By Vladislav Krasnov Ph.D. // a.k.a W. George Krasnow
President & Founder of RAGA
I came from Washington to Moscow just on time for a festive Easter (Paskha) celebration table hosted by my good Russian friend who is a fine poetess and folklore collector. The guests included an Australian philosopher and China-enthusiast, his Russian interpreter and a Russian anthropologist visiting Moscow from Lisbon where she is married to a Portuguese.
We all got together thanks to English Language Evenings (www.elemoscow.net) that the American Stephen Lapeyrouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Lapeyrouse) has been running at the Chekhov Center for fifteen years. As this year the Russian Resurrection Day fell on the same day and the Catholic and Anglican Easter, we were happy to share the Russian Paskha (a ritual cheese-cake with raisins) and the lavish Kulitch bakery.
In addition to Easter, we celebrated the memory of Alexander Vashchenko, an University of Moscow professor and specialist on American Indians who passed away. He had translated a number of American Indian folklore collections into Russian, and his book about native Siberian peoples was recently published in the USA: The Way of Kinship: An Anthology of Native Siberian Literature (please find it on Amazon).
"As the Ukraine situation has worsened," writes my colleague Sharon Tennison, the founder of the Center of Citizen Initiatives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Citizen_Initiatives) in San Francisco, "unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin..Journalists and pundits must scour the Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new epithets to describe both."
Sharon has been running for years the pioneering alternative website Russia: Other Points of View - ROPV (www.russiaotherpointsofview.com). Her 2012 book, The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens' Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises (please find it on Amazon) shows that she never left lies about Russia unchallenged. Now in an April 21, 2014 article Russia Report: Putin she spells out how the demonization of both Russia and Putin has grown in vitriol and intensity.
"I don't pretend to be an expert, just a program developer in the USSR and Russia for the past 30 years. But during this time, I've have had far more direct, on-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington's officials. I've been in country long enough to ponder Russian history and culture deeply, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders... Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway".
Putin "should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. It's not by accident that Forbes declared him the most Powerful Leader of 2013, replacing Obama who was given the title for 2012."
Read about Sharon's personal encounters with Putin on: www.russiaotherpointsofview.com
Putin's latest April 17 "hot-line" encounter with the Russian people and scores of Russian and foreign journalists was largely ignored by Western media, so here is the transcript in English (eng.kremlin.ru/news/7034).
One highlight was when Putin politely rebuked a well-known Russian fantasy writer Sergei Lukyanenko (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Lukyanenko), of Ukrainian origin, for suggesting that Ukraine is an accursed nation. President asked the writer not to use such damning expressions and instead called Ukraine a "long-suffering" nation. Since this epithet is commonly used to describe Russia, President clearly appealed to the Russians not to condemn or hate Ukrainians but empathize with them. Putin even showed if not a sympathy than a psychological insight into the difficult plight of West-Ukrainian ultra-nationalists whose "territories were part of Czechoslovakia, some of Hungary, some of Austro-Hungary and some of Poland, where they were never full-fledged citizens."
Putin identified the major cause of Russia's and Ukraine's "long-suffering": during WWI the Russians allowed the Bolsheviks to drive a wedge of class-struggle hatred that divided the nation and lead Russia to a resounding defeat and a loss of huge territories even while its Western allies triumphed and enjoyed all the spoils of victory.
Although Putin did not say so, one can well conclude that after the downfall of the USSR the spirit of devisiveness has prevailed among all former Soviet peoples, including the Russians and Ukrainians, when the "democrats" fought against the "patriots" and one ethnic group against another while the country was being robbed by the oligarchs to the detriment of all. I have already referred to Janine Wedel's bookCollision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern Europe (please find it on Amazon) in which she describes Western advisers' role in "reforms".
Clearly, to understand the plight of Ukraine now we have to take into account not only the internal ethnic, religious and cultural divisions among Western and Eastern Ukrainians but also the role of Ukrainian oligarchs in political shenanigans now playing out in Kiev and Eastern Ukraine.
The deputy to Igor Kolomoysky, the new Dnepropetrovsk governor (among several oligarchs appointed by the Maidan junta), offered to pay 10 thousand US dollars to anyone who captures or kills a «green man» (supposedly a Russian soldier, but in fact any of the thousands of protesters in East Ukraine). Source: news.pn/en/public/101944
Edward Snowden, the American defector who has found a refuge in Russia, asked via a videotape, whether Russia does a masssurveillance and date storing of all mobile and email communications in Russia. Putin replied that Russian "laws...strictly regulate the use of special equipment by security services, including the tapping of private conversations and the surveillance of online communications. They need to receive a court warrant to be able to use this equipment in each particular case. So there is no... indiscriminate mass surveillance under Russian law."
