May 11, 2015
Russia Daily Brief for May 11, 2015
This is the 36th edition of the Daily Brief, which covers news stories most often posted on Russian social media. To view other editions, click on the Daily Brief tab above the title.
The two leaders laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, then held a round of talks. But differences persist between the two leaders. Putin noted that Merkel does not share his view that Ukraine experienced an unconstitutional coup in 2014, a disagreement which has caused the relationship between the two countries to deteriorate. However, observers noted that Merkel was clearly the less important of the two senior visitors to Moscow in recent days. Xi Jinping was the star of the Victory Parade guest list. By skipping the parade, Merkel succeeded in marginalizing herself.
The article is an overview of international media coverage of the Victory Parade. The following from Serbia’s Politika captures the mood pretty well: “The Parade’s military-political signal is that if you slept through the fall of the Berlin Wall, you should try not to sleep through that parade, because both China and India were represented there. The world is no longer unipolar. There no longer exists a monopoly by one world power, not in economic, political, or military sphere. The parade has shown that very plainly.”
The article (which quotes the Red Alert computer game, no less!) argues that the whole point of falsifying and rewriting the history of World War 2 is to depict Russia as a country which “owes” something to others and even ought to subordinate itself to its “superiors” due to its alleged inferiority, be it political, economic, or even moral. That’s why the West tries to deny Russia the mantle of victor of WW2–if it were ever acknowledged as one, Western policies toward Russia would have to change to reflect that status, but since treating Russia as an equal partner with legitimate interests and an independent worldview is inconsistent with Western need for economic and political expansion at the expense of Russia and other countries, the attempts to rewrite history will continue for as long as the West’s foreign policy preferences remain what they are right now.
This is reportedly only his second day off since he assumed the presidency. Putin will spend the next ten days in Sochi as well, dealing with matters concerning the Armed Forces and the military-industrial complex.
The bill of health was issued by none other than Bloomberg news agency which credits the Russian Central Bank’s bold actions to curb speculation while at the same time avoiding the temptation of capital controls, and the overall fundamental soundness of Russia’s economy which is prompting a return of capital which had fled the country earlier.
The last man from Atlantis
One of the last living participants in the assault on the Reichstag, the 94-year-old Nikolay Belyayev says that he never accepted the break-up of USSR. “Because how can you accept something like that?” He also accuses today’s bourgeoisie of being secret admirers of fascism, which they view as a very useful ideology for the task of oppressing the working masses, with Ukraine being an experiment in reviving that ideology for the new realities of the 21st century globalized world.
During a joint press availability with Merkel, Putin was asked to react to the fact that an earlier statement by the RF Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinskiy who approved of the treaty caused astonishment in Poland. Putin said literally the following:
“The Pact was intended to ensure the security of USSR. Secondly, I’d like to remind everyone that after the 1938 Munich Agreement Poland itself took action to annex a part of Czechoslovakia. So it turned out that after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the partition of Poland, that country fell victim to the same policies which it was trying to pursue in Europe.”
Which is a wholly correct assessment of the situation, and moreover Poland to this day barely acknowledges participating in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, an act that in fact sealed its doom.
Vishnevskiy is a Yabloko part member of the St. Petersburg legislature who also blogs on the liberal Ekho Moskvy radio station web site, however his criticism of Putin’s endorsement of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact fails to address the rather obvious question as to what exactly was USSR supposed to do given the relentless German expansion plans? Do nothing and allow Germany to take over all of Poland? This is, alas, one of the reasons why Russia’s “liberals” do not enjoy serious popularity in Russia: the only Russia they approve of is when it plays the role of a passive victim. Vishnevsky draws comparisons to the annexation of Crimea and the civil war on the Donbass, while failing to note that it was not Russia that cast the first stone in either of these situations.
The honor belongs to Polina Gagarina, whose rendition of the song Kukushka for the soundtrack of the film The Battle of Sevastopol became a major hit within the Russian Federation.
The organizers of the exhibition (more photos at the link) claim they were misunderstood, and that they were not trying to question the sacrifice of the peoples of USSR in the name of winning the war, only criticize the use of the symbolism of that war for contemporary political purposes, but if one looks at some of the exhibits, it’s easy to see how one might come to a different conclusion. One of the exhibits which svoboda.org naturally did not depict shows a swastika superimposed on St. George’s Ribbon, for example.
The Russian Army will take part in an official parade in Beijing
The parade will take place on September 3, and Russian soldiers’ participation will reciprocate Chinese soldiers’ marching in the 2015 Victory Parade.
The interesting part of the article is its citing of an editorial in the Indian Times newspaper which states that India’s role in WW2 has been historically neglected, and the parade was an opportunity to bring a spotlight to that aspect of the war. Furthermore, the editorial noted that the Indian subcontinent made a unified military contribution as part of the Commonwealth, and advocated for the creation of one war memorial for all three countries of the subcontinent, namely India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Are we about to see “India’s Reunification”?
