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Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the Economic Rape of Russia

Chronicles of Harvard University Russian Economic Team Scam and Deep Corruption of Academic Economics

News Recommended books Recommended Links Casino capitalism Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists Cargo Cult Science
Disaster capitalism Predator state Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite
Rubin Larry Summers Shleifer Jeffrey Sachs Nancy Zimmerman Jonathan Hay Anders Åslund
 Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"  Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime The Grand Chessboard Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Critique of neoclassical economics Is neoclassical economics a mafia Lysenkoism Deception Humor Etc
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.

(Harry R. Lewis Larry Summers, Robert Rubin Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country)

"It's a mafia," he says quietly...

Hip Heterodoxy by Christopher Hayes


Introduction

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 an associate, Jonathan Hay, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. Later he 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

Academic Mafiosi as a Social Class

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):

Hugh:

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.

Academic Mafiosi as Byproduct and Simultaneously Enablers of Neoliberalism

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.

Economic rape of post USSR economic space was by design not by accident

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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/o/otto_von_bismarck.html#qr2ARypLke5VpwQb.99

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)

Arsen Azizyan

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
Email: adil.rustomjee@yale.edu

Dear David,

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":

Abstract

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:

Controversy

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.[4] 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 [2].

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[3].

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[4], 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[5].

Larry Summers was not only defender but also the handler of Andrei Shleifer

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:

Opium for the masses: Neoclassical economics role under neoliberalism as equivalent of the role of Catholic Church under feudalism

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.


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Old News ;-)

[Apr 19, 2018] Sachs worked closely w/ Soros to plunder USSR/ FSU

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] The Rape of Russia, an Interview with F. William Engdahl (Audio)

Notable quotes:
"... 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 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... Given the depth of the fall, the rise (under Putin) has been remarkable. ..."
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.

LS: Yes.

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

FWE: Yeah.

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

LS: Please

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

LS: Debt.

FWE: National debt.

LS: Yes.

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.

FWE: Yeah.

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.

FWE: Yeah.

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.

FWE: Right.

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 ,

Two things:

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.

http://www.conspiracyarchiv...

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...

Fraser a day ago ,

Given the depth of the fall, the rise (under Putin) has been remarkable.

Guy Fraser 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 .

Tommy Jensen 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.
Choice is the problem now. We will have to make a choice.

Play Hide
Nicole Temple a day ago ,

The photo of Yeltsin and Clinton that accompanies this article should remind readers of this story:

https://viableopposition.bl...

There is something rotten in Washington and it has been in existence for decades.

Guy a day ago ,

Great interview .William Engdahl is a very knowledgeable person. I have read a few of his books. Superb in my view.

Jimi Thompson a day ago ,

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] The strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS.

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!

http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/

[Apr 18, 2018] A Note on KGB Style -- Central Intelligence Agency

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

Wayne Lambridge

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] Applied in the conditions of the Soviet Union in the Nineties, shock therapy actually created pressing rational incentives leading to creation of organized crime in Russia

Notable quotes:
"... '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.' ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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.) ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Habakkuk , 4 years ago

rkka, 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 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.

kao_hsien_chih, 4 years ago
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 ago

kao_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.)

[Apr 02, 2018] Belarus Expels Moscow Diplomats 'Leading Russia Expert' Falls for Cheeky April Fool's Joke

Apr 02, 2018 | russia-insider.com

[Mar 14, 2018] In effect, under Yeltsin our Harvard mafia turned Russia into African economy, never mind that Russian's aren't African's. This desire to rape and pillage the earth in order to take rents is a sophisticated, yet criminally insane method

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

[Mar 12, 2018] There is no democracy without economic democracy by Jason Hirthler

Highly recommended!
Like many high demand cults neoliberalism is a trap, from which it is very difficult to escape...
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

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.

Source, links:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/02/colonizing-the-western-mind/
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]

[Mar 10, 2018] Russian oligarchs represents the US fifth column in Russia created by Harward mafia in 1990th with this explicit purpose

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Mark Logan , 10 March 2018 at 02:05 PM

My 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.

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...

likbez said in reply to Mark Logan... , 10 March 2018 at 03:43 PM
"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:

https://www.quora.com/Who-paid-Bill-Clintons-2-5-million-commission-and-500-000-speaking-fee-for-brokering-the-sale-of-20-of-Americas-uranium-deposits-to-Russia

[Mar 10, 2018] From Yeltsin to Putin: Chubais, Liberal Pathology, and Harvard's Criminal Record

Highly recommended!
Mar 10, 2018 | www.rusjournal.org

From Yeltsin to Putin: Chubais, Liberal Pathology, and Harvard's Criminal Record

Matthew Raphael Johnson

Johnstown, 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 Syndicate

In 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 Role

Harvard 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 Scam

Government 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

18 ibid

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 1990s

Showing 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.

Leonov writes:

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 Sanity

Putin'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.

Conclusion

The 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] 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.

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 Union ..."
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. ''

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 Union

Kooshy -> catherine... , 04 February 2018 at 12:06 PM
Yes, 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] Every crook in Russia who feels the long hand of the law about to nab him runs off to the West and claims asylum. This says much more about the West than about Russia

Notable quotes:
"... 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 ..."
"... 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. ..."
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] 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

Notable quotes:
"... 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? ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

VK , Mar 1, 2018 8:47:38 PM | 43

The 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] How We Got Donald Trump by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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 GMT

Those who hate Trump, will hate Trump. And very little of what they write will not be colored by the hatred.

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 all

David In TN , January 30, 2018 at 11:13 pm GMT
Bacevich 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] The Rich Also Cry by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Fantastic article. A very plausible hypothesis. "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."
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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! ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... Echo Moskwy ..."
"... 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 adam@israelshamir.net ..."
"... 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'. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... Putin sure as hell has all necessary resources to make this offer. ..."
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 adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review .


Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 3:17 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'.

Alias Anonymous , January 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm GMT
"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 GMT
On topic, hoping to elicit comments: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5315353/Tycoon-swaps-Putins-daughter-glamorous-socialite.html

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.

Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
@Anon

The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.

When did Solzhenitsyn gain the sainthood status? Can you remind us please.

Sergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

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.

Sergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

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.

Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm GMT
@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] Stephen F. Cohen The US Betrayed Russia, but It Is Not News That s Fit to Print (Podcast)

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The National Interest ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives ..."
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 .

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588850-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-1-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qyiWQA

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588851-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-2-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qziWQA

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=745

Failed 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 AM

American citizens Never have adhered to agreements, Cease Fires, Peace Agreements ....Just look at the First Nations

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 11, 2018 3:28 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.

Tommy Jensen Isabella Jones , January 11, 2018 5:41 PM

...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.

John Mason Tommy Jensen , January 12, 2018 12:52 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.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 3:29 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". !!

John Mason Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:18 AM

Very passionate you are on this subject your profundity is a source of enlightenment Isabella.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 10:42 AM

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.

Isabella Jones Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 9:46 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.

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 2:58 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 Guards

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 4:30 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!!

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:34 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 !

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 10:38 PM

Joined a small river of disappeared gold from many places Vtran with Libya and Iraq being the latest!!

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 12:58 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.

Qua Patet Orbis Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:31 AM

White men speak with forked tongue....

Le Ruse Qua Patet Orbis , January 12, 2018 3:34 AM

Like that one ??
View Hide

Vtran Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:49 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 on

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 7:30 PM

Yupp...
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.

Kjell Hasthi Vtran , January 11, 2018 7:51 PM

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.

paul , January 11, 2018 11:35 AM

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.

Alberto , January 11, 2018 12:52 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.

mark Alberto , January 11, 2018 2:30 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.

Alberto mark , January 11, 2018 2:37 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.

VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 3:16 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.

AM Hants VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 4:50 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 Hide
Krestovan VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 10:23 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.

Gerry Hiles , January 11, 2018 1:05 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.

John McClain , January 11, 2018 12:01 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.
Semper Fidelis,
John McClain
Vanceboro, NC, USA

AM Hants John McClain , January 11, 2018 4:35 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.

Socrates207 , January 11, 2018 4:24 PM

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.

DIRTY TEXAN , January 12, 2018 11:36 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 12, 2018 7:40 AM

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.

http://theinformer.life/us- ...

Russia Says U.S. Expanding Bioweapons Labs in Europe U.S. denies claim outlined in new Russian strategy http://freebeacon.com/natio...

AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:02 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 Hide
AM Hants AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:21 PM

Yamal LNG and container tanks. View Hide

Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 5:23 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.

Krestovan Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 10:36 PM

Providing they were sovereign which they are not but under the EU control.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 6:44 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.

Mia Williams observerBG , January 11, 2018 8:29 PM

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.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

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."

https://www.bloomberg.com/v...

http://nationalinterest.org...

http://beta.latimes.com/opi...

http://www.theamericanconse...

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.

John Tosh , January 11, 2018 3:51 PM

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.

QE ornotQE John Tosh , January 12, 2018 7:38 AM

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.

Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:05 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.

Peter Paul 1950 Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:26 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 ...

AM Hants Peter Paul 1950 , January 11, 2018 1:02 PM

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] Another strong suggestion that Gorbachov was traitor not just a person who lost control of the events he himself initiated

Notable quotes:
"... [Choose a single Handle and stick to it, or else use Anonymous/Anon. Otherwise, your comments may be trashed.] ..."
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.]

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).

El Dato , December 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT
@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 25, 2017] The Duran recommends using WP Engine

Dec 25, 2017 | shareasale.com

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.

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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):

Document 01
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.
1990-02-01
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."

Document 02
Mr. Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby (Bonn). Telegraphic N. 85: Secretary of State's Call on Herr Genscher: German Unification.
1990-02-06
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.]

Document 03
Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H.W. Bush about "Forum for Germany" meeting in Berlin.
1990-02-06
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."

Document 04
Memorandum of Conversation between James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow.
1990-02-09
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.'"

Document 05
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-02-09
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.'"

Document 06
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow. (Excerpts)
1990-02-09
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.'"

Document 07
Memorandum of conversation between Robert Gates and Vladimir Kryuchkov in Moscow.
1990-02-09
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."

Document 08
Letter from James Baker to Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
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."

Document 09
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
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."

Document 10-1
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze notes from Conference on Open Skies, Ottawa, Canada.
1990-02-12
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.'"

Document 10-2
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 12, 1990.
1990-02-12
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."

Document 10-3
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 13, 1990.
1990-02-13
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."

Document 11
U.S. State Department, "Two Plus Four: Advantages, Possible Concerns and Rebuttal Points."
1990-02-21
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."

Document 12-1
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-20
Source:
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."

Document 12-2
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-21
Source:
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.]

Document 13
Memorandum of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and George Bush at Camp David.
1990-02-24
Source:
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.[11] 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 ".]

Document 14
Memorandum of conversation between George Bush and Eduard Shevardnadze in Washington.
1990-04-06
Source:
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."

Document 15
Sir R. Braithwaite (Moscow). Telegraphic N. 667: "Secretary of State's Meeting with President Gorbachev."
1990-04-11
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.'"

Document 16
Valentin Falin Memorandum to Mikhail Gorbachev (Excerpts)
1990-04-18
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".'"

Document 17
James A. Baker III, Memorandum for the President, "My meeting with Shevardnadze."
1990-05-04
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91126, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive 1989 – June 1990 [3]"

"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.'"

Document 18
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-05-18
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.'"

Document 19
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand (excerpts).
1990-05-25
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.]

Document 20
Letter from Francois Mitterrand to George Bush
1990-05-25
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.'"

Document 21
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D.C.
1990-05-31
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Moscow, Fond 1, opis 1.[12]

"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."

Document 22
Letter from Mr. Powell (N. 10) to Mr. Wall: Thatcher-Gorbachev memorandum of conversation.
1990-06-08
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.'"

Document 23
Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, Moscow (Excerpts).
1990-07-15
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.]

Document 24
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush
1990-07-17
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.'"

Document 25
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]
1990-11-02
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.]

Document 26
U.S. Department of State, European Bureau: Revised NATO Strategy Paper for Discussion at Sub-Ungroup Meeting
1990-10-22
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."]

Document 27
James F. Dobbins, State Department European Bureau, Memorandum to National Security Council: NATO Strategy Review Paper for October 29 Discussion.
1990-10-25
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.]

Document 28
Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite diary, 05 March 1991
1991-03-05
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.'"

Document 29
Paul Wolfowitz Memoranda of Conversation with Vaclav Havel and Lubos Dobrovsky in Prague.
1991-04-27
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.'"

Document 30
Memorandum to Boris Yeltsin from Russian Supreme Soviet delegation to NATO HQs
1991-07-01
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 22, 2017] When Washington Assured Russia NATO Would Not Expand by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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? ..."
"... 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!!! ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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? ..."
"... 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 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. ..."
"... 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? ..."
"... Right 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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? ..."
Dec 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President 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 pm

Thank you for being such a truth-teller.

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.

Xtof , says: December 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm
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.

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.

jjc , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm
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.

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.

LouisM , says: December 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm
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).

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.

Don N , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am
Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will.
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.

Realist , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:53 am
The US government is untrustworthy and corrupt. This has been the case foe decades.
Mark Thomason , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:58 am
In 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 am
Mr 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.
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."
Janek , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:04 am
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.

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 ?

Sal , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:04 am
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 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.

anyname , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:46 am
First time see real Russians point of view here. It was so dump to lost good communication with our ally WW2
DanJ , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:51 am
Negotiating 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.

Gorbachev asked for -- and got -- substantial financial help in repatriating his troops from East Germany, and did not demand checks to NATO expansion.

Mark Pando , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:33 am
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 am
Having 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.

And pretty soon Europe will return to its imperialist ways of old, with no need for America.

Should that be a goal of ours?

ScottA , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:54 am
Quite an outstanding article Mr. Bacevich.

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.

Ahdrey , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:19 am
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 pm
As 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 pm
The 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.

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.

Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm
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 pm
Guys, 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 pm
Re: 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"?

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.

harry colin , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm
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.

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.

Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
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 pm
DanJ, 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 long
Tiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm
For amateur lawyers here -- why should have Russia stuck to the Budapest memo? It haven't been ratified, guys
b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm
This 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."

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.

b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:11 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.

J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm
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 pm
Right 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 N
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.

oleg petrov , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm
Double standarts:

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".

someuaguy , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm
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.

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.

Dennis , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm
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 pm
I'm more worried about when Turkey provokes Israel to attack it and invokes Article 5.
Mark Krvavica , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:50 pm
With 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 am
James 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.

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?

Adriel Kasonta , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:55 am
Great article Professor! I really enjoyed it.

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.

KR

Dan Green , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:55 am
Three 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 am
Not 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";

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

Joe Porreca , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:40 am
"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 am
I 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."

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 10:23 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 10:28 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.

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:34 pm
"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.

Terry Washington , says: December 22, 2017 at 5:56 am
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!

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!

Dieter Heymann , says: December 22, 2017 at 8:35 am
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 am
Bacevich 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?

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/

ScottA , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:16 am
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?

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.

Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:26 am
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.

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;

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/

Mark VA , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm
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.

[Dec 19, 2017] Mark Ames Kathy Lally Was Caught Trying To Censor Journalism In Russia and Now Deceitfully Claims She s a Victim naked capit

Notable quotes:
"... You see? Lally's gloating, smug colonialist triumphalism was the norm in expat circles. That was what we were fighting. And sometimes the outrage got out of control. But it's beyond grotesque that our outrage should be picked over for language crimes by a sloppy, inept, conscience-free writer like Lally. When the crimes of Western journalists during the Yeltsin era are chronicled, I kinda think it'll be the callous triumphalism with which she and her Clintonite buddies watched millions of Russians die that are condemned–not the tonal lapses of a low-budget dissident rag like eXile, shaking its puny fist at this corruption. ..."
"... "Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled 'excess deaths,' has always been a standard algorithm in demographers' calculations of the death toll of the great disasters -- whether Stalin's collectivization in the 1930s, Pol Pot's rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated that the number of 'excess deaths' in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as 3 million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia's losses in World War 1 were 1.7 million deaths." ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Tom , December 19, 2017 at 7:48 am

I lived in Moscow in the Nineties as well. I hugely enjoyed the Exile and read it whenever I had a chance to pick it up in some restaurant or night club.
Let us put is like that: in 1992 CNN was so scared that they actually paid an East German female friend of mine with tolerable Russian and less English to travel the subway!!!! Maybe in the US the subway tends to get even more dangerous when it is getting dangerous above ground. Well possible. In Moscow though the metro was always the safest place you could be. That is because the subway in Moscow is not just an ordinary means of getting from place to place. It is the marvel of the city, the pride of every citizen (rightly so) and the very last thing that would turn chaotic.

CNN insanely decided to not let their US employees check out the metro. And their employees didn´t object !!! Not surprisingly US journalism was bullshit. They had no idea of how ordinary people lived.

The Exile was the exact opposite. They lived like ordinary Muscovites and they knew what was really going on.

Mark Ames was referring to the default of 1998. I was earning money then a travelling engineer for a German tool machine factory. . How anybody in his right mind could believe that the then merry go round of paying for maturing bonds by issuing ever higher interest bonds (insanely high interest) could go on forever is beyond me. Everybody and his granny knew that this baby would go bust. In the German paper of record – the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – their Moscow economic correspondent openly wrote about the coming default.

Why didn´t their US colleagues? The exception being the exile? Because they believed their own propaganda. And the reason they could believe it is because they lived in a secure, insulated bubble and as a rule had no or atrocious Russian.

Same like today. Nothing has changed. If you want to know what goes on in Russia don´t read the US press.

The Rev Kev , December 19, 2017 at 9:04 am

And this is what those journos missed by not going into the Moscow metro-
http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-metro-stations-look-like-palaces-2016-1/?r=AU&IR=T/#other-stations-have-less-cultural-significance-but-are-still-beautiful-like-moscows-taganskaya-metro-station-which-opened-in-1950-5

JBird , December 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

My God, those stations are just otherworldly. Thank you for the link.

Michael Olenick , December 19, 2017 at 8:55 am

Great piece, Mark! I wrote a comment on the Washington Post piece I suspect nobody read. Even from Lally's hit job, and a little background research, I picked up that Lally was working to call out the censors. You shouldn't be so modest about your prior paper: the eXile did great work now and, I'm told by friends in the Moscow expat community, you remain the talk of the town, even if the town has settled down a lot lately. The WaPo should feel ashamed running that piece but, after deciding to, they should have approached you and Matt for a fact-check if not a rebuttal. That seems to be the way with a lot of older media though; the quality control hasn't just gone in the tank – it's been long since flushed – and they don't admit they're wrong even when the mistakes are blatant. It's why I'm pleased to write for and read NC (and thank you, Yves, for publishing this).

On the "sexism" related to her original allegations she's ignoring the context of Russia, especially back then. Even today Russia is not a quiet, politically correct kind of place. The choices available to American expat reporters during the Yeltsin and early Putin era was either try to sterilize, treat it like a zoo with the Russians starring as the animals, or contextualize and explain. Choosing that last option produced the most accurate reporting while infuriating the highfalutin our-shit-don't-stink "professional" American press corps. The gall of you and Matt to suggest the Russians aren't any worse obviously still stings, a decade after you last drank vodka while watching the river in Moscow.

masson , December 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

Lally complains about Taibbi being mean to her after she wrote a report in 1999 unironically starting a paragraph with "The latest affirmation of the anarchy that lies deep in the Russian soul " This just after shock therapy has killed millions of Russians. In this new screed she has the audacity to link to it.

