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|I liked it when he said, "These cases are complicated and difficult to prosecute, but if you're serious
about doing them, you can." Doesn't that describe the situation perfectly? It can be done if we set our minds to it. We need
to get started and make that happen.
Comment to 'inside job' (Yahoo! Finance)
|Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.
-- Napoleon Bonaparte
The modern power elites thrive by forgetting any regrettable past. This amnesia is easy at Harvard, where the legal fiduciaries operate in secret and need not answer for their acts. They are the antipodes of the selfless institutional servants who built Harvard and other great American enterprises, and they bear close watching.
"It's a mafia," he says quietly...
Under supervision of Harvard mafia Russian economy has all but collapsed, the class of oligarchs emerged, population standard of living slided to Central African levels and its infrastructure and key assets were looted at bargain basement prices.
A interesting rogues’ gallery of international financial criminals with high academic degrees who got their education in Harvard (Harvard mafia in a broad sense) owes its existence to the dissolution of the USSR and subsequent financial crisis. The level of corruption and rent seeking behaviors of those individuals is really breathtaking. The term "mafia" is not rhetorical overshoot: they are mafia in a very precise meaning of this word: the mafia at its core is about one thing -- money (see also Russian board game Mafia). Like in a typical Mafioso family there is an ethnic core and a hierarchy, with higher-ranking members making decisions that trickle down to the other members of the family. And its policies are always about oppression, arrogance, greed, self-enrichment, power and hegemony above and against all others.
The story of Andrei Shleifer in Russia is a classic story of "academic extortion": betrayal of trust and academic principles by Harvard professor of economics (probably not without the influence of his wife, hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman, longtime friend of Larry Summers). While the guy was just a pawn in a big game, the issues of criminality of economists (and some universities economics departments ;-) and relevance of RICO statute against such offences is a much bigger issue.
Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages.
... ... ...
On March 29, 1989, financier Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud relating to an investigation into insider trading and other offenses. Milken was accused of using a wide-ranging network of contacts to manipulate stock and bond prices. It was one of the first occasions that a RICO indictment was brought against an individual with no ties to organized crime. Milken pled guilty to six lesser offenses rather than face spending the rest of his life in prison.
There is a disturbingly deep analogy between Harvard University (which had been benevolently charged with just breach of contract by the US government) and Michel Milken activities. Separately Shleifer and another Harvard mafia associate, Jonathan Hay, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. As a slap on the wrist Shleifer was stripped of honorary title "Whipple V.N. Jones Professor of Economics" due to "ethics violation", but he managed to preserve his position at the university due to Summers protection (Larry Summers A Suicidal Choice - Mark Ames).
How close were Larry Summers and Andrei Schleifer? According to former Boston Globe economics correspondent David Warsh, Summers and Schleifer “were among each other’s best friends,” and Summers taught Schleifer “as an undergraduate, sent him on to MIT for his PhD, took him along on an advisory mission to Lithuania in 1990, and in 1991, shepherded his return to Harvard as full professor, where he was regarded, after Martin Feldstein and Summers, as the leader of the next generation.”
The furor about Andrei Shleifer shadow dealings in Russia contributed to the ouster of Summers from the Harvard presidency. It also exposed sad fact that neoclassic economics represents a dangerous sect which if not exactly mafia is pretty much borderline phenomenon. Somewhat similar with Lysenkoism
The cynical view is that "Rape of Russia" was a Mafiosi style operation, which was conducted using s Trojan horses special class of Mafiosi, academic economics. This might well have been the intent (in best "disaster capitalism" style of thinking). Instead of helping post-Soviet nations develop self-reliant economies, writes Marshall Auerback,
“the West has viewed them as economic oysters to be broken up to indebt them in order to extract interest charges and capital gains, leaving them empty shells.”
Corruption and local oligarchy were natural allies of this process which was, in essence, the process of Latin-Americanization of post Soviet space. And off-shore safe heavens were the tool. They partially failed in Russia as some of the most notorious deals of this periods (especially in mineral recourses and oil areas) were reversed in 2000-2008, but were quite successful in Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia and several other post Soviet republics. The external debt of those is just staggering. As Professor Michael Hudson noted:
It may be time to look once again at what Larry Summers and his Rubinomics gang did in Russia in the mid-1990s and to Third World countries during his tenure as World Bank economist to see what kind of future is being planned for the U.S. economy over the next few years.
Throughout the Soviet Union the neoliberal model established “equilibrium” in a way that involved demographic collapse: shortening life spans, lower birth rates, alcoholism and drug abuse, psychological depression, suicides, bad health, unemployment and homelessness for the elderly (the neoliberal mode of Social Security reform).
Here is one apt comment about the real nature of economic professors from Harvard and other nice places from the comments to post Economists Fall Back Into Neoclassical Stupor …( naked capitalism. January 18, 2011):
I echo lambert’s and scraping by’s sentiments. The economics profession is not about an analysis of our economy that can make reasonable predictions about it. Economics and economists are enablers of the con and validators of kleptocracy. They say the many must make do with less and do not say that the result of this policy will be the few will have more.
These are not innocent, unworldly types tied to outdated and obsolete ideas. They are abettors and apologists for the greatest economic crimes in human history. We should call and treat them for what they are: criminals. Kleptocracy is not a some time thing. It is not a label you apply occasionally. Kleptocracy is a system. The looters can’t function without corrupt politicians, a complacent propagandizing media, or complicit enabling academics. With kleptocracy, there is no middle ground. You either stand with the looters or their victims. I think this is the critical choice we all must make.
Another pretty telling quote ( from brilliant satire Blacklisted Economics Professor Found Dead NC Publishes His Last Letter « naked capitalism):
Q: Is it really plausible that economists threaten top banks that in the absence of some kind of payoff, they will change the theories they teach in a direction that is less favorable to the banks?
A: There are certainly cases in history of the following sequence:
a. Economist E espouses views that are less favorable to certain special interest groups S. Doing so threatens the ability of S to extract rent from the public.
b. Later, E changes his view, thereby withdrawing the prior threat.
c. Still later, E is paid large amounts of money by representatives of S in exchange for services that do not appear particularly onerous.
For example, let E = Larry Summers and let S = the financial services industry. In 1989 E was (a) a supporter of the Tobin tax, which threatened to reduce the rent extracted by S. This threat was apparently later withdrawn (b), and in 2008 E was paid $5.2 million (c) in exchange for working at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw (an element of S) for one day a week.
However, it is naturally more difficult to witness the negotiations in which specific threats were appeased with specific future payouts. This is a problem that also bedevils Public Choice theory, in which it is likewise difficult to show exactly how a particular politician is remunerated in exchange for threatening businesses with anti-business legislation. The theory assures us that such negotiations occur, although they are difficult to observe directly. Perhaps further theoretical advances will help us to close this gap.
Q: Isn’t it offensive to assume that economists, for motives of personal gain, shade their theoretical allegiances in the directions preferred by powerful interest groups?
A: How could it ever be offensive to assume that a person acts rationally in pursuit of maximizing his or her own utility? I’m afraid I don’t understand this question.
Disappearance of a formidable opponent of unrestricted looting of developing countries that USSR formally represented on the the world scene essentially released all moral stops and considerations both inside the USA and outside. The triumph of neoliberalism
And former USSR republics were the first victims of new super-aggressive neoliberal "new normal". Despite crocodile tears about corruption, our world is being reshaped, in sinister fashion, by wide open capital markets and an international banking network that exists to launder hundreds of billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains stolen by government officials and oligarchs in "weaker" countries. In other words, corruption is an immanent feature and principal tool of neoliberalism in developing countries and xUSSR area.
Under pretext of showing the Russians how to convert command type economy to neoliberal model, and how to controls corruption, the gang-style rape of the country was inflicted on its unsuspecting citizens with poverty raising from 2% to 40% of the population. World have witnessed Russia losing half of its total output, plunging it into a depression deeper than the U.S. Great Depression. Please read Anne Williamson’s testimony. Here is one quote:
From the perspective of the many millions of her children, Mother Russia in late 1991 was like an old woman, skirts yanked above her waist, who had been abandoned flat on her back at a muddy crossroads, the object of others’ scorn, greed and unseemly curiosity. It is the Russian people who kept their wits about them, helped her to her feet, dusted her off, straightened her clothing, righted her head scarf and it is they who can restore her dignity – not Boris Yeltsin, not Anatole Chubais, not Boris Berezovsky nor any of the other aspirants to power. And it is the Russian people – their abilities, efforts and dreams – which comprise the Russian economy, not those of Vladimir Potanin or Viktor Chernomyrdin or Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Vladimir Gusinsky. And that is where we should have placed our bet – on the Russian people – and our stake should have been the decency, the common sense and abilities of our own citizens realized not through multilateral lending but through the use of tax credits for direct investment in the Russian economy and the training of Russian workers on 6-month to one year stints at the U.S. offices of American firms in conjunction with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Russian goods.
The collapse of the USSR was by-and-large caused by internal problems and betrayal of nomenklatura which quickly understood that new neoliberal regime is more profitable for them that command-style economy (although role of financed by West wave of nationalism and West imposed technological isolation should not be underestimated). BTW this myth that Reagan administration won the Cold War is still current.
After the dissolution of the USA, there was a vacuum of ideology in Russia and it was successfully filled with Harvard promoted neoliberalism and associated neo-classical economics. This was a powerful fifths column, oriented on helping the West to extract as much wealth from Russia as possible was created. The USA essentially forced Russians into so called shock therapy using Harvard academic mafia (plan was authored by Jeffrey Sachs who was lecturer at Harvard and implemented by Larry Summers protégé, Russian émigré Shleifer and several other Harvard academic brats with a couple of British poodles to make the gang international) and internal compradors in Yelstin government as fifth column. As a result poverty level jumped from 2% to 40%. Everything that can be stolen, was stolen by implementation of rapid privatization policy. During the heydays of corrupt Yeltsin regime implementation of shock therapy GDP dropped 50%. Suicide rate doubled, life expectancy for males dropped below 60 years (12,8% death rate increase), homeless children which were unknown in the USSR became mass feature of new social order.
The key seller of shock therapy was about Harvard Mafiosi, Professor Jeffrey Sachs who was a prominent neoliberal who because his role in destruction of Russian economics, contributed to immense sufferings in Bolivia, Chili, Poland and several other countries.
Instead of something like Marshall plan, a merciless ands unlawful grab of capital and national resources was successfully implemented in less then five year period after the dissolution. This was an amazingly greedy and short-sited policy by Clinton administration. To rephrase Talleyrand, it was worse then a crime, it was a blunder. As Otto von Bismarck advised long ago:
Do not expect that once taken advantage of Russia's weakness, you will receive dividends forever. Russian always come for their money. And when they come - do not rely on the Jesuit agreement you signed, you are supposed to justify. They are not worth the paper it is written. Therefore, with the Russian stands or play fair, or no play.
Let's hope that the USA will be protected by Providence from the consequences of this blunder because as Otto von Bismarck suggested "There is a providence to that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America". Otherwise, the level of anger felt by wide strata of Russian people (almost everybody outside of fifth column) can materialize into something really tragic. In Russian history, a generation that has taken a beating is often followed by a generation that deals one. In a way Putin is already a certain punishment, but the possibility of coming to power a real Russian nationalist instead of "resource nationalist" is not out the realm of possibilities ;-)There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.
Now Professor Jeffrey Sachs repainted himself from a sharky promoted of "shock therapy" into the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Here is an apt comment about this member of Harvard mafia ( NYT, 2009)
I grew up cold and hungry in the former Soviet republic of Armenia during the shock therapy years of the 90′s; my grandfather was one of the 3 million who died prematurely during those days (incorrect medication and power outages did him in).
I would very much like to tie Mr. Jeffrey Sachs to a chair and slowly force-feed him every worthless page of every idiotic policy paper he’s ever written. I believe that would justly mirror the diet that I had to subsist on for a number of years during my childhood and adolescence.
He still insists that Yeltsin, rather than his American advisors, was responsible for the fact that the privatization policy amounted in practice to the theft by a handful of favored apparatchiks of the industries previously ran – in its own inimitably corrupt fashion – by the state. As former World Bank economist David Ellerman noted it was the speed of the privatization which made such an outcome inevitable stating that
“Only the mixture of American triumphalism and academic arrogance could have produced such a lethal dose of gall.”
Janine R. Wedel in The Harvard Boys Do Russia (The Nation, May 14, 1998) wrote the following about extremely damaging for the USA (in a long run) and Russia (forever) policies Harvard mafia pursued:
"After seven years of economic "reform" financed by billions of dollars in U.S. and other Western aid, subsidized loans and rescheduled debt, the majority of Russian people find themselves worse off economically. The privatization drive that was supposed to reap the fruits of the free market instead helped to create a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy that has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia's wealth. The architect of privatization was former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, a darling of the U.S. and Western financial establishments. Chubais's drastic and corrupt stewardship made him extremely unpopular. According to The New York Times, he "may be the most despised man in Russia." Essential to the implementation of Chubais's policies was the enthusiastic support of the Clinton Administration and its key representative for economic assistance in Moscow, the Harvard Institute for International Development. Using the prestige of Harvard's name and connections in the Administration, H.I.I.D. officials acquired virtual carte blanche over the U.S. economic aid program to Russia, with minimal oversight by the government agencies involved. With this access and their close alliance with Chubais and his circle, they allegedly profited on the side. Yet few Americans are aware of H.I.I.D.'s role in Russian privatization, and its suspected misuse of taxpayers' funds.
At the recent U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, made what might have seemed to many an impolite reference to his hosts. After castigating Chubais and his monetarist policies, Luzhkov, according to a report of the event, "singled out Harvard for the harm inflicted on the Russian economy by its advisers, who encouraged Chubais's misguided approach to privatization and monetarism." Luzhkov was referring to H.I.I.D. Chubais, who was delegated vast powers over the economy by Boris Yeltsin, was ousted in Yeltsin's March purge, but in May he was given an immensely lucrative post as head of Unified Energy System, the country's electricity monopoly.
Some of the main actors with Harvard's Russia project have yet to face a reckoning, but this may change if a current investigation by the U.S. government results in prosecutions. The activities of H.I.I.D. in Russia provide some cautionary lessons on abuse of trust by supposedly disinterested foreign advisers, on U.S. arrogance and on the entire policy of support for a single Russian group of so-called reformers. The H.I.I.D. story is a familiar one in the ongoing saga of U.S. foreign policy disasters created by those said to be our "best and brightest." Through the late summer and fall of 1991, as the Soviet state fell apart, Harvard Professor Jeffrey Sachs and other Western economists participated in meetings at a dacha outside Moscow where young, pro-Yeltsin reformers planned Russia's economic and political future. Sachs teamed up with Yegor Gaidar, Yeltsin's first architect of economic reform, to promote a plan of "shock therapy" to swiftly eliminate most of the price controls and subsidies that had underpinned life for Soviet citizens for decades. Shock therapy produced more shock--not least, hyperinflation that hit 2,500 percent--than therapy.
One result was the evaporation of much potential investment capital: the substantial savings of Russians. By November 1992, Gaidar was under attack for his failed policies and was soon pushed aside ...
I.I.D. had supporters high in the Administration. One was Lawrence Summers, himself a former Harvard economics professor, whom Clinton named Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in 1993. Summers, now Deputy Treasury Secretary, had longstanding ties to the principals of Harvard's project in Russia and its later project in Ukraine. Summers hired a Harvard Ph.D., David Lipton (who had been vice president of Jeffrey D. Sachs and Associates, a consulting firm), to be Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. After Summers was promoted to Deputy Secretary, Lipton moved into Summers's old job, assuming "broad responsibility" for all aspects of international economic policy development. Lipton co-wrote numerous papers with Sachs and served with him on consulting missions in Poland and Russia. "Jeff and David always came [to Russia] together," said a Russian representative at the International Monetary Fund. "They were like an inseparable couple." Sachs, who was named director of H.I.I.D. in 1995, lobbied for and received U.S.A.I.D. grants for the institute to work in Ukraine in 1996 and 1997 ...
Andrei Shleifer, a Russian-born emigre and already a tenured professor of economics at Harvard in his early 30s, became director of H.I.I.D.'s Russia project. Shleifer was also a protege of Summers, with whom he received at least one foundation grant ...
Another Harvard player was a former World Bank consultant named Jonathan Hay, a Rhodes scholar who had attended Moscow's Pushkin Institute for Russian Language. In 1991, while still at Harvard Law School, he had become a senior legal adviser to the G.K.I., the Russian state's new privatization committee; the following year he was made H.I.I.D.'s general director in Moscow. The youthful Hay assumed vast powers over contractors, policies and program specifics; he not only controlled access to the Chubais circle but served as its mouthpiece ...
With help from his H.I.I.D. advisers and other Westerners, Chubais and his cronies set up a network of aid-funded "private" organizations that enabled them to bypass legitimate government agencies and circumvent the new parliament of the Russian Federation, the Duma.
Through this network, two of Chubais's associates, Maxim Boycko (who co-wrote Privatizing Russia with Shleifer) and Dmitry Vasiliev, oversaw almost a third of a billion dollars in aid money and millions more in loans from international financial institutions ...
The device of setting up private organizations backed by the power of the Yeltsin government and maintaining close ties to H.I.I.D. was a way of insuring deniability. Shleifer, Hay and other Harvard principals, all U.S. citizens, were "Russian" when convenient. Hay, for example, served alternately and sometimes simultaneously as aid contractor, manager of other contractors and representative of the Russian government ... Against the backdrop of Russia's Klondike capitalism, which they were helping create and Chubais and his team were supposedly regulating, the H.I.I.D. advisers exploited their intimate ties with Chubais and the government and were allegedly able to conduct business activities for their own enrichment. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Hay used his influence, as well as U.S.A.I.D.-financed resources, to help his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hebert, set up a mutual fund, Pallada Asset Management, in Russia ... After Pallada was set up, Hebert, Hay, Shleifer and Vasiliev looked for ways to continue their activities as aid funds dwindled. Using I.L.B.E. resources and funding, they established a private consulting firm with taxpayer money. One of the firm's first clients was Shleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a Boston-based hedge fund that traded heavily in Russian bonds.
According to Russian registration documents, Zimmerman's company set up a Russian firm with Sergei Shishkin, the I.L.B.E. chief, as general director. Corporate documents on file in Moscow showed that the address and phone number of the company and the I.L.B.E. were the same. Then there is the First Russian Specialized Depository, which holds the records and assets of mutual fund investors. This institution, funded by a World Bank loan, also worked to the benefit of Hay, Vasiliev, Hebert and another associate, Julia Zagachin. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Zagachin, an American married to a Russian, was selected to run the depository even though she lacked the required capital ...
Anne Williamson, a journalist who specializes in Soviet and Russian affairs, details these and other conflicts of interest between H.I.I.D.'s advisers and their supposed clients--the Russian people--in her forthcoming book, How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy. For example, in 1995, in Chubais-organized insider auctions of prime national properties, known as loans-for-shares, the Harvard Management Company (H.M.C.), which invests the university's endowment, and billionaire speculator George Soros were the only foreign entities allowed to participate. H.M.C. and Soros became significant shareholders in Novolipetsk, Russia's second-largest steel mill, and Sidanko Oil, whose reserves exceed those of Mobil. H.M.C. and Soros also invested in Russia's high-yielding, I.M.F.-subsidized domestic bond market.
Even more dubious, according to Williamson, was Soros's July 1997 purchase of 24 percent of Sviazinvest, the telecommunications giant, in partnership with Uneximbank's Vladimir Potanin. It was later learned that shortly before this purchase Soros had tided over Yeltsin's government with a backdoor loan of hundreds of millions of dollars while the government was awaiting proceeds of a Eurobond issue; the loan now appears to have been used by Uneximbank to purchase Norilsk Nickel in August 1997. According to Williamson, the U.S. assistance program in Russia was rife with such conflicts of interest involving H.I.I.D. advisers and their U.S.A.I.D.-funded Chubais allies, H.M.C. managers, favored Russian bankers, Soros and insider expatriates working in Russia's nascent markets ...
Despite exposure of this corruption in the Russian media (and, far more hesitantly, in the U.S. media), the H.I.I.D.-Chubais clique remained until recently the major instrument of U.S. economic aid policy to Russia. It even used the high-level Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, which helped orchestrate the cooperation of U.S.-Russian oil deals and the Mir space station. The commission's now-defunct Capital Markets Forum was chaired on the Russian side by Chubais and Vasiliev, and on the U.S. side by S.E.C. chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
Andrei Shleifer was named special coordinator to all four of the Capital Markets Forum's working subgroups. Hebert, Hay's girlfriend, served on two of the subgroups, as did the C.E.O.s of Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch and other powerful Wall Street investment houses. When The Nation contacted the S.E.C. for information about Capital Markets, we were told to call Shleifer for comment. Shleifer, who is under investigation by U.S.A.I.D.'s inspector general for misuse of funds, declined to be interviewed for this article. A U.S. Treasury spokesman said Shleifer and Hebert were appointed to Capital Markets by the Chubais group--specifically, according to other sources, by Dmitry Vasiliev."
Several problems with Harvard academic advisors behavior during Russian privatization program were outlined by Adil Rustomjee (Yale University) in the letter to Johnson’s Russia List :
From: Arustomjee@aol.com (Adil Rustomjee)
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 13:18:14 EDT
Subject: Role of foreign advisers in the Russian Privatization Program.
From: Adil Rustomjee, Yale University, 135 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Many thanks for your superb news service. Johnson's Russia List is fast becoming an excellent resource for those who work, who have worked on, or who just share a fascination with that disturbing country. I am writing this letter to humbly suggest a research topic that should be of great interest to JRLs readers. It is a subject that deserves better treatment than that received to date. The topic itself is the exact role of foreign advisers in the Russian Privatization Program.
It is a marvelous tale waiting to be plainly told. The Russian Privatization Program, despite its subsequent vilification, ranks as one of the great experiments at social engineering in the twentieth century. It attempted an authoritative allocation of property rights - and consequently of power - within society on a scale never attempted before. It is therefore a very significant historical process, more significant in the long reach of events than even Stalin's collectivization campaigns of the 1930s. It deserves its own Robert Conquest.
The process itself went through two distinct phases - the voucher phase, and what for want of a better word, we call the "loans for shares" phase. It is the "loans for shares" phase of the program that has attracted the most attention, primarily because of its spectacular abuse by Russia's oligarchs. The real story is in the first voucher stage of the process and the dubious principles it was based on.
The entire voucher program was a product of foreign economic advice. Consider the basic timeline. The Soviet Union itself was dissolved in December 1991. In June 1992, the crucial document governing the voucher privatization effort came out - the State Privatization Program. This seminal document outlined the basic concepts behind the voucher phase of the program. It also rationalized what became a state sponsored giveaway of Russia's national patrimony to the country's managers. The implementation of the State Privatization Program document took a little over two years. By June 1994, Anatoly Chubias , Russia's privatization chief, was announcing the end of the voucher program. In a scant two years, Russia had gone from a communist country with no private sector, to a country with a private sector - that on paper at least - was larger than Italy's !!! Such progress could never have been possible without substantial foreign economic advice. It is a commonplace that privatization is essentially a "learning by doing" process.
Russia could never have gone through a learning curve in such a short time span. Its reformers basically rubberstamped a scheme conceived by Western economists in the crucial 6 month period between December 1991 and June 1992.
Yet despite this, the precise story of the economists behind the entire effort has not been told. Good attempts have been made by Janine Wedel and Anne Williamson - and I will discuss them later - but from a technical standpoint, the story has yet to be told well.
Who were these advisors and what did they achieve? Three groups of actors may be identified - academic economists, bureaucrats from the World Bank, and Western consulting firms. A close examination of the interaction between these three groups itself will offer interesting insights into the birth and dissemination of ideas. For the major ideas behind the Russian program came from a group of academics - many associated with Harvard. These ideas were picked up in the early years and became established "transition economics" orthodoxy at the World Bank. The substantial implementation of the basic ideas was carried out by consulting firms like the Big Six working (often) on USAID contracts.
This is as it should be. Academia is usually the source of the most original thinking on economics. International bureaucrats - particularly those associated with the World Bank - are surprisingly timid and cautious people. They are institutionally incapable of boldness - and great audacity was called for in the Russia of 1992.
Was this boldness misplaced? I believe it was. A rational examination of the process will, I suspect, lead to a damning indictment of Russia's foreign advisors. They created desolation and called it reform. The defining feature of the program was based on remarkably dubious ideas. Foremost among these was the belief that privatization was a series of payoffs - or bribes, as one of its leading advocates, Harvard's Andrei Shleifer, called it - to various " stakeholders" in the program. Given an uncertain legal environment and some
appropriation of state assets by these stakeholders, - euphemistically referred to as "spontaneous privatization" - , better to legalize what was believed to be a trough feeding frenzy. This was the program's dominant idea.
There is little empirical evidence from the early years about the exact extent of " spontaneous privatization". Anecdotal evidence abounds, especially from many near - hysterical accounts of the early 90s but the actual empirical evidence is slender. The decisions to sell a great nation's patrimony - a one shot historical phenomenon with irreversible long range implications - were basically conceived within a six month time frame by a bunch of frightened foreigners, using dubious assumptions, with little basis in empirical understanding. Astonishing.
The actual privatization was accomplished through basically giving away large segments of Russian assets - and consequently cash flows - to these stakeholders. The most notable insider stakeholders - the managers - ended up the biggest winners. They ended up owning most of Russian industry. This august group, more often than not, makes the Marx Brothers seem like models of German efficiency. For a variety of reasons, insider-owned firms are very inefficient, and indeed a long list of papers from the Bank - Fund complex testifies to this. Consequently, Russia is today reaping the whirlwind of its privatization policy. The long delayed supply-side response of the economy, that is supposed to be led by these insider-owned firms, simply refuses to happen.
To round out this stupidity ( and to make it theoretically neater), the advisors had to deal with the problem of insider ownership. They dealt with it in time honored economist fashion - they assumed it away. This was done by trotting out that most venerable of economic propositions - something called the Coase Theorem. In a series of seminal papers written at Chicago in the thirties, Ronald Coase reached a blindingly obvious conclusion on property rights. He proved that the initial allocation - or misallocation - of property rights would not matter as long as those rights could be traded till they found their highest valued end use. In other words, the advisors told the Russians, "Sure, we're making second-best or third-best policy choices on privatization , but hey guys, it doesn't matter. Through the magic of Coase, even if we misallocated the rights, they'll trade up to their highest valued end user, and we'll all live happily ever after ". Consequently, nothing mattered except getting the assets away from the government (depoliticization) and into the "private sector", thereby allowing
the Coase Theorem to work its magic.
The Russians believed this nonsense. The problems with using Coase as a rationale were commonsensical : too much monopoly power in the Russian economy and the fact that Coase himself never had anything remotely resembling Russia in mind, when he formulated the theorem. More crucially, capital markets which would be needed to trade property rights to their highest valued end use, were nonexistent or nascent, and continue to be so. One marvels at the Russians' own capacity for advice of this nature. My comfort is philosophical : It has often been said of the Russians, that they exhibit in extreme form, certain universal characteristics of the human condition.
Perhaps this tendency to extremes applies to their propensity for social engineering too.
In response to critiques of their advice, the foreign advisors resort to a "burden of proof " defense. In other words, they say, " What a pity it's a mess and had to be this way, but you'll have to prove it could have been otherwise". It is this "proving otherwise" that is a key issue. " Proving otherwise" would require a person with substantial economic expertise. Unfortunately most of the critiques of the advisors in Russia have come from people outside the economics community, which on Russia is quite tight knit.
Janine Wedel and Anne Williamson have made good first attempts . But given the enormity of the catastrophe in Russia that the advice has wrought, the definitive account will have to be from a person with some economic stature.
Who were these people anyway ? They include, Wedel and Williamson point out, Andrei Shleifer a Harvard economics professor, Jonathan Hay a freshly minted Harvard Law graduate, and Makim Boycko who was their man in Moscow. Shleifer, a Russian emigrant who remains a tenured professor at Harvard, must have possessed the great advantage of speaking native Russian. In December 1991, Shleifer on a World Bank consultancy authored a paper titled Privatization in Russia - First Steps. It is, I believe, the first systematic attempt at outlining the program's defining feature - privatization as a series of payoffs (or bribes as he called it) to key stakeholders in the process.
Later explications of the basic idea may be found in articles he co-authored with Robert Vishny on the process. Both the unpublished document and later articles remarkably parallel the basic philosophy of the State Privatization Program of June 1992.
A sense of moral outrage over the effects of their policies - while a great temptation - has to be avoided at all costs. This is especially difficult when one considers that the principal protagonists - Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay - are under investigation for alleged insider trading and conflicts of interest in Russia. [ GAO and USAID having found that they "abused the trust of the US government " etc ]. The temptation might therefore be to focus on that entire shabby episode as Wedel and Williamson have done ( in part, but only in part). There is no need for this. The charges are unproven. Besides the amounts Shleifer and Hay are accused of improperly dealing in, are a pittance, compared to the wholesale thievery their ideas sanctioned. The real story is in the voucher scheme they designed and implemented. Told coldly, rationally, and solely concerned with the truth, it will still be a great story. Behind the story after all, loom the long shadows of the millions of Russians whose lives were effected by these disastrous policies. They deserve the truth.
Will the story be told with integrity. I am afraid not. There are too many reputations and too much credibility at stake. The usual candidate would be someone of stature in academia. This is not really an option. The old Kremlinologists have been largely rendered irrelevant by the pace of events and are struggling to retool themselves. The younger economists who work on Russia, who have access to the data and hands-on experience, are the least likely candidates given the devastating outcomes of the policies they advocated. Self serving rationalizations with little intellectual integrity are all that can be expected from this group. Witness for example, Anders Aslunds' comic absurdity "How Russia became a Market Economy". If Russia is a market economy, then I, sir, am a monkey's uncle -- Finally it would be too much to expect the protagonists themselves - Shleifer and his collaborators - to say " We were wrong, terribly wrong". An old man named Robert McNamara looking back on his life, said that about a war that ended twenty five years back, and look at the condemnation that brought him. It would be too much to expect Shleifer and the others - all reportedly in their late thirties and early forties - to make such an admission.
The World Bank is another candidate, but they will distort the tale. The Bank's division that does such studies - the Operations Evaluation Department - will use the standard bureaucratic boiler plate it excels at. Besides the Bank itself picked up the substantial ideas and policies from the Harvard group, and has its own credibility at stake. While some hand wringing can be expected, so can a less than zealous concern for the truth. Besides, even if it is honest, the drama of the story will be lost in the telling.
... ... ...
The reasons of such a behavior by Andrei Shleifer and other players "on the ground" probably run deeper. As Stefan Lemieszewski noted in his letter to Johnson's Russia List:
The failure of these IMF/World Bank/State/Treasury programs should not come as a surprise. Economists such as Michel Chossudovsky (University of Ottawa) go further and suggest that they are by design. In his book, "The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms" Chossudovsky writes:
"The IMF-Yeltsin reforms constitute an instrument of "Thirdworldisation"; they are a carbon copy of the structural adjustment programme imposed on debtor countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, advisor to the Russian government, had applied in Russia the same 'macro-economic surgery' as in Bolivia where he was economic advisor to the MNR government in 1985.
The IMF-World Bank programme adopted in the name of democracy constitutes a coherent programme of impoverishment of large sectors of the population.
It was designed (in theory) to 'stabilize' the economy, yet consumer prices in 1992 increased by more than one hundred times (9,900 per cent) as a direct result of the "anti-inflationary programme". As in Third World 'stabilization programme', the inflationary process was largely engineered through the 'dollarization' of domestic prices and the collapse of the national currency. The 'price liberalization programme' did not, however, resolve (as proposed by the IMF) the distorted structure of relative prices which existed under the Soviet system."
In Ukraine and some other republics the magnitude of collapse was even greater and all middle class was essentially wiped out. Many emigrated. Also a lot of assets were simply stolen by western companies for cents on the dollar (disaster capitalism in action; some of most blatant cases were reversed under Putin, but not much). Bush II administration was busy with reelections and Clinton administration never viewed Russia as a partner only as a body on the ground to kick with a boot with impunity. As President Richard Nixon pointed out a major aid package could stop the economic free fall and help anchor Russia in the West for years to come.
In this respect the Clinton administration’s greatest failure was its decision to take advantage of Russia’s weakness. And the fact that they used puppets like Jeffrey Sachs to take advantage of the Russia situation produced a long term damage to the US strategic interests in the region. Here is a relevant quote from Foreign Affairs article “Losing Russia”:
BEHIND THE facade of friendship, Clinton administration officials expected the Kremlin to accept the United States’ definition of Russia’s national interests. They believed that Moscow’s preferences could be safely ignored if they did not align with Washington’s goals. Russia had a ruined economy and a collapsing military, and it acted like a defeated country in many ways. Unlike other European colonial empires that had withdrawn from former possessions, Moscow made no effort to negotiate for the protection of its economic and security interests in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet states on its way out. Inside Russia, meanwhile, Yeltsin’s radical reformers often welcomed IMF and U.S. pressure as justification for the harsh and hugely unpopular monetary policies they had advocated on their own.
Soon, however, even Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev–known in Russia as Mr. Yes for accommodating the West–became frustrated with the Clinton administration’s tough love. As he told Talbott, who served as ambassador at large to the newly independent states from 1993 to 1994, “It’s bad enough having you people tell us what you’re going to do whether we like it or not. Don’t add insult to injury by also telling us that it’s in our interests to obey your orders.”
But such pleas fell on deaf ears in Washington, where this arrogant approach was becoming increasingly popular. Talbott and his aides referred to it as the spinach treatment: a paternalistic Uncle Sam fed Russian leaders policies that Washington deemed healthy, no matter how unappetizing these policies seemed in Moscow.
As Talbott adviser Victoria Nuland put it, “The more you tell them it’s good for them, the more they gag.” By sending the message that Russia should not have an independent foreign policy — or even an independent domestic one — the Clinton administration generated much resentment. This neocolonial approach went hand in hand with IMF recommendations that most economists now agree were ill suited to Russia and so painful for the population that they could never have been implemented democratically. However, Yeltsin’s radical reformers were only too happy to impose them without popular consent.
Here is the Shleifer part of the story although it is important to realize that he was just a puppet, low level criminal (No. 6 card or "shesterka" : lowest member of a gang in Russian slang) in the biggest looting of the century, looting that exceeds performed by Hitler armies in 40th. (Harry R. Lewis Larry Summers, Robert Rubin Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country):
In 1992, Andrei Shleifer, a Harvard professor and a close friend of Summers since Shleifer's college days at Harvard, became head of a Harvard project that directed U.S. government money for the development of the Russian economy. Tens of millions of dollars in noncompetitive U.S. contracts flowed to Harvard for Shleifer's Russian work, and his team directed the distribution of hundreds of millions more. Through the mid-1990s, complaints accumulated in Washington about self-dealing and improper investing by the Harvard team, and by mid-1997, the Harvard contracts had been canceled and the FBI had taken up the case. For two years it was before a federal grand jury.
In September, 2000, the government sued Harvard, Shleifer, and others, claiming that Shleifer was lining his own pockets and those of his wife, hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman -- formerly a vice president at Goldman Sachs under Rubin.
Soon after, when Summers became a candidate for the Harvard presidency, Shleifer lobbied hard for him in Cambridge. Rubin assured the Fellows that the abrasiveness Summers had exhibited at Treasury was a thing of the past. They named him president--in spite of what was already known about his enabling role in the malodorous Russian affair, and the implausibility of a personality metamorphosis.
Summers did not recluse himself from the lawsuit until more than three months after his selection as president, and even then used his influence to protect Shleifer. The Fellows--including Rubin, whom Summers added to the Corporation--fought the case for years, spending upwards of $10M on lawyers. But in 2005 a federal judge found Shleifer to have conspired to defraud the government and held Harvard liable as well. To settle the civil claims, Shleifer paid the government $2M and Harvard paid $26.5M; Zimmerman's company had already paid $1.5M. Shleifer denied all wrongdoing, and Harvard disclosed nothing about any response of its own--a departure from its handling of misconduct by faculty farther from the center of power.
Summers remained close to Shleifer, yet claimed in a February 2006 faculty meeting to know too little about the scandal to have formed an opinion about it. This prevarication brought a gasp from the assembled faculty and solidified faculty opposition to the Summers presidency.
Rubin is now gone from his leadership role and his board membership at Citigroup, hauling away $126M from a firm that was $65B poorer than when he joined it, with 75,000 fewer jobs. But he remains on the Harvard board, in spite of the financial meltdowns at both Citigroup and Harvard and his poor oversight of the problematic president he persuaded Harvard to hire.
The Rubin network remains alive and well in the White House, including not just Summers but several other Rubin protégés. Among the strangest of these power loops is that the well-connected Nancy Zimmerman has turned up as a member of Summers's economic policy brain trust.
It's pretty funny that in 1993 Andrei Shleifer co-authored a paper about corruption":
This paper presents two propositions about corruption. First, the structure of government institutions and of the political process are very important determinants of the level of corruption. In particular, weak governments that do not control their agencies experience very high corruption levels. Second, the illegality of corruption and the need for secrecy make it much more distortionary and costly than its sister activity, taxation. These results may explain why, in some less developed countries, corruption is so high and so costly to development.
Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Compare this paper with the assessment of his own behavior in the article "On Post-Modern Corruption"(Economic Principals):
It is against this background that a seemingly unrelated matter, the Andrei Shleifer case, should be considered. Readers are all too familiar with the details of how a 31-year-old Russian expatriate, swiftly risen to eminence as a Harvard University economics professor, was put in charge in 1992 of a huge US government-financed, Harvard-administered mission to advise the Russian government of Boris Yeltsin on how to establish a market economy of their own -- until he was discovered in 1996 to be lining his own pockets, and those of his wife, his deputy and the deputy's girlfriend. At that point the mission collapsed.
Four years later, the US Attorney in Boston sued. Four years after that, Shleifer was found to have committed fraud and Harvard University to have breached its contract. Each was ordered to repay the government.
Perhaps the Shleifer story is no big deal, and not the symbol of post-modern corruption having spread to universities that I think it is. Yet there are similarities to the Congressional situation, I believe. The case against Shleifer case was a civil complaint, not a criminal charge. Cunningham was elected, Shleifer was hired. Each helped himself to some good old-fashioned graft, and each was found by a court to have done (in the words of the San Diego prosecutor) "the worst thing an Éofficial can do -- he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there."
And just as the tactics of the House leadership are more alarming than the conduct of the lowly Cunningham, so the determination of Harvard's administrators to defend Shleifer for nine long years is more astounding than what Shleifer actually did. He was young and inexperienced. They had all the advice and time in the world. His culpability has been established. Theirs has barely been addressed.
Here is some information about the events form Wikipedia article Andrei Shleifer:
Under the False Claims Act, the US government sued Harvard, Shleifer, Shleifer's wife, Shleifer's assistant Jonathan Hay, and Hay's girlfriend (now his wife) Elizabeth Hebert, because these individuals bought Russian stocks and GKOs while they were working on the country's privatization, which potentially contravened Harvard's contract with USAID. In 2001, a federal judge dismissed all charges against Zimmerman and Hebert. In June 2004, a federal judge ruled that Harvard had violated the contract but was not liable for treble damages, but that Shleifer and Hay might be held liable for treble damages (up to $105 million) if found guilty by a jury .
In June 2005, Harvard and Shleifer announced that they had reached a tentative settlement with the US government. On August 3 of the same year, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Justice department reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million dollars worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrong doing. A firm owned by his wife previously had paid $1.5 million in an out of court settlement.
Because Harvard University paid most of the damages and allowed Shleifer to retain his faculty position, the settlement provoked allegations of favoritism on the part of Harvard's outgoing president Lawrence Summers, who is Shleifer's close friend and mentor. Shleifer's conduct was reviewed by Harvard's internal ethics committee. In October 2006, at the close of that review, Shleifer released a statement making it clear that he remains on Harvard's faculty. However, according to the Boston Globe, he has been stripped of his honorary title of Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics.
Shleifer's involvement in Russia was investigated by David McClintick, a Harvard alumnus and journalist for Institutional Investor Magazine. His 30-page January 2006 article claims to show that "economics professor Andrei Shleifer, in the mid-1990s, led a Harvard advisory program in Russia that collapsed in disgrace." The article drew considerable criticism among Shleifer's colleagues, collaborators, close friends, and students. According to the Harvard Crimson, the university's daily newspaper, Shleifer's colleague and economics professor Edward Glaeser said that the Institutional Investor article "is a potent piece of hate creation—not quite 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' but it's in that camp." But Glaeser later apologized for his statement.
Prominent role of Larry Summers in Andrei Shleifer affair shed very negative light on this very controversial figure. Positioning him as a key figured in Clinton administration intended to destroy the xUSSR republic economies, especially economics of Russia. And that role perfectly alight with his general political role in Clinton administration and after that. The role of enforcer of neoliberal social order. Role of Larry Summers in adopting "shock therapy" and Yeltsin privatization of state assets still needs to be investigated. But it is perfectly consistent with his track record. Among key "mis-achievements" of Bubble Boy Larry:
The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by Republican majorities on party lines by a 54-44 vote in the Senate and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives. After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8 (1 not voting) and in the House: 362-57 (15 not voting). [These margins of passage, if repeated, would have been well over the two-thirds needed to overcome any veto, had the President returned the bill to Congress without his signature.] The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. 
The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.
As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. . . . One type of derivative—known as a credit-default swap—has been a key contributor to the economy’s recent unraveling. . .
Back in the 1990s, however, Born’s proposal stirred an almost visceral response from other regulators in the Clinton administration, as well as members of Congress and lobbyists. . . . But even the modest proposal got a vituperative response. The dozen or so large banks that wrote most of the OTC derivative contracts saw the move as a threat to a major profit center. Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world.
Born recalls taking a phone call from Lawrence Summers, then Rubin’s top deputy at the Treasury Department, complaining about the proposal, and mentioning that he was taking heat from industry lobbyists. . . . The debate came to a head April 21, 1998. In a Treasury Department meeting of a presidential working group that included Born and the other top regulators, Greenspan and Rubin took turns attempting to change her mind. Rubin took the lead, she recalls.
“I was told by the secretary of the treasury that the CFTC had no jurisdiction, and for that reason and that reason alone, we should not go forward,” Born says. . . . “It seemed totally inexplicable to me,” Born says of the seeming disinterest her counterparts showed in how the markets were operating. “It was as though the other financial regulators were saying, ‘We don’t want to know.’”
She formally launched the proposal on May 7, and within hours, Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt issued a joint statement condemning Born and the CFTC, expressing “grave concern about this action and its possible consequences.” They announced a plan to ask for legislation to stop the CFTC in its tracks.
As Bob C noted in his comment to As Obama Taps Larry Summers, Recalling Summer's Days as a Regulation Foe Mother Jones "One thing to keep in mind about Summers and Rubin's position on regulating derivatives is the timing: in July of 1998 when Summers testified, the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, had not yet failed. That would happen 3 months later, when it became clear that a substantial part of LTCM's problem was that it had massive side bets in derivative instruments that when it could not cover these bets, caused massive dislocations and threats to the global banking system (which had invested heavily in LTCM, thinking it was run by "geniuses"--see Roger Lowenstein's great book, "When Genius Failed".) I think Summers and Rubin might have had a different view on the regulation of derivatives after the LTCM catastrophe."
Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. . . . Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.
...Even in the contentious world of economics, [Joe Stiglitz] is considered somewhat prickly. And while he may be a Nobel laureate, in Washington he's seen as just another economic critic—and not always a welcome one. Few Americans recognize his name... Yet Stiglitz's work is cited by more economists than anyone else's in the world... And when he goes abroad—to Europe, Asia, and Latin America—he is received like a superstar, a modern-day oracle. ...
... ... ...
... Stiglitz's defenders say one possible explanation for his outsider status in Washington is his ongoing rivalry with Summers. ... Since the early '90s, when Summers was a senior Treasury official and Stiglitz was on the Council of Economic Advisers, the two have engaged in fierce policy debates. The first fight was over the Clinton administration's efforts to pry open emerging financial markets, such as South Korea's. Stiglitz argued there wasn't good evidence that liberalizing poorly regulated Third World markets would make any one more prosperous; Summers wanted them open to U.S. firms.
The differences between them grew bitter in the late 1990s, when Stiglitz was chief economist for the World Bank and took issue with the way Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and Summers, who was then deputy secretary, were handling the Asian "contagion" financial collapse. After World Bank president James Wolfensohn declined to reappoint him in 1999, Stiglitz became convinced that Summers was behind the slight. Summers denies this...
Some use the term “neo-feudalism” to characterize operation of the USA and "friends" in xUSSR space but they are essentially neocolonialism. When open brutal used of military force for conquering nations was substitutes by financial instruments. But neoliberalism definitely use neo-feudal methods, and that includes usage of neoclassic economics in the USA. Here I mean use of neoclassic economic as a new religion that justify and "bless" neoliberal social order. Essentially the same role that Catholic church played for classic feudalism. It serves as "An opium for the masses", if we use slightly overdone Marx quote ;-)
While related to economic rape of Russia, Shleifer's story has a wider meaning as an apt symbol of "post-modern" corruption at universities and especially in Harvard where students were actively indoctrinated in pseudoscientific theories which constitute a theoretical framework of casino capitalism serving simultaneously as the role of ideology which is not that far from the role of Marxism in the USSR. Here is Anna Willamson view (The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the House Banking Committee)
From the perspective of the many millions of her children, Mother Russia in late 1991 was like an old woman, skirts yanked above her waist, who had been abandoned flat on her back at a muddy crossroads, the object of others' scorn, greed and unseemly curiosity. It is the Russian people who kept their wits about them, helped her to her feet, dusted her off, straightened her clothing, righted her head scarf and it is they who can restore her dignity - not Boris Yeltsin, not Anatole Chubais, not Boris Berezovsky nor any of the other aspirants to power. And it is the Russian people - their abilities, efforts and dreams - which comprise the Russian economy, not those of Vladimir Potanin or Viktor Chernomyrdin or Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Vladimir Gusinsky. And that is where we should have placed our bet - on the Russian people - and our stake should have been the decency, the common sense and abilities of our own citizens realized not through multilateral lending but through the use of tax credits for direct investment in the Russian economy and the training of Russian workers on 6-month to one year stints at the U.S. offices of American firms in conjunction with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Russian goods.
Russia is a fabled land, home to a unique and provocative thousand year-old culture, and a country rich in the resources the world needs whose people had the courage and resilience to defeat this century’s greatest war machine, Hitler’s invading Wehrmacht. Yet, thanks to Boris Yeltsin’s thirst for power and megalomaniacal inadequacy, Russia has become the latest victim of American expediency and of a culturally hollow and economically predatory globalism. Consequently, Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed.
The worst of it was that some pretty good ideas - private property, sound money, minimal government, the inviolability of contract and public accountability - that have delivered to the West’s citizenry the most prosperity and the most liberty in world history, and might have done the same for the Russians, were twisted into perverse constructions and only then exported via a Harvard-connected cabal of Clinton administration appointees who funded - without competition - their allies at Harvard University courtesy the public purse. Joining the US-directed effort were the usual legions of overpaid IMF/World Bank advisers whose lending terror continues to encircle the globe.
As reader with nickname DownSouth commented on Naked Capitalism blog (Obama Administration “Nothing to See Here” on Foreclosure Crisis « naked capitalism), historically one of the most powerful forces that supported feudalism in Europe were Catholic and Orthodox churches: the feudal order was upheld by the Church’s priestly class allied with European royalty.
In the modern USA something similar can be said about the relations of the neoclassical economists and bankers. It wasn’t meant to be this way, either with the priests of old or the priests of new. As Robert H. Nelson points out in Economics as Religion,
…Samuelson followed the Roman Catholic model. The members of the economics profession, and other scientific and professional elites, would be motivated by the higher considerations of a priesthood, as compared with businesspeople and other ordinary citizens in the commercial realm. There would be no popular votes held for the scientific leaders of society. Samuelson acknowledged the practical necessity to allow wide rein for the pursuit of self-interest in the marketplace. However, the professional economists and other scientific managers of the progressive state would function according to the ethical standard of the Roman Catholic priesthood. They would reject the commercial motive of self-interest and instead act in their professional and public capacity to serve the common good—-“the public interest”—-of all of society.
In Darwin’s Cathedral David Sloan Wilson made the observation that all major churches seem to have a “life cycle.”
Religious denominations range from huge established churches that encompass most of the population to tiny sects that reject the larger churches as corrupt and regard themselves as keepers of the original faith. The huge established churches begin as sects, grow into churches, give rise to offspring sects, and then mysteriously fall into senility, to be replaced by their own offspring sects. I would just add that it seems like theology follows function in this life cycle.
For instance, as Wilson points out, the early Christian church, while it was still a small sect, had “a policy of extreme altruism and forgiveness toward the downtrodden” and “a policy of unyielding opposition” toward the main Jewish religious institutions, which it perceived to be in league with the Roman Empire. As the Christian church matured and became the established church, however, it became part and parcel of the power structure, championing it and defending it against the downtrodden. What began as a small sect with a theology based upon knowledge and moral authority morphed into a church whose theology was all about defending wealth and power.
Eventually a new sect rose to challenge this priestly class. As Nelson explains:
Indeed, it was this strong distinction between ordinary people and the church priesthood that, among a number of other tenets of Catholic doctrine, incurred the wrath of Martin Luther. Luther saw the Roman Catholic Church as selling ordinary people short and thus declared a new Protestant “priesthood of all believers.” The ministry of the Protestant churches would stand on an equal plane with the faithful—-both, for example, would marry. The leadership of Protestant parishes would be elected by the ordinary members of the church, while the Roman Catholic Church would continue to select its own leaders in a hierarchal fashion, as when the pope designates the cardinals of the church.
What Luther had to say about the priestly class of the Medieval Catholic Church rings true about modern-day high priests of "casino capitalism", the neoclassical economists of "Harvard Mafia". As Luther wrote the Pope in letter in 1520:
But they See, which is called the Roman Curia, and of which neither thou nor any man can deny that is more corrupt than any Babylon or Sodom ever was, and which is, as far as I can see, characterized by a totally depraved, hopeless, and notorious wickedness—-that See I have truly despised… The Roman Church has become the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell… They err who ascribe to thee the right of interpreting the Scripture, for under cover of thy name they seek to set up their own wickedness in the Church, and, alas, through them Satan has already made much headway under thy predecessors. In short, believe none who exalt thee, believe those who humble thee.
Now there is an indirect evidence of participation of of British intelligence agencies such as MI6 in Russia privatization scam. And the point man for such investigation is William Brower, who recently got nine years of jail (in absentia) from Russian court.
William Browder controversy which emerged after Putin mentioned him during Trump-Putin summit in Helsinky in July 2017 shed some light on MI6 role in economic rape of Russia and other post Soviet republics. Especially interesting is the following video EXCLUSIVE Russian TV Bill Browder is CIA agent, recruited Navalny. Browder furious! Navalny sues! - YouTube
Browder was one of financial sharks (or as one Amazon reviewer of his book called him "financial crack cocaine seller" -- the term applicable to the whole Harvard mafia) who somehow was extracted for Solonon brothers and went to Russia. He voluntarily put himself in substantial danger getting into environment which he completely did not understand and with very little many from a dubious source. Which might be explainable if he was assigned a specific task by MI6. After all according to some sources Bill Browder’ grandma, Raissa Berkman, was an agent for the KGB ( http://spartacus-educational.com/USAbrowder.htm ).
The Vortex, July 27, 2018 at 8:32 am GMT • 100 Words
Dear Mister/Miss Robin G.,
...The following is a PASTE from an electronic mail message REPLY to me from a friend in the know whom I can’t reveal all of his name but just John, which I believe you shall find interesting:
Browder could be CIA or Mossad or NSA or Naval Intel or something we don’t even know or a combination of all of the above. Or, just a no-good slimy person.
Plus, Fletcher Prouty said that many times people are working for intelligence and don’t even know it. Entire military units are under CIA command and don’t know it.
Another Amazon reviewer of his book described one of the criminal scheme Brower used (he used several)
A Self-Congratulatory Book with a Mission
By Patricia5115 on March 22, 2015
The book was fun to read, like a Marvel comic book. Truly Bill Browder is, according to Bill Browder, a brilliant man willing to take daring risks where he sees an opportunity for personal gain. And I have to agree with him. With his inherited genetic intelligence, and some of the best education money can buy, he made himself enormously rich profiting from financial transactions that produced nothing of real value. I found this book to be quite self-congratulatory, written with no embarrassment for taking advantage of a whole population.