DPR Defense Minister Vladimir Kononov issued that warning while speaking at a ceremony of unveiling a monument to a Novorossia soldier killed in action. Kononov also believes that Kiev is trying to provoke Novorossia into launching a bigger battle, which would end very badly for the UAF, as in his opinion the NAF have sufficient capability to inflict a decisive defeat on the weakened UAF.
According to DPR Duma Speaker Andrey Purgin, the process had already started. Its official objective is to facilitate the reconstruction of the Donbass. But I think it’s only self-evident to note that it would also facilitate Donbass reintegration with Russia, should that become the two sides’ choice…
The international forum “Donbass: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” will be held on May 11 and 12 with the participation of experts from many countries. However, no Ukrainians were invited due to what Pushilin termed Ukraine’s radical position concerning the very existence of Donbass as an independent political entity. The international participants include a French Europarliament deputy Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, two Greek parliamentarians, a German political scientist and writer Manuel Ochsenreiter, and several others.
That’s the amount assessed by Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for
Humor Economic Development and Trade Aleksandr Borovik. How did he come up with that number? By citing the amount Kuwait demanded of Iraq for its invasion of the country in 1991.
The article cites a NYT piece which describes the Ukrainian military as “disturbingly poorly trained.” That was the assessment by one of the US instructors who probably considers himself lucky to be still alive. The importance of this assessment can be rather large, if one considers the possibility the 173rd Airborne was sent to Ukraine to help figure out whether Ukraine even had military formations which could be entrusted with modern US weapons. And the answer seems to be “no”…
Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev warned that the authorities in regions bordering Ukraine should take measures to observe the border more closely. There are several entities which stated their intent to take the war to Russia’s territory, including the Azov Regiment, the Legion of Freedom formed by Tyagnibok’s Freedom Party, and even Chechen militants. While the incursion on any scale would be suicidal, it might be politically useful if it were to lead to a Russian reaction, and then a Western response, which is no doubt what the ultimate hoped-for outcome is.
Kadyrov also called on Obama to
chill the f*** out stop obsessing over past insults and rise above petty problems, and condemned those Western leaders who did not come to Moscow for the Victory Parade.
Other Former Soviet Republics
The West in shock: 65 thousand march in Kishinyov under Red Victory Banners
The march’s organizers also warned the country’s government (whom Poroshenko counts as one of its closest allies) against a Ukraine-like attempt to rewrite history.
Xi Jinping went to Minsk after his participation in the Victory Parade, to sign a number of agreements with Belarus which are consistent with the agreements already existing between Russia and China, including Belarus’ participation in the Silk Road economic belt.
country wants to call up 3 thousand young men for one year of military
service. The names are to be generated randomly, though given the
country’s economic problems and political weakness, we’ll see whether
the draft goes any better than it did in Ukraine.
The Rest of the World
Albanian terrorists tried to capture a town in Macedonia
is a story that’s making rounds on Russian social media but seems to
have far lower profile in the West. Eight Macedonian police were killed a
few days ago and 37 were wounded in a battle against ethnic Albanian
militants in the country’s border regions shortly after they penetrated
from Kosovo. Macedonia’s government announced that the casualties were
incurred when the country’s police acted to break up the group of
militants even as it was planning to launch terrorist attacks against
various targets in Macedonia and to seize the town of Kumanovo. NATO Secretary General called on both Macedonia’s government and the Albanian minority in Macedonia to avoid escalating the situation.
A very cute and even heart-warming video. Nothing like international friendship!
far this is little more than a rumor, the only backing for which is the
planned Shanghai visit by two French ships including Mistral-class
Dixmude helicopter carrier in service with the French Navy. Now, if
France were to sell the ships to China, would anything prevent China
from reselling them to Russia (assuming Russia still wants them)? This
would be a remarkably efficient and face-saving way out of a tough spot
officials acknowledge that senior US officials are exerting pressure on
them to end their participation. However, the Greeks are standing fast,
arguing that the pipeline represents a vital national interest to the
country. In practice, given the level of economic benefits the pipeline
would mean to Greece, the US would have to expend who knows how many
billions of dollars to offset its loss to the Greece’s economy.
Pawel Kukiz ran as an independent candidate in Poland’s presidential elections, getting 20% of the vote in the first tour of the voting. He is one of relatively few senior Polish politicians who are against arming Ukraine or an anti-Russian foreign policy, therefore the fact he is a rising star is a sign of hope that the current Polish foreign policy may not be long for this world.
The SNP did remarkably well in the most recent British elections, though, so ultimately it might not be up to
Draco Malfoy Cameron to decide what happens, especially if he continues his remarkably effective impersonation of Winston Churchill whose legacies include the break-up of the British Empire.