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  1. #6426
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Seems like the coward is starting to show his spots.
    Putin is simply a filthy animal and he has been exposed as a bully . . . a losing bully

  2. #6427
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    ..... The presented war has been at variance with the waged war more or less since the Russian intervention began on Feb. 24. This is why Western correspondents, in any case apparently short on guts and integrity, are pleased enough to conform to the Kyiv regime’s ban on coverage from the front lines. By and large, these correspondents report the presented war.

    But the gap between the presented war and the waged war now appears to be widening more dramatically.

    On one hand, the Ukrainians’ celebrated counteroffensives, launched in August, appear to be exhausted with no significant gains achieved. You also have Russia’s call-up of as many as 300,000 reservists and the appointment of Sergei Surovkin, a no-nonsense general who led Russia’s campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, as the overall commander of the Ukraine operation.

    On the other hand you have … you have the midterm elections. Since the summer, as the Democrats’ prospects on Nov. 8 grow ever dimmer, those prosecuting the presented war have grown ever more incautious in their departures from the waged war.

    I could be wrong, but this latest phase in the presented war began on Oct. 12, the midterms a month away, when The New York Times quoted Lloyd Austin saying Ukraine’s offensives will continue well into the winter and that Russia’s recent attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure have fortified the West’s unified resolve to continue supporting the Kyiv regime.

    “I expect that Ukraine will continue to do everything it can throughout the winter to regain its territory and to be effective on the battlefield,” the U.S. defense secretary said after a meeting of NATO officials in Brussels, “and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they have what’s required to be effective.”

    Austin’s comments seem to me to mark an important point of departure from reality. Neither of the above-quoted assertions is true according to all available evidence. Ukraine’s counteroffensives, after its forces pushed through an open door in the northeast, have nothing to show for themselves and are in for a debilitating winter. The West’s resolve, no secret to anyone — even the Times — looks increasingly wobbly.

    But here’s the thing about the presented war: What is said in its cause does not have to be factual or in any way true; it simply has to be said over and over again.

    PATRICK LAWRENCE: War as Presentation
    Where do you find these propaganda pieces? He refers to the "Regime" in Kiev instead of legitimate govt which tells you what side he is on. Then his poor assumption of the mid terms. "The Ukrainian forces have nothing since they pushed through an "open door" in the north East?" Err... Kherzon for starters and the russians now basically pushed over the river. You really are the Russell coight of all things military. I fervently hope you are much more intelligent in real life than your posts on Russia and China suggest. I find it hard to fathom how someone can be so consistently wrong so often. Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

  3. #6428
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    I find it hard to fathom how someone can be so consistently wrong so often.
    It is utterly laughable. He has been making a fool of himself on these topics for ages now. Absolutely clueless and almost always wrong. That article is a laughing stalk today, as every part of it is total horseshit. He is currently avoiding the Ukraine threads in an attempt to avoid humiliation.


  4. #6429
    Thailand Expat HermantheGerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Russian MFA Sergey Lavrov and other participants in the ASEAN Summit Gala Dinner Attachment 94930
    Really want to see you Putler but it takes so long my Putler… Hallelujah

    Maybe This is the End from the Doors would be better?

  5. #6430
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    ^^^ Inexplicably hughie, my answer got transmogrified to another thread. But Patrick Lawrence is a veteran foreign correspondent, an American with residences in both Connecticut and NYC. Hardly a Russian propagandist. I bet you wish he had his money. Bluddy commie.

    Last edited by sabang; 14-11-2022 at 02:27 PM.

  6. #6431
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    It is utterly laughable. He has been making a fool of himself on these topics for ages now. Absolutely clueless and almost always wrong. That article is a laughing stalk today, as every part of it is total horseshit. He is currently avoiding the Ukraine threads in an attempt to avoid humiliation.

    You made him post some more rubbish propaganda. He is a bonehead.

  7. #6432
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    I bet you wish he had his money. Bluddy commie.

    Say what?

  8. #6433
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  9. #6434
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    I bet you wish he had his money
    As Moses was counselled, keep taking the tablets

  10. #6435
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    transmogrified
    Made me look mate.

    trans·mog·ri·fy

    /tranzˈmäɡrəˌfī,tran(t)sˈmäɡrəˌfī/

    verb HUMOROUS

    past tense: transmogrified; past participle: transmogrified

    transform in a surprising or magical manner.
    "the cucumbers that were ultimately transmogrified into pickles"
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  11. #6436
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Some coffee time reading. Enjoy.


    Russia’s Road to Economic Ruin

    The Long-Term Costs of the Ukraine War Will Be Staggering


    After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian economy seemed destined for a nosedive. International sanctions threatened to strangle the economy, leading to a plunge in the value of the ruble and Russian financial markets. Everyday Russians appeared poised for privation.


    More than eight months into the war, this scenario has not come to pass. Indeed, some data suggest that the opposite is true, and the Russian economy is doing fine. The ruble has strengthened against the dollar, and although Russian GDP has shrunk, the contraction may well be limited to less than three percent in 2022.


    Look behind the moderate GDP contraction and inflation figures, however, and it becomes evident that the damage is in fact severe: the Russian economy is destined for a long period of stagnation. The state was already interfering in the private sector before the war. That tendency has become only more pronounced, and it threatens to further stifle innovation and market efficiency. The only way to preserve the viability of the Russian economy is either through major reforms—which are not in the offing—or an institutional disruption similar to the one that occurred with the fall of the Soviet Union.


