfashionabletosaythisbutRussianlivingstandardshaveimproved
astronomicallyinthe15yearsofPutin'srule-moresothantheheadlineGDPfigures.As
such,evenarecessionlikethecurrentoneonlykickslivingstandardsbackbyoneortwo
years.

Assuch,itisnotsurprising-ifdeeplydisappointingtotheWesterneliteswhowanttostir
upacolorrevolutioninRussia-thatRussia'slevelof"protestpotential"(thepercentageof
Russianssayingtheywouldbewillingtoparticipateinprotests,orratingthelikelihoodof
protestsasbeinghigh)iscurrentlynearrecordlows.

Naturally,anysuchattemptstoputtheeffectsofanultimatelymodest~3%dropinGDP
intostatisticalperspectivewillbemetwithaccusationsofcallousindifferenttotheplightof
theRussianpeople,andtheworkofOlginotrollstoboot.Ihaveseenthisreplayed
numeroustimesontheInternet,evenwhenthepeoplemakingsuchargumentswere
RussianslivinginRussians,whoseonlysinwastorecounttheirown(generallymodest)
experiencesandimpressionsoftherecession.

Makenomistake-thereisawellcoordinatedmediaeffortintheWesttoleverageany
RussianeconomicproblemstodestabilizetheKremlin.Notethechorusofcondemnation
aroundthedestructionoffoodillegallyimportedfromtheEUincontraventionofRussian
sanctions,eventhoughthedestructionofexcessfoodisroutineundertheEU'sCommon
AgriculturalPolicy.

Naturally,thisisdrivenbytheiraltruisticandheartfeltcommitmenttothewellbeingofthe
Russianpeople.Thoughisn'titjustaweebitstrangethatthosejournalistsand"activists"
whotendtoshoutloudestabouttheburningofEuropeanfoodalsotendedtobetheones
whomaintainedthethickestsilenceabouttheburningofRussianpeopleinOdessainthe
newEuropeanUkraine.

[returntoContents]

#27
ValdaiDiscussionClub
http://valdaiclub.com
June9,2015
IstheRussianFederationaThreattotheInternationalOrder?
ByDavidLane
DavidLaneisEmeritusFellowofEmmanuelCollege,UniversityofCambridge,aFellowof
theAcademyofSocialSciencesandaVice-PresidentoftheEuropeanSociological
Association
[Chartsandfootnotesherehttp://valdaiclub.com/russia_and_the_world/78040.html]

PresidentPutiniswidelyportrayedasathreattopeaceandtheinternationalorder.One
mightdistinguishbetweentwowaysofanalysingathreatposedbyastateinitsconductof
foreignaffairs.First,therearepositivedriversintheformofaggressiveactions.These
stemfromtheactionsofstateleaderswhoaremotivatedtoattackotherstatesfor
purposesoftheirownortheircountries'economicorpoliticaladvantage.Suchpoliciesmay
bedrivenbynationaloruniversalisticideologiesorbytheambitionsofleaders.Hitler's
DrangnachOstenandBritain'scolonialconquestofIndiamaybecitedasexamplesan
activepolicy[1].Second,thereareactionswhicharereactivetothepoliciesofotherstates.
Theseactionsaredrivenbyanxietyorfearderivedfromabeliefthatotherstatesare
behaving,orlikelytobehave,maliciously.Stateswithsuchperceptionsmayreact
aggressivelytodefendtheirinterests.Anexamplehereistheplacingofintercontinental
missilesonCubabytheUSSR.ThoughCubaclaimedthatthemissileswerepurelyfor
defensivepurposes,theUSAperceivedthemasathreatandretaliatoryaggressiveaction
todefenditsinterestsfollowed.

Thedebateabout'Russiaasathreat'totheinternationalorderhingesonwhichofthese
twoapproachesonebelievesdeterminesRussia'sbehaviour.

The'PositiveDrivers'Interpretation

Thecaseforanactive'threat'hasbeenputbyacademics,politicalleadersaswellas
journalistswritinginthequalitynewsjournals.Jean-ClaudeJuncker,thepresidentofthe
EuropeanCommission,inMarch2015calledfortheformationofa'Europeanarmytoface
uptotheMoscowthreat'[2].Theobjectiveisto'defendthevaluesoftheEuropeanUnion'.
TimothyGartenAsh,inTheGuardian(1February2015)revealedtheevilsofVladimirPutin
whomhedescribedas'theSlobodanMilosevicoftheformerSovietUnion:[whois]asbad,
butbigger.Behindasmokescreenoflieshehasrenewedhisdrivetocarveoutapuppet
para-stateineasternUkraine'[3].

Intheacademicsphere,MichaelMcFaulcontendsthatRussianforeignpolicychanged
underPutinasaconsequenceof'Russianinternalpoliticaldynamics'[4].ForMcFaul,the
motivatingfactoristhepublic'sdisapproval(expressedinvoting,demonstrationsandthe
fearthatPutinwouldbeconfrontedwithapopular'colouredrevolution')whichledhimto
adoptpoliciesthatwould'mobilisehiselectoralbaseanddiscredittheopposition'(p.170).
TheUSAwasrecastasanenemy,a'sinisterforceinworldaffairs'(ibid).

AprominentthemeexplainingRussianactioninforeignaffairsisthedrivetofulfilitsgeo-
politicalgoals.Russiaisregardedasacountryinterveningmilitarily'tomaintainitsinfluence
acrossthedomainsoftheformerSovietUnion'[5].InHillaryClinton'sview:'Weknowwhat
thegoal[oftheEurasianUnion]isandwearetryingtofigureoutwaystoslowdownor
preventit'[6].Theobjectivehereistohaltthespreadof(supposed)Sovietnormswhich
contaminatethevaluesofliberaldemocracyandamarketsociety.

Thepopularmediamessageisoneofpersonalityand'motive'.Russia'sPresidentisa
demoncombiningtheworstcharacteristicsofJosephStalin,AdolphHitlerandSlobodan
Milosevich(occasionallyreachingbacktoIvantheTerrible).'Putin'sRussia'isexpansionist,
nationalist,imperialist,dictatorial,andhypocriticallyanti-Western.Itthrivesonstrategiesto
destabiliseneighbouringcountries,aswellasNATOandtheEU.Theideologyof
EurasianismandtheformationoftheEurasianUnionareindicationsofthedesireto
reinventtheSovietUnion.Consequently,'Putin'sRussia'isthecauseofthecivilwarin
UkrainewhichisaprecursortotheactivedestabilisationoftheBalticnewmemberstates
oftheEUandNATO.Thisisascenarioofactiveaggressivepolitics.

