Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow


Upgrading of Russia’s economic outlook

Russia’s economy will expand much more rapidly this year than previously expected (…) Gross domestic product is forecast to rise 2.6 per cent this year, more than double the pace the IMF predicted (…) The Russian upgrade, by 1.5 percentage points, is the largest for any economy featured in an update to the fund’s World Economic Outlook.” That’s what Financial Times has to say.

Russia is expected to grow faster than all advanced economies this year,” announces CNBC and continues that “Russia is expected to grow 3.2% in 2024, the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook published Tuesday, exceeding the forecast growth rates for the world’s advanced economies, including the U.S.” The growth forecasts for other countries are: the U.S. (2.7%), the U.K. (0.5%), Germany (0.2%) and France (0.7%), as we can read in the same source.

Also the BBC informs us that “Russia [is] to grow faster than all advanced economies” and refers its readers to an IMF report

Oops… So many sanctions (is it sixteen thousand by now?), so much anti-Russian propaganda, the freezing of Russian financial assets, and all for nothing! Yet, the collective West – its leaders – should have known better. When did ever sanctions had their expected effect? In recent history it was North Korea, Iran and Cuba to name just a few which were severely sanctioned for years and despite those efforts to break their leaders or populations they remain politically defiant. Drawing on examples from more remote history: Napoleon Bonaparte imposed a continental blockade of the British Isles and it, too, was to no avail. The whole continent against one isolated country and the country continued to scheme against Napoleonic France and eventually brought about Napoleon’s downfall.

Notice that it is the Western media and Western agencies that speak about flourishing Russian economy. No propaganda on the part of the Kremlin, you see. The West feels itself compelled to reveal such data, data that prove how ineffective the West’s sanctions are, data that undermine the West’s policies. What are they going to do now? Impose a further two or five thousand sanctions? But then I suppose they have run out of the items they can put on the sanction list… Besides, in the face of Russia’s developing close economic ties with most of the world – be it the BRICS group or otherwise – and in the face of Russia’s self-sufficiency in terms of resources and Russia’s growing autarky, any new sanctions will fail miserably. They will effect one thing, though: they will strengthen Russian resolve to defy the West and to rely on and develop self-sufficiency even more.

The Western leaders must really be uneducated. It was during World War Two that Americans and the British used to bomb German towns and cities on a more or less regular basis, razing them with the ground. The allies pinned their hopes on the calculation that the German people, the common people, being exposed to enormous suffering, would eventually lose faith in the victorious outcome of the war and would rebel against the authorities. As we know nothing remotely resembling a loss of morale or willingness to resist the allies occurred. Rather, quite the contrary was true. The people were united behind their leaders even if some of them did not hold those leaders in high esteem. Does anyone learn anything from the past? Does anyone study past events?

With all the natural resources in their territory, with a well-developed industry and millions of educated people, Russia can really develop an autarkic economy. If additionally the country can rely on the help from China, India, Iran, Brasilia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, then all the sanctions in the world are doomed. Why impose them then?

To save face. The Western world is in a position similar to that that the American Democratic Party finds itself in: once the party has rolled out Joe Biden, it feels compelled to stick to this candidate for president, even though it is clear that he is a sorry sight to see. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Relevance of century-old observations

“The Germans long before …14 sought to destroy the unity of the Russian tribe forged in hard struggle. For this purpose they supported and boosted in the south of Russia a movement that set itself the goal of separation of its nine provinces from Russia, under the name of Ukraine. The aspiration to tear away from Russia the Little Russian branch of the Russian people has not been abandoned to this day. XY and his companions, the former protégés of the Germans, who began the dismemberment of Russia, continue to carry out their evil deed of creating an independent “Ukrainian state” and fighting against the revival of the United Russia (Единая Россия).”

Sounds familiar? This remark was made more than a hundred years ago by General Anton Denikin, one of the four most recognizable leaders of the anti-Bolshevik Russia during the civil war of 1917-1921. The other three were Alexander Kolchak, Nikolai Yudenich and Pyotr Wrangel. General Anton Denikin fought for a few years in the south of the former Russian Empire against the Red Army, but after some initial successes, he was forced to leave his fatherland. It was at that time that the West was very much interested in disrupting Russia. The two revolutions – the first one, often referred to as the bourgeois revolution, took place in February and the second one, the Bolshevik revolution, took place in October 1917 – were sparked off with the support and blessing of the Western powers. The British had a hand in dethroning the tsar in February 1917, the Germans substantially supported the Bolshevik party in October 1917: the leaders of the coup d’état that was to take place in October were transported in a sealed train from Switzerland across Imperial Germany to Sweden, from where they made their way to Petrograd (that’s how in 1914 the German-sounding Saint-Petersburg was renamed after Russia began the hostilities against Germany). Americans, too, chipped in. While Vladimir Lenin enjoyed German protection, travelling across Germany, Leon Trotsky, having spent a couple of years in New York with his family and two sons, was financed to cross the Atlantic and be on time in Petrograd to disrupt the Russian state. It was not only the financial and political support that helped the revolutionaries of all persuasions to bring about the collapse of the empire: national or ethnic resentment was also exploited, with the Germans advancing the idea of a Ukrainian nation as separate from Russians.