As the author of the book Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List, I already wrote about Snowden's dilemma (http://www.eurasiareview.com/15082013-to-defect-or-to-integrate-edward-snowdens-dilemma-oped/) I regard his defection a very significant marker of what my colleague Martin Sieff calls a Reversal of Fortune (http://us-russia.org/95-reversal-of-fortune-how-the-united-states-is-repeating-the-mistakes-that-destroyed-the-soviet-union-by-martin-sieff.html): today the USA increasingly assumes the role of the USSR as the global driver toward a totalitarian utopia, except Soviet ideology envisioned a world revolution and nationalization of all privateproperty whereas the US tries to impose on the rest of the world the ideology of "indisputable benefits of free market, privatization and democracy".
The word "defector" here is indicative of the inherent defect in a system that allows a government to arrogate totalitarian powers. While numerous Soviet defections resulted in a collapse of the system, I remain hopeful that the US will find the wisdom to reverse the trend toward totalitarian controls, integrate dissent inside the country and, above all, renounce its globalist ideological mission and return to fending its national interests rather than serving few tycoons who may indeed benefit from privatizations overseas.
That's how Jean-Claude Meslin, a French observer, sums up Putin's performance in an April 18 message:
"I watched most of the Q&R session and found Mister Putin excellent. None of the actual Western leaders can be compared to this gentleman. Our French "Goujat" is so ridiculous; Cameron, Merkel not much better. Uncle-Tom Obama, no need to mention him. I think that it will please a lot of people, in Europe, as in America if the President of the Russian Federation will do a Q&R session with the wholeWorld... We all humans go through a very difficult period and we just simply cannot keep on going like this much longer (Some idiots for economic purposes push toward military confrontations)...." Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_17/photo-Vladimir-Putin-s-hot-line-3031/
Gordon Duff, former US security officer, says that since US government does not know what is going on in Ukraine, its line of command is divided. Writing for the Veterans Today, he says:
"Will the Obama administration, while it still has time, admit it is repeating its horrific errors in Syria? Imagine a four year civil war in the Ukraine. Syria will seem like a summer vacation. The people of Ukraine do not deserve this..." Source: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/04/21/us-caught-in-web-of-lies/
On the Left, Peter Hitchens writes in The Daily Mail:
"We unleashed armed mobs in Kiev, to overthrow the lawful authority. They have done the same in Donetsk....
For greater credibility, Hitchens explains: "I write as a former Marxist revolutionary who has organized demonstrations and knows how hard it is to mobilise and sustain them." Concludes Hitchens: "I have no doubt that the ‘Maidan’ protests in Kiev had what I shall politely call help from outside". Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2608679/PETER-HITCHENS-Who-using-spies-lies-grab-power-Kiev-We-are.html#ixzz2znvhpXey
Martin Sieff writes about historical significance of the so called annexation of the Crimea: "For the first time in more than a quarter century — indeed, since the Soviet Red Army’s evacuation of Afghanistan in 1987 — a long tide of Russian retreat, shrinkage and national disintegration has been reversed....When viewed from the Russian perspective, the toppling of President Yanukovych was thus not an isolated incident. To them, it was just the latest and most outrageous step in a systematic U.S.-led policy of incursions into the heart of Russia’s historic core security zone". Read more: Russia: Pushing Back at the United States - The Globalist // http://www.theglobalist.com/russia-pushing-back-united-states/
On the Right, Patrick Buchanan in an April 18, 2014 asserts article "NED’s chickens come home to roost" accuses the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of standing behind a number of color revolutions aimed at "change of regime".
"If, after all, it was a triumph of self-determination for Ukraine to secede from the Russian Federation, do not Russians in Crimea and Donetsk have the same right — to secede from Kiev and go home to Russia?" Source: http://www.humanevents.com/2014/04/18/neds-chickens-come-home-to-roost/
Buchanan's previous article "Is Putin one of us?" (http://buchanan.org/blog/putin-one-us-6071) was so significant that I translated it for the Russian site - geopolitika.rf
Buchanan's asserts that, far from being a holdover of the Evil Communist Empire as it is often maligned by US mass media, Putin's Russia may yet prove to be a staunch defender of the basic values of Western civilization, such as the family, religious faith and human dignity, the values that are often downplayed or distorted by the "politically correct" advocates of "free market and democracy" who are never shy of "regime change" in foreign lands by massive propaganda and, if necessary, by the terror of drones and carpet bombing.
Having started with the way Easter is celebrated now in Russia, one wonders about the USA?
"Advertisers now call an Easter ham a "holiday ham". You know, so as not to offend all those celebrating Passover with a ham", so writes Eugene Girin in the conservative "Chronicles of Culture" (https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/holiday-ham-and-easter-bunnies). Deploring the "unilateral disarmament of the American Christians and their church leaders - all in the name of the false gods of ecumenism, political correctness, and tolerance," the author unwittingly supports Buchanan's thesis about the decline of traditional, Christian values in the US. A former Soviet Jew now residing in the USA, Girin concludes that "only by strongly reasserting their Faith, without any apology or fear in the face of the cunning yet cowardly enemies, can American Christians protect their faith and their country. Happy Easter!"