TheantidoteprescribedbyPresidentPutin'scriticsistoescalateeconomic,politicaland
militarysanctions.FollowingtheeconomicrestrictionsagainstRussianfirmsandpersons,
inMarch2015theadvancedpartiesoftheAmericanandBritishmilitaryarrivedinUkraine.

ThroughtherhetoriconemightidentifyfourmajorissuesunderlyingRussianpolicy.Firstly,I
considerwhetheritsleadersaremotivatedtopromotetheirowninterestsbyde-stabilising
theinternationalordersecondly,whetheritsideologyentailsanythreattootherstates,
nationsorgroupsthirdly,whetherinitsactions,ithaspromotedamilitarybuildupand
finally,whethertheRussianFederationortheEurasianUnionpossessthemilitarycapacity
toposeaseriousdangertotheinternationalorder.

A'Reactive'Interpretation

AfterthedismantlingoftheSovietUnion,Russiainforeignaffairswasfacedbytwomajor
challenges.WhereasRussiawasindeclineanditsregionalbloc(TheCommonwealthof
IndependentStates)wasmoribund,theformeradversariesoftheSovietUnionwerebeing
considerablystrengthened.NATOandtheEuropeanUnionwereenlarged.Moreover,both
organisationshadmovedsignificantlytotheeast.Ironicallyperhaps,noneofthereasons
putforwardfortheexpansionofNATOtotheareasoftheformerUSSR,wereframedinthe
contextofapossible(letalonelikely)Russianmovetoseizeformerterritories.NATO's
expansiontotheeaststartedin1999withtheentryoftheVisegradcountries,followedin
2004byBulgaria,Estonia,Latvia,Lithuania,Romania,SlovakiaandSlovenia.Albaniaand
CroatiajoinedNATOin2009.Economically,politicallyandmilitary,'theWest'hadarrivedat
Russia'sborders.AttheurgingoftheUSA,inApril2008NATOconsideredtheadditionof
UkraineandGeorgia.FollowingoppositionfromGermanyandFrance,theywerenot
admitted.Butthealliancedidissueastatementthat'Thesecountrieswillbecome
membersofNATO'.Ifso,theencirclementofRussiawouldbecomplete.NATO's
enlargementwasjustifiedintermsofthecreationofazoneofpeace.TheRussian'threat'
surfacedlater.

FromRussia'sposition,theexpansionofNATOposesaseriousthreattoitssecurity.The
enhancedsecurityoftheNewMemberStatesisatthecostoflesssecuritytoRussia.
Russiahasbeenreactiveanddefensiveratherthanactivelyaggressive.Thepolicyofthe
RussianFederationunderPutinandMedvedeventailedamajorchangetowardstheWest
whichinfringedsomeestablishedWesternassumptions.InitsForeignPolicyConcept
(2000),Russia'sobjectivesweretopreservethesovereigntyandterritorialintegrityofthe
country.Itnotedcritically'agrowingtrendtowardstheestablishmentofaunipolarstructure
oftheworldwiththeeconomicandpoliticaldominationoftheUnitedStates.'

PolicydidnotseektooverturnthehegemonyoftheUSAortheneo-liberalframeworkin
whichitoperated.Itdoesnotentaileconomicautarchyorpoliticalisolation.Russiasought
analliancewiththeUSAinitswar'onterror'-withhisownconcernsaboutChechniain
mind-andallowedUSplanestouseRussianairspacetoflytoAfghanistan.Russiavoted
tosupporttheUNSecuritycouncil'ssanctionsagainstIran.Evenin2002,Russiawas
pragmaticabouttheadmissionoftheBalticstatesintoNATO.Russiaalsoabstainedfrom
votingontheUNSecurityCouncilresolutionauthorisingtheuseofforceagainstthe
QaddafiregimeinLibyain2011.

TheEuropeanUnion

ThesecondmajorchallengefacingthestatesoftheformerUSSRwastheenlargementof
theEuropeanUniontoincludethepost-SovietcountriesofcentralEurope.Itsinitial
objective(bearinginmindthehistoryoftwoworldwars)wastopreservepeaceinEurope
bycontainingpossibleaggressionbyenvelopingnationstateswithinacommoneconomic
unit,theEuropeanEconomicCommunity.TheleadershipoftheEUjustifiedenlargementas
bringingnotonlyeconomicwealthbutalsodemocraticEuropeanvalues.Thedevelopment
ofasupra-nationalstate,theEuropeanUnion,hasoutgrowntheoriginalconceptionand
hasimperialpretentions.Itisnoweffectivelyafederalstatecomposedof28'member
states',includingelevenpostcommuniststates[7].Itsmembershipmakesitaneconomic
counterparttoNATO.

AstheEuropeanCommissioner,JoseManuelBarrosoon10July2007putit:'Wearea
veryspecialconstructionuniqueinthehistoryofmankind.SometimesIliketocomparethe
EUasacreationtotheorganisationofempire.Wehavethedimensionofempire.Whatwe
haveisthefirstnon-imperialempire.Wehave27countriesthatfullydecidedtowork
togetherandtopooltheirsovereignty.Ibelieveitisagreatconstructionandweshouldbe
proudofit'[8].Here,inperhapsanunguardedmoment,heraisesthespectreofthe
EuropeanUnionasanempire,andthisviewhasledmanytodefineitintermsofcultural
andeconomicimperialism.

Membershiprequiresthesubordinationofsovereigntyofmemberstatestoacommon
economic,politicalandsocialpolicyframedintermsofneo-liberalismandcompetitive
electoralpolyarchy.Insuchaunion,formalwarsbetweenmemberstatescannottake
place.InkeepingwiththeinstitutionalarrangementsoftheEU,newstateshadtoconform
to31chapters(35since2013)oftheAcquiswhichrangeoverthewholeareaofeconomic
andpoliticallife.ForeignanddefencepolicymustalsobeinkeepingwithEUnormsand
policy.Asacustomsunion,theEUhascommontariffswithoutsiders.Thedrivingforces
forexpansionareeconomicinterestsseekingmarkets(forproductsandlabour)aswellas
geo-politicalconcerns.