There were a number of Ukrainian leaders at that time, with Symon Petliura being one of the most recognizable. He was backed by the Germans, he was later backed by the reborn Polish state. The Polish troops together with some of his Ukrainian units advanced towards Kiev and even occupied it for a week or two in 1920. Quite a Maidan, was it not, even if short-lived? These are the events that General Anton Denikin referred to in the text at the opening of this article. The full date the part of which we intentionally deleted was 1914, while the letters XY stand for no less a person than Symon Petliura.

In 2014 we saw a kind of historical repeat. The Western powers made themselves felt in Ukraine, but especially in Kiev, and caused the legitimate president to flee the country. Also, a crawling civil war commenced in the Donbass, while Russia in response to all these events reclaimed the Crimean Peninsula, all of which led to the war that broke out eight years later. Today Anton Denikin might write something like this:

“The collective West long before 2014 sought to destroy the unity of the Russian tribe forged in hard struggle. For this purpose they supported and boosted in the Ukraine a movement that set itself the goal of antagonizing Ukrainians and Russians. The aspiration to tear away from Russia the Little Russian branch of the Russian people has not been abandoned to this day. Volodymyr Zelensky, Yulia Tymoshenko, Leonid Kravchuk, Petro Poroshenko, Vitalii Klichko (you name them) and their companions, the protégés of the West, who began the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, continue to carry out their evil deed of creating an independent “Ukrainian state” and fighting against the revival of the United Russia (Единая Россия).”

by the way, the phrase United Russia (Единая Россия) that Anton Denikin employed overlaps one to one with the name of the “Putin” party, which holds power in this largest post-Soviet republic.

This time, too, it is the United States, Germany and Great Britain along with Poland that are busy playing Ukrainians off against Russians. This time, too, they have found present-day Petliuras ready to serve them. Today, too, war is being waged, and today, like yesterday, it looks like Ukraine is on the losing end. So it goes. Will we be witnesses to yet another historical repeat in… 2114/2124?

During World War Two, after the Germans had attacked the Soviet Union, they approached General Denikin, who lived at that time in France, with a proposal of backing the Third Reich against the Bolsheviks. Anton Denikin was very much opposed to the Bolshevik rule in Russia, which is putting it mildly. Yet, he did not for a moment think it right to ally himself with the enemies of Russia, even Red Russia. Anton Denikin flatly refused and warned those Russians – and especially Ukrainians – who were willing to serve the Third Reich against the Bolsheviks. Anton Denikin tried to convince them that they were going to be miserable tools at the hands of the Germans, to be discarded the moment they were not needed.

It is said that the civil war in the Soviet Union did not end in 1922 – when Denikin, Wrangel and Yudenich were forced out of Russia, while Kolchak was taken prisoner and put against the wall – because the civil war in the form of resentment and a deep division running through Soviet society festered. It only ended when the Soviet Union was attacked by Germany. It was only then that the overwhelming majority of Soviet citizens of whatever political persuasion rallied around the Soviet leaders to defend Russia. Has not the same been happening since 2022 in Russia? Even those Russians who did not hold Vladimir Putin in high regard changed course and rallied around him. War and especially the resultant hardships were supposed to turn the people against the Kremlin: as it is, the opposite is true. Sure, there are some who have betrayed their country – there were some also during World War Two, like General Vlasov – but the majority have expressed their unwavering support for the leadership. Does anyone learn anything from the past? Does anyone study the past?

The legal case of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s presidency

On May 20 Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s presidential term expired, which poses a very interesting legal and political case. Russia does not recognize Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s authority any more. Which is not a malicious act on her part. The argument is that any agreement, accord, whatever signed by someone who simultaneously is not the head of a country entails grave political problems. Any next president of Ukraine may either feel bound by the agreement that Ukraine entered into with Russia under the presidency of Volodymyr Zelenskyy or may renege on it as signed by someone who did not have the legal authority to act as the country’s leader. Why should the Kremlin even bother to consider any talks with Zelenskyy if such is the case?

As of now, the West recognizes Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s power despite the expiry of his presidential term of office. Yet, the same legal case might be used by the diplomats in Washington, London, or Paris in any later development of events in Ukraine. They, too, might one of these days make a statement that they do not feel bound to honour any international settlement signed by Volodymyr Zelenskyy if only such a political move suits their purposes.