    The misapprehension of what sanctions against Russia would accomplish can be explained in part by unrealistic expectations of what economic measures can do. Simply put, they are not the equivalent of a missile strike. Yes, in the long run, sanctions can weaken the economy and lower GDP. But in the short run, the most one can reasonably hope for is a massive fall in Russia’s imports. It is only natural that the ruble strengthens rather than weakens as the demand for dollars and euros drops. And as the money that would have been spent on imports is redirected towards domestic production, GDP should in fact rise rather than fall. The effect of sanctions on consumption and quality of life take longer to work their way through the economy.


    At the beginning of the war, in February and early March, Russians rushed to buy dollars and euros to protect themselves against a potential plunge in the ruble. Over the next eight months, with Russian losses in Ukraine mounting, they bought even more. Normally, this would have caused a significant devaluation of the ruble because when people buy foreign currency, the ruble plunges. Because of sanctions, however, companies that imported goods before the war stopped purchasing currency to finance these imports. As a result, imports fell by 40 percent in the spring. One consequence was that the ruble strengthened against the dollar. In short, it was not that sanctions did not work. On the contrary, their short-term effect on imports was unexpectedly strong. Such a fall in imports was not expected. If Russia’s central bank had anticipated such a massive fall, it would not have had introduced severe restrictions on dollar deposits in March to prevent a collapse in the value of the ruble.


    Economic sanctions did, of course, have other immediate effects. Curbing Russia’s access to microelectronics, chips, and semiconductors made production of cars and aircraft almost impossible. From March to August, Russian car manufacturing fell by an astonishing 90 percent, and the drop in aircraft production was similar. The same holds true for the production of weapons, which is understandably a top priority for the government. Expectations that new trade routes through China, Turkey, and other countries that are not part of the sanctions regime would compensate for the loss of Western imports have been proved wrong. The abnormally strong ruble is a signal that back-door import channels are not working. If imports were flowing into Russia through hidden channels, importers would have been buying dollars, sending the ruble down. Without these critical imports, the long-term health of Russia’s high-tech industry is dire.


    Even more consequential than Western technology sanctions is the fact that Russia is unmistakably entering a period in which political cronies are solidifying their hold over the private sector. This has been a long time in the making. After the 2008 global financial crisis hit Russia harder than any other G20 country, Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially nationalized large enterprises. In some cases, he placed them under direct government control; in other cases, he placed them under the purview of state banks. To stay in the government’s good graces, these companies have been expected to maintain a surplus of workers on their payrolls. Even enterprises that remained private have in essence been prohibited from firing employees. This did provide the Russian people with economic security—at least for the time being—and that stability is a critical part of Putin’s compact with his constituents. But an economy in which enterprises cannot modernize, restructure, and fire employees to boost profits will stagnate. Not surprisingly, Russia’s GDP growth from 2009 to 2021 averaged 0.8 percent per year, lower than the period in the 1970s and 1980s that preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union.


    Even before the war, Russian businesses faced regulations that deprived them of investment. Advanced industries such as energy, transportation, and communication—that is, those that would have benefited the most from foreign technology and foreign investment—faced the greatest restrictions. To survive, companies operating in this space were forced to maintain close ties with government officials and bureaucrats. In exchange, these government protectors ensured that these businesses faced no competition. They outlawed foreign investment, passed laws that put onerous burdens on foreigners doing business in Russia, and opened investigations against companies operating without government protection. The result was that government officials, military generals, and high-ranking bureaucrats—many of them Putin’s friends—became multimillionaires. The living standards of ordinary Russians, in contrast, have not improved in the past decade.


    Since the beginning of the war, the government has tightened its grip over the private sector even further. Starting in March, the Kremlin rolled out laws and regulations that give the government the right to shut down businesses, dictate production decisions, and set prices for manufactured goods. The mass mobilization of military recruits that started in September is providing Putin with another cudgel to wield over Russian businesses because to preserve their workforces, company leaders will need to bargain with government officials to ensure that their employees are exempt from conscription.


    To be sure, the Russian economy has long operated under a government stranglehold. But Putin’s most recent moves are taking this control to a new level. As the economists Andrei Shleifer and Robert Vishny have argued, the one thing worse than corruption is decentralized corruption. It’s bad enough when a corrupt central government demands bribes; it is even worse when several different government offices are competing for handouts. Indeed, the high growth rates of Putin’s first decade in office were in part due to how he centralized power in the Kremlin, snuffing out competing predators such as oligarchs operating outside of the government’s fold. The emphasis on creating private armies and regional volunteer battalions for his war against Ukraine, however, is creating new power centers. That means that decentralized corruption will almost certainly resurface in Russia.


    That could create a dynamic reminiscent of the 1990s, when Russian business owners relied on private security, mafia ties, and corrupt officials to maintain control of newly privatized enterprises. Criminal gangs employing veterans of the Russian war in Afghanistan offered “protection” to the highest bidder or simply plundered profitable businesses. The mercenary groups that Putin created to fight in Ukraine will play the same role in the future.


    Russia could still eke out a victory in Ukraine. It’s unclear what winning would look like; perhaps permanent occupation of a few ruined Ukrainian cities would be packaged as a triumph. Alternatively, Russia could lose the war, an outcome that would make it more likely that Putin would lose power. A new reformist government could take over and withdraw troops, consider reparations, and negotiate a lifting of trade sanctions.


