Russian Blogosphere Survey for May 6, 2015

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May 6, 2015


Russian Blogosphere Survey for May 6, 2015

By J.Hawk

This is the 31st edition of the “almost daily” Fort Russ feature. For earlier editions, click Daily Brief tab above the title.

Politics

Russia’s Regions. The ratings of governors, January-April 2015

 The periodic ratings of governors are but the newest variation on how Russia has been governed since at least the time of Peter the Great and his Table of Ranks. An efficient state administration requires the steady selection, grooming, and training of cadres (who, in Stalin’s words, ultimately decide everything). With the Soviet-era nomenklatura system gone, there was a need to recreate it in some form, and the rating of governors is one of the components of the system which allows the country’s senior leadership to identify talented executives capable of fighting the forces of Darkness dealing with pressing problems and issues. And if you prove yourself at the regional level, you will be selected for higher responsibilities at the federal level. Conversely, should you fail to shine when given the opportunity at this level, your career will be over. Russia’s economic success over the course of the last decade and a half is to a significant extent due to the effectiveness of this system of senior executive management.

International investors have taken out $356 billion out of Great Britain

That’s the figure for the last 15 months, including $24 billion in March 2015 which is the most recent month for which data is available. It’s not just Russian investors who are taking money out of the UK, but other foreign entities and even British investors who are seeking a “safer haven” for their cash. Why is this happening? Matveychev mentions the upcoming elections and the sense of internal political uncertainty in the UK which is still in a pretty grave economic and financial crisis. However, it’s not just a question of concern over the next election–it’s not the first nor the last one. The problem here is that, possibly unbeknownst to itself, London has ruined its own reputation as a bulwark of free market capitalism by injecting politics into business through not just the adoption of sanctions but Gollum’s Cameron’s active campaigning to “punish” Russia. Now that everyone has seen how anybody’s assets can be frozen or even confiscated at the behest of Number 10 Downing Street, with no legal due process whatsoever, you might as well take your money to Zimbabwe.

It’s harder and harder for the West to maintain its myths about The War

Fritzmorgen definitely has a point when he says this is the first time in many years that we have had a conscious examination of history, especially the outcomes and legacies of the Second World War. He is also quite right that historical revisionism is a dangerous sword to wield, especially considering who the beneficiaries are of any attempt at revising history for the purpose of diminishing the role and the moral stance of USSR in that war. To a a certain extent the backlash official Western propaganda is facing is due to the reaction to the neo-Nazis, encouraged by their brethren’s success in Kiev, coming out of the woodwork. Moreover, many of the myths concerning the relative contribution to victory in WW2 were not the product of the last few years. Rather, they have been lingering around since the early part of the Cold War when the exigencies of that conflict made it “politically incorrect” to acknowledge USSR’s contribution. So in a way the Ukraine conflict is continuing to have wide and even surprising consequences. 

The sources of US aggressiveness lie in the EU

Leshy makes a compelling argument that the US actions in Ukraine are to a large extent motivated by the desire to overcome its systemic economic crisis by “cannibalizing” its EU partner. Leshy goes so far as to compare the signing of the TTIP, in terms of importance, to the hoisting of the Red Banner above the Reichstag, because it would signify a total (though not necessarily final) victory in the quest to transform the EU from a partner into a vassal, trapped in a neocolonial cycle of dependency. The reasons for it are prosaic: there are no more “emerging markets” to expand into. China and Russia are too powerful to succumb to domination, and everyone who’s weak enough for the US to dominate is too poor for that domination to be of much use. Needless to say, most European leaders (especially in France and Germany) understand it, hence the resistance to US pressure to take a harder line. Those European leaders who pretend not to understand it merely hope to gain a promotion within the imperial hierarchy in return for their support of the US agenda. So in many respects the situation resembles that of 1914 too closely for comfort, because the Great Powers of Western Europe turned on each other only when they ran out of the rest of the planet to colonize, when the only means of expansion was through attacking their neighboring imperial power. Except now instead of a two-way stalemate between the Central Powers and the Entente, there’s a three-way one between the Anglo-Saxon powers, the Continental Powers (certain morons russophobic minor European countries excepting), and Russia. Plus, to make things more interesting, a similar scenario is unfolding in the Middle East and Asia.

Israel refuses to supply drones to Ukraine after Putin’s intervention

All concerned parties are refusing to comment on this revelation, which most likely means it’s genuinely true (otherwise you’d simply deny it). It’s difficult to say what Netanyahu’s ultimate motivation was here. Not wanting to alienate Russia (which also buys Israeli drones)? Ukraine’s neo-Nazi worship? Ukraine’s inability to pay? All of the above?