I think she deserved every bit of scorn.

rusti , December 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

You see? Lally's gloating, smug colonialist triumphalism was the norm in expat circles. That was what we were fighting. And sometimes the outrage got out of control. But it's beyond grotesque that our outrage should be picked over for language crimes by a sloppy, inept, conscience-free writer like Lally. When the crimes of Western journalists during the Yeltsin era are chronicled, I kinda think it'll be the callous triumphalism with which she and her Clintonite buddies watched millions of Russians die that are condemned–not the tonal lapses of a low-budget dissident rag like eXile, shaking its puny fist at this corruption.

I'm a bit underwhelmed by the explanation that many of the outrageous antics of eXile's authors could be classified as "fighting smug colonialist triumphalism" or "shaking its puny fist", but I can agree with the fundamental point that it is absolutely shocking that someone who lived through this:

"Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled 'excess deaths,' has always been a standard algorithm in demographers' calculations of the death toll of the great disasters -- whether Stalin's collectivization in the 1930s, Pol Pot's rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated that the number of 'excess deaths' in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as 3 million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia's losses in World War 1 were 1.7 million deaths."

could walk away thinking that THEY were unfairly victimized. Ames and Brecher/Dolan are providing an extremely important service in highlighting similarly terrifying and shocking dynamics at work today with hacks like Michael Weiss broadcasting toxic garbage with a big megaphone that helps provide an intellectual veneer for the mass starvation of Yemeni children or sectarian death squads in Syria or a possible catastrophic war with Iran, so I hope people will continue to listen to them. The same goes for Taibbi in highlighting systematic racism and abuse of power by banks and lobbyists.

[Dec 19, 2017] Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

Was it intelligence operation run by US and GB agencies with Harward economists as puppets?
Notable quotes:
"... Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence. ..."
"... "Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas" ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. , April 03, 2017 at 01:31 PM

PGL puts the blame on Yeltsin and this is what Stiglitz writes:

"I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work."

Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs were involved in this. It would be nice if they wrote mea culpas.

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

I believe the explanation was less sinister: flawed ideas, even with the best of intentions, can have serious consequences. And the opportunities for self-interested greed offered by Russia were simply too great for some to resist. Clearly, democratization in Russia required efforts aimed at ensuring shared prosperity, not policies that led to the creation of an oligarchy."

Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence.

2008 was also incompetence, greed and ideology not some plot to push through "shock doctrines."

If the one percent were smart they would slowly cook the frog in the pot, where the frog doesn't notice, instead of having these crises which backfire.

pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Nice cherry picking especially for someone who never read his chapter 5 of that great 1997 book.
libezkova -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:40 PM
The book is great, the article is junk. As Paine aptly said (in best Mark Twain style):

"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

[Dec 19, 2017] Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz

Petty neoliberal bastard Joseph ;-) ...
Notable quotes:
"... I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. ..."
"... This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work.... ..."
"... Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan. ..."
"... My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played. ..."
"... Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets. ..."
"... In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape" ..."
"... "Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs." ..."
"... This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation. ..."
"... The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan. ..."
"... My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces. ..."
"... Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good. ..."
"... It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus". ..."
"... It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard. ..."
"... Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why? ..."
"... Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims. ..."
"... Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure. ..."
"... The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times. ..."
Apr 03, 2017 | www.project-syndicate.org

April 2, 2017

Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz

I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition.

This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work....

... ... ...

Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan.

pgl , April 03, 2017 at 09:52 AM

Stiglitz returns to the issue of why post Soviet Union Russia has done so poorly in terms of economics:

"In terms of per capita income, Russia now ranks 73rd (in terms of purchasing power parity) – well below the Soviet Union's former satellites in Central and Eastern Europe. The country has deindustrialized: the vast majority of its exports now come from natural resources. It has not evolved into a "normal" market economy, but rather into a peculiar form of crony-state capitalism . Many had much higher hopes for Russia, and the former Soviet Union more broadly, when the Iron Curtain fell. After seven decades of Communism, the transition to a democratic market economy would not be easy. But, given the obvious advantages of democratic market capitalism to the system that had just fallen apart, it was assumed that the economy would flourish and citizens would demand a greater voice. What went wrong? Who, if anyone, is to blame? Could Russia's post-communist transition have been managed better? We can never answer such questions definitively: history cannot be re-run. But I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote Globalization and its Discontents, I argued that this "shock therapy" approach to economic reform was a dismal failure. But defenders of that doctrine cautioned patience: one could make such judgments only with a longer-run perspective. Today, more than a quarter-century since the onset of transition, those earlier results have been confirmed, and those who argued that private property rights, once created, would give rise to broader demands for the rule of law have been proven wrong. Russia and many of the other transition countries are lagging further behind the advanced economies than ever. GDP in some transition countries is below its level at the beginning of the transition."

Stiglitz is not saying markets cannot work if the rules are properly constructed. He is saying that the Yeltsin rules were not as they were crony capitalism at their worse. And it seems the Putin rules are not much better. He mentions his 1997 book which featured as chapter 5 "Who Lost Russia". It still represents an excellent read.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:11 AM
"Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues.[5]

During the early 1990s, Andrei Shleifer headed a Harvard project under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) that invested U.S. government funds in the development of Russia's economy.

Schleifer was also a direct advisor to Anatoly Chubais, then vice-premier of Russia, who managed the Rosimushchestvo (Committee for the Management of State Property) portfolio and was a primary engineer of Russian privatization. Shleifer was also tasked with establishing a stock market for Russia that would be a world-class capital market.[14]

In 1996 complaints about the Harvard project led Congress to launch a General Accounting Office investigation, which stated that the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was given "substantial control of the U.S. assistance program."[15]

In 1997, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top HIID officials Andre Schleifer and Johnathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was used to assist Schleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund which speculated in Russian bonds.[14]

In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice 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 worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Shleifer

RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:26 AM
Awards:

John Bates Clark Medal (1999)

"He has held a tenured position in the Department of Economics at Harvard University since 1991 and was, from 2001 through 2006, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics."

libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 08:18 PM
My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played.

Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets.

In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape"

As Anne Williamson said: "Instead, after robbing the Russian people of the only capital they had to participate in the new market – the nation's household savings – by freeing prices in what was a monopolistic economy and which delivered a 2500% inflation in 1992, America's "brave, young Russian reformers" ginned-up a development theory of "Big Capitalism" based on Karl Marx's mistaken edict that capitalism requires the "primitive accumulation of capital". Big capitalists would appear instantly, they said, and a broadly-based market economy shortly thereafter if only the pockets of pre-selected members of their own ex-Komsomol circle were properly stuffed. Those who hankered for a public reputation were to secure the government perches from which they would pass state assets to their brethren in the nascent business community, happy in the knowledge that they too would be kicked back a significant cut of the swag. The US-led West accommodated the reformers' cockeyed theory by designing a rapid and easily manipulated voucher privatization program that was really only a transfer of title and which was funded with $325 million US taxpayers' dollars. "

See also http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml

libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 07:51 PM
From the article:

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs."

This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation.

The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan.

Clinton consciously chose this criminal policy among alternatives: kick the lying body. So after Russian people get rid of corrupt and degraded Communist regime, they got under the iron hill of US gangsters from Clinton administration.

My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces.

http://www.vdare.com/posts/the-rape-of-russia-explained-by-anne-williamson

== quote ==

Testimony of Anne Williamson

Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives

September 21, 1999


In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens' well-being looks like. It's not a pretty picture, is it? But let there be no mistake, in Russia the West has truly been the author of its own misery. And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens' whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets

... ... ...
== end of quote ==

A lot of people, especially pensioners, died because of Clinton's gangster policies in xUUSR space.

I am wondering how Russian managed to survive as an independent country. The USA put tremendous efforts and resources in destruction of Russian economy and colonizing its by creating "fifth column" on neoliberal globaliozation.

all those criminal oligarchs hold moved their capitals to the West as soon as they can because they were afraid of the future. Nobody persecuted them and Western banks helped to extract money from Russia to the extent that some of their methods were clearly criminals.

Economic devastation was comparable with caused by Nazi armies, although amount of dead was less, but also in millions.

Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good.

Especially hard hit was military industrial complex, which was oversized in any case, but which was an integral part of Soviet economy and employed many highly qualified specialists. Many of whom later emigrated to the West. At some point it was difficult to find physics department in the US university without at least a single person from xUSSR space (not necessary a Russian)

paine -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 04:22 PM
Too much liberal swamp gas
libezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 09:33 PM
"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

this is almost Mark Twain's level quote :-).

anne -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 06:20 PM
But I would conjecture the Deng path trumps the Yeltsin path

[ Really? Would the conjecture rest on growth of real Gross Domestic Product in China averaging 9.6% yearly while growth of real per capita GDP averaged 8.6% yearly these last 40 years? ]

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:22 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacK

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacO

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:27 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacQ

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacR

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

libezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 08:28 PM
"But i'd conjecture the Deng path trumps the yeltsin path"

True.

anne -> paine... , April 04, 2017 at 07:52 AM
But I would conjecture the Deng Xiaoping path trumps the Boris Yeltsin path

[ What then is the point of such a conjecture when real per capita GDP in Russia grew a mere 15.8% from 1990 through 2015 while in China real per capita grew by a remarkable 789.1%?

Total factor productivity in Russia decreased by 16.9% from 1990 through 2014, while in China total factor productivity increased by 76.4%.

The inability to understand what China has accomplished is shocking to me. Possibly, rethinking fairly is in order. ]

point -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 06:28 PM
It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus".
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:01 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by English economist John Williamson to refer to a set of 10 relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries by Washington, D.C.–based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the US Treasury Department. The prescriptions encompassed policies in such areas as macroeconomic stabilization, economic opening with respect to both trade and investment, and the expansion of market forces within the domestic economy.

Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;

Redirection of public spending from subsidies toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

Competitive exchange rates;

Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;

Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;

Privatization of state enterprises;

Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;

Legal security for property rights.

pgl -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:18 AM
"privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else".

It does matter how it is done as Stiglitz, Dani Rodrik, and even that ProMarket blog often point out. It was done very poorly under Yeltsin.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:34 AM
It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard.
RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why?
Peter K. -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 01:24 PM
"It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard."

Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 01:33 PM
PGL blames Yeltsin but even Stiglitz writes that it was the Washington Consensus which was to blame for the poor transition and disastrous collapse of Russia. Now we are reaping the consequences. Just like with Syria, ISIL and Iraq.
pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:27 PM
WTF? The IMF may have given bad advice but Yeltsin ran the show. And if you think Yeltsin was the victim - then you are really lost.

"No doubt PGL blames the Greeks."

You do lie 24/7. Pathetic.

anne -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 11:15 AM
Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
That a Washington Consensus approach to Russian development proved obviously faulty is important because I would argue the approach has repeatedly proved faulty from Brazil to South Africa to the Philippines... When the consensus has been turned away from as in Brazil for several years the development results have dramatically changed but turning from the approach which allows for severe concentrations of wealth has proved politically difficult as we find now in Brazil.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:48 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad0

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacX

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:55 AM
The range in real per capita GDP growth from 1990 to 2015 extends from 15.8% to 19.8% to 41.1% to 223.1% to 789.1%. This range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:49 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad4

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad7

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The range in total factor productivity growth or decline from 1990 to 2014 extends from a decline of - 16.9% to - 12.2% to - 5.1% to growth of 40.9% and 76.4%. Again, this range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:10 AM
The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times.

I would suggest the success of China thoroughly studied provides us with remarkable policy prescriptions.

[Dec 17, 2017] Sorry Chump. You Didn't Have It In Writing by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... And even IF Gorbachev would have had it in writing, it would not have made a bit of difference. ..."
"... There is, actually, no excuse for Gorbachev's giving away the store without an iron-clad treaty, ratified in both the USSR and the USA. ..."
"... The US has threatened the USSR/Russia since 1918 when the UK, USA and their allies including Australia invaded from 7 different directions in a 3 year campaign. ..."
"... That combined with US subversion and no doubt bribes and false promises leads to only one conclusion. Russia has good reason to be afraid of America. ..."
"... Maybe capitalism is the foundation of the problem, but the framework is militarism, weapons production and sales, attacking people around the world, spying on everyone, and imprisoning the underclass to keep them from attacking the wealthy. Take away those structural elements and the US will collapse. ..."
"... Are we not aware that the US foreign policy is by and for the economic benefit of Wall Street? Lies are the norm to hide WS involvement. National security is a scam to hide lies. ..."
"... Handing the territories of the USSR over to the US on a handshake, that is what Gorbachev will be known for. It was no mistake. ..."
"... The present demonization of Putin has been mainly continuation of business as usual. But Putin has stood up to the interests behind the IMF, the FED, the BIS, etc., making him a hero to the entire educated world. Maybe one day soon America will join the educated world. One can only hope. ..."
"... How could any nation trust the USA who has broken every treaty they have agreed to! England all through history has coveted Russia for their vast natural resources. England has always been a wicked nation. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | Information Clearing House "

At a time when the United States is convulsed by anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin, a trove of recently declassified Cold War documents reveals the astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990. I was covering Moscow in those days and met some of the key players in this sordid drama. Ever since, I've been writing that the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were shamelessly lied to and deceived by the United States, Britain, and their appendage, NATO.

All the western powers promised Gorbachev and Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand eastward by 'one inch' if Moscow would pull the Red Army out of East Germany and allow it to peacefully reunify with West Germany. This was a titanic concession by Gorbachev: it led to a failed coup against him in 1991 by Communist hardliners.

The documents released by George Washington University in Washington DC, which I attended for a semester, make sickening reading (see them online). All western powers and statesmen assured the Russians that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet retreat and that a new era of amity and cooperation would dawn in post-Cold War Europe. US Secretary of State Jim Baker offered 'ironclad guarantees' there would be no NATO expansion. Lies, all lies. Gorbachev was a humanist, a very decent, intelligent man who believed he could end the Cold War and nuclear arms race. He ordered the Red Army back from Eastern Europe.

I was in Wunsdorf, East Germany, HQ of the Group of Soviet Forces, Germany, and at Stasi secret police HQ in East Berlin right after the pullout order was given. The Soviets withdrew their 338,000 troops and 4,200 tanks and sent them home at lightening speed. Western promises made to Soviet leaders by President George W. H. Bush and Jim Baker quickly proved to be empty. They were honorable men but their successors were not. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush quickly began moving NATO into Eastern Europe, violating all the pledges made to Moscow. The Poles, Hungarians and Czechs were brought into NATO, then Romania and Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Albania, and Montenegro. Washington tried to get the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The Moscow-aligned government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup. The road to Moscow was open.

All the bankrupt, confused Russians could do was denounce these eastward moves by the US and NATO. The best response NATO and Washington could come up with was, 'well, there was no official written promise.' This is worthy of a street peddler selling counterfeit watches. The leaders of the US, Britain, France, Belgium and Italy all lied. Germany was caught between its honor and imminent reunification. So even its Chancellor Helmut Kohl had to go along with the West's prevarications.

At the time, I wrote that the best solution would be for the demilitarization of formerly Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe. NATO had no need or business to expand eastward. Doing so would be a constant provocation to Russia, which regarded Eastern Europe as an essential defensive glacis against invasions from the West. Now, with NATO forces on its western borders, Russia's deepest fears have been realized. Today, US military aircraft based on the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria, former Warsaw Pact members, probe Russian airspace over the Black Sea and the vital strategic port of Sevastopol. Washington talks about arming chaotic Ukraine. US and NATO troops are in the Baltic, on Russia's northwestern borders. Polish right-wingers are beating the war drums against Russia. In 1990, KGB and CIA agreed to the principal of 'not one inch' eastward for NATO.

Former US ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, confirms the same agreement. Gorbachev, who is denounced as a foolish idealist by many Russians, trusted the Western powers. He should have had a battalion of New York City garment district shyster lawyers to document his agreements in 1990. He thought he was dealing with honest, honorable men, like himself. Is it any wonder after this bait and switch diplomacy that Russia has no trust in the Western powers? Moscow watches US-run NATO oozing ever eastwards. Today, Russia's leaders firmly believe Washington's ultimate plan is to tear apart Russia and reduce it to an impotent, pauper nation.

Two former Western leaders, Napoleon and Hitler, had similar plans. Instead of carrying on about Hitler's duplicity after Munich, we should look at our own shameless behavior after 1990. Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. https://ericmargolis.com

Mark A. Goldman · 7 hours ago

There are enough articles at this website in any one week or month for one to realize we do not live in a free country being led by people who intend to keep their oath of office.

... ... ...

Socrates pointed out that only honorable men can ever find true happiness. But that insight only points out what necessary for happiness to occur, but not what is sufficient. Freedom is also necessary, for in the absence of freedom people are prevented from living honorably.

Honor requires the courage to tell the truth and live in alignment with the truth. And without that, dignity too is lost. And what about compassion. And what about love. All of that will be lost to our posterity if we are unable to gain our freedom. And we will not gain our freedom without striving for it with every ounce of courage and intelligence we can find within us.

isabellainecuador 93p · 5 hours ago
Very well said. I have been saying as much for some time. Only President Putin actually lives by those aphorisms. I shall visit your website. Thank you
Vera Gottlieb · 6 hours ago
And even IF Gorbachev would have had it in writing, it would not have made a bit of difference.
guest · 6 hours ago
Exactly! And Gorbachev was clearly a fool to have taken up US/Nato on a gentleman's promise. It is equally probable he was bought off or was an absolute dunce.
LITCHFIELD · 2 hours ago
There is, actually, no excuse for Gorbachev's giving away the store without an iron-clad treaty, ratified in both the USSR and the USA.

It took years to get a treaty between Hungary and romania.
It took years to get a treaty between Ukraine and Romania.
It took years for Romania and other Eastern Bloc countries to be accedted into NATO. There were numerous contingencies to be satisfied.

And Gorbachev just says, "OK, Whatever you say, I believe you! It does not wash.

JGarbo · 1 hour ago
Gorbachev was no fool. He knew the West's promises were nothing, but he also knew his country was bankrupt. He gave Russia a breathing space, which after the pillage under Yeltsin, has proved beneficial.
bozhidar balkas · 6 hours ago
Vera,

That's fair an assumption

Fritz666 · 6 hours ago
LOLOLOL..this is about as bogus as it gets. Russian leadership is no more affraid of the U.S. than they are of a street thug.
Fitzhenrymac 127p · 5 hours ago
The US has threatened the USSR/Russia since 1918 when the UK, USA and their allies including Australia invaded from 7 different directions in a 3 year campaign.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_intervention...

Then there was the 1945 dropping of the atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima which were more to threaten the Soviets than Japan.

Immediately following that was the occupation of South Korea and the stationing of more atomic bombs there.

But the real clincher was the stationing of nuclear weapons in NATO countries right on the border of the Soviet Union. The huge, highly realistic and nuclear armed Abel Archer war games in 1983, not only nearly caused an actual nuclear war but also caused many in the Soviet leadership to believe that resistance beyond its own borders against America was a zero sum game.