    No matter the outcome, however, Russia will emerge from the war with its government exercising authority over the private sector to an extent that is unprecedented anywhere in the world aside from Cuba and North Korea. The Russian government will be omnipresent yet simultaneously not strong enough to protect businesses from mafia groups consisting of demobilized soldiers armed with weapons they acquired during the war. Particularly at first, they will target the most profitable enterprises, both at the national and local level.


    For the Russian economy to grow, it will need not only major institutional reforms but also the kind of clean slate that Russia was left with in 1991. The collapse of the Soviet state made institutions of that era irrelevant. A long and painful process of building new institutions, increasing state capacity, and reducing corruption followed—until Putin came to power and eventually dismantled market institutions and built his own system of patronage. The lesson is grim: even if Putin loses power and a successor ushers in significant reforms, it will take at least a decade for Russia to return to the levels of private-sector production and quality of life the country experienced just a year ago. Such are the consequences of a disastrous, misguided war.


    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/russian-federation/russias-road-economic-ruin

  12. #6437
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    A kleptocracy . . . definitely worth admiring for some

  13. #6438
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    November 14, 2022 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    Russia strategises with Iran for the long haul in Ukraine


    "Ignoring the hype in the US media about White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Kissingerian diplomacy over Ukraine, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, former KGB counterintelligence officer and longstanding associate of President Putin, travelled to Tehran last Wednesday in the equivalent of a knockout punch in geopolitics.

    Patrushev called on President Ebrahim Raisi and held detailed discussions with Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the representative of the Supreme leader and secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. The visit marks a defining moment in the Russia-China partnership and plants a signpost on the trajectory of the war in Ukraine.

    The Iranian state media quoted Raisi as saying, “The development of the extent and expansion of the scale of war [in Ukraine] causes concern for all countries.” That said, Raisi also remarked that Tehran and Moscow are upgrading relations to a “strategic” level, which is “the most decisive response to the policy of sanctions and destabilisation by the United States and its allies.”

    The US State Department reacted swiftly on the very next day with spokesman Ned Price warning that “This is a deepening alliance that the entire world should view as a profound threat… this is a relationship that would have implications, could have implications beyond any single country.” Price said Washington will work with allies to counter Russian-Iranian military ties.

    Patrushev’s talks in Tehran touched on highly sensitive issues that prompted President Vladimir Putin to follow up with Raisi on Saturday. The Kremlin readout said the two leaders “discussed a number of current issues on the bilateral agenda with an emphasis on the continued building up of interaction in politics, trade and the economy, including transport and logistics. They agreed to step up contacts between respective Russian and Iranian agencies.”

    In this connection, Patrushev’s exceptionally strong support for Iran over the current disturbances in that country must be understood properly. Patrushev stated: “We note the key role of Western secret services in organising mass riots in Iran and the subsequent spread of disinformation about the situation in the country via Persian-language Western media existing under their control. We see this as overt interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

    Russian security agencies share information with Iranian counterparts on hostile activities of western intelligence agencies. Notably, Patrushev sidestepped Iran’s suspicions regarding involvement of Saudi Arabia. Separately, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also publicly offered to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh.

    All this is driving Washington insane. On the one hand, it is not getting anywhere, including at President Biden’s level, to raise the spectre of Iran threat and rally the Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf all over again.

    Most recently, Washington resorted to theatrics following up an unsubstantiated report by Wall Street Journal about an imminent Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia in the coming days. The US forces in the West Asian region increased their alert level and Washington vowed to be ready for any eventuality. But, curiously, Riyadh was unmoved and showed no interest in the US offer of protection to ward off threat from Iran.

    Clearly, Saudi-Iranian normalisation process, which has been front-loaded with sensitive exchanges on their mutual security concerns, has gained traction neither side gets provoked into knee-jerk reaction.

    This paradigm shift works to Russia’s advantage. Alongside its highly strategic oil alliance with Saudi Arabia, Russia is now deepening its strategic partnership with Iran.
    The panic in spokesman Price’s remarks suggests that Washington has inferred that the cooperation between the security and defence agencies of Russia and Iran is set to intensify.
    What alarms Washington most is that Tehran is adopting a joint strategy with Moscow to go on the offensive and defeat the weaponisation of sanctions by the collective West. Despite decades of sanctions, Iran has built up a world class defence industry on its own steam that will put countries like India or Israel to shame.

    Shamkhani underscored the creation of “joint and synergistic institutions to deal with sanctions and the activation of the capacity of international institutions against sanctions and sanctioning countries.” Patrushev concurred by recalling the earlier agreements between the national security agencies of the two countries to chart out the roadmap for strategic cooperation, especially in regard of countering western economic and technological sanctions.

    Shamkhani added that Tehran regards the expansion of bilateral and regional cooperation with Russia in the economic field as one of its strategic priorities in the conditions of US sanctions, which both countries are facing. Patrushev responded, “The most important goal of mine and my delegation in traveling to Tehran is to exchange opinions to speed up the implementation of joint projects along with providing dynamic mechanisms to start new activities in the economic, commercial, energy and technology fields.”

    Patrushev noted, “Creating synergy in transit capacities, especially the rapid completion of the North-South corridor, is an effective step to improve the quality of bilateral and international economic and commercial cooperation.”

    Patrushev and Shamkhani discussed a joint plan by Russia and Iran “to establish a friendship group of defenders of the United Nations Charter” comprising countries that bear the brunt of illegal western sanctions.

    With regard to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Shamkhani said the two countries should “intelligently use the exchangeable capacities” of the member countries. He said the danger of terrorism and extremism continues to threaten the security of the region and stressed the need to increase regional and international cooperation.

