“President Vladimir Putin has fired 18 top law-enforcement officials in the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office and the Interior Ministry.
His sudden and secretive action has sparked some theories that it is somehow related to Ukraine — either punishing those who are poorly performing with regard to the aggression against Ukraine, or punishing those involved in a possible plane-downing conspiracy so as to distance himself from it.
It is not likely directly related to Ukraine but is more about Putin reinforcing areas of domestic vulnerability to make him more efficient in general in pursuing both increased authoritarian rule at home and foreign adventures.
Here is the first “Decree on release from post of employees of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation” and the second “Decree on appointments, releases from posts and dismissal from military service of soldiers, officials and workers of some federal state organs”
Most of the dismissals — 11 of the 18 — were made from the Investigative Committee. The Investigative Committee, despite its name sounding like it is a subset of something else, is a relatively new creature in the Russian law-enforcement community, formed in 2011 at a time of great challenge to Putin by massive street demonstrations, to replace the former Prosecutor General’s investigating committee. It is now the leading investigative agency, increasingly taking over powers from the Interior Ministry or police, and might be better understood as more like the old Committee for State Security (KGB) in that it isn’t “just a committee.” “
“As a historian there’s nothing I dislike more than history’s misuse in bad analogies with current events.
The subspecies that most needs to go away is the Forever Munich crowd — mostly neocons with quite a few neolibs; it’s always neo-something — for whom October 1938 is frozen in time eternally and the West is falling into “appeasement” to some nasty dictator somewhere.
The more that said dictator can be portrayed as vaguely Hitlerian the better, but facts don’t always matter with the Forever Munich brigade. Their perennial point is that the West must “get tough” or something very bad will happen to someone, somewhere.
My loathing of the bad Hitler analogy notwithstanding, you have to be pretty ignorant of the history of Europe in the 1930s not to be more than a little creeped out by the similarities between what Adolf Hitler sought in Central Europe then and what Vladimir Putin is seeking in the former Soviet Union, especially Ukraine, now.”
RUSSIAN MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES GROVEL LIKE DOGS BEFORE THEIR MASTER
Novaya Gazeta, a Russian news outlet NOT under Kremlin control, published what it claims to a transcript of a recorded meeting of a Russian Soccer Union executive committee meeting held on July 30. Authenticating this is a problem -- we can't be sure it's legit. However, a participant in the meeting publicly acknowledged that it took place, without taking the opportunity to say that the transcript was false -- and Russian sports reporters seem to accept it as genuine.
These worthies were discussing the tricky question of accepting Crimea's soccer teams into their Union, which of course might expose them PERSONALLY to Western sanctions. [Note: most of those present at the meeting were billionaires, because they are owners of soccer teams in Russia.]
Personally, I don't care much about the sports, or the politics; what fascinated me was the tone of these lickspittles.
When one emotionally objected that he could be targeted for sanctions, another who is already on the sanctions list said "What are you talking about? Our country is under sanctions. Our president stands alone on the rampart ... So, either you get out of this country or behave as its citizens."
Another, the founder of the Magnit grocery store chain, complained in detail about the great financial damage sanctions would do to his company, saying that the market value of his company would likely decline by more than $20 billion. He went on, "... it's understood that I'm willing to suffer. It's a huge number, though. I have 250,000 people working for me, it's the biggest private company in Russia. And I'd like to request a consultation with Number One. Only after that am I willing to bury what I've been doing for 25 years."
Did you get that? "Number One"? This same oligarch went on to say, "If there is a direct order, there are no questions."
The CEO of Gazprom Neft warned that the World Cup (set to be played in Russia in 2018) might go elsewhere if they accept the Crimean teams, saying "you know who did all the work" in bringing World Cup to Russia -- another obvious reference to Putin.
They eventually concluded, that they couldn't make this decision -- that they must ask Number One.
These Macho Men, the Tycoons of Russian Business, are castrated donkeys.
To me, their conversation resembled those that were commonplace in the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany -- we must all obey the Fearless Leader, and sternly lecture anyone who is slow in jumping before the whip hand.