Russian T-90A tanks will parade in Minsk

A photo from a recent rehearsal. Russian Army troops will parade alongside their Belarusian brethren in the May 9 Victory Parade.

Gazprom asks $24 billion from Ukraine in a Stockholm arbitration court

 When it comes to courts of arbitration, it turns out two can play this game, and Gazprom’s $24 billion suit dwarfs Ukraine’s $16 billion one. Gazprom is demanding payment for Ukraine’s general stupidity natural gas siphoning and overdue debt. It is doubtful Gazprom expects to collect. Instead, the suit is likely intended as a warning to Ukraine that Gazprom (and the Russian Federation as a whole) are considering opening a can of whup-ass harsher measures in order to force Kiev’s compliance with Minsk-2.

Night Wolves’ next journey is to take place in Western Ukraine

Night Wolves President Aleksandr Zladostanov announced that the club’s next run will take it through Mordor Western Ukraine in order to restore the desecrated Soviet-era monuments, especially those commemorating Soviet war heroes. The end point of the journey will be Lvov. No word as to when the Night Wolves plan to carry it out.

Goodbye Ukraine!

 LPR began to issue internal-use passports to 16-year-olds (the age at which individuals acquire their personal identity documents) and to everyone who has lost their Ukrainian passport. LPR authorities estimate that bearers of these passports will be able to use them for international travel as early as May of this year–which implies LPR’s de-facto international recognition by the Russian Federation at least, and possibly by other countries as well. In addition, some 80% of LPR inhabitants now use exclusively the Russian ruble as their currency.

May 4 fighting

Cassad notes that about the only thing that’s left of the ceasefire is both sides’ unwillingness to use rocket artillery on a large scale, which is probably driven more by the desire to preserve ammunition for decisive operations (MRL munitions are both bulky and quickly expended, due to the MRL’s rapid rate of fire). Other than that, as soon as OSCE is gone, fighting erupts with fairly high intensity. UAF continues to shell DPR cities, though not at a rate seen in January. There is a comparative lull on the LPR front, which might well be a reflection of UAF’s desire to dull the sense of vigilance along these sectors of the front. Nobody is expecting much out of the upcoming round of Minsk consultations, but the real “target” of the UAF’s attempts to provoke NAF into a large-scale offensive is most likely the July EU summit which will deal with the question of EU’s Russia policy. Given that Ukraine has been given a swift kick in the pants lot of non-committal responses at its latest joint summit with the EU, its leadership has every incentive to provoke another round of fighting in order to compel the EU to harden its Russia policy and throw more money at the junta.

Kiev planning a Donetsk terror strike for May 9

Ukraine’s discount Josef Goebbels ATO spokesmodel Andriy Lysenko (who always wears a recently washed and neatly pressed camouflage
uniform which has never been even in remote proximity of trench mud) came out of the Fuerherbunker and announced that the “separatists” are planning to kill a large number of civilians in Donetsk on May 9 in order to justify a military offensive in Peski, Stanitsa Luganskaya, and Shirokino sectors. That’s an amazingly detailed prediction! Enough to make one wonder what the UAF might have in store for that particular day…

The State of Ukraine. Exists on maps, but nowhere else.

Yurasumy relates three stories which, individually and collectively, show the progressive disintegration of Banderostan Ukraine as a state. The first is Ukraine EMERCOM chief Shkiryak bizarre trip to Nepal, where he succeeded to become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, due to pathological inability to, well, talk to representatives of other countries and the sheer ineptitude of whoever is left at the agency after the many rounds of Spanish Inquisition lustration and other assorted politically-correct nonsense. The second case was the failure to appoint the new head of Ukrainian State Railways, due to the conflict among the various interest groups and clans which resulted in none of the three (equally unqualified) candidates being appointed. The third case is the burning at the stake reform of local governments (IMF wants to see government spending reduced, after all), which is already having the effect of unleashing competition over who gets to control which business activity in the region. It is essentially a revival of feudalism on a national scale, with local “robber barons” competing over who gets to rob which peasants. All the while foreign interests are looking to take advantage of the chaos and start snapping up Ukrainian farmland…

Poland declines to classify Volhyn Massacre as a genocide of Poles, under German and US pressure

In the letter posted above, German Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier advised the Polish government not to pursue the matter of the Volhyn Massacre at UNESCO because it would undermine Europe’s unity concerning Ukraine and damage Kiev-Warsaw relations. The government of Poland evidently saw it that way, because the original Polish petition never reached UNESCO. However, the Schetyna letter to Kerry shows that the US policy on that score is identical, and also indicates the level of discontent within the Polish society with the course the Polish government has been forced to take by its imperial overlords EU and NATO partners.

