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Tag Archives: Russia

With Latest Syria Threats, Trump Continues to Be More Confrontational Toward Russia Than Obama Was

The civil war in Syria began in 2011 and escalated for five years during the Obama presidency, yet Barack Obama — despite demands from leaders of both parties and think tanks across the spectrum — never once bombed Syrian government targets. Although the CIA under Obama spent $1 billion per year to covertly train and fund Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, it was never close to enough to topple him: just enough to keep the war going.

But Obama never bombed Assad or his military assets: a decision which, to this day, is scorned across official Washington. Hillary Clinton blasted Obama’s refusal to do more to stop Assad, and in 2017, she actively encouraged Donald Trump to bomb Assad and take out his air force.

https://theintercept.com/2018/04/11/the-trump-administration-continues-to-be-more-confrontational-toward-russia-than-obama-was/

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Posted by on July 14, 2018 in Europe, Middle East

 

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La versione del Cremlino

“Questo è un fatto. E i fatti sono la cosa più ostinata del mondo”.
Il maestro e Margherita, Michail Bulgakov

“Una mezza verità è spesso una grande bugia”.
Benjamin Franklin

Alle sette di mattina le strade che portano dal centro di Mosca all’aeroporto di Šeremetevo non sono ancora invase dal traffico. Dal sedile posteriore dell’auto mi sporgo in avanti per ascoltare meglio e per essere sicuro che il registratore sia puntato nella giusta direzione. Accanto all’autista c’è Sergej Markov, politologo fedelissimo al Cremlino. Sta andando a Soči per un convegno sul quarto mandato di Vladimir Putin alla presidenza della Federazione russa, inaugurato ufficialmente un mese e mezzo dopo il successo elettorale del 18 marzo. L’unico modo per intervistarlo era accompagnarlo a prendere l’aereo e approfittare di quest’ora scarsa di viaggio.

https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/andrea-pipino/2018/06/09/vladimir-putin-markov-retorica

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2018 in Europe

 

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Hello, Generation Putin

The presidential election in Russia a week ago resulted in an impressive, if unsurprising, victory for Vladimir Putin. He was elected to a fourth term with a wide margin and high turnout in a vote that appeared to be the cleanest in Russia’s recent history (at least when it comes to what happened on Election Day itself).

But this election was about more than just reinstalling Mr. Putin in the Kremlin. It signaled the beginning of post-Putin Russia. Because while the president has gained popular support for policies like annexing Crimea and confronting the West, the legitimacy of his next term will be determined by his success in reassuring ordinary Russians that his regime will endure even when he is no longer in the Kremlin.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/opinion/russia-putin-youth-generation.html

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Europe

 

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Putin Finally Went Too Far

When Britain threw out 23 Russian diplomats in response to an assassination attempt on Russian agent Sergei Skripal, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia and current bad boy of modern geopolitics, shrugged it off. With relations between London and Moscow so strained, the embassy didn’t have all that much to do, anyway. The cost, Putin no doubt felt, was predictable and bearable. Then on Monday, 20 additional countries, from Albania to Ukraine, joined in a coordinated expulsion campaign, with the United States accounting for 60 of the Russians sent packing. On Tuesday, NATO announced it would expel seven Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning. Suddenly, the Kremlin isn’t looking quite so comfortable. With the Skripal hit, it looks as if Putin may have finally overreached.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/putin-skripal-expulsion-russia-poisoning-trump/556556/

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Europe

 

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Ukraine proposes a law that infuriates Russia

AFTER nearly four years of war in eastern Ukraine, and more than 10,000 deaths, reports from international monitors in the region sound like a grim broken record. On January 19th: 340 explosions. On January 20th: 240 explosions. On January 21st: 195 explosions and two middle-aged civilians hit by rifle fire while travelling in a bus near a separatist checkpoint in the town of Olenivka. “One had blood covering the left side of his face and was holding gauze to it and the other had gunshot wounds in his neck and left cheek,” the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported this week. One of the men ended up in hospital; the other died at the site of the attack.