That combined with US subversion and no doubt bribes and false promises leads to only one conclusion. Russia has good reason to be afraid of America.

participant2943 89p · 3 hours ago
Yes, Russia has good reason to be afraid of the US on two fronts -- 1 - US terrorism and 2 - imposition of depraved and destructive US political ideologies.
Cameron · 6 hours ago
The enemy here is capitalism -- Russia (and China) pose threats to the dominance of U.S. capital and therefore are demonized and lied to and for that matter treated in any manner conducive to the continued dominance of U.S. capital. This is the nature of capitalist relations between nations in its imperialist stage. It is a race to the death to crown the chief exploiter and manipulator of collective human labor and the commodities it produces. In this stage of capitalism if it isn't the U.S. who is scheming to rule it would be another. The only solution is to put an end to the rule of capital.
participant2943 89p · 3 hours ago
Maybe capitalism is the foundation of the problem, but the framework is militarism, weapons production and sales, attacking people around the world, spying on everyone, and imprisoning the underclass to keep them from attacking the wealthy. Take away those structural elements and the US will collapse.

Death and destruction are the only visible supports for the US as a "country". Other countries are busily caring for refugees, addressing fossil fuel and methane gas damage, providing health care, and advancing science and the arts. Not the US. The US today is weapons + carnage +threatening other countries + internal political collapse.

olde reb · 5 hours ago
Are we not aware that the US foreign policy is by and for the economic benefit of Wall Street? Lies are the norm to hide WS involvement. National security is a scam to hide lies.

John Stinnett used the FOIA to obtain government documents that established FDR developed a 17 month agenda with his Wall Street cronies to impose sanctions on Japan to force the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese codes were easily broken. WW One was also another false flag operation to prevent default on huge loans WS had made to European nations.

You might also consult with John Perkin's CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN that details his (concealed) employment by Wall Street to set up international loans with sovereign nations designed to go into default using their control of the IMF and WB with enforcement by the CIA and the US military. cf. Michel Chossudovsky's GLOBALIZATION OF POVERTY and his GLOBALIZATION OF WAR.

For details on how one of the first arrangements with the CIA and Wall Street was arranged by Allen Dulles, even before he was appointed Director of the CIA, you might read DEVILS CHESSBOARD by Stephen Kinzer, THE BROTHERS by David Talbot, or CIA AS ORGANIZED CRIME by Douglass Valentine. Writings by Fletcher Prouty, Antony Sutton, Nomi Prins, and many more are available. Let me know when you have finished these.

Even professor Michael Hudson has written that Wall Street's (Goldman Sachs) objective in Greece is to destroy the nation. http://farmwars.info/?p=12078 NEW WORLD ORDER DEAD AHEAD

Crosswinds · 5 hours ago
"H.W. BUSH AND JAMES BAKER" were "HONORABLE MEN?" (DECEIT/TREACHERY/DUPLICITY
is their common core nature.)
Edcdecedc · 4 hours ago
Handing the territories of the USSR over to the US on a handshake, that is what Gorbachev will be known for. It was no mistake. Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin are pieces of the same $hit.
Chas · 3 hours ago
Not the sharpest knife in the draw are you! But then history is not taught extensively in US schools, is it! Stop embarrassing yourself, child!
Tobey Llop · 2 hours ago
It's hard for me to consider that the Russians didn't assume the Americans were lying. By withdrawing troops from a pointless deployment, they were saving resources. It was a spiritual step up for the Russians. Since then, the Russian economy has improved substantially.

The American government is, by my research, basically a puppet to the banking cabal that has been profiting from wars since the 1700's.

They were behind and profited from the Russian revolution, the American Civil War, both world wars, the Cold War, the annexation of Palestine for a Zionist state, and now present efforts to start a third world war, be it Syria, Iraq, Libya, or wherever trouble can be stirred.

The present demonization of Putin has been mainly continuation of business as usual. But Putin has stood up to the interests behind the IMF, the FED, the BIS, etc., making him a hero to the entire educated world. Maybe one day soon America will join the educated world. One can only hope.

vicenr · 3 hours ago
The part of the story missing is what happened next? Hungary, Czech Republic and now Poland are a bit miffed at the way things have gone. Other than turn their nations into a door mat that NATO and Russia fight upon what did they get?

They got a missile launching pad that if war breaks out will be targeted and most likely destroyed. They got an EU that if it resembles anything, it most closely represents the old Supreme Soviet. Naw. This story has just begun.

Jim · 3 hours ago
How could any nation trust the USA who has broken every treaty they have agreed to! England all through history has coveted Russia for their vast natural resources. England has always been a wicked nation.
Yury · 1 hour ago
Usually articles by Eric Margolis have more substance and are more objective. First, even today the US cooperates with Russia on several fronts. Today Putin called Trump to thank him for supplying to Russia by CIA of Info that led to the arrest of several Islamist terrorists who wanted to explode a bomb in St. Petersburg. Clear example of cooperation.

As far as the promise to Gorbachev of not expanding NATO eastward, it was made to the leader of the Soviet Union not the leader of Russia. When the Soviet Union collapsed, such promise simply had no longer any effect since the country to which it was made no longer existed.

Still the US and other western countries didn't want to expand NATO until Yeltsin agreed to its expansion to Poland in August 1993 as reported for example in NYT http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/26/world/yeltsin-u...

In that article, by the way, it is stated that even then there were big problems between Russia and Ukraine. So to repeat all the time that the "government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup" is something I didn't expect from Margolis.

Barberry37 77p · 35 minutes ago
<<....the United States is convulsed...>>

I hardly think so Mr. Margolis. I would say that probably 98% of the population of Canada and the USA are totally comatose and probably won't even hear the Last Trumpet

[Dec 17, 2017] Newly-Declassified Documents Show Western Leaders Promised Gorbachev that NATO Would Not Move One Inch Closer to Russia by George Washington

Notable quotes:
"... By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog ..."
"... When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30) ..."
"... Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO ..."
"... IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes? ..."
"... Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin. ..."
"... History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-( ..."
"... first draft of history ..."
"... Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power. ..."
"... Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do ..."
"... The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout? ..."
"... the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1). ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade. ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic ..."
"... "Russia is finished" ..."
"... WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort.. ..."
"... Gentlemen prefer jackboots ? ..."
"... The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's. ..."
"... The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances. ..."
"... A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty". ..."
"... Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. ..."
"... Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that. ..."
"... Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand. ..."
"... except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor. ..."
"... the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly ..."
"... In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence? ..."
"... By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine. ..."
"... tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage. ..."
"... Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions. ..."
"... I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation. ..."
"... The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a more purely geopolitical piece than we normally run. The reason for featuring it is that this bit of history is vital to understanding current US/Russian relations.

Even though experts have acknowledged that Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the Western powers would not move NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, they claimed that the Russians were naive to have taken this promise as meaningful. The argument went that the US regarded only obligations committed to writing as binding, while the Soviets regarded firm, unambiguous statement by parties authorized to negotiate as commitments.

As the post below describes in detail, the Russians have more basis for feeling abused by the US and its allies than the US defense above indicates. Not only did Baker repeat his "not one inch eastward" declaration on three separate occasions, many national leaders and top-level diplomats in NATO countries, such as Maggie Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, both affirmed that they would respect the security interests of the former USSR and would also involve it in European "security structures."

And as we've said repeatedly, when the Clinton Administration broke these commitments by moving NATO eastward in 1997, cold warrior George Kennan predicted that it would be the worst geopolitical mistake the US ever made.

By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog

The U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time it broke up and many other experts have said that the West promised Gorbachev that – if the USSR allowed German re-unification – NATO wouldn't move "one inch closer" to Russia.

While Western leaders have long denied the promise, newly-declassified documents now prove this.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University reported Tuesday:

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's famous "not one inch eastward" assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University ( http://nsarchive.gwu.edu ).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates's criticism of "pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn't happen."

***

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear "that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.' Therefore, NATO should rule out an 'expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.'" The Bonn cable also noted Genscher's proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about "closer to the Soviet borders" is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures . The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

The "Tutzing formula" immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east

***

The conversations before Kohl's assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, "The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next ." (See Document 2)

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood 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." (See Document 6).

Here are two relevant excerpts from Document 6 :

***

The National Security Archive report continues:

Baker reported: "And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [ .] He then added, 'Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.'" Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl's benefit, "By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable." ( See Document 8)

Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: "We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity." (See Document 9).

Here is a related excerpt from Document 9 :

The National Security Archives report concludes:

All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990.

***

Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly "recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity." (See Document 15)

The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: "I 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." (See Document 17)

Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his "nine points," which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, "Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you." (See Document 18)

The French leader Francois Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must "create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole." (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a " cher George " letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that "we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security." (See Document 20)

At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR : "Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well." (See Document 21)

The "Iron Lady" also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance . She said to Gorbachev: "We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured . CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe." (See Document 22)

The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment.

***

As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: "We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well," referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)

In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: "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." (See Document 24)

The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances , and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.

But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued , a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave "the door ajar" for East European membership in NATO . (See Document 27)

***

As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, "We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO ." Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders' interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, " Nothing of the sort will happen ." (See Document 28)

When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30)

Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO

Anti-Schmoo , December 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes?

Jim Haygood , December 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

Nice timing for the release of these archives on Dec 12th. Yesterday the WaPo posted an article "based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" titled "Doubting the Intelligence: Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/

Axiomatic to the WaPo hacks authors is that NATO ranks right up there with the 1776 Declaration and the Constitution as a bedrock US principle. Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin.

Naturally the new archives released by GWU play no part in the WaPo story two days later, since they aren't "fitted to the narrative."

History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-(

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

Any time you hear or read a Russian conspiracy theory in the MSM or elsewhere, substitute the words "Jews" for "Russians" and the words "International Jewry" for "Russia". Then re-read the sentence.

See how ugly that sentence now looks?

So why should we rightfully decry such racism against Jews or others, but applaud the same sort of racism when it is directed against Russians?

Jfree , December 15, 2017 at 4:32 am

Interesting to see these first draft of history discussions come out. At roughly the same time, Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote an article directed more to a public discussion that the end of the 40-year Cold War could lead to America once again becoming a normal country in normal times . With its implication that NATO's very existence might not even be necessary anymore.

Gotta say the thing that most disappoints me is that none of these conversations ever actually occurred in any public – anywhere. There was absolutely zero public discussion about what a post-Cold War world and its mutual obligations might look like.

Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power.

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Yeah, but then the Deep State might actually have to get *jobs*.

skippy , December 15, 2017 at 4:33 am

Ask the Afghani Mujaheddin

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

You cannot read this alone – I said so before, and will again.

Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do.

It was a symbol, more than anything else. You need to remember that all of those countries had Soviet troops (and nuclear weapons), some since WW2, and ALL of them had their citizens killed by Soviet troops (Czechoslovakia 1968, Hungary 1956, Poland pre-and post WW2) within living memory.

Clinton resisted this (for a time, and I believe on advice of his security advisors), but in the end was won over. I have actually talked to a few people from V4 who were involved in this at a quite high level, so feel like I can comment.

Ignoring the above is to me just a sort of different American bubble that says "everything (for one group good, for another bad) that happens in the world is because America wishes so". It entirely ignores the history and the political situation in the area at the time.

That's not to say US couldn't have played it better – but it was not "America wake up and said "let's extend NATO for the kicks of it"" either.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 5:20 am

Did you read the post? The commitments weren't just from the US. They were also from the leaders of Germany, France, and the UK.

The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?

Quentin , December 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe Poland has more clout because the rest of Europe and the US see Poland as part of their world. Not so much Turkey, which didn't get into any European 'game' plan until the end of the Ottoman empire, especially beginning with Ataturk. Before that, it was more an enemy if anything. And Russia then? Well Russia has always been seen as the big, bad freak who refuses to comply and conform, submit, to the West's deepest wishes.

Carolinian , December 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

I'm reading a book about the Crimean War and even in the middle of the 19th cent. there was widespread sentiment in England that the Russians were Slavic barbarians threatening the rest of Europe with their size, expansionist ambitions and different version of Christianity. So perhaps the current Russophobia has deeper roots than we realize and may center on Old Blightey with the cousins along for the ride. In this scenario Poland became the buffer zone against the Russians and was much quarreled over by the great powers.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

I can't answer that – but the reality is, that US was giving V4 "No" answer when they were lobbying for it, and it took them years to get there.

If US was so keen to do it, it would have been done by Bush, not Clinton towards the end of hist first term. Clinton told Havel (and I have it from a person who was in the room at the time) that his military/security advisors were telling him "No".

Donald , December 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

What difference would it make to the Russians if Clinton was told not to do it and then did it anyway? You are arguing in effect that the US had good intentions and didn't want to break its word, but that is a secondary issue. The issue here is that not only did the US break its word, but we have been misled about it.

I was thinking about this in connection with a story about Yemen in the Intercept a couple of days ago. It seems that our ambassador to Yemen was more hawkish than some others in the Obama Administration. I think we should know as much as possible about how such decisions ar made and I thought the story was useful, but I can imagine how it would be spun if the mainstream press were ever pressured into covering our horrific role in Yemen with as much energy as they pour into Russiagate. They would look for a scapegoat like the ambassador and do everything they could to show that overall the US had good intentions.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

My point is not the Russian grievance – that stands. I'd even agree with that it was a dumb move – but the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1).

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade.

TBH, I also suspect that the first expansion Russia could have lived with – but the second expansion, especially taking in Baltics, and any suggestion of having NATO expand more towards Russia's borders was, is and will be seen as a provocation and a direct threat by Russia. Russia feels safe only when it has a nice plump buffer, preferrably of aligned states.

hemeantwell , December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

The "wider picture" is that the US was the preeminent military power at that time. That is a reality that could have been leveraged into a transition in the terms of competition between Russia and the West. Your suggestion that four small countries should bear any responsibility for US' failure to follow through on its assurances and to use this opening to put an end to militarized competition and brinksmanship is impossible to take seriously. It ignores major players, e.g. the good old military-industrial complex (which here needs to be thought of in international terms), that were seriously threatened by the possibility of a wind-down in tensions.

timbers , December 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

Trump came into office promising better relations w/Russia and look how that turned out. It "wasn't that Trump was rushing into" worse relations w/Russia, but it still happened and in a very big hurry or "rush.".

I'd say the "Deep State" agenda was very much in a rush to start aggression against Russia.

Was Trump? Bill Clinton? Bush? Certainly Hillary was. But maybe they were/are just puppets of the Deep State.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic

The general view of Russia as a goner was actually a post-1998 phenomenon because of the financial crash, bank failures, currency depreciation, state bankruptcy -- and the realization of how corrupt, destitute and rotten the "new democratic Russia" was. The (in)famous article "Russia is finished" by Jeffrey Tayler was published in 2001 -- at a time when Putin had just started taking control of things.

Wukchumni , December 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

My parents knew the Korbels in Denver in the 50's, as an interesting aside to the conversation.

I'm on the phone with my mom right now, and she relates that the idea that Madeleine didn't know she was Jewish until 1997 is a bit preposterous as her mother looked very much the part, but it was a different era way back when, and anti-semitism was such that you might have been turned away on a hotel room when they asked your surname, in some quarters.

MisterMr , December 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

"The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?"

In my opinion, there is some sort of European nationalism, by which I mean the idea that Europe should be a single big nation state, in most of Europe. This view is not as strong and obvious as single nation state nationalism, but it exists: for example Giuseppe Mazzini, one of the "founding fathers" of Italy, created two secret societies: the "giovine Italia" [young Italy] for the unification of Italy, and the "giovine Europa" [young Europe] for the unification of Europe, already in the 19th century before Italian unification.

The whole idea of a "united Europe" is part of the reason of the EU, so it's natural that Poland, which was already perceived as an European country, was welcome in the EU; Turkey on the other hand is not generally perceived as European so it's less welcome (you can see this as racism, or as sense of identity, the difference is quite blurry IMHO).

Russia too would have been welcome into the EU (in my opinion), but I don't think the Russians would have accepted the loss of sovereignity that this entail.

I think that this has to do with the fact that many (most) European countries were beaten quite hard in WW2, and even the two european "winners" of WW2 won only in the sense that the USA and the USSR won and they happened to be on the right side of the war at that time.

So nationalistic identity and pride in most of Europe is, IMHO, a more complex thing than it is in the USA, and Europeans mostly welcomed the idea of a United Europe.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the ones who appear to be the less attached to the idea of a "United Europe" are the British, who are the one who still may think they won WW2.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort..

Alex Morfesis , December 15, 2017 at 7:10 am

A bit confused on this viceguard suggestion of nostalgia for the wehrmacht and pure hate for Moscow

is it the food, the wine, or the women (kiss me muti) on the west side of the oder-neisse line ?

Gentlemen prefer jackboots ?

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

Where do you see nostalgia for Wehrmacht?

In 1990s, Soviets were the leaving occupants, who were there for 20+ years. They were thorougly despised – that's a fact. Soviets in 1950s were still often seen as liberators by a majority of the population, but managed to squander that away with bloody suppression of Hungarians in 50s, and less bloody, but not less jackbooted supression of Prague Spring in 68 (in a way more, since Hungarians actually fought, while in Prague Spring the killed were unarmed civilians)

whiteylockmandoubled , December 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

Yes, the Soviets were hated occupiers, but so what? The stakes on this are and were enormous, both in traditional Great Power terms, and with the added dimension of nuclear confrontation.

There were many steps that the US, UK, Germany and France could have taken to provide reassurances and security to the Eastern European states during the ensuing 20 years short of expanding NATO membership, beginning, of course, with economic integration. EU membership doesn't necessarily require NATO membership.

Yes, there were domestic "Captive Nations" political pressures in the U.S., but they could have been finessed with smart policy short of NATO expansion, and in fact, they were. I know it was a terrible strain, but US politicians heroically resisted that pressure for a full decade -- the first expansion didn't happen until 1999, more than half-way through Clinton's second term.

The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's.

America really did this one.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Interestingly, Eastern Europeans detest each other as well: Romanians vs. Hungarians, Poles vs. Ukrainians, Bulgarians vs. Serbs, etc. Their execration of the historically dominating and boorish Russians is what brings them together -- as well as their wariness of the overbearing and historically dominating Germany.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Detest is a very strong word and not accurate in this case. There are historical grievances (such as Hungarians wanting to scrap the Trianon treaty), but most sane people have moved on Same goes for "boorish" Russians – have you ever met a Russian or read a bit of history about Eastern Europe? And yes, the struggle against German domination dates back to 800-900AD.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances.

Yes, I did meet Russians. Actually, I worked with them. In fact, I hired some. Very nice guys and fun lads, very intelligent, conscientious and imaginative (my branch is IT -- I view Russians as the elite there). Not boorish at all (but a bit cynical).

On the other hand, the anecdotes they kept telling about how things were going with police, "businessmen" and politicians back home made it very clear that those are extremely boorish -- and they were mostly the ones Eastern Europeans had to deal with. Those stories also explain why my Russian colleagues were so reserved initially, and opened up when they realized how different the interactions were in Western Europe.

I also had Hungarians and Romanians working with me and the Russians -- and there was absolutely no problem. All young generation though, they were schoolboys when the Eastern bloc collapsed. Time frame: early 2000s.

A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty".

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

Want to induce a spitting mad Donald Duck meltdown in a Polish person?

Simply remind them that the only reason that there are Polish people alive in Poland today is because of the Red Army. Anyone who thinks that the Germans were going to stop at Jews is not familiar with Mein Kampf or Generalplan Ost.