In Schetyna’s favor, he actually calls spade a spade in his letter to Kerry.

First steps taken toward creating LitPolUkrBrig

Poland’s president Komorowski signed his own death warrant the agreement establishing the joint Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade, with an intended strength of 3-5 thousand troops, including 500 Ukrainians which is to be HQed in Lublin, Poland. Nkfedor is speculating this unit will be the “camel’s nose under the tent” of NATO direct military involvement in the Ukrainian civil war. Two of the three countries are, after all, NATO members. However, one has to keep in mind that both Lithuanians and Ukrainians view Poland with considerable mistrust, given Poland’s imperial past and current desire to extend its “civilizing influence” eastward. Plus, can one seriously imagine Polish soldiers standing in formation in front of a Bandera monument?

Economy


Massandra plants its first vineyard in 20 years

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Massandra is a major Crimean winemaker which was nationalized after Crimea’s joining of the Russian Federation, and subsequently purged of its incompetent and grossly corrupt administration. Under new management and under new business conditions, Massandra is getting to work expanding its activities and seeking new investors, both private and public.

Construction of a high-speed repair and maintenance facility begins

The facility, which will service Sapsan and Lastochka high-speed trains, is being built near St. Petersburg in a collaboration between Russian Railroads (RZhD) and Siemens. High-speed trains will begin running between St. Petersburg and Moscow starting in August 2015.

Chronicles of an economy in a dive, pt. 18

World Bank is expecting Ukraine’s economy to shrink by 7.5% in 2015 and its inflation to run at around 40%. Considering that World Bank has historically underestimated Ukraine’s rate of collapse, this is likely to be the optimistic scenario.

Military

Night-time Victory Parade rehearsal

Looks like the friendly countries’ soldiers are already in Moscow, as this is probably the first rehearsal in which we are seeing the international contingents marching.

T-14 Armata

Alex Leshy’s heavily illustrated post takes us back through the memory lane and shows the “evolution” of the Armata concept, including the expectations as to what Russia’s next tank would look like. The post also contains many close-up photographs of  the tank’s details, and right now we can only guess to what they might be. For example, the turret, in addition to the main gun and the machine-guns, also contains no fewer than three different types of launchers–the large grenade launchers around the turret ring, the pair of rotating launchers on the edges of turret roof, plus what looks like a set of small vertical launch tubes in the turret roof. And then there are all the vision and detection devices mounted all over the vehicle whose function is also yet to be explained.

 Kurganets all around

A collection of photos showing the vehicle from several angles. And it does look like the vehicle might be amphibious–those two roundish covers on the lower edge of the rear hull look like waterjet covers.

Russian Federation T-72B3 MBT

Mountainous Dagestan

History

Berlin, July 1945. Color footage.

A high-definition video originally filmed by US combat cameramen, who were among the first US personnel to have traveled to the Soviet-liberated Berlin in the aftermath of the defeat of the Third Reich.

Wewelsburg Castle today

Sometime one wonders how many of the people who visit places like Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, or, for that matter, Wewelsburg, are going there to learn “how it’s done”. Because Wewelsburg was the “Vatican of the SS” (a phrase coined by Heinrich Himmler), the ideological forge of the not-quite-Master Race which originated much of the symbolism currently in use by the Azov Regiment and other Ukrainian neo-Nazi organizations such as the Wolfsangel and the Black Sun. The post at the link has tons of photos taken at Wewelsburg which, as one might imagine, has been turned into a museum. 

Yuriy Levitan: Hitler’s Enemy No. 1

Yuriy Levitan was the main anchor of Radio Moscow whose voice (if not face) were intimately known by all Soviet citizens of his time. It was Levitan who made the official announcement of the Nazi Germany’s invasion of USSR, and it was his powerful, confident voice that accompanied and reassured the Soviet people through the darkest moments of the war. He was quite literally the voice of the Soviet state, to the point that Hitler issued instructions to form a special SS unit tasked with his capture.

Malorossia Cossacks on Sergey Vasilkovskiy paintings

Vasilkovskiy seems to have been a pretty prolific painter, judging by the number of depictions of 19th century village life he left behind.

Life and Society

Tuesday Cats

 Train to Vorkuta pt. IX: The white silence of the Polar Circle

Humor

That’s what you were jumping for

 “Enough complaining about life. Nobody’s forcing you to live.”

Everything is just beginning

“You say you didn’t press the button? So where is Belgium right now?”

Checkmate!

This is, strictly speaking, not humor, but how else am I going to classify this Ukrainian counter to the T-14, the wholly imaginary Oplot-UD?

Comrade Stalin skips the G-7 meeting in Munich, September 30, 1938

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