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21735611-legislators-bicker-diplomats-gab-and-conflict-rolls-eastern-ukraine-ukraine-proposes-law

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Europe

 

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Lenin knew that revolution wouldn’t happen overnight – we must bear this in mind as capitalism fails us today

Perhaps the key achievement of Lenin was that he silently dropped the orthodox Marxist notion of revolution as a necessary step in historical progress. Instead he followed Louis Antoine Saint-Just’s insight that a revolutionary is like a seaman navigating in uncharted territories.

This was Lenin’s answer to the big problem of western Marxism: how is it that the working class does not constitute itself as a revolutionary agent? Western Marxism, at the time, was in a constant search for other social agents who could play the role of the revolutionary agent, as the understudy replacing the indisposed working class: third-world peasants, students and intellectuals; and the excluded … up to the refugees hailed today by some desperate leftists as “nomadic proletarians”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/russian-revolution-100-lenin-bolshevik-capitalism-marxism-communists-soviets-a8040136.html

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Europe

 

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Steve Bannon is going to be Robert Mueller’s greatest asset in the Trump-Russia investigation

Donald Trump and his cronies, blustering about the Russian investigation, do not see what is heading their way, Steve Bannon wanted to stress. “They are sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.” The gathering storm is likely to be even fiercer after the US President’s spectacular falling out with his former chief strategist and close ally.

In Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, about this most extraordinary of presidencies, Bannon has a clear view of the direction special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Trump’s Moscow connections is taking. “This is about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face … They’re going to crack Don Jr like an egg on national TV.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/steve-bannon-robert-mueller-trump-russia-investigation-counsel-campaign-flynn-white-house-president-a8142241.html

 

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Europe, North America

 

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The Petro-Yuan Bombshell

The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy

(NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as “revisionist” powers, “rivals”, and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.

The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an “attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries”. Still, Beijing qualified it as “reckless” and “irrational.” The Kremlin noted its “imperialist character” and “disregard for a multipolar world”. Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.”

Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geoeconomic process of Eurasia integration.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/25/the-petro-yuan-bombshell/

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Asia, Economy, Europe

 

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The legacies of 1917

Daniel Gascón: You have described the Russian Revolution as the biggest experiment in social engineering in history, and have also argued that it was the weakness of Russia’s democratic culture that enabled Bolshevism to take root. How do you link the two?

Orlando Figes: You could say that the Utopian nature of the revolution developed out of the idea of Russia being a tabula rasa, a blank canvas onto which revolutionaries could project their utopian ideals of human transformation. That was part of a tradition in Russian revolutionary thinking – not just for the Bolsheviks and anarchists, but more importantly for populists in the 19th century, who thought that because Russia was not developed, in a western sense, with political institutions, civil society, an advanced economy, it could sort of ‘leap over’ the West by becoming a new form of democracy or socialism. That idea is in Alexander Herzen’s writing in the 1860s. And part of that utopian thinking that gets superimposed onto Russia in the 19th century and into the 20th century is also the religious aspect, the idea that Russia had some sort of messianic mission in the world, a mission to save humanity.

http://www.eurozine.com/the-legacies-of-1917/

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2017 in Europe

 

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The Guardian view on Putin in Syria: victory and desolation

Vladimir Putin went on a victory lap of Syria and the Middle East this week, intent on showcasing his ability to secure the upper hand against the US in the region. On a surprise visit to a Russian airbase on the Syrian coast, he demonstratively embraced the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, whose hold on power Russia’s military intervention has all but saved. “Friends, the motherland is waiting for you,” Mr Putin told a detachment of Russian soldiers. “You are coming back home with victory.”

Meanwhile, in eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus where Russia had announced earlier this year that a ceasefire would take hold, children living under siege are starving. Despite the “de-escalation” deal, Syrian government forces continue to pound the area, backed by Iranian and Russian allies in an attempt to score a decisive victory. These two scenes spoke volumes about Russia’s calculus, and about the realities it has helped create on the ground. That the Russian president has now announced a substantial troop withdrawal must be taken with a barrel of salt. Similar pledges have been made before and remain unfulfilled. On Tuesday a Kremlin spokesperson said Russia would retain a sizable force in Syria to fight “terrorists”. Russia’s definition of “terrorism” in Syria is like that of the Assad regime, which equates it to political opposition.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/12/the-guardian-view-on-putin-in-syria-victory-and-desolation

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2017 in Middle East

 

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