This is not to excuse anything else that the Soviets did in Eastern Europe, but at the same time, it is the only reason those Polish people are alive to nurse their russophobia.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:56 am

For example, in some parts of Ukraine

JerseyJeffersonian , December 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Vlade,

Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. If you think that the losses in life and property caused directly by the invading Hungarian fascists to the Russian and Soviet peoples, both military and civilian, and the war crimes with which they were likely liberally festooned were not remembered, well, think again. And when the uprising began, those memories probably informed the severity of the Soviet response.

The Hungarians took up arms and participated in a brutal and genocidal attack against the USSR during the Third Reich's invasion. This was only slightly more than 10 years before the Hungarian uprising. Realistically, what did you expect the Soviets' reaction to be to the uprising? Soviet intelligence was surely aware of the Gladio program, and this would only be seen as part and parcel of this western-guided and sponsored program.

Were the deaths and repression that followed regrettable? Of course they were; I am not maintaining otherwise. But times were what they were largely due to what had gone before, and to elide that from the account is unbalanced.

The Rev Kev , December 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

I am wondering what would have happened if NATO had not only expanded east but had also let the Russian Federation itself become part of NATO. Of course countries like Estonia and Lithuania would have squawked about that but they could have been simply told to have a large cup of shut the **** up. Either that or they would have been neutral countries with NATO to the west as well as the east (Russia). Can you imagine?

Instead of NATO merely being the military wing of the western powers it would be one that stretched from Vladivostok right through to the Atlantic. Such an entity would have made it its job to stabilize all the Stans to the south of it as well as Afghanistan itself. There would never be the scenario, as is the case now, where China and Russia have been forced into a defensive alliance. Perhaps Russia would have become part of the EU. Imagine the trade possibilities.

Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that.

Chaos is the goal , December 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union.

UK even insisted that they needed their nuclear submarines to fight islam.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

There's be no need for MICC – can't have that, can we

andyb , December 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand.

jfleni , December 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

Blowback: Kim Jong-Un, China, Russia, etc, etc, "We'll never believe you again, you lying Yankee [obscenities], a pox on you! And who can blame them?

Joel , December 15, 2017 at 10:34 am

When are historians going to start saying that the Clinton presidency was one of the most disastrous in American history?

The more we know, the more it seems much bad and little good came out of it, except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

In so far as the major consequences of the policies and decisions taken by Clinton actually occurred during GWB's presidency, there is little to choose between them.

Extraordinary renditions? Clinton. Military interventions without UNO resolutions? Clinton. Complete dismantling of the financial sector leading to untrammeled speculation? Clinton. Bombing of foreign countries as a standard policy? Clinton (though with old-fashioned aeroplanes and long-range missiles, not drones, so there was innovation with Bush).

Amfortas the Hippie , December 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

At the time(clinton era), I was leery of Billary, but I couldn't put my finger on it I was too busy being young and wild and crazy, as well as keeping body and soul together.

and it was preinternet.

so one had to find alternative narratives regarding the shape of the world where one could people on street corners in the Montrose(Houston) handing out Lyndon Larouche newsletters, later street people on the Drag in Austin handing out Zines from Zendik Farms, still wet with ink, or the odd John Bircher at the aa meeting, the closet Klansman at the beer joint as well as more respectable outlets(William Greider comes to mind).

More to the point of this story, growing up listening to my Half Cherokee Grandad talk about perfidy on the part of the US, I guess I have always been immune to the usual flagwaving superpatriotism the US gov is not to be trusted. Ever.

It's only since I finally got on the Web, circa 1999, that I've been able to sift through all the chaff, and look at things like the foreign press and FOIA Docs, that that Feeling has hardened into Certainty.

The more I learn, the more I find that I loathe my country.(see: history of the CIA, for just one egregious crime spree in our name)
That sucks especially since expressing such dislike is the quickest way to getting lynched in the places I've spent my life(Texas and the South).

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:57 am

you're right, now it seems we shoulda kept papa bush for another term.

urdsama , December 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

That is not what Joel said.

There has been a steady stream of articles and government disclosures that have shown the Clinton years were less than the rosy picture commonly painted.

This just adds to that narrative. Nothing is being said that we should have had more Bush the elder. But perhaps Clinton wasn't the answer either.

Louis Fyne , December 15, 2017 at 11:37 am

the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly

P Fitzsimon , December 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence?

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I do remember reading about this group – someone wrote a lengthy article on this. Will look.

RWood , December 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Olga, you mention the MICC, while to others, it's the MIC. What discourse or determination leads you to that difference? I'm asking because I agree, and want further documentation, and the elimination of the last "C" is constant, and a great misperception.

David , December 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I was there. I've never believed that western leaders were being deliberately deceitful about NATO expansion – they were as much victims of events as anything else, and the situation was moving incredibly fast. Remember that the conversation with Gorbachev (Document 9) dates from February 1990, barely three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when western capitals were in shock, and the priority was a peaceful reunification of Germany and the exit of Soviet forces stationed there. At that stage, as the situation changed almost daily, nobody much was thinking about NATO expansion. Indeed, many were wondering if NATO would go on at all.

Vlade is quite right that there was pressure from the V3 (later 4) for closer ties with the West, and this eventually turned into membership, but this was not being discussed in early 1990, when the V3 themselves did not want to move from one military bloc to another, and when it would have been seen as a gratuitous insult to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, there was a lot of worry about the stability of some of the ex Warsaw Pact countries and the Soviet successor states.

The real issue was the future of NATO itself. NATO had all sorts of pragmatic political advantages for all sorts of nations, including many in Europe, and it was necessary to find something for it to do. In the absence of a threat, enlargement was more or less all it could do, and so that was what it spent a long time doing.

By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:47 pm

tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage.

Alex , December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

I'm grinding my teeth when I think about that time when it was possible to effect a genuine reset of relations between Russia and the West.\

Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions.

Anarcissie , December 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation.

RBHoughton , December 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

The article notes dishonesty originated in the Department of Defense. Why am I not surprised?

One the most attractive features of NATO is that it emasculates all its members before the most powerful one. The strongman gets to know what the others can do militarily and adjusts for that. Its like a secret society – once in, you can't leave even if you want to. So joining the NATO gang for security actually brings submission. Should the strongest one withdraw into domestic contemplation the others will just wither away. Horror of horrors, peace might break out. Doubtful? What did we see in Serbia and Bosnia? Remind me.

wilroncanada , December 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm

The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

NATO was formed in 1948 response to the Soviet refusal to withdraw from the Eastern European nations it continued to occupy with Soviet troops and control with puppet governments after WWll. The Soviet response was to form the Warsaw Pact- consisting of those very same nations: (East) Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslavakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The only time Warsaw Pact troops were used militarily was to put down rebellions by its own members: Hungary in 1956; Czechoslavakia in 1968.

The collapse of the Soviet empire- its Eastern European "sphere of influence"- began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and culminated in the collapse of the Soviet "union" in 1991. In subsequent years, all of the Warsaw Pact members, plus the illegally annexed and occupied Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having reclaimed their sovereignty, also made a point of joining NATO- to ensure that a reawakened Russian bear did not return to do even more damage.

Western leaders in 1990, seeking to reassure Gorbachev regarding German unification, had no standing to negotiate away the future foreign policies of those nations which had endured half a century of the failed Soviet experiment and were still within the Soviet "sphere of influence". In any case, how do you keep a "promise" to a political entity- the USSR- which no longer exists?

The nations of Eastern Europe chose to join NATO; they were not coerced into doing so. Russian actions in Ukraine have validated their pragmatism in joining NATO. Although Putin described the demise of the USSR as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century", Russia does not have some sort of divine right to rebuild the Soviet empire and it "sphere of influence". NATO is not a threat to Russia; it is only a threat to those who would seek to rebuild its lost empire.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Sorry, NATO is a club, just like the EU, which has refused entry to Turkey. NATO decides who to let in. Outsiders don't have any rights, any more than Quebec could demand to join France.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm

"NATO decides who to let in". Precisely! All of the former Warsaw Pact members, plus the Baltic states, asked to join NATO, and were granted membership. Don't the nations of Eastern Europe- after fifty years of Soviet (Russian) domination, have the right to decide their own future, and to decide which alliances to join?

Considering the post WWll history of Eastern Europe -- the Soviet domination until the Soviet collapse -- Russia complaining about NATO expansion is tantamout to a burglar complaining that his victims have installed a burglar alarm.

[Dec 11, 2017] How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Looks like Browder was connected to MI6. That means that intellignece agances participated in economic rape of Russia That's explains a lot, including his change of citizenship from US to UK. He wanted better protection.
Notable quotes:
"... The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War. ..."
"... Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale. ..."
"... Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme. ..."
"... Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy. ..."
"... That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along. ..."
"... By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son. ..."
"... But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post. ..."
"... There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past. ..."
"... Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen." ..."
"... So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false." ..."
"... First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue. ..."
"... From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available. ..."
"... Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you. ..."
"... Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis. ..."
"... Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes. ..."
"... Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it. ..."
"... I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant. ..."
"... Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it. ..."
"... Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years. ..."
"... Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product. ..."
"... "[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row? ..."
"... "The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement. ..."
"... "The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD. ..."
"... Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination. ..."
"... Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not). ..."
"... I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them. ..."
"... backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries. ..."
"... I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. ..."
"... I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up. ..."
"... The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/ ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate, reports Robert Parry.

Near the center of the current furor over Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 is a documentary that almost no one in the West has been allowed to see, a film that flips the script on the story of the late Sergei Magnitsky and his employer, hedge-fund operator William Browder.

The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War.

According to Browder's narrative, companies ostensibly under his control had been hijacked by corrupt Russian officials in furtherance of a $230 million tax-fraud scheme; he then dispatched his "lawyer" Magnitsky to investigate and – after supposedly uncovering evidence of the fraud – Magnitsky blew the whistle only to be arrested by the same corrupt officials who then had him locked up in prison where he died of heart failure from physical abuse.

Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale.

However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov's research kept turning up contradictions to Browder's storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.

So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.

Blocked Premiere

Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy.

Film director Andrei Nekrasov, who produced "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes."

As a lawyer defending Prevezon, a real-estate company registered in Cyprus, on a money-laundering charge, she was dealing with U.S. prosecutors in New York City and, in that role, became an advocate for lifting the U.S. sanctions, The Washington Post reported.

That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along.

By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son.

But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.

Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen."

In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that "A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides." Heaven forbid!

One-Time Showing

So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky's widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.

After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov's documentary Russian "agit-prop" and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder's misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case. Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using "facts highly selectively" and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin's "campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act."

The Post also misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov's original idea for a docu-drama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder's self-exculpatory story to a skeptic. But the Post's deception is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one got to see the film.

The Post concluded smugly: "The film won't grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin's increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky's family.

"We don't worry that Mr. Nekrasov's film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions."

The Post's gleeful editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.

New Paradigm

The Post's satisfaction that Nekrasov's documentary would not draw a large audience represents what is becoming a new paradigm in U.S. mainstream journalism, the idea that it is the media's duty to protect the American people from seeing divergent narratives on sensitive geopolitical issues.

Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false."

First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.

In the meantime, there is the ad hoc approach that was applied to Nekrasov's documentary. Having missed the Newseum showing, I was only able to view the film because I was given a special password to an online version.

From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

But the Post's editors were right in their expectation that "The film won't grab a wide audience." Instead, it has become a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call "the other side of the story." The film now, however, has unexpectedly become a factor in the larger drama of Russia-gate and the drive to remove Donald Trump Sr. from the White House.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

Joseph A. Haran, Jr. , July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you.

Rob Roy , July 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Parry isn't keeping the film viewing a secret. He was given a private password and perhaps can get permission to let the readers here have it. It isn't up to Parry himself but rather to the person(s) who have the rights to the password. I've come across this problem before.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Parry wrote: I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

Any link?? I am willing to buy it.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

This may not be of much help, as the film is dubbed in Russian. If you want to look for the Russian versions on the internet, search for: "????? ?????? ????????? "????? ???????????. ?? ????????"

https://my.mail.ru/bk/n-osetrova/video/71/18682.html?time=155&from=videoplayer

I'll keep looking for the film with translation into some other language.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, the Russian text did not appear. Try with latin alphabet: Film Andreia Nekrasova "Zakon Magnitskogo. Za kulisami"

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1ylakLMNU

This is the same dubbed version, on youtube.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes.

incontinent reader , July 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Well stated.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Mr. Parry,

Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it.

Is there any chance you can share information regarding a means of accessing the forbidden film?

I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant.

Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it.

Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years.

Demonizing other countries is bad enough, but wilfully ignoring the potential for a nuclear war to end not only war, but life as we know it, is appalling.

Anna , July 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

"After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson "
Am I the only one who thinks that Max Boot should have been institutionalized for some time already? He is not well.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Anna,
Perhaps Max can share a suite with John McCain. Sadly, the illness is widespread and sometimes seems to be in the majority. Neo con/lib both are adamant in finding enemies and imposing punishment.

Finding splinters, ignoring beams. Changing regimes everywhere. Making the world safe for Democracy. Unless a man they don't like get elected

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

Max Boot parents are Russain Jews who seemingly instilled in him a rabid hatred for everything Russian. The same is with Aperovitch, the CrowdStrike fraudster. The first Soviet (Bolshevik) government was 85% Jewish. Considering what happened to Russia under Bolsheviks, it seems that Russians are supremely tolerant people.

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Anna, Anti-Semitism will get you NOWHERE, and you should be ashamed of yourself for injecting such HATRED into the rational discussion here.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Dear orwell

re Anna

Its not anti Semitic if its true .and its true he is a Russian Jew and its very obvious he hates Russia–as does the whole Jewish Zionist crowd in the US.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:02 am

orwell, I wonder why the truth always turns out to be so anti-semitic!?

Taras77 , July 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm

I hope you caught the preceding tucker interview with Ralph Peters, who says he is a retired us army LTC. He came off as completely deranged and hysterical. The two interviews back to back struck me as neo con desperation and panic. My respect for Tucker just went up for taking on these two wackos.

Zachary Smith , July 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

The fact that the film is being suppressed by everybody is significant to me. I don't know a thing about the "facts" of the Magnitsky case, and a quick look at the results of a Google search suggests this film isn't going to be available to me unless I shell out some unknown amount of money.

If the producers want the film to be seen, perhaps they ought to release it for download to any interested parties for a nominal sum. This will mean they won't make any profit, but on the other hand they will be able to spit in the eyes of the censors.

Dan Mason , July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I went searching the net for access to this film and found that I was blocked at every turn. I did find a few links which all seemed to go to the same destination which claimed to provide access once I registered with their site. I decided to avoid that route. I don't really have that much interest in the Magnitsky affair, but I do wonder why we are being denied access to information. Who has this kind of influence, and why are they so fearful. I'm really afraid that we already live in a largely hidden Orwellian world. Now where did I put that tin foil hat?

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

The Orwellian World is NOT HIDDEN, it is clearly visible.

Drew Hunkins , July 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Drew – good comment. It's very hard to "turn", isn't it? I wonder if many people appreciate what it takes to do this. Easier to justify, turn a blind eye, but to actually stop, question, think, and then follow where the story leads you takes courage and strength.

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Especially when your bucking an aggressive billionaire.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

BannanaBoat – that too!

Zim , July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

This is interesting:

"In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank! for which he was paid $500,000.

"Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.

Members of Congress wrote to Mrs. Clinton in 2010 seeking to deny visas to people who had been implicated by Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud. William Browder, a foreign investor in Russia who had hired Mr. Magnitsky, alleged that the accountant had turned up evidence that Renaissance officials, among others, participated in the fraud."

The State Department opposed the sanctions bill at the time, as did the Russian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed Hillary Clinton to oppose the legislation during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2012, citing that U.S.-Russia relations would suffer as a result."

More: http://observer.com/2017/07/natalia-veselnitskaya-hillary-clinton-magnitsky-act/

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Very interesting, Zim.

Bart in Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

"[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row?

Now I remember that Post editorial. I was one of only 20 commenters before they shut down comments. It was some heavy pearl clutching.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

WOW..excellent reporting.

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

nice backgrounder for an ever evolving story censorship is censorship by any other name!

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm

afterthought couldn't the film be shown on RT America?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

Would that not enable Bowder's employees online to claim that this documentary is Russian state propaganda, which it obviously is not because it would have been made available for free everywhere already just like RT. I believe that Nekrasov does not like RT and RT probably still does not like Nekrasov. The point of RT has never been the truth then the alternative point of view, as they advertised: Audi alteram partem.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

"The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement.

Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this 'body of reporting' was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.

"The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.

'President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of 'analysis of alternatives' mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA's vaunted 'Red Cell' was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as 'What if President Putin is telling the truth?'

'Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan's foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA!the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.

'The excuse that Brennan's source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous!both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA's mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.

'President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president's most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.

"The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president's statements appear factually sound."

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia By Scott Ritter http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Abe once again, for providing us with news which will never be printed or aired in our MSM. Brennan may ignore the NIC, as Congress and the Executive Branch constantly avoid paying attention to the GAO. Why even have these agencies, if our leaders aren't going to listen them?

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Abe, I'm always amazed at how much you know. Thank you for sharing. If you have your comments in article form or on a site where they can be shared, I'd really like to know about it. I've tried, but I garble the many points you make when trying to explain historical events you've told us about.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

Thanks Abe. You are a real asset to us here at CN.

John V. Walsh , July 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Very good article! The entire Magnitsky saga has become so convoluted and mired in controversy and propaganda that it is very hard to understand. I remember vaguely the controversy surrounding the showing of the film at the Newseum. it is especially impressive that Nekrasov changed his opinion as fcts unfolded.

I will now try to get the docudrama and watch it.
If anyone has suggestions on how to do this, please let me know via a response. here.
Thanks.

Roger Annis , July 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

A 'Magnitsky Act' in Canada was approved by the (appointed) Senate several months ago and is now undergoing fine tuning in the House of Commons prior to a third and final vote of approval. The proposed law has the unanimous support of the parties in Parliament.

A column in today's Globe and Mail daily by the newspaper's 'chief political writer' tiptoes around the Magnitsky story, never once daring to admit that a contrary narrative exists to that of Bill Browder.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/when-it-comes-to-magnitsky-laws-its-clear-what-russia-is-looking-for/article35678618/

John-Albert Eadie , July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Roger Annis – just little lemmings following the leader. Disgusting. I hope you posted a comment at the Globe and Mail, Roger, with a link to this article.

Britton , July 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Browder is a Communist Jew, his father has a Communist past according to his background so I know I can't trust anything he says. Hes just one of many shady interests undermining Putin I've seen over the years. His book Red Notice is just as shady. Good reporting Consortium News. Fox News promotes Browder like crazy every chance they get especially Fox Business channel.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

"Browder is a Communist " Hedge Fund managers are hardly Communist – that's an oxymoron.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not).

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

ToivoS,

thank you for this background information.

My main intention had been to straighten out the blurring of calling a hedge fund manager communist. Nowadays everything gets blurred by people misrepresenting political concepts. Either the people have been dumbed-down by misinformation or misrepresenting is done in order to keep neo-liberalism the dominant economical model. On many occasions I had read comments of people seemingly believing that Nationalsocialism had been some variant of socialism. Even the ideas of Bernie Sanders had been misrepresented as socialist instead of social democratic ones.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Joe Average – Dave P. mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book entitled "Two Hundred Years Together" the other day. I've been reading a long synopsis of this book. What Britton says appears to be quite true. I don't know about Browder, but from what I've read the Jews were instrumental in the communist party, in the deaths of so many Russians. It wasn't just the Jews, but they played a big part. It's no wonder Solzhenitsyn's book has been "lost in translation", at least into English, for so many years.