TheCaseofUkraine

AfterthedismantlingoftheUSSR,Ukrainefounditselfpositionedbetweentwoblocs-the
stronglyentrenchedEUandtheweakassociationformedbytheCommonwealthof
IndependentStates.Asshowninthetwofollowingdiagrams,commercewasgreater
betweenRussiathantheEuropeanUnion.

UkrainiangovernmentshavesoughtagreementswiththeEUwhichwouldnotprejudice
relationswithitsmajortradingpartner,Russia.ThingsbegantochangeaftertheOrange
RevolutionwhichbroughttopowerPresidentYushchenko.Theleadersoftheproposed
EurasianUnionsoughttomaintainandenhancelinkswithUkrainewhichwouldhave
precludedUkrainefromjoiningtheEU.Intheautumnof2013theEU,tocounterEurasian
influence,offeredUkraineanassociationagreement(DeepandComprehensiveFreeTrade
Area(DCFTA)).TobeeffectivetheagreementwouldhaveextendedtheEU'stariffsto
Ukraine'sbordersandconsequentlywouldhavegreatlyrestrictedtradewiththeCIS.

TheDCFTApresentedUkrainewithachoice.ItwascontendedbytheEUthattwosetsof
rulescouldnotoperateintheEUeconomicspace[9].Russianpolicy,basingtheargument
oncommonmembershipoftheWTO,contendedthatboththeEUandtheEurasianUnion
wouldbeableforgeawiderpan-Europeanassociation.SergeiLavrov,theRussianForeign
Ministersuggestedthatbothblocscouldworktogether.'Wemustworkforaunionof
unions,anallianceoftheEUandtheEurasianUnion'[10].

TheEU'sobjectivewastoprepareUkraineforfullmembership(atsomeunspecifiedfuture
date).Moreover,evenwithoutbecomingamemberoftheEU,agreementsbetweenitand
otherstateswereincreasinglyembeddedinconditionswhichsoughttomaketheir
institutionsandprocessescompatiblewithEUnorms.Theseconditionsweredefinedin
termsofWashingtonConsensusideology-freemarkets,privateproperty,theruleoflaw
(particularlyconcerningproperty),multi-partypoliticsandelectoralcompetition.EUstrategy
istoweakengraduallythesovereigntyofstatesandtopromotethepoweroftheUnionover
its'memberstates'.TheEasternPartnershipwasadevicetoextendthepoweroftheEU
overthirdparties,thistimedrivenbythegeo-politicalinterestsoftheEUandconsistentwith
AmericanpowerwieldedthroughNATO.Theobjectivesweretobeachievedthrough
enlargement.

NegotiationsbetweenPresidentYanukovichandtheEuropeanUnionwereconductedon
thebasisoftheDCFTA.WhileYanukovichdidnotruleoutsigningtheagreementatsome
futuredate,on29November2013,heexpressedawishtoachieveanagreementwhich
wouldmaintainrelationswithRussia.FutureanticipateddamagetoUkrainianproducers
(supportingYanukovich),insufficientEUfinancialbackingforeconomicreforms,aswellas
promisedRussianfinancialsupportunderlayhisdecisiontowithdrawfromtheEU
proposal.

ThisbecamethefusefortheMaidandemonstrationsinfavourofEUmembership
supportedonthestreetsinpersonbysomeprominentUSandEuropeanpoliticians.EU
madeUkrainechoose,whenYanukovichdidnottaketherightdecision,theEUsupported
theoppositionoftheMaidantomakethedecision.Thedemonstrationturnedtoviolence
andthePresident'sandParliament'sbuildingswereoccupiedbythearmedopposition.The
EUsupportedthethenopposition(whichhadrefusedtoparticipateinagovernmentwhen
offeredpostsinit).Theirgoalwastoinstallthepro-EUoppositionforces.President
YanukovichfledforhislifefromKievon22February2014.Thecontextofarmeduprising,of
intimidationofpro-YanukovichdeputiesintheRadaandaswellastheillegalseizureof
powerleadsonetodefinethechangeofpoliticalpowerasacoupd'tatlegitimatedby
massdemonstrations.

FollowingtheflightofPresidentYanukovich,anewpro-EUnationalistgovernmentwas
installed.OntheonesideitsignedagreementswiththeEU,ontheotheritwasconfronted
bythesecessionofCrimeaandcivilwarintheeasternterritories.

WesternmediaexplaintheunderlyingcausesofUkraine'sbreak-upasaconsequenceof
Putin'spolicies.Suchaninterpretationofevents,derivedmainlyfromstatementsoriginating
intheKievproEuropeanUnionlobbiesandgovernment,canbedismissedorqualifiedin
manyrespects.

ThereisnoevidencebeforetheputschreplacingtheYanukovichgovernmentinUkraine
thatthepolicyoftheRussianFederationwastodestabilisethecountry.Duringthistimethe
Russianminoritysufferedlanguagediscrimination.IntheperiodfollowingtheOrange
Revolutionof2004,inwhichtheadministrationofYushchenkomovedclosertotheEU,as
wellastheperiodinwhichtheYanukovichadministrationintendedtosignanassociation
agreementwiththeEU,therewerenoactionsfromRussiadestabilisingUkraine.The
economicconsequences,however,mighthavehadadestabilisingeffect.Indeed,therewas
nodesignationbythemediaofa'corrupt'PresidentYanukovichwhenhewaspredisposed
tosigntheassociationagreement.

TheUkrainiancivilwarwasprecipitatedbytheillegalremovalofYanukovichandhis
governmentfollowingtheputschofFebruarywhichinstalledagovernmenthostileto
Yanukovich'ssupportersconcentratedintheindustrialRussianspeakingeastofthe
country.Theirinitialactions,particularlyrescindingthelanguagelaws,whichhadgiventhe
righttoregionsundercertainconditionstousetheRussianlanguage,strengthenedthe
separatistswhoassertedtheirownpowerinCrimeaandledtoarevoltinDonbassand
Lugansk.