As Browder writes, “I found that to transition from communism to capitalism, the Russian government had decided to give away most of the state’s property to the people. The government was going about this in a number of ways, but the most interesting was something called voucher privatization. The government granted one privatization certificate to every Russian citizen---roughly 150 million people in total—and taken together these were exchangeable for 30 % of nearly all Russian companies.“ “The market price of the vouchers equaled 3 billion…this meant that the valuation of the entire Russian economy was only 10 billion! That was one-sixth the value of Wal-Mart!” “Russia had 24% of the word’s natural gas, 9% of the world’s oil, and produced 6.6 % of the world’s steel, among many other things. Yet this incredible trove of resources [owned by ordinary Russian citizens] was trading for a mere 10 billion! Even more astonishing was that there were no restrictions on who could purchase these vouchers. I could buy them, anyone could buy them.” He recounts, “The Russian people had no idea what to do with the vouchers when they received them for free from the state and, in most cases, were happy to trade them for a $7 bottle of vodka or a few slabs of pork.” Mr. Browder took advantage of their ignorance and brought millions of vouchers from the Russian people for a pittance of their true value. This is something to brag about? It is not laudable to buy something for a pittance of its real worth, from owners who have no idea of its true value. It is reprehensible. It was disturbing to me to see no introspection on the rightness or wrongness of beating someone out of his or her money.
Mr. Browder describes in his Sidanco deal the feeling he has when an opportunity for ungodly gains presents itself, “I had that tingling, greedy tension in my gut, similar to when I saw my $2,000 Polish investment multiply by nearly ten times, or when I unearthed the Russian voucher scheme.”
Greed is not a virtue, Mr. Browder. It is a vice.
Reviewer Ian Kaplan wrote:
The second half of the book is about how Putin's gang tried to crush Hermitage Capital and everyone associated with it.”
And, I would add, how Browder’s gang is trying to crush Putin. It makes me think that a large part of Mr. Browder’s dogged determination in pushing the Maginsky Act through Congress, and signed into law, was not so much a humanitarian turn of the leaf for him, but a strategy to enlist the whole backing of the United States into his personal war with Putin, who put him out of a lucrative business in Russia.
And there there is Necrasov's documentary which Brower successfully blocked from distribution in EU and the USA. Could he done so without the support of intelligence services?Skeptikal says:
July 23, 2018 at 11:21 am GMT • 200 Words
Which also raised the question why Browder duped the US congress so easily. Was the US congress ready to be duped because Browder served as a pawn in a large operation "Containing Russia"?
Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
RioGrandeImports, 21 seconds ago link
Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system. The book, "The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century" by James R. Norman details the use of oil futures as a geopolitical tool. Pipelines change the calculus quite a bit.
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
DoctorFix , 46 minutes ago linkMoribundus , 1 hour ago link
With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends.Moribundus , 1 hour ago link
Here is classic: GDP PPP per capita. What to pay attention.
#1, After 30 years and joining EU and NATO there is no difference in former Soviet bloc. Just looks like Russia is greatest profiteer. Now those parasites are chained to west.
#2, countries of former Soviet bloc are in better shape than countries that were in sphere of western imperialism. Especially look at countries where USA imperialism worked since 1823 Monroe's doctrine. Chart shows that in 200 years USA was not able to achieve much progress despite permanent military interventions and political influence.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capitaMoribundus , 1 hour ago link
Latvia, a disappearing nation
https://www.politico.eu/article/latvia-a-disappearing-nation-migration-population-decline/Cohen-cide-nce , 2 hours ago link
Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done.
Europe's Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-balticsDick Buttkiss , 1 hour ago link
The balts have become them most libtarded cucks in the EU. They all need to get nuked. Bunch of atheist-feminist faggots.Trader200K , 2 hours ago link
Due punishment, no doubt, for being on the cutting edge of technology-driven economic development and personal freedom.
From what planet/galaxy/universe does your information emanate?Flankspeed60 , 3 hours ago link
As much as I like the idea of taking my state to Estonia status, too many winner-take-all politicians and weak thinkers to recognize that new borders would solve lots and lots of problems.
Socialists are clearly smart, but in actuality just simple evil, immoral thieves. They will be unlikely to support any secession because they know their enemies are the source of their lucre.
Balkanization, what little there will be, will most likely come after we are drug into WWIII and we are back to a 1700's subsistence existence.
A pessimist is never disappointed, but I will happily take an optimist's surprise if people just stop and live and let live.Dick Buttkiss , 2 hours ago link
If at first you don't secede.............Salzburg1756 , 3 hours ago link
.............. try, try to "Unchain America" next July 4. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a joining of hands across the land, if not to secede, then to affirm our right to, one state at a time?
Are one in 66 Americans not prepared to do so?Dick Buttkiss , 3 hours ago link
So... Diversity is their strength? Or was I misinformed?
It's 2,790 miles from New York to Los Angeles, which is 14,731,200 feet. At three feet per person, it would take around 4,910,400 people -- less than 1/66th of the US population -- to make a human chain like the three Balkan states did.
Count me in.
Jul 24, 2017 | www.nbcnews.com
As Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya tells it, she met with Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump aides in New York last summer to press her case against a widely accepted account of Russian malfeasance, one that underpins a set of sanctions against Russians.
It's a cause Veselnitskaya has been pursuing for years. So, too, has Rinat Akhmetshin, the colorful Russian-born American lobbyist she brought with her to Trump Tower.
Trump Jr., who agreed to the June 2016 meeting at the request of a Russian business associate with a promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton , has said he didn't find much to interest him in the presentation. And little wonder: The subject is a dense and tangled web, hinging on a complex case that led Congress to pass what is known as the Magnitsky Act. The law imposed sanctions on individual Russians accused of human rights violations. It has nothing to do with Clinton.
The Trump Tower meeting has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's election interference . The topic of the meeting, many observers have said, is almost beside the point.
But the substance of what the pair of Russian advocates say they came to discuss has a fascinating backstory.
It's an epic international dispute -- one that has pitted the grandson of a former American Communist who made a fortune as a capitalist in Russia against a Russian leader who pines for the glory days of his country's Communist past.
In a cinematic twist, one person on the side advocated by Vladimir Putin, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin is a former American newspaper reporter turned investigator named Glenn Simpson. He is the same Glenn Simpson whose firm, Fusion GPS, helped craft the controversial dossier alleging that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence .
That dossier, published by Buzzfeed , made other, more salacious allegations about Trump, and FBI Director James Comey briefed the Republican about it before he took office. The dossier is not favorable to Putin and the Russian government.
Simpson's role on both sides of the Putin divide is set to be explored in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday examining the Justice Department's requirements for foreign lobbying disclosures.
Due to testify at the hearing is Simpson's longtime opponent in the Magnitsky dispute, William Browder, an American-born hedge-fund investor who made millions investing in post-Soviet Russia and gave up his U.S. citizenship in 1997.
Simpson's lawyer said he would defy a subpoena to appear Wednesday because he was on vacation, and that he would decline to answer questions anyway, citing his right against self-incrimination.
Browder, whose grandfather Earl led the American Communist Party, accuses Simpson of peddling falsehoods as an agent of the Russian government. The law firm Simpson worked with on the case accused Browder in court papers of perpetrating a web of lies. Both men dispute the allegations.The Death of Sergei Magnitsky
The story begins with the November 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax accountant who was working for Browder, and who later died in prison .
Browder's account of Magnitsky's death triggered international outrage. According to Browder, Magnitsky was a lawyer who had been investigating a theft of $230 million in tax rebates paid to Browder's companies in Russia. Browder says his companies had been taken over illegally and without his knowledge by corrupt Russian officials.
Browder says Magnitsky was arrested as a reprisal by those same corrupt officials, and then was tortured and beaten to death. Browder presented documents suggesting that some officials who benefited from the alleged fraud purchased property abroad.
That account led Congress to pass the so-called Magnitsky Act in 2012, imposing sanctions on the Russian officials who were alleged to have violated Magnitsky's human rights.
The Russian government soon imposed a ban on American adoptions of Russian children, ostensibly for other reasons but done in response, many experts say, to the Magnitsky sanctions.
Forty-four Russians are currently on the Magnitsky sanctions list maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department, meaning their U.S. assets are frozen and they are not allowed to travel to the U.S.
Once a Putin supporter, Browder became one of the Russian leader's most ardent foes, spearheading a campaign to draw international attention to the Magnitsky case. He and his employees at Hermitage Capital Management presented information to governments, international bodies and major news organizations.
Browder's advocacy marks a shift from 2004, when, as one of Russia's leading foreign investors, he praised Putin so vigorously that he was labeled Putin's "chief cheerleader" by an analyst in a Washington Post article. Browder has said that Magnitsky's death spurred him to reexamine his view of Putin.
The State Department, lawmakers of both parties and the Western news media have described the Magnitsky case in a way that tracks closely with Browder's account. Browder's assertions are consistent with the West's understanding of the Putin government -- an authoritarian regime that has been widely and credibly accused of murdering journalists and political opponents.
In 2013, the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office sued a Russian company, accusing it of laundering some of the proceeds of the fraud Magnitsky allegedly uncovered. The complaint incorporated Browder's account about what happened to Magnitsky.
That lawsuit set in motion a process through which that version of events would come under challenge.
The defendant, a company called Prevezon, is owned by Denis Katsyv, who became wealthy while his father was vice governor and transport minister for the Moscow region, according to published reports. The father, Pyotr Katsyv, is now vice president of the state-run Russian Railways. Veselnitskaya has long represented the family.
Prevezon hired a law firm, BakerHostetler, and a team that included a longtime New York prosecutor, John Moscow. Also working on Prevezon's behalf were Simpson, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin.
Simpson, a former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, declined to comment.
Simpson also worked with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in the creation of the dossier that asserts Trump collusion with Russian election interference. A source close to him said his work on the dossier was kept confidential from his other clients.
The federal civil lawsuit by the Manhattan U.S. attorney against Prevezon was the first opportunity for the U.S. government to publicly present whatever evidence it had to support its legal assertions regarding Magnitsky. It was also an opportunity for the defendants to conduct their own investigation.
Prevezon's American legal team alleged that Browder's story was full of holes -- and that the U.S. and other governments had relied on Browder's version without checking it. Browder and the U.S. government disagreed.
The chief American investigator, Todd Hyman of the Department of Homeland Security, testified in a deposition that much of the evidence in the government's complaint came from Browder and his associates. He also said the government had been unable to independently investigate some of Browder's claims.
In court documents, Prevezon's lawyers alleged that Magnitsky was jailed not because he was a truth-seeker -- but because he was helping Browder's companies in tax evasion.
The Prevezon attorneys charged that Browder "lied," and "manipulated" evidence to cover up his own tax fraud.
The story was "contrived and skillfully sold by William F. Browder to politicians here and abroad to thwart his arrest for a tax fraud conviction in Russia," says a 2015 federal court filing by one of Prevezon's lawyers, Mark Cymrot of BakerHostetler.
A Russian-born filmmaker named Andrei Nekrasov made a similar set of arguments in a docudrama released last year. Neither Prevezon nor the Russian government had a role in funding or making the film, both parties say, though Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin helped promote it.
Oct 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Oct 1, 2018 1:34:54 PM | link
@ Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 1, 2018 1:25:43 AM | 73
The collapse of the USSR is a very complex issue, and we still don't have a consensus (among the people who study this seriously).
I myself think the USSR collapsed because of two main factors that are inteconnected with the world geopolitics of its time:
1) the USSR couldn't make the transition from the second to the third industrial revolution in the 70s (i.e. from fordism to toyotism/ohnism). Albeit it is true the USA never really embraced toyotism (just some pockets in the Silicon Valley and the financial sector), it is a fact the capitalist world, as a whole, did, because it worked out in Japan and South Korea -- many of these techonologies bleeding to the world market.
The USSR, since Stalin, adopted a method of "socialist primitive accumulation", where every techonological revolution depended on a forced (centralized) global collectivization: the old had to be entirely dismantled for the new to be built over the carcass of this old. This was a brutal (albeit quick and effective) method, so it was always risky and left the USSR exposed to the capitalists militarily.
Another problem with the USSR system was that toyotism was based on heavy investment in "human capital", i.e. investment on the workers' education and specialization. Forced collectivization, therefore, excluded the possibility of toyotism by design, so it was never truly an option for the post-Stalin Soviet leaders.
In a world only the USSR and the COMECON countries existed, it could've be stationed in the second industrial revolution forever: the USSR never had a recession (except in 1990 and 1991, when it was already de facto capitalist). It was stagnant, but not collapsing. But it didn't exist alone: on the other side of Berlin, there was the capitalist world, and, in this dual world, not transitioning to toyotism was not an option for the Soviet Union.
2) In a bipolar world, with the toyotism path closed, Soviet bureaucrats developed a class sentiment, which put pressure from the inside on the Soviet inherent egalitarian system. In other words, the USSR was a victim of its own success: the problem was that that success came too early, in a world where capitalism still existed.
In the 1980s, the USSR had already eradicated poverty and the most well-paid worker (a high bureaucrat) received four times the salary of the lowest-paid worker. The basic public services (transport, education and healthcare) already were free at the point of use and universal and of a very good quality.
The problem was that the USSR emphasized too much on the production of infrastructure and too little on consumption goods, which were already of a poor quality when compared to the Western ones. The high Soviet bureaucracy, in constant contact with the capitalist world, was then slowly, but surely, coopted by the delicacies of the West, and thus developed a urge of class distinction.
This "urge" can be illustrated by an anecdote. When Yeltsin was still the President of Soviet Russia, George H. W. Bush invited him to Houston. There, he was marvelled by Jack Daniel's whiskey and asked for some cases for the trip back. Therefore the joke he sold the Soviet Union for two cases of Jack Daniel's.
Sep 29, 2018 | www.rt.com
The sudden death of Pope John Paul I, exactly 40 years ago today, stunned the world. The 'Smiling Pope' had only served for 33 days. His demise and replacement by John Paul II marked an important turning point in the old Cold War. The year 1978, as I argued in a previous op-ed, was the year today's world was made.
There was nothing inevitable about the ascendancy of Reagan and Thatcher, the rise of groups like Al-Qaeda and IS, and the downfall of the Soviet Union. The neoliberal, neoconservative world order and its associated violence came about because of key events and decisions which took place 40 years ago. The Vatican was at the heart of these events.
The drama which unfolded there in the summer of 1978 would have been rejected as being too far-fetched if sent in as a film script. In a space of two and a half months, we had three different Popes. There was no great surprise when, on August 6, the first of them, Pope Paul VI, died after suffering a massive heart attack. The Supreme Pontiff, who had served since 1963, was 80 and had been in declining health. But the death of his much younger successor, John Paul I, a radical reformer who wanted to build a genuine People's Church, has fuelled conspiracy theories to this day.Read more 1978: The year today's world was made
Cardinal Albino Luciani, the working-class son of a bricklayer (and staunch socialist), from a small town in northern Italy, was a Pope like no other. He refused a coronation and detested being carried on the sedia gestatoria – the Papal chair. He hated pomp and circumstance and pretentiousness. His speeches were down to earth and full of homely observations, with regular references to popular fiction. He possessed a gentle humor and always had a twinkle in his eye. He was by all accounts an incredibly sweet man.
But there was steel there, too. Luciani was determined to root out corruption, and to investigate the complex financial affairs of the Vatican's own bank, and its connection to the scandal-hit Banco Ambrosiano.
While he had declared communism to be incompatible with Christianity, his father's egalitarian ethos stayed with him. "The true treasures of the Church are the poor, the little ones to be helped not merely by occasional alms but in the way they can be promoted," he once said. At a meeting with General Videla of Argentina, he made clear his abhorrence of fascism. "He talked particularly of his concern over 'Los Desaparecidos', people who had vanished off the face of Argentinian earth in their thousands. By the conclusion of the 15th minute audience the General began to wish that he had heeded the eleventh-hour attempts of Vatican officials to dissuade him coming to Rome," noted David Yallop in his book 'In God's Name'.
One cleric, Father Busa, wrote of John Paul I: "His mind was as strong, as hard and as sharp as a diamond. That was where his real power was. He understood and had the ability to get to the centre of a problem. He could not be overwhelmed. When everyone was applauding the smiling Pope, I was waiting for him 'tirare fuori le unghie', to reveal his claws. He had tremendous power."
But John Paul I never lived to exercise his "tremendous power." He was found dead in his bed on the morning of September 28, 1978. The official story was that the 'Smiling Pope' had died from a heart attack. But it wasn't long before questions were being asked. John Paul I was only 65 and had appeared to be in fine health.
The fact that there was no post-mortem only added to the suspicions. "The public speculation that this death was not natural grew by the minute. Men and women were heard shouting at the inert form: Who has done this to you? Who has murdered you?" wrote David Yallop.Read more 'Sex is a gift of God': Pope Francis shares benefits of 'passionate' love, slams pornography
David Yallop revealed that on the day of his death, the Pope had discussed a reshuffle of Vatican staff with Secretary of State Cardinal Jean Villot, who was also to be replaced. Yallop claimed that the Pope had a list of a number of clerics who belonged to the Freemasons, membership of which was strictly prohibited by the Church. The most sinister of these Masonic lodges was the fiercely anti-communist Propaganda Due (P2), which held great influence in Italy at this time, being referred to as a "state within a state." The murky world of P2, and its leaders' links with organized crime, the Mafia and the CIA is discussed in 'In God's Name'.
Another writer, Lucien Gregoire, author of 'Murder by the Grace of God', points the finger of blame squarely at the CIA. He notes a seemingly strange coincidence, namely that on September 3, 1978, just 25 days before the Pope himself died, Metropolitan Nikodim, the visiting leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, who was later revealed to have been a KGB agent, fell dead at John Paul's feet in the Vatican after sipping coffee. He was only 48.
Gregoire says that the CIA dubbed John Paul I 'the Bolshevik Pope' and was keen to eliminate him before he presided over a conference the Puebla Conference in Mexico. "Had he lived another week, the United States would have been looking at a half a dozen mini-Cubas in its back yard," he writes.
While there's no shortage of suspects if you believe that John Paul I was murdered, it needs to be stressed that despite the contradictory statements made about the circumstances of his death, and the strange coincidences, no evidence has yet been produced to show that his death was not a natural one. What we can say though is that there will have been quite a few powerful and influential people in Italy and beyond who were relieved that the 'Smiling Pope' had such a short time in office.
His successor, the Polish Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who took the name 'John Paul II' as a homage to his predecessor, made it clear that investigating the Vatican's financial activities and uncovering Freemasons was not a priority. As a patriotic Pole, his appointment was manna from Heaven for anti-communist hawks in the US State Department. "The single fact of John Paul II's election in 1978 changed everything. In Poland, everything began Then the whole thing spread. He was in Chile and Pinochet was out. He was in Haiti and Duvalier was out. He was in the Philippines and Marcos was out," said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul II's press secretary.
The way that Pope John Paul II spoke out against what he regarded as communist repression, not only in his native Poland but across Eastern Europe and beyond, saw him being toasted by the neocon faction. It might not have been just words either, which helped undermine communist rule. There was a rumor that 'God's Banker' Roberto Calvi, who in 1982 was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London, had sent $50mn to 'Solidarity' in Poland on behalf of the Pope.Read more Biggest rift in modern Orthodox history? Russian Church won't work w/ Constantinople-chaired bodies
In May 1981, John Paul II was shot and wounded by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. Neocons in the US promoted the narrative that it was a communist plot (organized by Bulgaria), but Sofia denied involvement. In 1985, Agca's confederate, Abdullah Catli, who was later killed in a car crash, testified that he had been approached by the West German BND spy organization, which promised him a large sum of money "if he implicated the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB in the attempt on the Pope's life."
Martin Lee, writing in Consortium News, also notes that in 1990, "ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed that his colleagues, under pressure from CIA higher-ups, skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the contention that the Soviets were involved. 'The CIA had no evidence linking the KGB to the plot,' Goodman told the Senate Intelligence Committee."
In 2011, a new book entitled 'To Kill the Pope, the Truth about the Assassination Attempt on John Paul II', which was based on 20 years of research, concluded that the CIA had indeed tried to frame Bulgaria, in order to discredit communism.
The great irony of course is that after the Berlin Wall came down, Pope John Paul II became a strong critic of the inhumane 'greed is good' model of capitalism which had replaced communism. In Latvia, he said capitalism was responsible for "grave social injustices" and acknowledged that Marxism contained "a kernel of truth." He said that "the ideology of the market" made solidarity between people "difficult at best." In Czechoslovakia, he warned against replacing communism with materialism and consumerism.
Having enlisted the assistance of the Vatican in helping to bring down 'The Reds', the neo-liberals and neo-cons then turned on the Church. The Church survived communism, but it hasn't fared too well under consumerism. The Vatican is nowhere near as influential as it was in 1978. The US, meanwhile, unconstrained by a geopolitical counter-weight, threw its weight around the world after 1989, illegally invading and attacking a series of sovereign states.
One can only wonder how different things might have been if the 'Smiling Pope' had lived.
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Sep 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Stumpy , Sep 22, 2018 6:38:58 PM | link
Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 22, 2018 5:17:51 PM | 22
Well, as long as you support the #METOO-ish school of legal doctrine, i.e. whereupon a simple charging is sufficient to establish culpability, you will surely enjoy the following article, on The Nation, The Harvard Boys Do Russia, May, 1998, which you can search for and fact-check with your own tools of choice.
Perhaps consider the idea that within Russia in the 1990s that was systematically sold off to US interests, facilitated by Russian government officials, the Russian social immune system kicked in and gave rise to Vladimir Putin to protect his homeland's interests. Consider further that Trump is dealing with a horde of malignant backstabbing little bitches that are doing their best to rape their own homeland. Maybe the US social immune system is working better than you think, despite attempts to deflect blame towards Trump and Putin, and actual, indictable charges against Clintonian operatives cannot be suppressed much longer.
The DNC is broke. What does that tell you?
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
There is less shame in being undone by a "master of deceit." When J. Edgar Hoover coined that description, he had Communists in mind. Back then, though, "Ruskies" and "Commies" – it was all the same. Americans were conditioned to live in fear that the Russians were coming.
That nonsense should have ended when Communism more or less officially expired in 1989, followed two years later by the demise of the Soviet Union itself. For a long time, it seemed that it had. At first, the reaction in Western, especially American, political and media circles was triumphalist. The war was over and our side won. Beneath the surface, however, there was mourning in America.
With the Cold War, the death merchants, the masters of war, the neocons, and a host of others had had a good thing going. Having been born into it, the political class was comfortable with the status quo too; and generations of Americans had grown up imbibing Russophobia in their mother's milk (or infant formula).
It turned out, though, that American triumphalism was only a phase. Before long, it became clear that our economic and political masters had nothing to worry about, that Cold War anti-Communism was more robust than Communism itself.
However, in the final days of Bush 41 and then at the dawn of the Clinton era, nobody knew that. Nobody gave America's propaganda system the credit it deserved.
Also, nobody quite realized how devastating Russia's regression to capitalism would be, and nobody quite grasped the savagery of the kleptocrats who had taken charge of what remained of the Russian state.
For more than a decade, the situation in that late great superpower was too dire to sustain the old fears and animosities. Capitalism had made Russia wretched again.
That suited Bill Clinton and his First Lady, the former Goldwater Girl. Boris Yeltsin, Russia's leader, was their man. He was a godsend, a Trump-like cartoon character and a drunkard to boot – with an economy in tatters, and no rightwing base egging him on.
But anti-Communism (without Communism) and its close cousin, Russophobia, could not remain in remission forever. The need for them was too great.
In the Age of Obama, the Global War on Terror, with or without that ludicrous Bush 43-era name, wasn't cutting it anymore. It was, and still is, good for keeping America's perpetual war regime going and for undoing civil liberties, but there had never been much glory in it, only endless misery for all. Also it was getting old and increasingly easy to see through.
The time was therefore right for a return of the repressed -- for full-blooded, fifties-style, anti-Communist (= anti-Russian) hysteria, or, since that still seemed far-fetched, for anti-Communist (= anti-Chinese) hysteria.
This was not the only factor behind the Obama administration's "pivot towards Asia," its largely failed attempt to take China down a notch or two, but it was an important part of the story.
However, by the time Obama and his team decided to pivot, China had become too important to the United States economically to make a good Cold War enemy. Worse still, it had for too long been an object of pity and contempt, not fear.
When the Soviet Union was an enemy, China was an enemy too, most glaringly during the Korean War. It remained an enemy even after the Sino-Soviet split became too obvious to deny. However, unlike post-1917 Russia, it had never quite become an historical foe.
Moreover, as Russia began to recover from the Yeltsin era, the Russian political class, and many of the oligarchs behind them, sensing the popular mood, decided that the time was ripe "to make Russia great again." Putin is not so much a cause as he is a symptom – and symbol – of this aspiration.
And so, there it was: the longed for new Cold War would be much like the one that seemed over a quarter century ago.
As everyone who has seen, heard or read anything about the 2016 election "knows," Russian intelligence services (= Putin) meddled. Everyone also "knows" that, with midterm elections looming, they are at it again.
This, according to the mainstream consensus view, is a bona fide casus belli , a justification for war. To be sure, what they want is a war that remains cold; ending life on earth, as we know it, is not on their agenda.
But inasmuch as cold wars can easily turn hot, this hardly mitigates the recklessness of their machinations. Humankind was extraordinarily lucky last time; there is no guarantee that all that luck will hold.
Exactly what "Putin," the shorthand name for all that is Russian and nefarious, did, or is still doing, remains unclear. But this does not seem to bother purveyors of the conventional wisdom. Neither is ostensibly informed public opinion fazed by the fact that the evidence supporting the consensus view comes mainly from American intelligence services and from their counterparts in the UK and other allied nations.
Time was when anyone with any sense understood that these intelligence services, the American ones especially, are second to none in meddling in the affairs of other nations, and that the American national security state – essentially our political police -- is comprised, by design, of liars and deceivers.
How ironic therefore that nowadays it is mainly bamboozled Trump supporters in the Fox News demographic -- people who could care less about peace or, for that matter, about truth -- who are wary of the CIA and skeptical of the FBI's claims!
Try as they might, the manufacturers and guardians of conventional wisdom have so far been unable to concoct a plausible story in which Russian meddling affected the outcome of the 2016 election in any serious way. The idea that the Russians defeated Hillary, not Hillary herself, is, to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Bentham, "nonsense on stilts." Leading Democrats and their media flacks don't seem to mind that either.
They do not even seem to notice that what they allege, vague as it is, is trifling compared to the massive and very open meddling of American plutocrats, Republican vote suppressers and gerrymanderers, and the governments of supposedly friendly nations – like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Israel.
Nevertheless, it probably is true that the Russians meddled. Cold War revivalists can therefore rest easy, confident that their propagandists will have at least a few facts with which they can work to restore the perils of their vanished youth.
Even so, the level of their hypocrisy is appalling. Russia, along with former Soviet republics and former members of the Warsaw Pact, has been bearing the brunt of far worse American meddling for far longer than anything sanctimonious defenders of so-called American "democracy" can plausibly allege.
Moreover, it should go without saying that the democracy they purport to care so much about has almost nothing to do with "the rule of the demos." It doesn't even have much to do with free and fair competitive elections – unless "free and fair" means that anything goes, so long as the principals and perpetrators are homegrown or citizens of favored nations.
Self-righteous posturing aside, Putin's real sin in the eyes of the American power elite is that, in his own small way, he has been defying America's "right" to run the world as it sees fit.
When Clinton was president, Serbia did that, and lived to regret it. Cuba has been suffering for nearly six decades for the same reason, and now Venezuela is paying its dues. The empire is merciless towards nations that rebel.
With Soviet support and then with sheer determination and grit, Cuba has been able to withstand the onslaught to some extent from Day One. Venezuela may not be so lucky – especially now that Republicans and Democrats feel threatened by the growing number of "democratic socialists" in their midst. Already, the propaganda system is targeting Venezuelan "socialism," blaming it for that country's woes, and warning that if our newly minted, homegrown socialists prevail, a similar fate will be in store for us.
This is ludicrous, of course – American hostility and the vagaries of the global oil market deserve the lion's share of the blame. But the on-going propaganda blitz could nevertheless pave the way for horrors ahead, should Trump decide to start a war America could actually win.
Inconsequential Russian meddling is a big deal on the "liberal" cable networks, on NPR, and in the "quality" press. Democrats and a few Republicans love to bleat on about it. But it is Ukraine that made Russia our "adversary" and its president Public Enemy Number One.
Hypocrisy reigns here too. It was the Obama administration – run through with neocons, liberal imperialists, and other holdovers from Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State – that did all it could to exacerbate longstanding tensions between that country's Ukrainian and Russian speaking populations, the better to complete NATO's encirclement of the Russian federation. And it was American meddling that led to the empowerment of virulently anti-Russian, fascisant Ukrainian politicians, much to the detriment of Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east.
But never mind: Putin – that is, the Russia government – violated international law by sending troops briefly into beleaguered Russian-speaking parts of the country. That they were generally welcomed by the people living there is of no importance.
Worst of all, Russia annexed Crimea – a territory integral to the Russian empire since the eighteenth century. Since long before the Russian Revolution, Crimea has been home to a huge naval base vital to Russia's strategic defense.
The story line back in the day was that anything that could be described as Russian aggression outside the Soviet Union's agreed upon sphere of influence had to do with spreading Communism. In fact, the Soviets did everything they could to keep Communist and other insurgencies from upending the status quo. The mainstream narrative was wrong.
Now Communism is gone and nothing has taken its place. Even so, the idea that Russia has designs on its neighbors for ideological reasons is hard to shake – in part because it is actively promoted by propagandists who have suddenly and uncharacteristically become defenders of international law.
Meanwhile, of course, the hypocrisies keep piling on. It is practically a tenet of the American civil religion that international law applies to others, not to the United States. This is why, when it suits some perceived purpose, America flaunts its violations shamelessly.
Thus nothing the Russians did or are ever likely to do comes close to the shenanigans Bill Clinton displayed – successfully, for the most part – in his efforts to tear Kosovo away from Serbia. Clinton even went so far as to bomb Belgrade; Putin never bombed Kiev.
The Cold War that began after World War II involved a clash of rival political economic systems. The Cold War that reignited a few years ago involves a clash of rival imperialist centers. Its world more nearly resembles the one that existed before World War I than the one that emerged after World War II.
However, the difference may be more superficial than it seems. The ease with which Cold War revivalists have been able to get the Cold War up and running again, even without Communism, suggests what a few observers have long maintained -- that the Cold War, on Russia's part, had little, if anything, to do with spreading Communism around the world, and everything to do with maintaining a cordon sanitaire around Russia's borders in order to protect against a demonstrably aggressive "free world."
George W. Bush claimed that 9/11 happened because "they hate our freedom." "They" would be radical Islamists of the kind stirred into action in Afghanistan by Zbigniew Brzezinski and his co-thinkers in the Carter administration. Their objective was to undermine the Soviet Union by getting it bogged down in a quagmire like the one that did so much harm to the United States in Vietnam.
That part of Brzezinski's plan was at least a partial success. But inasmuch as Bush's "they" are still there, still spreading murder and mayhem throughout the Greater Middle East, America and the world has been paying a high price for the benefits, such as they were, that ensued.
The never-ending wars set in motion by the "pivot" towards radical Islamism decades ago never quite succeeded in producing an enemy as serviceable as the USSR. But now that Putin's Russia has been pressed into service, that problem is potentially "solved."
However, the American public is not as naïve as it used to be, and it is impossible to say, at this point, how well this new story line will work.
Efforts to recycle Bush's "they hate our freedom" nonsense ought to be non-starters. But this is the best Cold War revivalists have come up with so far. The Russians, they say, simply cannot deal with the fact that we Americans are so damned free.
It is hard to believe, but there are people who are actually buying this but, with a lot of corporate media assistance, there are. No matter how clear it is that they are not worth being taken seriously, Cold War mythologies just won't die.
However, it is worth pondering why today's Russia would do what it is alleged to have done; and why, as is also alleged, it is still doing it.
From a geopolitical point of view, Russia does have an interest in doing all it can to ward off Western aggression. It also has an interest in undermining strategic alliances aimed at blocking anything and everything that challenges American supremacy. And, until sanity prevails in Washington and other Western capitals, it arguably also has an interest in aiding and abetting rightwing nationalists in order to exacerbate tensions within Western societies.
However, in view of prevailing power relations, these are interests it cannot do much to advance. Acting as if this were not the case only puts Russia in a bad light -- not for meddling, but for meddling stupidly.
No doubt, for reasons both fair and foul, Putin wanted Hillary to lose the election two years ago. So, but for one little problem, would anyone whose head is screwed on right. That problem's name is Donald Trump.
Clinton is bad, but Trump is worse -- not just by most measures but by all. Her fondness for war and preparations for war was alarming; she was bellicosity personified. But it was plain even before the election that Trump, a mentally unhinged narcissist, would be even more likely than she to bring on massive devastation. A vote for Trump was and still is a vote for catastrophe.
Putin's enemy was Trump's enemy, and it is axiomatic that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" -- except sometimes it isn't. Sometimes, my enemy's enemy is an enemy far worse.
For reasons that remain obscure, Putin and Trump seem to have a "thing" going on between them. Some day perhaps we will know what that is all about. For now, though, the hard and very relevant fact is that Trump has done nothing to help, and quite a few things to harm, Russia.
It isn't just ordinary Russians who have been made worse off. Trump has been at least as hard on oligarchs close to Putin as Clinton would have been.
If those damned Russians were half as smart as they are made out to be, they would have realized long ago that, for getting anything done that bucks the tide, Trump is too inept to be of any use at all; and that anything he sets out to do is likely to turn out badly not just for America and its allies but for Russia too.
Therefore, if there really was Russian meddling, as there probably was, Putin should be ashamed – not so much for the DNC reasons laid out 24/7 on MSNBC and CNN, but for overestimating Trump's abilities and for underestimating the extent to which what started out as a maneuver of Hillary Clinton's, concocted to excuse her incompetence, would take a perilously "viral" turn, becoming a major threat to peace in a political culture that never quite got beyond the lunacy of the First Cold War.
Andrew Levine is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
Sep 08, 2018 | gordonhahn.com
In the post-Soviet period, in addition to the color revolutions supported by the West outside Russia, the West has been involved inside Russia as well. Washington was also involved in helping Boris Yeltsin resist the August 1991 and October 1993 coups. Washington was indirectly involved in Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign. As I have mentioned several times, a VERY reliable source confided to me that the xerox copying paper box filled with half a million dollars being transported for later use by Yeltsin's pro-democracy camp but intercepted by Yeltsin's hardline operatives consisted of U.S. funds. For a less revealng inkling of the kind of involvement see Time magazine's July 1996 article "Saving Boris"( http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19960715,00.html or https://offgraun.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/201612201405.pdf ). McFaul noted that the three American consultants to Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign -- George Gorton, Joe Shumate, and Richard Dresner -- contracted by Oleg Soskovets, a former first deputy prime minister whom Yeltsin named head of his campaign, were "breaking Russia's law against foreigners' working directly in campaigns" ( www.weeklystandard.com/yanks-brag-press-bites/article/8538 ). In addition, the IMF released a several billion dollar tranche of economic assistance on the election's eve to buttress Yeltsin further. Yeltsin's government was infested with US advisors, some of whom engaged in corrupt practices of insider trading on the Russian stock market as part of their 'democracy-promotion' efforts.
The U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , among other government organs, carried out propaganda defending post-Soviet Russia's jihadi separatists for years (see https://gordonhahn.com/2015/02/18/caucasus-jihadism-through-western-eyes-the-failure-of-american-rusology-to-understand-the-north-caucasus-mujahedin/ and https://gordonhahn.com/2017/11/04/whos-been-interfering-in-whose-politics/ ). One 'small' example among very many was noted in a paper I published seven years ago: "Less than three weeks after CE (Caucasus Emirate or 'Imarat Kavkaz') amir Umarov sent a suicide bomber to attack Moscow's Domodedovo Airport killing 37 and wounding more than 200, RFERL 's 'chief Caucasus correspondent' Liz Fuller praised him as a 'father' who restrains the mujahideen: "If these young men [the CE's younger mujahideen] have not become the callous brutes Khasbulatov anticipated, much of the credit must surely lie with the older commanders who were fathers before they became ghters, and have since assumed the role of father gures to the younger generation of insurgents: the natural-born pedagogue Abdullayev; Tarhan; Mansur; and even Umarov, seen receiving a lial embrace from Hadji-Murat at the very end of this clip" [Liz Fuller, "Chechnya's Youngest Insurgents," RFERL , February 14, 2011, www.rferl.org/content/blog/2308952.html , last accessed on 28 February 2018 and cited in Gordon M. Hahn, Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2011), p. 14, fn 14]. Again, the 'Umarov' RFERL 's Liz Fuller, whose salary was paid from your taxes, was the amir of the Caucasus Emirate while it carried out nearly 60 suicide bombings and several thousand other terrorist attacks in Russia from 2007-2013, after which the bulk of its 'Chechen national resistance' fighters (most not frm Chechnya but from Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and elsewehere in Russia as well as from abroad) ensconced to Syria and Iraq to 'fight for Chechen independence' while those back home officially joined the Islamic State (ISIS). For a similar Fuller article hailing the 'work' of the small Islamo-ultranationalist Chechen, non-CE terrorist cell, see "Remembering Mansur," RFERL , March 17, 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/caucasus_re- port_remembering_mansur/2341725.html.
The main reason for Russia's restrictions on NGO activity inside the country is that the very same Western government-tied organizations that funded color revolutionary activity in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and elsewhere -- USAID, NED, DNI, RNI, and so on -- were funding indirectly Russian political opposition-oriented organizations. The reason media are now included under these restrictive regime lies in the West's massive propaganda, disinformation, and strategic communications infrastructure – typified in its output by articles such as the one supporting jihadi and Islamo-nationalist terrorists in Russia – in comparison with which Russia's is a weak imitation ( https://gordonhahn.com/2018/01/22/russian-propaganda-machine-much-ado-about-little-as-compared-with-western-stratcomm-update/ ).
About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .
Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014).He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.
Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Sep 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
So, we drove onto St. Petersburg mostly on a two-lane road cut through the boreal forest of the northern latitudes. It was here that I witnessed something that amazed all of us – how vehicle drivers cooperated to turn two lanes into de facto four lanes of traffic.
As faster drivers moved to pass slower vehicles, the slower vehicles would move onto the asphalt shoulder and even as our bus moved over the center line, the oncoming traffic would shift to the right, too. It all was spontaneously coordinated and everyone on the road was in on the scheme.
Entering St. Petersburg was an experience in itself. With five million people spread over a number of islands, we saw new high-rises standing alongside the old Soviet-era apartment buildings. No one, however, comes to St. Petersburg to see the relics of the U.S.S.R. Instead, they come to see the czarist palaces and the stunning 18thand 19th century architecture that dominates the city. It may be the birthplace of the Bolshevik Revolution, but people come to pay homage to the way of life the Bolsheviks wanted to destroy and to Czar Nicholas II and his family, infamously and brutally murdered on Lenin's orders in 1918.
A century later, the bones of the last royal family of Russia lie safely in St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Despite more than 70 years of communist rule, and despite all of the blood spilled to keep the likes of Lenin, Stalin, and the others in power, and despite the massive propaganda that ordinary people in the U.S.S.R. had to endure, St. Petersburg is the city of the czars, not the Bolsheviks.
Parts of St. Petersburg are run down – as nearly the entire city was during the days of communism – but other parts of it absolutely are amazing to see. Likewise, I enjoyed interacting with the locals and especially the young people that made up most of the workforce of our hotel, from running the desks to cleaning our rooms. The legendary dour Soviet worker was replaced by a competent employee who patiently answered our questions and took care of whatever we needed. For all of the talk in the USA that Russia is a dictatorship under the iron thumb of Vladimir Putin, Russia did not seem like a dictatorship. Our Russian tour guide often would take a swipe at Putin (including likening his face to a painting of dogs at the Hermitage) and life itself there seemed to have the kind of normalcy that could not have been possible when people were compelled to inform on one another.
The St. Petersburg we visited was not the Leningrad that Logan Robinson described in his humorous 1982 book An American in Leningrad , which described life as a post-graduate student living among Russian students and developing friendships with local writers, artists, and musicians, people who often harassed, persecuted, and arrested by local authorities. That city was an armed camp full of soldiers and had been relegated to being a backwater by Joseph Stalin and his successors who made Moscow the Soviet "showplace," leaving the city founded by Peter the Great to succumb to the northerly elements.
... ... ...
Americans cannot fathom what it is like to have entire cities destroyed or badly-damaged by bombs and artillery and have ruthless armies fight each other over their territories. Nor can we imagine having governments carry out massive executions of people whose only "crime" was not being what the government leadership wanted them to be. We cannot imagine the starvation, the disease, and watching family and friends be shipped off to places like Siberia where they surely would die terrible deaths.
spooz ,moon_unit ,
This article is red-baiting propaganda, aren't we getting enough of that from the Democratic party Everybody with a brain realizes that there are differences between communism and the democratic socialism that is becoming popular in the US, but some the Mises misers like to dupe the ignorant into conflating the two.
In very simplistic terms, paraphrasing from A. J. Elwood, Democratic Socialism:
- Work together to ensure social equality and to improve one another's lives.
- Reject the exploitation of all peoples and uphold the principles of equality.
- Value the environment and use our natural resources in a sustainable manner.
- Ensure free and open elections, where each citizen has a voice and a vested interest in his or her government.
- Provide free education to all to ensure equal opportunity and the free flow of ideas, opinions, and information.
- Protect and assist the disadvantaged using surplus from both public and privately owned enterprise.
- Deliver quality health care to all citizens, regardless of their needs or socio-economic status
The US has let the excesses of Capitalism control our country, with wealthy owning our legislature and receiving bail outs and tax cuts to preserve their wealth, while a growing percentage of the formerly middle class is thrown under the bus, with no savings and no way to make a living wage. Those millennials don't see any way of achieving what used to be the American Dream and are looking for some help with their struggle.
Most modern countries have a mix of socialism and capitalism.
"The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, where the Nordic model of social democracy is employed, with Denmark topping the list." (wikipedia)LA_Goldbug ,
Bill Anderson travels, but sometimes he sees what he wants to see.
Let's take some points:
-He saw a "*small* railroad boxcar". Very romantic but - Soviet boxcars were fricken' huge, the rail gauge is massive. Pics with a person next to it, or it didn't happen. IF it was very small, it was more likely a technical wagon for railway engineers, not for "cargo" of any kind. Plus, anyone alive bitching about it clearly had parents , most likely that never left to go anywhere , you know what I'm saying here?
-He went to Jurmala sea resort and misunderstood it, thought it was "all Soviet", all built for "nomenklatura". This is not unusual to think so, but he was wrong - it was largely built as a Spa town in the 1850s during the Russian Empire times by the majority wealthy *German* ethnic group in Riga. In fact German was the main language in the city up to 1891. Most of those large spa town wooden houses were built for German traders - who traded with the locals outside Riga, Brits and Russians. The city had a British Mayor George Armitstead from 1901 - 1912 during the Russian Empire - a civil engineer and the city's most popular mayor ever, who built the first tram lines, hospitals, covered markets and so on.
The Balts kicked those German traders out starting from around 1880 or so. If you check out cemeteries you will see a sudden transition from elegant old German noble script to badly-spelled early variant local language with German styles and lettering. Of course that improved as they created formalised spellings for words in the local languages.
The author fails to mention all the other occupants that he doesn't want you to know about - briefly-
-German Crusaders (Knights of the Livonian Order / Teutonic Knights)- Holy Roman Empire - 12thC
-Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 16thC
-Russian Tsarist Empire 1710 - 1918 -trading with German Riga / Brits and Russian language only imposed officially in 1891
-Local people perpetrators - no kidding, Herberts Cukurs, Viktors Arajs?
Photos of people in mass graves - sure you didn't "make a mistake"? - if you mean at Skede beach, Rumbuli and Bikernieki forests, and Salapspils, those were killed by everyones "special Germans* (and of course the local militia commanders Cukurs and Arajs) in everyone's "special German 3-year era" from 1942-44. Oddly, no-one seems interested in the hundreds of years of genuine Geman noble culture and trading in what was essentially a German Empire freeport ...
Certainly there was a book about some Soviet killing mass graves elsewhere but it turns out the book about that was funded and printed by a certain Josef Goebbels? No doubt it was true, but aren't people a little embarrassed at carrying that book, perhaps a different author at least, maybe a historian would be less shameful to carry around?
-Freer wealthier - oh sure, if you put aside mass emigration, houses without heat or water or sewerage, destitute pensioners walking in the streets in winter with supermarket bags on their legs to try to avoid frostbite - not always successfully , by the way.
-"The citizens of the Baltic countries were not the only ones suffering under communism. No other city in the U.S.S.R. underwent the horror of a 900-day siege by German armies during World War II" - that's hardly their fault, now is it?
-"as I sat in the Old Town section of Riga eating and drinking and listening to live music, I strained to imagine the place as a battle zone with death and destruction all around where now I sat" - yeah, like when the Russians and Brits were trying to keep out Napoleon's armies? Hmmm?
-"I imagined the stores that now are full of goods and restaurants with food and drink being empty or stocked with subpar merchandise in the aftermath of the war as the Soviets imposed their primitive communist system and oppressed the people in the name of "liberating" them for many decades until they finally left in the early 1990s"- you have a great imagination. You should write film scripts for Hollywood. Some of those people are still walking around, try telling them they are primitives.
-"No, I cannot see people in our cities having experienced anything like what the people of the Baltics and St. Petersburg had to tolerate for decades." - tolerate things like electronics factories, car and van production, science institutes, shipbuilding and repair, ladies who aren't afraid of math or computers, that kind of thing? But sure, they couldn't get debt, mass prostitution, Hasselhoff and blue jeans, consumer junk or type II diabetes, that is a total provocation, right you are .demoses ,
I also smell a lot of BS in this article. I visited Eastern Europe before and know exactly what is being mentioned. Elites IN ALL COUNTRIES have their favorite hideaways. That is a norm in the West, East and anywhere else.
Boxcars at train stations are nothing new. Latvia is poor and probably has lots of them from way way back because THAT WAS THE STANDARD design for a multi-purpose wagon in Eastern Europe. Why throw away something that does the job ?? But to say it was "the one" used to transport people to camps is a huge stretch. Hell I could point to Boeings and say "That is the one sending people to Guantanamo".Nexus789 ,
As an eastern European I can tell you that I do not get triggered by old monuments / words / city names. I guess that is a "no real problems" American problem... where you lack other problems and have a hard time looking around what could trigger you... "oh no! A company called MANpower!!! MAN???" and maybe "country called MonteNEGRO? How dare they?" ;)LA_Goldbug ,
These Mises wankers write as if they have found utopia and the US is some kind of 'market' paradise They are foot soldiers for the one percent.Atalanta ,
Here is how Utopia looks lest the Eu readers think otherwise.
Seeing the splinter in other men eyes. Not the tree in own. After the USSR birth, a U.S, with friends, invaded Russia. From that moment to now history is full of conflicted horrors. Standing out WW 2, and many more like Korea and Vietnam. Scars can be seeing all over the planet except the U.S. The writer of article must be a exceptional person.CaptainObvious ,
Their best weapon is "weaponized credit" which sheep see but don't understand.OverTheHedge ,
"Americans cannot fathom what it is like to have entire cities destroyed or badly-damaged by bombs and artillery and have ruthless armies fight each other over their territories."
Sure we can. Look at Detroit. Look at Baltimore. Look at Chicago. Those look pretty warn-torn to me. But I guess the "War on Poverty" and the "War on Drugs" don't count, eh? And I guess drive-by shootings and purposefully-fomented riots and civil asset forfeiture and excessive taxation aren't weapons of mass destruction either.
"Nor can we imagine having governments carry out massive executions of people whose only "crime" was not being what the government leadership wanted them to be."
Yeah, we tax mules are pretty familiar with the bowel-crippling fear that any envelope marked "IRS" causes. Men have certainly been introduced to the economic execution of being stripped of all their assets because they knocked some slut up. People of all ages and colors have been locked away in jail for 50 years for having a baggy of green stuff in their pocket. And, the horror!, it's now a crime punishable by jail time to call someone by the wrong gender pronouns in the People's Republic of Kalifornia. But yeah, economic execution and unjustified imprisonment don't happen here in the Land of the Free ™ , so it's all good.
"We cannot imagine the starvation, the disease, and watching family and friends be shipped off to places like Siberia where they surely would die terrible deaths."
Oh, sure we can. We see starving people every day on the streets, made homeless by a drug addiction that was introduced to them by a licensed physician. We watch family and friends shipped off to Bankruptcy court because some fucktarded jury awarded a scam artist seven figures for manufacturing a slip-and-fall in the Mom & Pop Pizza Palace. We watch our loved ones die every day from medical malpractice and toxic prescriptions.
No equivalency, you say? Well, to that I say balls. Russia was never free. After they abolished serfdom in the nineteenth century, the system was still in place that the aristocracy held most of the land and the peasants farmed that land for a pittance. In America, the laws abolished slavery and sweatshops, but the system is still in place that the tycoons own most of the assets and the peasants sweat their best years away in a cubicle, or behind a cash register, or under someone else's machinery, for a pittance.
Am I advocating for communism? Hell, no! I'm advocating for an end to the corporatocracy and small-business-killing legislation. Most ordinary Americans who become wealthy do so because they had the gumption to start their own business. But they can't do that if all laws favor the already-established, and they can't do that if they're required to burn half a lifetime's worth of cash for an official piece of paper from a gubmint-subsidized center of indoctrination, and they can't do that if they're supposed to be licensed and bonded to do something simple like trim the hair of another human.ddiduck ,
Hyperbole to make your point is fine, but the reality is that fat, soft seppos have absolutely no idea.
And then there is the good guys' work:
Actually, that last one proves me wrong - there are SOME Americans who know precisely what a destroyed city looks like - they have been doing the destroying for the last 20 years, and at fully up to speed with what it entails. The question will be: who will they be destroying for, should it ever come home to roost?louie1,
The [neoliberal] deep state is about impoverishing the masses so that they keep their mouths shut, they don't give a rats ass if your liberal or conservative, black or white, yellow or orange, just keep your mouth shut about them.
Best is if you fight amongst yourselves and play make believe. Do you feel prosperous now? They like it when you you really get violent toward each other, great scam huhhh? It is called misdirection, want to toast some asses start with Soros, Rothschilds nad Rockefeller, greatest criminals against humanity! By the way, these mother fk'rs are satanic and bleed children out regularly! Now take pause and consider this when deciding who the real villain in your unfair world is!
Like all Zionist globalist neocon revolutions they are bloody, indiscriminate and sociopathic. The same gang are running the USA now. And the world central banking system.
Sep 03, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
leveymg on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 4:13pm
We helped put the Oligarchs into business, Putin reigned them in so he has to go
From before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has been cultivating a commercial and political elite abroad that we could "work with." As in most of the developing world during the Cold War, that meant that post-communist Russia was an oligarchy kept in money and power by IMF loans, graft, private militias and death squads.
Such was the case during the Boris Yeltsin's government that presided over the Russian Federation, a self-contained trading bloc shorn of half of its richest territories. The result of loss of most military spending and trade resulted in an average 50% loss in real living standards for the typical Russian in the depths of the Depression during the early 1990s. What grew out of the rubble was the New Russia controlled by the Oligarchs, run by returning members of Russian ethnic organized crime families once scattered around the world and remnants of the KGB, party bosses, and former Soviet military who couldn't move enough their assets out of the country while the door was still open. For Deripaska, that door closed the other way in 2006, when he lost his US B-1 visa, which meant that he had to make a deal with the FBI's McCabe and other US intelligence handlers to reenter the U.S. to access his stash deposited in Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Is Oleg really Putin's "closest oligarch", as is again repeated here in the Times?
The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the owner of Yukos Oil Co., one of the world's major oil suppliers on October fifth, 2003 was a signal that things would never be the same for the oligarchs. By the time he took his third term as Russian President in 2012, Putin had put highly concentrated large industries increasingly under state supervision, curtailing the effective power and range of operation of many oligarchs, restricting the movement of private wealth out of the country, including that of Oleg Deripaska, whom he publicly humiliated in 2009, as seen in this video.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgkarlof1 , Sep 1, 2018 7:26:22 PM | 137the testimony before the Outlaw US Empire's Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Wess Mitchell:
"Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest U.S. primacy and leadership in the 21st Century. It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power."
Mitchell mentions a document I wasn't able to locate, the "Russia Integrated Strategy," but I was able to find what appears to be its predecessor , "Russia Project Strategy, 2014-2017."