I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them.

Dave P. , July 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm

backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries.

In recent history, no country went through this kind of plunder on a scale Russia went through during ten or fifteen years starting in 1992. Russia was a very badly ravaged country when Putin took over. Means of production, finance, all came to halt, and society itself had completely broken down. It appears that the West has all the intentions to do it again.

Bruce Walker , July 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. Then he got to John McCain with all his lies and bullshit and was responsible for the sanctions on Russia. All the comments aboutBrowders grandfather andCommunist party are all true but hardly important. Except that it probably was how Browder was able to get his fingers on the pie in Russia. And he sure did get his fingers in the pie BIG TIME.

I am a Canadian and am aware of Maginsky Act in Canada. Our Minister Chrystal Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago both of these two you could say are not fans of Putin, I certainly don't know what they spoke about but other than lies from Browder there is no reason she should have been talking with him. I have made comments on other forums regarding these two meeting. Read Browders book and hopefully see the documentary that this article is about. When I read his book I knew instantly that he was a crook a charloten and a liar. Just the kind of folk John McCain and a lot of other folks in US politics love. You all have a nice Peacefull day

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:38 am

Joe Average – "I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's."

No, it doesn't put the blame entirely on the Jews; it just spells out that they did play a large part. As one Jewish scholar said, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was too much of an academic, too intelligent to ever put the blame entirely on one group. But something like 40 – 60 million died – shot, taken out on boats with rocks around their necks and thrown overboard, starved, gassed in rail cars, poisoned, worked to death, froze, you name it. Every other human slaughter pales in comparison. Good old man, so civilized (sarc)!

But someone(s) has been instrumental in keeping this book from being translated into English (or so I've read many places online). Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and his other books have been translated, but not this one. (Although I just found one site that has almost all of the chapters translated, but not all). Several people ordered the book off Amazon, only to find out that it was in the Russian language. LOL

Solzhenitsyn does say at one point in the book: "Communist rebellions in Germany post-WWI was a big reason for the revival of anti-Semitism (as there was no serious anti-Semitism in the imperial [Kaiser] Germany of 1870 – 1918)."

Lots of Jewish people made it into the upper levels of the Soviet government, academia, etc. (and lots of them were murdered too). I might skip reading these types of books until I get older. Too bleak. Hard enough reading about the day-to-day stuff here without going back in time for more fun!

I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up.

Keep smiling, Joe.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:58 am

Dave P. – I told you, you are a wealth of information, a walking encyclopedia. Interesting about your co-worker. Sounds like it was a free-for-all in Russia. Yes, I totally agree that Putin has done and is doing all he can to bring his country back up. Very difficult job he is doing, and I hope he is successful at keeping the West out as much as he can, at least until Russia is strong and sure enough to invite them in on their own terms.

Now go and tell your wife what I said about you being a "walking encyclopedia". She'll probably have a good laugh. (Not that you're not, but you know what she'll say: "Okay, smartie, now go and do the dishes.")

Chucky LeRoi , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

Just some small scale, local color kind of stuff, but living in the USA, west coast specifically, it was quite noticeable in the mid to late '90's how many Russians with money were suddenly appearing. No apparent skills or 'jobs', but seemingly able to pay for stuff. Expensive stuff.

A neighbor invited us to her 'place in the mountains', which turned out to be where a lumber company had almost terra-formed an area and was selling off the results. Her advice: When you go to the lake (i.e., the low area now gathering runoff, paddle boats rentals, concession stand) you will see a lot of men with huge stomachs and tiny Speedos. They will be very rude, pushy, confrontational. Ignore them, DO NOT comment on their rudeness or try to deal with their manners. They are Russians, and the amount of trouble it will stir up – and probable repercussions – are simply not worth it.

Back in town, the anecdotes start piling up quickly. I am talking crowbars through windows (for a perceived insult). A beating where the victim – who was probably trying something shady – was so pulped the emergency room staff couldn't tell if the implement used was a 2X4 or a baseball bat. When found he had with $3k in his pocket: robbery was not the motive. More traffic accidents involving guys with very nice cars and serious attitude problems. I could go on. More and more often somewhere in the relating of these incidents the phrase " this Russian guy " would come up. It was the increased use of this phrase that was so noticeable.

And now the disclaimer.

Before anybody goes off, I am not anti-Russian, Russo-phobic, what have you. I studied the Russian language in high school and college (admittedly decades ago). My tax guy is Russian. I love him. My day to day interactions have led me to this pop psychology observation: the extreme conditions that produced that people and culture produced extremes. When they are of the good, loving , caring, cultured, helpful sort, you could ask for no better friends. The generosity can be embarrassing. When they are of the materialistic, evil, self-centered don't f**k with me I am THE BADDEST ASS ON THE PLANET sort, the level of mania and self-importance is impossible to deal with, just get as far away as possible. It's worked for me.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

backwardsevolution,

thanks for the info. I'll add the book to the list of books onto my to-read list. As far as I know a Kibbutz could be described as a Communist microcosm. The whole idea of Communism itself is based on Marx (a Jew by birth). A while ago I had started reading "Mein Kampf". I've got to finish the book, in order to see if my assumption is correct. I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's.

The most known Russian Oligarchs that I've heard of are mainly of Jewish origin, but as far as I know they had been too young to be commissars at the time of the demise of the USSR. At least one aspect I've read of many times is that a lot of them built their fortunes with the help of quite shady business dealings.

With regard to President Putin I've read that he made a deal with the oligarchs: they should pay their taxes, keep/invest their money in Russia and keep out of politics. In return he wouldn't dig too deep into their past. Right at the moment everybody in the West is against President Putin, because he stopped the looting of his country and its citizens and that's something our Western oligarchs and financial institutions don't like.

On a side note: Several years ago I had started to read several volumes about German history. Back then I didn't notice an important aspect that should attract my attention a few years later when reading about the rise of John D. Rockefeller. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) took over power from the Merovingians. Prior to becoming King of the Franks he had been Hausmeier (Mayor of the Palace) for the Merovingians. Mayor of the Palace was the title of the manager of the household, which seems to be similar to a procurator and/or accountant (bookkeeper). The similarity of the beginnings of both careers struck me. John D. Rockefeller started as a bookkeeper. If you look at Bill Gates you'll realize that he was smart enough to buy an operating system for a few dollars, improved it and sold it to IBM on a large scale. The widely celebrated Steve Jobs was basically the marketing guy, whilst the real brain behind (the product) Apple had been Steve Wozniak.

Another side note: If we're going down the path of neo-liberalism it will lead us straight back to feudalism – at least if the economy doesn't blow up (PCR, Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers, Richard D. Wolff, and many more economists make excellent points that our present Western economy can't go on forever and is kept alive artificially).

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:50 am

Joe Average – somehow my reply to you ended up above your post. What? How did that happen? You can find it there. Thanks for the interesting info about John D. Rockefeller, Gates, Jobs and Wozniak. Some are good managers, others good at sales, while others are the creative inventors.

Yes, Joe, I totally agree that we are headed back to feudalism. I don't think we'll have much choice as the oil is running out. We'll probably be okay, but our children? I worry about them. They'll notice a big change in their lifetimes. The discovery and capture of oil pulled forward a large population. As we scale back, we could be in trouble, food-wise. Or at least it looks that way.

Thanks, Joe.

Miranda Keefe , July 14, 2017 at 5:48 am

Charlemagne did not take over from the Merovingians. The Mayor of the Palace was not an accountant.

During the 7th Century the Mayor of the Place more and more became the actual ruler of the Franks. The office had existed for over a century and was basically the "prime minister" to the king. By the time Pepin of Herstal, a scion of a powerful Frankish family, took the position in 680, the king was ceremonial leader doing ritual and the Mayor ruled- like the relationship of the Emperor and the Shogun in Japan. In 687 Pepin's Austrasia conquered Neustria and Burgundy and he added "Duke of the Franks" to his titles. The office became hereditary.

When Pepin died in 714 there was some unrest as nobles from various parts of the joint kingdoms attempted to get different ones of his heirs in the office until his son Charles Martel took the reins in 718. This is the famous Charles Martel who defeated the Moors at Tours in 732. But that was not his only accomplishment as he basically extended the Frankish kingdom to include Saxony. Charles not only ruled but when the king died he picked which possible heir would become king. Finally near the end of his reign he didn't even bother replacing the king and the throne was empty.

When Charles Martel died in 741 he followed Frankish custom and divided his kingdom among his sons. By 747 his younger son, Pepin the Short, had consolidated his rule and with the support of the Pope, deposed the last Merovingian King and became the first Carolingian King in 751- the dynasty taking its name from Charles Martel. Thus Pepin reunited the two aspects of the Frankish ruler, combining the rule of the Mayor with the ceremonial reign of the King into the new Kingship.

Pepin expanded the kingdom beyond the Frankish lands even more and his son, Charlemagne, continued that. Charlemagne was 8 when his father took the title of King. Charlemagne never was the Mayor of the Palace, but grew up as the prince. He became King of the Franks in 768 ruling with his brother, sole King in 781, and then started becoming King of other countries until he united it all in 800 as the restored Western Roman Emperor.

When he died in 814 the Empire was divided into three Kingdoms and they never reunited again. The western one evolved into France. The eastern one evolved in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually Germany. The middle one never solidified but became the Low Countries, Switzerland, and the Italian states.

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:45 am

The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/

Since the inti-Russian tenor of the Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland is in accord with the US ziocons anti-Russian policies (never mind all this fuss about WWII Jewish mass graves in Ukraine), "Chrysta" is totally approved by the US government.

Joe Average , July 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm

I'll reply to myself in order to send a response to backwardsevolution and Miranda Keefe.

For a change I'll be so bold to ignore gentleman style and reply in the order of the posts – instead of Ladies first.

backwardsevolution,

in my first paragraph I failed to make a clear distinction. I started with the remark that I'm adding the book "Two Hundred Years Together" to my to-read list and then mentioned that I'm right now reading "Mein Kampf". All remarks after mentioning the latter book are directed at this one – and not the one of Solzhenitsyn.

Miranda Keefe,

I'm aware that accountant isn't an exact characterization of the concept of a Mayor of the Palace. As a precaution I had added the phrase "seems to be similar". You're correct with the statement that Charlemagne was descendant Karl Martel. At first I intended to write that Karolinger (Carolings) took over from Merowinger (Merovingians), because those details are irrelevant to the point that I wanted to make. It would've been an information overload. My main point was the power of accountants and related fields such as sales and marketing. Neither John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs actually created their products from scratch.

Many of those who are listed as billionaires haven't been creators / inventors themselves. Completely decoupled from actual production is banking. Warren Buffet is started as an investment salesman, later stock broker and investor. Oversimplified you could describe this activity as accounting or sales. It's the same with George Soros and Carl Icahn. Without proper supervision money managers (or accountants) had and still do screw those who had hired them. One of those victims is former billionaire heiress Madeleine Schickedanz ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Schickedanz ). Generalized you could also say that BlackRock is your money manager accountant. If you've got some investment (that dates back before 2008), which promises you a higher interest rate after a term of lets say 20 years, the company with which you have the contract with may have invested your money with BlackRock. The financial crisis of 2008 has shown that finance (accountants / money managers) are taking over. Aren't investment bankers the ones who get paid large bonuses in case of success and don't face hardly any consequences in case of failure? Well, whatever turn future might take, one thing is for sure: whenever SHTF even the most colorful printed pieces of paper will not taste very well.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks on

http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nppst

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks . EVER SINCE THE Emperor Constantine established the legal position of the church in the

Many Bolsheviks fled to Germany , taking with them some loot that enabled them to get established in Germany. Lots of invaluable art work also.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 am

Cal – read about "History's Greatest Heist" on Amazon. Sounds interesting. Was one of the main reasons for the Czar's overthrow to steal and then flee? It's got to have been on some minds. A lot of people got killed, and they would have had wedding rings, gold, etc. That doesn't even include the wealth that could be stolen from the Czar. Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow in the first place, get some dough and run with it?

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

@ backwards

" Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow"'

imo some of both. I am sure when they were selling off Russian valuables to finance their revolution a lot of them set aside some loot for themselves.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Cal – thank you. Good books like this get us closer and closer to the truth. Thank goodness for these people.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

An autocratic oligarch would probably be a better description. He probably believes like other Synarchist financiers that they should rightfully rule the World, and see democratic processes as heresy against "The Natural Order for human society", or some such belief.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Looking up "A short definition of Synarchism (a Post-Napoleonic social phenomenon) by Lyndon LaRouche" would give much insight into what's going on. People from the intelligence community made sure a copy of a 1940 army intelligence dossier labelled something like "Synarchism:NAZI/Communist" got into Lyndon's hands. It speaks of the the Synarchist method of attacking a targeted society from both extreme (Right-Left) ends of the political spectrum. I guess this is dialectics? I suppose the existence of the one extreme legitimizes the harsh, anti-democratic/anti-human measures taken to exterminate it by the other extreme, actually destroying the targeted society in the process. America, USSR, and (Sun Yat Sen's old Republic of) China were the targeted societies in the pre-WWII/WWII yearsfor their "sins" of championing We The People against Oligarchy. FDR knew the Synarchist threat and sided with Russia and China against Germany and Japan. He knew that, after dealing with the battlefield NAZIs, the "Boardroom" NAZIs would have to be dealt with Post-War. That all changed with his death.The Synarchists are still at it today, hence all the rabid Russo-phobia, the Pacific Pivot, and the drive towards war. This is all being foiled with Trump's friendly, cooperative approach towards Russia and China.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Big Brother at work – always protecting us from upsetting information. How nice of him to insure our comfort. No need for us to bother with all of this confusing stuff, he can do all that for us. The mainstream media will tell us all we need to know .. (Virginia – please notice my use of irony.)

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Do you remember mike K when porn was censored, and there were two sides to every issue as compromise was always on the table? Now porn is accessible on cable TV, and there is only one side to every issue, and that's I'm right about everything and your not, what compromise with you?

Don't get me wrong, I don't really care how we deal with porn, but I am very concerned to why censorship is showing up whereas we can't see certain things, for certain reasons we know nothing about. Also, I find it unnerving that we as a society continue to stay so undivided. Sure, we can't all see the same things the same way, but maybe it's me, and I'm getting older by the minute, but where is our cooperation to at least try and work with each other?

Always like reading your comments mike K Joe

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Joe,

when it comes to the choice of watching porn and bodies torn apart (real war pictures), I prefer the first one, although we in the West should be confronted with the horrible pictures of what we're assisting/doing.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm

This is where the Two Joe's are alike.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 6:07 pm

I do remember those days Joe. I am 86 now, so a lot has changed since 1931. With the 'greed is good' philosophy in vogue now, those who seek compromise are seen as suckers for the more single minded to take advantage of. Respect for rules of decency is just about gone, especially at the top of the wealth pyramid.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Yep

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Distraction from critical thinking, excellent observation ( please forget the NeoCon Demos they are responsible for half of the nightmare USA society has become.

ranney , July 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Wow Robert, what a fascinating article! And how complicated things become "when first we practice to deceive".
Abe thank you for the link to Ritter's article; that's a really good one too!

John , July 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

If we get into a shooting war with Russia and the human race somehow survives it Robert Parry' s name will one day appear in the history books as the person who most thoroughly documented the events leading up to that war. He will be considered to be a top historian as well as a top journalist.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm

"Browder, who abjured his American citizenship in 1998 to become a British subject, reveals more about his own selective advocacy of democratic principles than about the film itself. He might recall that in his former homeland freedom of the press remains a cherished value."

A Response to William Browder
By Rachel Bauman
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/response-william-browder-16654

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

William Browder is a "shareholder activist" the way Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a "human rights activist".

Both loudly bleat the "story" of their heroic "fight for justice" for billionaire Jewish oligarchs: themselves.

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.686922.1447865981!/image/78952068.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_625/78952068.jpg

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

"never driven by the money"
https://www.thejc.com/culture/books/be-careful-of-putin-he-is-a-true-enemy-of-jews-1.61745

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:50 am

Abe – "never driven by the money". No, he would never be that type of guy (sarc)!

"It's hard to know what Browder will do next. He rules out any government ambitions, instead saying he can achieve more by lobbying it.

This summer, he says he met "big Hollywood players" in a bid to turn his book into a major film.

"The most important next step in the campaign is to adapt the book into a Hollywood feature film," he says. "I have been approached by many film-makers and spent part of the summer in LA meeting with screenwriters, producers and directors to figure out what the best constellation of players will be on this.

"There are a lot of people looking at it. It's still difficult to say who we will end up choosing. There are many interesting options, but I'm not going to name any names."

What the ..? I can see it now, George Clooney in the lead role, Mr. White Helmets himself, with his twins in tow.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:56 am

Is it not impressive how money buys out reality in the modern world? This is why one can safely assume that whatever is told in the MSM is completely opposite to the truth. Would MSM have to push it if it were the truth? You may call this Kiza's Law if you like (modestly): " The truth is always opposite to what MSM say! " The 0.1% of situations where this is not the case is the margin of error.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

"no figure in this saga has a more tangled family relationship with the Kremlin than the London-based hedge fund manager Bill Browder [ ]

"there's a reticence in his Jewish narrative. One of his first jobs in London is with the investment operation of the publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell. As it happens, Maxwell was originally a Czech Jewish Holocaust survivor who fled and became a decorated British soldier, then helped in 1948 to set up the secret arms supply line to newly independent Israel from communist Czechoslovakia. He was also rumored to be a longtime Mossad agent. But you learn none of that from Browder's memoir.

"The silence is particularly striking because when Browder launches his own fund, he hires a former Israeli Mossad agent, Ariel, to set up his security operation, manned mainly by Israelis. Over time, Browder and Ariel become close. How did that connection come about? Was it through Maxwell? Wherever it started, the origin would add to the story. Why not tell it?

"When Browder sets up his own fund, Hermitage Capital Management -- named for the famed czarist-era St. Petersburg art museum, though that's not explained either -- his first investor is Beny Steinmetz, the Israeli diamond billionaire. Browder tells how Steinmetz introduced him to the Lebanese-Brazilian Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra, who invests and becomes not just a partner but also a mentor and friend.

"Safra is also internationally renowned as the dean of Sephardi Jewish philanthropy; the main backer of Israel's Shas party, the Sephardi Torah Guardians, and of New York's Holocaust memorial museum, and a megadonor to Yeshiva University, Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute and much more. Browder must have known all that. Considering the closeness of the two, it's surprising that none of it gets mentioned.

"It's possible that Browder's reticence about his Jewish connections is simply another instance of the inarticulateness that seizes so many American Jews when they try to address their Jewishness."

http://forward.com/news/376788/the-secret-jewish-history-of-donald-trump-jrs-russia-scandal/

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:15 am

Abe – what a web. Money makes money, doesn't it? It's often what club you belong to and who you know. I remember a millionaire in my area long ago who went bankrupt. The wealthy simply chipped in, gave him some start-up money, and he was off to the races again. Simple as that. And I would think that the Jews are an even tighter group who invest with each other, are privy to inside information, get laws changed in favor of each other, pay people off when one gets in trouble. Browder seems a shifty sort. As the article says, he leaves a lot out.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

In 1988, Stanton Wheeler (Yale University – Law School), David L. Weisburd (Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University – The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law). Elin Waring (Yale University – Law School), and Nancy Bode (Government of the State of Minnesota) published a major study on white collar crime in America.