These'anti-Kiev'movementsweresupportedbytheRussianFederationbuttheywerenot
partofaplannedpolicyto'destabilise'Ukraine.Ukrainebecamedestabilisedbytheactions
ofthepro-EUinsurgentswhohadillegallyreplacedtheelectedPresidentwithActing
PresidentAlexTurchinov.DespiteWesterninsistenceonRussianmilitaryinvolvement,
thereisnofirmevidenceoftheinvolvementoftheRussianarmy(thoughtherecertainly
were,andare,volunteers)ineastUkraineinarmedcombatroles.OnJan292015,the
headoftheGeneralStaffoftheUkrainianArmy,GeneralViktorMuzhenko,statedthat"only
individualRussianmilitarypersonnelandcitizensoftheRussianFederation"are
participatinginmilitaryactivities."Wearenotcurrentlyconductinganymilitaryoperations
againstunitsoftheregularRussianarmy."[11]SuchunofficialRussianinvolvementis
considerableandhasbeendecisiveinmaintainingtheseparatists.Itisnothoweverpartof
apreconceivedRussian'plan'todestabiliseUkraineandNATO.

TheofficiallineofnewlyelectedPresidentPoroshenkowastopursuewarbyallmeans.As
heputitinhisstatementof14November2014:"We[inUkraine]willhaveworkthey-[in
Donbas]won't.Wewillhavepensions-theywon't.Wewillcareforourchildrenand
pensioners-theywon't.Ourchildrenwillgotoschool,tokindergartens-theirchildrenwill
sitincellars.Theydon'tknowhowtoorganizeordoanything.This,ultimately,ishowwe
willwinthiswar."[12]Herepeatedhisobdurateprincipleson22January2015:'Ukraine
mustremainaunitarystatetherewillbe"nodiscussion"ofUkraine'sEuropeanchoiceand
theonlystatelanguageisandwillbeUkrainian'.[13]

AMilitaryThreat?

NATO'sexpansiontotheeastwaslegitimatedinthefirstinstanceasameanstosecurean
areaofpeaceinEurope,notasanecessarydefencemechanismagainstanaggressive
Russia.However,followingtheUkrainecrisis,viewschanged.AndersRasmussen,NATO's
previoussecretary-general,saidinJanuary2015thattherewasa'highprobability'thatMr
PutinwouldtestNATO'sarticle5,whichregardsanattackonanymemberasanattackon
all.On20February2015,NATO'sdeputycommanderopinedthatRussia'sexpansionist
ambitionscouldbecome'anobviousexistentialthreattoourwholebeing'.(ReportedinThe
Guardian21Feb.15).

Thegeo-politicalgoalsofstrengtheningthehegemonyofNATOunderpinthispolicy.The
Russianmilitary'threat'isanassertionabout'motives'andisnotbasedempiricallyonany
assessmentofmilitarycapacity.Russiaasamilitarythreatisillustratedbycommentators
bythefactthatitsdefencespendinghasrisenby190percentbetween2007and2014,
whereasNATO'shasfallenbysome20percent(TheEconomist,14Feb2015,p.20).

Russia'sdefenceexpenditurehasincreasedinrecentyears.Buttheincreasewasfroma
lowbase.Giventhesizeofpopulationandtheeconomiclevelofthecountry,comparatively
itsdefenceexpenditurepercapitaisnotexcessivelylarge.Intotaloutlays,Russiais
outmatchedineveryareaofdefencespendingbyNATO.In2014,accordingtostatistics
providedintheTheMilitaryBalance[14],defencebudgetsforRussiawasjustover10per
centmorethanthatoftheUK.ItsdefenceeffortsarecomparabletoWesternEuropean
NATOcountries.Plannedexpenditure(2015)forUSAis581billionUSdollarsChina129.4
Russia70UK61.8France53.1Germany43.9.Asaproportionofstatebudgets(datafor
2014),theUSAaccountedfor36.1percent,Russia4.4percent,UK3.8percent,France
3.3percent,Germany2.7percent,otherNATOcountries7.6percent.China8percent
andJapan3percent.

NATO'sweaponryisalsogreaterinallareasthanRussiaandEurasia,onlyChinahas
morebattletanksthanNATO.Atellingcomparativeindicatoristheamountspentexpressed
asaproportionofworlddefenceandsecurityspendingwhichisshowninFigure3.If
armaments'spendingisthecriterion,thenexpenditureisverymuchweightedtowardsthe
WestwithNATOgreatlyoutspendingitsrivals.Ofcourse,Russiaisanuclearpowerand
certainlymorethanamatchforitsimmediateneighboursbutnotforNATO.

Itispurespeculation(probablymotivatedtojustifyNATO'smilitaryrole)tosuggestthat
PutinisplanningtotestNATO'sresolve.Despitethedenialofcitizenshiprightstoa
significantpartofRussianspeakingpeoplebornandlivinginLatviaandEstonia,Russia
sincetheBalticsgainedindependence,hasshownnointentionorwillingnesstosupportthe
Russianminoritiesbytheuseofforce.

TheenlargementoftheEUandNATOaredangerousiftheythreatenwarbetweenRussia
andUkraine.AfundamentalvalueoftheEUistosecurepeaceandtherearewaysofdoing
thiswithoutexpandingtheUnion.Itisunjustifiablehypocrisytoadvocatepeaceand
knowinglytopursuepolicieswhichthreatentoleadtowar.Clearlyalternativestrategies
wereavailabletotheEU.ButtheywereignoredastheentrapmentofUkraineintheEUwas
amajorobjectiveofEUpolicy.EUenlargementandNATOexpansionaregreaterthreatsto
peacethantheRussianFederation.

ThisarticleisbasedontwopubliclecturesgiveninLeidenUniversityandalsoinGreenwich
University.

[returntoContents]

#28
RussiaBeyondtheHeadlines
www.rbth.ru
December22,2015
Russiaavoidsrevolutionagain
NaysayersarekeentopredictRussia'sdemise,butdespiteadifficultyearpoliticallyand
economically,thecountryhasfailedtofallapart.
ByBryanMacDonald
BryanMacDonaldisaMoscow-basedcommentator.

Foratleastthepastdecade,everyyearsomeexpertinsideoroutsideofRussiahas
predictedthatthecountrywilleruptinrevolution,oratleastthatitisripefor"regime
change."Numerousbooksandarticlesarepublishedannuallyspecializinginforecastsof
imminentdoomfortheKremlin.