Surely, this conforms to the Outlaw US Empire's Imperialism via which its goal is the Full Spectrum Domination (FSD) of the planet and its people.
Some would consider that as Totalitarianism -- the doctrine of total control. During its drive to attain FSD, certain aspects must be masked from the Empire's public since relatively unfettered freedom is featured as one of its alleged values, which is why the many undemocratic aspects of various "trade" agreements are never discussed and negotiated in secret, for example. What do we call a government that directly lies to its populous? What sort of ism is in play?
Mitchell's testimony was done in public so it didn't remain secret very long, was written about in Russian, then the analysis was translated into English .
Hopefully barflies and others will read these documents and shudder, although I'm sure a few will say "So, what's new?" Well, this goes far beyond the millennia long, ongoing Class War, and confirms what I've been saying for awhile now -- We're already within a Hybrid Third World War being waged by people who want everything or nothing.
What sort of ism's that? In my book, it's the worst form of Authoritarianism anyone might imagine.
Sep 02, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
CB on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 11:12pmPutin demanded several more caveats
in addition to staying out of politics:
1) You pay your taxes
2) You pay your employees
3) There will be no asset stripping
Bill Browder (of Magnitsky fame) broke all these rules while pillaging Russia. From 1995–2006 his company, Hermitage Capital Management, siphoned untold billions of dollars out of Russia into offshore accounts while paying no taxes and cheating workers of wages and pensions.
Putin put an end to US and UK backed shysters stealing Russia blind. Is it any wonder the western oligarchs hate him with such a passion?
If Russia were trying to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, it wouldn't be attempting to change the US system but to prevent it from trying to change Russia's, argues Diana Johnstone.
Sojourner Truth , August 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Some perspective on Khordokovsky, et al can be found here:
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm
A rather vague statement, Dick Vain, but it appears you support the 'unipolar hegemony'? Hard to tell what you intend by use of 'privilege'. Diana Johnstone's article documents the activities of Khodorkovsky, Browder, Gessen, who continue to agitate against Putin. There are others. So what's your point, and what's the b.s.?
The evidence is clear, Biden and Obama got the Magnitsky Act passed, and one of those two is not 'white', which is not the issue, anyway -- the issue is money, power and control.
Jerry Alatalo , August 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm
Diana Johnstone's immeasurably important, timely, extraordinary exposition of true facts – truth rarely, if ever, acknowledged in the United States Congress and/or Western media – represents what can most certainly be described as "historic gamechanger".
Dick Vain , August 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm
How much privilege does it take to write these words:
"Russian interference in American politics is totally welcome so long as it helps turn public opinion against "multipolar" Putin, glorifies American democracy, serves U.S. interests, including the military industries, helps break down national borders (except those of the United States and Israel) and puts money in appropriate pockets in the halls of Congress."
By estimate it doesn't matter as long as it's white
Trading in one devil for another
People who support this bullshit upside down line of thinking are welcome to jump off a cliff really.
Walter , August 28, 2018 at 12:07 pm
About the Secret State or Power Elite Thierry Meyssan wrote about a new and signal event http://www.voltairenet.org/article202622.html
The Power Elite are facing an abyss, of real war and defeat, or simply defeat as "assets" are prepared in Syria for a showdown, with dozens of warships and so forth Meantime they drivel about trivial stuff in "news" from the fascist press, and the Germans prepare to make nice with Ivan (the satrapies are switching sides, alas!)
" The Western powers are moving inexorably towards Internet censorship, thereby facilitating the dissemination of propaganda and war indoctrination in their countries. In this context, an extremely violent tension is tearing apart the international scene. Aware of the increasing risk of general confrontation, Moscow is attempting to find credible interlocutors in the UNO and the United States. What is happening at the moment has seen no equivalent since 1938, and could degenerate in the same way.,,,"
and (darkly) : "From Moscow's point of view, the war of aggression – by the intervention of jihadist proxies – against Syria must cease, and the unilateral sanctions by the US, Canada and the European Union against Russia must be lifted. The problem that we must all now face is not the defence [sic] of democracy, but the danger of war.
Void of any legitimacy, a parallel hierarchy in New York and Washington intends to plunge the world into a generalised [sic] conflict."
robjira , August 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm
Outstanding article by Meyssan; thanks for linking.
anastasia , August 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Really good elucidation of the double standard in American politics as it concerns Russian interference.
modern99angel , August 28, 2018 at 11:46 am
"The greatest tool at the disposal of globalists is the use of false paradigms to manipulate public perception and thus public action. The masses are led to believe that at the highest levels of geopolitical and financial power there is such a thing as "sides." This is utter nonsense when we examine the facts at hand.
We are told the-powers-that-be are divided by "Left" and "Right" politics, yet both sides actually support the same exact policy actions when it comes to the most important issues of the day and only seem to differ in terms of rhetoric, which is meaningless and cosmetic anyway. That is to say, it's nothing but Kabuki theater.
The abuses of one "side" are being used to push us into the arms of the other side, which is just as abusive.
In terms of geopolitics, we are told that national powers stand "at cross-purposes;" that they have different interests and different goals, which has led to things like "trade wars" and sometimes shooting wars. Yet, when we look at the people actually pulling the strings in most of these countries, we find the same names and institutions. Whether you are in America, Russia China, the EU, etc., globalist think tanks and international banks are everywhere, and the leaders in all of these countries call for MORE power for such institutions, not less.
These wars, no matter what form they take, are a circus for the public. They are engineered to create controlled chaos and manageable fear. They are a means to influence us towards a particular end, and that end, in most cases, is more social and economic influence in the hands of a select few. In each instance, people are being convinced to believe that the world is being divided when it is actually being centralized."
Lee Anderson , August 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm
Angel, you are on point. What you describe about the two sides is the Hegelian Dialectic in action. This is why the shadow rulers are desperate to maintain two-party duopoly.
Very enlightening article, by the way. Well done.
Walter , August 28, 2018 at 11:37 am
Russia does have an evident Policy to demonstrate and illuminate the "fissures in our tapestry [of lies]".
This tapestry itself is US Policy, as incoming CIA boss Casey said: ""We'll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False." (look it up). RT and other Russian source keep showing the Americans and the rest of the world that the "tapestry" is infested. This is a iconoclastic Policy burning the false gods of myth.
It would not work if American propaganda told the truth but it happens that they must lie – it's Policy set by the secret state, the "power elite" as C. Wright Mills termed it. And it is a signal of proximate disaster read MacBeth "Hang those who speak of fear" on the cusp of Banquo's defeat of poor old Mac .
The Quakers say "Tell the truth and shame the devil" – that's about what the Ruskies are doing shaming the devil by exposing his lies.
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 11:37 am
An overlooked meddler is George Soros, who was also a player in the takedown of Russia and has been kicked out by Putin and the Duma, his NGOs are not allowed to operate in Russia. Orban has had him banned in Hungary. There are constant neoliberal apologists for Soros, but his hidden hand working behind the scenes has been well documented. Russia, especially Putin, is Soros' "white whale", as Alex Christoforou states in "Leaked Memo Exposes George Soros' plan to overthrow Putin", 7/19/18: . "how the billionaire uses his vast wealth to create global chaos in a neverending push to deliver his neoliberal euphoria to the peasant classes". Alex Christoforou, sovereignnations.com, originally published on The Duran.
Larry Gates , August 28, 2018 at 10:45 am
Brilliant, insightful, lucid, full of interesting details. It is articles like this that keep me coming back to Consortioum News.
phillip sawicki , August 28, 2018 at 2:32 pm
I agree. We'd be much more ignorant of the facts without Johnstone.
Herman , August 28, 2018 at 10:27 am
"Needless to say, Khodorkovsky's Corbiere Trust lobbied hard to get Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act. This type of "Russian interference intended to influence policy" goes unnoticed while U.S. authorities scour cyberspace for evidence of trolls."
America has the gall to accuse Russia of doing something we do openly and to a far greater extent.
Great article. Not sure about the mechanics of how a select few stole Russia's wealth. Somewhere I read the thieves did not have to put up their own money, but performed the conversion through Russian loans. The purchase prices were so low compared to the real value of the assets that they became overnight billionaires. Don't now if they repaid the loans.
Someone may have a different understanding of how it was done.
Bob Van Noy , August 28, 2018 at 9:12 am
Thanks to all. It is crucial at this point to keep the so called Russiagate story in context beyond the pages and discussion here at CN. To that extent I will offer an excellent article from off Guardian by Eric Zuesse including some excellent links especially one leading to an interview of Anne Williamson about her book on the subject. I will link the off Guardian piece but I encourage those inclined to carefully follow all the links and video's so that we can offer a clear counter to what happened in Russia and why
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 8:45 am
The political theater dubbed "Russiagate" (aren't we getting "gated" to death?) is looking more and more like cover for the dirty deeds of Clinton, throwing more and more pooh at the already-fatigued American public, trying to make Trump look like the bad guy so nobody notices what really went on in Clinton world.
Tobey , August 28, 2018 at 8:28 am
Hermitage Capital Management can you correct that typo ?
mike k , August 28, 2018 at 8:07 am
Trying to predict what the crazy greedy power hungry bastards leading the human world to it's extinction will do next, is the maddening game we are forced to play by their suicidal games. No one can guess exactly how they will blunder into destroying us all, but their moves in this direction are apparent,
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 6:31 am
This is a really good article entitled "Fixers":
"If there's one thing that is exposed in the sorry not-so-fairy tale of former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, it's that Washington is a city run by fixers. Who often make substantial amounts of money. Many though by no means all, start out as lawyers and figure out that let's say 'the edges of what's legal' can be quite profitable.
And it helps to know when one steps across that edge, so having attended law school is a bonus. Not so much to stop when stepping across the edge, but to raise one's fees. There's a lot of dough waiting at the edge of the law. None of this should surprise any thinking person. Manafort and Cohen are people who think in millions, with an easy few hundred grand thrown in here and there. [ ]
Lanny Davis is a lawyer, special counsel even, for the Clintons. Has been for years. Which makes it kind of curious that Michael Cohen would pick him to become his legal representation. But that's not all Davis is involved in. Like any true fixer, he has his hands in more cookie jars than fit in the average kitchen. [ ]
And now Davis, the Clinton fixer, is Michael Cohen's lawyer. The fixer defending a fixer. So who pays the bill? Well, ostensibly no-one, because Davis started a Go Fund Me campaign where people can donate so Cohen "can tell people the truth about Trump". The goal is $500,000. Which goes to .. Lanny Davis. [ ]
In the end, I can draw only one conclusion: there are so many sharks and squids swimming in the swamp that either it should be expanded or the existing one should be cleaned up and depopulated. So bring it: investigate the FBI, the Clintons, and fixers like Lanny Davis and Michael Avenatti, the same way the Trump camp has been.
Because if you don't do that, you can only possibly end up in an even bigger mess. You can't drain half a swamp."
Lanny Davis proceeds to go on a whole bunch of talk shows, claiming the sky is falling, and then in the next couple of days walks all of it back.
Another tactic of a psychopath: lie, lie and lie. Get the lie(s) out there any way you can, create lots of damage. Then when you're called on what you've said, you just say something like, "Yeah, I guess I had that wrong." The "walking back" is never covered as much as the original lie.
Michael , August 28, 2018 at 8:20 am
The number of Establishment politicians and their lawyers protecting their turf (Ukraine and Russia) seems to be multiplying. When Mueller did not arrest the Podesta Group and Greg Craig, it was clear that his investigation was a partisan "get Trump" witch hunt; Mueller destroyed his own credibility by not removing all the bad apples, just the Trump-brand ones.
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 5:57 am
You can't even keep up with the actors and players in Russiagate's Theatre of the Absurd. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC hire Perkins Coie, a law firm, in order to hide the fact that they're doing opposition research with campaign funds. Perkins Coie hires Fusion GPS, a research firm, and Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele, a former MI6 British agent to come up with some dirt on Trump. Then there's all of the DOJ, FBI and CIA actors who were in on setting up Trump. Add the media into the mix and you've got quite a story of lies and corruption.
Tomorrow Bruce Ohr (a lawyer and former number four official at the DOJ) gives testimony before the House Intelligence Committee to explain his 70+ interactions with Christopher Steele. His wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Glen Simpson at Fusion GPS, and apparently Bruce Ohr accidentally failed to mention that his wife was working for Fusion GPS on his DOJ disclosure form.
Nellie Ohr, Harvard graduate in Russian history/literature and fluent in Russian, suddenly decides to get her HAM radio licence in May of 2016. Could she have gotten this to get around being tracked? Who knows.
Good article, Diana Johnstone.
Realist , August 28, 2018 at 4:46 am
This article makes the precipitous decline of America's middle class a bit clearer in retrospect. The lawless free-for-all that was unleashed on America's economy after all the rules and regulations were stricken from the books during the Clinton years was already being put into effect in Russia–which theretofore had no need for laws to regulate rampant capitalism which had completely disappeared from the country 70 years earlier. The elite insiders in America saw how quickly and effectively a country could be picked clean in the absence of restraints. By the time our own safeguards were erased during the 90's whilst Russia was being pillaged, the transnational oligarchs were all set to pick America clean during the Bush years, which they did using the MIC and the Wall Street financial institutions against a background of deliberate war, fear and societal confusion.
By the time Candyman Obama took office, Main Street America was on the verge of economic collapse, just like Russia. People were losing their jobs, their homes, their health, their families, their self-respect and their hope. Obviously, the job the Obama administration was chosen to do was to stabilise, but not cure the patient. Money stolen from future generations of taxpayers through government borrowing was used to prop up the financial institutions on the verge of collapse just as surely as Yeltsin's Russia stole from the collective to create its oligarchs. But little to nothing was done to help the middle class so their economic death spiral continues (any help for them would represent that demonic force called "socialism!"), as it will until the vampire capitalists have extracted whatever life force remains, whereupon they shall simply move on to their next targets–one of the "developing countries" or "emerging economies" they are struggling mightily to control by whatever means necessary, as if it is totally natural and permissible to preclude trade between all of Central Asia and its neighbors in China or Russia, to say nothing of monopolizing all relations with the America's, Europe, Africa, India and probably Mars. Nothing is to be permitted unless Jeff Bezos says so.
This business of collecting NATO allies across the globe is simply setting them up for future economic exploitation. And when sometime past mid-century after the resources have all played out and ruined economies litter the landscape, I suppose the "masters of the universe" orchestrating all of this will ultimately have to unleash their final solution for "down-sizing" the population to fit the economic realities, be it a war, a plague, or simply mass starvation. I don't think psychopaths will be burdened too much by guilt, besides there won't be too many people left to cast blame on them. With all the computational resources of the world at their disposal, I'm sure a million scenarios have been run on the supercomputers in some bunker under a mountain near Davos looking for the tidiest fix. Not that WE would know, but they may already be implementing some scheme drawn up by HAL9000, who by now probably walks around in a flawless fembot body. (Ooops. Didn't realise I was plagiarizing Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" with that last bit.)
Dave P. , August 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm
What an accurate sketch! Along with the future scenario planned for the humanity on the planet. As always, your comments are closest to reality as one can get. Your comments are valued very much.
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 12:03 am
"In 2016, Winer received the highest award granted by the Secretary of State, for 'extraordinary service to the U.S. government' in avoiding the massacre of over 3,000 members of an Iranian dissident group in Iraq, and for leading U.S. policy in Libya 'from a major foreign policy embarrassment to a fragile but democratic, internationally recognized government.'"
OMG, high-fives and booyahs! Just look at what you get for failing!
Eduardo Cohen , August 27, 2018 at 11:54 pm
Excellent article. Very informative. I'm just surprised that in the listing of nations from which people are welcome to seek
the interference of U.S. power to settle old scores or overthrow their government (Iraq, Libya, Iran, Russian, Cuba) the very current examples of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria are not mentioned. But still a great article.
Joe Tedesky , August 27, 2018 at 10:44 pm
At the rate the U.S. Hegemony Project is going America will be a leader with no followers.
Joe Tedesky , August 28, 2018 at 8:08 am
Here's more to read .
David G , August 27, 2018 at 10:32 pm
This Diana Johnstone piece actually dovetails really well with the recent CN article by Caitlin Johnstone, "How to Beat a Manipulator". https://consortiumnews.com/2018/08/17/how-to-beat-a-manipulator/#comments
"Manipulators particularly use projection as a tactic to hide what they're doing to you in plain sight. A manipulator can have you chasing your tail by simply suggesting that you or others are doing what you are seeing them doing with your own eyes. DNC caught rigging the election? Oh no, it was actually Russia who rigged the election by catching the DNC rigging the election. See what I did there? It's so dumb, but it works."
Here DJ clues us in on another of the same sort of con, or more precisely, another aspect of the same big con.
David G , August 27, 2018 at 9:46 pm
"One may question the selectivity of Bill Clinton's concern for international law enforcement, which certainly did not cover violating international law by bombing defenseless countries."
or catching international fugitives like Marc Rich.
Tom Kath , August 27, 2018 at 8:52 pm
We cannot jump to conclusions regarding Putin's MULTIpolar vision. At this stage BIpolar would seem a more accurate description. – Still, a step in the right direction from UNIpolar hegemony.
Gary Weglarz , August 27, 2018 at 10:15 pm
Tom Kath – and your reason for describing Russia as supporting a "Bipolar" rather than multi-polar world would be the some 21 Russian military bases versus the U.S. having almost 900 such bases? Perhaps you're referring to Russia's recent invasions and/or attempted destabilizations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran – oh, wait, that's the U.S. list. Help me out here – what am I missing Tom? Do I need to tune into to Rachel for a few days to get up to snuff?
Gary Weglarz , August 27, 2018 at 8:17 pm
Excellent post. The anti-Russian absurdist psycho-carnival taking place for two years now in U.S. mainstream media should be enough (in a sane society) to topple this house of cards – along with its fantasy goal of "full spectrum dominance" – yet it soldiers on. Perhaps only a self-inflicted nuclear winter can stop this mad machine and the assorted array of absolute dolts at the helm. Oddly they would seem to vastly prefer this option to accepting a multi-polar world – which of course speaks volumes regarding what passes for "sanity" in U.S. ruling circles these days.
Jeff Harrison , August 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm
I vote for Vladimir Putin's multipolar vision of the world and against the US's vision of a new Roman Empire.
Aug 19, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com
FOR ONE OF THE world's major powers to interfere systematically in the presidential politics of another country is an act of brazen aggression. Yet it happened. Sitting in a distant capital, political leaders set out to assure that their favored candidate won an election against rivals who scared them. They succeeded. Voters were maneuvered into electing a president who served the interest of the intervening power. This was a well-coordinated, government-sponsored project to subvert the will of voters in another country -- a supremely successful piece of political vandalism on a global scale.
The year was 1996. Russia was electing a president to succeed Boris Yeltsin, whose disastrous presidency, marked by the post-Soviet social collapse and a savage war in Chechnya, had brought his approval rating down to the single digits. President Bill Clinton decided that American interests would be best served by finding a way to re-elect Yeltsin despite his deep unpopularity. Yeltsin was ill, chronically alcoholic, and seen in Washington as easy to control. Clinton bonded with him. He was our "Manchurian Candidate."
"I guess we've just got to pull up our socks and back ol' Boris again," Clinton told an aide. "I know the Russian people have to pick a president, and I know that means we've got to stop short of giving a nominating speech for the guy. But we've got to go all the way in helping in every other respect." Later Clinton was even more categorical: "I want this guy to win so bad it hurts." With that, the public and private resources of the United States were thrown behind a Russian presidential candidate.
Part of the American plan was public. Clinton began praising Yeltsin as a world-class statesman . He defended Yeltsin's scorched-earth tactics in Chechnya, comparing him to Abraham Lincoln for his dedication to keeping a nation together. As for Yeltsin's bombardment of the Russian Parliament in 1993, which cost 187 lives, Clinton insisted that his friend had "bent over backwards" to avoid it. He stopped mentioning his plan to extend NATO toward Russia's borders, and never uttered a word about the ravaging of Russia's formerly state-owned economy by kleptocrats connected to Yeltsin. Instead he gave them a spectacular gift.
Four months before the election, Clinton arranged for the International Monetary Fund to give Russia a $10.2 billion injection of cash. Yeltsin used some of it to pay for election-year raises and bonuses, but much quickly disappeared into the foreign bank accounts of Russian oligarchs. The message was clear: Yeltsin knows how to shake the Western money tree. In case anyone missed it, Clinton came to Moscow a few weeks later to celebrate with his Russian partner. Oligarchs flocked to Yeltsin's side. American diplomats persuaded one of his rivals to drop out of the presidential race in order to improve his chances.RELATED
Four American political consultants moved to Moscow to help direct Yeltsin's campaign. The campaign paid them $250,000 per month for advice on "sophisticated methods of polling, voter contact and campaign organization." They organized focus groups and designed advertising messages aimed at stoking voters' fears of civil unrest. When they saw a CNN report from Moscow saying that voters were gravitating toward Yeltsin because they feared unrest, one of the consultants shouted in triumph: "It worked! The whole strategy worked. They're scared to death!"
Yeltsin won the election with a reported 54 percent of the vote. The count was suspicious and Yeltsin had wildly violated campaign spending limits, but American groups, some funded in part by Washington, rushed to pronounce the election fair. The New York Times called it "a victory for Russia." In fact, it was the opposite: a victory by a foreign power that wanted to place its candidate in the Russian presidency.
American interference in the 1996 Russian election was hardly secret. On the contrary, the press reveled in our ability to shape the politics of a country we once feared. When Clinton maneuvered the IMF into giving Yeltsin and his cronies $10.2 billion, the Washington Post approved: "Now this is the right way to serve Western interests. . . It's to use the politically bland but powerful instrument of the International Monetary Fund." After Yeltsin won, Time put him on the cover -- holding an American flag. Its story was headlined, "Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win." The story was later made into a movie called "Spinning Boris."
This was the first direct interference in a presidential election in the history of US-Russia relations. It produced bad results. Yeltsin opened his country's assets to looting on a mass scale. He turned the Chechen capital, Grozny, into a wasteland. Standards of living in Russia fell dramatically. Then, at the end of 1999, plagued by health problems, he shocked his country and the world by resigning. As his final act, he named his successor: a little-known intelligence officer named Vladimir Putin. It is a delightful irony that shows how unwise it can be to interfere in another country's politics. If the United States had not crashed into a presidential election in Russia 22 years ago, we almost certainly would not be dealing with Putin today.
Aug 24, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was ostensibly a conflict between two ideologies, two socio-economic systems.
All that seems to be over. The day of a new socialism may dawn unexpectedly, but today capitalism rules the world. Now the United States and Russia are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight between capitalists. At first glance, it may seem to be a classic clash between rival capitalists. And yet, once again an ideological conflict is emerging, one which divides capitalists themselves, even in Russia and in the United States itself. It is the conflict between globalists and sovereignists, between a unipolar and a multipolar world. The conflict will not be confined to the two main nuclear powers.
The defeat of communism was brutally announced in a certain "capitalist manifesto" dating from the early 1990s that proclaimed: "Our guiding light is Profit, acquired in a strictly legal way. Our Lord is His Majesty, Money, for it is only He who can lead us to wealth as the norm in life."
The authors of this bold tract were Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who went on to become the richest man in Russia, before spending ten years in a Russian jail, and his business partner at the time, Leonid Nevzlin, who has since retired comfortably to Israel.
Loans For Shares
Those were the good old days in the 1990s when the Clinton administration was propping up Yeltsin as he let Russia be ripped off by the joint efforts of such ambitious well-placed Russians and their Western sponsors, notably using the "loans for shares" trick.
In a 2012 Vanity Fair article on her hero, Khodorkovsky, the vehemently anti-Putin journalist Masha Gessen frankly summed up how this worked:The new oligarchs -- a dozen men who had begun to exercise the power that money brought -- concocted a scheme. They would lend the government money, which it badly needed, and in return the government would put up as collateral blocks of stock amounting to a controlling interest in the major state-owned companies. When the government defaulted, as both the oligarchs and the government knew it would, the oligarchs would take them over. By this maneuver the Yeltsin administration privatized oil, gas, minerals, and other enterprises without parliamentary approval.This worked so well that from his position in the Communist youth organization, Khodorkovsky used his connections to get control of Russia's petroleum company Yukos and become the richest oligarch in Russia, worth some $15 billion, of which he still controls a chunk despite his years in jail (2003-2013). His arrest made him a hero of democracy in the United States, where he had many friends, especially those business partners who were helping him sell pieces of Yukos to Chevron and Exxon. Khodorkovsky, a charming and generous young man, easily convinced his American partners that he was Russia's number one champion of democracy and the rule of law, especially of those laws which allow domestic capital to flee to foreign banks and foreign capital to take control of Russian resources.
Vladimir Putin didn't see it that way. Without restoring socialism, he dispossessed Khodorkovsky of Yukos and essentially transformed the oil and gas industry from the "open society" model tolerated by Yeltsin to a national capitalist industry. Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev were accused of having stolen all the oil that Yukos had produced in the years 1998 to 2003, tried, convicted and sentenced to 14 years of prison each. This shift ruined US plans, already underway, to "balkanize" Russia between its many provinces, thereby allowing Western capital to pursue its capture of the Russian economy.
The dispossession of Khodorkovsky was certainly a major milestone in the conflict between President Putin and Washington. On November 18, 2005, the Senate unanimously adopted resolution 322 introduced by Joe Biden denouncing the treatment of the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as politically motivated.
Who Influences Whom?
Now let's take a look at the history of Russian influence in the United States. It is obvious that a Russian who can get the Senate to adopt a resolution in his favor has a certain influence. But when the "deep state" growls about Russian influence, it isn't talking about Khodorkovsky. It's talking about a joking response Trump made to a reporter's snide question during the presidential campaign. In a variation of the classic "when did you stop beating your wife?" the reporter asked if he would call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "stay out" of the election.
Since a stupid question does not deserve a serious answer, Trump said he had "nothing to do with Putin" before adding, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
Aha! Went the Trump haters. This proves it! Irony is almost as unwelcome in American politics as honesty.
When President Trump revoked his security clearance earlier this month, former CIA chef John Brennan got his chance to spew out his hatred in the complacent pages of the New York Times.
Someone supposed to be smart enough to head an intelligence agency actually took Trump's joking invitation as a genuine request. "By issuing such a statement," Brennan wrote, "Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent."
The Russians, Brennan declared, "troll political, business, and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters."
Which Russians do that? And who are those "individuals"?
'The Fixer in Chief'
To understand the way Washington works, nothing is more instructive than to examine the career of lawyer Jonathan M. Winer, who proudly repeats that in early 2017, the head of the Carnegie Endowment Bill Burns introduced him as "the Fixer in Chief". Winer has long been unknown to the general public, but this may soon change.
Let's see what the fixer has fixed.
Under the presidency of fellow Yalie Bill Clinton, Winer served as the State Department's first Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Law Enforcement, from 1994-1999. One may question the selectivity of Bill Clinton's concern for international law enforcement, which certainly did not cover violating international law by bombing defenseless countries. In any case, in 1999, Winer was awarded for "virtually unprecedented achievements". Later we shall examine one of those important achievements.
At the end of the Clinton administration, from 2008 to 2013, the Fixer in Chief worked as high up consultant at one of the world's most powerful PR and lobbying firms, APCO Worldwide. This is how the Washington revolving door functions: after a few years in government finding out how things work, one then goes into highly paid "consultancy" to sell this insider information and influential contacts to private clients.
APCO got off to a big start some thirty years ago lobbying for Philip Morris and the tobacco industry in general.
In 2002, APCO launched something called the "Friends of Science" to promote skepticism concerning the harmful effects of smoking. In 1993, the campaign described its goals and objectives "encouraging the public to question – from the grassroots up – the validity of scientific studies."
While Winer was at APCO, one of its major activities was hyping the Clinton Global Initiative, an international networking platform promoting the Clinton Foundation. APCO president and CEO Margery Kraus explained that the consultancy was there to "help other CGI members garner interest for the causes they are addressing, demonstrate their success and highlight the wide-ranging achievements of CGI as a whole." Considering that only five percent of Clinton Foundation turnover went to donations, they needed all the PR they could get.
Significantly, donations to the Clinton Global Initiative have dried up since Hillary lost the presidential election. According to the Observer : "Foreign governments began pulling out of annual donations, signaling the organization's clout was predicated on donor access to the Clintons, rather than its philanthropic work."
This helps explain Hillary Clinton's panic when she lost in 2016. How in the world can she ever reward her multi-million-dollar donors with the favors they expected?
As well as the tobacco industry and the Clinton Foundation, APCO also works for Khodorkovsky. To be precise, according to public listings, the fourth biggest of APCO's many clients is the Corbiere Trust, owned by Khodorkovsky and registered in Guernsey. The trust tends and distributes some of the billions that the oligarch got out of Russia before he was jailed. Corbiere money was spent to lobby both for Resolution 322 (supporting Khodorkovky after his arrest in Russia) and for the Magnitsky Act (more later). Margery Kraus, APCO's president and CEO, is a member of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's son Pavel's Institute of Modern Russia, devoted to "promoting democratic values" – in other words, to building political opposition to Vladimir Putin.
In 2009 Jonathan Winer went back to the State Department where he was given a distinguished service award for having somehow rescued thousands of stranded members of the Muhahedin-e Khalq from their bases in Iraq they were trying to overthrow the Iranian government. The MeK, once officially recognized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, has become a pet instrument in US and Israeli regime change operations directed at Iran.
However, it was Winer's extracurricular activities at State that finally brought him into the public spotlight early this year – or rather, the spotlight of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes (R-Cal) named him as one of a network promoting the notorious "Steele Dossier" which accused Trump of illicit financial dealing and compromising sexual activities in Russia. By Winer's own account , he had been friends with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele since his days at APCO. Back at State, he regularly channeled Steele reports, ostensibly drawn from contacts with friendly Russian intelligence agents, to Victoria Nuland, in charge of Russian affairs, and top Russian experts. These included the infamous "Steele dossier". In September 2016, Winer's old friend Sidney Blumenthal – a particularly close advisor to Hillary Clinton – gave him notes written by a more mysterious Clinton insider named Cody Shearer, repeating the salacious attacks.
All this dirt was spread through government agencies and mainstream media before being revealed publicly just before Trump's inauguration, used to stimulate the "Russiagate" investigation by Robert Mueller. The dossier has been discredited but the investigation goes on and on.
So, it is all right to take seriously information allegedly obtained from "Russian agents" and spread it around, so long as it can damage Trump. As with so much else in Washington, double standards are the rule.
Jonathan Winer and the Magnitsky Act
Jonathan Winer played a major role in Congressional adoption of the "Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012" (the Magnitsky Act), a measure that effectively ended post-Cold War hopes for normal relations between Washington and Moscow. This act was based on a highly contentious version of the November 16, 2009 death in prison of accountant Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky, as told to Congress by hedge fund manager Bill Browder (grandson of Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party USA 1934-1945). According to Browder, Magnitsky was a lawyer beaten to death in prison as a result of his crusade for human rights.
However, as convincingly established by dissident Russian film-maker Andrei Nekrasov's (banned) investigative documentary, the unfortunate Magnitsky was neither a human rights crusader, nor a lawyer, nor beaten to death. He was an accountant jailed for his role in Browder's business dealings, who died of natural causes as a result of inadequate medical treatment. The case was hyped up as a major human rights drama by Browder in order to discredit Russian charges against himself.
In any case, by adopting a law punishing Magnitsky's alleged persecutors, the US Congress acted as a supreme court judging internal Russian legal issues.
The Magnitsky Act also condemns legal prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Browder, on a much smaller scale, also made a fortune ripping off Russians during the Yeltsin years, and later got into trouble with Russian tax collectors. Since Browder had given up his US citizenship in order to avoid paying US taxes, he had reason to fear Russian efforts to extradite him for tax evasion and other financial misdeeds.
It was Jonathan Winer who found a solution to Browder's predicament.
As Winer tells it :When Browder consulted me, [ ] I suggested creating a new law to impose economic and travel sanctions on human-rights violators involved in grand corruption. Browder decided this could secure a measure of justice for Magnitsky. He initiated a campaign that led to the enactment of the Magnitsky Act. Soon other countries enacted their own Magnitsky Acts, including Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and most recently, the United Kingdom.Russian authorities are still trying to pursue their case against Browder. In his press conference following the Helsinki meeting with Trump, Vladimir Putin suggested allowing US authorities to question the Russians named in the Mueller indictment in exchange for allowing Russian officials to question individuals involved in the Browder case, including Winer and former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul. Putin observed that such an exchange was possible under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed between the two countries in 1999, back in the Yeltsin days when America was posing as Russia's best friend.
But the naïve Russians did not measure the craftiness of American lawyers.
As Winer wrote:"Under that treaty, Russia's procurator general can ask the US attorney general to arrange for Americans to be ordered to testify to assist in a criminal case. But there is a fundamental exception: The attorney general can provide no such assistance in a politically motivated case ." (My emphasis.)"I know this", he wrote, "because I was among those who helped put it there. Back in 1999, when we were negotiating the agreement with Russia, I was the senior State Department official managing US-Russia law-enforcement relations."
So, the Fixer in Chief could have said to the worried Browder, "No problem. All that we need to do is make your case a politically motivated case. Then they can't touch you."
Winer's clever treaty is a perfect Catch-22. The treaty doesn't apply to a case if it is politically motivated, and if it is Russian, it must be politically motivated.
In a July 15, 2016, complaint to the Justice Department, Browder's Heritage Capital Management accused both American and Russian opponents of the Magnitsky Act of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA; adopted in 19938 with Nazis in mind). Among the "lobbyists" cited was the late Ron Dellums (falsely identified in the complaint as a "former Republican congressman").
The Heritage Capital Management brief declared that: "While lawyers representing foreign principals are exempt from filing under FARA, this is only true if the attorney does not try to influence policy at the behest of his client." However, by disseminating anti-Magnitsky material to Congress, any Russian lawyer was "clearly trying to influence policy" was therefore in violation of FARA filing requirements."
Catch-22 all over again.
Needless to say, Khodorkovsky's Corbiere Trust lobbied heavily to get Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which also repeated its defense of Khodorkovsky himself. This type of "Russian interference intended to influence policy" is not even noticed, while US authorities scour cyberspace for evidence of trolls.
The basic ideological conflict here is between Unipolar America and Multipolar Russia. Russia's position, as Vladimir Putin made clear in his historic speech at the 2007 Munich security conference, is to allow countries to enjoy national sovereignty and develop in their own way. The current Russian government is against interference in other countries' politics on principle. It would naturally prefer an American government willing to allow this.
The United States, in contrast, is in favor of interference in other countries on principle: because it seeks a Unipolar world, with a single "democratic" system, and considers itself the final authority as to which regime a country should have and how it should run its affairs .
So, if Russians were trying to interfere in US domestic politics, they would not be trying to change the US system but to prevent it from trying to change their own. Russian leaders clearly are sufficiently cultivated to realize that historic processes do not depend on some childish trick played on somebody's computer.
US policy-makers practice interference every day. And they are perfectly willing to allow Russians to interfere in American politics – so long as those Russians are "unipolar" like themselves, like Khodorkovsky, who aspire to precisely the same unipolar world sought by the State Department and George Soros. Indeed, the American empire depends on such interference from Iraqis, Libyans, Iranians, Russians, Cubans – all those who come to Washington to try to get US power to settle old scores or overthrow the government in the country they came from. All those are perfectly welcome to lobby for a world ruled by America.
Russian interference in American politics is totally welcome so long as it helps turn public opinion against "multipolar" Putin, glorifies American democracy, serves US interests including the military-industrial complex, helps break down national borders (except those of the United States and Israel) and puts money in appropriate pockets in the halls of Congress.
Aug 23, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
Linda Wood on Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:16pmThe gap between
@Dr. John Carpenter
[The difference between] what the average American knows about Russia and reality is frightening.]
What happened with Putin is that he went to the left of Yeltsin, our boy, our Bushworld plaything, poster boy of "unfettered" capitalism, the raping of Russia.
Bushworld didn't just deregulate mining and resource extraction in Russia, it deregulated everything, the abuse of labor, the destruction of education, the corruption of everything previously socialist and plunged Russia into an organized crime free fire zone.
The standard of living fell to pieces and huge fortunes were made by U.S., British, and other western speculators.
Putin has apparently moved to the left of that nightmare, and for that we are supposed to fear him, for insisting speculators pay their taxes and pay living wages and support social systems like education and healthcare as well as public infrastructure.
For that we are supposed to go to war and contribute the destruction of huge parts of the United States in a nuclear war so Assholes like Albright and her followers can live the lives of potentates.
Aug 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft | Aug 21, 2018 4:17:31 PM | 28
Russians hold as much as one trillion in USD assets outside Russia that were stolen from Russia in the 90's and number far greater if including all of the FSU. The stimulus to the global and US economy was enormous and created asset bubbles until the great collapse in 2008. The current bubble was due to quantitative easing of central banks as the flows from Russia and FSU dried up.
Much of this was held in tax havens and then moved to the US after cleaning via shelf companies. Trumps empire was rebuilt with Russian oligarchs/mafia money as real estate was a favorite investment for money launderers
During the Ukrainian conflict Putin began an amnesty program asking oligarchs to repatriate these assets by waiving penalties and taxes. He restarted it at the end of last year, hence the need to expand the list of assets to be seized before they fly the coop.
Trump may know where a lot of these assets are parked. Perhaps he had been a good informant of the FBI/CIA like his partner Felix Sater
Browder who helped facilitate the looting before he was kicked out of Russia and the Magnitsky Act are all part of the efforts to seize or at least contain as much of the loot as possible and keep it from Russia
Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Jim Kunstler Exposes The Democratic Party's "Three-Headed Monster"
by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:35 132 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
The faction that used to be the Democratic party can be described with some precision these days as a three-headed monster driving the nation toward danger, darkness, and incoherence.
Anyone interested in defending what remains of the sane center of American politics take heed:
The first head is the one infected with the toxic shock of losing the 2016 election. The illness took hold during the campaign that year when the bureaucracy under President Obama sent its lymphocytes and microphages in the "intel community" -- especially the leadership of the FBI -- to attack the perceived disease that the election of Donald Trump represented. The "doctors" of this Deep State diagnosed the condition as "Russian collusion." An overdue second opinion by doctors outside the Deep State adduced later that the malady was actually an auto-immune disease.
The agents actually threatening the health of the state came from the intel community itself: Mr. Brennan, Mr. Clapper, Mr. Comey, Mr. Strzok, Mr. McCabe, Mr. Ohr, Ms. Yates. Ms. Page, et. al. who colluded with pathogens in the DNC, the Hillary campaign, and the British intel service to chew up and spit out Mr. Trump as expeditiously as possible.
With the disease now revealed by hard evidence, the chief surgeon called into the case, Robert Mueller, is left looking ridiculous -- and perhaps subject to malpractice charges -- for trying to remove an appendix-like organ called the Manifort from the body politic instead of attending to the cancerous mess all around him. Meanwhile, the Deep State can't stop running its mouth -- The New York Times , CNN, WashPo , et al -- in an evermore hysterical reaction to the truth of the matter: the Deep State itself colluded with Russia (and perhaps hates itself for it, a sure recipe for mental illness).
The second head of this monster is a matrix of sinister interests seeking to incite conflict with Russia in order to support arms manufacturers, black box "security" companies, congressmen-on-the-take, and an army of obscenely-rewarded Washington lobbyists in concert with the military and a rabid neocon intellectual think-tank camp wishing to replay the cold war and perhaps even turn up the temperature with some nuclear fire. They are apparently in deep confab with the first head and its Russia collusion storyline. Note all the current talk about Russia already meddling in the 2018 midterm election, a full-fledged pathogenic hallucination.
This second head functions by way of a displacement-projection dynamic. We hold war games on the Russian border and accuse them of "aggression." We engineer and pay for a coup against the elected government of Ukraine, and accuse Russia of aggression. We bust up one nation after another in Middle East and complain indignantly when Russia acts to keep Syria from becoming the latest failed state. We disrupt the Russian economy with sanctions, and the Russian banking system with a cut-off of SWIFT international currency clearing privileges, and accuse them of aggression. This mode of behavior used to be known as "poking the bear," a foolish and hazardous endeavor. The sane center never would have stood for this arrant recklessness. The world community is not fooled, though. More and more, they recognize the USA as a national borderline personality, capable of any monstrous act.
The third head of this monster is the one aflame with identity politics. It arises from a crypto-gnostic wish to change human nature to escape the woes and sorrows of the human condition -- for example, the terrible tensions of sexuality. Hence, the multiplication of new sexual categories as a work-around for the fundamental terrors of human reproduction as represented by the differences between men and women. Those differences must be abolished, and replaced with chimeras that enable a childish game of pretend, men pretending to be women and vice-versa in one way or another: LBGTQetc. Anything BUT the dreaded "cis-hetero" purgatory of men and women acting like men and women. The horror .
Its companion is the race hustle and its multicultural operating system. The objective has become transparent over the past year, with rising calls to punish white people for the supposed "privilege" of being Caucasian and pay "reparations" in one way or another to underprivileged "people of color." This comes partly from the infantile refusal to understand that life is difficult for everybody, and that the woes and sorrows of being in this world require fortitude and intelligence to get through -- with the final reward being absolutely the same for everybody.
Creative_Destruct -> Got The Wrong No Fri, 08/17/2018 - 16:30 PermalinkChad Thunderfist -> venturen Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:56 Permalink
"We engineer and pay for a coup against the elected government of Ukraine, and accuse Russia of aggression. We bust up one nation after another in Middle East and complain indignantly when Russia acts to keep Syria from becoming the latest failed state. We disrupt the Russian economy with sanctions, and the Russian banking system with a cut-off of SWIFT international currency clearing privileges, and accuse them of aggression. This mode of behavior used to be known as "poking the bear," a foolish and hazardous endeavor. "
And this shit has been going on since the Soviet Union broke up and the "Harvard Boys" helped turn Russia into a corrupt Oligarchy, something the Left was first to identify.STP -> edotabin Fri, 08/17/2018 - 17:36 Permalink
I was talking to someone, who knows a lot about the 'inner workings' and we were discussing, not only the US, but Europe's situation as well.
The rising of the Populist parties in the UK, Germany, especially Italy and now Sweden, portends an interesting trend, not just nationally, but world wide...
Aug 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
Yet the political realm is where Soros has made his most audacious wager. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, he poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the former Soviet-bloc countries to promote civil society and [neo]liberal democracy. It was a one-man Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe, a private initiative without historical precedent. It was also a gamble that a part of the world that had mostly known tyranny would embrace ideas like government accountability and ethnic tolerance. In London in the 1950s, Soros was a student of the expatriated Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, who championed the notion of an "open society," in which individual liberty, pluralism and free inquiry prevailed. Popper's concept became Soros's cause.
... ... ...
...In the 1990s, he was portrayed by the far left as an agent of American imperialism, helping to foist the so-called neoliberal agenda (mass privatization, for example) on Eastern Europe. For some critics, Soros's Wall Street background has always been a mark against him.
Last autumn, he signaled that same sense of defiance when he announced that he was in the process of transferring the bulk of his remaining wealth, $18 billion in total at the time, to the O.S.F. That will potentially make it the second-largest philanthropic organization in the United States, in assets, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is already a sprawling entity, with some 1,800 employees in 35 countries, a global advisory board, eight regional boards and 17 issue-oriented boards. Its annual budget of around $1 billion finances projects in education, public health, independent media, immigration and criminal-justice reform and other areas
... ... ...
He decided that his goal would be opening closed societies. He created a philanthropic organization, then called the Open Society Fund, in 1979 and began sponsoring college scholarships for black South African students. But he soon turned his attention to Eastern Europe, where he started financing dissident groups. He funneled money to the Solidarity strikers in Poland in 1981 and to Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. In one especially ingenious move, he sent hundreds of Xerox copiers to Hungary to make it easier for underground publications to disseminate their newsletters. In the late 1980s, he provided dozens of Eastern European students with scholarships to study in the West, with the aim of fostering a generation of [neo]liberal democratic leaders. One of those students was Viktor Orban, who studied civil society at Oxford. From his Manhattan trading desk, Soros became a strange sort of expat anticommunist revolutionary.
... ... ...
In one campaign rally in Budapest, Orban referred to Soros as "Uncle George," telling tens of thousands of supporters that "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world." Along with the fiery speeches, there were the billboards, which featured a picture of a smiling Soros and the message, "Let's not let George Soros have the last laugh."
... ... ...
Orban's coalition won 49 percent of the vote, enough to give it a supermajority in Parliament. But the anti-Soros campaign didn't end with the election. Days after the vote, a magazine owned by a pro-Orban businesswoman published the names of more than 200 people in Hungary that it claimed were Soros "mercenaries."
... ... ...
There have been mistakes; by his own admission, Soros erred in championing Mikheil Saakashvili, the mercurial former president of Georgia, and also became too directly involved in the country's politics in the early 2000s. He clearly misjudged Orban. But as Victoria Nuland, a former American diplomat who worked for both Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton, put it when I spoke to her recently, "George is a freedom fighter."
alexander hamilton new york July 17Conservative Democrat WV July 17
"Billionaire philanthropist?" Really? Does that make the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelstein "philanthropists" too, or does that label apply only to left-leaning individuals seeking political leverage many times that of the average citizen?
One citizen, 1 vote. ALL citizens should be limited to $100 contributions for their senators, representatives and the President. NO citizen should be able to contribute to a campaign in a state where he/she is not a full-time permanent resident.
And NO citizen should be able to contribute more than $100 to his/her own campaign. We don't need more Kennedys, Clintons, Bloombergs, Trumps, Perots or Forbes buying (or trying to buy) their way into public office, using their millions.
Of the people, by the people, for the people. That's the model, folks. Depart from it at your peril.Maqroll North Florida July 17 Times Pick
For a man that purportedly promotes democracy, Mr. Soros conveniently overlooked public opinion when it came to promoting open borders.
In its essence, democracy is all about the wisdom and will of those governed, and not about what a billionaire thinks is best for them.WPLMMT New York City July 17 Times Pick
Soros--a "European at heart." Must have brought some much-needed smiles to the UK following the recent Trump Tour of Destruction. How soon we forget--in the 90s, Soros broke the pound as the Brits were trying to unify European currencies--with unfortunate conditions that weakened the effort and Soros smartly exploited.
Who can blame a globalist from crashing a poorly devised govt scheme and walking away with a cool $1B--back when a billion dollars was a lot of money? I am not the person to say whether Soros may qualify as an honest proponent of democracy, but I strongly suspect that he is a poster boy of the ultra-nationalists as they battle globalization.
In a way, Soros epitomizes the failure of globalization, which may or may not benefit the classic, labor-intensive industries of manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and mining, but always benefits, sometimes wildly, the financial "industry."
As far as I'm concerned, Soros is merely making reparations. And, sorry to say, George, it's prob too little, too late.gpickard Luxembourg July 17 Times Pick
I always thought George Soros was a dangerous [neo]liberal but after reading this article and seeing the damage he has created around the world it has been confirmed. Nigel Farage, the British politician, recently said on television that Mr. Soros is out to destroy the world. It certainly appears to be the case when you see what he did to the British and Thai economies. He was so concerned with helping immigrants and refugees that he had little regard for the citizens that actually lived in those countries that are being affected. People lost their livelihoods but that did not matter to him.
Mr. Soros fights for all the [neo]liberal causes no matter the consequences. He ... does not care who he hurts as long as he promotes his progressive agenda. He wants to allow as many immigrants to enter a nation as possible even if it adversely affects that country while he lives in luxury and is not inconvenienced by this invasion. He has billions and will probably never be touched by massive immigration.
I am glad that the conservatives and others are finally seeing his true colors and are trying to subdue him the best they can. He must be called out on this negative behavior before it is too late. It is reassuring that many of the European nations are implementing policies that are favorable to their countries and looking out for their people. Europeans must be protected and George Soros stopped. I am glad they see him for what he truly is which is frightening.c smith Pittsburgh July 17
As Mr. Soros said of himself, "I am a confirmed egoist." He has used his money to make the world as he thinks is best. But having money does not give you a better moral view of how the world should be governed nor make you a god to decide for the rest of us.
I think this kind of undue influence (money in politics) is what is driving some of the back-lash against [neo]liberal democracy. So many of the "[neo]liberal" proponents of an open society, like George Soros and Bill Gates, seem to have an inordinate power to effect political outcomes because of their money.
The making of such huge amounts of money is not done with any charitable purpose. Only later, does charity come to mind.Karekin USA July 17
Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America. Yes, a billion people around the world are better off because of the forces of "globalization" (this total most definitely includes Soros himself), but millions of Americans have suffered economically as a result. GATT, NAFTA and the entire alphabet soup of trade deals have lined the pockets of the globalists, while grinding the fortunes of U.S. working and middle class laborers into dust.Tim DC area July 17 Times Pick
Great article. Now, more than ever, American politics is defined by money, so it's important to understand how it is used in that context by those who have it. At this juncture, I think the American people deserve to see an expose of all those millionaires and billionaires who have and continue to support Trump. It's only fair, to lay the money trail on the table, on all sides, for everyone to see.Samuel Spade Huntsville, al July 17
What about the devastating effects that free trade and globalization have had on the spread of inequality throughout the world... Huge corporations consistently use "free trade" or globalization as an excuse to offer the lowest possible wages, and move manufacturing to places with the least environmental protections and human rights.
Immigration policies are also sometimes used in ways to suppress wages, and even more worse, enacted with very little thought given to assimilation. Most of the poorer areas, or ghettoes surrounding Paris for example are populated with huge numbers of Muslim immigrants that face extremely daunting odds of fully assimilating into French culture.
While the wealthier (sometimes elite [neo]liberals) Parisians almost certainly live in gated or posh neighborhoods with hardly any immigrants as their neighbors. Despite the generous financial support Soros (and some other elites) gives to human rights causes, he rarely outright discusses some of these problems associated with free trade, globalization and mass immigration. These seeming hypocrisies and inconsistencies then become much easier fodder for those of Orban's ilk to manipulate and ultimately consolidate power.Ivory Tower Colorado July 17
Soros didn't bet on Democracy, he bet on his version of it which he tried to buy through individual politicians on the take and the Democratic Party. Better he quit manipulating pols and gave his money to charity.Concerned EU Resident Germany July 17
First, Hungary is not xenophobic, they merely want to protect their culture. Second, George Soros wants plenty of wealth for him and his family, yet he wants those of us in the middle class to dive up our meager assets with the world's poorest. Third, his personal wealth has often been generated by destroying currencies and the middle class who owns those currencies. Fourth, he promotes open borders without consulting the citizenry of said borders as to their opinion regarding their own national sovereignty. Our world would be a much better place without George Soros.geezer117 Tennessee July 17
Soros is a criminal by any other name. He hedged against the UK Pound 20 years ago, and earned $1B. He earned billions by manipulating the market. With his profits he wanted to create his own society where his money could be used to buy politicians and pass legislation according to his one man agenda. He's selfish, an egomaniac, and dangerous.Rose Philadelphia July 17
Soros employs his vast wealth to create the society he dreams of, regardless of what the rest of us want. When the democratic process veers away from his vision, he uses the power of his wealth to steer it back.
So he's just another wealthy and powerful elite trying to remake the world as he prefers it. Such arrogance!Jonas Seattle July 17
Sucking money out of the world's economies so that he can direct it as HE sees fit does not make a man great. Rather, I would argue that such actions contributed to the rise of both Brexiteers and Trumpsters.