    Patrushev’s visit to Tehran was scheduled in the run-up to the conference on Afghanistan being hosted by Moscow on November 16. Iran and Russia have common concerns over Afghanistan. They are concerned over the western attempts to (re)fuel the civil war in Afghanistan.
    In a recent op-Ed in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov alleged that Britain is financing a so-called “Afghan resistance” against the Taliban (which is reportedly operating out of Panjshir.) Kabulov wrote that the US is baiting two Central Asian states by offering them helicopters and aircraft in lieu of cooperation in covert activities against the Taliban.

    Kabulov made a sensational disclosure that the US is blackmailing the Taliban leaders by threatening them with a drone attack unless they broke off contacts with Russia and China. He said, specifically, that the US and Britain are demanding that Kabul should refrain from restricting the activities of Afghanistan-based Uyghur terrorists.
    Interestingly, Moscow is exploring the creation of a compact group of five regional states who are stakeholders in Afghanistan’s stabilisation and could work together. Kabulov mentioned Iran, Pakistan, India and China as Russia’s partners.

    Iran is a “force multiplier” for Russia in a way no other country — except China, perhaps — can be in the present difficult conditions of sanctions. Patrushev’s visit to Tehran at the present juncture, on the day after the midterms in the US, can only mean that the Kremlin has seen through the Biden administration’s dissimulation of peacemaking in Ukraine to actually derail the momentum of the Russian mobilisation and creation of new defence lines in the Kherson-Zaporozhya-Donbass direction.

    Indeed, it is no secret that the Americans are literally scratching the bottom of the barrel to deliver weapons to Ukraine as their inventory is drying up and several months or a few years are needed to replenish depleted stocks. (here, here ,here and here)

    Suffice to say, from the geopolitical angle, Patrushev’s talks in Tehran — and Putin’s call soon after with Raisi — have messaged in no unmistaken terms that Russia is strategising for the long haul in Ukraine. "

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/russ...ul-in-ukraine/
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  14. #6439
    Thailand Expat OhOh's Avatar
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    13 Nov, 2022 11:22 HomeBusiness News

    Russia seeks SWIFT reconnection for grain exports

    The deputy finance minister suggests removing obstacles to agricultural trade, amid global food shortages

    "Russia wants its main agricultural lender Rosselkhozbank to be reconnected to the SWIFT financial network, in order to free up grain and fertilizer exports, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said on Saturday.

    “This is not the first time we are discussing this because, from my perspective, reconnecting Rosselkhozbank, which provides the majority of agricultural transactions, is a key issue… We have discussed this issue and received assurances again from the UN representatives that they also consider this issue to be vital,” Vershinin told reporters.

    His comments follow a meeting with senior UN officials on Friday, addressing the deal guaranteeing safe passage to Ukraine’s grain exports via the Black Sea. Under the pact, brokered in July by the UN and Türkiye, Russia sought a sanctions reprieve for its own agricultural trade, but has since voiced discontent with UN efforts to lift Western restrictions affecting the sector.

    While the sanctions do not directly target Russia’s agriculture, they affect payments, insurance and shipping. Many Russian banks were disconnected from the SWIFT financial messaging system earlier this year, making it difficult to carry out direct settlements for exports.

    According to Vershinin, one way to ease the problem would be to open correspondent accounts in foreign banks, such as Citibank and JPMorgan, to facilitate payments for Russian exports.
    “This option, if anything, can only be temporary, because the real solution is a full reconnection to the SWIFT financial messaging system of Rosselkhozbank,” he stressed, adding that the issue needs to be resolved before the grain deal expires on November 19.

    Vershinin noted that Moscow has not yet agreed to extend its participation in the deal. Previously, a number of top Russian top officials warned that the country could choose to exit the agreement, if the UN does not fulfil its pledges regarding Russian exports."

    Russia seeks SWIFT reconnection for grain exports — RT Business News

  15. #6440
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    November 14, 2022 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    Russia strategises with Iran for the long haul in Ukraine
    Who gives a flying fuck about Iran?

    It's a toilet run by a bunch of lunatics who murder women for not covering their hair.

    What sort of an arsehole would give any credibility to a shithole like .....


    Ah, I'll just stop there.

  16. #6441
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    The Prigozhin sledgehammer


    PMCs and armed gangs are already starting to supplant the Russian state. This is a direct path to civil war.


    Not only is the war against Ukraine killing thousands of people, devouring immense material resources, dismantling Russia’s connections to the rest of the world, and destroying the ethical values of Russians. The way Putin and his government are waging this war is laying — and has already laid — the ground for a future civil war. It doesn’t matter that much whether it breaks out in one year or in two. What matters is that, with every day, it becomes more and more inevitable.


    But firstly — is a civil war in Russia even possible? It is not, so long as we imagine it to be something like the civil war of 1918-1922, when the Russian Empire broke down into dozens of states or quasi-state entities. Modern-day Russia is exceptionally unified both ethnically and linguistically. Ethnic minorities make up only a small percentage of the population. The only region with a chance of independent existence is the Chechen Republic. However, even the secession of Chechnya — or a war for such a secession — would not be a full-fledged civil war, simply because Chechnya only makes up 1% of Russia’s population.

    Indeed, a “region against region” type of civil war is practically impossible in modern-day Russia. A civil war of another nature, however, is possible —


    like that which took place in the 1990s in Krasnoyarsk and Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo and Nefteyugansk between different gangs and law enforcement entities, both state and private, for access to the financial flows of industrial assets and natural resources. Only this time, unlike during the 1990s, there will be many more people with military experience taking part. And they will be considerably better armed.