HOW PUTIN'S DEPRAVITY MIGHT TURN AGAINST HIM, PART 1
I just found an interesting April commentary from a Russian analyst, Aleksey Roshchin.
We know that Kremlin controlled media pump out false narratives about Ukraine every single day. We also know, that apparently the great majority of Russians believe the Kremlin stories.
One of these Kremlin stories, is that the rebellions in eastern Ukraine are not the work of Russian agents, but rather a spontaneous uprising of discontented Ukrainian citizens. These citizens (according to the fairy tale) have long suffered the abuse and neglect from Ukraine's central government. Instead of passively continuing their misery as individuals and families, they decided to band together, and to decisively assert their right to independence from a state that disrespects them so badly.
So, the essence of Roshchin's analysis: it doesn't matter whether the Kremlin story is true -- most Russians believe it. And this could start them thinking, "how well does Moscow take care of us?" [For those who don't know Russia well, almost every corner of Russia understands that Moscow sucks far more wealth and resources from the rest of Russia than it ever returns as benefits, and has grumbled about this for years.] It might start them asking, "why can't we band together, and demand our autonomy from our neglectful and abusive central government?"
With this in mind, it will be dangerous for Russia, if Ukraine's separatists win. On the other hand, if the separatists in the east are decisively crushed, then separatism in Russia will look less attractive.
HOW PUTIN'S DEPRAVITY MIGHT TURN AGAINST HIM, PART 2
Along similar lines, from May:
Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Moscow Institute for Research on Post-Industrial Society, warned of the dangers to Russia from the Kremlin's depiction of separatist leader and fighters in eastern Ukraine as heroes.
They are men who have absolute contempt for their central government, arrogated to themselves the right to utterly disregard national laws, and to take up arms against their own state. Obviously, it would be awkward if people living in Russia were inspired to emulate these heroes.
Also, warned Inozemtsev, Russia condemns the Kyiv government for disrespecting "the principles of democracy and the observation of human rights." Again, what if Russian citizens applied these standards to Russia?
Finally, Putin has long insisted that other countries keep out of Russian affairs, insisting that "no one is to be permitted to interfere in the affairs of ‘a sovereign democracy.’" By savage interference in the democracies of Georgia and then Ukraine, Putin is attacking the foundations of Russia's own stability.
HOW PUTIN'S DEPRAVITY MIGHT TURN AGAINST HIM, PART 3
With all the blood-letting now taking place in eastern Ukraine, some of us may have lost sight of Putin's demand the Ukraine "federalize" -- basically, greatly reduce the power of the national government, and greatly increase the power of the regions (oblasts).
This matter is not quite dead yet, because many expect that even if Ukraine continues its military success against the rebels, there will have to be some kind of "negotiations" before all is settled. If such negotiations take place, federalism is sure to be on the table.
Now, there's a problem for Putin here. Russia claims to be a federation, but in reality is at least as centrally controlled as Ukraine has been. For most of Putin's reign, he has insisted on his right to appoint regional governors, and only last year the law was changed to give him the authority to do so. But in Ukraine, Putin demands that governors be elected by their regions (a reform Kyiv is expected to make in any case). Of course, what Putin REALLY wants is almost complete autonomy for their regions -- to the extent of each oblast having its own foreign policy, it would seem!
A Russian analyst pointed out that if Ukraine federalized along the lines of Russia, use of the Russian language would probably DECREASE, and Ukrainian INCREASE! But what Putin really wants is to place eastern Ukraine under Russian control, and to do this by Ukrainian federalization would mean giving the oblasts far, far more autonomy than exists in Russia.
If Ukraine agrees to such a thing (most unlikely) -- then millions of Russians will surely ask, "why don't our regions have autonomy, like those of Ukraine?"
If Ukraine does provide for election of regional governors (probably not until the war is over!), even that will prompt Russians to ask, "why can Ukrainians elect their own governors, when we can't?"
“The Kremlin never tires of "delight" using kgbèšnyh technology so hackneyed, provoking a protest where it never was.