If Soros really wants to contribute to society, he would lobby for financial industry reform - less favorable tax treatment for hedge funds (what value do they really provide to society) and a transaction tax on trades to reduce speculation. Then fight for minimum wage increases.Peter Albany. NY July 17
This is a horrifying interview and does not improve the image of George Soros. "My ideology is nonideological," he says while spending billions on politics, which he defines as "In politics, you are spinning the truth, not discovering it." He describes Obama as his greatest disappointment because Obama "closed the door on me," as in he expected Obama should work with him and take his advice. Soros uses his billions to fund politicians and meddle in elections... this is a man who enjoys influencing and manipulating politics and becomes frustrated when his efforts backfire or are not successful.Marian Maryland July 17
This man is the absolute worst! His no borders policy has done more to hurt Europe then Russia ever could. The Soros gang has zero respect and tolerance for nation-state sovereignty and local governance. Talk about a global elite! He and his gang epitomize that arrogance.Al Nino Hyde Park NY July 17
George Soros bet big on open borders,one world governance and destroying the working class through unfair trade agreements. Yes he appears to be losing. Thank God for small favors.Charles Becker Sonoma State University July 17
It cracks me up to read these type of article in the NYT and then read another story in the NYT about how if you can pay the money you can have yourself a private waiting area in a major airport to separate yourself from the chaos of the masses in the public waiting areas. Maybe democracy wouldn't be in trouble around the world if it worked as well for the "slobs" in the public waiting areas as it did for those in the exclusive waiting rooms. This is globalization in a nutshell. It works great for the rich, not so well for the rest of us slobs. This is a government of the rich people, by the rich people, for the rich people. The slobs realise their government doesn't really care that their jobs are disapearing and their standard of living is going down.John Medina Holt July 17
I am not interested in windfall investing profits. Soros is *not* my hero: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-george-soros-broke-the-bank-of-thaila... . Wretched.Richard L. Wilson Moscow, Russia July 17
To say that George Soros is funding [neo]liberal democracy is a misnomer. What Soros is funding is open borders. Where national interests are set aside, global interests prevail. This is precisely what George Soros is advocating. Tired of having to face multitude regulatory systems in his effort to build a global financial empire, Soros is quite right in discerning that a borderless, global regulatory system would increase his financial power exponentially. Nations are right to resist the encroachment of Soros because global interests, by definition, are not local interests. Nationalism, so loathed by Soros and his open border lackeys, serves as a check and balance on men like Soros who would be god and would dictate to the world from some point of central governance what their truth and value should be. George Soros and his globalist kin should be resisted. The true threat to global interests is not nationalism, it is globalism.elizabeth renant new mexico July 17
Soros, and American [neo]liberalism, economic and social [neo]liberalism championed by Soros and the NYT, is in its death throes. Call us fascists, totalitarians, racists--- understand clearly: we do not care. Europe is waking up. [neo]liberalism is close to being dead. No spectres or phantoms are haunting Europe. Blood is standing up and answering our ancestors.We are not commodoties, consumers, meat for your wars. You have attacked us, belittled us, turned our queen of continents into latrines of filth. You, American [neo]liberalism, have destroyed us.Now, we take our nations back.Larry Left Chicago's High Taxes July 17
It's amusing to read phrases like "nationalism and tribalism are resurgent". It never does to underestimate tribalism; as long as groups feel safe they are tolerant. But when groups feel threatened, tribalism rears up in what is not so much a resurgence but more like an awakening from a nap.
The older cultures of Europe are waking up from a nap and realizing that unless they reassess a few long-held assumptions, they will eventually be ethnically diminished and culturally pressured.
Denmark has banned the burka and legislated some of the harshest migration, immigration, asylum, and naturalization laws in Europe. It is implementing laws to ensure integration, including stopping benefits to families whose children are not integrating. Do the author and Mr. Soros think that Denmark exercising control over its future demographics and preserving its culture are malign?
The Danes some years ago elected the Danish People's Party to significant power; the DPP is often referred to as a far right party, but is a typical left-wing party in everything except pushing Denmark toward "multiculturalism".
Sweden's centre-left government, on the other hand, brought in hundreds of thousands of Third World immigrants and then refused even to admit, let alone discuss, the glaring problems with integration within its immigrant community.
Result: the Sweden Democrats, a bona fide neo-Nazi party, are set to do extremely and alarmingly well in Sweden's September elections.
Yes - in Sweden.Burton Austin, Texas July 17
This super-rich elitist from Hungary is trying to buy American democracy and reshape it in his image regardless of what We The People want. And the Democrats are on his payroll and totally owned by this foreign agent!Ned Flarbus Berkeley July 17
Soros' flaw is that he only tolerates centralized socialist democracy. He cannot stand the idea of democracy in the form of a federal republic with a weak central government. Interestingly, he made his billions as a predatory capitalist now he turns on capitalism. He also exhibits a particularly vicious elitism: No one should be allowed to own guns except his private security guards. He knows that umarmed men are always someone's slaves.Philly Expat July 17
Soros is a hypocrite who did one thing and is now out to create a legacy. All is shows is he is driven by both greed and ego. His blatant hypocrisy probably did more harm than good - common denominator, it's always about him. Hey Soros, don't do us plebes any more favors, ok?David Brisbane July 17
Democracy is alive and well, regardless of what Soros thinks. He does not represent democracy, he was never been elected to any public office. He represents open borders mass migration, as the name of one of his NGOs implies, Open Society Foundation. Brexit voters, and other voters across the west are increasingly voting against his philosophy. Voters in the US, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, etc, have democratically chosen as their leaders conservative controlled borders leaders, and to underscore, all were elected via the democratic process.
Open Borders and globalism that Soros is pushing is increasingly being rejected in voting booths in the EU and the US.
It is hardly undemocratic to increasingly vote against what Soros is selling – chaotic mass migration made possible by open borders.
He represents [neo]liberal democracy, and voters increasingly favor conservative democracy.idimalink usa July 17
George Soros is the epitome of corruption – penetration and distortion of political process by obscene wealth. It does not matter what his true intentions are – he can say whatever he wants but we will never know for sure. And stop calling that "philanthropy".
Red Cross and Salvation Army is philanthropy. What Soros is doing is imposing his personal political beliefs and ideas on everybody by buying political influence with his money - that is called "corruption" pure and simple.
Sure, he is not the only one doing that, but he is the one doing that most overtly and blatantly. He seems to relish being the face of the elitist disregard for the masses. What he does is not democracy promotion - it is the exact opposite – democracy destruction. It is good to know that he is failing in that effort.Jose Pardinas Collegeville, PA July 18
Neoliberalism has failed to improve democratic governance and reduced distribution of wealth, just as leftists predicted. Soros benefitted financially, which has increased his privilege to participate in governance voters cannot achieve. Despite Soros' wealth, successfully manipulating currency markets does not easily transfer to manipulating electorates. Even if Soros believes his projects would produce good governance, he lacks the ability to convince voters what is in their best interests.
I am elated to hear that George Soros might be losing.
What pharaonic globalist plutocrats like him mean by "Liberal Democracy" encompasses a sinister set of objectives. Prominent among which are these two:
1). Full support for neocon/neoliberal destabilization, confrontation, and military interventionism.
2). The destruction of borders, nations, and cultures -- particularly Western Culture here and in Europe.
Soros and his peers want unhindered unlimited access to cheap Third World labor as well as to have complete control over the entire global economy. To his class nationalism and culture are speed bumps on the way to those self-serving goals.
Aug 04, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Within four weeks they bought $6.5 billion and transferred most of it to foreign banks.  Most of the rest of IMF loan was a stealth bailout for western financial institutions which had some $200 billion worth of loans and investments in Russia. The banks feared the prospect of Russian default which would leave them with crippling losses. These risks became even more acute in the aftermath of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis that would engulf Russia in 1998.
In a testimony before the U.S. Congress, veteran investor Jim Rogers characterized IMF's assistance to Russia as follows: " The activities of the organization are gussied up in sanctimonious prose about aiding the poor and raising the living standards of the third world. Don't be fooled. These bailouts are really about protecting interests of Chase Manhattan, J.P. Morgan, and Fidelity Investments ." 
In addition to loading Russia up with unproductive debt, IMF also engineered Russia's hyperinflation and liquidity crisis. After eliminating price controls, IMF obliged Russia to maintain the ruble as the common currency for all Soviet Union successor states, giving each of the 15 new countries the incentive to issue ruble credits for their own benefit while fueling inflation for all others. Sachs reported that he strenuously argued with the IMF against this measure but " for inexplicable reasons, " he was consistently rebuked.
The result was a one-year delay in the introduction of national currencies for the former Soviet republics, pushing Russia into hyperinflation and needlessly prolonging its economic depression. At this same time, the IMF engineered Russia's staggering liquidity crisis that made it almost impossible for enterprises to pay their suppliers and workers. Under IMF's dictate, Russian economy struggled along on less than one sixth of the currency required to operate an economy of its size.
The extent of IMF's iron-fisted control over Russian economy was exemplified in a letter from the IMF's representative Yusuke Horaguchi to Russia's central bank chairman Sergei Dubinin . The letter specified the precise schedule of Russia's ruble supply along with " harshly worded " instructions regarding bank credits, the state budget, energy policy, price levels, trade tariffs and agricultural policies. Horaguchi's letter even included a warning that any acts of the parliament contravening the IMF mandates would be vetoed by president Yeltsin. 
It is clear that shock "therapy" was little more than a relentless, cruel strangulation of Russia's economy to facilitate looting of her vast industrial and resource wealth . Nonetheless, most Western-published analyses of this episode tended to treat it as failure of good intentions. While lamenting the outcomes and certain questionable practices, most analysts essentially attribute the failure of Russian transition to honest errors, Russia's endemic corruption, and perhaps inexperience in many of the drama's protagonists.Goldman Marshall of Harvard and the Council of Foreign Relations wrote: " To be sure, there were unsettling reports of shady dealings during the takeovers, but most observers explained them away as inevitable side effects of such a far-reaching transformation. "
Naturally, Marshall fails to detail how or where he polled these "most observers," but his message to the readers is unmistakable: move along folks, there's nothing to see here – especially pay no attention to the fact that many of those thousands of Westerners who came to Russia " for the best of reasons ," including Bill Browder , Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay ,  returned from Russia as multi-millionaires. Financial reporter Anne Willamson , who covered Russia for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal rightly remarked in her Congressional testimony that, " Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed. "
 During his time managing the HIID's Moscow operation, Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay took advantage of their position and relationships to make personal investments in Russia. An investigation by the FBI and U.S. Justice Department found evidence of fraud and money laundering by Harvard's consultants. In 2004, Schleifer was found guilty of fraud and he agreed to pay a $31 million fine to settle the case. Not only did Harvard University persist in defending Schleifer over the 8 years of investigations and trials, it paid the bulk of Schileifer's fine and kept him on university's faculty.
Jul 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
John Perry July 28, 2018 at 1:48 pmJohn Perry , says: July 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm
"Vladimir Putin rode a counter-wave of anti-Western nationalism to power in Moscow."
Uh, no. Putin came to power at a time when Russia seemed to be falling apart, quite literally. There was war in Chechnya, open criminal activity on the streets, and clear social decay. Putin's popularity begins with his address to the nation after the bombing of the Moscow metro, promising that the government (which he did not then lead) would chase those responsible down and kill them, even if that meant chasing them into outhouses. The relationship between the bombing and Putin's rise is so well-known that the conspiracy theorists who have Jay Nordlinger's ear over at National Review claim that the bombing was a set up by Putin's pals in the FSB, precisely to bring Putin to power.
My wife is Russian, from the city of Kazan in the Tatar Republic (part of Russia; it's complicated), and when we were merely pen pals in 2003 she wrote me what it was like. It was bad, very bad. At one point her entire neighborhood was placed under curfew on account of open warfare between criminal gangs. And of course when we visit the cemetery today one sees the striking spike in tombstones whose date of death is at some point in the mid- to late 90's, when it all seemed to be going to pieces and the government didn't even pay its own employees for half a year.
Today, by contrast, Russians can walk the streets more or less without fear, count on a paycheck, read in the news how their country has sent yet another capsule of Western astronauts to the international space station (because Westerners haven't been able to do that for the better part of a decade, thanks to Bush and Obama), and even find jobs in a successful tech sector (Kaspersky, JetBrains, Yandex, the list goes on).
But, hey, if you want to fantasize that Putin's rise is thanks to anti-Western sentiment, you go ahead and do that.One other comment, if I may. I share the concern most Westerners have about Russia's seizure of Crimea. But where is our concern about Turkey's 40-plus-year occupation of northern Cyprus, also sparked by internal political disorder on the island? Why is it alright for a NATO country to invade another nation and prop up its separatists, expel the inhabitants of a disfavored ethnic group -- in this case, the Greeks?Rodrigo Alvarez , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:15 pmShame on TAC for publishing this garbage. For one, Putin more or less saved Russia as a sovereign state, it is easy to forget the sorry condition Russia was in at the turn of the century. Without him, Russia would've most likely been dismembered or simply colonized by the West and China. He has performed admirably in the face of massive odds. Russia will still exist in 100 years as the state of the Russian and other native people of its land – can the same be said of the United States? Russia is slowly climbing its way out of the pit of despair created by 80 years of Communism, the United States is crawling into the very same pit.Cynthia McLean , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:27 pmI am much more concerned that voter roll purges, suppression of the vote, Citizen's United Dark Money and folks like the Kochs and Addelson are undermining US democracy than the Russians. As for the aggression of military machines around the world, the US wins hands down.Groucho , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:37 pmLike Fran my inclination was to bail after the first paragraph but I pushed on.laninya , says: July 28, 2018 at 7:45 pm
In the first paragraph Mr Desch lays out his position which is well within the bounds of polite discussion that Russia is a corrupt oligarchy but don't worry because it's an economic and military basketcase.
Where to start?
1. Corrupt kleptocracy. The Russian oligarchy/ mafia was a biproduct of the privatization binge that followed the collapse of the USSR. This evolved under the disastrous Yeltsin aided and abetted by US elites. The case of William Browder is instructive. Putin has taken significant measures to reassert government control and has greatly improved the lot of the average Russian.
2. Political freedom. Putin did not inherit a developed liberal democracy. Russia needs to be judged in the context of its own historical timeline in this regard not compared to western democracies. Do you prefer Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov? In contrast compare the state and trajectory of US democratic institutions to, say the 1970s.
3. Human rights. Again the situation in Russia vis a vis human rights needs to be judged in terms of Russia's history not against Western nations with a long-standing tradition of human rights and political freedoms. That said, the illusion of political repression is largely overstated. For example Putin is routinely accused of murdering journalists but no real proof is ever offered. Instead, the statement is made again in this article as though it were self evident.
4. Foreign aggression. This is my favorite because it flies in the face of observable reality to the point of being ridiculous. Russia did not invade Ukraine. It provided support to ethnic Russians in Ukraine who rebelled after the illegal armed overthrow of the Russian leaning democratically elected president.That coup was directly supported by the United States. Far from ratcheting up tensions Russia has consistently pressed for the implementation of the Minsk accords. Putin is not interested in becoming responsible for the economic and political basket case which is Ukraine. The "largely bloodless" occupation of Crimea was actually a referendum in which the citizens of Crimea overwhelmingly supported annexation to Russia. Again This result makes sense in light of even a basic understanding of Russian history. Finally, in the case of Georgia Russia engaged after Georgia attacked what was essentially a Russian protectorate. This was the conclusion reached by an EU investigation.
Russia's so-called aggressive foreign-policy has been primarily in response to NATOs continuous push eastward and the perceived need to defend ethnic Russians from corrupt ultranationalist governments in former republics of the USSR. This is what Putin was talking about when he called the dissolution of the USSR one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century – the fact that, overnight 20 million Russians found themselves living in foreign countries. It wasn't about longing for a Russian empire.
As for the current state of Russias military capabilities, Mr Desch Would do well to read Pepe Escobar's recent article in the Asia Times. Russian accomplishments in Syria illustrated a level of technology and strategic effectiveness that rivals anything the US can do. Name one other nation – other than the US – that can design and build a world class 6th generation fighter jet or develop its own space program. Even Germany can't do that.
This silly article is proof, as if more was needed that what passes for Russia scholarship in the US is little more than politicized group-think.VG1959connecticut farmer , says: July 29, 2018 at 12:43 pm
"It is in the pursuit of empire that Putin, like Napoleon or Hitler before him, threatens the stability of Europe and by extension world peace."
Ah! ha!ha! Right.
Like Russia with a population of 150 million persons inhabiting a land mass that stretches across 9 or 10 time zones, from the Arctic pole to the Black Sea is chafing for "lebensraum" !?
No, Russia just wants to develop what it already owns. And, trying to do it on the strength of their own efforts (no overseas colonies filling the coffers), on a GDP as Winston, above, has pointed out which is smaller than that some US states. They're focussed, not on grabbing tiny, constipated territories like Estonia. Latvia, and Lithuania (full of Nazi sympathizers), but on bringing back to life those ancient trade routes which are their inheritance from the past (the Silk Road, primarily).
Why not just leave them alone and see what they can do? Those who have been relentlessly picking fault with Russia (and North Korea) might want to put down their megaphones and start taking notes.
What I mean is: pause for a moment to consider that:
1. Russia has risen from utter economic, political, and societal collapse (gold reserves, factories, military secrets, science labs stripped bare and shipped or brain-drained out of the country; millions of pre-mature deaths; plunging birth rates) to recover, within a mere 20 years, to the point where the population has stabilized and the nation can credibly hold its own again on the world stage. Infrastructure is being rebuilt and modernized, the military has been restructured and re-equipped, pensions and salaries have risen 3 or 4-fold.
2. North Korea, in 1953, had been so destroyed by war that no structures over a single story were left standing (and American generals were actually barfing into their helmets at the horror of what had been done to those people). The DPRK authorities, helpless to assist the population, could only advise to dig shelters underground to survive the winter. Yet, 70 years later, under international sanctions designed to starve those traumatized people into surrender, North Korea has restored its infrastructure, built modern cities, and developed a military apparatus able to credibly resist constant threats from abroad.
See: rather than picking nits to find things that are not yet perfectly hunky-dory with the governing structures/systems in those countries, I'm taking notes!!
Because, I'm convinced that if those people (those nations) were able to do what they've done with the time and resources they've had to work with, there is absolutely no reason and no excuse for our rich nations of "the West" to be caught in a nightmare of austerity budgeting, crumbling infrastructure, collapsing pensions, and spiralling debt.
Funny how the English speaking world SO resisst learning something that could actually do us a whole lot of good. I don't know who coined the terms "stiffnecked" and "bloodyminded", but it sure describes us!"From Moscow's perspective, the events in Kiev in late 2013 and 2014 looked suspiciously like a Western-backed coup."EliteCommInc. , says: July 29, 2018 at 1:11 pm
Gee, ya think? Kinda reminds one of the 1996 Russian election. But, hey, don't broadcast this because, after all, too many people might start, er, noticing.
"They may be weakened, but their ability to make trouble is undiminished, given their aptitude for cyberattacks."
And if you have evidence that Russia so engaged, the FBI has a place for you.
Jul 24, 2018 | www.unz.com
Greg Bacon , Website July 24, 2018 at 7:43 am GMTThe Alarmist , July 24, 2018 at 10:37 am GMT
" American politicians like Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman "
American? I beg to differ. All of those turncoats serve their Master Israel and kiss the nether regions of those TBTF Wall Street Casinos.
Browder is one of those nine Russian oligarchs -- eight of whom are Jews -- who stole hundreds of billions from Russia when it was decompressing from being the USSR, helped by the drunken buffoon Yeltsin and a battery of Wall Street financial sharpies who also filled their pockets.
Watch the tough guy Browder run like a scared bunny rabbit in NYC from a process server.
Browder needs to be arrested by Interpol, tried, convicted and spend the rest of his sorry life in a Super Max prison for his thefts, frauds and helping to poison the relationship between the USA & Russia, in an effort to save his sorry ass from prosecution.geokat62 , July 24, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
"Yeltsin had won a fraudulent election in 1996 supported by the oligarch-controlled media and by President Bill Clinton, who secured a $20.2 billion IMF loan that enabled him to buy support. Today we would refer to Clinton's action as "interference in the 1996 election," but at that time a helpless and bankrupt Russia was not well placed to object to what was being done to it."
So Mother Russia was raped, and by Bill Clinton, of all people. Where is the outrage? #MeToo@Greg BaconAnonymous lurker , July 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm GMT
Browder needs to be arrested by Interpol
Although I posted this comment under another thread, I think it bears repeating here (especially relevant to your point is the bolded part):
I think debunking the vulture capitalist Bill Browder's false claim of being, of all things, a human rights advocate is the key to unraveling the Russia-gate hoax. I also think the following information goes a long way in doing that:
1. Nekrasov's documentary, The Magnitsky Act: Behind The Scenes, now available for viewing
2. Alex Krainer's The Killing of William Browder, now available online; and
3. Bill Browder's Previzon deposition in which he claims "I can't remember" at least 50 times and answers "I don't know" fully 211 times.
Notwithstanding these facts, it appears Mr. Browder is an untouchable. The Russians have issued a Red Notice at least six times and he has managed to walk away scot free on each occasion.
The zinger was when the Senate Judiciary Committee invited him to testify as an expert witness against Fusion GPS, arguing that it should have registered under FARA because it was working on behalf of a foreign government, in this case the Russian. The irony of this scene was incredible. The hallowed chamber in which this inquiry took place is completely bought and paid for by The Lobby but not a peep about having it register under FARA. Totally surreal!An interesting thing about this that has gone almost completely unreported is that HSBC quietly held a series of closed-door meetings with Russian authorities earlier this year regarding the tax fraud charges leveled at Browder and his businesses (HSBC jointly managed Hermitage) and decided to pay up some of the cash he illegally siphoned out of the country (22 million dollars I believe, so a drop in the ocean given the scale of his endeavors, but it's something.)Anonymous  Disclaimer , July 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT
"Bill Browder declined to comment" according to one of the few articles on the matter.
Isn't all of that more or less tantamount to an admission of guilt?Questions I have:Johnny Smoggins , July 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT
(1) Why is he so protected?
(2) How does a respectable congress pass a law based solely on the testimony of someone convicted of a crime by another country? No jury in the world would reach a verdict based solely on the word of a convict, without it being substantiated by numerous pieces of other circumstantial and direct evidence.
(3) Even if he paid everyone oodles of money and brought a thousand lawsuits, why would gazillionaire corporations cave in to his demands to ban books, movies, organizations, etc.?
There is something more powerful about Bill Browder than just his pile of money.You'd think that a man who gave up his US citizenship to dodge his tax bill would be seen as a villain, not defended by presidents and congressmen.Andrei Martyanov , Website July 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm GMT@AnonymousAnatoly Karlin , Website July 24, 2018 at 1:28 pm GMT
How does a respectable congress pass a law based solely on the testimony of someone convicted of a crime by another country?
US Congress has an approval rating slightly above that of Al Qaeda and Ted Bundy.
In fact, most (not all) US lawmakers long ago became a euphemism for incompetence, corruption and lies. So, no -- modern US Congress is not respectable by people and numbers reflect that. Hopefully, sometime in the future, some honorable and loyal to their country people will make it there.Couple of other standard narrative-critical articles on the Magnitsky Affair:John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , July 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
* kovane: Sergei Magnitsky, Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital Management and Wondrous Metamorphoses
* Lucy Komisar: The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act Did Bill Browder's Tax Troubles in Russia Color Push for Sanctions?Can someone help me remember the names of those 9 oligarchs?
These are the ones I remember:
1) Anatoly Chubais
3) Boris Berezovsky
4) Mikhail Khodorkovsky
5) Vladimir Gusinsky
Who were the others? Thanks.
Of these 5, Chubais remained in Russia but the others fled. Chubais was the one who was instrumental in starting the loans-for-shares scheme. My understanding is that those who fled are real scum, since Putin offered all oligarchs the chance to keep their money so long as they avoided politics. Most vulture capitalists agreed to this arrangement, but the worst of the Jewish oligarchs were too greedy and lustful to give in. So I have heard, anyway.
Jul 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.orgThe USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin by Dan Corjescu
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
-- Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"
There are many modern myths. One of them is about the events of 1989 as being the culmination of a grand historical struggle for freedom and liberty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years prior to 1989 the West through a combination of both legal business and criminal activity had interpenetrated the Communist elites with lucrative deals and promises of all kinds.
This situation was even more pronounced in "non-aligned" Yugoslavia who for years had maintained CIA and American and West European business contacts.
In effect, the "cold war" witnessed a rapid convergence between the economic and power interests of both Western and Communist elites.
The "Communists" (in name only of course) quickly realized the economic benefits available to them through at times open at times clandestine cooperation with Western business/criminal interests.
Eventually, Communist elites realized that they had an unprecedented economic opportunity on their hands: state privatization made possible, in part, with active Western participation.
For them, "Freedom" meant the freedom to get rich beyond their wildest dreams.
And the 1990's were just that. A paradise for thieving on an unimaginable scale all under the rubric of the rebirth of "capitalism and freedom".
The true outcome of that decade was that the old communist elites not only retained their social and political power behind the scenes; they also were able to enrich themselves beyond anything the communist dictatorships could ever hope to offer them in the past.
Yes, the price was to give up imperial, national, and ideological ambitions. But it was a very small price to pay; since the East European elites had ceased to believe in any of those things years earlier.
The only firm belief they still held was the economic betterment of themselves and their families through the acquisition by any means of as many asset classes as possible. In effect, they became the mirror image of their "enemy" the "imperialist capitalist West".
This was not a case of historical dialectics but historical convergence. What appeared as a world divided was actually a world waiting to be made whole through the basest of criminal business activity.
But being clever thieves they knew how to hide themselves and their doings behind superficially morally impeccable figures such as Vaclav Havel and Lech Wałęsa, to name just a few. These "dissidents" would be the faces they would use to make a good part of the world believe that 1989 was a narrative of freedom and not outright pubic theft which it was.
Yes, people in the east, even in Russia, are freer now than they were. But it should never be forgotten that the events of 1989/1990 were not even remotely about those revolutionary dreams.
It was about something much more mundane and sordid. It was about greed. It was about the maintenance of power. And finally it was about money.
How deep has the Western nexus of power and wealth gone into the heart of the East? So far indeed that one can easily question to what extent a country like Russia is truly a "national" state anymore and rather just a territory open to exploitation by both local and global elites.
For that matter, we can ask the same question about the USA.
... ... ...
Jul 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Creative_Destruct -> King of Ruperts Land Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:23 Permalink
" The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him."
It's amusing to me that the Leftist's NOW have a blind-faith trust in government, whereas during the Vietnam war, and at the start of the Iraq war the opposite was (justifiably) the case.
And remember, the [neoliberal] Left was all OVER how we manipulated Russia into an Oligarchy:
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com
Sergey Krieger , June 16, 2018 at 6:12 pm GMT@AnonFromTNAnonFromTN , June 16, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT
Compared to modern western leaders Kruschev was rather good leader and Brezhnev is downright genius. I was and am actually fond of Dear Leonid Iliich. So I believe it is not a matter of social political organization but systematic and probably human feature.
The West has been producing non entities, idiots and morons at the top with unerring consistency. It is just that conditions in the West are far more forgiving than in Russia. Also we have not mentioned destruction and suffering caused by war in ussr somewhat lagging in few aspects of life standards. Socialism slogan is from everyone by their abilities to everyone for their contribution.
Hence obviously hardworking and better contributing people should be rewarded especially like in Stalin times via glorifying and promoting them to higher status. Stahanov movement comes to mind.
I think Stalin genius is underappreciated. Regarding weapons manufacturing I believe it was a matter of great patriotic war shock.
That war in every respect has caused great damage to us including probably due to huge loss of Tim and best human material laying foundation for further problems. Stalin wasted 8-10 years of his life to first win the war and then rebuild the country. Imagine no war. I am pretty sure there would be no 1991.@Sergey KriegerAnonFromTN , June 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm GMT
While not being a fan of Stalin, I acknowledge that only the people who rose to the top before Bolsheviks took power were good for anything. Those who rose after, from Khruschev on, were worthless nonentities. I consider this negative selection of leaders as one of the drawbacks of the Soviet system.
Materially the people in some Western countries lived better than the Soviet people. However, the difference was ~2-3-fold at best, not 10+-fold as many in the USSR believed, and there were (and are) very few countries with higher living standards than Russia. As far as psychological wellbeing is concerned, the USSR compared to the West even better, except for the people with excellent education and willingness to work hard, like me. That's the PR campaign Soviet authorities lost to their peril: the support of better intellectually equipped and the most active people.
I agree that nobody, even the laziest and most useless, should go hungry today, but the difference between what those get and what hard-working people get should be many-fold. Otherwise, the society provides disincentive for the people who can contribute, dragging itself down.
Also, USSR should have paid more attention to the production of consumer goods, even if it meant fewer tanks and artillery pieces. It's policies made all these tanks useless, anyway, not to mention that today these tanks and other military hardware is used against Russia by former "brothers" (with "bothers" like that, who needs enemies).@Sergey Krieger
I agree that the people who went to college in Soviet times are better educated and more creative than recent graduates. I am pretty sure that recent successes of Russian MIC are largely due to the Soviet legacy. We'll see what happens next, as "effective managers" they are cranking out now are totally useless in real life.
Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Engelhardt via The Asia Times,
Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren't so grim.If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. "The Americans and South Koreans," wrote reporter Motoko Rich, "want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country's resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens' economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive."
Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that's before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that's still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.
"Clueless" is not a word Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a government. Yet how applicable it is.
And when it comes to cluelessness, there's another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn't be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don't have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist's couch, this might be the place to start.America contained
In a way, it's the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – "empire," always "empires." Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.
This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two "superpowers," the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.
Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire , which it worked assiduously to " contain " behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.
However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.
This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained."
In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows").
The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.
That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn't triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.America uncontained
Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, " the end of history ." Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call "the last superpower," the " indispensable " nation, the " exceptional " state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn't all-American any more).
In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the "last superpower" at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a "peace dividend" – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country's citizens).
Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington's attic. Instead, with only a few rickety "rogue" states left to deal with – like gulp North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.
Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.
And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world's greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).
In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn't gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.Unchaining the indispensable nation
On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.
William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.
To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that " Pearl Harbor of the 21st century ," it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, "Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not."
Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be "at war," and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have "terror networks" of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration's potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.
In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.
There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush's top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.
In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.
And this wasn't to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration's "unilateralism" rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration's National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to "build and maintain" a military, in the phrase of the moment, " beyond challenge ."
They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be "shocked and awed" by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known."
Though there was much talk at the time about the "liberation" of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet's lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a "conservative" one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.
It was radical in ways that should have, but didn't, take the American public's breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.Shock and awe for the last superpower
Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.
It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.
But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.
Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn't cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?
Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of " infinite war " and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed states , destroyed cities , displaced people , and right-wing "populist" governments, including the one in Washington?
Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?
Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down . Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.
The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America's rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.
Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America's political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.
The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.
Whether you're talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of "regime change" on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that's likely to prove to be.
All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush's boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump's America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.
Jun 11, 2018 | www.youtube.com
April 5, 2017
In this lecture, William Taubman, professor of Political Science at Amherst College and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, sheds a light on how Mihail Gorbachev undermined the Soviet system in pursuit of his dream of the democratized country.
Scorpius , 6 months agoLord pikkasso , 5 months ago
The West will always hate Russia. Because the Soviet Union destroyed the colonial world order where the rules of the West. Despotism of the "white man" was destroyed, and enslaved peoples of Africa, Asia, Islamic world, Latin America was released. In the 19th century, the West ruled the world, now only n their historical lands. Russia has caused considerable damage to Western domination.UserNameMandatory , 4 months ago
Why USSR collapsed according to America, Fake news. The USSR empire collapsed for the same reasons that European empires collapsed. The American empire has been in decline for a while now and will eventually collapsed too.Michelle Rice , 3 months ago
Good for insight into Gorbachev. That's all.Daniel Wong , 1 month ago
Brezhnev started the ball rolling , USSR was already a sinking ship when Gorbachev took over , he was the fall guy !!!!
The USSR was doomed to collapse. It is a totally corrupted union, with selfish leaders who lived in luxury while the people lived in poverty. However, it devoted its resources to military development. No extra resources were given to production of consumer goods and foods for the people. Its union comprises many countries with different races and cultures, which could never be reconciled. Its collapse is just a matter of time, and could not blame Gorbachev.
May 25, 2018 | www.paulcraigroberts.org
This is the lecture I would have given if I had been able to accept the invitation to address the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia this weekend.
From the standpoint of Russia's dilemma, this is an important column. Putin's partial impotence via-a-vis Washington is due to the grip that neoliberal economics exercises over the Russian government. Putin cannot break with the West, because he believes that Russian economic development is dependent on Russia's integration within the Western economy. That is what neoliberal economics tells the Russian economic and financial establishment.
Everyone should understand that I am not a pro-Russian anti-American. I am anti-war, especially nuclear war. My concern is that the inability of the Russian government to put its foot down is due to its belief that Russian development, despite all the talk about the Eurasian partnership and the Silk Road, is dependent on being integrated with the West. This totally erroneous belief prevents the Russian government from any decisive break with the West. Consequently, Putin continues to accept provocations in order to avoid a decisive break that would cut Russia off from the West. In Washington and the UK this is interpreted as a lack of resolve on Putin's part and encourages an escalation in provocations that will intensify until Russia's only option is surrender or war.
If the Russian government did not believe that it needed the West, the government could give stronger responses to provocations that would make clear that there are limits to what Russia will tolerate. It would also make Europe aware that its existence hangs in the balance. The combination of Trump abusing Europe and Europe's recognition of the threat to its own existence of its alignment with an aggressive Washington would break the Western alliance and NATO. But Putin cannot bring this about because he erroneously believes that Russia needs the West.
If the neoconservatives had self-restraint, they would sit back and let America's Fifth Column -- Neoliberal Economics -- finish off Russia for them. Russia is doomed, because the country's economists were brainwashed during the Yeltsin years by American neoliberal economists. It was easy enough for the Americans to do. Communist economics had come to naught, the Russian economy was broken, Russians were experiencing widespread hardship, and successful America was there with a helping hand.
In reality the helping hand was a grasping hand. The hand grasped Russian resources through privatization and gave control to American-friendly oligarchs. Russian economists had no clue about how financial capitalism in its neoliberal guise strips economies of their assets while loading them up with debt.
But worse happened. Russia's economists were brainwashed into an economic way of thinking that serves Western imperialism.
For example, neoliberal economics exposes Russia's currency to speculation, manipulation, and destabilization. Capital inflows can be used to drive up the value of the ruble, and then at the opportune time, the capital can be pulled out, dropping the ruble's value and driving up domestic inflation with higher import prices, delivering a hit to Russian living standards. Washington has always used these kind of manipulations to destabilize governments.
Neo-liberal economics has also brainwashed the Russian central bank with the belief that Russian economic development depends on foreign investment in Russia. This erroneous belief threatens the very sovereignty of Russia. The Russian central bank could easily finance all internal economic development by creating money, but the brainwashed central bank does not realize this. The bank thinks that if the bank finances internal development the result would be inflation and depreciation of the ruble. So the central bank is guided by American neoliberal economics to borrow abroad money it does not need in order to burden Russia with foreign debt that requires a diversion of Russian resources into interest payments to the West.
As Michael Hudson and I explained to the Russians two years ago, when Russia borrows from the West, the US for example, and in flow the dollars, what happens to the dollars? Russia cannot spend them domestically to finance development projects, so where do the dollars go? They go into Russia's foreign exchange holdings and accrue interest for the lender. The central bank then creates the ruble equivalent of the borrowed and idle dollars and finances the project. So why borrow the dollars? The only possible reason is so the US can use the dollar debt to exercise control over Russian decision making. In other words, Russia delivers herself into the hands of her enemies.
Indeed, it is the Russian government's mistaken belief that Russian economic development is dependent on Russia being included as part of the West that has caused Putin to accept the provocations and humiliations that the West has heaped upon Russia. The lack of response to these provocations will eventually cause the Russian government to lose the support of the nationalist elements in Russia.
Putin is struggling to have Russia integrated into the Western economic system while retaining Russia's sovereignty (an unrealistic goal), because Putin has been convinced by the element in the Russian elite, which had rather be Western than Russian, that Russia's economic development depends on being integrated into the Western economy. As the neoliberal economic elite control Russia's economic and financial policy, Putin believes that he has to accept Western provocations or forfeit his hopes for Russian economic development.
Russian economists are so indoctrinated with neoliberal economics that they cannot even look to America to see how a once great economy has been completely destroyed by neoliberal economics.
The US has the largest public debt of any country in history. The US has the largest trade and budget deficits of any country in history. The US has 22 percent unemployment, which it hides by not counting among the unemployed millions of discouraged workers who, unable to find jobs, ceased looking for jobs and are arbitrarily excluded from the measure of unemployment. The US has a retired class that has been stripped of any interest payment on their savings for a decade, because it was more important to the Federal Reserve to bail out the bad loans of a handful of "banks too big to fail," banks that became too big to fail because of the deregulation fostered by neoliberal economics. By misrepresenting "free trade" and "globalism," neoliberal economics sent America's manufacturing and tradeable professional skill jobs abroad where wages were lower, thus boosting the incomes of owners at the expense of the incomes of US wage-earners, leaving Americans with the lowly paid domestic service jobs of a Third World country. Real median family income in the US has been stagnant for decades. The Federal Reserve recently reported that Americans are so poor that 41 percent of the population cannot raise $400 without selling personal possessions.
Young Americans, if they have university educations, begin life as debt slaves. Currently there are 44,200,000 Americans with student loan debt totalling $1,048,000,000,000 -- $1.48 trillion! https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/
In the US all 50 states have publicly supported universities where tuition is supposed to be nominal in order to encourage education. When I went to Georgia Tech, a premier engineering school, my annual tuition was less than $500. Loans were not needed and did not exist.
What happened? Financial capitalism discovered how to turn university students into indentured servants, and the university administrations cooperated. Tuitions rose and rose and were increasingly allocated to administration, the cost of which exploded. Today many university administrations absorb 75% of the annual budget, leaving little for professors' pay and student aid. An obedient Congress created a loan program that ensnares young American men and women into huge debt in order to acquire an university education. With so many of the well-paying jobs moved offshore by neoliberal economics, the jobs available cannot service the student loan debts. A large percentage of Americans aged 24-34 live at home with parents, because their jobs do not pay enough to service their student loan debt and pay an apartment rent. Debt prevents them from living an independent existence.
In America the indebtedness of the population produced by neoliberal economics -- privatize, privatize, deregulate, deregulate, indebt, indebt -- prevents any economic growth as the American public has no discretionary income after debt service to drive the economy. In America the way cars, trucks, and SUVs are sold is via zero downpayment and seven years of loans. From the minute a vehicle is purchased, the loan obligation exceeds the value of the vehicle.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mike Meru, a dentist earning $225,000 annually, has $1,060,945.42 in student loan debt. He pays $1,589.97 monthly, which is not enough to cover the interest, much less reduce the principal. Consequently, his debt from seven years at the University of Southern California grows by $130 per day. In two decades, his loan balance will be $2 million. https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-meru-has-1-million-in-student-loans-how-did-that-happen-1527252975
If neoliberal economics does not work for America, why will it work for Russia? Neoliberal economics only works for oligarchs and their institutions, such as Goldman Sachs, who are bankrolled by the central bank to keep the economy partially afloat. Washington will agree to Russia being integrated into the Western system when Putin agrees to resurrect the Yeltsin-era practice of permitting Western financial institutions to strip Russia of her assets while loading her up with debt.
I could continue at length about the junk economics, to use Michael Hudson's term, that is neoliberal economics. The United States is failing because of it, and so will Russia.
John Bolton and the neocons should just relax. Neoliberal economics, which has the Russian financial interests, the Russian government and apparently Putin himself in its grip, will destroy Russia without war.
May 27, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Turning on Russia 11/05/2018
In this first of a two-part series, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould trace the origins of the neoconservative targeting of Russia.
By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel last September reported that, "Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world's rich. He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction "
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world's first and only. Unipower with the intention of crushing any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order, foreseen just a few short years ago, becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.
As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America's claim to leadership, by the time Fischer's interview appeared in the online version of the Der Spiegel , he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve -- eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the "globalist" and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he directly assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.
As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Fischer not just empire's Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.
Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffry Sachs, in the "Harvard Project," plus Anatoly Chubais, the chief Russian economic adviser, Fischer helped throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end.
As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite: "Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament."
Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues "The outcome rendered privatization 'a de facto fraud,' as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to 'offer fertile ground for criminal activity' was proven right."
If Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role he played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Little known to Americans is the blunt force trauma Fischer and the "prestigious" Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative's James Carden "As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011 'the IMF's intervention in Russia during Fischer's tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.' Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF's intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack."
Neither do most Americans know that it was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged to terrorize Europe and America in the 21 st century. Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President's top national security officer was that he couldn't find Nicaragua on a map.
If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union's collapse it was Brzezinski. And if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America's post-Vietnam Imperialism, it's Fischer. His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative's spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.
Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. From the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists, but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives' goal, working with their Chicago School neoliberal partners, was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural co-optation and financial subversion and to project American power abroad. So far they have been overwhelmingly successful to the detriment of much of the world.
From the end of the Second World War through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.
Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA's founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987's Hot Money and the Politics of Debt , described how "Pentagon Capitalism" had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon's debt to the rest of the world.
"In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky's couriers , and the European central banks arranged the 'loan-back,'" Naylor writes. "When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era's chief 'think tank' and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, 'We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We've run rings around the British Empire.'" In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brzezinski himself.
From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could imperil democracy in America and yet Washington's more moderate gatekeepers allowed them in without much of a fight.
Peter Steinfels' 1979 classic The Neoconservatives: The men who are changing America's politics begins with these fateful words. "THE PREMISES OF THIS BOOK are simple. First, that a distinct and powerful political outlook has recently emerged in the United States. Second, that this outlook, preoccupied with certain aspects of American life and blind or complacent towards others, justifies a politics which, should it prevail, threatens to attenuate and diminish the promise of American democracy."
But long before Steinfels' 1979 account, the neoconservative's agenda of inserting their own interests ahead of America's was well underway, attenuating U.S. democracy, undermining détente and angering America's NATO partners that supported it. According to the distinguished State Department Soviet specialist Raymond Garthoff, détente had been under attack by right-wing and military-industrial forces ( led by Senator "Scoop" Jackson ) from its inception. But America's ownership of that policy underwent a shift following U.S. intervention on behalf of Israel during the 1973 October war. Garthoff writes in his detailed volume on American-Soviet relations Détente and Confrontation , "To the allies the threat [to Israel] did not come from the Soviet Union, but from unwise actions by the United States, taken unilaterally and without consultation. The airlift [of arms] had been bad enough. The U.S. military alert of its forces in Europe was too much."
In addition to the crippling Arab oil embargo that followed, the crisis of confidence in U.S. decision-making nearly produced a mutiny within NATO. Garthoff continues, "The United States had used the alert to convert an Arab-Israeli conflict, into which the United States had plunged, into a matter of East-West confrontation. Then it had used that tension as an excuse to demand that Europe subordinate its own policies to a manipulative American diplomatic gamble over which they had no control and to which they had not even been privy, all in the name of alliance unity."
In the end the U.S. found common cause with its Cold War Soviet enemy by imposing a cease-fire accepted by both Egypt and Israel thereby confirming the usefulness of détente. But as related by Garthoff this success triggered an even greater effort by Israel's "politically significant supporters" in the U.S. to begin opposing any cooperation with the Soviet Union, at all.
Garthoff writes, "The United States had pressed Israel into doing precisely what the Soviet Union (as well as the United States) had wanted: to halt its advance short of complete encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army east of Suez Thus they [Israel's politically significant supporters] saw the convergence of American-Soviet interests and effective cooperation in imposing a cease-fire as a harbinger of greater future cooperation by the two superpowers in working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian problem."
Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History.
Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia
* Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com
Published at consortiumnews.com
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Rev Kev , May 17, 2018 at 10:39 amjohnnygl , May 17, 2018 at 11:20 am
Hey, I just remembered something. When I was a kid growing up everybody knew all about the mafia but all those in the know denied that there was any such thing when questioned in a court of law. It got to be a running joke how these gang bosses and members were always denying that the mafia was an actual thing.
Could it be that the neoliberals took a page out of their book and adopted the same tactic of denying the existence of neoliberalism while actively pushing it at every opportunity?Amfortas the Hippie , May 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm
And like the line from 'fight club', the first rule of neoliberalism is that you don't talk about it.
To extend your analogy, much like the mafia, there's a handful of shadowy law breakers who benefit from neoliberalism and a whole lot of people that suffer violence so that those benefits can flow up to that few.
this is why I keep Mario Puzo next to Adam and Karl on the econ shelf in my library. It's not so much Omerta, as gobbdeygook and wafer thin platitudes.
Like the concurrent and related "Conservative revolution"(1973-), they stole the Cell Structure from the Comintern, and bought out the competition.
I am inclined to believe that the Libertarian Party was a vehicle for this counterrevolution, too. And finally, with the DLC, they were able to buy the "opposition party" outright and here we are.
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com
SolontoCroesus , April 18, 2018 at 9:08 pm GMT@Anon
UUUge mistake, Jimmy Dore; you should have done some homework before you elevated Jeffrey Sachs to truth-teller status. Spend a few minutes with The Saker -- William Engdah interview: http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/ Sache is not trustworthy.
SolontoCroesus , April 18, 2018 at 9:31 pm GMT@SolontoCroesus
Sachs worked closely w/ Soros to plunder USSR/ FSU. His job now is to establish Jews/Israel/banker class, Deep State of which he's a part, and think tankers as absolutely innocent of any complicity in the destruction of Syria. He's most likely in it up to his eyeballs.
Apr 18, 2018 | russia-insider.com
The Rape of Russia (full transcript)
Lars Schall: Hello ladies and gentlemen. I am now connected with F. William Engdahl, who has written a new book, Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. Hi William.
F. William Engdahl: Hello, Lars. Good to be with you again.
LS: Great to have you with us. And first off, let me read something to you and our audience that was written by the economist Dean Baker earlier this month.
As a long-term columnist at the NYT, Thomas Friedman apparently never feels the need to know anything about the topics on which he writes. This explains his sarcastic speculation that Putin could be a CIA agent since he has done so much to hurt Russia.For all his authoritarian tendencies, it is likely that most Russians think primarily about Putin's impact on the economy, just as is typically the case among voters in the United States. On that front, Putin has a very good record.
According to data from the IMF Russia's economy had plunged in the 1990s under the Yeltsin presidency. When Putin took over in 1998, per capita income in the country had shrunk by more than 40 percent from its 1990 level. This is a far sharper downturn than the United States saw in the Great Depression. Since Putin took power its per capita income has risen by more than 115 percent, an average annual growth rate of more than 3.9 percent.
While this growth has been very unequal, that was also the case even as Russia's economy was collapsing under Yeltsin. The typical Russian has done hugely better in the last two decades under Putin than they did in the period when Yeltsin was in power.
For this reason, there are probably few Russians who would have sympathy for Friedman's speculation about Putin's ties to the CIA. The same would not be the case for Boris Yeltsin.
Now, I think this is a good starting point for our discussion William because in your book, you have a chapter entitled The Rape of Russia, the CIA's Yeltsin Coup d'état. Why do you talk about rape related to Russia?
FWE: What the US Government under George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush Senior organised together with CIA, old boy networks of his, in terms of the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the looting of the assets, this open theft, the destruction of pensions, security, the health system and everything. The only appropriate word is the rape of Russia. They just pondered anything that they could.
And what you just read from Mr. Friedman is of course horse rubbish but the real CIA asset of this whole collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s was in fact Boris Yeltsin and the so called Yeltsin Family, the Yeltsin Mafia. And in my book, the Manifest Destiny book I document and detail at great lengths the relation of a handful of KGB very, very senior persons who worked with the Bush Senior old boys CIA networks in the West and their banks to create a group of oligarchs around Yeltsin, you know the famous Russian oligarchs, well, The New York Times and other Western Media portrayed them as Russian Mafia. They were kind of mafia but the real point was that they were a CIA-run mafia. They were run by the West. They betrayed their own country, their own people and literally stole billions and billions and billions of dollars of assets. And that's the reason for the title in that chapter.
LS: And Boris Yeltsin was very essential for this.
FWE: He was the key figure. He had been selected as a regional governor and brought into Moscow and a certain point Gorbachev saw him as a rising star and someone that could help with a little bit more liberal image as [unclear] was – the Russian economy was running into serious trouble in the '80s, the Star Wars of Reagan, the Nicaragua and above all the war in Afghanistan which is a CIA project with the Mujahideen, that took 10 years long that was bleeding the Soviet economy, the Soviet Union's Vietnam, as Brzezinski used to call it.
And the West, the Bush networks recruited a handful of KGB agents around Yeltsin who literally promoted Yeltsin to the top when they engineered the August 1991 fake coup. You remember, I'm sure many people remember the picture of Boris Yeltsin standing there courageously on top of a Soviet tank in front of the Russian White House or Soviet House, the Supreme Soviet building and reading a speech defying Gorbachev and so forth. Well, that was a KGB CIA-engineered coup d'état in June 1991. And through that the – this network, this corrupt network within the KGB that was working with the CIA, working with General Philip, Bob [unclear] is one of them, so called at that time the KGB brain. He was head of the KGB Fifth Directorate controlling to roll this in. And he later joined the [#inaudible 00:06:40-0#] oil and to this day he's still a member of the State Duma giving him prosecution immunity.
So, some of these people are still around after some 23, 25 years and incredibly enough but others of them have died off, have been killed, or murdered or whatever. But the operation that was done with Yeltsin, this corrupt KGB network working with the CIA financed Yeltsin's the silent seat of the presidency of the Russian Federation. And once they had their man in controlling the Russian Federation which is the largest of the former Soviet Union, the Socialist Republic, they were able to engineer through the international monetary fund that was mandated to oversee the transformation of the Soviet economy.
They engineered a complete opening up of the assets of the Russian Federation which called today the Russian Federation, the largest part of the former Soviet Union and they made it such that the Russian Federation would assume all of the debts of Ukraine, of Kazakhstan and the other socialist republics of the Soviet and all the assets, all the crucial assets that were within the Russian Federation so the aluminium Rusal that's in the headlines yesterday, the nickel, the oil, the gas, just hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars' worth of assets that came into Yeltsin's control.
LS: But those assets were sold to a price that was rather ridiculous.
FWE: Someone estimated that that gets into the whole coupon privatisation that was set up under Yeltsin in the '90s. The coupon privatisation issued one coupon to every single Russian man, woman and child 140 million in total. And the value of those coupons was such someone estimated that the totality of Russian Soviet's Fed assets or Russian Federation assets now was equal to the value of the stock at that point of General Electric Company on the New York Stock Exchange. I mean that's just laughable. Russia had financial bankruptcy because the shock therapy, the Jeffrey Sachs and others from Harvard and elsewhere brought in, George Soros and his pals. That created bankrupt companies that couldn't stand on their own and suddenly they had no, no resources. But the assets, the assets on the ground, the nickel, the aluminium, the uranium that Hillary Clinton knows more than a little bit about them, all of these were estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. And this is what the Bush operation aimed at. And they used NGOs, they used the National Endowment for Democracy, they used, George Soros' Open Society Foundation and so forth to bring this about.
LS: You've mentioned already the coup d'etat attempt of August 1991. Highly important for things to come was something that took place in early 1991 and that was the theft of the Soviet gold. Please tell us about this.
FWE: The, under the Soviet Union, this is a very crucial point about the transition that Washington forced on the Russian Federation because Yeltsin was, I think as long as he was well-supplied with vodka he didn't protest very much. But under the Soviet system and the Russian Federation took this over, there was a state bank, not a private central bank like the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank today but a state bank that was an entity of the Russian State apparatus and that was called the Gosbank. And a man named Viktor Gerashchenko was the chairman of Gosbank at the time of Yeltsin's early start in 1991.
And Gerashchenko made a speech around that time in November of '91 to the Russian Duma or the parliament such as it was and said, "I have to report to you ladies and gentlemen that of perhaps 3,000 tons of Gosbank state-owned gold reserves, we have an estimated less than 400 tons that we can account for." And then he had to go to tell, shock members of parliament that he had no idea what happened to the missing gold, which of course was a lie. And Gerashchenko had created right after 1989 to prepare this coup d'etat coup, which was the CIA and Bush's old boys, he had created something called [unclear] on the Channel Islands in the Island of Jersey to handle the Russian foreign currency reserves.
And the Jersey was exempt from European supervision, so this was a perfect place to hide money, dirty money or stolen money and they managed something like $37 billion between 1993 and 1998. The Gerashchenko and the Gosbank even went to the lengths of hiring a New York Financial Detective firm called the Financial CIA back then called Jules Kroll Associate. And they were told to track the Soviet gold, find out what happened to it and something like $14 billion of communist party assets that were missing as well. And the Cruel which was tied with the CIA linked AIG Insurance Group Hank Greenberg whom you remember from the 2008 to the bail out of Henry Paulson.
FEW: The Kroll Associates after a few months announced that they had no results in the attempt to find the missing Soviet Gosbank gold. Then to add insult to injury, the IMF came in and rewrote the constitution of the Russian Federation under Yeltsin and took the power of money creation just like the Federal Reserve took the power of money creation from the congress in 1913. They took the power of money creation from the state and created the Russian Federation Central Bank, the Russian Central Bank and gave it a mandate for two things. One, to control inflation and the other to create currency stability.
Now, in Russia that day that meant stability of the ruble against the US dollar. So it effectively hammer-locked the Russian money creation into the US dollar. And unfortunately that constitution amendment holds until the present day. It's one of the difficulties that Vladimir Putin has been having to try to persuade the Independent Central Bank to lower interest rates more rapidly as inflation is simply managed as a problem in Russia in the last two years.