    However, a sharp increase in the number of people with military experience and in the amount of combat weaponry available to citizens is not the only factor precipitating war. More important is the breakdown of state institutions which we are already witnessing: the emergence of private armies unaccountable to the Ministry of Defence, the participation of the FSB, the police and the court system in political persecutions, including in those that are illegal even under current Russian law, the creation of paramilitary groups under both formal and factual command of regional authorities, etc.


    All this will become superimposed onto the propagation of unfulfilled promises — material as well as “moral”. Armed persons will attempt to seize the office of Gazprom not only because they have the weapons and the experience, but because they will not receive early pensions, disability benefits, or even honour and respect. The economic crisis, which has replaced ten years of stagnation, is only beginning now, but, of course, at some point the government will have to stop paying lavish pensions and benefits to veterans. And not paying armed people is dangerous.


    The first shots in this war have already been fired — for now only verbally. Last week, many media outlets quoted an answer given by Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder and leader of PMC Wagner, a private military company actively involved in the Ukraine War. A producer from state-controlled network RT had posed the following question: “What do you think is the reason why the country’s richest people often ignore the military situation, sometimes even helping the other side?”.


    This was Prigozhin’s answer: “The reason is impunity. We must activate levers and mechanisms for the total ‘extermination’ of these people as businessmen. Stalin’s purges must be applied to them immediately” (Prigozhin is already setting an example: a Telegram channel affiliated with PMC Wagner recently posted a video showing the brutal execution of prisoner Yevgeny Nuzhin with a sledgehammer — editor’s note).


    Russia’s richest people aren’t only the few oligarchs that have remained since the 1990s. They also include Putin’s inner circle as well as senior executives of the largest state corporations — Gazprom, Rosneft, Rostec, Sberbank. Of course, Prigozhin’s words are only words for now. But when the war comes to an end and the public money used to finance military campaigns runs out, Wagner and other PMCs will become natural contenders for control over the financial flow.


    How should the government respond to former military men claiming control over financial and industrial flows and assets? An armed person robbing someone else of their property — be it state-owned or private — is a criminal. Law enforcement agencies should deal with him, one would think.


    However, this is another consequence of war — there won’t be any law enforcement capable of dealing with private armies and unions of disenfranchised soldiers. Russia’s National Guard is partly defeated, partly demoralised. The reputation of the FSB is damaged in the eyes of both the elite and society — it is worse now than the reputation of the KGB was in 1991. And it doesn’t get much worse than that. No security services can last long using only force — when the money for large salaries runs out, they will stop functioning, like they did in the 1980s. And, just like in the 1990s, the members of the police, the National Guard, and the security services will turn into contenders within the wealth redistribution process, alongside servicemen and criminals.


    The coming civil war has three ingredients — false promises, private armies, and the disintegration of law enforcement. And Putin has already prepared all three.

    Новая газета Европа

  17. #6442
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ‘He grasps things very quickly’ Evgeny Prigozhin’s covert bid for power in an unstable Russia — and what he learned from Alexey Navalny

    As Russia pivots towards regime change, the Wagner Group founder Evgeny Prigozhin is more and more often heard flattering Russia’s frustrated nationalists. In recent weeks, Prigozhin has repeatedly encouraged the people he calls “regular plowmen” in resenting the super-privileged “elites” in Russia’s high offices. Meduza’s special correspondent Andrey Pertsev spoke with Kremlin insiders and political experts about Prigozhin’s recent public attacks on key Russian political figures — and the large-scale political ambitious that might lurk behind Prigozhin’s words.

    It would have been difficult not to notice Evgeny Prigozhin’s recent rise to public prominence. Prigozhin’s now frequent appearances in the media are often connected with his public criticisms of Russian politicians and officials. In late October, for example, the Wagner Group founder accused the Russian “elites” of evading mobilization:


    No mobilization of the elites has taken place. The oligarchs, and other representatives of the elite, have always lived in boundless comfort, and continue to do so. Until their children go to war, the country will not be fully mobilized.
    On November 11, Prigozhin returned to this theme, now contrasting the “elites” with the convicts who join the Wagner Group, Prigozhin’s “private military company”:


    The inmates have the highest level of consciousness — much higher than the Russian elites’. This is because the incarcerated are regular plowmen, who had some bad luck in life — and this is why they volunteer on such a massive scale.
    This particular remark was an answer to a local journalist’s question about the Wagner Group’s recruitment of inmates in Tyumen. Its jibe at the “elites” might seem less of an accident if put side-by-side with Prigozhin’s comment on the brutal extra-judicial execution of one of his conscripts:


    There are traitors who drop their machine guns and go to the enemy side, betraying their own people and their Motherland — but they’re not the only ones. Some of the traitors are sitting tight in their offices, giving no thought to their own people.
    Two Kremlin insiders who are personally familiar with Prigozhin think that this pattern of “anti-elite” statements is not coincidental. They believe that Prigozhin is considering the start of a conservative movement that might turn into a full-fledged political party in the future.


    If it comes into being, Prigozhin’s potential new movement will be likely to focus around “patriotism and statism.” Its tactics will involve continuous criticism of state bureaucrats and the business sector. Sources who know Prigozhin personally suggest that his inspiration comes from Alexey Navalny and his team’s anti-corruption investigations, which expose corrupt members of the Russian ruling class on a regular basis. A source close to the St. Petersburg administration agrees with this impression of Navalny’s (perhaps unlikely) influence on Prigozhin.