Startingin2014analystsbegantolookforsignsofthisrevolutioninthecountry'seconomic
troubles.Lastyear,BritishPrimeMinister,DavidCameron,spokeof"turn(ing)theratchet"
onVladimirPutinandsuggestedthatWesternsanctionswould"permanently"damage
Russia'sfinancialhealth.

Thistrendonlycontinuedin2015.InJanuary,U.S.PresidentBarackObamadeclaredthe
Russianeconomy"intatters"andinSeptember,CNNreportedthatRussia'seconomywas
"failing."Justthismonth,oppositionfigureMikhailKhodorkovskywarnedthatarevolutionis
"inevitable"inRussia.

However,despitethewarnings,thecountrysomehowmanagestogoon.

Whatrevolution?

In2015,therewerenumerouspotentialtriggersforapoliticalbreakdown.Themurderof
prominentoppositionvoiceBorisNemtsovincentralMoscowinFebruarywasone.It
producedprevailingsadnessatthehorribleendofthispublicfigure,butlittleelse.
Anotherflashpointcouldhavebeenthiswinter'sprotestsbylong-haultruckers,whichhave
threatenedtoblockmajorroadsacrossthecountry.Butsofartheirdispleasurehas
remainedconfinedtoasmalldisruptionoftrafficonMoscow'sringroadandaverycalm
meetingwithpolice.

TheblackoutofCrimeamighthavesparkedrestlessnessonthepeninsula,whichRussia
absorbedlastyear,buttherewashardlyapeepofvitriolagainstMoscow.

ThepublicationofdocumentsbynewspaperNovayaGazetaandoppositionactivistAlexei
NavalnyaccusingProsecutorGeneralYuriChaika'sfamilyofbeinginvolvedindeep-seated
corruptioncouldhavecausedsomerage.Chaika'ssonhasbeenlinkedtothemafiaand
reportedlyownsexpensivehomesinSwitzerlandandGreece.Thegeneralpublic,however,
seemstoacceptofficialreassurancesthatChaikahimselfisnotinvolvedinanyillegalacts
andtheinvestigationistheproductofdirtypoliticalintrigues.

Thenthereisthecurrencycrisis.Lastyear,adollarwaswortharound35rublesnowit's
around70.ManyRussianshavelostmuchoftheirsavings.Opportunitiestotravelabroad
havebeensnatchedawayandimportedgoodshavemoreorlessdoubledinprice.Inflation
standsataround19percentand6millionpeopleareexpectedtofalloutofthemiddle
class,whichhasbeenthemainstayofPutin'spersonalpopularitythenumberofRussians
livingbelowthepovertylinehasrisento14percent.

Adifferentreality

Andyetnoneoftheseissueshasprovokedcomprehensiveprotestsorpopularresistance
tothegovernment.Instead,recentopinonpolldatafromtheanalyticalLevadaCenter
showsthat,ratherthanhurtlingintodisarray,Russiaisactuallyprettystable.Morethan80
percentofRussiansbelievethatRussiancitizenshipispreferabletoanyother,andtwo-
thirdsconsiderthemselves"free'."Fifty-sevenpercenthopetoseePutinre-electedto
anotherpresidentialtermin2018.

Thereasonsforsuchcalmareprettyelementary.Firstly,themixedresultsofUkraine's
revolutionandthedramaticcollapseinlivingstandardstherehasspookedRussians.They
genuinelyfearthatviolentupheavalcouldleadtoarepeatofthechaosofthe1990s.

Anotherproblemistheweaknessoftheliberalopposition.Sure,theKremlinmakeslife
toughforitsopponents.StateTVdoesn'tacknowledgethemtoagreatextentandofficial
newspaperslargelyignorethem.However,theInternetisopen,andliberalDozhdTVand
EkhoMoskvyradioallowsoppositionfigurestoexpresstheirviews.Butthemainobstacle
istheirlackofunityandthedeepfracturesintheliberalmovement,inadditiontoalackofa
clearleaderandaspecificpolicyplatform.

Instead,theoppositionoffershopesanddreamswithnotangibleexplanationsofhowthey
mightactuallyworkandwhowoulddirectthepolicies.Furthermore,leadingpersonalities,
withtheexceptionofNavalnyandafewothers,seemtospendmoretimecourtingforeign
attentionthandomesticaudiences.

ThenthereisPutin'sgenuinepersonalpopularityandabeliefthat,nomatterhowbadthings
arepresently,Russiahasimprovedimmenselyduringthe15yearsthathehasbeenin
power.

ManyRussianswhospendtimeabroadspeakofalmostenteringaparalleluniversewhen
theycompareWesternmediacoverageofRussiaandtheirownpracticalexperiencesat
home.MostRussianswouldneverclaimtheircountryisperfectbyanymeasure,butthey
dolargelybelievethatforeignimpressionsofRussiaarefartoonegative.Withoutquestion,
thesearechallengingtimesinRussia,butthepeoplearealreadyaccustomedtoupheaval
anddon'tseemtobepanicing.Therevolutionhasbeenpostponed.Again.

[returntoContents]

#29
MoscowTimes
October21,2015
WestHasLosttheRighttoLecturePutin
ByMarkGaleotti
MarkGaleottiisprofessorofglobalaffairsatNewYorkUniversity.

Whileathome,PresidentVladimirPutinistheworld-bestridingcolossus,wisetsarand
benevolentfatherofthenation,abroadheisonceagainfacingafamiliarvilification,as
warmonger,kleptocratandtyrant.Yes,corruptionisdeeplyembeddedinRussia's
economicandpoliticalsystems,andtheKremlinregardsmilitaryforceasaninstrumentof
nationalinterest.ButtheWestneedstoavoidsimpleandmisleadingstereotypesifitisto
constructeffectivepoliciestodealwithRussia,especiallywhenitcomestoitsSyrian
gambit.

Ofcourse,Russia'sinvolvementinSyriaembarrassedaboveallWashington.Sofar
Russia'sairstrikeshaveestablishedMoscow'sclaimstobetakenseriouslyasaglobal
power,anddonesoinawaydemonstratingnotjustmilitarypowerbutalsoruthlesswill.

ButWesterncomplaintsaboutRussianactions-aboveallPutin's-alsorevealadangerous
hypocrisy.