So, they looted the gold so that there would be no stability to the ruble. If you don't have any gold-backing, then western investors are going to lack confidence which is sort of what happened. And then they began working with very select western bankers to get their money out of Russia.
LS: And instrumental to get money out of Russia were Valmet and Riggs. Can you tell us please about some crucial personnel that was employed there at Valmet and Riggs?
FWE: Valmet Riggs was kind of a fusion of a Swiss bank and Riggs Bank of Washington D. C. And Riggs Bank, this is really quite a fascinating and very little discussed aspect of the reign of Russia back in the '90s.
So you have something called Riggs Bank in Washington and they were set up decades earlier since the 1960s CIA Bay of Pigs operation, they were known as the CIA tied bank. They invested the assets of people like Marcos of the Philippines until when he was close to the CIA. And there was a former NATO Ambassador named Alton Keel and in 1989 when the Soviet KGB generals and they had a group of protégés called the 'Kids' by George Bush Senior. The protégés were in their 30s and a couple of them were in their 40s but rather young. And they were the ones who were nominated to become the oligarchs, the frontal men for taking these state assets the aluminium, the oil assets and other things and looting the Russian Federation.
And Alton Keel just as the Russians were setting up men at a bank for the oligarchs to funnel their stolen assets, de facto stolen assets, Keel went from NATO and the National Security Council to become a head of international banking of Riggs Bank in Washington and its deputy chairman.
Now, it gets even more interesting because the international banking group of Riggs included a new entity that had been created called Riggs Valmet SA in Switzerland, and Riggs Valmet was set up by a man named Jonathan J. Bush, a private banker, who just happened to be the brother of George Herbert Walker Bush. So, Bush brother and Alton Keel set up Riggs Valmet, there was a money laundering apparatus in Geneva and Riggs then through their help bought the major share in Geneva Valmet to create Riggs Valmet.
So, you have the brother of the president of the United States up to his eyeballs in this whole Yeltsin CIA money laundering operation. And then Jonathan Bush was created CEO of something called Riggs Investment in Connecticut where he lived and at that point the looting and taking of the dollar assets out of Russia was just unstoppable. It was in the billions and tens of billions of dollars.
LS: William, there is one guy who was working closely with those people and he was working on Wall Street but later on he was personally recruited by George Tenet then the Director of CIA to become the number three at the CIA, and this is Alvin Bernard "Buzzy" Krongard.
FWE: Yes. We meet "Buzzy" Krongard at Bankers Trust, which bought up Alex Brown, and Krongard became vice chairman of Bankers Trust along with another charming character named Carter Beese. And at the time of the 1998 collapse of the ruble, Krongard was formally made, as you've pointed out, number three, the executive director at the CIA under George Tenet. So, it's a CIA network from beginning to end, from the banking side to you know the direct CIA side. You have Carter Beast, you have "Buzzy" Krongard, Jonathan Bush and Alton Keel and they were the ones working with Valmet as the Riggs Valmet Bank in Geneva to pull this money out through shell companies.
And the oligarchs, this is an interesting part of this whole thing that you know right now Theresa May and the foreign secretary Boris Johnson in the UK are accusing Putin of murdering almost everybody since the birth of Jesus Christ. And one of them was the person who had been the trusted bodyguard of one of the oligarchs living in London Boris Berezovsky.
And Berezovsky was one of the dirtiest of these oligarchs. He'd financed the Ukrainian Colour Revolution back in 2003, 2004 as a revenge against Putin because he at first thought Putin could be bought like Yeltsin and suddenly he realized that he was up against the faction of nationalists within of what had been the KGB but wanted to stabilise and preserve Russia as a functioning nation today. And so Mikhail Khodorkovskyi, Roman Abramovich, who is listed on the sanctions list yesterday, and Berezovsky were some of the leading oligarchs that were created by this Bush operation.
LS: And to jumpstart all of this, we have to talk about something that is well, that is stranger than fiction and that is something called for example "Yamashita's Gold". If our audience is interested in this, they could for example look for an article written by Chalmers Johnson, the famous Asian expert, The Looting of Asia, which was published at the London Review of Books on the 20 th of November of 2003 because then they can find something on this topic of Yamashita's gold on an instant basis in the internet ( https://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n22/chalmers-johnson/the-looting-of-asia ). I think this is just fair
LS: because no one really is aware of this whole story. Please tell us about this.
FWE: The Yamashita Gold story is one of the, as you've said really incredible stories of post-World War II. During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial Family looted the gold of occupied Arch of China, they looted the gold of all the parts of Asia that they had conquered.
LS: Basically from 1895 to 1945.
FWE: Yeah, yeah. And because they had no guarantee that Japan was going to win the war, the emperor ordered the gold to be hidden away in, mostly in the Philippines as far as we know and literally untold tons of gold were buried so deep underground in tunnels around the Philippines and the people who dug the tunnels in many cases were later shot you know so that they couldn't tell. But Marcos who was a CIA asset initially, the dictator of the Philippines through much of the '70s and into the '80s, yeah through the '70, Ferdinand Marcos somehow came upon some of this gold. So, the Japanese looted war body was buried in the early '40s before the end of the war on orders of Emperor Hirohito should they lose the war.
And at some point in the 1970s, Marcos discovered some of the sites where Hirohito's soldiers had buried the gold and the gold was stolen from China, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia and other countries occupied by the Japanese forces. And Marcos, and I think this is the major reason the CIA dumped him, got a little bit greedy and took that gold and started selling it under the market through selective secret Swiss banks. But he used the CIA asset, the Saudi billionaire named Adnan Khashoggi to help them get the gold under the market. And what he didn't realise was that Khashoggi would double cross him. He got a better deal from Bush Senior and the old boys.
LS: We have to say Khashoggi is a figure who is involved for example in B.C.C.I. and in Iran-Contra.
FWE: Back in the '70s he was involved in everything dirty that Bush and the CIA were involved in. B.C.C.I. Bank, the money laundering bank of the CIA, the arms deals, Khashoggi was a huge arms dealer during the Iran and Iraq war the CIA was feeding. He was involved in almost every dirty thing the CIA was doing.
LS: He was aware of this gold.
FWE: Supposedly he was helping Marcos to sell the gold out of the market. So he was not only aware of it, he was right in the middle of it. But then once Marcos was tackled by the CIA Bush got rid of Marcos in 1986. Then someone named Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Armitage and Khashoggi began to work with someone in Canada to create something called – Peter Munk was his name, a rather dubious businessman there – to found something called Barrick Gold of Canada and later it went on to become the world's largest gold mining company.
But Barrick Gold, all available evidence is that buried gold was used to melt down the – I don't want to get too much into the details of this but basically to melt down the Emperor Hirohito's gold that had been discovered by Marcos in the Philippines, to melt it down and use that as collateral for derivatives that would be the collateral used to take over the Russian Federation assets.
LS: The money was basically transformed into bank loans into Russia so that the would-become oligarch people could buy up those assets
FWE: Yes, exactly. So, Yegor Gaidar, the economic privatisation adviser of Yeltsin and his sidekick Anatoly Chubais privatisation had kind of guided this whole process together with Jeffrey Sachs and a group from Harvard University. #00:28:37-8#
LS: Yeah. Let us talk about this. This is known as Harvard Shock Therapy.
FEW: Well, the Jeffrey Sachs Shock Therapy, but the Harvard shock therapy is – well, what happened, the next phase of this incredible story and it's important to keep all this in mind, this is one reason that I wrote the book because of what was clear after the CIA coup d'etat of 2014 in Ukraine and all the sanctions against Putin's Russia and so forth, that if you don't understand what really happened in the '90s, the deep-seated hatred there is on these neoconservatives around Washington and their think tanks as well as, the US political establishment for Putin's Russia and the nationalism behind group Russia. You can't make much sense out of what's going on today with all these incredible lies and accusations against Russia for every crime under the book.
So, what happened is the, as I mentioned the IMF, the International Monetary Fund which had done a beautiful job for Washington in terms of, and George Soros and others in terms of looting the assets of the dead economies of Latin America, Yugoslavia, Poland and others during the oil crisis in the 1970s. The IMF was used and a group of economists around Jeffrey Sachs, a young professor at Harvard University then to impose what Sachs called shock therapy.
And the idea was that Sachs convinced Yeltsin, let prices rise through western market prices and this will increase the supply of goods, you know the stores had a paucity of goods back in the Soviet Times and get rid of trade barriers so foreign commodities could flow in to fill the shelves of Russian stores. The problem was that was a lie. The shops had been full. Okay, you could say it wasn't Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Fried Perdue Chickens or whatever, but they were full of Russian food products until November of '91 when Yeltsin announced that the exact date on December 31 st of 1991, that price controls would be suddenly lifted. So, shop owners immediately hid their goods and waited for December 31 st . So, suddenly the shops were empty and rationing was imposed and so forth. It's just unbelievable.
So, into this, this was Jeffrey Sachs on shock therapy and a group of Harvard University under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development, a group of, among other things later documented CIA agents set up shop in Moscow and worked with Yeltsin's economic team Gaidar and Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais and themselves got in on the thunder the Russian East Harvard economist working. Now we have a transition in '93 through the Clinton Administration and there former Harvard professor and former World Bank Chief Economist Lawrence Summers became the deputy secretary of treasury responsible for the looting of Russia, effective and responsible for the gold economic transition in the Russian Federation.
And all of the key actors were named by Summers and they were all involved in the privatisation of Russia. They were all from this Harvard Mafia. For example of David Lipton, a former consulting partner of the Jeffrey Sachs, became deputy assistant secretary of treasure for former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and Sachs himself was named Director of Harvard HIID that oversaw the looting of Russia through the voucher privatisation and so forth. And they got grants from the USAID, AID works very closely with the CIA in different parts of the world, this is documented. And so it was really a tight-knit cabal around Lawrence Summers that oversaw this complete theft through these pieces of paper called privatisation coupons.
And what you had was the economic situation under Yeltsin had become so severe I mean people literally they had no jobs because of the freeing up of prices, they could afford to buy little or nothing. So, most people, millions of Russians sold their privatisation vouchers on the street corners to the highest bidder. And of course the would-be oligarchs were the ones with hard currency dollars that they could buy these things up as you pointed out earlier when we talked about them. So, they had credits from their friends in the West, the Riggs Valmet and so forth to buy up these vouchers and therefore they were able when the cost came up, were able to simply steal the property titles, the ownership titles of some of the most valuable investor assets and mineral assets in the world.
LS: And we can talk about this as a classical case of leveraged buyout – even though it was a covered leveraged buyout, if it was?
FEW: Well, you could call it a leveraged buyout. I know Anne Williamson has used that term, the earlier descriptions of it. I think it was simply legalised theft, leveraged buyout gives it too much dignity. That was a term that was quite popular in the financial world back in the '80s and the early '90s. But whatever name you want to give it, it was certainly not a conventional leveraged buyout, it was bizarre in every sense of the word.
LS: An influential figure in this was mentioned by you already, George Soros. And in 1994, as you point out in your book, he was described with the following words from The Guardian in London, "Soros extraordinary role not only as the world's most successful investor but now possibly fantastically as the senior most powerful foreign influence in the whole of the former Soviet Empire, it tricks more suspicion than curiosity." What was he doing back then in Russia?
FWE: Soros was very intermittently tied with Jeffrey Sachs and the whole Harvard to become a shock therapy group and working with Lawrence Summers team at the US Treasury under Clinton. And in 1993 already the opposition inside what was left of Russia when the old communist party was in the Duma and so forth and the population generally was such that the opposition threatened to get out of hand and Yeltsin was forced to agree to hold a national referendum on the entire privatisation. So, this was in April of '93 and the referendum that was given to the population had four questions, yes or no. Do you support Yeltsin? Yes or no? Do you support Yeltsin's economic policy? Yes or no? Do you want early election for president? Yes or no? And do you want early elections for parliament? Yes or no?
So, Chubais was as an adviser to Yeltsin at that time and the key person on the economy arranged the secret meeting with George Soros. And Soros agreed to finance of course on behalf of Yeltsin, the referendum campaign. So he funnelled money over a million dollars by some accounts to offshore accounts set up to be used by Chubais to buy media. And so the media campaign and by this time most of the national media had been bought up by the oligarchs around Yeltsin so they were able to exercise undue influence. So they barely squeak through and got a yes to the privatisation scheme that Harvard, Jeffrey Sachs and George Soros and others had going on. And then of course Soros' company himself benefitted enormously from this privatisation just a little bit later when the auctions took place.
LS: A figure that connects yesterday with today is Vladimir Putin who came to international attention first in 1998, the same year when the ruble crisis took place.
FWE: This was 1999 and in August '98 you had the collapse of the ruble. This was part of the Bush "Operation Hammer's" original design. You had a huge scam going on in the GKO Russian Bond market where the interest rates were just unbelievably high. So, you had all sorts of hot money coming in, making profits and pulling it up including Soros Fund, quantum fund and so forth.
And finally, Yeltsin was getting near the end of his ability to hold this thing together. And he appointed in August '99, he appointed a young former KGB officer who served during the Cold War in East Germany named Vladimir Putin. And briefly Putin had been a deputy mayor in St. Petersburg and briefly had been the head of the successor to the KGB called FSB and the oligarchs around Putin, I've heard various Russian accounts have had this happen but Berezovsky, Brzezinski and other, the Yeltsin oligarchs thought they could take this young guy Putin and do business with him and you know that he was young and had no political base.
So, at that point Putin gave the ultimatum to Yeltsin, resign or face serious consequences and it turned out that Putin which has later been confirmed was the spokesperson for a nationalist faction within the intelligence community, a patriotic faction, call it what you want but Russian nationalist. And so Yeltsin was told, "If you resign and just get out of politics, we'll leave you alone." So he took the offer and ran. And before he did that he named Vladimir Putin as acting president until elections in March the following year.
So, Putin then came into power and called a meeting as it were of the most powerful oligarchs who had made staggering fortunes at the expense of Russia and he called them creators of a corrupt state through insider dealings and began criminal prosecution against oligarchs like Vladimir Gusinsky and Media-Most, a financial group led by Vladimir Potanin who is in the newspaper today and soon left an oil company controlled by a Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. So, at that point Putin began the uphill battle of trying to stabilise Russia as a functioning economy. And the recent re-election of Putin indicates that the Russian people by and large support that effort of Putin's.
LS: Meanwhile he also had to react to something new that was taking place then and that was NATO was marching east.
FWE: The negotiations and this is, has been confirmed by former US Ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock and that was the negotiations between the Bush administration in 1991 Germany and Gorbachev included a solemn guarantee as Jack Matlock, Ambassador Matlock who was in Moscow in '87 until '91 in this period. He said that we gave a categorical assurance to Gorbachev when the Soviet Union still existed that if United Germany was able to stay in NATO, NATO would not move eastward. So, of course that pledge like so many pledges of Washington under Bush successor governance was honoured in the breach and the newly created National Endowment for Democracy that I write about quite a bit in the Manifest Destiny.
You had, Vin Weber was the chairman of the NED at that time and he took US taxpayer money through the NED to supposedly bring democracy into former communist states. Then Weber was also a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocon think tank which really shaped the personnel of George W. Bush in the year 2000 and 2001. And Vin Weber was also a lobbyist for the largest military industrial conglomerate of the US Lockheed Martin.
So, he was instrumental together with another military industrial Lockheed Martin, former Vice President for Strategy named Bruce Jackson, Bruce P. Jackson to promote back democracy in former communist countries including Russia. And they started the process of expanding NATO to the east in strict violation of the pledges that had been given back in the early '90s. So, by 2003, they had begun this whole expansion of NATO into Poland, into Hungary, all the former communist countries.
LS: And the countries at the Baltic Sea.
FWE: So, at the Baltic Sea right on the doorstep of the Russian Federation, and Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and so forth. And you began to see a very definite NATO encirclement of Russia. And then in 2003-2004, the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros' Foundation, the whole arm of the fake democracy NGOs of Washington, began to create the so called Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and also the Rose Revolution in Georgia next door. And if you look at a map, if you bring a pro NATO government into power in Ukraine, this they did under Viktor Gerashchenko in 2004, then you're presenting a pretty formidable military threat to the national security of Russia.
Now, at that time 2003, Russia was in no shape to do much more than feebly protest as loud as they could but of course they were ignored. Then you had something quite dramatic in 2006, the end of 2006. The George W. Bush administration Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defence back then announced that they were installing ballistic missile defence now I'll get to that in a minute but it's anything but defensive. In Poland, in the Czech Republic and that those anti-missile defence installations which included missiles would be aimed at a rogue nuclear attack from Iran.
In early 2007, Vladimir Putin personally came as president of Russia Federation to the Munich Security Conference, the International Security Conference held here in Munich Germany and gave a speech which really defines the security position of Russia right up to the present date. He said of course this is not aimed at Iran or North Korea as Washington says. That's a lie. It's like taking your right arm to scratch your left ear we say in Russian. It's aimed at Russia. And we consider this intolerable as a threat to our national security and we will be forced to respond.
LS: And it is aimed at Russia as a first strike possibility.
FWE: Yeah. Well, the point about the missile defence is I – in connection with the book, I interviewed, in an earlier book I wrote, I interviewed Colonel Robert Bowman who had been briefly the head of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars or missile defence programme. And became a very, very severe critic of the Bush administration's reckless policies withdrawing from the antiballistic missile ABM Treaty and so forth, said that missile defence is the missing link to Nuclear Primacy. First strike capability.
And that's something that Pentagon planners had been opting for since the 1950s. And he said, "If you can block the counterattack from your opponent and you then have this possibility to make a first strike and wipe them out because they can't simultaneously fire an effective counterstrike." So, that in a nutshell destroys the whole cold war doctrine of mutual and sure destruction that kept nuclear options off the table up until that time. And the Russians understand military strategy rather well I would say. And said, "This is simply intolerable. We have to respond and we will respond but in our own way and you will see."
LS: And the Russians have reacted.
B: The Russians have reacted, and if we can go for a minute up until the present
FEW: On March 1st Putin gave an address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow televised to the nation. The beginning part of the speech, his annual speech there, was about the Russian economy and plans for the future. This was shortly before the Russian elections that overwhelmingly gave him a new term. But the crucial part of that speech to the Federal Assembly was Russia's military technologies and this is as he put it. He referred to that 2007 speech in Munich and he said, "We said at that time that Russia would have to reply and since the expansion of NATO to the east which really to be honest that's – see there is no reason after 1991 or certainly after 2000 for the existence of NATO other than the reason given when NATO was created by the first secretary general of NATO to keep the Russians out the Germans down and the Americans in."
But Putin's speech talked about nuclear primacy and the Russian response and he outlined the military are the developments that they had quietly brought online since Washington tore up, unilaterally tore up the ABM Treaty in 2002/2003. So he outlined an awesome array of missiles, hypersonic low flying stealth missiles carrying nuclear warheads, unpredictable trajectories, invisible against perspective missile defence and air defence systems, unmanned submersible vehicles to great depth that could go many times higher than the speed of submarines cutting edge torpedoes just and commentators in the West like CNN. They said, "Oh, this is just bluff and so forth."
People who know Russian military technology and the intensity of the kind of research and development that's focused on defending the nation confirm that this is no joke. Hypersonic aircraft five times the speed of sound, that's hypersonic and they have something called the [unclear] which goes 10 times mark 10 and as Putin described it, "This missile flying 10 times faster than sound can manoeuvre in all phases of the flight trajectory, overcome all prospective and aircraft county missile defences in a range of 2000 kilometres."
He outlined about six or seven of these I would call them not even cutting edge, bleeding edge military technology and as The Saker commented in his blogpost after the speech, it's indeed set marching game over for the empire. There's no more military option against Russia.
This all is to make a point that the entire history up until now, these fake accusations of Putin would have an interest or Russia would have an interest to meddle with the US elections when you have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to accuse Putin and Russia of international violations of law by allowing a referendum to take place in Crimea after the CIA coup d'etat in Kiev and now it's come out from actual mercenary snipers that were brought in from Georgia under [#inaudible 00:55:08-0#] umbrella that they were paid by the CIA or promised to be paid by cut outs to the CIA to create the Maidan Square February 2014 chaos that led to the collapse of the government and the coup d'etat.
So, you know, this is not Russia is the arch Evel Knievel looking for a fight every corner of the world. It's not Russia doing bad things in Syria. It's Russia trying to stop a NATO and Saudi and other embedded destruction of the Middle East and create some kind of peace and stability. And anyone modest to take the slightest bit of care and follow this, they can read a running commentary on my website williamengdahl.com but not only there, it's all over the place. You realise that the fake media is the media that dominates and is guided by NATO public relations strategy in the West and it's not the so called critical media that's being sanctioned and censored right now.
LS: Let's talk further about the present, William, by closing one circle of our interview. As we've discussed the Russian gold vaults were empty since the early 1990s. This has changed since basically the financial crisis broke out in 2007, 2008, 2009. Since then the Russian Central Bank is buying gold like basically no other nation in a very rapid tempo.
FWE: Since the financial crisis and especially since the opposition of sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, it's been the policy of the Russian Central Bank and the Russian Federation to buy as much gold for reserves of the ruble as they can get their hands on. And they are now I think number five or number six in the world in terms of gold reserves and correct me if I'm wrong but just slightly behind the people's republic of China which has also been vigorously adding gold towards Central Bank reserves for the yuan.
So, what Russia is doing is creating a buffer gold, by the way in my view has never ceased being an object of value to stand behind currencies. If you have currencies like the dollar after all this 1971 when Nixon took the dollar off the bread and wood, gold exchange [unclear], then if you have a military you might or manipulate the oil price petrodollar and so forth, you can create money if you have the reserve currency you can create money without them. So what the Russia is doing is creating a security in terms of its currency and now that security is probably going to be tested by the economic warfare division of the US Treasury in these new sanctions.
But Russia is merging together with China. Interestingly enough after 2014 when the CIA coup d'etat Ukraine took place, Putin responded not by getting bogged down in the destructive war inside the Eastern Ukraine but he responded by turning east, strengthening his relationships with China, with the new president of China then Xi Jinping bringing the Asian economic Union which Russia is the leading economy in, together with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Armenia and others, bringing that in a coherence with Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative One Belt, One Road to link the infrastructure, the energy pipelines, the high-speed rail networks, the deep water ports and so forth to create a Eurasian, some people call it the land bridge but it's an economic space in Eurasia that would have the majority of the world's population, would have every raw material resource that the world needs including rare earth metals that China is world's leading supplier of at the moment.
And Russia has vast oil and gas reserves and military technology, civilian technology, an educated labour force that is probably one of the finest in the world and scientific country and so forth. And independent of the bankrupt economies of Britain and the United States and very rapidly of the European Union where this banking crisis has, since the crisis of 2008 has just been swept under the rug but it's ready to explode on a moment's notice. So, you have a depth loaded western NATO world. Let's call it a NATO world, a world of the NATO member countries and you have Russia together, which by the way, Russia has unbelievably small
FWE: National debt.
FWE: Something like 13 to 17% of the gross domestic product.
LS: And now they have this huge stock of gold relative to very little sovereign debt. It's almost ideal.
FWE: Yes, and that's by design. That is by Putin's intention to create this independence. And one thing, I am very often in Russia, have a very, very dear special friends in Russia over the years, the first time I was there was 1994. That was a vastly different, that was in the middle of the Yeltsin and the insanity. The Russians are very not only proud people but they are very determined and they protect their existence and have done that I would say for well over 1000 years going back to the great schism between the Western church in Rome and the Eastern Church in 1054. I think that was a pivotal date in modern history, the division there.
But certainly the Russians have gone through two World Wars and the rape of Russia under Yeltsin, unbelievable trials and tribulations and they are not shying away from defending their existence. That's something I think the west or certainly Washington with these neocons really doesn't have a sense of.
LS: One thing that I would like to ask you about as my final question is the following. You are a renowned expert for the geopolitics and the history of oil. And since this month we have a future's contract in Shanghai, denominated in yuan for oil and we also hear that the Chinese are planning to price oil that they import in yuan which is safe for this buying of oil internationally via yuan, Russia would be the candidate number one as the exporter?
FWE: Definitely. Most definitely and Russia and China are connecting their financial markets ever closer. The Russian government is the in the process sometime this year of issuing Russian bonds denominated new Chinese yuan. The announcing of the petrol yuan, the oil futures contracts being sold in Shanghai, ultimately it won't happen overnight but it's certainly off to a positive start in the marketing acceptance. That has the basis for taking oil sales.
Let's step back a moment to the 1970s and I document this at length in two of my books, Myths, Lies and Oil Wars and A Century of War. In the early 1970s when Nixon took the dollar off of gold, the dollar relative to the German mark and the Japanese yen dropped like a stone, something like 40% over a period of five or six months. And in order to stop that because the New York Banks were hurting quite a bit from that, there was a oil price shock that was orchestrated. I won't go into the details it's documented quite extensively in those two books of mine.
LS: And Sheikh Yamani had said something about this, too.
FWE: Yes. He invited me after reading my book to his annual energy retreat in London in 2000, September 2000. And then called me to a private dinner discussion at his home outside of London to talk about what I wrote about in the book. And he later went on CNN on an interview and mentioned my book by name. In the written transcript it's in there and in the television version they spliced it out so that you couldn't realise that it'd been in there. But Sheikh Yamani told me you are the first journalist or the first person outside of myself that writes correctly what happened with that oil shock. And that was manipulated by among others Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State and by a group in the Atlantic establishment called the Bilderberg meeting in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden back in May of that period before the Yom Kippur War.
In any case, the US circles around Rockefeller, who at that point was the chairman of the board of USA Incorporated, I would say. They had engineered a 400% price rise in oil and to make sure that Germany and Japan and other countries wouldn't make deals to buy oil in German mark but keep the dollar demand high and the dollar value high. They send a delegation from the US Treasury to sign an agreement with the Saudi Arabian monetary agency for a new relationship taking surplus Saudi petrodollars or OPEC petrodollars and buying US government debt.
LS: Yeah, and outside of the normal auction to privileged conditions.
FWE: Yes. In return, Washington agreed to give the Saudis tens and billions of dollars of defence equipment.
LS: Yeah, and Saudi Arabia would use its status as a swing producer in OPEC that it would only accept dollars as a pricing for oil.
FEW: And the quid pro quo was after 1975, this was formalised that Saudis would as swing producer in OPEC guarantee that OPEC sold its oil only in dollars and that held up until the time of Saddam Hussein during the sanctions shortly before the US invasion and Saddam Hussein began buying oil through a French bank denominated in Euros and not in dollars.
LS: And he made a plus, he made a net plus because he did sell his oil in Euro.
FWE: Yeah, yeah. And so this, what that has done up until the present is prop up the US dollars despite the fact that the internal industrial economy import activity of the United States went down the tubes over the past 40 years since the taking the dollar off of gold and the, putting of English dollars for the world economy. So, the idea than China and Russia would trade in energy and that other economies would begin to sell oil to China, Iran for example is a prime candidate in the petro yuan not in petrodollars, this began slowly like acid drops begins to erode the reserve currency status of the US dollar. And if that goes, it's end game for the US as a financial global power.
LS: We have to make clear to our audience. The fact that you have to buy oil in dollar makes sure that you need dollar, that you acquire dollar in order to buy oil.
LS: And so if this mechanism goes, well then the US has a problem because the dollars that are floating around internationally would find their way back into the homeland of the US.
FWE: Well, the other thing is that in order to sell now you have under this wonderful Trumponomics as I call it, you have projections that the US annual government deficit, shortage of tax income from tax outgo, spending outgo will by 2020 exceed one trillion dollars a year for every year as far as the eye can see. And by end of 2020, 2028 I think was figured by the congressional budget office, the US public debt is estimated to be well over $33 trillion, it's 20 now, 38 maybe, it's just out of control. So, if the ability of the US dollar to command use in the world economy is severely undermined, you're going to have to raise interest rates so high to sell this debt and it just becomes dysfunctional.
LS: Yes, but you have already in the last few years interest rates payments on this already existing that of per annum $400 billion.
LS: And if interest rates go up
FWE: Yeah and that was under zero interest rates, but now, you know, if they have to put up interest rates to five, six, seven, 8% like it was in the 1980s. the whole thing just blows up sky high.
LS: And so coming back to gold, gold has the advantage relative to bonds or shares or the US dollar or other Fiat currencies that there is no counterparty risk. If you have the gold in physical form, there is no counterparty risk.
LS: So would you say that gold will be one of the ultimate winners of the ongoing financial crisis when it goes into full gear?
FWE: Well, it's documented that J. P. Morgan, Chase and other select banks with this collusion of the Federal Reserve have been artificially depressing the price of gold for years. Every time there's a new financial crisis, they intervene and keep gold within a very tight range. At a certain point that's not going to work anymore and then some people estimate to follow the gold markets much more than I do but it could quickly go up to $10,000 an ounce or even beyond that.
Be that as it may, gold as you point out has no counterparty risk and it's a historic store of value. It's one of the beautiful commodities out there and it has a special – the other just being special significance economically and historically, the other thing is that China is the number one mining producer of gold in the world today, not South Africa. South Africa has fallen far behind
LS: Yeah, and Russia is number three.
FWE: Russia is number three.
LS: And a lot of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are producers or are buying gold.
FWE: At the rail connections of the circle of the China Belt Road Initiative in part are aiming to go in the areas where there are known gold reserves but no infrastructure during the Soviet era to bring that gold down to market. So, we have an extremely fascinating prospect, not just for China and Russia, for the world really to build up instead of tear down, destroy and burn and bankrupt which is the only policy that Washington seems able to follow these days.
LS: Yeah. To sum it up with a famous Chinese proverb. "May you live in interesting times" – you and all the others.
FWE: We certainly do.
LS: Okay. great. Thank you very much, William, for this interview.
FWE: Thank you, Lars.
Omega • a day ago ,Fraser • a day ago ,
1. Operation Hammer:In 1989 President George H. W. Bush began the multi-billion dollar Project Hammer program using an investment strategy to bring about the economic destruction of the Soviet Union including the theft of the Soviet treasury, the destabilization of the ruble, funding a KGB coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 and the seizure of major energy and munitions industries in the Soviet Union.
Those resources would subsequently be turned over to international bankers and corporations. On November 1, 2001, the second operative in the Bush regime, President George W. Bush, issued Executive Order 13233 on the basis of "national security" and concealed the records of past presidents, especially his father's spurious activities during 1990 and 1991.
2. Why can't Putin touch Yeltsinist oligarchs:Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal.
https://www.unz.com/ishamir...Guy Fraser • a day ago ,
Given the depth of the fall, the rise (under Putin) has been remarkable.Tommy Jensen • a day ago ,
The rise has been astounding and all because they have a leader that can't be bought , not corrupt and loves his country. That is why he literally was swept in in the last election. The Western leaders will not admit it but I am sure they are terribly envious .Nicole Temple • a day ago ,
Very good article to bring to RI also.
It open eyes on how the West political elite are a criminal rotten cancer syndicate and Georg Bush Sr. shows up to be even worse than the disgusting profile he already has in media and Georg Soros bad reputation gets confirmed.
No police or court are available to take this out. We only have John Connor or The One to count on.Play Hide
Choice is the problem now. We will have to make a choice.Guy • a day ago ,
The photo of Yeltsin and Clinton that accompanies this article should remind readers of this story:
There is something rotten in Washington and it has been in existence for decades.Jimi Thompson • a day ago ,
Great interview .William Engdahl is a very knowledgeable person. I have read a few of his books. Superb in my view.
Quite a few unknown tidbits for me in all of this... very eye-opening even for someone that is aware of the games being played at the higher levels.
To imagine all of what remains unknown, including many of the players, leaves much to the imagination.
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Lozion | Apr 17, 2018 1:56:16 PM | 3
I know b is not fond of us posting content from other blogs but the Saker has just put up a must-read interview with a personal favorite author of mine, F. William Engdhal, entitled "The rape of Russia". Very informative, it documents the strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS. Enjoy!
Apr 18, 2018 | www.cia.gov
After collapse of the USSR the mount of infometion that has flown to the West is staggering. KGB might be then most open of intelleigence services in this sense. multiple defector probably created a very complete picture of the organization and its methods.
July 2, 1996
A NOTE ON KGB STYLE
The KGB like any enduring institution has a style, its own way of doing things. When we seek to understand the service and its officers, we should perhaps pay attention to how they do business as well as to what kind of business they do. This article is intended to raise the subject for discussion, to present largely one man's opinion. It is far from a definitive study.
By way of indicating something about KGB style, consider the implications for the organization as a whole of a communication system that carries one tenth or less as much traffic -- both electric and by pouch -- as its American equivalent. The KGB sends very few cables and its dispatches are infrequent. For maximum security, they are pouched on undeveloped microfilm, which is recovered and printed when the dispatch reaches its destination. Although Moscow headquarters does excellent and prompt printing, both exposure and development are sometimes haphazard in the field. Ten years ago, they were downright unreadable at times. Now, the quality is generally better. Volume, however, does not seem to have risen much.
The prints of the developed films are seen by the Rezident (the KGB Chief of Station) and by the case officer concerned. In large Rezidentury (KGB Stations) some intermediate may also read the traffic, but that is by no means always the case. The Rezident keeps a file -- sometimes in the form of notes or perhaps as copies of pertinent cables and dispatches -- for reference. The case officer keeps all his files in a briefcase or a notebook. Calling them "files" is perhaps misleading. It is better to say that the KGB officer keeps a movable In-Box. When a document leaves that box it is either returned to the Rezident or destroyed and the fact of destruction recorded. The case file is really in the case officer's head. The excellent memory that KGB officers often display concerning the details of their operations may well be traceable to the necessity of remembering the vital information on each operation that they cannot look up anywhere. Of course, when a new case officer replaces an old one, especially if the latter has been unable to brief his successor fully, complications may ensue. Illness, car accidents and PNG'ing have led to real chaos in some KGB operations when a harassed new man has tried to tie down the broken threads of a departed colleague's dropped contacts.
Although the amount of paper that he sees is small, the KGB case officer is held strictiy accountable for each sheet of it. When he destroys a document, a notation to that effect is included on a record. Even his scrap paper may bear a serial number and have to be accounted for. At the Moscow headquarters each document is sewn into the file by the senior officer directly responsible for the case. A special record of all documents in the file is kept by the case officer and its accuracy is regularly verified by the case officer's supervisor. Safe storage areas are locked and sealed with wax each night.
The ritual of sewing in the documents is often regarded as a waste of time by senior case officers in Moscow. Nevertheless, they would not dream of delegating the job. It seems to have a symbolic significance as an embodiment of both their authority and their responsibility.
The KGB case officer is his own intel assistant. At headquarters he does his own traces, gets his own documents from the archives and handcarries his own messages. Not too long ago, he also often wrote or typed his own dispatches. Even now he may write his own telegrams and personally take them and dispatches to his supervisor for review. In the field he is, if anything, even more responsible for doing everything connected with his operation except for technical surveillance and the like where he must call on experts.
The field case officer under official cover often works at his cover job about as much as do his colleagues who do not have intelligence responsibilities. This obligation is usually not as demanding on the case officer's time as it might first appear because KGB cover slots are usually selected so that cover duties complement intelligence tasks to a substantial degree. By contrast, other KGB officers have virtually no serious cover responsibilities and rely on the all-embracing security system of the Soviet colony to protect their true affiliation. In either case, the 'KGB officer is not expected to spend much time on the administrative or reporting aspects of his intelligence job. Within the limitations of his cover assignment, he is supposed to be out on the street, making contacts, working agents and performing other intelligence tasks, reporting only the highlights and the most crucial information back to headquarters.
In developing new sources, he will usually bring things along to the point where recruitment or some other substantial development is clearly foreseeable before asking for traces from headquarters or getting approval to go ahead with his plan. Local informers and support agents are sometimes picked up without reference to headquarters at all, except perhaps after the fact of recruitment. The KGB officer must account with some precision, however, for his operational expenditures and is usually quite limited in what he can spend for development prior to coming up with a concrete proposal for recruiting a source.
Once an agent is recruited or is established as a source, headquarters' control and demands for accountability are exacting, though never voluminous. For a recruited source with significant access, a senior officer, such as a branch chief or his deputy is specifically charged with responsibility for the case. Moscow's concern to insure that information is really coming from the source as described by the case officer and that the source is bona fide is very considerable. Somewhat by contrast, Moscow's requirements (outside of S&T operations) sometimes seem quite general, apparently leaving it up to the case officer and source to report what seems to them most important. On the other hand, reporting is expected to be factual and documentary, if possible. Sometimes the KGB seems obsessed with documents as the only reliable sources. Speculation is not usually encouraged.
In such a system of extreme compartmentation and vertical lines of communication and authority, the advisory role of staffs and other elements not within the chain of command is small. The First Chief Directorate, the foreign intelligence arm of the KGB, has a counterintelligence unit, for example, that actually takes over a case from the regular chain of command in the event that the agent appears to be doubled, compromised or in danger of compromise. The field case officer may remain the same, but in Moscow the Counterintelligence Service assumes full authority for directing the case. Deception and some types of complex political action operations often appear to be run directly by the headquarters element, Department A, that prepares the operation in Moscow. In such cases, of course, local assets of a Rezidentura may well be employed in support, but the operations are frequently run by specialists.
The typical KGB officer, trained in an environment where political agitation is part of daily fare, sees political action and propaganda as part of his regular routine. There are numerous examples of Soviet officers around the world who seem to concentrate almost exclusively on pushing the Soviet line on the issues of the day with whatever contacts they meet. To them the political approach is not something apart from spotting, developing, assessing, recruiting and agent handling. It is integral to that effort. Some do it crudely, some ineffectively, some with great skill. The point is that in almost all cases, it is a part of the operation.
In addition to politics, KGB recruiting and training of staff personnel emphasizes operational and area knowledge and experience from bottom to top. The main sources for new KGB officers are the institutes of International Affairs and Eastern Languages in Moscow. These institutions, which are better compared to the U.S. service academies than to other organizations of higher learning in America, prepare young Soviet citizens for careers abroad not only in the intelligence services, but for the foreign service, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Radio Moscow, etc. Assignment of a student after graduation is worked out among the various consuming organizations. The students are under what amounts to military discipline and are required to accept the assignment given them. Few students, see much difference among the organizations these days except for differences in pay, length and location of overseas service and other practical matters.
In the course of their education the students learn two or three foreign languages well and study the history and culture of the area in which they specialize in considerable detail, although current politics is likely tobe a much weaker course than history. Access to native sources is still circumscribed. A substantial number of students go for a year or more as exchange students or as trainees with Soviet organizations working abroad. As a result, they often end up knowing the area, its language, its politics, customs, police systems, local geography and so on very well. Although the old-style Soviet intelligence officer who was raised in the shadow if not the institutions of the Komintern and could recruit agents through appeals to an international revolutionary ideology are long since past, the newest generation of Soviet intelligence officers can be quite effective by trading on their precise knowledge of target personalities and the problems and frustrations of the countries in which they operate.
A KGB officer is ranked in his service by two systems. He progresses up the ladder from junior lieutenant to senior lieutenant and so on up to colonel and general. At the same time, he is classified as a junior case officer, case officer or senior case officer and then as he progresses further by his position, such as Rezident, which he may hold. His pay depends on his ranking in both hierarchies and there is no necessary coincidence between where he stands in one and where he stands in the other. The operational designations are based on his experience and performance as an operator. His formal rank is largely based on length of service up through major or lieutenant colonel. The chain of command is designated through the operational positions rather than formal rank. For example, a major of State Security from some other part of the KGB might be transferred into the First Chief Directorate under the designation of junior case officer and find himself subordinate to a senior lieutenant who had attained the position of case officer.
The phenomenon of marked disparity between formal rank and operational designation was probably more common during the period of considerable expansion of the First Chief Directorate's personnel ten and more years ago than it is today. At that time officers from other branches of the service were being brought into the First Chief Directorate more frequently than they are now. Nevertheless, the emphasis on operational experience and operational ability continues to be a marked element of the KGB style. The top officers in the service, for example, usually involve themselves directly in operations. They meet and develop agent candidates, they recruit and they handle agents.
In part this is a consequence of the strongly operational orientation of the KGB as a whole. A direct involvement in operations comes naturally to almost everyone in the organization. This operational orientation is manifest also in the concentration of relatively few cases per case officer. Generally, one man may handle four or five agents or targets under development. He is not expected to spread his range of intelligence activities further, although he may well be encouraged to develop a large circle of casual contacts from whom a relatively small number of serious targets may be selected.
From the foregoing one can see that the typical KGB officer is a man who sees himself in a strict vertical chain of command. He expects to do everything necessary for his operation without much outside help, except in technical matters. Depending upon circumstances, the case officer may be closely guided by the Rezident in a particular operation, but he is not supposed to discuss it with anyone else. (Gossip and shop-talk are endemic, however, in part to overcome the excessive official compartmentation.) Although the case officer is held strictly to account for the results of his actions, he is not expected to report on day-to-day developments to headquarters and in fact the capacity of his communications system is far too limited to permit him to do so. He is street-oriented in the concept of his job and does not put in a lot of time at the desk writing reports, reading guidance from headquarters or maintaining his files. When he has a problem he takes it up with his boss and he is generally not expected to have many problems. He is supposed to know the difference between what he really needs consultation about and what he ought to be able to handle on his own.
His boss in turn has the responsibility of not only guiding the case officers that work for him, but of ensuring that vital information pertinent to the work of one case officer but acquired through another is made available. In both operational guidance and information sharing, the role of the Rezident is crucial. There is virtually no lateral distribution of communications and an extreme emphasis on compartmentation. Although the rigid compartmentation of the system is probably a major vulnerability, superiors both in the field and headquarters are usually able to keep up with each case because they are not overwhelmed with paper. Relatively primitive (in terms of capacity) communications equipment and the custom that each officer prepare his own reports and keep them brief make it possible for such reports as do get written to be read all the way up the chain of command. The general in command of the First Chief Directorate has been reported on several occasions as reading all the incoming traffic. Much of the outgoing traffic is also signed personally by him.
The strictness of the chain of command and the limited amount of communications place a great weight of responsibility on each Rezident and on each case officer. As with all Soviet officials, KGB case officers have a norm to fulfill for the year and are usually called to account for their activities during part of the annual home leave in the Soviet Union. In a system like that, if something goes wrong, someone must be found to have been responsible. This can encourage an extreme of caution, particularly when the relations between case officer and the Rezident are not of the best or when the headquarters desk officer is not cooperative and understanding of the problems in the field.
Although we are accustomed to think of Soviet organizations as highly impersonal, in the KGB personalities and the private connections of individual officers are often crucial to the success or failure of an operation -- or a career. In many ways, the KGB is an organization made to order for the man who wants to claim all the glory for himself and put all the mistakes on the backs of his subordinates. Family connections or other personal contacts have special significance in this sort of an organization because they can provide a secure and effective second channel for communication in a system in which there is otherwise only one narrow route watched over by jealous monitors for all the messages an officer may want to send.
The emphasis on the role of the individual in the organization also has its advantages, of course. A capable officer, particularly one from an influential family, working under a Rezident who knows his business and will accept responsibility is likely to find himself in a stimulating work environment that may compensate very well for shortcomings of the service or the Soviet system as a whole that might otherwise disturb him.
While the KGB style as outlined above is in many ways admirably suited to running operations, it appears to have limitations in the way it makes use of the product of its operations and in evaluating whether the operations themselves are really worthwhile. There are enough instances on record to permit the generalization that in political matters especially Moscow is often reluctant to receive bad news. The ambitious case officer may find himself frustrated by pressure to conform, either from his Rezident or from Moscow, when he tries to report things as he sees them. To a large degree this is probably an inevitable manifestation of the extreme isolation from the outside world in which the Soviet policy makers live and their lack of exposure to unwelcome information. In addition, the emphasis on operations as such and the overall environment of the KGB, which is predominantly an internal security, criminal investigation, and antisubversive organization, probably discourages the kind of critical intellect by whom frank reporting, regardless of its content, is most prized.
This last consideration, the emphasis on an investigative, operational style at the expense of analytical curiosity, may well be the source of considerable tension within the First Chief Directorate today. Bigoted and inflexible ultimate consumers are problems enough. But also the older generation of KGB officers, including many of today's Rezidenty, was largely trained in war time and internal security operations. Their juniors, speaking broadly, are more academically inclined, more tempted to discourse on their theories, more interested in foreign societies and politics per se and less dedicated to fulfilling the obligations of the party and the state. They are often perceptive and realistic about developments not only abroad, but also in their own country. Bearing in mind the importance of personal relations and the dependence of juniors on seniors in the rigid chain of command, the signs we see these days of tension and cynicism among these younger officers should not be surprising.
As they rise in the KGB, we may see some organizational changes over time. If these changes preserve the laconic style of communication while at the same time do away with some of the most cumbersome and archaic aspects of the communications and records keeping systems, the KGB could become an even more formidable institution than it is today. The problem of encouraging intelligence analysis and imaginative, critical thinking is a problem for Soviet society as a whole. As a part of that society, the KGB shares the problem, but probably not in greater degree than other Soviet institutions and possibly less than many.
Judgments about the influence the KGB style has on KGB officers as individuals, about the implications for KGB operations of the way they do business, about the relevance of the style to Western operations against Soviet targets, and about many other related matters lead us beyond the scope of this note which, as stated in the introductory paragraph, hopes only to raise an interesting topic for further comment. If this piece succeeds in making the point that KGB organizational style is important to Western intelligence and that we should concern ourselves with it more than we have, it will have served its purpose.
Apr 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
David Habakkuk , 4 years agorkka, kao_hsien_chih
I broadly agree with rkka's last comment.
Another point may be worth bringing into the discussion. One thing that Oxford University does rather well nowadays, perhaps ironically, is mafia studies – they have two splendid Italian professors, Diego Gambetta and Federico Varese. As the latter put it in his 2011 study 'Mafias on the Move':
'A relatively recent body of research has shown that mafias emerge in societies that are undergoing a sudden and late transition to a market economy, lack a legal structure that reliably protects property rights or settles business disputes, and have a supply of people trained in violence who become unemployed at this specific juncture.'
An interesting feature of this work is that a great deal of it is really an application of 'rational choice' theory. Applied in the conditions of the Soviet Union in the Nineties, 'shock therapy' actually created pressing 'rational' incentives leading to extensive criminalisation.
If property rights cannot be protected by an effective state, they will be protected by private enterprise – which means mafias. And if at the same time a vast military, intelligence and internal security apparatus is being demobilised, some of its members have the strongest incentives to join mafias.
Some kind of reconstruction of the Russian state – and also of Russian patriotism – was clearly necessary if large parts of Eurasia were not to be permanently locked in a state of criminalised anarchy.
People can legitimately disagree about the merits and demerits of Putin's approaches, and the interpenetration between organised crime, supposedly 'legitimate' business and politics continues to be a massive problem.
However, any argument based upon the belief Russia was 'on the right lines' in the Yeltsin years quite patently makes it impossible to understand what the possibilities are in the country today – in particular as, precisely as rkka says, it leads to the conclusion that Putin's supporters are suffering from a massive case of 'false consciousness'.
rkka , 4 years agokao_hsien_chih, 4 years ago"Of course, this means that we know nothing of what Putin has managed to accomplish in Russia, beyond the fact that we apparently aren't supposed to like him much, or understand why he enjoys the kind of support that he apparently does."
Exactly. In the '90s, oligarchs felt no need to pay wages to workers or taxes to the government, preferring to offshore every kopek they could get their hands on. Hence, workers suffered and the government was bankrupt.
And the FreeMarketReformers were fine with this.
When Putin arrived, he offered the oligarchs a deal: Keep your swag from the '90s, but behave from this point on. Most took him up on it. Several refused and tried to do as they had before. And when these were exiled or jailed, the Angosphere Foreign Policy Elite and Punditocracy (AFPE&P) howled with outrage at Putin 'violating their human rights'
However, the Russian people know by their own experience that they now live far better than they did while FreeMarketReformers were running the place. This is the simple reason Putin is popular with Russians. The AFPE&P say its because the Russian government dominates Russian media and propagandizes the ignorant masses. The AFPE&P lie about this, from both ignorance and malice.USG is clearly out of date by at least a decade and a half, or more likely, two or more, when it comes to Russia. After all, isn't that when we supposedly "won" the Cold War? If my speculation is right and no serious Russia experts came near the loci of power in USG since then, I shudder to think how out of date our information about the rest of the world (besides Russia and its surroundings) are.
Of course, this means that we know nothing of what Putin has managed to accomplish in Russia, beyond the fact that we apparently aren't supposed to like him much, or understand why he enjoys the kind of support that he apparently does.
David Habakkuk , 4 years agokao_hsien_chih,
I would absolutely agree with everything you write.
Some tentative thoughts in response.
In relation to British imperial experience, it may be relevant that the distinctive nature of Indian society, both the religious issues involved and the critical issue of caste, facilitated imperial control over a population which was not simply 'primitive' in the way that was the case in, for instance, most of Africa.
But 'divide et impera' can only be practised on the basis of understanding. Moreover, there were clear penalties for obtuseness, as we discovered in 1857.
What is bizarre now is the c ombination of an unreal sense of danger relating to non-existent or grossly exaggerated threats, with a lack of any sense of danger relating to our current practice of making actually or potentially unstable areas of the world even more unstable (pushing Humpty-Dumpty off the wall, one might call it.)
- As regards alien cultures, it is certainly not necessary either to agree with or to 'respect' them. What however strikes me is the apparent marginalisation of a sense of interest – which I think has catastrophic consequences for intelligence.
An example from British intelligence history may be to the point. The unit in MI6 which handled the material from Enigma relating to the Abwehr, the German intelligence service, was headed by Hugh Trevor-Roper. A classicist turned historian of early modern Europe – and a strange, feline creature – his response to the chaos of the time was to identify strongly with an eighteenth-century Enlightenment tradition.
But he made sense of the accumulating evidence about the nature of the Nazi regime through a perspective shaped by a tradition of interpretation of despotism going back through Gibbon to Tacitus, and knowledge of millenarian and apocalyptic cults in early modern Europe.
Doing so enabled him to see something which both Roosevelt and Churchill failed to grasp – that the view of the Second World War as a continuation of its predecessor, and the enemy as 'Prussianism', was at best a half-truth, and a dangerous one at best, obscuring the radical gulf in attitudes between the nihilistic millenarians of the 'Sicherheitsdienst' and the German General Staff.
One of the most fascinating counterfactuals of the war is what might have happened had Trevor-Roper's attempts to get the British to respond to the overtures from the Abwehr chief Admiral Canaris born fruit.
Apr 02, 2018 | russia-insider.com
- BaBa • 9 hours ago ,
"Anders Aslund's deep knowledge of Eastern European politics"
During the 1990's in Russia the illusions of Mr. Aslund and others facilitated the transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation.
It appears that Mr. Aslund continues to serve a useful purpose.
It was decided in the 1990's not to thank Mr. Aslund, Mr. Sachs and others for their complicity since such was deemed to be indelicate, so perhaps now this should be rectified.
Mar 14, 2018 | www.unz.com
MEFOBILLS , March 14, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT@DESERT FOX
God bless Putin and Russia for standing against the Zionist NWO
You are correct Desert Fox. The prime variable in history is economics. Economics before politics and before war.
Our illuminist friends manipulate the strings of international bank capital for their one world government. In effect, the West has been infested with a tiny cadre of plutocrats, who operate a usury mechanism to extract wealth from host peoples and nations.
Russia was to be broken up into parts. ((Harvard boys)) came to the 'rescue" and privatized Russia with various schemes, the most important of which was to saddle Russian's with "dollar" debts. Russians as hewers of wood and drawers of water, were to sell their "earth" in exchange for finished dollar priced goods. Middle Class Russian labor is then cut out of wealth production inherent in making finished goods. For example, Russian platinum is used to make high value catalytic converters elsewhere, while only a few Russian's get wealthy (in dollar terms) by poking holes in Russian land to extract minerals. Former Russian nuclear scientists walk around drunk as they are not fit for being good labor to extract oil, platinum, etc.
In effect, our ((friends)) turned Russia into African economy, never mind that Russian's aren't African's. This desire to rape and pillage the earth, to then take rents on the world, to then think of yourselves as god (note a little g) is a sophisticated, yet criminally insane method akin to parasitism.
Russian's were infested by parasites, and yet Russian people as hosts have become stronger year on year, to eject their parasite. Putin was instrumental in this transformation.