    “Prigozhin learns quickly, he grasps things very rapidly,” says one of our sources. “He can very well present himself as a populist demanding equality.”


    Sources familiar with Prigozhin suggest that, apart from attacking the elites, he is likely to speculate on cravings for revenge:


    He will cultivate a thirst for vengeance, for the military defeats — since, in the end, we’ll win all the same. Who is to blame if we didn’t make it to Kyiv, if we surrendered Kherson? Once again, the elites.


    The Kremlin insiders who spoke with Meduza suggest that Evgeny Prigozhin’s efforts are aligned with the aims of two other figures close to Vladimir Putin himself — namely, the Kovalchuk brothers, Mikhail and Yury Kovalchuk. Together with Prigozhin, the Kovalchuk family are now wrestling against the St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov. Their relations used to be better, but conflicts over large government contracts around the city allied the Kovalchuks with Prigozhin. Recently, Prigozhin himself filed two official complaints against Beglov, accusing him of organized crime and demanding that Beglov also be investigated for possible treason.

    One of the sources close to the Kremlin suggests that Prigozhin is instrumental to the Kovalchuks in their desire to show Putin that they are capable of becoming “key operators in national politics.” Specifically, Prigozhin is useful “in the patriotic segment,” and in demoralizing the elites “so they don’t even think of jumping back from the president.”


    In the 2021 State Duma elections, the Kovalchuk brothers sponsored the New People political party, which ultimately made it into the parliament. Around the same time, Prigozhin had similar political projects of his own: he wanted to take control of the nationalist Rodina party, but his plan was foiled when the president’s administration decided not to invest any more resources into Rodina.


    Kremlin insiders highlight Prigozhin’s constant contact with Putin since the beginning of the war. Prigozhin is believed to have access to Putin, and to be able to “reach” him. Although it’s unclear whether Prigozhin talks to Putin about his political ambitions, in theory, if he did have such ambitions, they might well be endorsed by the Kremlin.

    A source close to the administration thinks that Prigozhin’s politics is “a niche project, calibrated for the ultra-patriotic majority who, at the same time, do not fully support the regime, and are critical of the elites, the bureaucracy, and the business sector.” Prigozhin’s growing influence, the same source adds, may very well trouble some of the the higher-ups in the state security and law enforcement organs.


    The Russian political scientist Ivan Preobrazhensky tells Meduza that “under certain circumstances” Prigozhin could appeal to Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s former audience,


    the Russia of depressed towns and cities, with people educated in trade schools and a huge social segment of people who have a highly specific prison mentality. The majority of these people, from criminal subculture adepts to the actual incarcerated people and their prison guards, have the same mentality as the numerous Russian law-enforcement class.
    Another political scientist, Konstantin Kalachev, thinks that Prigozhin’s rhetoric already resembles Zhirinovsky’s: “Nationalist populism in a frustrated society begins as a farce — but now, things can grow serious — they can be amped up.”


    Ivan Preobrazhensky is skeptical about Prigozhin’s chances of great electoral success — but he also thinks that none might be needed. “The situation in the country is moving in the direction of power being seized by force.”

    https://meduza.io/en/feature/2022/11...s-very-quickly

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    Secret Signs Show Putin’s Own Henchmen Are Turning on Him

    Nearly nine months into Russia’s war against Ukraine, it seems some of Vladimir Putin’s strongmen are laying the groundwork to abandon ship.


    A human rights group that works closely with Russian inmates and investigates abuses by the security services has reportedly received a flood of calls from members of those same security services desperately trying to flee.

    Gulagu.net, founded by Vladimir Osechkin, reports that the final straw appears to have been the brutal sledgehammer-execution video released by Russia’s private army last week—a stomach-churning extrajudicial killing that the Kremlin politely averted its eyes from while the Putin-linked businessman thought to be behind it uses it for his own PR campaign.


    “The reprisal with the use of a sledgehammer and the cruelty of [Wagner Group founder Yevgeny] Prigozhin, with the tacit consent of Putin, had an unexpected effect: for the third day, there is a steady stream of messages to the Gulagu.net hotline from employees of the Interior Ministry, the [Investigative Committee], the FSB and the [Federal Protective Service], the Federal Bailiff Service, etc., who want to leave the territory of lawlessness and cruelty,” Gulagu.net reported.


    While rumblings of discontent among the Russian security services have been reported throughout the war, frustrations have reportedly boiled over as Putin is increasingly seen as losing all control.


    In less than two weeks, there was Russia’s humiliating retreat from Kherson—the Ukrainian territory that Putin and so many of his mouthpieces had vowed would be part of Russia “forever.” Then came the brutal execution video by members of the Wagner Group, the same private army that, by all accounts, has been entrusted with bringing victory to Putin by any means necessary.


    (Despite mounting calls for an investigation into the execution, the Kremlin has dismissed it as “not our business,” leaving it to Wagner Group overlord Yevgeny Prigozhin to offer a flurry of fantastical explanations for the murder clearly aimed at trolling.)

    And then came the Russian-made missile that landed in Poland this week, killing two farmers there shortly after similar missiles fired by Russia cut down Ukrainian civilians in the latest bombardment. While Western officials have since walked back their claims that the Polish farmers were killed by a missile fired by Russia, the incident initially seemed likely to trigger a direct confrontation between Russia’s military and NATO forces.


    And that reportedly left some within the Russian security services so shaken they were prepared to remove Putin from power entirely.