"RussiahasnomandatetobeinSyria."Howeverunpleasant,BasharAssad'sisstillthe
internationallyrecognizedgovernmentofSyria-withanembassyinWashington-andthey
invitedRussianassistance.IfanythingitisTurkey,theU.S.andtheotherbelligerentswho
actuallyhavenomandate,anditwouldbeastretchtoportraytheiractionsasdirectly
humanitarian.

Tobesure,iftheAssadregimefellitmightbereplacedbyonelessbrutalandmore
legitimate.Butthenagain,experiencesofothermilitaryregimechangesinNorthAfricaand
theMiddleEastsuggestthattheresultcouldjustaseasilybechaosandextremistterror.

"TheRussiansarebombingthe'wrong'rebels."Apartfromthefactthatmanyofthe
"moderaterebels"toutedasSyria'sgreathopearenotthatmoderate,Moscowmakesno
bonesaboutthefactthatitistryingtopreservetheAssadregime,oneofitsfewallies.
IslamicStateforcesaremoreheavilyconcentratedinthenortheastofthecountry,the
regimeinthewestandthesouth.Nowondermostoftheairstrikestargettherebelsposing
adirectandimmediatethreattoDamascus.

"Moscowisacting'dangerously,'potentiallybringingRussianandWesternjetsintoclose
proximity."Yes,thereisafaintrisk,especiallyastheRussiansaremoreaggressivethan
Syrianpilots.Forexample,eveniftheirincursionsintoTurkishairspacewereindeed
accidental,astheyclaimed,thentheycertainlymusthavebeenprettycloseforsucha
mistaketohappen.ButgiventhatU.S.andalliedaircrafthavelesslegalrighttobeinSyrian
airspace,istheonusnotonthemto"deconflict"?

OfcoursetheRussiansareinSyriaforthemostself-interestedofreasons,nottoprotect
Syriancivilians,norprimarilyanally,buttodistractadomesticaudiencefromstalematein
theDonbassandforcetheWesttodealwiththem.TheSyrianregimeisbrutaltothepoint
ofevil,andjustbecausetheIslamicStatemaybeworse,Putinhasnoseriousmoral
justification.

Butsincewhenhasself-interestbeenanoveltyingeopolitics?

HowdoesfuelingalengthyandviciousproxywaragainstbothAssadandtheIslamicState
helpordinarySyrians,though,especiallywhensomanyoftheWest'salliesinthis
campaign,fromTurkeytoSaudiArabia,haveserioushumanrightsproblemsoftheirown?

Thisisnotsimple"whataboutism,"thatclassictrickofdeflectingcriticismthroughraising
theotherside'srealorallegedflaws.RatheritistonotethatWashingtoniscurrently
seekingtohaveitscakeandeatit.Itcanchoosetobaseitsforeignpolicyonstrictmoral
principlesorgeopoliticalpragmatism.

Atpresent,itseemshappytoactpragmaticallybutthinkmorally.Thusitgenuinely
considersPutinnotsimplyanantagonist,butanimmoralone.

Thisisdangerousandfoolish.JustasPutin'sRussiacannotsimplybewrittenoffasa
kleptocracy-roadsarestillbeingbuilt,universitiesfunded,andsoforth,evenwhilesome
plunder-sotooitisnotsomeuniquelyaggressive"roguestate."Castigatingitonmoral
grounds,withoutbehavinginanunimpeachablymoralway,issimplygoingtoalienate
Moscow,undermineWesterncredibility,andcreateawhollyfalseseriesofassumptionson
whichtobasepolicy.

TheuncomfortabletruthisthatinSyria,asinsomanyotherways,Putinissimplyruthlessly
exploitingandexpandingprecedentsalreadysetbytheWest.

[returntoContents]

#30
Journalitico
http://journalitico.com
March8,2015
TheProblemWithPropaganda
ByDanielleRyan
Reporter,TheSundayBusinessPost(Ireland).DanielleisanIrishjournalistandblogger.
ShehasadegreeinBusinessandGermanfromTrinityCollegeDublinandstudiedpolitical
reportingattheWashingtonCenterforPoliticsandJournalisminWashington,DC.

Whatispropaganda?

Isitthedeliberateexclusionofcrucialinformationinanattempttomislead?Isitthe
deliberateinclusionofinformationinanattempttoconfuse?Isitadeliberateattemptnot
necessarilytomislead,buttoputforthaperspectivewhichdiffersfromthemainstream?Is
itsimplyoutrightlying?

Orisitalloftheabove?

IsitheretryingtoidentifyonemainstreamnewspaperorbroadcasterthatIcould
legitimatelyandconfidentlyarguedoesnotengageinthiselusivephenomenonwecall
'propaganda'-byanyoftheabovedefinitions.

Icallit'elusive'becausenooneseemstohavesettledthedebateonitsmeaning-orat
least,iftheyhave,it'snotthemeaningtheyareusinginpractice.

Inthisso-called'informationwar'between'theWest'andRussiaoverthecrisisinUkraine,
asimple,butdangerousdefinitionseemstohavedeveloped:Propagandaisthe
disseminationofinformationthatprovidesanylegitimacytotheargumentsoftheenemy.

Thatappearstobetheacceptedmeaningofthewordintoday'sgeopoliticalclimate.The
interestingthingaboutthisdefinitionisthatthetruenessorfalsenessoftheinformationin
questionisirrelevant.Ifitlegitimizestheothersideinanyway,itispropaganda.

Neithersidewilladmitthatthisisthedefinitiontheyareusing,ofcourse.Thatwould
undoubtedlydamagetheircredibility.Instead,bothsideswillsticktothemantrathat
propagandasimplymeansthedeliberatedistributionof'lies'andwillclaimthattheyare
fightingagainstthoseliarswiththeirincontrovertible'truth'.

Thatmakesbothsidesfeelbetter,andmorejustified.Peoplewanttobelievetheycan
'know'thingsintheirentirety.Tonotbeabletograspthecomplexitiesoftheworldmakesus
feeloutofcontrol.

Butinusingthisdefinitionofpropagandaas'anythingtheenemysays'weareleftin
somewhatofaconundrumwhenitcomestounravelingthe'truth'.

WhenRussiaputsforwarditsargumentsandtheyareechoedbyjournalistsoranalysts
whoaresympathetictothosearguments,forwhateverreason,thosewritersare
immediatelybrandedas'Kremlintrolls'orpropagandistsforVladimirPutin.