Part of a larger program of research on white-collar crime supported by a grant from the United States Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, the study included "the more special forms associated with the abuse of political power [ ] or abuse of financial power". The study was also published as a Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper

The research team noted that Jews were over-represented relative to their share of the U.S. population:

"With respect to religion, there is one clear finding. Although many in both white collar and common crime categories do not claim a particular religious faith [ ] It would be a fair summary of our. data to say that, demographically speaking, white collar offenders are predominantly middle-aged white males with an over-representation of Jews."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2632989

In 1991, David L. Weisburd published his study of Crimes of the Middle Classes: White-Collar Offenders in the Federal Courts, Weisburd found that although Jews comprised only around 2% of the United States population, they contributed at least 9% of lower category white-collar crimes (bank embezzlement, tax fraud and bank fraud), at least 15% of moderate category white-collar crimes (mail fraud, false claims, and bribery), and at least 33% of high category white-collar crimes (antitrust and securities fraud). Weisburg showed greater frequency of Jewish offenders at the top of the hierarchy of white collar crime. In Weisbug's sample of financial crime in America, Jews were responsible for 23.9%.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:26 am

What I find most interesting is how Putin handles the Jews.

It is obvious that he is the one who saved the country of Russia from the looting of the 90s by the Russian-American Jewish mafia. This is the most direct explanation for his demonisation in the West, his feat will never be forgiven, not even in history books (a demon forever). Even to this day, for example in Syria, Putin's main confrontation is not against US then against the Zionist Jews, whose principal tool is US. Yet, there is not a single anti-Semitic sentence that Putin ever uttered. Also, Putin let the Jewish oligarchs who plundered Russia keep their money if they accepted the authority of the Russian state, kept employing Russians and paying Russian taxes. But he openly confronted those who refused (Berezovsky, Khodorovsky etc). Furthermore, Putin lets Israel bomb Syria under his protection to abandon. Finally, Putin is known in Russia as a great supporter of Jews and Israel, almost a good friend of Nutty Yahoo.

Therefore, it appears to me that the Putin's principal strategy is to appeal to the honest Jewish majority to restrain the criminal Jewish minority (including the criminally insane), to divide them instead of confronting them all as a group, which is what the anti-Semitic Europeans have traditionally been doing. His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. I still do not know if his strategy will succeed in the long run, but it certainly is an interesting new approach (unless I do not know history enough) to an ancient problem. It is almost funny how so many US people think that the problem with the nefarious Jewish money power started with US, if they are even aware of it.

Cal , July 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

" His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. "

The Jews have no power without their uber Jew money men, most of whom are ardent Zionist.
And because they get some benefits from the lobbying heft of the Zionist control of congress they arent going to go against them.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Bill Browder with American-Israeli interviewer Natasha Mozgovaya, TV host for Voice of America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgNeQ_xINM

In this 2015 tirade, Browder declared "Someone has to punch Putin in the nose" and urged "supplying arms to the Ukrainians and putting troops, NATO troops, in all of the surrounding countries".

The choice of Mozgovaya as interviewer was significant to promote Browder with the Russian Jewish community abroad.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1979, Mozgovaya immigrated to Israel with her family in 1990. She became a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth in 2000. Although working most of the time in Hebrew, her reports in Russian appeared in various publications in Russia.

Mozgovaya covered the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, including interviews with President Victor Yushenko and his partner-rival Yulia Timoshenko, as well as the Russian Mafia and Russian oligarchs. During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Mozgovaya gave one of the last interviews with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. She interviewed Garry Kasparov, Edward Limonov, Boris Berezovsky, Chechen exiles such as Ahmed Zakaev, and the widow of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

In 2008, Mozgovaya left Yedioth Ahronoth to become the Washington Bureau Chief for Haaretz newspaper in Washington, D.C.. She was a frequent lecturer on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs at U.S. think-tanks. In 2013, Mozgovaya started working at the Voice of America.

HIDE BEHIND , July 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Gramps was decended from an old Irish New England Yankee lineage and in my youth he always dragged me along when the town meetings were held, so my ideas of American DEmocracy stem from that background, one of open participation.
The local newspapers had more social chit chat than political news of international or for that mstter State or Federal shenanigansbut everu member in that far flung settled communit read them from front to back; ss a child I got to read the funny and sports pages until Gramps got finidhed reading the "News Section, always the news first yhen the lesser BS when time allowed,this habit instilled in me the sence of
priority.
Aftrr I had read his dection of paper he would talk with me,even being a yonker, in a serious but opinionated manner, of the Editorial section which had local commentary letterd to the editor as large as somtimes too pages.
I wonder today at which section of papersf at all, is read by american public, and at how manyadults discuss importsn news worthy tppics with their children.
At advent of TV we still had trustworthy journalist to finally be seen after years of but reading their columns or listening on radios,almost tottaly all males but men of honesty and character, and worthy of trust.
They wrre a part of all social stratas, had lived real lives and yes most eere well educated but not the elitist thinking jrrks who are no more than parrots repeating whatevrr a teleprompter or bias of their employers say to write.
Wrll back to Gramps and hid home spun wisdom: He alwsys ,and shoeed by example at those old and somrtimes boistrous town Halls, that first you askef a question, thought about the answer, and then questioned the answer.
This made the one being question responsible for the words he spoke.
So those who have doubts by a presumed independent journalist, damn right they should question his motives, which in reality begin to answer our unspoken questions we can no longer ask those boobs for bombs and political sychophants and their paymasters of popular media outlets.
As one who likes effeciency in prodution one monitors data to spot trends and sny aberations bring questions so yes I note this journalist deviation from the norms as well.
I can only question the why, by looking at data from surrounding trends in order to later be able to question his answers.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:07 am

Hide Behind – sounds like you had a smart grandpa, and someone who cared enough about you to talk things over with you (even though he was opinionated). I try to talk things over with my kids, sometimes too much. They're known on occasion to say, "Okay, enough. We're full." I wait a few days, and then fill them up some more! Ha.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Here's a thought; will letting go of Trump Jr's infraction cancel out a guilty verdict of Hillary Clinton's transgressions?

I keep hearing Hillary references while people defend Donald Trump Jr over his meeting with Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya. My thinking started over how I keep hearing pundits speak to Trump Jr's 'intent'. Didn't Comey find Hillary impossible to prosecute due to her lack of 'intent'? Actually I always thought that to be prosecuted under espionage charges, the law didn't need to prove intent, but then again we are talking about Hillary here.

The more I keep hearing Trump defenders make mention of Hillary's deliberate mistakes, and the more I keep hearing Democrates point to Donald Jr's opportunistic failures, the more similarity I see between the two rivals, and the more I see an agreed upon truce ending up in a tie. Remember we live in a one party system with two wings.

Am I going down the wrong road here, or could forgiving Trump Jr allow Hillary to get a free get out of jail card?

F. G. Sanford , July 14, 2017 at 12:42 am

I've been saying all along, our government is just a big can of worms, and neither side can expose the other without opening it. But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers like it's a game of chicken. My guess is, everybody is gonna get a free pass. I read somewhere that Preet Bharara had the goods on a whole bunch of bankers, but he sat on it clear up to the election. Then, he got fired. So much for draining the swamp. If they prosecute Hillary, it looks like a grudge match. If they prosecute Junior, it looks like revenge. If they prosecute Lynch, it looks like racism. When you deal with a government this corrupt, everybody looks innocent by comparison. I'm still betting nobody goes to jail, as long as the "deep state" thinks they have Trump under control.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 1:29 am

It's like we are sitting on the top of a hill looking down at a bunch of little armies attacking each other, or something.

I'm really screwy, I have contemplated to if Petraues dropped a dime on himself for having a extra martial affair, just to get out of the Benghazi mess. Just thought I'd tell you that for full disclosure.

When it comes to Hillary, does anyone remember how in the beginning of her email investigation she pointed to Colin Powell setting precedent to use a private computer? That little snitch Hillary is always the one when caught to start pointing the finger .she would never have lasted in the Mafia, but she's smart enough to know what works best in Washington DC.

I'm just starting to see the magic; get the goods on Trump Jr then make a deal with the new FBI director.

Okay go ahead and laugh, but before you do pass the popcorn, and let's see how this all plays out.

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

Joe

Lisa , July 14, 2017 at 4:22 am

"Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see."

Joe, where does this quote originate? Or is it a paraphrase?
I once had an American lecturer (political science) at the university, and he stressed the idea that we should not believe anything we read or hear and only half of what we see. This was l-o-o-ng ago, in the 60's.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 10:59 am

The first time I ever heard that line, 'believe nothing of what you see', was a friend of mine said it after we watched Roberto Clemente throw a third base runner out going towards home plate, as Robert threw the ball without a bounce to the catcher who was standing up, from the deep right field corner of the field .oh those were the days.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

JT,
Clemente had an unbelievable arm! The consummate baseball player I have family in western PA, an uncle your age in fact who remembers Clemente well. Roberto also happened to be a great human being.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I got loss at Forbes Field. I was seven years old, it was 1957. I got separated from my older cousin, we got in for 50 cents to sit in the left field bleachers. Like I said I loss my older cousin so I walked, and walked, and just about the time I wanted my mum the most I saw daylight. I followed the daylight out of the big garage door, and I was standing within a foot of this long white foul line. All of a sudden this Black guy started yelling at me in somekind of broken English to, 'get off the field, get out of here'. Then I felt a field ushers hand grab my shoulder, and as I turned I saw my cousin standing on the fan side of the right field side of the field. The usher picked me up and threw me over to my cousin, with a warning for him to keep his eye on me. That Black baseball player was a young rookie who was recently just drafted from the then Brooklyn Dodgers .#21 Roberto Clemente.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm

You were a charmed boy and now you are a charmed man. Great story life is a Field of Dreams sometimes.

Zachary Smith , July 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

My introduction to this had the wording the other way around:

"Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."

This was because the workplace was saturated with rumors, and unfortunately there was a practice of management and union representatives "play-acting" for their audience. So what you "saw" was as likely as not a little theatrical production with no real meaning whatever. The two fellows shouting at each other might well be laughing about it over a cup of coffee an hour later.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 am

Sanford – "But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers " That's funny writing.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

yessir, love it

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:41 am

Absolutely, one of the best political metaphors ever (unfortunately works in English language only).

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:19 pm

BTW, they are flashing at each other not only can openers then also jail cells and grassy knolls these days. But the can openers would still be most scary.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 2:13 am

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries, like binary options, have been allowed to flourish here.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Despite his service as a useful idiot propagating the Magnitsky Myth, Bharara discovered that for Russian Jewish oligarchs, criminals and scam artists, the motto is "Nikogda ne zabyt'!" Perhaps more recognizable by the German phrase: "Niemals vergessen!"

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:00 am

Abe – wow, what a story. I guess it's lucrative to "never forget"! Bandits.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=6180

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
NCJRS Abstract
The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

NCJ Number: NCJ 006180
Title: CRIMINALITY AMONG JEWS – AN OVERVIEW

United States of America
Journal: ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGY Volume:6 Issue:2 Dated:(SUMMER 1971) Pages:1-39
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 15
.
Abstract: THE CONCLUSION OF MOST STUDIES IS THAT JEWS HAVE A LOW CRIME RATE. IT IS LOWER THAN THAT OF NON-JEWS TAKEN AS A WHOLE, LOWER THAN THAT OF OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS,

HOWEVER, THE JEWISH CRIME RATE TENDS TO BE HIGHER THAN THAT OF NONJEWS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS FOR WHITE-COLLAR OFFENSES,

THAT IS, COMMERCIAL OR COMMERCIALLY RELATED CRIMES, SUCH AS FRAUD, FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY, AND EMBEZZLEMENT.

Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences ; Adult offenders ; Minorities ; Behavioral science research ; Offender classification

Country: United States of America
Language: English

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Cal – that does not surprise me at all. Of course they would be where the money is, and once you have money, you get nothing but the best defense. "I've got time and money on my side. Go ahead and take me to court. I'll string this thing along and it'll cost you a fortune. So let's deal. I'm good with a fine."

A rap on the knuckles, a fine, and no court case, no discovery of the truth that the people can see. Of course they'd be there. That IS the only place to be if you want to be a true criminal.

Skip Scott , July 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Thanks again Abe, you are a wealth of information. I think you have to allow for anyone to make a mistake, and Bharara has done a lot of good.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:45 am

USA justice for Oilygarchs; Ignore capital crimes and mass destruction ; concentrate on entertaining shenanigans.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm

If Trump wants to survive he better let go of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Lets start here:

Trump's personal attorneys are reportedly fed up with Jared Kushner
http://www.businessinsider.com/jared-kushner-trump-lawyers-donald-jr-emails-2017-7

Longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz and his team have directed their grievance at Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
Citing a person familiar with Trump's legal team, The Times said Kasowitz has bristled at Kushner's "whispering in the president's ear" about stories on the Russia investigation without telling Kasowitz and his team.
The Times' source said the attorneys, who were hired as private counsel to Trump in light of the Russia investigation, view Kushner "as an obstacle and a freelancer" motivated to protect himself over over Trump. The lawyers reportedly told colleagues the work environment among Trump's inner circle was untenable, The Times said, suggesting Kasowitz could resign

Second
Who thinks Jared works for Trump? I don't.
Jared works for his father Charles Kushner, the former jail bird who hired prostitutes to blackmail his brother in law into not testifying against him. Jared spent every weekend his father was in prison visiting him.,,they are inseparable.

Third
So what is Jared doing in his WH position to help his father and his failing RE empire?

Trying to get loans from China, Russia, Qatar,Qatar

And why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Finances?

Because of this no doubt:..seeking a loan for the Kushners from a Russian bank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/03/sergei-gorkov-russian-banker-jared-kushner

The White House and the bank have offered differing accounts of the Kushner-Gorkov sit-down. While the White House said Kushner met Gorkov and other foreign representatives as a transition official to "help advance the president's foreign policy goals." Vnesheconombank, also known as VEB, said it was part of talks with business leaders about the bank's development strategy.
It said Kushner was representing Kushner companies, his family real estate empire.

Jared Kushner 'tried and failed to get a $500m loan from Qatar before
http://www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas › US politics
2 days ago –
Jared Kushner tried and failed to secure a $500m loan from one of Qatar's richest businessmen, before pushing his father-in-law to toe a hard line with the country, it has been alleged. This intersection between Mr Kushner's real estate dealings and his father-in-law's

The Kushners are about to lose their shirts..unless one of those foreign country's banks gives them the money.

At Kushners' Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/nyregion/kushner-companies-666-fifth-avenue.html
The Fifth Avenue skyscraper was supposed to be the Kushner Companies' flagship in the heart of Manhattan -- a record-setting $1.8 billion souvenir proclaiming that the New Jersey developers Charles Kushner and his son Jared were playing in the big leagues.
And while it has been a visible symbol of their status, it has also it has also been a financial headache almost from the start. On Wednesday, the Kushners announced that talks had broken off with a Chinese financial conglomerate for a deal worth billions to redevelop the 41-story tower, at 666 Fifth Avenue, into a flashy 80-story ultraluxury skyscraper comprising a chic retail mall, a hotel and high-priced condominiums"

Get these cockroaches out of the WH please.,,,Jared and his sister are running around the world trying to get money in exchange for giving them something from the Trump WH.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:52 am

The NYC skyline displays 666 in really really really HUGE !!!! numbers. Perhaps the USA government as Cheney announced has gone to the very very very DARK side.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Yea 666 probably isn't a coincidence .lol

Chris Kinder , July 14, 2017 at 12:15 am

What I think most comments overlook here is the following: the US is the primary imperialist aggressor in the world today, and Russia, though it is an imperialist competitor, is much weaker and is generally losing ground. Early on, the US promised that NATO would not be extended into Eastern Europe, but now look at what's happened: not only does the US have NATO allies and and missiles in Eastern Europe, but it also engineered a coup against a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine, and is now trying to drive Russia out of Eastern Ukraine, as in Crimea and the Donbass and other areas of Eastern Ukraine, which are basically Russian going back more than a century. Putin is pretty mild compered to the US' aggressive stance. That's number one.

Number two is that the current anti-Russian hysteria in the US is all about maintaining the same war-mongering stance against Russia that existed in the cold war, and also about washing clean the Democratic Party leadership's crimes in the last election. Did the Russians hack the election? Maybe they tried, but the point is that what was exposed–the emails etc–were true information! They show that the DNC worked to deprive Bernie Sanders of the nomination, and hide crimes of the Clintons'! These exposures, not any Russian connection to the exposures, are what really lost Hillary the election.

So, what is going on here? The Democrats are trying to hide their many transgressions behind an anti-Russian scare, why? Because it is working, and because it fits in with US imperialist anti-Russian aims which span the entire post-war period, and continue today. And because it might help get Trump impeached. I would not mind that result one bit, but the Democrats are no alternative: that has been shown to be true over and over again.

This is all part of the US attempt to be the dominant imperialist power in the world–something which it has pursued since the end of the last world war, and something which both Democrats and Republicans–ie, the US ruling class behind them–are committed to. Revolutionaries say: the main enemy is at home, and that is what I say now. That is no endorsement of Russian imperialism, but a rejection of all imperialism and the capitalist exploitative system that gives rise to it.

Thanks for your attention -- Chris Kinder

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:58 am

Chris – good post. Thanks.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

Chris, I think most commenters here are aware of everything you summarized above, but we just don't put all that in each individual post.

Paranam Kid , July 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

It is ironic that Browder on his website describes himself as running a battle against corporate corruption in Russia, and there is a quote by Walter Isaacson: "Bill Browder is an amazing moral crusader". http://www.billbrowder.com/bio

HIDE BEHIND , July 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

One cannot talk of Russian monry laundering in US without exposing the Jewish Israeli and many AIPAC connections.
I studied not so much the Jewish Orthodoxy but mainly the evolution of noth their outlook upon G.. but also how those who do not believe in a G.. and still keep their cultural cohesiveness
The largest money laundering group in US is
both Jewish and Israeli, and while helping those of their cultural similarities, their ecpertise goes. Very deep in Eastern U.S. politics and especially strong in all commercial real estate, funding, setting up bribes to permitting officials,contractors and owners of construvtion firms.
Financials some quite large are within this Jew/Israel connections, as all they who offshore need those proper connections to do so. take bribes need the funding cleaned and
flow out through very large tax free Jewish Charity Orgd, the largest ones are those of Orthodox.
GOV Christie years ago headed the largest sting operation to try and uproot what at that time he believed was just statewide tax fraud and laundering operations, many odd cash flows into political party hacks running for evrry gov position electefd or appointed.
Catchng a member of one of the most influential Orthofox familys mrmbers, that member rolled on many many indivifuals of his own culture.
It was only when Vhristies investigative team began turning up far larger cases of laundering and political donations thst msinly centered in NY Stste and City, fid he then find out howuch power this grouping had.
Soon darn near every AIPAC aided elected politico from city state and rspecially Congress was warning him to end investigation.
Which he did.
His reward was for his fat ass to be funded for a run towards US Presidency, without any visibly open opposition by that cultural grouping.
No it is not odd for Jewery to charge goyim usury or to aid in political schemes that advance their groups aims.
One thing to remenber by the Bible thumpers who delay any talks of Israel ; Christian Zionist, is that to be of their culture one does not have to believe in G.
There are a few excellent books written about early days Jewish immigrant Pre Irish andblre Sicilian mafias.
The Jewish one remainst to this day but are as well orgNized as the untold history of what is known as "The Southern mafia.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Hide Behind – fascinating! I guess if we ever knew half of what goes on behind the scenes, we'd be shocked. We only ever know things like this exist when people like you enlighten us, or when there's a blockbuster movie about it. Thanks.