All nationalist economies in the past, which had the temerity to eject these parasites have come under attack. I'm thinking Nazi Germany as well – oh the horror. This economic attack is often under the guise of liberalism, which has a knock on effect of breaking down civil society. In other words, liberalism is a symptom of parasitic financial oligarchy (and illuminism) a control method to make a host weak, to then be re-colonized.
Russia DOES need to take full control of its Central Bank and eject its fifth columnists (atlantacists), a final act that hasn't been done yet. On this point, it is factual and fair to criticize Putin, because once Russian's have their own money power, they can accelerate even faster. http://www.sovereignmoney.eu
Part 3 - A False Promise
This 'Washington Consensus' is the false promise promoted by the West. The reality is quite different. The crux of neoliberalism is to eliminate democratic government by downsizing, privatizing, and deregulating it. Proponents of neoliberalism recognize that the state is the last bulwark of protection for the common people against the predations of capital. Remove the state and they'll be left defenseless .
Think about it. Deregulation eliminates the laws. Downsizing eliminates departments and their funding. Privatizing eliminates the very purpose of the state by having the private sector take over its traditional responsibilities.
Ultimately, nation-states would dissolve except perhaps for armies and tax systems. A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism.
Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged.
The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy.
What matters to the one percent and the media conglomerates that disseminate their worldview is that the official definitions are accepted by the masses. The real effects need never be known. The neoliberal ideology (theory) thus conceals the neoliberal reality (practice). And for the masses to accept it, it must be mass produced. Then it becomes more or less invisible by virtue of its universality.
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Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Mark Logan , 10 March 2018 at 02:05 PMMy understanding is Fusion GPS does research for both sides. Soros giving them money is entirely plausible but assuming that money equals control is a bit of a leap.likbez said in reply to Mark Logan... , 10 March 2018 at 03:43 PM
It appears to be some Russians seeking to discredit the investigation with clever BS/truthiness.
I suspect a few absurdly wealthy Russians harbor a deep fear of Mueller. They may believe he is primarily after them and they may be right. I see Mueller as an old-school lawman, and suspect he is using all this as a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters, particularly in their money laundering. It would not surprise me if he hopes he will not be forced to nail Trump himself to the wall, which would drag all kinds of political noise into the trials, some of the people around Trump will be bad enough. Using some of them, at least for the moment, is unavoidable, it's the politics is the source of his mission and resources.
If only our press had the bandwidth necessary to distinguish those few Russians from ALL Russians..."I suspect a few absurdly wealthy Russians harbor a deep fear of Mueller."
"I see Mueller as an old-school lawman, and suspect he is using all this as a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters"
Thank you ! You have such a refreshing level of naivety that I really enjoyed your posts.
How one in his sound mind can call Mueller "an old-school lawman" if one remember Mueller's role in 9/11 and anthrax investigations.
And FYI those "absurdly wealthy Russians" represents the US fifth column in Russia (as guarantors and protectors of neoliberalism in Russia; Google such a name as Chubais https://www.rusjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Yeltsin_Putin.pdf ) and to destroy them might not be in best USA interests. Moreover, such a move actually will be do Putin a huge favor, strengthening his hand.
As for "a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters" the danger of such a brilliant move is to reveal criminal connections with Russian oligarchs (and financial oligarchs in general as you never know where the oligarch ends and the mafia boss starts) and the Democratic Party.
Just think about who can go down with Trump is such a case. It's not only Bill and Hillary. It is also a very dangerous thing to open this can of worms as "the people" might learn something that neoliberal elite does not want them to know -- specifically the USA and intelligence agencies role in creating Russian mafia and oligarchs after the dissolution of the USSR. Do you, by any chance, know such a name as Andrei Shleifer and such a term as "Harvard Mafia" ? Please Google those if you do not.
FYI Bill Clinton took a huge bribe in the form of speech fee from people very close to "Russian Mobsters" (organized crime figures should probably more correctly be called "the informal neoliberals" ;-)
There was an interesting discussion in Quora in 2016 on this topic:
Mar 10, 2018 | www.rusjournal.org
From Yeltsin to Putin: Chubais, Liberal Pathology, and Harvard's Criminal Record
Matthew Raphael JohnsonJohnstown, PAWhen the USSR collapsed in 1990-1991, Gorbachev was incapable of handling thesituation. Boris Yeltsin came to power both bureaucratically and popularly. He was named theChief of the Presidium, but in June of 1991, he was elected in a popular election where heearned 57% of the popular vote.
With a small army of American advisers, Yeltsin began selling off Soviet era assets.The problem was that the process had nothing to do with markets. Privatization of assets wentto a handful of well-connected politicians and bureaucrats who came to control the economyas a whole.1 They had amassed a huge number of shares by 1995, and hence, the post-Sovietoligarchy was born. The fact is that the work of 70 years of Soviet labor went to the pocketsof two or three dozen people.2
The rising oligarchs could easily manipulate the court system and tax police, sincethere was no real law governing private enterprise. Russia was led to the brink of anarchy. By1998, according to a paper by Sergei Guriev and Andrei Rachinsky, the oligarchs comprisedabout 700 individuals that completely controlled Russia's economic assets.3
The Western Elites and the Ivy League as a Criminal SyndicateIn NS Leonov's book (only in Russian), The Way of the Cross: Russia from 1991-2000, he states, as the first "reform" of Yeltsin's government :
Government "reforms" that began Gaidar's privatization scam was the seizure of the savings of the people. These were taken by force, though not directly. Inflation and economic collapse made the transfer of funds easy. State control was removed from prices and the "free market" would ensure the enrichment of corruption. This was the level of cynicism the new democracy had reached, while simultaneously preaching the sanctity of private property. What did not melt away in the deliberate fleecing of the people was taken by other means. An estimate of the total taken thisway is about 300 billion rubles, and it had the proper effect: without money, rebellion was difficult. They cried out in frustration.4
Nothing was done according to democratic norms, which is odd since democracy was the buzzword that made these economic decisions seem political. At almost no time in the history of the USSR did one man, Chubais and his allies, have such total and irresponsible control over the Russian economy. When the voucher program was introduced in 1992, massive inflation resulted. Soon, each 10,000 ruble voucher was worth very little. It was rendered null regardless, since the state refused to consider the vouchers as legal tender.
1 Hoffman, D. The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia. Public Affairs Books, 2011 (cf esp ch12).
2 Kotz, D.M. Russia's Financial Crisis: The Failure of Neoliberalism? Z Magazine, (1998), 28-32
3 Guriev, S. and Andrei Rachinsky. The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. Journal of EconomicPerspectives, 19(1), (2005), 131-150 http://pages.nes.ru/sguriev/papers/GurievRachinsky.pdf
4 Leonov, NS. The Way of the Cross: Russia from 1991-2000. Moscow: Russia House, 2002 (All citations aremy translations from the Russian.
Making the entire scam even more blatant, Chubais inserted a rider to the law stating that the value of the voucher would only exist until late 1993. In 1992, Yeltsin's popularity went from 50% in January to 30% in August, and from there to single digits.
By July of 1992, Chubais was hated. This led Yeltsin to limit the power of parliament, increase his executive power and totally dominate the regions. This was done with western backing and was a far greater centralization of power than Putin was later to be condemned for. He had already banned the Communist Party, helping to break his main opposition and prevent their imminent reelection in Parliament. The fraud of democracy was clearly open.
Soon Chubais and his crew stated that there was no benchmark value for any sold property. The institution in charge of this, the Russian Federal Property Fund and related agencies, therefore, began from arbitrary benchmarks. Ultimately, major firms were being sold for 1-5% of their value. Worse, some of these were defense plants, bought up by shallcompanies operates by the CIA – this was Hay's job. Therefore, scientific advances of the USSR were now entirely in American hands.
In 1992, Yeltsin did fairly well in a referendum, receiving about 50% approval, but at this date, privatization had just begun. Elections a bit later were to belie this vote. Yeltsin himself clearly had no confidence in this referendum. Having no confidence in that vote, Yeltsin then, again with western backing, banned all opposition protests in Moscow. Then, making matters worse, he signed order 1400 in September of 1993 which stripped the Congress of People's Deputies of all power. For the upcoming elections, Yeltsin passed a law saying that only 25% of voters needed to show for it to be valid. This was a means of making sure that opposition boycotts could not win. Yeltsin soon after banned the main opposition newspaper.
Russia's privatization scam was created, directed and imposed by Harvard University and carried out by two "professors" whose incompetence is rivaled only by their lack of accountability. Anatoly Chubais, probably the most hated man in Russia, was an old friend of Harvard "economist" Andrei Shleifer, who was also working with Harvard don Jonathan Hay (who according to the FSB, is CIA). Chubais, functioning as a Russian dictator since Yeltsin was not functional at the time, put the privatization scheme into Harvard's hands. Apparently having no workable knowledge of Russian life, the Harvard elite, believing themselves infallible, quickly proved their theories not only false, but directly responsible for ruining thelives of millions.5
1994-1995 was the period of the solidification of the oligarchic clans, their connection with the United States, and the complete collapse of the state. Oligarchic clans, created by Chubais, filled the vacuum with private armies, political machines and newspapers. In the US, conservative and liberal alike called this the "free market" and democracy. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, of Jewish origin and endlessly changing political positions, became the government's ace in the hole: whenever the US questioned the increasingly obvious destruction of Russia, Yeltsin would trot this clown out to make some typically outrageous statement. In 1995, it was clear that Zhirinovsky both "loved Hitler" and was "proud" of Russia's victory in the Great Patriotic War. Clearly in the pocket of Yeltsin, Zhirinovsky a)kept US aid money coming into his efforts, b) siphoned off serious criticism, c) easily associated nationalist views with this kind of rhetorical nonsense.
Chubais continued to hang onto power. Not being a Russian citizen (and yet having all that power), he clearly equated the oligarchic clans as "democracy." In Davos, 1996, he met with the heads of all the clans including Guzinsky, Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Friedman, Potanin and many others, and formed a political movement designed to keep nationalist and communists out of power.
5 McClintick, D. How Harvard Lost Russia. Institutional Investor, 2006. http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/1020662/How-Harvard-lost-Russia.html?ArticleId=1020662&single=true#.UY7blLWG2So
This move shows that Chubais backed the oligarchs, did not consider them "unintended consequences" and sought their assistance to stay in power: All in the name of democracy.
Yeltsin, now at 3% (with the same margin of error) began to implement populist measures, but now was isolated. Winning a strangely high 33% of the vote in the 1996 elections, it can only be attributed to a) electoral fraud, or b) the fact that Gen. Alexander Lebed had been talked into entering a sort of coalition with Yeltsin. If they won, then Lebed's rival Pavel Grachev, would be history. Yeltsin won the second round with just over 50%, as the oligarchs and Chubais personally spend a small fortune bribing artists, journalists, writers and, making an even worse mockery of democracy, busing thousands of urban youth into Moscow to ensure their support.
Harvard's Sinister RoleHarvard University spent quite a bit of its money to restructure Russia. The US government sued some of them, specifically, Andrei Shleifer, for breach of contract. Many economists from Harvard worked for the State Department so as to be able to control Russia for the better. The fraud of the Russian economy was in part blamed on these advisers, whowere forced to pay more than $31 million to the US government for "conspiracy to defraud."
Harvard had authored the plan that Gorbachev had requested to turn Russia into a capitalist state. This was the plan that was enacted. The Harvard Institute for International Development in Russia was the group created at Harvard and sponsored by the US government. This is what was sued over. The US government argued that the reform program was a failure, and the planners, living in America, knew it was a failure and continued to defend it – with taxpayer money. Even worse, as it turns out, Shleifer was rigging some of the auctions himself, investing his own money in firms that he knew would turn a profit, even if overseas.
The US Justice Department in 2000 sued, among others, Shleifer and Hay for defrauding the US government. The Justice Department stated:
The United States alleges that Defendants' actions undercut the fundamental purpose of the United States' program in Russia -- the creation of trust and confidence in the emerging Russian financial markets and the promotion of openness, transparency, the rule of law, and fair play in the development of theRussian economy and laws.6
Since they were using $40 million in taxpayer money, the cold-blooded desolation of Russia implicated the US. The civil lawsuit argued, to simplify, that Harvard's economists, especially Shleifer (and his wife), was investing taxpayer money in Russian companies about which they were giving financial advice. Harvard admitted guilt in the form of a $25 million settlement. How much of this assisted their victims in Russia is not known.7
In response to the suit, lawyers for Shleifer and his co-conspirator, Jonathan Hay, sneered to the press: "We are confident that, as the civil case unfolds, the court will confirm that the Harvard program significantly fostered Russian reform and that the government received its money's worth." As it turns out, even their lawyers did not believe this, since their defense rested, not on the denial that conflict of interest existed, but that they were never bound by such ethical rules.8
6 "United States of America, Plaintiff v. the President and Fellows of Harvard College, Andrei Shleifer, Jonathan Hay, Nancy Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Hebert, Defendants" (2000)
7 His crimes and the full nature of the lawsuit and evidence can be found here: Wedel, J. Who Taught CronyCapitalism to Russia? How Harvard and the 'U.S. Government's Aid Agency became part of the RussianProblem. The Wall Street Journal Europe, March 19, 2001
In 2005, a federal judge found Shleifer guilty of professional fraud. The disgraced "professor" paid the US government $2 million, and his wife, operating yet another scam, settled out of court for $1.5 million. Harvard paid about $10 million in legal fees to defend their role in the starvation of Russia.9
For all that, Shleifer remains a celebrated professor at Harvard and the toast of academia worldwide. His academic stock has not suffered in theleast from this. Just as puzzling, Harvard suffered no diminution in prestige. This is especially puzzling in that ivy league scandals erupt seemingly on a daily basis. This Teflon world exists partly due to the protection of former Harvard President, World Bank economist and Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, also a pivotal figure in the Russian fiasco.10
Summers is partly to blame for the American sub-prime mortgage disaster since hewas pivotal in removing many of the regulatory barriers that forbade predatory lendingpractices. Therefore, the execrable Summers is the co-author of not one but two national meltdowns. Summers, after being forced to resign from Harvard based on an unrelated set of sins,11 was quickly rehired as a "professor" by the government. Then, Summers became a leading figure in Obama's economic brain trust, was soon after appointed as part of the "oversight"panel for the UN's economic programs and became a member of the Group of 30, a highlyelite and secretive organization created by the Rockefeller family.
Like Summers and Shleifer, Chubais was also handsomely rewarded for his direct role in the Russian cataclysm. He was soon placed on the board of JP Morgan, and, to no one's surprise, was granted a seat on the ultra-elite Council on Foreign Relations, another powerful conclave within the Rockefeller cult.12
Summer's career, his almost comic legacy of failure and ignorance, and the criminal impoverishment of Russia (not to mention the 2007 US meltdown) wholly destroy the "elitestatus" of places like Harvard.13 This set of scandals, largely unknown to a bewildered and exhausted American public, shows the profound and pervasive putrescence of academia, especially in the Ivy leagues. It brought into question academic tenure, unearned salaries, and the famed academic insulation from consequences arising from their theories. The Harvard civil suit and all it entails demonstrates the incompetence of those paid to implement policy and their ability to get their hands on taxpayer money. It shows a reprehensible and reckless disregard for the welfare of others that is rewarded with academic posts, social prestige, ostentatious wealth and immense power.
It might be worth mentioning that the behavior patters of Chubais conforms almost perfectly to the Triarchic diagnostic model of psychopathy as developed by Skeem, et al in 2011. First, it is typified by a pathological arrogance. The victim has full confidence that he is above the law, or that the law only applies to others. Second, the victim shows an impulsive and anti-social temper that focuses only on short term gratification based on the lowest motives. Because of these two symptoms, the victim either does not perceive or does not have any restraints on his destructive behavior. Finally, and most significantly, the victim feels no remorse for the consequences of his actions. Other criteria related to these includeparasitic behavior, superficial charm, grandiosity, ingenious criminal ideas, and assertive narcissism.14 Yeltsin, quoted in Leonov's book, called Chubais "an absolute Bolshevik by temperament and mentality." The basic consensus about Chubais' behavior is that he cared little for construction, and only for destruction.
8 Seward, Z. Harvard To Pay $26.5 Million in HIID Settlement. Crimson, July 20059 The guilty verdict and settlement issues are summarized in the Crimson article above.
10 Finucane, M "Feds Sue Harvard over Russia Advisers." ABD News; also see Wedel, Janine R. The HarvardBoys Do Russia. The Nation, 2008; and "Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow EliteBankrupt The University And The Country?" The Huffington Post, Jan 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-r-lewis/larry-summers-robert-rubi_b_419224.html
11 These had something to do with comments about intellectual differences between men and women. That this contrived controversy erupted just as Harvard was paying off the federal government is no coincidence.
12 Levy, Ari. Summers Joins Andreessen Horowitz as a Part-Time Adviser to Entrepreneurs. Bloomberg, June2011 and Greenwald, Glenn. Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Wall Street's ownership of government.Salon, 2009
13 As far as ivy league fraud and incompetence go, this is just one scandal out of hundreds.
The political lesson of this is unfortunate: the diagnostic criteria for criminal psychopathy are precisely the qualities required for success in big business and government. Even the best intentioned politician or businessman must display some combination of thesevices in order to successfully compete in these fields. What passes as virtue in libera lcapitalism is actually an undisguised form of mental illness.
Leonov speaks in more detail about his pathology:
Evil lurks in Chubais' colorless eyes. He arrogantly uses his supporters in public. Assertiveness and phony composure is his cynical way. Yeltsin was seen by him as merely manageable. Yeltsin was easy to manipulate due to his unpopularity. He did not have the intellectual wherewithal to fight back. He was compliant and signed anything on cue. He saw the Duma as mere formalism that can be bypassed. In reality, he just relied on Presidential decrees.
Of course, all of this in the name of democracy. Rather than deal with the fallout for the sins of others, Yeltsin did one excellent thing for Russia – appointed Vladimir Putin astemporary president on new year's eve, 1999. As was proper, Putin guaranteed Yeltsin immunity from prosecution, which meant he could no longer be used as a scapegoat. Putin, to make a long story very short, brought Russia from a GDP that was 98th in the world to 2014,where it is 8th. For the period 1991-1997, the transfer of wealth from Russia to the oligarchs was roughly $1.75 trillion. This was not "lost" to Russia, since wealth is not "lost." It merely changed hands. Under Chubais and Harvard, the economic contracted by almost 90%.
For all that, Yeltsin's party received 15% of the vote. With instructions from the US, Yeltsin, after this humiliation, created the idea of a "consensus document." The point is to create the illusion of agreement. Several western NGOs designed a position paper which supported "free market" reforms. Representatives of the new rich in Russia signed this document, which was then trumpeted as proof of social cohesion around Yeltsin.
Bernard Black et al, writing in 2009, described the devastation of this shock treatment for Russia and Ukraine in 1994:Russia's mass privatization. . . permitted insiders (managers and controlling shareholders) to engage in extensive "self" or "inside" dealing. . . which the government did nothing to control. Later privatization "auctions" were a massive giveaway of Russia's most important companies at bargain prices to a handful of well-connected "kleptocrats". . . Medium-term prospects are grim; the Russian ruble has plunged; the Russian government has defaulted on both its dollar denominated and ruble-denominated debt; most banks are bankrupt; corruption is rampant; tax revenues have collapsed; capital flight is pervasive; and the government (whomever the Prime Minister happens to be at the moment) seems clueless about what to do next.15
14 Skeem, JL, Polaschek, DLL, Patrick, CJ, and S Lilienfeld. Psychopathic Personality: Bridging the GapBetween Scientific Evidence and Public Policy. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12 (3): 95–1622011
15 Black, et al, 1
This scheme represents one of the most luridly thoroughgoing, colossal and overwhelming failures in economic history. The role of the US government, international financial agencies and elite academia in this monumental disaster is well known. During the well publicized destruction and starvation of Russia, the British journal Euromoney named Chubais the "Worlds Greatest Finance Minister," as yet another means of displaying theelite's lack of accountability. In the Financial Times of 2004, A. Ostrovsky states "Chubais makes no excuses and feels no remorse over the most controversial privatization of all - the 'loans-for-shares' deal, in which he handed control of Russia's largest and most valuable assets to the group of tycoons [sic] in return for loans and support in the 1996 election for the then ailing Yeltsin."16
Once this became plain, the architects of the plan backed off, blaming everyone else for the issues. He writes in Foreign Affairs that the "Russian people" must vote for "democracy" in the 2000 elections. At the time, his own popularity was running about 2-3%. Hence, he did not mean "democracy" in the normal sense of the word. The real change was between 1994-1996. Here, the oligarchs were openly ruling with Yeltsin, who was often drunk and would disappear for weeks on end. It didn't matter. The oligarchs bought up most of the banks, then issued licenses to trade internationally that only they could have. As the government got desperate, the oligarchs stepped in and loaned Moscow the money to continue to function. Russian was not a "government" in any sense of the word. About 700 major families controlled almost the entire Russian economy and hence, the state as well.
The Results of the ScamGovernment revenues went down by over 50% in this same time. Wages went down by about 75% by 1998. In 1992, the inflation rate was almost 1000%. Light industry, that is, the consumer sector, lost about 90% of its capital, the hardest hit sector of all. Machinery of all kinds fell by about 75%, meaning that 75% of the machines useful in the Russian economy had been liquidated (or were just not used) by 1998. The only thing that kept Russiaafloat was the black market.17
The state could no longer enforce its laws, and hence, men started not showing up for the draft. Republic after republics declared independence, to be immediately recognized by the US. So, what can we conclude here? Very few deny that Yeltsin was a failure, but a failure of the worst kind. This kind of economic destruction has never been seen before outside of warfare. Government revenues and expenditures collapsed, hence, an already bad infrastructure was made far worse. Believe it or not, from 1992-1999, the Russian government collected about $6 billion all told. Hence, the state did not function.
Interest rates were high, about 300% in 1994, so credit was available only to the very rich, who controlled the (now private) central bank in the first place. Nearly everyoligarchical bank was connected with organized crime. In fact, there is no substantial difference between the oligarchs and organized crime.18
Under the oligarchs, tax collection collapsed. Industrial production went down by 25% in just a few years. By 1997, Russia had defaulted on its debts. Between 1991 and 1998,Russian GDP fell by almost 40%. Life expectancy went down from 68 to 56 years. Russians became impoverished. Money was so scarce that, by 1996, most trade was done through barter. Importantly, these oligarchs became a state within a state. Tax collection had collapsed, and the new Russia was completely broke. With the Asian meltdown in 1998, interest rates for Russian borrowing went to 300%. 19
16 Arkady Ostrovsky, Father to the Oligarchs. Financial Times, 2004.
17 Graham, Thomas. From Oligarchy to Oligarchy: The Structure of Russia's Ruling Elite. Demokratizatsiya7(3), (1997) 325-340
Yeltsin's popularity by 1998 went to about zero. Since then, pro-western (that is, pro freemarket) parties have polled no more than 5-7% of the vote combined. Yeltsin resigned the Presidency in 1999 and appointed Vladimir Putin as president.
A man of immense mental and physical strength, he sought to discipline the oligarchs, rebuild Russia and create a modern economy. As soon as Putin took office, he went after the media monopoly of Vladimir Guzinsky. Soon, numerous oil firms and banks were investigated for tax fraud. Some oligarchs fled the country, others like Mikhail Khordokovsky, ended up in prison. Attempting to split the oligarchs, playing one fraction against another, Putin's popularity soared, and Russian economic growth recovered.20 Since the meltdown in 1998, the Russian economy has gone from $1 trillion to $2.5 trillion by 2011. Growth rates remain high, and Russia enjoys both a trade and budget surplus. In the first eight years of Putin's presidency, the Russian GDP increased by over 75%.
Near the end of 1993, about 18-20 billion rubles had fled the country. As 1994 dawned, the population was impoverished. Malnutrition was becoming a problem, and alcoholism was increasing, as was suicide and all manner of social pathology. By 1994, thedeputy interior minister, Vladimir Kozlov, stated that about 40% of the economy is nowcriminalized. Leonov writes,
V. Polevanov [deputy prime minister at the time] notes that the total nominal valueof the voucher fund (about $1.5 trillion rubles) was 20 times less than the cost fixed assets industry, fired up for auction. One Moscow, where privatization was notcarried out on the residual and by market value, gained 20% of the enterprises 1.8 trillion rubles, while income from the rest of Russia in the first two years of privatization amounted to only $1 trillion rubles.
The above argument is abstract. In this section, a case study will be analyzed in detail to show how these forces come to be, how they operate, and how they attempt to insulate themselves from its consequences. Traumatic economic events do not occur due to abstract or impersonal forces. People, very powerful people, create the conditions that destroy entire economies. Economic self-interest is the engine of these irrational policies. Economics depicts social actors and institutions as calculating machines with no identity or purpose. The result is that economics is always treated in the passive voice, which is a fundamental mystification.
The Second Half of the 1990sShowing Chubais complete rejection of supporting Russian interests, Leonov writes,
Soon, it became clear that Chubais committed his sins only because he was controlled by others. The real owners of Russia. In 1998, Russia was continuing to disaster, that is, total bankruptcy. At this point, even after the default, American investors finally got the message and moved their cash out of Russian securities. This strengthened the effect of the default. As he became CEO of RAO (etc), he sold to foreigners a 32% chunk of Russian energy concerns, which violated all Russian laws. This meant, of course, that foreigners now could block Russian energy policy.
Chubais and his Harvard friends did not believe in their own rhetoric. Their had quickly moved into the most luxurious apartments and appointed to themselves very high salaries. Nothing about their world was based on the market principles they hypocriticallyadvocated. While advocating the rule of law, the oligarchical firms allied with Chubais werenot paying taxes; but it just so happens that the criminal code recently passed did not considerthis a crime. In 1997, there was no question that Chubais was evading taxes as well.
19 Ibid, cf esp 330-332
20 Sakwa, R. Putin and the Oligarchs. New Political Economy, 13(2) (2008): 185-191
Admitting his guilt, he paid about 500 million rubles, which was just a small amount of what he owed. His power did not diminish, but it remains a fact that no dictator in Russian history had the power that Chubais had. In the name of market reform and the rule of law,Chubais was receiving millions from shall companies for non existent services. Alexander Lebed remained the sole source of opposition to Chubais once Yeltsin sought treatment for heart illness. Chubais, realizing the general's recent spike in popularity for negotiating successfully with Chechen rebels, invented a slew of charges that the general conspired with these same militants. Chubais had become so powerful that he was no longer required to be creative. Lebed was dismissed from his post, proving that Chubais was, in fact, a dictator.21
In the name of the rule of law, Chubais made mafia gangster Boris Berezovsky "deputy director of the security council." Potanin, another underworld billionaire, was named "Deputy Prime Minister." Chubais was rubbing Russia's face in his power, typical of thepsychotic. Soon, all major television channels were in the hands of two mafia dons, Berezovsky and Guzinsky.
By 1996, all the financial power was concentrated in the hands of a small group of businessmen almost exclusively Jewish. It consisted of Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Alexander Smolensky, Pyotr Aven, Boris Chait, and Vitaly Malkin. Major bankers also included gentiles Potanin and Vinogradov, the only two.
Since the state had collapsed, these oligarchs acted as the state treasury and profited from it. Billions continued to be looted and wound up in banks in Israel, Britain and the US. Yet, elections were coming up. An ailing Yeltsin dismissed Chernomyrdin's "government," which included Chubais. Boris Berezovsky began, in his words, to rally all the "democraticand reformist forces in Russia" to prevent his own possible dispossession.
Typical of the psychotic, these men knew no limits. They began issuing high yield junk bonds, eventually promising to pay out, in some cases, 180%. Foreigners were buying these bonds to the point where almost 30% of all marketable securities of the Russian "state"were owned by outsiders. It was another scam, and the bankers refused to pay anypercentage, and even more, demanded the return of Chubais to government. Chubais quicklyflew to Washington, warning of a communist-nationalist resurgence. $6 billion was quickly given, which was never seen again.
Forming a shadow government, Russia's bankers dictated terms to Yeltsin. In their generosity, they agreed to not demand immediate debt payment from the Russian taxpayer. Yet, to punish Yeltsin, this oligarchy declared that it will reduce the sale of foreign currency. Putting downward pressure on the ruble, the oligarchs got their revenge for the tepid rebellion of Yeltsin. This is what drove the junk bonds as high as 180%; the ruble was suddenly worth nothing. In fear, Yeltsin put the banker's friend, Chernomyrdin, back in power in late summer, 1998.22
21 Ostrovsky, Arkady. Father to the Oligarchs. Financial Times, 2004
22 Russian Federation: Selected Issues 2012 International Monetary Fund IMF Country Report No. 12/218http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2012/cr12218.pdf and Oliker, O, and T. Paley. Assessing Russia's
As typical of capitalist democracies, the political clique took the fall for the private sector. Yeltsin was blamed for the disaster, though his power was nil. That winter, Russia froze with millions unable to buy fuel. The perfect man was chosen for the prime ministership, Yevgeny Primakov, with no apparent beliefs of any kind. Quickly, Primakov demanded the return of Chubais and others who caused the mess, in order to repair it.
The default that August destroyed any bank not immediately under the oligarchs. GDPfell by 200-300 billion rubles. Industry was devastated. In one month, September of 1998, the average Russian income fell by over 30%. The Federation Council, too late, officially declared Chubais and crew as "negligent and incompetent." At the same time, the banking oligarchy was speculating in currency markets, making a profit estimated at the time of 5.5billion rubles in 1997.
Bill Clinton at the time cared only about the possibility of the Lebed coup. Primakov, however, began to strengthen the state as the only possibly solution to the total dissolution of Russia as a political entity. Soon, the dependable Zhirnovsky was again trotted out, with the occasional spray painted swastika to re-direct attention and create the "extremist" threat. More political groups, heretofore unknown, showed up in Moscow with strange uniforms and rallies. Gaidar was quick to link them with the communists, creating a convenient, single group for the masses to visualize.
In the midst of the meltdown, the system took advantage of the perfectly timed murder of Galina Starovoitova, a westernizing politician. 15,000 members of the opposition were rounded up and the "democratic forces" demanded emergency powers. The westenizers even created their own "nationalist" political group, "Fatherland" in order to siphon off opposition activists. In a display showing excellent acting, Yeltsin, in December of 1998, disbanded the group as a "threat" to "democracy." Of course, western Russia experts breathed a sigh of relief that "fascism" was not coming to Russia.
Solzhenitsyn refused to be a part of the charade, refusing to accept the Medal of St. Andrei from Yeltsin. A long time nationalist, Solzhenitsyn realized that in giving this award, Yeltsin was currying favor. Another misdirection was the attempted impeachment of Yeltsin in 1998, as if he was in charge of the disaster he only vaguely understood. Like the Clinton impeachment, it was an absurdity, deliberately designed to protect those with actual power (that is, the private sector) who created the disaster. The Commission decided that Yeltsin had "exceeded his power" as president, as if this is the reason why Muscovites just froze the previous winter. Using political figures to cover for the banking cartel is as old as the Medicis in Florence. Then, in another mockery of Russia, Yeltsin was blamed 100% for the disaster ofthe previous decade.23
Given all this, you are now ready to understand Putin. He came to power as Premier under Yeltsin when the latter resigned in 1999. Yeltsin's popularity rating was between 3-5%. All aid from the IMF was stolen and funneled into the hands of the oligarchs. Oil and gas firms had their profits pocketed in the same way, tax free. As Yeltsin retired, he gave many of his friends immunity from prosecution.
Putin as the Restorer of SanityPutin's leadership restored confidence in the currency, the state and the law. Oligarchystill exists in Russia (as elsewhere), but the monopoly position they used to wield is no more.Russian oil firms have come under the control, though not the ownership, of the state, sinceoligarchs were planning on selling assets to Exxon-Mobil, which led to the "KhordokovskyDecline. The Rand Corporation, 2002http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/2007/MR1442.pdf23 Guriev, S. and Andrei Rachinsky (2005). The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. Journal of EconomicPerspectives, 19(1), (2005) 131-150 http://pages.nes.ru/sguriev/papers/GurievRachinsky.pdfaffair." Mikhail Khordokovshy was an oligarch who controlled YUKOS, one of Russia's mostpowerful oil firms. In the interest of national security, Putin placed Khordokovsky under arrest. He was indeed guilty of tax evasion, but his plans to see Russian strategic assets to Americans was too much for Putin to stomach. The more oligarchs Putin put in jail, the more popular he becomes.
Putin's policy has been to tread softly, taking on only the most powerful and obnoxious of the oligarchs. He has made strategic alliances with some in order to intimidate others While Russia has been rebuilt and the state became powerful, the oligarchs still have fight left in them, and Putin acts cautiously. Putin's basic approach has been to guide investment and control the flow of investment funds so they benefit Russia, not the oligarchy. The state does not own the economy, but it does oversee it. The oligarchy gave Putin no other choice.
The oligarchs financed all of Yeltsin's election campaigns and public image in Russia at the time. The point was to keep Yeltsin in power long enough so that the oligarchs could get their cash out of the country. They knew that eventually, a popular government would punish them. Putin, to a great extent, was this punishment.
Putin created an entirely new Russian government, when local districts under his control. Needless to say, the regional governments had been bought, and Putin could have no dealings with them. Some of them even had their own foreign policy! All those sent to govern the regions were from the security services or the army. This was no accident. Putin restructured the Upper House (the Federation Council) so as to permit his government to have a say in who gets appointed to it. 24
Putin insisted that local law must be consistent with federal law. This is because local leaders were creating their own countries, and this could not stand. Putin then permitted oligarchs and their puppets to be tried as violators of the constitution. Let me give you one example. In 2003, the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky had taken over the Russian oil giant Yukos. Now, Putin got intelligence that Khodorkovsky was planning on entering intobusiness with Exxon-Mobil, permitting their penetration into the Russian market. Realizing this was a security threat (which it was, since it would mean that Exxon would control much of Russia's oil), he had Khodorkovsky arrested. Is list of crimes was well known, but the stategot him on taxes, which was a no-brainier. Putin was immediately attacked or "authoritarianism" by the press in the west.
So why does the west heap abuse on this man?
He reformed the tax code, putting in place a 13% flat tax on all income and investments. About half of regional prosecutors were removed from their positions due toe xtreme corruption. All Russians knew that already. He quickly ended the war in Chechnya, making sure a Chechen, pro-Russian government was put in charge.
He brought together the top 13 oligarchical families to a conference he organized. He told them that their rule was over. He forced them to pay millions in back taxes to the state, and to create several important charitable funds with their stolen money.
He was going to use the state to pressure their media into being more objective, pro-Russian and pro-state. Since the oligarchs controlled the press, it made sense that this had to be fought. To call this "assaulting press freedom" is absurd.
He realized that the political opposition in Russia was created by the oligarchy. Hence, there was no actual party development. Few parties had an agenda (except the communists, who did well), and these were mostly personal vehicles for their founders.
Putin also shifted investment away from oil and towards higher end items. This was needed to diversify the economy. The judiciary is independent. Today, about 70% of people who sue the state for various reasons win. Putin also introduced the jury.25
24 Sakwa, R. Putin and the Oligarchs. New Political Economy, 13(2), (2008), 185-191
It's tough to argue with Putin's success:
Labor productivity grew 49 percent 1995-2005, ranging from a 23 percent improvement in retailing to a 73 percent rise in construction. Total factor productivity grew by 5.8 percent per year, and the World Bank estimates that only one third of that increase came from increased capacity utilization. Firm turnover (i.e. the exit of inefficient firms and the entry of new ones) accounts for half the total improvement. Stock market capitalization rose to 44 percent of GDP by 2005, while the RTS index went from 300 in 2000 to 2,360 in December 2007.
In September 2006 the market capitalization of the 200 biggest firms was $833 billion (one third of which was Gazprom). The percent of the population living in poverty fell from 38 percent in 19998 to 9.5 percent in 2004, and the share of family budgets spent on food fell from 73% in 1992to 54% in 2004.
The only macroeconomic indicator that gives cause for concern is inflation, which dropped from 20 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in2006, before creeping back up to 11-12 percent level.26
Now, "market capitalization" and other such elite measures are not the whole story. They can exist with an economy failing in other respects. However, before wealth can b eredistributed, it has to exist. Accumulating what can then be redistributed are what these numbers are telling us. Given all this, however, it should come as no surprise that those who are condemning Putin today backed the privatization deals 20 years ago.
W. Thompson, writing in the Guardian in the Summer of 2003, states:
Fiscal consolidation has probably contributed more than any other single factor to restoring the authority and legitimacy of the formerly bankrupt state. Exceptionally favorable economic circumstances account for much of this improvement, but so also do better expenditure management, the reform of tax legislation and more efficient administration. The state's rule-making capacity has also grown markedly.
Unlike Yeltsin, Putin has a compliant parliament and presides over a government that, for all its internal divisions, is not riven by the factional conflicts that marked the 1990s. The result has been a flood of new legislation, much of it directly concerned with state reconstruction.27
Thompson speaks the truth. "Exceptionally favorable economic circumstances "can not cause national success. They do not in Ukraine, much of Africa or Detroit. They must be identified and utilized with substantial skill. Circumstances, of themselves, tell us nothing. The "compliant parliament" exists because of Putin's popularity, though Thomas seems to suggest that such legislative cooperation is required in times of emergency. Worried about bureaucratic corruption, Putin passed several laws limiting the discretionary power of federal agencies. Reform has reduced corruption, endemic at onepoint. Business is much easier to accomplish. Putin's reelection numbers roughly mirror his popularity in the country, and his opposition, backed by the US, has no agenda whatsoever.
25 Lavelle, P Putin's "Authoritarianism" vs. the "Commentariat". Commentary, 2004ahttp://www.futurebrief.com/peterlavelle004.asp and Lavelle, P Russia's Economic Future. Commentary,2004 http://www.futurebrief.com/peterlavelle.asp
26 Rutland, P. Putin's Economic Record. Wesleyan University, CT, 2008
27 Thompson, W. Putin's Success. The Guardian; June 2003 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jun/08/russia.theworldtodayessays
They simply want more Yeltsinism.
As of January 1 of this 2013, Russia's anti-bribery legislation is the toughest in the world. In Russia, about 92% of American businesses think that Russian investment is a good thing, and that Russia is a decent place to do business. The IMF has stated that part of Putin's success is is utilization of capital that was left idle. Utilization of the country's resources has increased from about 50% in 2000 to over 76% today. But in order to do this, he needed to destroy the power of the oligarchs at the regional level.
ConclusionThe simple fact is that Putin's authoritarianism was forced upon him. He did use a heavy hand, but not nearly as heavy as Yeltsin. He realized that it was either a strong hand or chaos. As the state has been rebuilt, so have oversight bodies empowered to check it'sbehavior. Putin launched a bunch of commissions to look into corruption in different areas o the country, knowing full well that his popularity is based on that, plus economic growth.Putin needed to increase the potential of the state before the state itself could grow. Hence,the reformation of all police agencies gave them a direct line to the Kremlin, but, by 2002,crime was still rife. Now, all that has changed.
It makes sense to call Putin a reaction to Yeltsin, chaos and oligarchy. His policies make no sense without the background. Things appear differently when contrasted with the free-fall collapse of the Yeltsin years.
Putin then did two things: first, to build up the rudiments of a new state, one that can permit business to thrive and destroy oligarchy. He needed a new law code, more centralized structures and an end to regional independence. Second, he was to create a new macroeconomic structure, with strong fiscal and oversight measures. Russia now runs a trade and budget deficit. He then stabilized the currency.
Once economic growth took off, he tried to get as much money out of foreign banks as possible. He first backed big business (for the sake of growth), then shifted more recently to backing smaller business. He then engaged in education and pension reform. He turned Russia to the east, allying with China to cooperate in their tremendous economic growth.
It is easy to forget that all that Putin is "blamed" for was suggested by western elites for Yeltsin. Liberal democracy in the eastern bloc has, without exception, merely been a cover for the most cynical sort of exploitation. In the name of "democracy" the eastern bloc melted into the bank accounts of both foreign and local elites. Warlords developed with private armies that, in the 1990s, were the subject of some journalistic treatment. A Russia in collapse is far more dangerous for the west than anything Putin has dreamed about.
Rationally, the enforced, rehearsed and studied contempt of Putin can only exist because the west had other plans for Russia, as a hinterland for cheap, educated labor and resources. Western collapse is assured precisely because Russia is not prostrate and under the thumb of Exxon-Mobil. Putin will have the last laugh, which, when the smoke clears, is the only real cause of the west's irrational hatred.
... ... ...
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
catherine -> SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 12:21 AM''Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. ''Kooshy -> catherine... , 04 February 2018 at 12:06 PM
The locust keep trying and trying, destruction is their life's work.
'1977-1981: Nationalities Working Group Advocates Using Militant Islam Against Soviet Union'
In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. The Islamic populations are regarded as prime targets. Richard Pipes, the father of Daniel Pipes, takes over the leadership of the NWG in 1981. Pipes predicts that with the right encouragement Soviet Muslims will "explode into genocidal fury" against Moscow. According to Richard Cottam, a former CIA official who advised the Carter administration at the time, after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1978, Brzezinski favored a "de facto alliance with the forces of Islamic resurgence, and with the Republic of Iran." [Dreyfuss, 2005, pp. 241, 251 - 256]
'November 1978-February 1979: Some US Officials Want to Support Radical Muslims to Contain Soviet Union'
State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet UnionYes, US was the first country to proudly deliver Manpads to be used by "rebels" (Mojahadin later Taleban) against USSR in Afghanistan back in 80s. And, as per the architect of support for the rebels (Zbigniew Brzezinski) very proud of it with no regret. With that in mind, I don't see how western politicians, the western governments and their related proxy war planers, will be regretting, even sadden, once god forbid we see passenger planes with loved ones are shot down taking off or landing at various western airports and other places around the word. Just like how superficialy with crocodile tears in their eyes they acted in aftermath of the terrorist events in various western cities in this past 16 years. Gods knows what will happens to us if the opposite side start to supply his own proxies with lethal anti air weapons. "Proudly", I don't think anybody in west cares or will regret of such an escalation.
Mar 08, 2018 | marknesop.wordpress.com
kievite , June 1, 2013 at 8:48 am
Actually an interesting metamorphose happen right at the border crossing. A crook instantly became the staunch defender of western democracy and its (aka neoliberal) values against Russian backwardness, paranoia and kleptocratic state headed by evil Putin who personally torture innocent girls from Pussy Riot wearing his old KGB uniform :-)
I would call this sudden attraction to democratic values at the border crossing a "crooks survival instinct" in action. Crooks are always crooks.
BTW I would object about the term "Stubborn Deniers of Reality" applied to Western Journalism. I think a more proper definition is "Creators of artificial reality". Masters of illusion, so to speak. And that's would be a proper classification of Bachelor and Masters degree in journalism instead of "Bachelor of arts", etc. used today. And truth be told this esoteric art reached the level of perfection and sophistication in comparison with which all those circus magicians are just children.
BTW who would explain to me the meaning of the term of BS in English. Is this about deception, or an attempt to cover own incompetence (posturing as an expert in subject about which the BS artist has no clue) or about pure propaganda or about meaningless drivel designed to hide the real motives ?Reply kirill ,
Mar 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
VK , Mar 1, 2018 8:47:38 PM | 43The war hawks in my beloved country are the Soviet Politburo clamoring for a larger army, navy, air force to be equipped with the most expensive weaponry. Back in the 80's the Soviet Union had an army of 5M, they it is less than 1M and is purely defensive. We on the other hand have built up our Defense Budget to epic levels and have consultant after consultant telling us that it is at an all time low.
- Posted by: Christian Chuba | Mar 1, 2018 4:14:46 PM | 20
The USSR had deeper problems than that.
It's not that the Soviet expenditure with the military was a problem. On the opposite: the Soviet were very familiar with the concept of dual industry, them being the masters of WWII. Many industries in the USSR that were officially military were actually civilian: the most colorful example being the airplane industry, which could produce either civilian or military aircraft. Another example: the USSR was the biggest agriculture tractor producer in the world at one point. These tractors were produced in the same industrial plants as the one used to produce battle tanks. So, albeit the USSR registered up to 17% of GDP spending on the "military" (as some sources claim) -- you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Another problem with this "too much military" theory is the logic behind it. During the 50s and 60s, the USSR was also spending a lot on the military, but it didn't stop it growing 15%-10% yoy .
It was only after the mid-70s, when the USSR begun to stagnate (it never had a recession), that the military spending theorists begun to sprout. The question is the same about the ill fate of the welfare state in Western Europe in the end of the 70s: which came first, the egg or the chicken. Putting it in another way: was it the Soviet was spending that caused its long stagnation or was it its long stagnation that made its military spending look big?
Jan 30, 2018 | www.unz.com
1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. As the Cold War wound down, members of Washington's smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet's sole superpower, [neo]liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere.
There would be no way except the American Way. In fact, however, the passing of the Cold War should have occasioned a moment of reflection regarding the sundry mistakes and moral compromises that marred U.S. policy from the 1940s through the 1980s. Unfortunately, policy elites had no interest in second thoughts -- and certainly not in remorse or contrition.
In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the "indispensable nation." In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul.
When, in due time, Donald Trump announced his intention to dismantle the establishment that had presided over those failures, many Americans liked what he had to say, even if he spoke from a position of total ignorance.
Beckow , January 30, 2018 at 7:53 pm GMTThose who hate Trump, will hate Trump. And very little of what they write will not be colored by the hatred.David In TN , January 30, 2018 at 11:13 pm GMT
The analysis – although based on a sound historical premise – is off by miles. It focuses on personalities and avoids mentioning the systemic failures by Western institutions, from media to academia, from Hollywood to UN. Trump is not a revolutionary, and he is not the devil. He simply represents an attempt late in a systemic downward cycle to correct few excesses and buy some time.
The beneficiaries of the excess policies – cheap labor businesses, ethnic castes, trans-gender professionals, open border fanatics, military extremists – are fighting tooth and nail to keep any change from happening. They are at this point beyond hysteria, they sense the goodies might be slipping from their hands (it is mostly about their jobs and careers).
Two fundamental omissions from the analysis are: in domestic policies the devastating impact of affirmative action on the next generation of young, white males. And in foreign policy the equally devastating impact of Bill Clinton's attack on Serbia (to create a 'Muslim' Kosovo statelet in Europe) had on the international law and norms. Iraq inevitably followed Serbia.
Why are these points left out? Because they would make the neo-liberal Democrats look bad? Right, Gore as president, that would had fixed it allBacevich didn't write a word about the Open Borders fetish of both parties from which Trump dissented, or seemed to. Not a word. And this played no small part in Trump winning the GOP nomination and the election.
Jan 27, 2018 | www.unz.com
While you have probably already forgotten the feast, Russia is only now slowly coming back to life after its overlong Christmas break completed on January 14 by the quaintly named Old New Year, or even perhaps by the Epiphany on January 19. Everybody went somewhere, even candidates for the presidential race coming in on March 18: the Communist one went to ski in Austria, while the right-winger went to Bali. On the eve of Epiphany, they dipped in the ice-cold waters: the ultimate trial of Russian fitness. Not only he-man Putin, but even she-woman Sobchak did it!
And now, at last, as the feasts are over, the real trial begins. The US is preparing a new round of sanctions, including seizure of Russian oligarch assets. They are ripe for collection. The confiscation of Russian holdings in Cyprus banks in 2013 passed without a hitch and served as a trial balloon. Putin didn't object overmuch, for he is a sworn enemy of offshore accounts. None of the fleeced Russian businessmen succeeded in recovering their losses in court. Now is the time for the real thing, and much of the anti-Russian hysteria is aimed at preparing the ground for the seizure. In this way, they plan to get a cool trillion dollars into the US Treasury. Who will lose his assets and who will survive, this is the talk of the day in Moscow.
The Russian assets in the west could be divided into New Money, assets of Putin's people, and the Old Money, assets of Yeltsin's people. The sanctions are supposed to deal with Putin's people, but Russian experts think the Old Money is more vulnerable, for a good reason. The New Money is under Putin's protection. If the US or any other western authority grabs it, the Russian government may seize Western shares in Russian companies and properties.
But what about the Old Money? Its owners, elder oligarchs, are extremely worried about Putin's nonchalance. Putin takes it easy, they say. Ma'alish , the Arab in Putin says. Que sera sera , says his inner Frenchman. And this nonchalant attitude drives the oligarchs crazy. They want him to fight and save their money. They insisted on his meeting with President Trump in Vietnam; some say the meeting took place in the depth of the night, far from prying eyes, and didn't bring results. Now Putin says to the Old Money: if you want to save your money, repatriate it to Russia. We aren't that mad, they reply. You have to defend us anyway! That was the Deal!
Now we are coming to a difficult part. The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders.
Mr Putin inherited The Deal. Slowly, the Deal has been eroded from both sides. NATO troops moved eastward, no sizeable investment came in, the West supported Chechen rebels. Russia limited Western access to its military-industrial complex; took Crimea; regained some of its international independence.
Putin was elected, or you may say, he was appointed to stick to the Deal and to serve as the Supreme Arbiter among the oligarchs, with very little of a power base of his own. Slowly, he created his own oligarchs (they are described as "siloviki", though not all of them have some security forces background), and he had built up a limited power base; though many important positions, in particular in the economic sphere, remained in the hands of the Old Guard, Yeltsin's men. This, too, was a part of the Deal.
The powerful personalities of Yeltsin's era remained embedded in the upper echelons of Putin's state. Chubais and Kudrin were and are untouchable. They are connected with the FRS and the IMF, they go to Bilderberg and Davos, they are often described as 'the colonial administration'.
They steal with both hands, and do it with impunity. Just last week it was revealed and published that Mr Chubais and Mr Kudrin appropriated a cool billion dollars of Russian state money while repaying the Soviet debt to the Czech Republic. The worst Putin can do about them is to give them a fat chunk of the Russian economy to chew on, while limiting their access to the rest. So he gave Mr Chubais the Rusnano company that made no profit but embezzled billions . This was the Deal.
Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal.
The topmost schools of Russia, the most endowed, the most privileged schools for the children of the new nobility are the HSE, (the Higher School of Economics, a clone of the LSE and the economic think-tank of the government), and MGIMO, (Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the school for perspective diplomats). Their graduates were been trained to despise Russia and admire the neo-liberal West (just like the Indian students trained by the Brits, had admired England and despised their country in the days of the British Raj). Professor Medvedev of the HSE called upon Russian government to transfer the Russian Far North to the international community, though this is the place of the greatest gas reserves (he kept his position). Professor Zubov of the MGIMO had compared Putin to Hitler, and denounced Russian diplomats as liars (his contract hasn't been prolonged). All that is a part of the Deal.
Putin has been unhappy with the Deal for a long time, vocally so since his Munich talk in 2007, but he stuck to the script. Even now, Russia's economy follows the liberal model; billions of dollars are being siphoned out of Russia monthly; billions of dollars' worth of Western manufactured consumer goods are imported and sold in Russia, though it would make perfect sense to organise local manufacture. Russia's Central Bank is directly connected to the Western finance system, and its emission is limited by the amount of hard currency in its coffers. The Rouble carry trade prospers, like the Yen carry trade did years ago.
Meanwhile, the Deal has been undone from the West, as a result of the epic struggle between Bankers and Producers, otherwise described as Liberals vs. Conservatives, or Globalists vs. Regionalists, personalised as Clinton vs. Trump. Yeltsin's people are historically aligned with the Clinton camp. Now, their assets in the West, previously protected by the Deal, have lost their protection and come up for grabs.
The Old Money people are putting their effort into persuading the West, namely the US, to let them live in peace and instead confiscate the pro-Putin New Money.
This presented the golden opportunity for the anti-Putin activists, the time they can collect the fruit of their hard work. A somewhat typical anti-Putin activist is an émigré, Mr Andrey Illarionov, a Yeltsin man, an ex-adviser to President Putin (until 2005), a US resident, a member of the loony Cato Institute and an adept of Ayn Rand. He is an anti-Russian fanatic; next to him Rachel Maddow is a Putin groupie and Tokyo Rose a symbol of patriotism.
Speaking to the Congress Committee of Foreign Affairs in 2009, he famously claimed about the US administration policy towards Russia that "it is not even an appeasement policy so well known to us by another Munich decision in 1938, it is a surrender. A full, absolute, unconditional surrender to the regime of secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". Despite these fighting words, he is a frequent visitor to Moscow, and he never misses a demo where he can call out "Putin must leave" apparently unafraid of the "secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". This is all you should know about the totalitarian Russian regime!