    That’s according to unconfirmed reporting by the Telegram channel General SVR, an anonymous channel that claims to be run by a former member of the security services.


    “The incident with a missile hitting Poland on Tuesday almost became a prologue to the seizure of power in Russia,” the channel reported Thursday, claiming that high-ranking security officials had gathered in the immediate aftermath of the strike for “informal consultations.”


    “Knowing Putin's penchant for raising the stakes through escalation… this group of security officials quickly became convinced that in response to a Russian strike on a country included in NATO there could be both a retaliatory strike and an ultimatum.”


    So, according to the channel, they decided that “if the U.S. leadership and the adjoining countries show readiness for a harsh response, then the best way out would be to remove the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, from power and create a collegial council of security officials to ‘temporarily’ take control of the country into their own hands … blaming all the problems on either a seriously ill or law-breaking president.”


    Noting that Putin has brought tension “to almost the limit,” the channel warned: “This time, the critical situation turned out to be illusory and it made no sense for the security forces to take risks, but next time, and there will be a next time, Putin may not have a chance.”


    While panic over the missile incident has largely fizzled out, the same cannot be said for Prigozhin’s growing influence in the war and role in the spotlight. A former member of the security services who fled the country told Deutsche Welle late last month that concerns were growing inside federal agencies about the power given to some figures within Putin’s inner circle.

    “The state is not thinking about its people, it’s only thinking about itself and its close associates,” she said, describing them as “gangsters.”


    Perhaps in a sign of things to come, Putin on Thursday seemed to signal he has no plans to listen to any of the more moderate figures who might caution him against escalation. Instead, he purged the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council of all the experts who raised questions about the war and the public execution of defector Yevgeny Nuzhin, replacing them with a hardliner war reporter and other Kremlin loyalists.


    According to RTVI, citing a source in the human rights council, the head of the council is unlikely to seek an investigation into the sledgehammer killing or get involved in any way because he said that in times of war “anything can happen.”

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/signs-...tin?ref=scroll

  19. #6444
    Chinese spy sabang's Avatar
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    What happened to his cancer/ dementia/ Parkinsons?

  20. #6445
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    What happened to his cancer/ dementia/ Parkinsons?
    Hopefully they are all eating away at him, sweet to see your concern

  21. #6446
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    What happened to his cancer/ dementia/ Parkinsons?
    I'm not sure but I wish him a quick and painless death rather than a slow, painful one.

  22. #6447
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    Putin's Regime is 'Cracking' as Elites Panic: Former U.S. Ambassador

    An argument on Russian state television is a "good sign" that the country's leadership is cracking, according to a former U.S. ambassador.Russia has threatened to nationalize assets of Western companies that have pulled resources from the country following its invasion of Ukraine, according to a Voice of America English News article. Hundreds of companies have already left Russia after expressing dissatisfaction with the war, and if the country continues to nationalize its resources, one pundit is concerned more economic damage will be done.

    They argued against nationalization in a clip of Russian state television circulating around Twitter on Wednesday. Russian state TV guests have increasingly expressed concern about the war, such as admitting Russia wasn't prepared and accidentally revealing, while on a hot mic before the information was made public, that Russia was using Iranian drones.

    The most recent clip, which has nearly 1 million views, shows the pundit arguing with fellow television guests about the impact of nationalization. The nearly 1-minute clip shows the speaker growing more exasperated as he talks.

    Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said the televised segment signals weakness in Russia's regime.

    During the clip, the pundit argued Russia could lose plenty of resources if it were to nationalize.

    The pundit said Russia's Sapsans, high-speed electric express trains, would "stop tomorrow" if the country nationalizes. The Sapsans are manufactured by Siemens, which is headquartered in Munich, Germany. Other companies, such as Starbucks, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and German-based Mercedes-Benz, have already withdrawn from Russian markets.

    "What are we going to ride on?" the pundit said. "There is nothing to drive on, we just have to accept that.

    "Of course, it's easy to stand on an armored car saying, 'let's nationalize everything'," he said, criticizing the Russian military's stance.

    The pundit argued that if Russia nationalizes its resources, Russian citizens will not have cars to drive or phones to make calls on.

    The clip had a Ukrainian advisor critiquing Russia's approach to the war.

    "Russia is suddenly realizing that they depend completely on Western technologies," tweeted Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, while sharing a clip of the video. "'If we nationalize everything, we'll have nothing to drive, nothing to make calls with...' Did you want to kill people and at the same time use Western technologies and vacation in Europe?"

    https://www.newsweek.com/putin-regim...ssador-1760493

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    Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin is ‘fighting for his life’ after Kherson retreat

    Pressure is mounting on Russian leader Vladimir Putin after weeks of gruelling military setbacks and internal demands to end mobilisation.
    After nine months in Ukraine, defence officials made the “difficult” decision to retreat from Kherson city, the only regional capital Moscow’s forces had taken since February 24.


    Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, said there was a very real threat to Putin’s legacy in Russia after being forced on the back foot in an operation many believed would be over in a matter of weeks.


    “(Putin) is very afraid because there is no forgiveness in Russia for tsars who lose wars,” Arestovich said via The Times.


    “He is fighting for his life now. If he loses the war, at least in the minds of the Russians, it means the end. The end of him as a political figure. And possibly in the physical sense.


    “This has forced even people who are very loyal to Putin to doubt that they can win this war.”

    Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky also claimed his Russian counterpart is fearing for what might happen to him in the coming years after the invasion, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides.


    “This person has no other fear but the fear for his life,” Zelensky said in August.