News about the Siberian March and the growth of separatist sentiments in Kaliningrad and Taman literally fluttered the information space.
The excitement and euphoria of users of social networks in Ukraine itself at times exceeds the same optimism of Russians. And not surprisingly, there's a sudden "enlightenment" regions under the slogan "enough to feed the Moscow trust units.
But it knows: If something suddenly violent color bloom "resistance group" Putin's regime is at 99.9% of the work is not invisible fighters with Kremlin tyranny, but Russian heir to the KGB, the federal security service.
"The Office," as Russia's Soviet-era name KGB, has always used the method of provoking the protests to identify real disaffected and then pass along the whole chain of enemies of the people.
So it was during the reign of Josef Stalin, when the OGPU (NKVD's predecessor) had organized a brilliant organization "trust".
For reference (Wikipedia).
Operation "Trest" — counter prospecting operation the State political Directorate (OGPU) of the Soviet Union. The operation took place in 1921-1926 Gg. In the course of a fake organization underground anti-Bolshevik "Monarchic Union of Central Russia" (MOCR) to help the OGPU identify real monarchists and antibol′ševikov.
The success of the "trust company" owned by operation Boris Savinkova decoying and Sydney Reilly into the Soviet Union, where they were arrested, after which Reilly was executed and Savinkov had committed suicide.
Some modern researchers believe that there are grounds for believing that both questioned the MOCR and go to the Soviet Union for personal reasons, using the MOCR only as the reason.
"Trust" was not created by the Soviet power from scratch. After the retreat of the White Army left their agents, also in the Soviet Union were not monarchists, who emigrated after the civil war. Their cooperation has been established to create a weak institutional structure. When the Organization was discovered by OGPU, it has not been eliminated, instead, intelligence agencies have used it for their own purposes.
So, I guess all the marches planned for Siberia, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad is the FSB. You really believe that in today's Russia with total control of secret services may have a real separatist movement? Rather, the BSF deliberately creates a controlled protest groups, to identify the real internal opposition, expose the most riotous to further arrest.
Continue to believe that deep Russia develops a real riot?
Implications for the fsbèšnyj believed in fake will not play. And do not say that I do not warn.
P.S. all the consequences often letting out genie out of the bottle may become uncontrollable, as happened in the late 1980 's in the USSR, when the KGB decided to let play their controlled by nationalist movements. As it ended up, you know.
Taras BEREZOVETS “
This is no longer an event only relevant to one generation. It is now historic and will be used to argue policy in generations to come. Putin has join the ranks of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Stalin. This will not stand. Contain and strangle this brutal regime until he is removed from power. Russia out of Crimea!!!!
These world leaders, as they are called, are so spineless and will do nothing than threaten to make sanctions of denying desert items from the menu and wait weeks to do that. The American President is such a piece of shit he goes golfing. Putin could state that the Inuit are Russian subjects and invade Alaska and Obama would do nothing and worse, he would probably chat up his Democrat friends that the Alaskans are all just cousins of Palin and moose abusers and are really Americans anyway.
Hundreds of retreating Ukrainian soldiers murdered under the flag of truce. Close another McDonalds restaurant, that'll teach'em. NATO, what the fuck are you waiting for you cowardly bitches.............
"Kazakhs Worried After Putin Questions History of Country's Independence
President Vladimir Putin has said Kazakhstan's history of independent statehood is scant and its people's desire for closer ties with Russia is profound — a rhetoric reminiscent of Moscow's stance on Ukraine — and inhabitants of Kazakhstan are worried.
Kazakhs have taken to social networks to call for supporters to 'send a history textbook to Putin' in response to the Russian leader's remarks last week that the Central Asian nation had never held any independence worth speaking of until very recently.
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev has 'created a state on a territory that never had a state,' Putin told a pro-Kremlin youth camp at Lake Seliger near Moscow. 'Kazakhs never had any statehood, he has created it.'"
Ukraine’s troops are retreating from Russia’s reg army,,,,, and this still isn’t really “real” war. When bombers and missiles start leveling whole cities in and outside the “disputed?” area, that will be a real war. If that happens without western support, Ukraine will be gone.