Similarly,whentheWestputsforthitsarguments,theyaredismissedbyRussianpressas
'anti-Russianpropaganda'.

So,whoisright?Whichinformationis'propaganda'andwhichisn't?Isitsimplyall
propaganda?Dobothsideshavelegitimatearguments?Isonesidemore'right'thanthe
other?Andhowcanweknow,ifeverypieceofinformationthatconflictsfromthe
mainstreamgetslabeledaspropaganda,regardlessifitsoriginoritsfactualaccuracy?

Toansweranyofthosequestions,wewouldneedanaccepteddefinitionfortheword,with
whichwecouldevaluateeveryscrapofinformationpresentedbybothsidesandcomeup
withanobjective'truth'.

Whatareouroptions?

TheOxfordEnglishDictionarydefinespropagandaas:"information,especiallyofabiased
ormisleadingnature,usedtopromoteapoliticalcauseorpointofview".

CateHaste,inTheMachineryofPropaganda,definesitas"thetaskofcreatingand
directingpublicopinion".

TheRandomHousedictionarydefinesitas"information,ideas,orrumorsdeliberately
spreadwidelytohelporharmaperson,group,movement,institution,nation,etc."

Intheirbook,AgeofPropaganda,AnthonyPratkanisandElliotAronsonwritethat
propagandawas"originallydefinedasthedisseminationofbiasedideasandopinions,often
throughtheuseofliesanddeception"...butcontinuetosaythatthewordhassinceevolved
tomeanmass"suggestion"or"influence"throughthemanipulationofsymbolsandthe
psychologyoftheindividual.

Noneofthatisparticularlyhelpful,isit?

Thosedefinitionsdon'tansweranyoftheabovequestions.Alltheyrevealisthatbothsides
engageinserious,no-holds-barredpropagandaefforts,whichwealreadyknew.

Atthispoint,ifwehavenoaccepteddefinition-andifdefinitionsareuselessanyway-it
comesdowntodecidingwhatourgoalisinusingtheterm.

Ifourgoalistodiscredittheothersideinadebate,wewillhappilyuseanyoftheabove
definitions,failingtorecognizewhentheycanbeappliedtoourselves.

Ifthegoalhowever,istocometoanuancedunderstandingofwhatishappeninginUkraine,
wewouldbelessinclinedtousethewordatall,atleastnotsoflippantly.

Wewouldrecognizethatdefiningeverythingthatgoesagainstourownperceivedbest
interestsas'propaganda'isitselfaformofpropaganda-onethatwon'tresultinany
progresswhatsoever.

Itwillsimplyleavebothsidesinstalemate.

Inotherwords,propagandaworks,butaccusingsomeoneofusingittomaskyourownbias
isgenerallyuseless,ifyourintentionistomakeanyrealprogress.It'sourstaggering
propensitytodojustthatwhichhasbeenoneof,ifnotthebiggesthindrancetodiplomatic
progressonUkraine.

Atthispoint,Ican'tconcealthefactthatIbelievetheWesternsidehasbeentheworse
offenderinthis.

WhentheUSStateDepartmentflingsthe'propaganda'grenadeattheKremlineverytimeit
hearsacounter-argument,theyareeffectivelyrelievingthemselvesoftheresponsibilityto
think.Theyaredemonstratinghowentrenchedtheyhavebecomeintheirpositionsand
showingusthattheyhavenointentionofbudging.

Theyareentirelyunreceptivetothelegitimateconcernsofthosewithadifferent
perspective.Theyhavedemonstratedthattheywilldonothingtoalleviatethefearsofa
nationthatfeelsunderthreat-andhaveengagedinamassiveinformationcampaignto
discreditthosefearsasnonsense.

GiventhehistoryofthelastfifteenyearsandthenumerousUSforeignpolicymistakes
legitimizedthroughgroupthink,thatentrenchmentshouldbeworrying.

Battlingcognitivedissonance

Ifwe,asconsumersofnewsandasjournalists,failtoproperlyscrutinizethat,werunthe
riskofsimilarlybarricadingourselvesbehindourin-builtbiasesbecauseitmakesusfeel
stronger-andlook,somanypeopleagree,wemustberight.
Humanstendtobelievethattheargumentstheyhavechosen-basedontheirownself-
interest,astheybestunderstandit-arealsothebestthingfortheworldatlarge.Tobelieve
anythingelse,formostpeople,wouldseemillogical.

Ashumans,wealsogenerallydon'tenjoytheunpleasantnessofcognitivedissonance,so
wetrytoavoidit.Wedon'twanttohavetodealwithtoomuchconflictinginformation.We've
pickedasideinanargumentandthat'stheendofit.

Thisleadstowhatpsychologistscall'motivatedreasoning',wherebywewillcherry-pick
informationandsubconsciouslyeliminateanythingthatchallengesourargumenttoodeeply.

So,whatcanwedoaboutit?

Firstofall,thisnodoubt,isthepointatwhichyouwillaccusemeofbeingahypocrite.But
restassured,Iagreewithyou.Weallusemotivatedreasoning,andtotellourselveswe
don'tissimplyself-delusion.Theproblemis,someofuscanbetterrecognizewhenwe're
doingitandsomeofuscan't.

Forinstance,IcantellyouthatI'mdoingitrightnow.I'maskingyoutoreconsideryour
opinionandadoptsomethingsimilartomyown.That'stotallyhypocritical,isn'tit?Itis,butit
doesn'tmeanyoustillshouldn'tconsiderit.AndIshoulddothesame.

DrDavidRobertGrimes,asciencewriterandphysicistatOxfordUniversitywroteina
piecefortheIrishTimeslastyear,thatratherthanviewingconflictingconceptswith
apprehensionandcontempt,weshouldregardthemwiththe"exhilarationofdiscovery".

Admittedly,it'shighlydoubtfulthatanyonereadingthisisgoingtobe"exhilarated"atthe
prospectofchangingtheirmindonUkraine-aconflictwhichelicitssuchstrongemotion
fromsomany.Ihavealreadyoncechangedmymindonit-fromanentrenchedWestern
perspectivetodevelopingadeeperunderstandingandsympathytotheRussian
perspective.I'msureothershavegoneintheoppositedirection.

Itwasnotanexhilaratingprocess.