    “His life depends on whether he is threatened by his population or not. Nothing else is threatening to him.”


    Putin is also facing problems from within as Russian officials push for an end to mobilisation within the nation of 145 million. The push for more troops has seen an exodus of young working males to neighbouring countries and is “affecting the psychological state of society”, according to Emilia Salbunova, who is a member of the Karelia Legislative Assembly.


    In a letter published to Telegram this week Salbunova and other regional leaders pushed for Putin to reverse the military measures.


    “This fact affects the psychological state of society, is a source of anxiety and increased anxiety in Russian families and work collectives, and many people have health problems. Applications must be supported by a decree,” she wrote.

    Analysts, including former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, say Putin’s regime is beginning to crack under the weight of global scrutiny, which has hit Russia’s economy hard amid a mass exodus of Western companies.


    A recent segment on a state TV broadcast showed pundits debating over Russia’s dependence on foreign technologies and whether the state should nationalise existing assets from Western companies still operating in the country.


    Meanwhile, Ukraine has announced the recapture of almost the entire region of an isolated peninsula off the Black Sea, where fighting continues to rage.


    “We are restoring full control over the region. We have three settlements left on the Kinburn Split to officially no longer be a region at war,” said Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaly Kim on social media.


    The southern split jutting into the Black Sea is divided in two: in the west, as part of the Mykolaiv region and to the east as part of the Kherson region.


    It is cut off from territory controlled by Ukraine’s forces by the Dnipro river, which flows through the Kherson region.


    Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the European Union in an online press conference that its support was crucial, warning against “fatigue” towards the war.


    “If we Ukrainians are not tired, the rest of Europe has neither moral nor political right to be tired,” he said.

    Kremlin-installed authorities said the Crimean peninsula was targeted by drone strikes on Wednesday, adding that Moscow’s forces there were “on alert”.


    The strike came as Kyiv claimed another territorial victory and just days after Moscow said it was strengthening its position on the Crimean peninsula.


    “There is an attack with drones,” the governor of the Sevastopol administrative region in Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram.


    “Our air defence forces are working right now.” He said two drones had “already been shot down”.

    Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin is ‘fighting for his life’ after Kherson retreat | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site

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    Putin Met With Street Protests on Visit to Armenia

    YEREVAN, Armenia — Russian President Vladimir Putin was greeted with street demonstrations in the capital of this landlocked South Caucasus nation Wednesday as he arrived for talks with the members of a Moscow-led military alliance.


    Hundreds of Armenians and emigre Russians took part in two days of rallies in central Yerevan to protest Putin’s visit, with slogans including “Putin is a killer” and “No to war.”


    “We must show that not all Russians support this,” said Sergei, an IT worker who recently moved to Yerevan, while attending a demonstration against the war in Ukraine.


    The rocky reception for Putin on his first trip to Armenia since 2019 comes as military reversals in Ukraine make the Russian leader appear increasingly isolated on the world stage — and as Russia struggles even to retain its influence in the former Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucasus.


    While in the Armenian capital, Putin attended a summit of the heads of state of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) — a military bloc including Russia and Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — and was due to meet Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.


    “It is clear to us that our joint work within the framework of the CSTO brings visible practical results and helps to protect the national interests, sovereignty and independence of our countries,” Putin said at the gathering.


    Yet, Pashinyan used his welcome speech to attack the CSTO alliance for its inaction in the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    "We have failed so far to make a decision on the CSTO's reaction to Azerbaijan's aggression against Armenia," Pashinyan said.


    “These facts are hugely damaging to the image of the CSTO.”


    Outside the meeting, Armenians and anti-war Russians who have relocated to Armenia organized at least three rallies to protest against Putin’s visit, Russian support for neighboring Azerbaijan and the Ukraine war.


    Many Armenians blame Moscow — which they previously considered a close ally — for what they see as its failure to assist Yerevan in its conflict with Baku.


    “Russia promised to protect us, but instead it did the opposite,” Yuri Tatevasyan, 64, told The Moscow Times at a rally in the Armenian capital on Tuesday evening.


    "We have nothing against the Russian people — but we do not want to be slaves of the Kremlin,” Tatevasyan added.


    “We want Armenia to be a free and democratic country.”

    Putin has made few trips abroad since the start of Russia’s 9-month war in Ukraine, which has been castigated by the West and international bodies, including the United Nations.


    The Russian leader earlier this month declined to attend a meeting of the Group of 20 leading industrialized nations, where world leaders “strongly condemned the war.”


    Putin has lost his “first among equals” status at CSTO gatherings due to the Ukraine war, according to Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, although regional leaders remain wary of the Kremlin.


    “The members of the CSTO are also afraid of Putin's Russia,” Kolesnikov added.


    With Russia traditionally playing a key mediation role in Armenia’s long running conflict with Azerbaijan, Yerevan is keen to secure the Kremlin’s support.

    Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over Azerbaijan's Armenian-majority populated exclave of Nagorno-Karabakh since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Six weeks of fighting in autumn 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.


    “We have to keep in mind that Russian peacekeepers are the guarantors of security,” former Armenian lawmaker Arman Abovyan told The Moscow Times.


    And even the Russian emigres protesting Putin’s visit this week were aware that Yerevan cannot afford to alienate the Russian leader.


    “Putin is still welcomed in Armenia, unlike in many countries,” Russian IT worker Sergei, who declined to provide his surname, told The Moscow Times.


    “Armenia does not want to quarrel with the Russian authorities.”

    Putin Met With Street Protests on Visit to Armenia - The Moscow Times

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