Deborah Andrew , July 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

With great respect and appreciation for your writing about the current unsubstantiated conversations/writing about 'Russia-gate' I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts. Analysis and opinions, that include the facts, may differ. However, it is the readers who will evaluate the varied analysis and opinions when they include all the facts known. I raise this question, as it seems to me that we have a binary approach to our thinking and decision making. Something is either good or bad, this or that. Sides are taken. Labels are added (such as conservative and progressive). Would we not be wiser and would our decision making not be wiser if it were based on a set of principles? My own preference: the precautionary principle and the principle of do no harm. I am suggesting that we abandon the phrase and notion of the 'other side of the story' and replace it with: based on the facts now known, or, based on all the facts revealed to date or, until more facts are revealed it appears

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

HEAR -- HEAR -- Excellent --

Zachary Smith , July 14, 2017 at 11:04 am

I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts.

Replying to a question with another question isn't really good form, but given my knowledge level of this case I can see no alternative.

How do you propose to determine the "facts" when virtually none of the characters involved in the affair appear trustworthy? Also, there is a lot of evidence (displayed by Mr. Parry) that another set of "characters" we call the Mainstream Media are extremely biased and one-sided with their coverage of the story.

Again – Where am I going to find those "facts" you speak of?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:52 am

Spot on.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Deborah Andrew – good comment, but the problem is that we never seem to get "the other side of the story" from the MSM. You are right in pointing out that "the other side of the story" probably isn't ALL there is (as nothing is completely black and white), but at least it's something. The only way we can ever get to the truth is to put the facts together and question them, but how are you going to do that when the facts are kept away from us?

It can be very frustrating, can't it, Deborah? Cheers.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Nice comment.

None of us can know the exact truth of anything we ourselves haven't seen or been involved in. The best we can do is try to find trusted sources, be objective, analytical and compare different stories and known the backgrounds and possible agendas of the people involved in a issue or story.

We can use some clues to help us cull thru what we hear and read.

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.

3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such 'arguable rumors'. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a 'wild rumor' from a 'bunch of kids on the Internet' which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with – a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, 'just isn't so.' Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly 'call for an end to the nonsense' because you have already 'done the right thing.' Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can 'argue' with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how 'sensitive they are to criticism.'

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.

22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of theircharacter by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.

25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen. .

Note: There are other ways to attack truth, but these listed are the most common, and others are likely derivatives of these. In the end, you can usually spot the professional disinfo players by one or more of seven (now 8) distinct traits:

Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
by H. Michael Sweeney
copyright (c) 1997, 2000 All rights reserved

(Revised April 2000 – formerly SEVEN Traits)

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. .

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for 'conspiracy theorists' and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of 'artificial' emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later -- an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game -- where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat 'freudian', so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Wth respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:
1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT – FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.
2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR – there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to 'get permission' or instruction from a formal chain of command.
3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay – the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

Michael Kenny , July 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

I don't really see Mr Parry's point. The banning of Nekrasov's film isn't proof of the accuracy of its contents and even less does it prove that anything that runs counter to Nekrasov's argument is false. Nor does proving that a mainstream meida story is false prove that an internet story saying the opposite is true. "A calls B a liar. B proves that A is a liar. That proves that B is truthful." Not very logical! What seems to be established is that the lawyer in question represents a Russian-owned company, a money-laundering prosecution against which was settled last May on the basis of what the company called a "surprise" offer from prosecutors that was "too good to refuse". This "Russian government attorney" (dixit Goldstone) had information concerning illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr jumped at it and it makes no difference whether he was tricked or even whether he actually got anything, his intent was clear. In addition DNC "dirt" did indeed appear on the internet via Wikileaks, just as "dirt" appeared in the French election. MacronLeaks proves Russiagate and "Juniorgate" confirms MacronLeaks. The question now is did Trump, as president, intervene to bring about this "too good to refuse" offer? That question cannot just be written off with the "no evidence" argument.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

God, you are persistent if nothing else. Keep repeating the same lie until it is taken as true, just like the MSM. You say that Russia-gate, Macron leaks, etc can't be written off with the "no evidence" argument (how is that logical?), and then you trash a film you haven't even seen because it doesn't fit your narrative. Maybe some evidence is provided in the film, did you consider that possibility? That fact that Nekrasov started out to make a pro Broder film, and then switched sides, leads me to believe he found some disturbing evidence. And if you look into Nekrasov you will find that he is no fan of Putin, so one has to wonder what his motive is if he is lying.

I am wondering if you ever look back at previous posts, because you never reply to a rebuttal. If you did, you would see that you are almost universally seen by the commenters here as a troll. If you are being paid, I suppose it might not matter much to you. However, your employer should look for someone with more intelligent arguments. He is wasting his money on you.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Propaganda trolls attempt to trash the information space by dismissing, distracting, diverting, denying, deceiving and distorting the facts.

The trolls aim at confusing rather than convincing the audience.

The tag team troll performance of "Michael Kenny" and "David" is accompanied by loud declarations that they have "logic" on their side and "evidence" somewhere. Then they shriek that they're being "censored".

Propaganda trolls target the comments section of independent investigative journalism sites like Consortium News, typically showing up when articles discuss the West's "regime change" wars and deception operations.

Pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda trolls also strive to discredit websites, articles, and videos critical of Israel and Zionism. Hasbara smear tactics have intensified due to increasing Israeli threats of military aggression, Israeli collusion with the United States in "regime change" projects from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and Israeli links to international organized crime and terrorism in Syria.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:04 am

Gee Abe, you are a magician (and I thought that you only quote excellent articles). Short and sharp.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

When they have a hard time selling that they're being "censored" (after more than a dozen comments), trolls complain that they're being "dismissed" and "invalidated" by "hostile voices".

exiled off mainstreet , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Aaron Kesel, in Activistpost documents the links between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the company engaged by the Clintons to prepare the defamatory Christopher Steele Dossier against Trump later used by Comey to help gin up the Russian influence conspiracy theory. In the article, it is true the GPS connection may have involved her lobbying efforts to overturn the Magnitsky law, not the dossier, but it is also interesting that she is on record as anti-Trump and having associations with Clinton democrats. Though it may have been part of the beginnings of a conspiracy, the conspiracy may have developed later and the meeting became something they related back to to bolster this fraudulent dangerous initiative.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm

I think as you say Skip that most on this blog have seen through Michael Kenny's stuff. Nobody's buying it. He's harmless. If he's here on his own dime, if we don't feed him, he will get bored and go away. If he's being payed, he may persist, but so what. Sometimes I check the MSM just to see what the propaganda line is. Kenny is like that; his shallow arguments tell me what we must counter to wake people up.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Yeah mike k, I know you're right. I don't know why I let the guy get under my skin. Perhaps it's because he never responds to a rebuttal.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:14 am

Then you would have to waste more time rebutting the (equally empty) rebuttal.

The second thing is that many trolls suffer from DID, that is the Dissociative Identity Disorder, aka sock puppetry. There is a bit of similarity in argument between David and Michael and HAWKINS, only one of them rebuts quite often.

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Another excellent article! I wrote a very detailed blog post in which I methodically take apart the latest "revelation" about Donald Trump Jr.'s emails. I talk a lot about the Magnitsky Act, which is very relevant to this whole story.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I always like reading your articles Philippe, you have a real talent. Maybe read what I wrote above, but I'm sensing this Trump Jr affair will help Hillary more than anything, to give her a reprieve from any further FBI investigations. I mean somehow, I'm sure by Hillary's standards and desires, that this whole crazy investigation thing has to end. So, would it not seem reasonable to believe that by allowing Donald Jr to be taken off the hook, that Hillary likewise will enjoy the taste of forgiveness?

Tell me if you think this Donald Trump Jr scandal could lead to this Joe

PS if so this could be a good next article to write there I go telling the band what to play, but seriously if this Russian conclusion episode goes on much longer, could you not see a grand bargain and a deal being made?

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you like the blog. I wasn't under the impression that Clinton was under any particular danger from the Justice Department, but even if she was, she doesn't have the power to stop this Trump/Russia collusion nonsense because it's pushed by a lot of people that have nothing to do with her except for the fact that they would have preferred her to win.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Excellent summary and analysis, Philippe. Key observation:

"as even the New York Times admits, there is no evidence that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort for 20-30 minutes on 9 June 2016, provided any such information during that meeting. Donald Trump Jr. said that, although he asked her about it, she didn't give them anything on Clinton, but talked to him about the Magnitsky Act and Russia's decision to block adoption by American couples in retaliation. Of course, if we just had his word, we'd have no particularly good reason to believe him. But the fact remains that no documents of the sort described in Goldstone's ridiculous email ever surfaced during the campaign, which makes what he is saying about how the meeting went down pretty convincing, at least on this specific point. It should be noted that Donald Trump Jr. has offered to testify under oath about anything related to this meeting. Moreover, he also said during the interview he gave to Sean Hannity that there was no follow-up to this meeting, which is unlikely to be a lie since he must know that, given the hysteria about this meeting, it would come out. He may not be the brightest guy in the world, but surely he or at least the people who advised him before that interview are not that stupid."

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Thanks!

exiled off mainstreet , July 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Your own necpluribus article was one of the best I've seen summarising the whole controversy, and your exhaustive responses to the pro-deep state critics was edifying. I am now convinced that your view of Veselnitskaya's role in the affair and the nature her connections to the dossier drafting company GPS being based on their unrelated work on the magnitsky law is accurate.

Mike , July 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Pretty interesting:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-jr-russia-bill-browder-testify-senate-links-natalia-veselnitskaya-steele-dossier-a7840061.html

Big Tim , July 15, 2017 at 12:31 am

"Bill Browder, born into a notable Jewish family in Chicago, is the grandson of Earl Browder, the former leader of the Communist Party USA,[2] and the son of Eva (Tislowitz) and Felix Browder, a mathematician. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago where he studied economics. He received an MBA from Stanford Business School[3] in 1989 where his classmates included Gary Kremen and Rich Kelley. In 1998, Browder gave up his US citizenship and became a British citizen.[4] Prior to setting up Hermitage, Browder worked in the Eastern European practice of the Boston Consulting Group[5] in London and managed the Russian proprietary investments desk at Salomon Brothers.[6]"

Rake , July 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

Successfully keeping a salient argument from being heard is scary, given the social media and alternative media players who are all ripe to uncover a bombshell. Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks.

Anna , July 15, 2017 at 10:25 am

"Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks."
Agree.

P. Clark , July 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

When Trump suggested that a Mexican-American judge might be biased because of this ethnicity the media said this was racist. Yet these same outlets like the New York Times are now routinely questioning Russian-American loyalty because of their ethnicity. As usual a ridiculous double standard. Basically the assumption is all Russians are bad. We didn't even have this during the cold war.

Cal , July 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Yes indeed P. Clark .that kind or hypocrisy makes my head explode!

MichaelAngeloRaphaelo , July 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Enough's Enough
STOP DNC/DEMs
#CryBabyFakeNewsBS

Support Duly ELECTED
@POTUS @realDonaldTrump
#BoycottFakeNewsSponsors
#DrainTheSwamp
#MAGA

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

CN article on 911 truthers:

https://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/011511.html

Finnish wonderer , July 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Wow, I just learned via this article that in US Nekrasov is labeled as "pro-Kremlin" by WaPo. That's just too funny. He's in a relationship with a Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala, who is very well known for her anti-Russia mentality. Nekrasov is defenetly anti-Kremlin if something. He was supposed to make an anti-Kremlin documentary, but the facts turned out to be different than he thought, but still finished his documentary.

Mark Dankof , July 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

The lengths to which the Neo Conservative War Cabal will go to destroy freedom of speech and access to alternative news sources underscores that the United States is becoming an Orwellian agitation-propaganda police state equally dedicated to igniting World War III for Netanyahu, the Central Banks, our Wahhabic Petrodollar Partners, and a pipeline consortium or two. The Old American Republic is dead.

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Interesting to note that each and everyone of David's comments were bleached from this page. Looks like he was right about the censorship. Sad.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Note "allegations that are unsupported by facts".

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/19/a-reminder-about-comment-rules-2/

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Duly noted Abe. But you should adhere to the first part of the statement that you somehow forgot to include:

From Editor Robert Parry: At Consortiumnews, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm

My favorite was David's claim that he contributed to this zine whilst it was publishing articles not to his liking (/sarc). I kindly reminded him that people pay much more money to have publishing the way they like it – for example how much Bezos paid for Washington Post, or Omidyar to establish The Intercept.

Except for such funny component, David's comments were totally substance free and useless. Nothing lost with bleaching.

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:44 am

You're practicing disinformation. He actually said he contributed early on and had problems with the recent course of the CN trajectory. Censorship is cowardly.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Consortium News welcomes substantive comments.

"David" was presenting allegations unsupported by facts and disrupting on-topic discussion.

Violations of CN comment policy are taken down by the moderator. Period. It has nothing to do with "censorship".

Stop practicing disinformation and spin, "Roy G Biv".

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I stopped contributing after the unintellectual dismissal of scientific 911 truthers. And it's easy for you to paint over my comments as they have been scrubbed. There was plenty of useful substance, it just ran against the tide. Sorry you didn't appreciate it the contrary viewpoint or have the curiosity to read the backstory.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm

The cowardly claim of "censorship".

The typical troll whine is that their "contrary viewpoint" was "dismissed" merely because it "ran against the tide".

No. Your allegations were unsupported by facts. They still are.

Martyrdom is just another troll tactic.

dub , July 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm

torrent for the film?

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:56 am

Here is the pdf of the legal brief about the Magnitsky film submitted by Senator Grassly to Homeland Security Chief. Interesting read and casts doubt on the claims made in the film, refutes several claims actually. Skip past Chuck Grassly's first two page intro to get to the meat of it. If you are serious about a debate on the merits of the case, this is essential reading.

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2017-04-04%20CEG%20to%20DHS%20(Akhmetshin%20Information)%20with%20attachment.pdf

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the brief.

But forget the spin from "Roy G Biv" because the brief actually refutes nothing about Andrei Nekrasov's film.

It simply notes that the Russian government was understandably concerned about "unscrupulous swindler" and "sleazy crook" William Browder.

After your finished reading the brief, try to remember any time when Congress dared to examine a lobbying campaign undertaken on behalf of Israeli (which is to say, predominantly Russian Jewish) interests, the circumstances surrounding a pro-Israel lobbying effort and the potential FARA violations involved. or the background of a Jewish "Russian immigrant".

Note on page 3 of the cover letter the CC to The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Feinstein was born Dianne Emiel Goldman in San Francisco, to Betty (née Rosenburg), a former model, and Leon Goldman, a surgeon. Feinstein's paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Her maternal grandparents, the Rosenburg family, were from Saint Petersburg, Russia. While they were of German-Jewish ancestry, they practiced the Russian Orthodox faith as was required for Jews residing in Saint Petersburg.

In 1980, Feinstein married Richard C. Blum, an investment banker. In 2003, Feinstein was ranked the fifth-wealthiest senator, with an estimated net worth of US$26 million. By 2005 her net worth had increased to between US$43 million and US$99 million.

Like the rest of Congress, Feinstein knows the "right way" to vote.

David , July 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

So you're saying because a Jew Senator was CC'd it invalidates the information? Read the first page again. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is obligated to CC these submissions to the ranking member of the Committee, Jew heritage or not. Misinformation and disinformation from you Abe, or generously, maybe lazy reading. The italicized unscrupulous swindler and sleazy crook comments were quoting the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the Washington screening of Nekrasov's film and demonstrating Russia's intentions to discredit Browder. You are practiced at the art of deception. Hopefully readers will simply look for themselves.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Ah, comrade "David". We see you're back muttering about "disinformation" using your "own name".

My statements about Senator Feinstein are entirely supported by facts. You really should look into that.

Also, please note that quotation marks are not italics.

And please note that the Russian Foreign Minister is legally authorized to present the view of the Russian government.

Browder is pretty effective at discrediting himself. He simply has to open his mouth.

I encourage readers to look for themselves, and not simply take the word of one Browder's sockpuppets.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It won't last papushka. Every post and pended moderated post was scrubbed yesterday, to the cheers of you and your mean spirited friends. But truth is truth and should be defended. So to the point, I reread the Judiciary Committee linked document, and the items you specified are in italics, because the report is quoting Lavrov's comments to a Moscow news paper and "another paper" as evidence of Russia's efforts to undermine the credibility and standing of Browder. This is hardly obscure. It's plain as day if you just read it.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Also Abe, before I get deleted again, I don't question any of you geneological description of Feinstein. I merely pointed out that she is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and it is normal for the Chairman of the Committee (Republican) to CC the ranking member. Unless of course it is Devin Nunes, then fairness and tradition goes out the window.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

It's plain as day, "David" or whatever other name you're trolling under, that you're here to loudly "defend" the "credibility" and "standing" of William Browder.

Sorry, but you're going to have to "defend" Browder with something other than your usual innuendo, blather about 9-11, and slurs against RP.

Otherwise it will be recognized for what it is, repeated violation of CN comment policy, and taken down by the moderator again.

Good luck to any troll who wants to "defend" Browder's record.

But you're gonna have to earn your pay with something other than your signature unsupported allegations, 9-11 diversions, and the "non-Jewish Russian haters gonna hate" propaganda shtick.

David , July 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I wish you would stop with the name calling. I am not a troll. I have been trying to make simple rational points. You respond by calling me names and wholly ignoring and/or misrepresenting and obfuscating easily verifiable facts. I suspect you are the moderator of this page, and if so am surprised by your consistent negative references to Jews. I'm not Jewish but you're really over the top. Of course you have many friends here so you get little push back, but I really hope you are not Bob or Sam.

Anonymous , July 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

We can see that it was what can be considered to be a Complex situation, where it was said that someone had Dirt on Hillary Clinton, but there was No collusion and there was No attempted collusion, but there was Patriotism and Concern for Others during a Perplexing situation.

This is because of what is Known as Arkancide, and which is associated with some People who say they have Dirt on the Clintons.

The Obvious and Humane thing to do was to arrange to meet the Russian Lawyer, who it was Alleged to have Dirt on Hillary Clinton, regardless of any possible Alleged Electoral advantage against Hillary Clinton, and until further information, there may have been some National Security Concerns, because it was Known that Hillary Clinton committed Espionage with Top Secret Information on her Unauthorized, Clandestine, Secret Email Server, and the Obvious cover up by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and so it was with this background that this Complex situation had to be dealt with.

This is because there is Greater Protection for a Person who has Dirt or Alleged Dirt on the Clintons, if that Information is share with other People.

This is because it is a Complete Waste of time to go to the Authorities, because they will Not do anything against Clinton Crimes, and a former Haitian Government Official was found dead only days before he was to give Testimony regarding the Clinton Foundation.

We saw this with Seth Rich, where the Police Videos has been withheld, and we have seen the Obstruction in investigating that Crime.

The message to Leakers is that Seth Rich was taken to hospital and Treated and was on his way to Fully Recovering, but he died in hospital, and those who were thinking of Leaking Understood the message from that.