(Émigrés are frequently like that, and the US, a country of immigrants, had been vulnerable to the attack by Illarionov Syndrome, by listening to Masha Gessen, or to Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi émigré who claimed Iraq has had WMD, to Alexander Solzhenitsyn with his horror stories about GULAG, etc. I made it a rule to moderate my critique of Israel while abroad, in fear of failing the Illarionov Sanity Test.)
Now Mr Illarionov is lobbying the US Congress to remove its threats from the heads of those deserving oligarchs, who (in his words) amassed their fortune before advent of Mr Putin and "in order to survive, they had been forced to pay a large tribute to the Kremlin". His lobbying effort on behalf of the Old Money people has been shared and supported by two notorious Putin haters, a fellow émigré Piontkovsky and a Swedish Neo-Con Anders Aslund.
Direct and generous beneficiaries of their lobbying are the Three Alpha Jews, Peter Aven, Michael Friedman and Herman Khan. They are owners of the Alpha Bank, a very big Russian bank , and they are Old Money oligarchs from Yeltsin's days when their kin ruled the land.
Michael Friedman, the fat guy with a jolly piglet face, rose to his eminence from being a ticket tout selling illegally obtained opera tickets to Western tourists near Bolshoi Theatre; afterwards he became The Mind behind all ticket mafias in Moscow, and then proceeded to banking and so many other things.
Like many Old Money guys, Friedman earns money in Russia, but siphons it off for Jewish causes. He is a co-founder of a "Jewish Nobel Prize", also called Genesis Prize, a cool million dollars being given annually to a deserving Jew, the most recent one being the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Donald Trump, "the faker". This is not a coincidence; the Russian Old Money is solidly in bed with the Clinton camp. If Friedman succeeds in escaping the sanctions, it will be an additional proof that the Bankers still have the upper hand in the US Administration.
Alternatively, it could mean they are just smart and able to play the both houses. The Three Alpha Jews had been mentioned in the Steele Dossier as the conduit of Putin influence for Trump and against Clinton in the recent US Presidential elections. (They are suing Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed for spreading the accusation).
According to an even better conspiracy theory spread on the social networks, both Mr Illarionov and the smart Alpha Jews are a sleeper cell organised by cunning Mr Putin to ensure his survival in the most adverse conditions. All of them were very friendly with Putin; perhaps they just pretended to become his enemies, the conspiratorially minded journalist from the anti-Putin Echo Moskwy has implied.
Leaving the conspiracy theories aside for a while, we can reach a conclusion. The forthcoming attack of the US establishment on Russian assets is likely to undermine the Old Money of the Yeltsin Oligarchs, and not only them. This confiscation will spell the death knell to the notorious Deal, and then we shall see Putin Unbound.
But perhaps it is too late for him. An unverifiable odd rumour has risen in Moscow. They say that the Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin has strong backing among the "siloviki", that is Putin's appointees, often but not exclusively of security services background, for they are unhappy with Putin's adherence to the Deal. But that will be the subject of my next piece.
Israel Shamir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published at The Unz Review .
Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm GMTAlias Anonymous , January 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm GMT
The forthcoming attack of the US establishment on Russian assets is likely to undermine the Old Money of the Yeltsin Oligarchs, and not only them. This confiscation will spell the death knell to the notorious Deal, and then we shall see Putin Unbound.
That is my understanding also but I could be wrong. Excellent piece. But I have one small point–the crawling re-nationalization of many crucial industries did happen on Putin's watch. But in general, as I stated many times, he faces an inevitable meeting, if he were to survive as a politician, with the issue of 1990s robbery and with necessity to dismantle Yeltsin's "heritage'."Que sera sera". One of my favorite songs. Sung by Doris Day and was a hit in the 1950′s. Italian in origin and translates to "whatever will be, will be".Anon Disclaimer , January 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMTOn topic, hoping to elicit comments: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5315353/Tycoon-swaps-Putins-daughter-glamorous-socialite.htmlAndrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
Slightly OT: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5314897/George-Soros-calls-Trump-blistering-Davos-speech.html
That masterful Freud! Mafia govmn't = pure projection. Plus the war cry for 2018 is official.
The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.@AnonSergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.
When did Solzhenitsyn gain the sainthood status? Can you remind us please.@Andrei MartyanovSergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm GMT
Agree. I wonder how much of what Israel wrote might be real thing. If Putin really is going to do what you are writing he is going to be company of Russia history greatest.@Andrei MartyanovAndrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm GMT
There is also indeed a question of all those offshore capitals which are stolen money. Considering state resources and capabilities there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back.@Sergey Krieger
there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back.
Putin sure as hell has all necessary resources to make this offer.
Jan 13, 2018 | russia-insider.com
New evidence that Washington broke its promise not to expand NATO "one inch eastward" -- a fateful decision with ongoing ramifications -- has not been reported by The New York Times or other agenda-setting media outlets John Batchelor Jan 11, 2018 | 2,513 70
John Batchelor has a very popular political talk show on America's largest radio network, WABC.
He has Stephen Cohen on live in the studio almost every week for a full 45 minute segment, the only guest he gives that much time to.
Why? Because Cohen's appearances are killing the ratings. America seems to be thirsting for an alternative and critical view of Obama's Russia policy.
See below for a summary of this program courtesy of The Nation .
Cohen returns to a subject he has treated repeatedly since the 1990s, mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia, but with a new and highly indicative example that is both historical and profoundly contemporary.
There have been three relevant major episodes of such malpractice. The first was when American newspapers, particularly The New York Times , misled readers into thinking the Communists could not possibly win the Russian Civil War of 1918–20, as detailed in a study by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, published as a supplement to The New Republic , August 4, 1920. (Once canonical, the study was for years assigned reading at journalism schools, but no longer it seems to be.)
https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&rid=russia-insider.com&width=745Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia .)
The third and current episode grew out of the second but spread quickly through the media in the early 2000s with the demonization of Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's successor, and now is amply evidenced by mainstream coverage of the new Cold War, Russiagate's allegation that "Russia attacked American democracy" in 2016, and much else related to Russia. This rendition may be the worst, certainly it is the most dangerous.
Media malpractice has various elements -- among them, selective use of facts, some unverified, highly questionable narratives or reporting based on those "facts," mingled with editorial commentary passed off as "analysis," buttressed by carefully selected "expert sources," often anonymous, and amplified by carefully chosen opinion page contributors. Throughout is the systematic practice of excluding developments (and opinion) that do not conform to the Times ' venerable motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print." When it comes to Russia, the Times often decides politically what is fit and what is not. And thus the most recent but exceedingly important example.
In 1990, Soviet Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed not only to the reunification of Germany, whose division was the epicenter of that Cold War, but also, at the urging of the Western powers, particularly the United States, that the new Germany would be a member of NATO. (Already embattled at home, Gorbachev was further weakened by his decision, which probably contributed to the attempted coup against him in August 1991.)
Gorbachev made the decision based on assurances by his then–Western "partners" that in return NATO would never be expanded "one inch eastward" toward Russia. (Today, having nearly doubled its member countries, the world's most powerful military alliance sits on Russia's western borders.) At the time, it was known that President George H.W. Bush had especially persuaded Gorbachev through Secretary of State James Baker's "not one inch" and other equally emphatic guarantees.
Now, however, the invaluable National Security Archive at George Washington University has established the historical truth by publishing, on December 12 of last year, not only a detailed account of what Gorbachev was promised in 1990–91 but the relevant documents themselves . The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: All of the Western powers involved -- the US, the UK, France, Germany itself -- made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways. If we ask when the West, particularly Washington, lost Moscow as a potential strategic partner after the end of the Soviet Union, this is where an explanation begins.
And yet, nearly a month after the publication of the National Security Archive documents, neither the Times nor The Washington Post , which profess to be the nation's most important, reliable, and indispensable political newspapers, has published one word about this revelation. (Certainly the two papers are pervasively important to other media, not only due to their daily national syndicates but because today's broadcast media, especially CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, take most of their own Russia-related "reporting" cues from the Times and the Post .)
How to explain the failure of the Times and Post to report or otherwise comment on the National Security Archive's publication? It can hardly be their lack of space or their disinterest in Russia, which they featured regularly in one kind of unflattering story or another -- and almost daily in the form of "Russiagate." Given their immense daily news-gathering capabilities, could both papers have missed the story? Impossible, even more so considering that three lesser publications -- The National Interest , on December 12; Bloomberg , on December 13; and The American Conservative , on December 22 -- reported and commented on its significance at length.
Or perhaps the Times and Post consider the history and process of NATO expansion to be no longer newsworthy, even though it has been the driving, escalatory factor behind the new US-Russian Cold War; already contributed to two US-Russian proxy hot wars (in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine since 2014) as well as to NATO's ongoing buildup on Russia's borders in the Baltic region, which is fraught with the possibility of an actual war between the nuclear superpowers; provoked Russia into reactions now cited as "grave threats"; nearly vaporized politically both the once robust pro-American lobby in Moscow politics and the previously widespread pro-American sentiments among Russian citizens; and implanted in at least one generation of the Russian policy elite the conviction that the broken promise to Gorbachev represented characteristic American "betrayal and deceit."Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives .) Russians can cite other instances of "deceit," including President George W. Bush's 2002 unilateral abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Obama's broken promise that he would not use a 2011 UN Security Council resolution to depose Libyan leader Gaddafi. But it is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America's original sin, partly because it was the first of many such perceived duplicities, but mainly because it has resulted in a Russia semi-encircled by US-led Western military power, an encroachment that continues today.
Given all this, we must ask again: Why did neither the Times nor the Post report the archive revelations? Most likely because the evidence fundamentally undermines their essential overarching narrative that Putin's Russia is solely responsible for the new Cold War and all of its attendant conflicts and dangers, and therefore that no rethinking of US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991 is advisable or, it seems, permissible, certainly not by President Donald Trump. Therein lie the national-security dangers of media malpractice, and this example, while of special importance, is far from the only one in recent years. In this regard, the Times and Post seem contemptuous not only of their own professed journalistic standards but of their purportedly cherished adage that democracy requires fully informed citizens.
If Americans cannot rely on the Times and Post , at least in regard to US-Russian relations, where can they seek the information and analysis they need? There are many valuable alternative media outlets, but few hard-working citizens have time to locate and consult them. Cohen recommends that they turn to two websites that almost daily aggregate reporting, analysis, and opinion not to be found in the Times , Post , or most other mainstream publications. One is Johnson's Russia List . The other is the website of the American Committee for East-West Accord , of which Cohen is a board member. Upon request, both will come to your computer. The former requests a nominal donation but does not insist on it. The latter is free. For readers who worry about international affairs, the new US-Russian Cold War, and America itself, the information and perspectives they will gain from these sites are invaluable.
Source: The John Batchelor Show
Vtran , January 11, 2018 11:09 AMIsabella Jones Vtran , January 11, 2018 3:28 PM
American citizens Never have adhered to agreements, Cease Fires, Peace Agreements ....Just look at the First NationsTommy Jensen Isabella Jones , January 11, 2018 5:41 PM
It is something of a mystery that this should have escaped Gorbachev, although Cohen does say that Conservatives warned him against going with the flow on this one. He ignored them.
There's an old saying about leopards and never changing their spots. I guess he was as fooled, as many are, that the appalling history of the US was in each case a separate incident, involving and caused by different people, and therefor "it will be different this time." Gorbachev was willing to overlook the horrific evidence of an Anglo West planning to destroy the Russia who had saved their bacon by winning WWII for them; and to destroy her utterly and horrifically. That he could overlook that beggars belief.
It's so essential to get the bigger picture, to read the History of the Nations you are dealing with extensively, to determine how to connect the dots to find the pattern, and to realise that ultimately nations are an aggregate of systems - and a system is far more powerful than most individuals [until you find a rare person who knows how to break the system].
Sadly, it seems that they had fallen for the idea too, that, as V. P. said when Russia abandoned communism, their opponent would "to them hand the sword". i.e. would become partners and equals. That was never going to happen. It also shows us, once again, that all too often political leaders are not well enough educated, not well enough informed and not bright enough, to undertake the job of national leader which they do.
And we are not interested nor thoughtful enough to demand better.John Mason Tommy Jensen , January 12, 2018 12:52 AM
...And we may not be educated suficient to look through the matter.
Before 1968 in Nordic countries with Sweden had hollistic education systems, making academics able to see the whole picture.
After 1968-70 they changed the education system so the working class could get academic degrees, but separated the disciplines so you only were able to see your part and not the whole picture and leaving out history and roots.
Newspeak was introduced and started.
Its about classes, deliberately leaving the knowledge and whole picture to the elite.
Any hollistic educated who analyse US history should be able to see that you deal with a hypocrite and liar country throughout from start up til today.
When Russia with its excellent education system missed the point in 1990´es I think it maybe more due to their previous suffering and emotional culture, than to actual foolishness as we can see the Russians quickly raised their heads again from the ashes.Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 3:29 AM
Same happened here in Australia Tommy, they lowered the education standard so that anyone can obtain a University Degree under the belief that everyone is entitled to one and not only those best suited. Now one has idiots running corporations and in politics. Getting them out is the problem. I have always expressed concern that those who wish to go into politics and government should present to the Public a full resume as anyone would who is seeking a senior position in a corporation.John Mason Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:18 AM
Very true John.
If you look at the entire system, we see that immense power over the lives of millions of people is given to those who don't have to show any form of qualification for the job; any training; or prior experience, assessment by qualified experience assessors.
In fact, all they have to be able do is to generate money for themselves by making promises to others using taxpayer money; present themselves in a slick, eye catching fashion like an aspiring film actor auditioning for a role; lie; as Vladimir Putin said "make promises better than those of your competitor"; and sell meaningless words better than a used car salesman.
In other words, present themselves to voters as an ignorant, inexperienced psychopathic, criminally fraudulent, snake oil salesman. And then we wonder why that's exactly what we get as our "leaders". !!Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 10:42 AM
Very passionate you are on this subject your profundity is a source of enlightenment Isabella.Isabella Jones Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 9:46 PM
Thank you John - yes I do feel deeply that as civilisations, we have strayed from so much that is balanced, natural, and optimal for human growth and happiness. We have so much in our cultures that beggars belief in it's stupidity- and as always, the very stupid are too stupid to know that they are very stupid. I see us preening ourselves as the epitome of civilisation, when research into the distant past shows we have had about 3.5 thousand years of slow, non-stop collapse including an arrogant ignorance.
Yet the answers are so close to hand. It's only an understanding of where we have all gone wrong, and a willingness to do what needs to be done to correct it which will stop us falling into the night, I suspect.
Then again, I remember that everything happens in circles, and follows Universal Laws. Maybe we have no course but to follow the natural pattern we have put ourselves on try to learn from it.
Thanks for your kind words John.Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 2:58 PM
Yes, all this was about the time they introduced the "expert". Prior to that idea, a well educated, intelligent person was held to have a wide ranging education, and to be familiar with many different disciplines. They they got the "expert" idea - a mechanic in my - then - University Department informed me that "expert means, here is x which marks the spot of a drip under pressure" !! :-)
Now we have people who know more and more about less and less until they reach the pinnacle where they know absolutely everything about nothing.
Yes, I think the Russian education got infected by America, and in the struggle to break free of all the other disasters that caused - just to survive as a country and as a people - this is an issue that has had to be put on a back burner. But they are doing fine in spite of it, and I'm sure will find their way back to the best of the Soviet times education.Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 4:30 PM
I still (and know not alone) feel Gorbachev is a Traitor that "sold" the USSR, the People of the USSR for Personal ("friends") gain .... so he knew what would happen !
Remember the people of the USSR wanted to work through the "problems / issues" leaving the USSR intact but Gorbachev decided to GO AGAINST the Wishes of the People / Wishes of the country and allowed the regions to "break free" including denying the right for Crimea to Return to RF (loaned to Ukraine while USSR existed) .... why would you Do that except for your own agenda !
And Where does Gorbachev live .... but in U$ america ... and every time he visits RF he comes with masses of Body GuardsVtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:34 PM
That last part is very interesting Vtran - I didn't know he lived in America.
I hadn't caught up with any documentation about his "friends", although there is the comment - with the long/lat given of the area on the documentary "The Unknown Putin" - that Gorbachev sold to US what wasn't his to sell - a huge chunk of sea off the coast of Russia, containing massive amounts of oil deposits!! He did it to get the money to try and defeat Yeltsin!! So, he has a track record, and as the saying goes "he who lies once, lies ten times". The principle holds for everything, as well as lying. I also didn't know that there were grass roots movements of people trying to stop the collapse of the USSR.
Can you recommend any good modern history resource which covers these events please?
I got a lot from that excellent documentary, but as is so often one is left wanting more.
I know Vladimir Putin doesn't like him - not one bit. I could "read" it from the Stone Interviews :-)
I certainly agree with you - that if he did all that, selling out the people of Russia - no way does he deserve to be grouped with them, they aren't "his" people, in that case - then yes, he was a sellout traitor. Should count himself lucky to be alive!!Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 10:38 PM
Isabella,, I will look for a document regarding Gorbachev selling out the people of the USSR .... However my comment is personnel ... all Russians I know, all people of the ex USSR (except those of fanatical Ukraine) speak as One ...The did not at the USSR to break ... their views were "over ridden" !
Interesting comment of "selling off which does not belong" reminiscent of Alaska where the Gold supposedly exchange disappeared after the western inspired revolution of 1918 !Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 12:58 AM
Joined a small river of disappeared gold from many places Vtran with Libya and Iraq being the latest!!Qua Patet Orbis Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:31 AM
Quote: Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian tribes, primarily for land cessations, but 500 treaties were also broken, changed or nullified when it served the government's interests.Le Ruse Qua Patet Orbis , January 12, 2018 3:34 AM
White men speak with forked tongue....Vtran Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:49 PM
Like that one ??
View HideLe Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 7:30 PM
Because U$ Americans citizens thought the had "Given away STOLEN Worthless Land" .... and then found that "Worthless Land" contained "Yellow Gold" ...... later more so called "Worthless Land" contained Black Gold and so it went onKjell Hasthi Vtran , January 11, 2018 7:51 PM
Like the mineral & natural wealth of Russia, doesn't belong to Russia, but belong to the WORLD (a.k.a. City of London/Wall St) ??
Mad Madeleine Notsobright.paul , January 11, 2018 11:35 AM
Who was Christopher Columbus? Any can check it out. My guess as another Vtran.
- What do you see?
- No gold yet?
- Of course there is gold there
It was the same as Europa. War in Indians replaced war on Muslim.Alberto , January 11, 2018 12:52 PM
This a a very unhelpful spin by Cohen. Dugin, addressing the end of the cold war, reports that Brzezinski once told him, "we tricked you." That's what happened. This is what Russians need to think about when speaking with their common law partners.mark Alberto , January 11, 2018 2:30 PM
I have wondered many times how the S Union, a nation with so many brilliant people, could chose someone like Gorbatchev to lead the country.
Reagan and Thatcher did whatever they wanted with him. They achieved all their objectives in dealing with Gorbachev because he was receptive, soft and a puppet. Worst of all, he was a mix of an idiot and naif by believing them.
It was hard to build the S Union, very hard, and Gorbatchev wanted to make a transition from socialism to capitalism in one year. Only an idiot could think like that.
He is the main responsible not only of the demise of the S Union but of the shameful accumulation of wealth in the hands of a bunch of soulless oligarchs whose wealth, to date, remain untouched.
As a communist, I ask myself how could a guy like him lead the S Union. Yeltsin was another calamity but the main responsible of the debacle is Gorbachev.
As a result of his stupidity, not only millions of Soviets encountered poverty and criminality, but he opened the way to the unipolar world. Many invasions took place because the US. did not face any opposition.
North Korea had to rearm itself to protect. Cuba underwent a terrible period.
Gorbachev will go down in the history of Russia and communist from across the world as an idiot, as an irresponsible leader and as a traitor.Alberto mark , January 11, 2018 2:37 PM
This is very true. Millions died as a result of this colossal stupidity. Tens of millions more suffered appalling misery and destitution. Several countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, have been completely destroyed. These are crimes on a gargantuan scale. And there has been zero accountability.VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 3:16 PM
Right, zero accountability because the S Union was influential on world institutions. Because of "imported liberalism in 365 days" many factories closed (because they were not "modern"), many good engineers became poor, families destroyed, all sorts of gangs emerged, collective property and natural resources went to oligarchs without scruples for a cheap price. And there was no bread in stores.
All thanks to Gorbachev who was in power almost 17 years, a long period in which he succumbed to the sweet-talk of Reagan and Thatcher.AM Hants VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 4:50 PM
Having lived through the incredible 90s and the end of the Soviet Union, I believe that it was not wrong for Gorbachev to seek partnership with the West. That move brought all of mankind back from the precipice of total extinction. It was the LYING and deceitful actions of the "superior and civilized" West that betrayed the world and their own interests, just to expand their territory and control, like some mindless plague that knows no morality.
There must be balance in world affairs. Power corrupts and absolute power has corrupted the US/EU/NATO gang absolutely. The West's loss is the worlds gain. Russia will lead the free nations away from the rotten and putrid fate offered by the death merchants of the West.Krestovan VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 10:23 PM
I remember those times, but, it was 'Spitting Image' that made the memories. The thought of John Major, still makes my skin crawl.
Nuclear War...Play HideGerry Hiles , January 11, 2018 1:05 PM
Russia cannot seem to be able to lead itself from the cluches of the ooligarks who out send capital Russia desparately needs. If and when Russia cleans up the mess that Gorby, Gelsman, and others made, there will not be any free nations or any hope for peace and freedom in this late stage of mankind's probationary time.John McClain , January 11, 2018 12:01 PM
No wonder we are in deep trouble! How shall I say? Well Stephen Cohen is too pedestrian, to put it mildly. There is nothing I have ever heard him say that I did not know years ago. Wow the NYT and WaPo both publish fake news and omit what isn't convenient ideologically. Go suck eggs granny. Even if large numbers of people in the US now listen to him (which I very much doubt), he's too late by decades and will probably never catch up with the fact that 9/11 was an inside job/CIA/Mossad operation. As for Gorbachev, Yeltsin, US deception, etc., he could have asked me a thing or six back in the 80s when Gorbachev was best buddies with Reagan and Thatcher, it was bleedin' obvious that he was a dupe, though at first I was hopeful for glasnost and perestroika.
Not that I didn't have hopes for the Soviet Union anyway, nor that I didn't understand hanging on to Eastern Europe for too long, because of US betrayal after WW2 ... heck Prof Cohen, since when hasn't Russia been betrayed?. Too late for all those who either couldn't or wouldn't be informed decades ago. Too late for there to be any chance of averting escalation to WW3, unless by more or less luck, such as the US internally imploding like the Soviet Union did but, unlike the Soviet Union's collapse by US design, collapse of its own hubris and Empire over-reach, perhaps. Academics generally do not impress me.
Sorry if I have condensed too much, but I daresay some will know what I'm getting at.AM Hants John McClain , January 11, 2018 4:35 PM
As a "well informed American", a retired Marine, and having spent some two decades in research of our "national history", as it relates to the status of the world today, I have to say, I've not deliberately read either paper since I was in third or fourth grade, and then only because we lived in Massachusetts for a couple years.
I spent nine years in Chicago, before entering the Marines, and as a "paper boy", laughed at headlines every day, knowing the lies for what they were, and having "truth" solely because my parents subscribed me to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, because I'm dyslexic, had problems in school, but am endowed with talent in mechanics and the hard sciences.
Those two magazines spent their pages defining the world of mechanics, moving forward, and the world of science, advancing, and while most facts regarding "our state of our Nation" were indirect, just part of background, when a boy reads such cover to cover, every month dozens of times, for a decade and more, the bits and pieces add up and paint a picture behind the "mechanical issue or science issue", that is easily seen, looking past, and is intrinsically absolutely true, because no part was put up for the purpose of "the big picture", but the big picture naturally emerges, when sufficient bits and pieces of data accumulate, and we add them to what has long been accepted as true, tested and tried.
Having come to understandings by multiple articles on definitive science and engineering, with background bits and pieces coalescing, simply reading headlines were nothing but amusing, and the greatest factor was wondering how adults could believe this trash.
I began with the intent to debunk all the conspiracy theories regarding McCarthy and government, and ended up with the certainty McCarthy was right, he simply named them wrong, they were "Bolsheviks", using socialism and communism for cover, with the full intent of overthrowing our government, and they have continued to this day.
We have become "an empire whose people follow the Emperor, even when he dances around with no clothes, never believing that boy who actually sees.
Vanceboro, NC, USASocrates207 , January 11, 2018 4:24 PM
Well said. It is quite refreshing, as I have been upsetting a few of your neighbours over on Info Wars. The activists, who are desperate for a war with Iran, managed to leave Breit Bart for the day and flock to one of the articles. Together with those that have no idea that the US is in a bad way, economically. As I find myself being labelled a Soros paid troll. The standard of debate is quite soul destroying, until you can get somebody, who does not need personal insult to enhance their argument. Which is so liberating.DIRTY TEXAN , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM
You have to be very naive to trust the American government, it is like to trust Al Capone. No wonder Putin doen's trust them one inch.AM Hants , January 12, 2018 7:40 AM
For those who know what Russians are this is no surprise. A classless herd of sheep lead by a maniacal leader. If you think ISIS or Hitler were bad you should read about Russian history and the atrocities they have perpetrated and continue today.AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:02 PM
Off topic, but, related. A few interesting articles that all merge together.
Putin: Turkey not responsible for drone attack; Russia knows who was
Russian President calls drone attack "provocation" aimed at causing rift between Russia and Turkey... http://theduran.com/putin-t...
WATCH as US denies involvement in drone attack on Russian base in Syria... http://www.fort-russ.com/20...
How does Ukraine, fit into it, bearing in mind that Ukraine is planning similar in Crimea. The same Ukraine that does so well from having the US Bio-weapons factories up and running. Not forgetting that NATO is also setting up a base in Khakov, non-NATO territory and close to the bio-weapons factories. Then you have the mother craft, found hovering around the Russian bases in Syria and her sister working so hard around Crimea.
Remember the Pentagon begging for Russian DNA? Now what was that all about?
Kharkov Is Forcibly Prepared For The Status of a NATO Base (remember Ukraine is a non-NATO nation)...http:// www.stalkerzone.org/kharkov ...
US Military Bio-labs in Ukraine, Production of Bio-weapons and "Disease Causing Agents"
In 2015, American alternative media outlet InfoWars accused the Pentagon of developing new types of biological weapons in secret military laboratories in Ukraine. The facilities were constructed under the terms of the bilateral agreement signed between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Department of Defense in 2012.
Today thirteen American military bio-labs operate in Ukraine, The International Mass Media Agency reports. They employ only American specialists being entirely funded from the budget of the Department of Defense. Local authorities have pledged not to interfere in their work. These military labs are reported to be mainly involved in the study and production of disease-causing agents of smallpox, anthrax and botulism. The facilities are located in the following Ukrainian cities: Odessa, Vinnytsia, Uzhgorod, Lviv (three), Kharkiv, Kyiv (four), Kherson, Ternopil.
Russia Says U.S. Expanding Bioweapons Labs in Europe U.S. denies claim outlined in new Russian strategy http://freebeacon.com/natio...AM Hants AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:21 PM
Slightly off topic, but, another story of the West trying to upset Russia. Followed by what came next, which made me seriously laugh. The first article is well worth reading, just for the awe aspect and mega congratulations to the team. The 2nd article, just made me laugh. You gotta love those sanctions. Where there is a will there is a way.
Russia Wins in Arctic After U.S. Fails to Kill Giant Gas Project... https://www.bloomberg.com/n...
What comes next?
HEY TRUMP, LOOK WHO WILL WARM UP THE EAST COAST, GAS FROM MOTHER RUSSIA TO WARM CHILLY BOSTON !... http://nrt24.ru/en/news/hey...View HideMia Williams , January 11, 2018 5:23 PM
Yamal LNG and container tanks. View HideKrestovan Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 10:36 PM
President Gorbachev has made clear several times that the agreement reached with the former Soviet Union regarding NATO and the reunification of Germany was specific to the East/West line through Germany. To date Germany and NATO have kept that promise.
What are Russia's rights? Well, Moscow simply has no right to expect that her neighbors do not enjoy the sovereign right to join any alliances each may wish.observerBG Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 6:44 PM
Providing they were sovereign which they are not but under the EU control.Mia Williams observerBG , January 11, 2018 8:29 PM
James Baker (and others) told Gorbachev that NATO will not expand to the East so western powers are a bunch liars, that's for sure.
As for sovereign rights, that also depends if the organisation is willing to accept a certain country, not only if the country wants to join it. Germany and France for example blocked Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO in 2008. Countries are also allowed to join NATO in order to contribute to its security and i'm not sure about the "gain" of taking small countries on the border of the biggest nuclear power. That increases the possibility for arms race and for war between the major powers, that's for sure.
Also it is unclear how "sovereign" these decisions are, since lots of western money was invested in media, NGOs and political leaders and parties in Eastern Europe in order to promote pro-NATO views. US government officials bragged about "investing" 5 billion dollars in Ukraine for that purpose.
So those countries and their politicians were basically bribed, while their population propagandised via foreign sponsored media. This has nothing to do with sovereignity, rather its about interfering in other countries affairs.
Moreover, the US uses loopholes in international law in order to support rebels in various countries, to stage coups and to interefere in democracy and elections, with the aim of changing the politics of the target country, and even balkanising/disintegrating the target country.
Well, if the US can do that, others can too, hence the rebels in Ukraine, who are now preventing the country from joining NATO.
It could be much more simple. An agreement for buffer zone between NATO and Russia, so that peace and stability are secured. Or it could be "my way or the high way" mentality, which of course leads to wars and destabilisation. Which will not be a good thing in the nuclear proliferation era.
Russia wants peace and stability. The US does not. Its entire geopolitical strategy is based on destabilising the rest of the world, so that it remains divided and mired in internal squabbles, and no strong power could arise there. In addition to fueling conflict and selling weapons to both sides while staying out of it. Divide and rule.
The Russian (and Chinese - OBOR) strategy will be to stabilise, unite and interconnect the rest of the world, particularly Eurasia, in order to overthrow the US - the great disruptor. And as of now, they are winning.observerBG Mia Williams , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM
Personally speaking, I have little choice but to go with what Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan, along with FM Shevardnadze and Secretary Baker, have said on the subject. Not moving NATO troops or equipment one step east of the East/West German line of the time was promised. This happens to fall precisely in line with what German Chancellor Schroeder has said and written as well. The context of the discussions were in the context of Germany, not the whole of Europe.
According to President Gorbachev the collapse of the Soviet Union was not conceivable at that time. Thus, according to Mr. Gorbachev, he never participated in any discussion of Soviet States joining (or not joining) NATO.
Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness.John Tosh , January 11, 2018 3:51 PM
This is not what recent US media says on ths topic.
"the collection shows that top officials from the U.S., Germany and the U.K. all offered assurances to Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand toward the Russian borders. The documents make clear that the Western politicians meant no expansion to Eastern European countries, not just the East German territory."
The context here is about NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, to the east of Germany, whether the new (former soviet) states existed or not.
Large parts of EE were never part of the USSR.
"Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align
themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align
themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I
believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness."
Thanks for the straw man, but i did not say that.
About this, i will say several things. First, there are no bigger and more sophisticated liars than western elites. They are specialists in hiding and masking their interests behind "freedom", "democracy" and "human rights". The russians are more direct and directly talk about russian interests, economic gains, "the fate of our people in this or that country", etc.
Second, if you look at russian foreign policy docs and statements you will notice that russians embrace multipolarity and significantly lower level of interference in other peoples affairs. Specifically, the russians do not try to impose their "system", or developmental model, or culturo-religious model on other countries. After the fall of communism, Russia no longer believes that it should impose its "model" or "system" on other countries, and it does not believe that such an attempt could work either. So Russia accepts the cultural and developmental differences and diversity in the different countries of the world, and does not try to remake it in its own image, or push for "one size fits all" models. For example Russia does not believe that its own "state capitalism" should be imposed everywhere, the way the US believes that its own neo-liberal capitalism should be imposed everywhere.
In comparison, the West and especially the US is messianic and self-obsessed, with strong belief in its own superiority and maniacal desire to impose its own cultural and economic models on everyone else, whether they like it, or not. It thus believes that it "knows better" than anyone else, and therefore should rule the world "for its own good".
In other words the US interferes everywhere and sees the whole world as its playground and even property, something that it can change or remake the way it sees fit. Its like someone who wants to make decisions instead of you "for your own good", which implies that everyone else is mentally inferior to the US, that the whole world is in custody of the US "parent", who knows "better" than anyone else. It becomes crazed and obsessed if its model and culture are rejected by someone, as if that fatally weakens its confidence in itself.
In comparison, the russians are much more direct that things are about pure interests, and are also not interested in interfering at the level or scope the US does. They do not want to remake Poland, Britain, Korea or Iraq in their own image and are ok with whatever culture or economic model these people have. Russia has several military bases abroad in comparison to 700 bases for the US, and that tells you what is going on. Russia can also interfere sometimes, but for far more practical (and real) reasons, mostly in their neighbours, with the aim of ensuring its own security (anti-terrorism), or for making sure that NATO military can not be deployed en masse near its borders. There can be also some economic interference (gas disputes) or attempts to protect russian minorities abroad. But russian interference does not come close to the level of the US one, or the scope of the US one, and certainly does not include messianic dreams about remaking the whole world in its own image, and Russia definitely does not see the world as its playground. The russian embrace of multipolarity means that Russia accepts that there will be countries with vastly different cultures, economic and developmental models, even very different than the russian one, that there will be many powers, and that Russia can not impose its views on the rest of the planet.QE ornotQE John Tosh , January 12, 2018 7:38 AM
The attack on Russian airbase in Syria is a sign that the Central Intelligence Agency is sleepwalking into 3rd world war
For the CIA's information at the start of WW3, the CIA will be nuked since everyone knows it is the brain and actor for the entire Western group of criminals.
CIA you will be nuked. Those CIA agents who survived will be hunted down in different countries like the dogs they are. Many CIA superior officers will sell out their boses and subordinates to survive at the end there would be no more CIA. Just like the NAZIs.Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:05 PM
Look up DUMBs and YouTube a guy called Phil Schneider. The elites (including the CIA) will be as safe and secure as possible in the event of a nuclear war.Peter Paul 1950 Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:26 PM
Russia was not betrayed by USA. Russia was letting themselves willingly being betrayed, this is a big difference. The Russians were shining all over their faces, dreaming, hoping to become Europeans, and getting coca-cola, friendships, scolarships and dollars from the Americans...............LOL.
The Russians loved to be betrayed man, you loved it man................LOL.AM Hants Peter Paul 1950 , January 11, 2018 1:02 PM
If you really believe your words then they just reveal that you have an underdeveloped character and lack of empathy towards your own self ... and towards others ... and an even larger deficit in history ... the uprising in Russia 1991 and tanks shooting holes in the White House in Moscow were absolutely not about becoming Europeans or the want of Coca Cola and Big Macs that were then introduced and made available thanks to Yeltsin ... a US puppet ... you love nothing Tommy ... and you are LOLing yourself in an illusion if you try making others believe anybody would love to be betrayed ...
I have got a project for you, if interested. Andrew came up with a wonderful idea for one of your images. A pyramid, of 'yes' men/women, with their noses firmly embedded in the butts of those above them. If you fancy some artwork, public friendly and nothing that would frighten us, or get you banned, I will leave it to you.
You can even use these characters and their friends that arrived in 2017.
Jan 02, 2018 | www.unz.com
pet , December 30, 2017 at 3:33 am GMT[Choose a single Handle and stick to it, or else use Anonymous/Anon. Otherwise, your comments may be trashed.]El Dato , December 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT
For such an uncritical defender of everything Russian, Mr. Saker would be well advised to undertake an objective analysis of the Russian policies and actions from the time of Gorbachev to the current time in order to look for the true causes of the dismal geo-strategic position of Russia today, instead of blaming it all on western "partners" only. I'm sure he would be able to find a plenty of strategic mistakes done by the Russian leadership including Putin, during more than 3 decades, some of them result of naked ignorance and others result of pure stupidity.
He would also have to touch on the issue of the "despotic" nature of the Russian state whereby one man, whether able or not, decides about everything while everyone else applauds.
Some suggested points for the analysis: betrayal and hand-over of East Germany against its will, dissolution of Warsaw Pact without any paperwork (parallel dissolution of NATO was very much discussed at the time but Russians didn't even ask for it), dissolution of the USSR absolutely contrary to the interests of Russian people, destruction of "Mir" station, betrayal of Serbia, Cuba, siding with "partners" on Iran, Libya, North Korea etc., giving up on Vietnam and many Soviet friends and allies all over the world, half-hearted "intervention" in Georgia, loss of Ukraine due to negligence, occasional mistreatment of Belarus for its refusal to sell out to Russian oligarchs, total lack of care for the Russians stranded all over former Soviet space etc. etc.
All theses things add up leading to where we are today. (I'm not even touching upon the state of affairs inside Russia regarding corruption, salaries, oligarchs, social justice and many others).@pet
destruction of "Mir" station
Woah slow down there. It was a piece of aging junk, had already had fire aboard, had nonfunctional solar panels, the computers were fritzing out, mold was growing in the isolation. The ISS, formerly Space Station Freedom, formerly Space Station Alpha, was taking shape. Time to dump that assemblage of canisters.
Far more important is to have a heavy launcher like the Energia so you can launch it again and service it. Well, that doesn't exist either now. SAD!
Have some old school space dreaming instead:
Red Star, Winter Orbit (1983), Text .
I still prefer Hinterlands (1981). Text .
We had really settled in for Soviet Union forever. Amazing.
Dec 19, 2017 | Washington's Blog
... ... ...
Until now, apologists for the U.S.-Government side have been able to get away with various lies about these lies, such as that there weren't any, and that Gorbachev didn't really think that the NATO issue was terribly important for Russia's future national security anyway, and that the only limitation upon NATO's future expansion that was discussed during the negotiations to end the Cold War concerned NATO not expanding itself eastward (i.e., closer to Russia) within Germany, not going beyond the then-existing dividing-line between West and East Germany -- that no restriction against other east-bloc (Soviet-allied) nations ever being admitted into NATO was discussed, at all. The now-standard U.S. excuse that the deal concerned only Germany and not all of Europe is now conclusively disproven by the biggest single data-dump ever released about those negotiations.
This release on December 10th, by the National Security Archives, of a treasure-trove of all the existing documentation -- 33 key documents -- that's been made available to them from numerous archives around the world, and brought together finally for the very first time complete and in chronological order, makes crystal clear that the American apologists' lies about the lies WERE lies, not accurate accounts of the history, at all.
The assemblers at the National Security Archives assume that the numerous and repeated false promises that were made by Bush's team were mistakes, instead of as what they so clearly were (but you'll judge it here for yourself): strategic lies that were essential to Bush's goal of America ultimately conquering a future isolated Russia that would then have little-to-no foreign allies, and all of whose then-existing-as-Soviet allied nations within the Soviet Union itself, and beyond, including all of its former Warsaw Pact allies, would have become ultimately swallowed up by the U.S.-NATO bloc, which then would be able to dictate, to a finally alone nation of Russia, terms of Russia's ultimate surrender to the U.S. That view (which the National Security Archives documents to be clearly true, even as it denies it and says that only Bill Clinton and subsequent Presidents were to blame) is now exposed irrefutably to have been the U.S. plan ever since GHW Bush's Presidency.
In other words: This release of documents about the turning-point, provides capstone evidence that the U.S. never really had been in the Cold War against communism; the U.S. was instead aiming ultimately to be the imperial nation, controlling the entire planet. For America's Deep State, or what President Eisenhower famously warned about as the "military-industrial complex," the Cold War was actually about empire, and about conquest, not really about ideology at all. This also had been shown, for example, by America's having assisted so many 'former' Nazis to escape and come to America and to be paid now by the U.S. Government. After World War II, the top level of the U.S. power-structure became increasingly taken over by the military-industrial complex, America's Deep State, so that increasingly the U.S. Government is in a condition of "perpetual war for perpetual peace" -- a warfare state and economy: fascism.
Here, then, are highlights from this historic data-dump, presented in chronological order, just as in the release itself, and with a minimum of added commentary from myself [placed in brackets], but all stripping away here the dross of accompanying inconsequentials, and leaving only the golden steady core of stunningly successful American deceit of Russia. These are those highlights, from the December 10th data-dump, which the National Security Archives headlined " NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard " and sub-headed "Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner," so that the swindlers (or as the National Security Archive view them as having instead been blunderers) can become immediately recognized and known.
All of these documents pertain to negotiations that occurred throughout the month of February 1990, and a few relate also to the immediate aftermath. That's the crucial period, when the geostrategic reality of today (which all the world now know to be a continuation of the Cold War, but this time against only Russia, and not against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact) was actually created.
At the negotiations' start, West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl's agent, Germany's Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, stated publicly to the whole world, West Germany's initial offer to the Soviet Union's President Mikhail Gorbachev, and this offer did not include a simultaneous termination of both military alliances -- the Soviets' Warsaw Pact and America's NATO -- but instead only a promise that NATO would never absorb any additional territory, especially to the east of West Germany (and this publicly made promise was never kept). So: right from the get-go, there was no actual termination of the Cold War that was being proposed by the U.S. group, but only an arrangement that wouldn't threaten Russia more than the then-existing split Germany did (and yet even that promise turned out to have been a lie):
U.S. Embassy Bonn Confidential Cable to Secretary of State on the speech of the German Foreign Minister: Genscher Outlines His Vision of a New European Architecture.
Source: U.S. Department of State. FOIA Reading Room. Case F-2015 10829
"This U.S. Embassy Bonn cable reporting back to Washington details both of Hans-Dietrich Genscher's proposals – that NATO would not expand to the east, and that the former territory of the GDR in a unified Germany would be treated differently from other NATO territory."
Mr. Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby (Bonn). Telegraphic N. 85: Secretary of State's Call on Herr Genscher: German Unification.
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990.
"The U.S. State Department's subsequent view of the German unification negotiations, expressed in a 1996 cable sent to all posts, mistakenly asserts that the entire negotiation over the future of Germany limited its discussion of the future of NATO to the specific arrangements over the territory of the former GDR." [The National Security Archives' calling that Bill-Clinton-era State Department cable 'mistaken' is unsupported by, and even contradicted by, the evidence they actually present from the February 1990 negotiations.]
Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H.W. Bush about "Forum for Germany" meeting in Berlin.
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library
"This concise note to President Bush from one of the Cold War's architects, Paul Nitze (based at his namesake Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies), captures the debate over the future of NATO in early 1990. Nitze relates that Central and Eastern European leaders attending the 'Forum for Germany' conference in Berlin were advocating the dissolution of both the superpower blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, until he (and a few western Europeans) turned around that view and instead emphasized the importance of NATO as the basis of stability and U.S. presence in Europe."
Memorandum of Conversation between James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow.
Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)
"Baker tells the Soviet foreign minister, 'A neutral Germany would undoubtedly acquire its own independent nuclear capability. However, a Germany that is firmly anchored in a changed NATO, by that I mean a NATO that is far less of [a] military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability. There would, of course, have to be iron-clad guarantees that NATO's jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.'"
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)
"Even with (unjustified) redactions by U.S. classification officers, this American transcript of perhaps the most famous U.S. assurance to the Soviets on NATO expansion confirms the Soviet transcript of the same conversation. Repeating what Bush said at the Malta summit in December 1989, Baker tells Gorbachev: 'The President and I have made clear that we seek no unilateral advantage in this process' of inevitable German unification. Baker goes on to say, 'We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.'"
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow. (Excerpts)
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1, Opis 1.
"The key exchange takes place when Baker asks whether Gorbachev would prefer 'a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisdiction or troops will not spread east of the present boundary.' Turning to German unification, Baker assures Gorbachev that 'neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,' and that the Americans understand the importance for the USSR and Europe of guarantees that 'not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.'"
Memorandum of conversation between Robert Gates and Vladimir Kryuchkov in Moscow.
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91128, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive."
"This conversation is especially important because subsequent researchers have speculated that Secretary Baker may have been speaking beyond his brief in his 'not one inch eastward' conversation with Gorbachev. Robert Gates, the former top CIA intelligence analyst and a specialist on the USSR, here tells his kind-of-counterpart, the head of the KGB, in his office at the Lubyanka KGB headquarters, exactly what Baker told Gorbachev that day at the Kremlin: not one inch eastward. At that point, Gates was the top deputy to the president's national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, so this document speaks to a coordinated approach by the U.S. government to Gorbachev."
Letter from James Baker to Helmut Kohl
Source: Deutsche Enheit Sonderedition und den Akten des Budeskanzleramtes 1989/90
"Baker especially remarks on Gorbachev's noncommittal response to the question about a neutral Germany versus a NATO Germany with pledges against eastward expansion."
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)
"Prepared by Baker's letter and his own foreign minister's Tutzing formula, Kohl early in the conversation assures Gorbachev, 'We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people.' Later the two leaders tussle about NATO and the Warsaw Pact, with Gorbachev commenting, 'They say what is NATO without the FRG. But we could also ask: What is the WTO without the GDR?' When Kohl disagrees, Gorbachev calls merely for 'reasonable solutions that do not poison the atmosphere in our relations' and says this part of the conversation should not be made public."
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze notes from Conference on Open Skies, Ottawa, Canada.
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.
"Notes from the first days of the conference are very brief, but they contain one important line that shows that Baker offered the same assurance formula in Ottawa as he did in Moscow: 'And if U[nited] G[ermany] stays in NATO, we should take care about nonexpansion of its jurisdiction to the East.'"
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 12, 1990.
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.
"This diary entry is evidence, from a critical perspective, that the United States and West Germany did give Moscow concrete assurances about keeping NATO to its current size and scope. In fact, the diary further indicates that at least in Shevardnadze's view those assurances amounted to a deal – which Gorbachev accepted."
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 13, 1990.
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.
"Stepanov-Mamaladze describes difficult negotiations about the exact wording on the joint statement. 'During the day, active games were taking place between all of them. E.A. [Shevardnadze] met with Baker five times, twice with Genscher, talked with Fischer [GDR foreign minister], Dumas [French foreign minister], and the ministers of the ATS countries,' and finally, the text of the settlement was settled."
U.S. State Department, "Two Plus Four: Advantages, Possible Concerns and Rebuttal Points."
Source: State Department FOIA release, National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38.
"The American fear was that the West Germans would make their own deal with Moscow for rapid unification, giving up some of the bottom lines for the U.S., mainly membership in NATO."
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )
"Bush took the opportunity to lecture the Czech leader about the value of NATO and its essential role as the basis for the U.S. presence in Europe."
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )
"Bush's request to Havel to pass the message to Gorbachev that the Americans support him personally, and that 'We will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying "we win, you lose." Emphasizing the point, Bush says, 'tell Gorbachev that I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me.' The Czechoslovak leader adds his own caution to the Americans about how to proceed with the unification of Germany and address Soviet insecurities. Havel remarks to Bush, 'It is a question of prestige.'"
[I think that Havel was deceived to believe that "prestige" was the issue here. This is what the U.S. team wanted the Soviet team to think was the U.S. team's chief motivation for wanting NATO to continue. But subsequent historical events, especially the U.S. team's proceeding under President Bill Clinton and up through Donald Trump to expand NATO to include, by now, virtually all of the Warsaw Pact and of the Soviet Union itself except for Russia, in NATO, proves that U.S. aggression against Russia has been the U.S. aim from the start, and the U.S. Government has been working assiduously at this plan for ultimate conquest. I think that Havel's use there of the word "prestige" was very revealing of the total snookering of Gorbachev that Bush achieved. Gorbachev and his team trusted the U.S. side. Russia has paid dearly for that. If the U.S. side continues and NATO isn't voluntarily terminated by the U.S. Government, then WW III will be the inevitable result. NATO will end either after the 'conquest' of Russia or before that WW-III 'conquest' (likelier to be actually destruction of the entire world) even happens. The world, today, will decide which. NATO should have ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact did.]
Memorandum of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and George Bush at Camp David.
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu /)
"The Bush administration's main worry about German unification as the process accelerated in February 1990 was that the West Germans might make their own deal bilaterally with the Soviets (see Document 11) and might be willing to bargain away NATO membership. The German chancellor arrives at Camp David without [West German Foreign Minister] Genscher because the latter does not entirely share the Bush-Kohl position on full German membership in NATO, and he recently angered both leaders by speaking publicly about the CSCE as the future European security mechanism. Bush's priority is to keep the U.S. presence, especially the nuclear umbrella, in Europe: 'if U.S. nuclear forces are withdrawn from Germany, I don't see how we can persuade any other ally on the continent to retain these weapons.' [Bush wanted Lockheed and other U.S. weapons-makers to continue booming after the Cold War 'ended' -- not for the nuclear-weapons market to end. Bush continued:] 'We have weird thinking in our Congress today, ideas like this peace dividend. We can't do that in these uncertain times.' [For the U.S. team, 'perpetual war for perpetual peace' would be the way forward; a 'peace dividend' was the last thing they wanted -- ever.] At one point in the conversation, Bush seems to view his Soviet counterpart not as a partner but as a defeated enemy. Referring to talk in some Soviet quarters against Germany staying in NATO, he says: 'To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.'" [I earlier had placed that crucial secret statement from Bush into historical perspective, under the headline, " How America Double-Crossed Russia and Shamed the West ".]
Memorandum of conversation between George Bush and Eduard Shevardnadze in Washington.
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )
"Shevardnadze mentions the upcoming CSCE summit and the Soviet expectation that it will discuss the new European security structures. Bush does not contradict this but ties it to the issues of the U.S. presence in Europe and German unification in NATO. He declares that he wants to 'contribute to stability and to the creation of a Europe whole and free, or as you call it, a common European home. A[n] idea that is very close to our own.' The Soviets -- wrongly -- interpret this as a declaration that the U.S. administration shares Gorbachev's idea."
Sir R. Braithwaite (Moscow). Telegraphic N. 667: "Secretary of State's Meeting with President Gorbachev."
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
"Ambassador Braithwaite's telegram summarizes the meeting between Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd and President Gorbachev, noting Gorbachev's 'expansive mood.' Gorbachev asks the secretary to pass his appreciation for Margaret Thatcher's letter to him after her summit with Kohl, at which, according to Gorbachev, she followed the lines of policy Gorbachev and Thatcher discussed in their recent phone call, on the basis of which the Soviet leader concluded that 'the British and Soviet positions were very close indeed.'"
Valentin Falin Memorandum to Mikhail Gorbachev (Excerpts)
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)
"This memorandum from the Central Committee's most senior expert on Germany sounds like a wake-up call for Gorbachev. Falin puts it in blunt terms: while Soviet European policy has fallen into inactivity and even 'depression after the March 18 elections in East Germany, and Gorbachev himself has let Kohl speed up the process of unification, his compromises on Germany in NATO can only lead to the slipping away of his main goal for Europe – the common European home. 'Summing up the past six months, one has to conclude that the "common European home," which used to be a concrete task the countries of the continent were starting to implement, is now turning into a mirage.' While the West is sweet-talking Gorbachev into accepting German unification in NATO, Falin notes (correctly) that 'the Western states are already violating the consensus principle by making preliminary agreements among themselves' regarding German unification and the future of Europe that do not include a 'long phase of constructive development.' He notes the West's 'intensive cultivation of not only NATO but also our Warsaw Pact allies' with the goal to isolate the USSR. He also suggests using arms control negotiations in Vienna and Geneva as leverage if the West keeps taking advantage of Soviet flexibility. The main idea of the memo is to warn Gorbachev not to be naive about the intentions of his American partners: 'The West is outplaying us, promising to respect the interests of the USSR, but in practice, step by step, separating us from "traditional Europe".'"
James A. Baker III, Memorandum for the President, "My meeting with Shevardnadze."
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91126, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive 1989 – June 1990 "
"Baker reports, 'I also used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.'"
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1
"When Gorbachev mentions the need to build new security structures to replace the blocs, Baker lets slip a personal reaction that reveals much about the real U.S. position on the subject: 'It's nice to talk about pan-European security structures, the role of the CSCE. It is a wonderful dream, but just a dream. In the meantime, NATO exists. ' Gorbachev suggests that if the U.S. side insists on Germany in NATO, then he would 'announce publicly that we want to join NATO too.' Shevardnadze goes further, offering a prophetic observation: 'if united Germany becomes a member of NATO, it will blow up perestroika. Our people will not forgive us. People will say that we ended up the losers, not the winners.'"
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand (excerpts).
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros
"[Miterrand] implies that NATO is not the key issue now and could be drowned out in further negotiations; rather, the important thing is to ensure Soviet participation in new European security system. He repeats that he is 'personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs.' Gorbachev expresses his wariness and suspicion about U.S. effort to 'perpetuate NATO'." [This was extraordinary documentation that the U.S. team had deceived Gorbachev to think that they were trying to suggest to him that both military alliances -- NATO and Warsaw Pact -- would be ended, but that Gorbachev was "wary" and "suspicious" that maybe they didn't really mean it. Stunning.]