Putin knows winter is coming,,,,, and the EU is more worried about itself than Ukraine.
Putler also needs to get this done before 2016!!
When voting for the next US president,,, think: citizen, veteran, non liberal, non enemy!
Putler has been waiting for the opportunity to do this for a long time,,,,, he just needed an American pres. that was flexible enough! He got a wet behind the ears dish rag!!
And just think about it,,,, it was about 50% of Americans that gave him this golden opportunity!!
“MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow will respond "asymmetrically" to new sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, possibly targeting flights over Russia, if its Western partners press on with "the temptation to use force in international relations", Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
Blaming the West for damaging the Russian economy by triggering several rounds of "stupid" sanctions, Medvedev underlined Moscow's belief it is occupying the higher ground in the worst confrontation with the West since the Cold War.
Russia may have been too patient in responding to sanctions imposed so far by the United States and European Union over Moscow's role in Ukraine, he told the Russian daily Vedomosti. That mistake would not be repeated.
"If there are sanctions related to the energy sector, or further restrictions on Russia's financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically," he said in an interview published on Monday, adding the airlines of "friendly countries" were allowed to fly over Russia.
"If Western carriers have to bypass our airspace, this could drive many struggling airlines into bankruptcy. This is not the way to go. We just hope our partners realize this at some point."“
Yes, when a man gets into a conflict with a mini dachshund (ratio of body mass, about the same as the GDPs of the sanctioning countries vs. Russia), the conflict will be asymmetrical, I guarantee it!
The Russians certainly can do this, if they choose. If so, here are my predictions:
(1) The main impact will be flights between Europe and Asia.
(2) The effect on US airlines will be modest.
(3) European airlines will continue their operations, with increased ticket prices, longer flight times, and reduced profit margins.
(4) Aeroflot will suffer badly.
(5) China will think, "hmm, perhaps we should move up our timetable for annexation of Siberia."
(6) In general, Asia's rapidly growing countries will be offended by Russia's imposition of costs, delays and inconvenience on them and their economies. Remember, Asian countries are supposed to be Russia's "new friends".
The bit about Aeroflot -- Russia actually charges steep fees for overflight by foreign airlines, about $300 million per year, which goes in the coffers of Aeroflot. So Aeroflot will get hammered financially, and the extra fuel cost of longer flight routes bypassing Russian airspace will be partly offset by not having to pay overflight fees.
More speculatively, those countries denied access to Russia's airspace might reciprocally close their airspace to Russian air carriers. In other words, Russia's airlines would not be allowed to fly to western Europe or the US, and I suspect might have a tough time reaching some latin American destinations. The practical effect on Russia would be minor, but it would (I think) hurt Russian prestige, and kill even more companies in Russia's travel and tourism industry, which has seen businesses fall like dominoes since Russia first invaded Crimea.
In other words, the idea is so f*cking stupid, I think the Kremlin just might go for it.
But really, if you step back and think for a minute, even threatening this is a humiliating display of how powerless Russia is in the wider world -- it's like a little kid throwing a tantrum.
DISTINGUISHED TRANSLATOR OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE REFUSES MEDAL
From the Moscow Times:
"a Dutch translator known for bringing some of Russia's greatest literary works to Dutch bookshelves has refused to accept the coveted Medal of Pushkin, Dutch NRC news website reported on Saturday.
'I would with great gratitude accept this honor if it wasn't for [President Vladimir Putin], whose behavior and way of thinking I despise. He represents a big threat to freedom and peace on our planet,' translator Hans Bolland wrote in response to an invitation to the Kremlin to receive the award from Putin himself in November.
'Every connection between him [Putin] and me, his name and the name of [Alexander] Pushkin, is disgusting and intolerable for me,' Bolland wrote in his letter."
The article describes Bolland thus:
"Bolland is Holland's foremost translator of Russian literature, having brought Dutch readers the works of such literary greats as Pushkin and Lermontov, as well as contemporary authors. Between 1992 and 1996, he taught Dutch language and literature at St. Petersburg State University."