There was Also concern for Rob Goldstone, who Alleged that the Russian Lawyer had Dirt on the Clintons.

We Know that is is said Goldstone that he did Not want to hear what was said at the meeting.

This is because Goldstone wanted associates of Candidate Donald Trump to Know that he did Not know what was said at that meeting.

We now Know that the meeting was a set up to Improperly obtain a FISA Warrant, which was Requested in June of 2016, and that is same the month and the year as the meeting that the Russian Lawyer attended.

There was what was an Unusual granting of a Special Visa so that the Russian Lawyer could attend that set up, which was Improperly Used to Request a FISA Warrant in order to Improperly Spy on an Opposition Political Candidate in order to Improperly gain an Electoral advantage in an Undemocratic manner, because if anything wrong was intended by Associates of Candidate Donald Trump, then there were enough People in that meeting who were the Equivalent of Establishment Democrats and Establishment Republicans, because we Know that after that meeting, that the husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for the Russian Lawyer.

There are Americans who consider that the 2 Major Political Party Tyranny has Betrayed the Constitution and the Principles of Democracy, because they oppose President Donald Trump's Election Integrity Commission, because they think that the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupted Puppets of the Shadow Regime.

We Know from Senator Sanders, that if Americans want a Political Revolution, then they will need their own Political Party.

There are Americans who think that a Group of Democratic Party Voters and Republican Party Voters who have No association with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and that they may be named The Guardians of American Democracy.

These Guardians of American Democracy would be a numerous Group of People, and they would ask Republican Voters to Vote for the Democratic Party Representative instead of the Republican who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, in exchange for Democratic Party Voters to Vote for the Republican Party Candidate instead of the Democrat who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, and the same can be done for the Senate, because the American People have to Decide if it is they the Shadow Regime, or if it is We the People, and the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupt Puppets of the Shadow Regime, and there would be equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats replaced in this manner, and so it will Not affect their numbers in the Congress or the Senate.

There could be People who think that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was Unacceptability Biased and Unacceptability Corrupt during the Democratic Party Primaries, and that if she wants a Democratic Party Candidate to be Elected in her Congressional District, then she Should announce that she will Not be contesting the next Election, and there could be People who think that Speaker Paul Ryan was Unacceptability Disloyal by insufficiently endorse the Republican Presidential nominee, and with other matters, and that if he wants a Republican Party Candidate to be Elected in his Congressional District, then he Should announce that he will Not be contesting the next Election, and then the Guardians of American Democracy can look at other Dinos and Rinos, including those in the Senate, because the Constitution says the words: We the People.

There are Many Americans who have Noticed that Criminal Elites escape Justice, and Corruption is the norm in American Politics.

There are those who Supported Senator Sanders who Realize that Senator Sanders would have been Impeached had he become President, and they Know that they Need President Donald Trump to prepare the Political Landscape so that someone like Senator Sanders could be President, without a Coup attempt that is being attempted on President Donald Trump, and while these People may not Vote for the Republicans, they can Refuse to Vote for the Democratic Party, until the conditions are there for a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy, and they want the Illegal Mueller Team to recuse themselves from this pile of Vile and Putrid McCarthyist Lies Invented by their Shadow Regime Puppet Masters,

There are Many Americans who want Voter Identification and Paper Ballots for Elections, and they have seen how several States are Opposed to President Donald Trump's Commission on Election Integrity, because they want to Rig their Elections, and this is Why there are Many Americans who want America to be a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy.

MillyBloom54 , July 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I just read this article in the Washington Monthly, and wish to read informed comments about this issue. There are suggestions that organized crime from Russian was heavily involved. This is a complicated mess of money, greed, etc.

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/07/10/trumps-inner-circle-met-with-no-ordinary-russian-lawyer/

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the article, which concludes:

"So, let's please stay focused on why this matters.

"And why was Preet Bharara fired again?"

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries have been allowed to flourish in Israel.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Why was Bharara fired?

Any real investigation of Russia-Gate will draw international attention towards Russian Jewish corruption in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sectors, and lead back to Israel.

Ain't gonna happen.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Remember Milly that essentially one of the first things Trump did when he came into office was fire Preet, and just days before the long awaited trial. Then, Jeff Sessions settled the case for 6 million without any testimony on a 230 million dollar case, days after. Spectacular and brazen, and structured to hide the identities of which properties were bought by which investors. Hmmmm.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

By the way Milly, great summary article you have linked and one that everyone who is championing the Nekrasov film should read.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

The "great" article was not written by a journalist. It's an opinion piece written by Martin Longman, a blogger and Democratic Party political consultant.

From 2012 to 2013, Longman worked for Democracy for America (DFA) a political action committee, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Since March 2014, political animal Longman has managed the The Washington Monthly website and online magazine.

Although it claims to be "an independent voice", the Washington Monthly is funded by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and well-heeled corporate entities http://washingtonmonthly.com/about/

Longman's credentials as a "progressive" alarmist are well established. Since 2005, he has been the publisher of Booman Tribune. Longman admits that BooMan is related to the 'bogey man' (aka, bogy man, boogeyman), an evil imaginary character who harms children.

Vladimir Putin is the latest bogey man of the Democratic Party and its equally pro-Israel "opposition".

Neither party wants the conversation to involve Jewish Russian organized crime, because that leads to Israel and the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby that funds both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Very interesting.

[Dec 10, 2017] Video How the U.S. Caused the Breakup of the Soviet Union Defend Democracy Press

Notable quotes:
"... Capitalism in the Web of Life ..."
"... An Inconvenient Truth ..."
"... Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death. ..."
"... New York Amsterdam News ..."
"... Le Monde Diplomatique ..."
"... Covert Action Information Bulletin ..."
"... Global Research ..."
"... Capitalism in the Web of Life ..."
"... An Inconvenient Truth ..."
"... Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death. ..."
"... New York Amsterdam News ..."
"... Le Monde Diplomatique ..."
"... Covert Action Information Bulletin ..."
"... Global Research ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO

[Dec 07, 2017] Amy Klein, in particular her book Shock Doctine tells how Milton Friedman's neoliberal economics was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other vulnerable nations to devore them by the greedy Vampire Squid with insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

Dec 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

edNels , December 7, 2017 at 3:45 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski

I read her books,

To others: Even FB may gain some historical wisdom by reading Amy K.'s description of the Chicago School of Economics and how Milton Friedman's economic "Shock Doctrine" was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other awe struck nations vulnerable to the greedy Vampire Squid's insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

you must mean Naomi Klein, who wrote "Shock Doctrine". She's great and looks good too. Recently some British black woman interviewed her and she was nicely poised and patient with the Dodo. Milton Friedman, whata guy, is he any relative of Thomas (alla'akbar ) Friedmin? (whata other f'n guy too.

I think Vampire Squid was a phrase that Taibbi started about Wall St. But haven't seen much of him lately.

[Dec 03, 2017] How Criminals Built Capitalism by Clive Crook

That explains why after dissolution of the USSR organized crime reached such level: this is standard capitalism development scenario.
Notable quotes:
"... In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of " Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance " by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism. ..."
"... Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing. ..."
"... The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing. ..."
"... Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff. ..."
Apr 05, 2015 | Bloomberg View

Whenever buyers and sellers get together, opportunities to fleece the other guy arise. The history of markets is, in part, the history of lying, cheating and stealing -- and of the effort down the years to fight commercial crime.

In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance" by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism.

And what a cast of characters. Thomas Cochrane is my own favorite. (This is partly because he was the model for Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" novels, which I've been reading and rereading for decades. Presumably Klaus isn't a fan: He doesn't note the connection.)

Cochrane was an aristocrat and naval hero. At the height of his fame in 1814 he was put on trial for fraud. An associate had spread false rumors of Napoleon's death, driving up the price of British government debt, and allowing Cochrane to avoid heavy losses on his investments. Cochrane complained (with good reason, in fact) that the trial was rigged, but he was found guilty and sent to prison.

The story is fascinating in its own right, and the book points to its larger meaning. Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing.

As the turbulent century went on, capitalism moved its frontier outward in every sense: It found new opportunities overseas; financial innovation accelerated; and buyers and sellers were ever more likely to be strangers, operating at a distance through intermediaries. These new kinds of transaction required new ways of securing trust. Social status diminished as a guarantee of good faith. In its place came, first, reputation (based on an established record of honest dealing) then verification (based on public and private records that vouched for the parties' honesty).

Successive scams and scandals pushed this evolution of trust along. Gregor MacGregor and the mythical South American colony of Poyais ("the quintessential fraud of Britain's first modern investment bubble," Klaus calls it); Beaumont Smith and an exchequer bill forging operation of remarkable scope and duration; Walter Watts, insurance clerk, theatrical entrepreneur and fraudster; Harry Marks, journalist, newspaper proprietor and puffer of worthless stocks. On and on, these notorious figures altered the way the public thought about commercial trust, and spurred the changes that enabled the public to keep on trusting nonetheless.

The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing.

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

No doubt, but after a first paragraph like that you aren't expecting a page-turner. Trust me, it gets better. When he applies himself, Klaus can write. Describing the messenger who brought the false news of Napoleon's death, he says:

Removed from the dark of the street, the man could be seen by the light of two candles. He looked, a witness would later testify, "like a stranger of some importance." A German sealskin cap, festooned with gold fringes, covered his head. A gray coat covered his red uniform, upon which hung a star Neighbors and residents of the inn stirred and peered in as the visitor penned a note.

Tell me more.

My other objection is to the book's repeated suggestion that Adam Smith and other classical proponents of market economics naively underestimated the human propensity to deceive and over-credited the market's ability to promote good behavior. Klaus doesn't examine their claims at length or directly, but often says things such as:

The sociability in which Adam Smith had placed his hopes for harnessing self-interest was not a sufficient safeguard in the sometimes criminal capitalism of the ruthless free market.

Of course it wasn't. Smith didn't believe that the market's civilizing tendencies, together with humans' instinct for cooperation, were a sufficient safeguard against fraud or breach of contract or other commercial wrongs. He was nothing if not realistic about human nature. And by the way, many of the subtle adaptations to the shifting risk of fraud that Klaus describes were private undertakings, not government measures. Far from being surprised by them, Smith would have expected their development.

Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff.

To contact the author on this story: Clive Crook at ccrook5@bloomberg.net

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing austerity or reform policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Notable quotes:
"... "The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since. ..."
"... According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia. ..."
"... For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel. ..."
"... And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience. ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 29, 2017] How I became a Kremlin Troll by The Saker

Nov 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Soviet authorities had long listed me, and my entire family, as dangerous anti-Soviet activists and I, therefore, could not travel to Russia until the fall of Communism in 1991 when I immediately caught the first available flight and got to Moscow while the barricades built against the GKChP coup were still standing. Truly, by this fateful month of August 1991, I was a perfect anti-Soviet activist and an anti-Communist hardliner. I even took a photo of myself standing next to the collapsed statue of Felix Derzhinsky (the founder of the ChK – the first Soviet Secret police) with my boot pressed on his iron throat. That day I felt that my victory was total. It was also short-lived.

Instead of bringing the long-suffering Russian people freedom, peace, and prosperity, the end of Communism in Russia only brought chaos, poverty, violence, and abject exploitation by the worst class of scum the defunct Soviet system had produced. I was horrified. Unlike so many other anti-Soviet activists who were also Russophobes, I never conflated my people and the regime which oppressed them. So, while I rejoiced at the end of one horror, I was also appalled to see that another one had taken its place. Even worse, it was undeniable that the West played an active role in every and all forms of anti-Russian activities, from the total protection of Russian mobsters, on to the support of the Wahabi insurgents in Chechnya, and ending with the financing of a propaganda machine which tried to turn the Russian people into mindless consumers to the presence of western "advisors" (yeah, right!) in all the key ministries. The oligarchs were plundering Russia and causing immeasurable suffering, and the entire West, the so-called "free world" not only did nothing to help but helped all the enemies of Russia with every resource it had. Soon the NATO forces attacked Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, in total violation of the most sacred principles of international law. East Germany was not only reunified but instantly incorporated into West Germany and NATO pushed as far East as possible. I could not pretend that all this could be explained by some fear of the Soviet military or by a reaction to the Communist theory of world revolution. In truth, it became clear to me that the western elites did not hate the Soviet system or ideology, but that they hated Russian people themselves and the culture and civilization which they had created.

By the time the war against the Serbian nation in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo broke out, I was in a unique situation: all day long I could read classified UNPROFOR and military reports about what was taking place in that region and, after work, I could read the counter-factual anti-Serbian propaganda the western corporate Ziomedia was spewing out every day. I was horrified to see that literally everything the media was saying was a total lie. Then came the false flags, first in Sarajevo, but later also in Kosovo. My illusions about "Free World" and the "West" were crumbling. Fast.

Fate brought me to Russia in 1993 when I saw the carnage of meted out by the "democratic" Eltsin regime against thousands of Russians in Moscow (many more than what the official press reported). I also saw the Red Flags and Stalin portraits around the parliament building. My disgust by then was total. And when the Eltsin regime decided to bring Dudaev's Chechnia to heel triggering yet another needless bloodbath, that disgust turned into despair. Then came the stolen elections of 1996 and the murder of General Lebed. At that point, I remember thinking "Russia is dead."

So, when the entourage of Eltsin suddenly appointed an unknown nobody to acting President of Russia, I was rather dubious, to put it mildly. The new guy was not a drunk or an arrogant oligarch, but he looked rather unimpressive. He was also ex-KGB which was interesting: on one hand, the KGB had been my lifelong enemy but on the other hand, I knew that the part of the KGB which dealt with foreign intelligence was staffed by the brightest of the brightest and that they had nothing to do with political repression, Gulags and all the rest of the ugly stuff another Directorate of the KGB (the 5th) was tasked with (that department had been abolished in 1989). Putin came from the First Main Directorate of the KGB, the "PGU KGB." Still, my sympathies were more with the (far less political) military intelligence service (GRU) than the very political PGU which, I was quite sure by then, had a thick dossier on my family and me.

Then, two crucial things happened in parallel: both the "Free world" and Putin showed their true faces: the "Free world" as an AngloZionist Empire hell-bent on aggression and oppression, and Vladimir Putin as a real patriot of Russia. In fact, Putin slowly began looking like a hero to me: very gradually, in small incremental steps first, Putin began to turn Russia around, especially in two crucial matters: he was trying to "re-sovereignize" the country (making it truly sovereign and independent again), and he dared the unthinkable: he openly told the Empire that it was not only wrong, it was illegitimate (just read the transcript of Putin's amazing 2007 "Munich Speech").

Putin inspired me to make a dramatic choice: will I stick to my lifelong prejudices or will I let reality prove my lifelong prejudices wrong. The first option was far more comfortable to me, and all my friends would approve. The second one was far trickier, and it would cost me the friendship of many people. But what was the better option for Russia? Could it be that it was the right thing for a "White Russian" to join forces with the ex-KGB officer?

SteveLancs , November 28, 2017 at 5:44 am GMT

The transcript for the 2007 speech is here in English, plus questions and answers

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Speech_and_the_Following_Discussion_at_the_Munich

NoseytheDuke , November 28, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT
@SteveLancs

Thanks for that Steve, I had intended to search for it but got sidetracked by visits to the vet. What strikes me whenever I read a transcript of Putin's speeches is the precision of his language, it's really impressive. It really isn't fair to compare that to the loose waffle of GWB or the Trumpster but even WJC or BHO who were considered to be commendable orators just lack the fine edge and the gravitas of Putin.

[Nov 18, 2017] Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in the United States - Politics Stack Exchange

Notable quotes:
"... approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis ..."
Nov 18, 2017 | politics.stackexchange.com

Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in the United States? up vote 33 down vote favorite 10

,yesterday

In this question, a person asks why it's so easy to ban Nazi symbols and so hard to ban communist symbols: Why is banning communism symbols so hard to achieve as opposed to banning of Nazi symbols?

The implication being that communism and Nazism is pretty much the same.

What is the reason for this idea that communism is evil or like Nazism and fascism and aims to kill people?

Is it merely due to the propaganda during the Cold War? I find that doubtful as that was quite a while ago. So why do Americans still commonly have this opinion?

Wes Sayeed ,yesterday

This question is more of a philosophical one than about any specific policy, but it strikes at the very heart of political thought and policymaking in general. I think it should be left open. – Wes Sayeed yesterday

Erik ,yesterday

Do you have any stats about how communism is viewed throughout the Western world? I always get the feeling the hatred of communism isn't a "Western" thing, it's a "United States" thing. – Erik yesterday

Sam I am ♦ ,14 hours ago

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat . – Sam I am ♦ 14 hours ago

Pakk ,11 hours ago

The current most popular answers don't answer this question, but are explanations why the answerer thinks that communism is evil. Even if everything in those answers is true, it only shows that mass murders are an originally unintended consequence of communism, while the mass murders of Nazism are part of the ideology. For me, Nazism is an evil idea, and Communism is a bad idea because it leads to evil things. This is a big difference. I think this is a great question, and I hope there will be a true answer to this question, because I don't know the answer. – Pakk 11 hours ago

user4012 ,1 hour ago

@Pakk - there's two competing philosophies (and no, they aren't communism and capitalism :). One posits that things ought to be judged on the basis of intent. The other posits that things ought to be judged on the basis of outcome (aka the road to hell is paved with good intentions). – user4012 1 hour ago

Wes Sayeed ,yesterday

Fundamental to communist ideology is the common ownership of the means of production and abolishment of social classes and social hierarchy. In practice, that means no (or very few) private property rights, and forced redistribution of wealth from those who are most able to produce to those who are less able or unwilling to do so.

Private property and the exclusive access to the fruits of one's own labor are fundamental human rights under natural law. In order for communism to be moral, it requires everyone to voluntarily cooperate with each other towards a common goal. Unfortunately, people do not work this way. They are different in their ambitions, in their capabilities, and in their values. These differences cause different outcomes, cause some to be more successful than others, and even cause differences by which success is measured in the first place. But communism requires collectivism in order to work. Communism must eliminate those variations of the individual in order to harmonize with the collective good. This is absolutely counterintuitive to everything about human nature.

In order to realize communist goals, private property and the individual's right to their own labor must be seized from them for the sake of the collective. And because this is antithetical to individual freedom, communist governments must also work to eliminate dissent. Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

In light of the authoritarian oppression of every communist regime in the history of ever, there are those who still make the argument that the idea of communism is good; it's just been "done wrong" by every communist state that has attempted it. However, this is not true. Communism is a fundamentally flawed ideology at its core. Its goals are attractive in principle, but completely unworkable in practice.

Communist governments must necessarily use coercion to achieve the social harmony they promise, depriving the individual of the right to choose their own destiny -- especially if those choices lead to better outcomes for them than for others. This is why every communist state has been a totalitarian nightmare replete with rampant and gross human rights violations. That is the inevitable destiny of any communist regime because it is utterly and completely incompatible with individual freedom and conscience.

tim ,yesterday

Communists would argue that people already do not have full access to the result of their labor (because capitalists own the means of production and thus collect a surplus value from that labor). I also think that you make a pretty big jump from "right to their labor must be seized" (which is already a reach) to "terror" and living in fear. If you make that jump, and would agree that workers currently do not have full access to the result of their labor (which is fair to say), you could also say that people in capitalist societies must live in terror and fear (which is not generally the case). – tim yesterday

IllusiveBrian ,yesterday