Letter from Francois Mitterrand to George Bush
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files
True to his word, Mitterrand writes a letter to George Bush describing Gorbachev's predicament on the issue of German unification in NATO, calling it genuine, not 'fake or tactical.' He warns the American president against doing it as a fait accompli without Gorbachev's consent implying that Gorbachev might retaliate on arms control (exactly what Mitterrand himself – and Falin earlier – suggested in his conversation). Mitterrand argues in favor of a formal 'peace settlement in International law,' and informs Bush that in his conversation with Gorbachev he "'indicated that, on the Western side, we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security.'"
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D.C.
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Moscow, Fond 1, opis 1.
"Baker repeats the nine assurances made previously by the administration, including that the United States now agrees to support the pan-European process and transformation of NATO in order to remove the Soviet perception of threat. Gorbachev's preferred position is Germany with one foot in both NATO and the Warsaw Pact -- the 'two anchors' -- creating a kind of associated membership. Baker intervenes, saying that 'the simultaneous obligations of one and the same country toward the WTO and NATO smack of schizophrenia.' After the U.S. president frames the issue in the context of the Helsinki agreement, Gorbachev proposes that the German people have the right to choose their alliance -- which he in essence already affirmed to Kohl during their meeting in February 1990. Here, Gorbachev significantly exceeds his brief, and incurs the ire of other members of his delegation, especially the official with the German portfolio, Valentin Falin, and Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev. Gorbachev issues a key warning about the future: 'If the Soviet people get an impression that we are disregarded in the German question, then all the positive processes in Europe, including the negotiations in Vienna [over conventional forces], would be in serious danger. This is not just bluffing. It is simply that the people will force us to stop and to look around.' It is a remarkable admission about domestic political pressures from the last Soviet leader."
Letter from Mr. Powell (N. 10) to Mr. Wall: Thatcher-Gorbachev memorandum of conversation.
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office
"Gorbachev says he wants to 'be completely frank with the Prime Minister' that if the processes were to become one-sided, 'there could be a very difficult situation [and the] Soviet Union would feel its security in jeopardy.' Thatcher responds firmly that it was in nobody's interest to put Soviet security in jeopardy: 'we must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured.'"
Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, Moscow (Excerpts).
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros
"This key conversation between Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev sets the final parameters for German unification. Kohl talks repeatedly about the new era of relations between a united Germany and the Soviet Union, and how this relationship would contribute to European stability and security. Gorbachev demands assurances on non-expansion of NATO: 'We must talk about the nonproliferation of NATO military structures to the territory of the GDR, and maintaining Soviet troops there for a certain transition period.' The Soviet leader notes earlier in the conversation that NATO has already begun transforming itself. For him, the pledge of NATO non-expansion to the territory of the GDR in spirit means that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet willingness to compromise on Germany."
[Of course, Gorbachev never knew that Bush had instructed his agents, on the night of 24 February 1990, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat," indicating that for the U.S. aristocracy, conquest of an isolated Russia was the actual ultimate aim -- there would be no actual end of the Cold War until the U.S. would conquer Russia itself -- grab the whole thing. Gorbachev was, it is now absolutely undeniable, conned.]
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )
"In this phone call, Bush expands on Kohl's security assurances and reinforces the message from the London Declaration: 'So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.'"
September 12 Two-Plus-Four Ministerial in Moscow: Detailed account [includes text of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany and Agreed Minute to the Treaty on the special military status of the GDR after unification]
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Condoleezza Rice Files
"the agreed text of the final treaty on German unification. The treaty codified what Bush had earlier offered to Gorbachev – 'special military status' for the former GDR territory. At the last minute, British and American concerns that the language would restrict emergency NATO troop movements there forced the inclusion of a 'minute' that left it up to the newly unified and sovereign Germany what the meaning of the word 'deployed' should be. Kohl had committed to Gorbachev that only German NATO troops would be allowed on that territory after the Soviets left, and Germany stuck to that commitment, even though the 'minute' was meant to allow other NATO troops to traverse or exercise there at least temporarily. Subsequently, Gorbachev aides such as Pavel Palazhshenko would point to the treaty language to argue that NATO expansion violated the 'spirit' of this Final Settlement treaty."
[Obviously, now, it was no "Final Settlement" at all.]
U.S. Department of State, European Bureau: Revised NATO Strategy Paper for Discussion at Sub-Ungroup Meeting
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Heather Wilson Files,
"Joint Chiefs and other agencies, posits that '[a] potential Soviet threat remains and constitutes one basic justification for the continuance of NATO.' At the same time, in the discussion of potential East European membership in NATO, the review suggests that 'In the current environment, it is not in the best interest of NATO or of the U.S. that these states be granted full NATO membership and its security guarantees.' The United States does not 'wish to organize an anti-Soviet coalition whose frontier is the Soviet border' – not least because of the negative impact this might have on reforms in the USSR. NATO liaison offices would do for the present time, the group concluded, but the relationship will develop in the future. In the absence of the Cold War confrontation, NATO 'out of area' functions will have to be redefined." [Clearly, they wanted the revolving door to land them in high-paid positions supported by U.S. weapons-making corporations, not just in retirements with only military pensions. Or else, they just loved war and, like Bush, didn't want there to be any "peace dividend."]
James F. Dobbins, State Department European Bureau, Memorandum to National Security Council: NATO Strategy Review Paper for October 29 Discussion.
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library: NSC Philip Zelikow Files
"This concise memorandum comes from the State Department's European Bureau as a cover note for briefing papers for a scheduled October 29, 1990 meeting on the issues of NATO expansion and European defense cooperation with NATO. Most important is the document's summary of the internal debate within the Bush administration, primarily between the Defense Department (specifically the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney) and the State Department. On the issue of NATO expansion, OSD 'wishes to leave the door ajar' while State 'prefers simply to note that discussion of expanding membership is not on the agenda .' The Bush administration effectively adopts State's view in its public statements, yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration."
[This allegation, by the National Security Archives, fundamentally misrepresents, by its underlying assumption that the Bush Administration's statements such as that NATO would move "not one inch to the east" weren't lies but instead reflected Bush's actual intention. They ignore altogether Bush's having secretly told his vassals on the crucial night of 24 February 1990, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat." Gorbachev believed that this was to be a win-win game; but, the U.S. side were now under secret instructions that it's to be purely more of the win-lose game, and that now a lone Russia would end up being its ultimate loser. The despicable statement by the National Security Archives, "yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration," presumes that it didn't actually already 'prevail' in the Bush Administration itself. It prevailed actually in George Herbert Walker Bush himself, and not only in his Defense Department. Bush brilliantly took advantage of Gorbachev's decency and expectation that Bush, like himself, was decent. Bush lied -- and his team and their successors ever since have been carrying out his vicious plan. The National Security Archives downplays to insignificance Bush's crucial instruction to his people, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat." That statement, at that crucial moment, is what enables us to understand what was actually going on throughout these negotiations. The Archives' blaming only Bill Clinton and the other Presidents after Bush is a despicable lie. And it wasn't just "the Defense view" -- Cheney -- who prevailed within the Bush Administration there. Cheney, like Baker, were doing what GHW Bush had hired them to do. Baker's job was to lie. If it weren't, then he'd have told Gorbachev the next day not to trust what the Bush team were saying, but instead to demand everything to be put in writing in the final document, and to assume the worst regarding anything that the Bush team were refusing to put in writing in the final document. Baker was a lawyer, and a very skilled liar, who was just doing his job for Bush. For some inexplicable reason, the National Security Archives simply assumes otherwise.]
Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite diary, 05 March 1991
Source: Rodric Braithwaite personal diary
"British Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite was present for a number of the assurances given to Soviet leaders in 1990 and 1991 about NATO expansion. Here, Braithwaite in his diary describes a meeting between British Prime Minister John Major and Soviet military officials, led by Minister of Defense Marshal Dmitry Yazov. The meeting took place during Major's visit to Moscow and right after his one-on-one with President Gorbachev. During the meeting with Major, Gorbachev had raised his concerns about the new NATO dynamics: 'Against the background of favorable processes in Europe, I suddenly start receiving information that certain circles intend to go on further strengthening NATO as the main security instrument in Europe. Previously they talked about changing the nature of NATO, about transformation of the existing military-political blocs into pan-European structures and security mechanisms. And now suddenly again [they are talking about] a special peace-keeping role of NATO. They are talking again about NATO as the cornerstone. This does not sound complementary to the common European home that we have started to build.' Major responded: 'I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO.'"
Paul Wolfowitz Memoranda of Conversation with Vaclav Havel and Lubos Dobrovsky in Prague.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, FOIA release 2016
"These memcons from April 1991 provide the bookends for the 'education of Vaclav Havel' on NATO (see Documents 12-1 and 12-2 above). U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz included these memcons in his report to the NSC and the State Department about his attendance at a conference in Prague on 'The Future of European Security,' on April 24-27, 1991. During the conference Wolfowitz had separate meetings with Havel and Minister of Defense Dobrovsky. In the conversation with Havel, Wolfowitz thanks him for his statements about the importance of NATO and US troops in Europe. In conversation with Dobrovsky, Wolfowitz remarks that 'the very existence of NATO was in doubt a year ago.'"
Memorandum to Boris Yeltsin from Russian Supreme Soviet delegation to NATO HQs
Source: State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), Fond 10026, Opis 1
"This document is important for describing the clear message in 1991 from the highest levels of NATO – Secretary General Manfred Woerner – that NATO expansion was not happening . The audience was a Russian Supreme Soviet delegation, which in this memo was reporting back to Boris Yeltsin (who in June had been elected president of the Russian republic, largest in the Soviet Union), but no doubt Gorbachev and his aides were hearing the same assurance at that time. The emerging Russian security establishment was already worried about the possibility of NATO expansion, so in June 1991 this delegation visited Brussels to meet NATO's leadership, hear their views about the future of NATO, and share Russian concerns.
Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: 'The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.' Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion -- '13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view' -- and that he will speak against Poland's and Romania's membership in NATO to those countries' leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia."
Dec 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.comPresident George H. W. Bush and President Mikhail Gorbachev sign United States/Soviet Union agreements to end chemical weapon production and begin destroying their respective stocks in the East Room of the White House, Washington, DC in June 1990. (White House photo) Statecraft is a complicated business, but the criteria by which we judge statesmen turn out to be less so. The central question reduces to whether those charged with formulating policy succeed in enhancing the power and security of the nation they lead.
Yet near-term advantage does not necessarily translate into long-term benefit. With the passage of time, a seemingly clever gambit can yield poisonous fruit. So it is with the way the George Herbert Walker Bush administration managed the end of the Cold War.
From a geopolitical perspective, the Cold War from the very outset had centered on the German question. Concluding that conflict necessarily required resolving Germany's anomalous division into two halves, with West Germany a key member of NATO and East Germany occupying a similar status in the opposing Warsaw Pact. Of course, no such resolution could be possible unless the victors of World War II, primarily the United States and the Soviet Union, but also Great Britain and France, all concurred.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev provided the necessary catalyst to make agreement possible. Gorbachev's bold effort to reform and thereby save the USSR, launched in the mid-1980s, converted the belt of Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe from a source of strategic depth to a collection of liabilities. When Gorbachev signaled that unlike his predecessors he had no intention of using force to maintain the Soviet Empire, it almost immediately disintegrated. With that, momentum for German reunification became all but irresistible.
By the end of 1989, the issue facing policymakers on both sides of the rapidly vanishing Iron Curtain was not whether reunification should occur, but where a reunited Germany would fit in a radically transformed political landscape. Already possessing the biggest economy in all of Europe, Germany seemed certain to become even more of a powerhouse once it had absorbed its formerly communist eastern precincts. No one -- including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl -- thought it a good idea to allow this new Germany to become a free-floater, situated in the center of Europe but untethered from the sort of restraints that the Cold War had imposed.
For Washington, London, and Paris, the solution was obvious: keep the Germans in a warm but firm embrace. Ensuring that a united Germany remained part of NATO would reduce the likelihood of it choosing at some future date to strike an independent course.
The challenge facing the Western allies was to persuade Gorbachev to see the wisdom of this proposition. After all, twice within memory, Germany had invaded Russia, inflicting almost unimaginable damage and suffering. That the Soviets might view with trepidation the prospect of a resurgent Germany remaining part of an explicitly anti-Soviet military alliance was not paranoia. It was prudence.
To make that prospect palatable, the Bush administration assured the Soviets that they had nothing to fear from a Western alliance that included a united Germany. NATO no longer viewed the USSR as an adversary. Apart from incorporating the territory of the former East Germany, the alliance was going to stay put. Washington was sensitive to and would respect Russia's own security interests. So at least U.S. officials claimed.
Thanks to newly declassified documents published by the National Security Archive, we now have a clearer appreciation of just how explicit those assurances were. Among the documents is the transcript of an especially revealing conversation between Gorbachev and Secretary of State James Baker in Moscow on February 9, 1990.
The discussion touched on several topics, but centered on the German question. As Baker framed the issue, history was now handing the victorious allies an opportunity to correct the mistakes they had made in the wake of World War II. "We fought alongside with you; together we brought peace to Europe," Baker told Gorbachev. "Regrettably, we then managed this peace poorly, which led to the Cold War," he continued.
"We could not cooperate then," he said. "Now, as rapid and fundamental changes are taking place in Europe, we have a propitious opportunity to cooperate in the interests of preserving the peace. I very much want you to know: neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."
Washington's intentions were friendly. Gorbachev could absolutely count on the Bush administration to support his perestroika and glasnost initiatives. "In a word, we want your efforts to be successful," Baker insisted. Indeed, he continued, "if somewhere in the course of events you feel that the United States is doing something undesirable to you, without hesitation call us and tell us about it."
By extension, there was no need for Gorbachev to trouble himself about NATO. The alliance provided "the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe," which, Baker implied, was good for everyone. Keeping G.I.s in Europe would prevent Germany from once more becoming a troublemaker, benefiting all parties to include the USSR.
"We understand," Baker continued, "that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction [emphasis added]." Indeed, the proposed U.S. approach to negotiating terms for ending Germany's division would "guarantee that Germany's unification will not lead to NATO's military organization spreading to the east."
The secretary of state then posed a hypothetical. "Supposing unification takes place," he asked Gorbachev, "what would you prefer: a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisprudence [jurisdiction?] or troops will not spread east of the present boundary?"
The issue was one he wished to discuss with his colleagues, Gorbachev replied, remarking only that "it goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable."
To which Baker responded: "We agree with that."
Later that very year German reunification became an accomplished fact. By the end of the following year, Gorbachev was out of a job and the Soviet Union had become defunct. Before another 12 months had passed, Baker's boss lost his bid for a second term as Americans elected their first post-Cold War president. By this time, countries of the former Warsaw Pact were already clamoring to join NATO. The administration of Bill Clinton proved more than receptive to such appeals. As a consequence, the assurances given to Gorbachev were rendered inoperative.
NATO's eastward march commenced, with the alliance eventually incorporating not only former Soviet satellites but even former Soviet republics. In effect, U.S. policymakers responded favorably to the aspirations of Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians while disregarding Russian security interests, apparently assuming that Kremlin leaders had no recourse but to concede.
As long as Russia remained weak, that may well have been the case. As if to press home the point, Clinton's successors even toyed with the idea of inviting Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO -- more or less the equivalent of incorporating Cuba and Mexico into the Warsaw Pact back in the bad old days.
At that point, a Kremlin leader less trusting of the West than Gorbachev had been decided that enough was enough. Vladimir Putin, a very nasty piece of work but also arguably a Russian patriot, made it clear that NATO's eastward expansion had ended. Putin's 2008 armed intervention in Georgia, annexation of the Crimea in 2014, and multiple incursions into Ukraine beginning that same year elicited howls of protest from the Washington commentariat. Putin, they charged, was trampling on the "norms" of international conduct that were supposed to govern behavior in the post-Cold War world.
But Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake. For roughly a quarter century, the United States had paid no price for picking Gorbachev's pocket back in 1990. Indeed, nations once unhappily lodged within the Soviet sphere had thereby benefited greatly. NATO became a club open to everyone but Russia. In Washington's favored formulation, Europe thereby became "whole and free." Now, however, the bills incurred by this feckless policy are coming due and Europeans are looking to the United States to pay them.
Today's NATO consists of 29 nations, nearly double what its membership was when Secretary Baker promised Gorbachev that the alliance would not advance a single inch eastward. When it comes to paying for the collective defense, few of those nations contribute their required share. In effect, America's allies expect it to do the heavy lifting. The United States has thereby incurred burdensome obligations without accruing any obvious benefit. Once more, over 70 years after World War II, the United States is sending its troops to defend Europeans fully capable of defending themselves. Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers.
In today's Washington, where Russophobia runs rampant, it has become fashionable to speak of a New Cold War, provoked by Putin's aggressive actions. Yet if we are indeed embarking upon a new age of brinksmanship, we can trace its origins to 1990 when Putin was merely a disgruntled KGB colonel and we were playing the Soviets for suckers.
In his meeting with Gorbachev, Baker expressed regret about the victorious allies mismanaging the opportunity for peace created by the end of World War II. A similar judgment applies to the opportunity for peace created by the end of the Cold War. Upon reflection, the United States might have been better served had it honored its 1990 commitment to Gorbachev.
Andrew J. Bacevich is TAC's writer-at-large.
Cynthia McLean December 22, 2017 at 1:12 pmThank you for being such a truth-teller.Xtof , says: December 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm
One point, not made, is the Profit -- in billions $$ -- that US armaments corporations have made by supplying weapons to all these ex-soviet states.
The US is not to be trusted on much of anything except its belief that Might is Right.AB is partly correct in that both Baker and Genscher did make very bold proposals to Soviet leadership about the future of NATO – – Baker's 'not one inch into East Germany' conception being less extensive than Genscher's comprehensive non-expansion 'Tutzing formulation' – – but he should have put much greater emphasis on at least two points: 1) that these proposals were merely suggestions, and were designed to 'feel out' Soviet leadership on what it was willing to negotiate regarding German reunification; second, and arguably even more important, both of these conceptions did not have the support of either the West German Chancellor or the U.S. President – – points which also follow from the 'recently declassified diplomatic record' (so read the Bush-Kohl dialogue, and see that they were completely unified on German reunification without any conditions or restrictions to be placed on NATO) – – and thus both Foreign Minister Genscher and Secretary of State Baker were completely hamstrung at the time when each made his conception known.jjc , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm
We could add a third key point, and that is that, even if Gorbachev or Shevardnadze had decided to push for EITHER the Baker or Genscher Plan – – and we can easily appreciate why no Soviet official would be either willing or able to think in terms of post-Warsaw Pact, let alone post-Soviet, times and thus of their forthcoming Russian Federation's future relationship with NATO – – then they would have publicly met with the same unified American-West German refusal to put conditions on NATO that Bush & Kohl had previously agreed; so, in effect, with these two supporting an open-ended future of NATO, any Soviet leader would have been told 'nyet' if he had sought to codify Baker's or Genscher's conceptions into a formal agreement.
Last, on the subject of what NATO did finally agree with the Russian federation, review the text of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, and you'll find two very nice surprises from early post-Cold War history: 1) that NATO was quite willing to codify its plans for membership expansion, principally to reassure Federation leadership that its planned expansion had no hostile intent whatsoever toward the Fdereation; and 2) that Yeltsin, as Federation President, did not feel threatened in the least by NATO expansion, and he said so publicly he didn't like that expansion, and also said so publicly, but it's very telling that he never felt threatened by it. Furthermore, NATO still avoided stationing its forces into the Eastern part of the reunified German state until well after the Soviet collapse.
Given the article at hand, that's all that AB should need to know about the stark differences between Yeltsin's Federation and Putin's, and the amazing continuity between NATO's late Cold War and its early post-Cold War position regarding its expansion plans and how this continuity fits nicely with the context of the only major treaty to be negotiated with the Federation.This article links to the National Security Archive's recent collection of documents which clearly demonstrates the assurances made to Gorbachev were sourced widely among NATO members, much more so than previously understood. The opinions expressed in, for example, the 2014 Brookings article – shared by a commentator – which downplays the matter, are now outdated.LouisM , says: December 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm
Sphere of influence: the argument that Russia has no right to have opinions on regional politics, or security concerns, usually ignores major contextual information; i.e the NATO expansion has occurred during a transformation from defensive alliance to a more assertive posture, as seen in Serbia and Libya. It has occurred while the US has assumed a military posture based on world hegemony and clearly stated objectives of preventing other states from ever posing a challenge to this primacy. It occurred while arms treaties (ABM) were broken and while missile systems were introduced to the region. Important as well to acknowledge Russia as a major nuclear power, and this policy of poking the bear, so to speak, seems needlessly aggressive and unintelligent.
Further, the situation in Ukraine appears to have been a deliberate provocation sought by the Anglo bloc of the NATO alliance, in concert with the more paranoid political actors of the region. A negotiated political settlement had been reached concerning the Maidan. The subsequent coup was an expressly deliberate reaction to prevent this settlement from going into effect. The USA, UK, and Canada provocatively determined the coup as "legitimate", and in doing so chose to assist in the destabilization of the country. This Anglo bloc has promoted a false and incomplete narrative of events, and stepped up a dangerous militarization of the region justified by this false account.This betrayal may actually get rectified but much of it is outside the hands of the EU and in the hands of Russia (my opinion).Don N , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am
Thanks to US support under Trump the VISEGRAD is front and center while western Europe takes a backseat. The neocons may want to use the VISEGRAD as a launching point for Russia but I do not think that is Trumps agenda. The fear in Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republics is not from the US or its warmongering anti-Russian neocons. It comes from Russia's relationship with its former satellites since they were freed and joined EU and NATO.
All VISEGRAD nations have said they will take no more muslim or African migrants even if it means fines, loss of aid or an exit. The stance of the VISEGRAD is expanding to Lithuania, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia. This would effectively fence off much, if not all, of the land route to Europe.
Russia doesn't want African and muslim migrants either.
If Russia can create a detent with the VISEGRAD and allay their fears then Russia could diffuse much of the need for the NATO weaponry that Russia feels threatened. At the rate Europe and Russia are depopulating, even a small war would be lunacy.
The other thing Russia craves are goods, services, technology, etc which the VISEGRAD would gladly offer in exchange for Russian goods and services.
Further, we have seen common ground with VISEGRAD and Russia against migrants. The VISEGRAD is willing to stand apart from the EU if necessary. Russia may not get the VISEGRAD to leave NATO but Russia might get the VISEGRAD to operate more independently of the EU and NATO. The fundamental point here is a simple one. The VISEGRAD has the potential to either be a barrier to Russia or a buffer zone from the EU and NATO to Russia. Much of this is really up to Russia's ability to allay past fears and take a new approach.
Further I don't think Trump would object. My observation of Trump is that he has more contempt than respect for Sweden, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, etc. NATO nations that cannot control their borders and do not maintain their 2% commitment of GDP are parasites and freeloaders to Trump. However Trump shows great respect to the VISEGRAD for protecting its borders and NATO commitments.
Historically, its worth noting about the VISEGRAD countries. They suffered more than the mass murders and totalitarianism of being communist satellites of the Soviet Union. Prior to that these nations were destroyed when Russia invaded to the west and when Europe invaded to the east. The VISEGRAD does not want to be the battle field for a Russia defending itself against NATO or NATO defending itself against Russia. The VISEGRAD knows that they suffer and lose under either scenario. The VISEGRAD wants security guarantees from Russia and NATO. Knowing this, Russia could reframe the entire dynamic of the VISEGRAD. It wouldn't be a full win for Russia but if played well, then it might be just be enough for the US, VISEGRAD and Russia.Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will.Realist , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:53 am
Poor Russia, a country that banned Ukrainian language and culture, starved to depopulate it, then tried to replace its people with Russians.
Poor Russia, the country that occupied Eastern Europe and had no compunction about rolling tanks down the streets of Prauge when they had the audacity to want to determine their own destiny.
Poor Russia, a country that took "active measures" and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and set it's troops and media to foment rebellion in the Donbass.
There is a good reason all these countries sought protection from repeated, constant acts of Russian aggression against their sovereignty.
The US leads a coalition of free nations that don't want to be treated upon by the boot off Russian oppression. After the end of the Cold War the Russians were under no threat from NATO whatsoever. Their actions are the actions of a bully and it is a poor strategy to hide in a corner and cower. The Russians are free to take their place as one of the most powerful members of the coalition of free nations. Instead they have decided to embark on their current pathetic path.The US government is untrustworthy and corrupt. This has been the case foe decades.Mark Thomason , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:58 amIn light of this, what is China to make of its concerns for spread of US forces to its Yalu border, very close to Beijing? Assurances? Bah. They'd have to be nuts, and they are not that.Terrence Moloney , says: December 20, 2017 at 5:11 amMr Bacevich seems to think that a backroom conversation between one cabinet member of the U.S. and the leader of the USSR constitutes some sort of binding treaty on the U.S. and NATO. This will be news to all the other NATO countries and to Congress who admitted the Baltic States and Poland some 15 years after this friendly chat. Indeed, news to Russia too who weren't overjoyed by NATO's expansion but recognized it as a legitimate decision that a sovereign country can make, as Russia's defense minister in 2002, Sergei Ivanov, stated in 2002. No mention of Baker's 'promise'. Indeed, Russia had, and has, little choice to respect these choices because they were at the time claiming the Baltic States freely joined the USSR in 41.Janek , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:04 am
More broadly, this article and similar ones never explain precisely how NATO expansion has harmed or threatens Russia or precipitated any of the difficult events of the past decade. Does anyone really suppose that if NATO were not in Estonia the events in Georgia, Ukraine and Crimea would have unfolded differently? Can Mr Bacevich explain what might have been different if NATO hadn't expanded? In all likelihood, if NATO hadn't expanded, we'd all be significantly more nervous about unimpeded Russia activity in Eastern Europe post-Crimea. The EU, already under strain from the Euro crisis, might not have survived. It's impossible to say, but it's equally true that none of the "NATO's eastern mistake" team can ever put their finger on the harm posed by NATO's expansion. It's always something vague, like 'Russia's legitimate zone of interest' or 'putting Russia in a corner'. But anyone can readily see that none of these countries pose the slightest threat to Russia. Latvia is not gearing up for an invasion of Russia despite its annexation of Abrene by the Soviets that the Russia's have held onto. Nor is Russia in a corner; it's the largest country on Earth with enormous potential as the only bona fide Eurasian country, with land borders on two of the largest economic zones -- the EU and China -- in the world. Its problems are almost entirely its own doing.
Lastly, this article makes some of the historic elisions common to its genre: Russia was not invaded in WW1 unless you call Poland, Belarus and the Baltic States "Russia". This will be news to the locals. Nor did anyone pick Gorbachev's "pocket", unless you suppose all those Eastern European peoples are nothing more than Russia's possessions. But, to slightly expand a quote of Latvia's former President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, "The Lord did not put [Eastern Europeans] on Earth simply to please the Russians."The logic of the article by A. J. Bacewich does not make any sense. What J.A.Bacewich is saying in this article is that United States of America in 1990 effectively committed Yalta 2 through president G. H. W. Bush and the secretary of state J. Baker. From what AJB writes in his piece it looks like the only purpose for the USA and NATO to fight the 'cold war' was to unite Germany. Where is the logic in that kind of thinking? If uniting Germany was the only purpose? What was the point in keeping the Germans in the framework of NATO, and NATO itself with the USA military presence probably at the same level as during the 'cold war' apparently, according to the logic of JAB, in perpetuity just to keep the Germans subdued and out of "troubles". The costs of that would be probably higher for the USA that they are now. Does JAB thinks that the USSR (Russia) and obviously Germany would stay at the same military and economic level as in 1980-90? Only very naive person could think like that. It does not matter how you call it, USSR or Russia, sooner or later that country would bounce back as she did with V. Putin.Sal , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:04 am
It does not matter if NATO expanded or not, at this time (2017), USSR or Russia would be back with the vengeance as she is now. The problems now of USA in global politics in general, and with Russia in particular, was not the NATO expansion but the corrupted neoliberal economic model that the USA and the West imposed on themselves and Russia. Russia after Yeltsin and during the time V. Putin is in power limited the scope and the damage the neoliberal system was doing to the country, but the USA and the West continue on the same corrupted neoliberal path up until today. Another cause of the geopolitical problems the USA have now were and are the wars in the Middle East.
Does JAB thinks that if NATO would not expand and with Russia was left as she was in 1990 today the military expenses for the USA would be less than they are today? I do not think so. I think probably by now you would not have USA and NATO in Europe especially in Western Europe. What NATO expansion accomplished was prevention of war in Europe. The problem was not the expansion of NATO, but irresponsible and shortsighted imposition of the corrupted neoliberal economic order on the US, the West and on the Russia plus the wars in the Middle East. To blame the current USA political problems on the expansion of NATO is not based on reality and on what happened after 1990s, it is simply trying to stick head in the sand by those responsible for the current global problems. After all what was the point of fighting the cold war? Would it not be cheeper, and more acceptable for people like JAB, for the USA to cede the Europe to the USSR right after WW2 ?Why in the world must you repeat the "nasty piece of work" mantra? Do you really believe it or is it to gain acceptance? Or do you preface every mention of US presidents, justifiably, with the same "nasty piece of work"?J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:23 amanyname , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:46 am"Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers."
If the US wants to ring Russia with bases why should't US taxpayers pay for it? DOD's budget is partly for imperial policing and partly a regional and corporate gravy train. It has some true "defense" functions but those are very limited. Why would Germans or the French want to pay extra taxes to protect themselves from a "threat" that if it even exists is because of aggressive American foreign policy?
US taxpayers are being played for suckers but by their own defense department not Europeans.First time see real Russians point of view here. It was so dump to lost good communication with our ally WW2DanJ , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:51 amNegotiating any agreement is a lengthy process, and parties cannot be bound by all offers and counter-offers floated during discussions. What is in the actual treaty counts. If there had been a mutual agreement that NATO would not expand, then it would have been put on paper. It was not.Mark Pando , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:33 am
Gorbachev asked for -- and got -- substantial financial help in repatriating his troops from East Germany, and did not demand checks to NATO expansion.Bacevich nails it again. As a Cold War veteran I couldn't agree more. The United States didn't "win" the Cold War -- the USSR "lost" it, instead. Therein lays a huge difference. You don't kick a dog when he is down. The mindless expansion of NATO eastward following the demise of the USSR in 1991 was stupid–anyone who knows Russian history and geography is keenly aware of this fact. Putin, just like Trump, is trying to make his country great again. Surprise!!!Kent , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:47 amHaving the Europeans pay for their own security would end up destroying the American empire. They will want to purchase weapons manufactured in Europe, not America, to give their own people jobs. They will need to develop weapons that are on par with American weapons and so will commit to the necessary R&D. Their own MIC will develop, and they will need to find reasons to use these weapons, which will require constant replacement and upgrades.ScottA , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:54 am
And pretty soon Europe will return to its imperialist ways of old, with no need for America.
Should that be a goal of ours?Quite an outstanding article Mr. Bacevich.Ahdrey , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:19 am
Given Russia's history of being invaded from the West, with Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union being the bloodiest conflict in human history, it is remarkable to me that our government cannot understand why expanding NATO eastward would be viewed as very alarming to the Russians.
In my opinion the best and most realistic movie about Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union is the German made movie "Stalingrad" made in 1992 by the production team that made "Das Boot" to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the bloodiest battle in human history. I think that watching this movie is helpful in understanding the Russian psyche and why the Russians view the West moving its military forces eastward as particularly alarming.20 years, Americans and Europeans lied that promises not. Putin said that we were deceived, but the Europeans smiled and continued to lie. So why now are you surprised of the rigidity of Russia's position? We tricked the Americans and the Europeans we'll be remembered for a thousand years and give to his descendants so they always kept the powder dry. NATO is a punitive organization and someday we will have to face. The fate you have created.Viriato , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:28 pmAs usual, the U.S. won the war but lost the peace. One question, though: Why are the Russians so angry about NATO expansion? Yes, it's a broken promise on our part. Yet, that aspect of it aside, why the anger? Why are they so opposed to the expansion of a defensive alliance -- one which they could someday join? How, exactly, does the expansion of a defensive alliance threaten their security interests?Michael Kenny , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:33 pmThe classic blinkered cold war distortion. Washington never assured "Russia" of anything in 1990. The country we now call "Russia", the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since 26 December 1991. Thus, by very definition, the US could not have "assured" Russia of anything before that date.Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm
The picture quite correctly identifies Gorbachev as the president of the Soviet Union. He was never at any time president of Russia, which has had only two presidents since it became independent: Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. It is American cold war dinosaurs, who simply can't get their heads around the idea that the Soviet Union and communism are gone forever, who are the cause of the "new cold war".
If they would stop treating the Russian Federation as the if it were the Soviet Union and start treating as what it actually is, one of 15 successor states to the Soviet Union, on the same basis as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova etc., NATO expansion would be no problem. Indeed, if US cold warriors hadn't obstructed it, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia would have become members of the alliance at the same time. The fact that Putin is every bit as much a cold war dinosaur as his American counterparts doesn't change that. And none of that gives the Russian Federation the right to deny the sovereignty of any of the other successor states and, even less, to invade and annex their territory. American cold warriors caused the problem with Putin. It is up to them to clean up the mess their blinkered and outdated world view caused. Capitulating to Putin and arrogantly asserting the right to give away other people's countries does not achieve that purpose.American elites spend American treasure for their imperium, so that American elite interests take precedence, as per Nuland's "F -- the E.U." Confoundedly, Andy omits the Ukraine putsch she midwived. He who pays the piper calls the tune – and if a Europe still occupied by American forces as the continuation of WWII were to pay its own money, that military occupation would shortly end, just as the withdrawal of Soviet support ended their European satrapies' support of the Warsaw Pact.Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:09 pmGuys, you first confess that you have deceived us for 20 years, and then wonder why we are against NATO enlargement? Guys, you're ohueli. Why should we trust you at all? Why should we believe that NATO is a defensive alliance?SteveM , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:20 pmRe: Sal, "Why in the world must you repeat the "nasty piece of work" mantra? Do you really believe it or is it to gain acceptance? Or do you preface every mention of US presidents, justifiably, with the same "nasty piece of work"?harry colin , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm
I was thinking the same thing as Sal. Almost the entire Elite Nomenklatura in Washington and Wall Street can be considered a collective "nasty piece of work" given all of the social and economic wreckage that they have produced both at home and abroad. Putin/Russia's excesses don't hold a candle to the catastrophes ginned up by that crew of arrogant militarists and corrupted parasites.
Dr. Bacevich should either tone down his histrionic shibboleth's against Vladimir Putin or else expand his target set to include the larger universe of native political-crony trash.I'm another Cold War veteran who agrees with Mr. Pando about the article. The same people who are clamoring about Russia denying the sovereignty of independent nations were very likely cheerleaders each time the US tried to remove Castro, when we invaded Panama, Iraq, and bombed the Serbs in the Balkans. As for Ukraine, the Crimea has always been mostly Russian until Khrushchev gave it away in the mid 50's to achieve some internal political aims.Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
Despite the explosive growth of NATO, the Baltic nations are really not "free" because of the guarantees of the alliance. If Putin wanted to invade them he could have them easily; stashing one brigade of US troops over there would have only the effect of daring an American president to risk a nuclear exchange with a country able to defend itself. If anyone thinks any of these C-in-C's would do any nuclear sabre-rattling because Russian tanks are rolling into Talinn, I have a deed to a wonderful NY bridge for you.Colonel Gaddafi believed the United States and refused to develop nuclear weapons. But leader of North Korea does not want to believe the USA. What do you think, why is this?Tiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pmDanJ, you don't honor even signed agreements, so who cares? In the end it was very dumb move that completely cured most of the Russian population from giving any trust to the West sirens. Good for the US (presumably) in the short run, very bad in the longTiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:01 pmFor amateur lawyers here -- why should have Russia stuck to the Budapest memo? It haven't been ratified, guysb. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:08 pmThis links to a useful reference, but the article has its omissions and misrepresentations. "The United States has thereby incurred burdensome obligations without accruing any obvious benefit."b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm
This is unadulterated BS. These satrapies are offering the US forward deployment for military assets, possibly including first strike and decapitation weapons again – as Germany did before the reunification – as well as basing for missile defense systems that will eventually -- if they ever work -- complement these destabilizing weapon systems. They also provide bases without which US operations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean would be much more costly, if not difficult. These "privileges" come at substantial cost, as South Korea is in the process of recognizing.
It might be customary for the hegemony to extract a tax from its satraps, but the incessant whining is beginning to wear.
It should also be noted that US activities in Georgia and Ukraine preceded Putin's "act of transgression". It should further be noted that the Georgia conflict is very much an example of the erosion of international norms that Clinton and Kohl initiated in the Balkan conflict – which Russia explicitly warned the US about.
The expansion of NATO, more often than not, did not exactly solicit full-throated endorsement from legacy members either.
But the really important omissions here concern the main actors – Gorbachev, Baker, Bush et.al. Is it really convincing to assume that Gorbachev was not aware of the US propensity to scrap treaties and agreements as soon as administrations change? Maybe my perspective is distorted by the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump "experience" of the modern US, and actors like Reagan – whose violations of international law and norms are well known – and Bush Sr. – who made his career by such acts – actually had a record of behaving honorably, and Gorbachev had reason to trust their word, instead of insisting on a ratified treaty.
How likely is it that Gorbachev knew very well that Germany might be re-unified with a claim to become "neutral" – as Stalin had once proposed – only to re-join NATO under some pretext within the decade? How exactly was any of these "commitments" to be guaranteed between nations that did not exactly have a record of upholding the international order and the peace at all cost?
More importantly, is there any reason to assume that Baker actually believed a single word of what he said, or that he expected Gorbachev to believe any of it? We have to remember that this is the man who "managed" Ronald Reagan's attempt to discuss abolition of nuclear weapons with Gorbachev. Whatever Gorbachev might have believed, might have had to believe, or might have had to pretend to believe, it does not appear reasonable to trust Baker's words then or later with respect to these gentlemen and their "agreements".
There is every reason to believe that Clinton did to the international order as he did to international banking and financial industries, and that his legacy is exceeded in impact and damage only by Bush and Obama in sins of commission (the former) and omission (the latter). There is every reason to believe that US – and especially Democratic Party – insistence on breaking and ultimately breaking apart Russia as a project of "national interest" is shortsighted and idiotic, and that within a context of power as described by Bismarck and Machiavelli, it was very much in European and US interest to offer Russia a place in balance to China, India and other emerging powers.
But this recognition does not really need an proof, claimed or real, that the US misled Gorbachev and Russia. This may well have been a criminally fraudulent move, but more importantly, it was a criminally stupid one, motivated by those two primal drivers of the American Prosperity gospel – shortsighted greed and willful ignorance.J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm"Washington never assured 'Russia' of anything in 1990. The country we now call 'Russia', the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since 26 December 1991."
As an added benefit, not resorting to the exegesis of the historical record of the various gambits performed by the great gamblers of their day would also spare us this level of armchair litigation.It is completely unbelievable that the Soviets (after two invasions by Germany that killed about 27 million Soviets) would have just shrugged at the idea of NATO expanding to Poland let alone the Ukraine. The real question is why didn't Gorbachev insist on a written treaty. There was nothing in US history that should have made him expect honesty so why nothing in writing? I have no doubt he was lied to or manipulated but was he really that naive or incompetent to trust the US?Steve , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:35 pmRight after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I told my wife that, while the Soviets came in 'last' in the Cold War, the US came in second-to-last. I told her that Japan won the Cold War. The Soviets made tanks, the US made tanks and Japan made Nissans. My 1985 Nissan pickup truck still runs great and where are all the tanks today? Mind you, this was before the collapse of the Japanese stock market.brylcream , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:55 pm@ Don Noleg petrov , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm
December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am
"Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will."
Russia bought that land from Sweden, the same as the US bought Alaska. They gave them their independence after the revolution. All of these countries were dictatorships before the WWII and all of them voted and asked to join the USSR.
"Poor Russia, a country that banned Ukrainian language and culture, starved to depopulate it, then tried to replace its people with Russians.
Poor Russia, the country that occupied Eastern Europe and had no compunction about rolling tanks down the streets of Prauge when they had the audacity to want to determine their own destiny.
Poor Russia, a country that took "active measures" and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and set it's troops and media to foment rebellion in the Donbass."
Actually, the Soviets made Ukraine, there was no any Ukraine or 'Ukrainians' before the 20th century. Also they imposed official Ukrainization through their political and educational system. The people were losing their jobs if they weren't using Ukrainian, there was a precise article in a criminal code.
The Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia after a violent armed coup in Kiev. That was a third referendum held in Crimea after the collapse of the Soviet Union.Double standarts:someuaguy , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm
NATO troops in Baltic states, AMB system in Poland (western border of Ukraine) must not be Russia security concern, but Russia's troops on eastern border pf Ukraine & Kaliningrad anclave-certainly is NATO concern. Taking Kosovo from Serbia? annexation of east Jerusalem & Gollan Heights is right, returning Crimea by Russia is wrong, USA invasion in Iraq, US arming & financing anti-Asad rebels(some are real terrorists) in Syria is good, Russia support for separatists in East Ukraine is bad. Not keeping promoces about NATO non-expansion is right, not keeping promice of Budapest memorandum by Russia is wrong.
In other words:"US & NATO masturbation is so good for population, and only Russia masturbation is very bad for population".I saw the translation of this article on a Russian site, and it's amazing. Does the United States have people who understand that other countries also have their own national interests? Adopting this fact will eliminate many of the problems of misunderstanding Russian politics.Dennis , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm
The commentator above said:
"Washington never assured" Russia "of anything in 1990. The country we now call" Russia ", the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since December 26, 1991."
So, the Russians do not know at all that Russia is then "did not exist." START 1 was also signed by Gorbachev, and he respected the Russian Federation.NATO should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact after 1990. What was supposed to be a defensive pact against the USSR became an offensive war-mongering machine in control of neo-cons making war on Serbia in the late 90s and manufacturing false-WMD claims against Iraq in the 2000s. Anyone and everyone involved in high-command positions at NATO, including Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, should be indicted for war crimes.tz , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:28 pmI'm more worried about when Turkey provokes Israel to attack it and invokes Article 5.Mark Krvavica , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:50 pmWith the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, there was no need for NATO. The U.S. should have left this Cold War relic during the 1990s.Stephen Reynolds , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:41 amJames Baker could give assurances about how the president was thinking. He could not make a formal commitment. Gorbachev knew that (or do you think he was an incompetent negotiator?). Nevertheless, the formal agreement contained no restrictions on NATO. There was no commitment.Adriel Kasonta , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:55 am
Mr Bacevich is better on the topic nevertheless, because he recognizes that the driver in NATO expansion was not Bill Clinton or the Pentagon or NATO generals but Visegrad and the Baltic countries. About Visegrad, read Joanna Gorska's _Dealing with a Juggernaut_. The Baltic states were in fact already threatened by post-Soviet early on. TAC and the Progressives are apparently regretful that the West has been unwilling to throw these countries to the crocodile. I prefer the attitude expressed by Strobe Talbot, in _The Russia Hand_, for example.
NATO did not rush in admitting countries that were more than an inch east of Berlin. It practiced due diligence. It did some unfortunate things indirectly affecting Russia and the new NATO members, first by not limiting itself to stopping Serbian excesses in Bosnia-Hercegovina but attacking Serbia directly and sponsoring the transfer in Kossovo to an Albanian mafia. And it abandoned restraint and good sense in speaking of membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Russia's response was of the sort likely to make Ukrainians and Georgians want to join NATO, but for the time being at least the issue is not alive.
The responsibility borne by the West in these matters consists mostly of its embrace of neoliberalism and the neolib world order. "Shock therapy" gave Russia a miserable decade (the 1990s) and a distaste for Western democracy. It also made EU membership unattractive to Ukraine. But when Yanukovych moved to join Putin's Eurasian Union instead, the Ukrainians saw their country on the path to becoming a Russian satellite state. The future they wanted was exemplified by Poland, which had weathered the Great Recession better than most and was a free country in most respects. The future they saw looming was exemplified by Bielarus, ruled for a generation by a bloody-handed thug and economically almost where it had been in the Soviet period. Victoria Nuland and the CIA could not possibly have brought the numbers to the Maidan that actually appeared there. She should certainly have kept a lower profile, but Yanukovych was overthrown by the Ukrainians, not by outside agitators.
Oh, and then there is Harry Colin's assertion that "the Crimea has always been mostly Russian until Khrushchev gave it away in the mid 50's . . . ." Well, the population there has not been mostly Ukrainian ever, true. But always–apparently "always" now begins with the reign of Catharine II. Previously it was Greek, Armenian, Tatar, and so on, but not Russian. Catharine sent in Russian settlers just so Mr Colin could make his remark. What do the Tatars think of it?Great article Professor! I really enjoyed it.Dan Green , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:55 am
On that note, I really think that my interview with Professor Richard Sakwa (Chatham House) titled "Between the Cold War and the Cold Peace: How the West betrayed Russia" may also be of your interest.
KRThree current world Powers. The US, Russia, and China. Both armed to the gills as they say. Each with a distinct model , which included starting wars if it serves their individual interest. The worrisome fact is both Russia and China have chosen the leaders and support their intentions. We change foreign policy as often as I change my underwear.Mark VA , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:08 amNot expanding NATO upon the demise of the USSR, would have been synonymous with the USA agreeing that Russia has a right to a permanent "sphere of influence". Also, it would have revived the discredited "Enlightenment" division of real Europe into "Europe" and "East of Europe";Joe Porreca , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:40 am
At any rate, perhaps Mr. Bacevich can make his case in Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Prague, Bratislava, Bucharest, Sofia, and also Minsk, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and first and foremost, Kiev;
If the truth is on his side, then these peoples should see it as well, and accept their "permanent station in life". But seriously, here is a worthwhile history lesson:
http://www.youtube.com/embed/oIFfQqa32ic?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent"Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such [supposed post Cold War international] norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake," states Dr. Bacevich, which suggests that there have been American foreign interventions since the end of the Cold War which have been in American vital interests. I don't know which interventions these might have been, but Putin has probably also observed that the U.S. feels free to intervene internationally even when its vital interests are not at stake.stefan , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:04 amI am in favor of American Empire, as it is probably the best thing going, compared to all other possible alternatives. However, in order to assert and enforce empire, Americans need to do the hard work of colonizing, of actually going there to instill their way of life, their values, their language, their know-how, their vision, their interests and control. The problem I see is that Americans are too unsure of themselves (too lazy, too decadent, too exhausted, too weak, and too unprepared) to make the sacrifices necessary to be really good colonizers, to be real leaders, and without this there can be no real Empire.Hexexis , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm"Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers."Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:23 pm
Appears we've all but begged them to do so. Even if those allies commence paying "their fair share,"it's not clear how the US of A benefits. We'll still do their fighting & jack up the defense funding accordingly.
& If the Trump biz career is any example, he'll happily shell out $5 of tax money for every $1 we get in return. The NATO comic opera will not end its run even if those allies ceased playing us for suckers seconds after this post.Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:28 pm"Americans need to do the hard work of colonizing, of actually going there to instill their way of life"
A new Hard Core SJW Peace Corps! That's the ticket. Unpaid interns for corporate consumerist capitalism! It's gonna be a hard sell, so hardball will be required. The full faith and credit of the United States Armed Forces, or less overt, the CIA and regime change?Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:34 pm"The worrisome fact is both Russia and China have chosen the leaders and support their intentions. We change foreign policy as often as I change my underwear."
Deep State's durable foreign policy, which is always the de facto policy, is remarkably resilient no matter which political party is elected to fill the chairs. Elections and the will of the voters have virtually no influence on it, except in the tenor of the propaganda.
The designated enemies remain designated, no matter what any politician promises to get votes.Terry Washington , says: December 22, 2017 at 5:56 am"I am in favor of American Empire, as it is probably the best thing going"
This sentiment is only vicarious, unless you are of the tiny minority of Americans who benefit from the conflicts and deaths necessary to try to establish rule of one country's economic elites by subjugating every other nation's people.
Even so, only those bribed in dollars in foreign satrapies to be puppet leaders, would agree that it is the best of all possible worlds to be dominated by a foreign nation.I tend to agree with the critics of this article. Firstly was a promise allegedly made to Gorbachev by the Administration of Bush Senior(Republican) somehow binding on that of Bill Clinton(Democrat) and their successors (Bush Junior, Obama and Trump)? I think NOT!Dieter Heymann , says: December 22, 2017 at 8:35 am
Secondly the issue should be WHAT DO the former Soviet Republics and peoples of Eastern Europe want? If they wish to join NATO, then surely that is their right as free and independent sovereign states. Whether the Kremlin likes or lumps it is neither here or there. Contrary to what the likes of Nigel Farage (in my own country) may think, Eastern Europe is NOT some kind of dependency of Muscovy's in perpetuity!This article is fully consistent with what my family in Germany holds. NATO is needed to control a revival of dangerous German nationalism and relationships with Russia must be peaceful.Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 9:28 amBacevich seems to have missed Gorbachev's denial that there were any promises made on NATO expansion, and second, such commitments would have been to a country that ceased to exist prior to NATO expansion. Or does he think Europe still has commitments to the Austro-Hungarian Empire?ScottA , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:16 am
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/I am amazed at all of the commenters who think expanding NATO up to the borders of Russia is a great idea. How would you like for Russia to form a military alliance with Mexico and for the Russian military to be conducting exercises along our southern border with Mexico?Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:26 am
If Russia attacks a member of NATO along its border that means that the US is at war with Russia which means a draft. Would any of the people who think NATO expansion is a great idea be willing to fight the Russians over Eastern Europe or have a member of their family go and fight?
Fighting the Russians on their own turf didn't work out to well for Napoleon and Hitler and I don't think it would work out for us too well either. We haven't been in a major war since World War 2 and I don't think our general population is ready for a big war with Russia.
The "safe space" generation is going to have a hard time fighting in the Russian winter. To think otherwise is foolhardy.It is clear that Bacevich started with a political conclusion -- that Russia's sphere of influence encompasses all of Eastern Europe -- and then tried to muster historical/legal arguments to support that conclusion.Mark VA , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm
In the process, he has distorted history and left out anything that damages his conclusion. Among them:
The Russo-Ukraine border treaty of November 1990, signed by Yeltsin, guaranteed the existing borders between Russia and Ukraine;
- The Minsk Agreement. December 8, 1991,obligated "The high contracting parties (Russia/Ukraine/Belarus) [to] recognize and respect one another's territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing borders within the Commonwealth."
- The Russian – Ukrainian Friendship Treaty, Ratified in 1998 by Ukraine and 1999 by Russia, fixed the principle of strategic partnership, the recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity.
- Putin later affirmed that "Every nation has an inalienable, sovereign right to its own path of development Russia always has and always will respect that. This applies fully to Ukraine, the brotherly Ukrainian nation."
There were also obligations under the COE, the OSCE and the UN Charter. Russia ignored all of those in forcibly annexing Crimea.
Lavrov later lied about the Budapest Memorandum, claiming it contained only one obligation, not to use nuclear weapons.
Here is the real story: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2016/01/28/mr-lavrov-russia-and-the-budapest-memorandum/Fair points, ScottA, but let's clarify your position:
(a) Should NATO defend Western Europe, if it is ever attacked by Russia? Alternately, are the people of Eastern Europe intrinsically different from Western Europeans? Retreating to the position that such an attack is unlikely is an evasion – so, da or nyet?
(b) It is true that Russia was attacked by Napoleon, and the USSR, while an ally of Nazi Germany, was then betrayed and attacked by Hitler. Does this give Russia today a right to a permanent sphere of influence in Eastern Europe? Da or nyet?
(c) If da, how would a Westerner make that case to Eastern Europeans? Please give it a try;
In my opinion, both NATO in the west and China's New Silk Roads (One Belt and One Road Initiative) in the east and south, exert a calming influence on any imperial stirrings of the Rulers of Muscovy. I also believe that the majority of the Russian people would prefer a peaceful and prosperous Russia, over momentary euphorias over this or that conquest;
What I admire about Russia is her spiritual and cultural powerhouse: Orthodox Liturgy and architecture, icons, chants, Sugar Plum Fairies, Brothers Karamazov, fairy tales – to mention just a random fraction of the Russian treasure. Imperialism, nyet.