AnaerialviewshowsIndependenceSquareduringclashesbetweenanti-government
protestersandInteriorMinistrymembersandriotpoliceincentralKiev

Grimesalsowroteinhispiece:

"Thereisnothingwrongwithbeingwrong,providedwearewillingtoadaptourviewsinthe
lightofevidenceandconstantlyrevisethem.Black-and-whitethinkingcanbechallengedby
noticingthattherearemorethanjustbinarypositionsonissuesorpeople,andaspectrum
liesbetweenthoseextrema.

"Thebladeofcorrectionshouldcutbothwaysweshouldaimtospotreasoningflawsnot
onlyintheargumentsofothersbutalsoinourownlogic,evenwhenthisjarsus."

Theinabilityofourleaders-andmoredisappointingly,ourjournalists,todothis,isexactly
whynotmuchprogresshasbeenmadeinUkraine.

Journalists,bytheirverynature,strivetounderstandtheworld.It'swhattheydo.Theyare
interestedandcurious.Theylivebyaskingquestionsinthehopethatthey'llfindanswers.
Individualjournalistsareveryrarelytryingtobe'propagandists'orliarsforanyone.

Unfortunately,theyarealsohuman-andthat'swhereitgetscomplicated.Theworldistoo
complextounderstandinitsentirety,sotheyhavetofocusonlittlenuggetshereandthere.
Andifthe'otherside'islyingoutright-asbothsometimesdo-weshout'Look,theother
sideislying!'becauseitmakesusfeelgood.

Itvalidatesusandallowsustofeeljustifiedinnotadmittingthatmaybewehavedoneit,too.
Thatmaybewehavenotalwaysbeenasrightandnobleaswedesperatelywanttobelieve
wehave.Thatmaybeifwecanfocusonthe'lies'oftheotherside,wecanstaymore
dedicatedtothe'truth'andthattoomakesusfeelgood.

WeareroutinelybombardedwithstoriesaboutUkraineandRussiathatdon'tgiveusthefull
picture.Eachauthorwillomitinformationtheyfeelisnotrelevantorcrucial.Butwhatis
crucialtoonesidemayseeminconsequentialtotheother.It'salljournalism,andbythe
definitionsusedearlier,yes,it'sall'propaganda'.

Buttherehastobearightandwrong,doesn'tthere?

Rightandwrongoftenexistonlyinsofaraspeople'sperceptionsofasituationallowthem
tounderstandit-andlikeitornot,thisisalotaboutperception.

Bothsidesmustbechallengedrelentlessly-withevidence,incontrovertiblefactand
perhapsmostimportantly,adecent,honestattempttounderstandotherhuman
perspectives.

Bothsideshavefailedatthis,butIbelievetheWesternsidehasfailedworse,astheysay.

Itdoesn'thelptolabelRussiansasblinddogs,theentireRussianmediaaspropagandists
andVladimirPutinasanevildictatorthatwouldgiveAdolfHitlerarunforhismoney.That's
acop-outandquitefrankly,it'slazy.

Themainstreamviewisfrequentlytheviewthatneedsmostrigorouschallenging,because
ithasoftenachievedthatprevalencethroughgroupthinkandaformofWesternpropaganda
thatismoreinsidioussimplybecauseitisoftennotrecognizedassuch.

TheprevailingmainstreamviewisthatRussiaiswrong,isaprovocateurandhas'invaded'
Ukraineundertheleadershipofan'expansionist'anddangerouspresident.Theminority
view-andtheoneIshare-isthatinfactNATOhasbeentheprovocateurandthattheUS
isleadingEuropetowardsinstabilitytosuititsownpurposes.

Thereisamisconceptionthattheprevailingviewisthecorrectview,simplybecauseso
manypeopleholdit.Thesecondmisconceptionisthatonesideisentirelyrightandone
sideisentirelywrong-andwithinthat,thethe'enemy's'sidehasonlybadintentions.

Ourleaderswoulddowelltoridthemselvesofbothmisconceptionsifanyprogressistobe
madeforthepeopleofEasternUkraine.

Fairytaleorreality?

InafascinatingpieceaboutthebordercityofNarva,Estonia-aplacewhichIjustrecently
passedthroughmyself-journalistMarkMacKinnonintroducesustoElviraNyman.

The77-year-oldgazesacrosstheNarvaRiver,whichseparatestheEstoniancityfrom
Russia,the"strongcountry".

Elviralivesinaworldthathasbeen"createdforher"byKremlin-controlledtelevision,
MacKinnonwrites.Inhermind,theWestholdstheblameforthecrisisinUkraine,Crimea
wasalwaysRussiaandPutinisaleadertoberespected.

Exceptthatthisisnotjustinhermind-it'saviewheldbyplentywhoaren't'underthe
influence'ofRussianTV-andit'saninsulttoputtheentirelifeexperienceofethnic
RussiansintheformerSovietRepublicsdowntosomefairytalewhichhasbeen
manufacturedfortheminMoscow.

TheRussianworldexists.ItisnotacreationofPutin'sRussiaasapreludetoan
expansionistadventure.Theirnarrativehasbeencreatedforthembyhistory-andTallinn-
controlledTVcoulddonomoretochangethatthanKremlin-controlledTVcouldtocreateit.

Inaround-aboutway,MacKinnonadmitsthislaterinthepiece.Hequotesarepresentative
ofNarva'smunicipalgovernment,whosaysit's"toosimple"toblameRussianTVforwhy
somanyinthecityfeelalienatedbytheEstonianstate.

"TheywonderwhythestreetsignsintheircityareonlyinEstonianwhenjust4percentof
residentscallittheirfirstlanguage,"hesays."Andtheyhatethesanctionsthatare
destroyingbusinesstieswiththeRussianFederationacrosstheriver."

Thesolutionisnottoapproachthesepeoplewithblindself-righteousnessandbatterthem
overtheheadwiththe"right"worldviewuntiltheyseesense.
WesternpropagandaisnottheantidotetoRussianpropaganda.

Grimes,theOxfordphysicist,endedhispiecewiththisline:

"Weshouldfeelzeroshameinrevisingourpositionsinthelightofnewevidenceor
understanding.Thisishowprogressismade."

Ican'thelpbutthinkweallmightbebetteroffifwetrieditmoreoften.


[returntoContents]

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