Having seen on Russian TV that President Putin got an Easter egg from the Patriarch of Russia, I wonder now whether President Obama got a Holiday egg or any egg at all?
Finally, Patrick Armstrongthe, former Canadian diplomat, did his best to accumulate, digest and summarize the latest on Ukraine:
Subject: RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP
KIEV ATTACKS. On Tuesday what remains of Kiev’s army, accompanied with threats of destruction, entered two eastern cities, Kramatorskand Slavyansk. The soldiers soon switched sides (or as they say in Kiev “Russian terrorist sabotage groups have been captured six units of armored vehicles”), up went the Russian flags and St George ribbons and the townspeople fed them; I guess the American rations didn’t get to them. Interview. And another column stopped. Good news – especially when you think of what the rhetoric of easterners as “terrorists” and Washington’s enthusiastic encouragement could have led to. Today will probably tell: if the attacks fizzle out, there’s still hope for a federalised Ukraine. I look forward to watching Washington, Brussels (and Ottawa, I am ashamed to include) try and spin their way out of this shattering confutation of their fantasies. Reminds me of the Ossetia War when Wikileaks revealed that the US Embassy had uncritically transmitted whatever nonsense it was being fed by the Saakashvili regime.
TIME TO GO? Staff in Kiev’s power ministries are changing sides, refusing to attack the protesters, melting away; there are more dismissalsin the power organs. Kiev’s new rulers have, apart from the uncertain loyalty of the most extreme, little force available (vide Kramatorsk). Moody’s has dropped Ukraine to “default imminent with little prospect for recovery”. Their sponsors in Brussels and Washington have kicked in only a sum that would about cover what China is suing Ukraine for. Meanwhile conditions worsen for the ordinary stiff. Large areas of the east ignore Kiev and demand more autonomy or a referendum. And where’s Right Sector? Disarmed? Mobilising? Or beating up presidential candidates and demanding resignations in Kiev? Can’t think Yatsenyuk will be around for much longer: no power, no money, no support. A visit from the CIA head isn’t much comfort.
SNIPERS. It’s almost forgotten now, but the Ukraine crisis was negotiated to a satisfactory result on 21 February. The agreement collapsed thanks to the snipers on the Maidan. So who were they? The new people in Kiev, predictably, blame Yanukovych and hint at Russian involvement. However, the simple application of the principle of cui bono would query that. The Ashton-Paet intercept raised the possibility that the snipers were connected with the people now in power in Kiev. A German investigation supports this conclusion. This question is at the core of the nature of the regime now in Kiev and, Dear Reader, its coverage, or ignoring, will be another test of whether your local media outlet is reporting or re-typing. Original in German, English translation on JRL/2014/84/1or here.
SNIPPETS. Far extreme anti Russia propaganda (but note what Tymoshenko said and how The Telegraph chose to frame the story.) Note thisphoto of Kiev’s Interior Minister; what’s the story on the flag patch on his guard’s uniform? You may be sure that people in south and east wonder. Here are some easterners stopping a lone tank. The “Russian colonel” video is a fake. These are former Ukrainian vehicles that switched sides.
SANCTIONS. Remember how Russia’s stock market was going to be badly hurt by the sanctions? Not so much.
AND EVEN BIGGER CONSEQUENCES? The “petro-dollar” is a pillar of US power. There are straws in the wind: the BRICS talking about setting up their own IMF. Russia, China and India thinking about by-passing the US Dollar in oil deals. Et Cetera. I wonder if the fall in the US stock market has anything to do with this. After all, Washington does not look like a good bet at the moment: hugely overextended, empty blustering, incompetent and destabilising interference. Time to bring it down? Or time to get yourself out from under the crash?
RUSSIAN MASSING. Finally NATO issued some pictures of the Russian forces “massing” along the border. Nonsense! all clearly bases: everything neatly lined up, fences around the edges, buildings, no tactical grouping. Not evidence at all. In some cases you can find same or similar photos on Google Earth from months ago; the airfield at Primorsko-Akhtarsk for example; same aircraft in different places. Holly finds no Russians.
PUTIN LETTER. Trying to inject some reality, Putin sent a letter to Russia’s European gas customers. It says: Ukraine’s economy is collapsing; Russia has been providing cheap gas, other money and discounts totalling about US$35 billion in the last 4 years; the EU has contributed nothing; Ukraine hasn’t paid anything for gas for several months. Russia is close to demanding payment in advance for deliveries; this “increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers”. We must all get together to figure out a solution. Merkel has indicated she is taking this seriously.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/ http://us-russia.org/)
Dr. Vladislav Krasnov (W. George Krasnow)
President and Founder of RAGA