As is known, it is the interaction of the real military and economic factors that are at the disposal of the international players that matters. Diplomacy is merely a reflection of those real factors. Hence, if the West feels coerced to enter into an unfavourable settlement with Russia over Ukraine, it may intentionally make Volodymyr Zelenskyy sign it with the hindsight that the settlement is going to be revoked the moment the balance of powers tilts in the West’s favour. The fact that the legality of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s presidential authority is questionable might be viewed as a wild card in any future diplomatic dealings between the West and Russia if the latter agrees to honour Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s signature.

At present, Ukrainian jurisprudence might recognize the current Ukrainian leader as the country’s legitimate president. That may change overnight. Particular legal provisions can be construed to mean whatever pleases the powerful. We all know that.

Nawalny the Saviour

Yes, it happened some time ago now, but it is symptomatic of our times, of what we can observe on a political stage, hence worth taking a look. It was Easter Friday this year when German Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck had a sermon that attracted the attention of the media, which are otherwise not interested in what the clergy say (unless some of them dare to challenge new morality, which they usually don’t). Why did the sermon attract the media’s attention? Well, in a long, longish text about truth and notions that are allegedly connected with truth, Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck compared the imprisonment and death of Alexej Nawalny to the trial and execution of no less a person than Jesus Christ. A breath-taking statement.

In his homily Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck used the word truth a hundred times or so, and intertwined it with – how otherwise? – love and freedom, not forgetting about democracy and ecology. He also drew a comparison between Alexei Nawalny with the assassins of July 20th, 1944, the White Rose circle, and the fate of protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. One more time to let it sink in: Alexej Nawalny was made to appear as a historical figure of immense dimensions and biblical proportions. He is the man who – Christ-like – represents or even embodies the truth, and who courageously stands up to his prosecutors – to his Pilate (read Putin). The listeners could read into the sermon also the comparison between the Russian Gulag (mentioned in the sermon), where Nawalny was imprisoned and the place of Golgotha (not mentioned).

What can you make of it? Why Nawalny found himself in jail – no word. He was incarcerated because… he defended the truth and was the embodiment of truth. He found himself behind the bars, and was later murdered just like the Scholls or Bonhoeffer or Stauffenberg the resistance fighters in Hitler’s Germany. In other words, he faced another Hitler and paid the ultimate price just like the German historical figures mentioned in the sermon. That was – as far as the mass media are concerned – the most thrilling part of the Easter Friday message delivered by German Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck.

As said above, the whole text is peppered with the word truth that occurs in a myriad of collocations which are made to put across meanings whose only purpose is to please the expectations of the listeners without regard for logical connectivity. Take one example from the very end of the bishop’s sermon, which reads: Truth is this power that comes from love and enables us to be friends with all people [Wahrheit ist jene Macht, die außer Liebe stammt und uns zur Freundschaft mit allen Menschen befähigt]. It certainly sounds nice to a casual ear of an average listener. But hang on for a moment and consider the sentence. The statement puts together and connects truth, love and friendship. Let us have a closer look at the trio. Truth comes from love? How can one say that truth comes from love? Truth is truth and love is love. Truth is about the correspondence between statements and facts, love is an emotion or also – especially as theologians and some psychologists want it – an act of will. Yes, Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck saying love, may have meant Christ himself, but Christ said about himself that he is the way and the truth and the life (not love), but with preachers you can never tell. Then we hear that truth enables us to be friends with all people [emphasis mine]. Really? Does it enable us to be friends with – dare we say it – Putin or Hitler himself? Judging by the contents of the sermon, it certainly does not! Hey, your excellency, has your argumentation just fallen apart in the last sentence of your homily?

Truth is truth, it has nothing to do with love and still less to do with enabling us to befriend all people. Everyday experience tells us that we are incapable of making friends with all people, and only hypocrites can say they respect each human. The truth which uncovers shameful or evil acts performed by certain individuals may just as well make us dislike (to put it mildly) those individuals in the name of… the truth about them.

Making use of such logic, a logic that combines the uncombinable, his excellency can “prove” whatever he pleases (in fact, whatever is politically expected of him because, somehow, the message overlaps with the political demand, does it not?), also a thesis that Alexej Nawalny is an embodiment of Christ while Pontius Pilate has reincarnated in Vladimir Putin.

This comparison between Jesus Christ and Alexej Nawalny is faulty at least in one respect. You see, Alexej Nawalny had the financial, political, psychological support of the whole West in his subversive activities against his motherland. At present this support has been transferred to Nawalny’s wife: Yulia Nawalna receives the same applause and lets herself be used as a battering ram against Putin just as her husband did. Did Jesus Christ enjoy support from a worldly power? Was his orphaned mother on anybody’s payroll? Were his disciples protected by any political entity? Why, no. It took some time and a lot of suffering along with personal sacrifice for their truth to be recognized as such. Alexei Nawalny and his adherents have all the acknowledgment, assistance and finances of the powers that be. They have even more than this: they have constant positive presence in the Western mass media. No need for them to travel long distances on donkey’s back, no need to fear persecution. Even in “scary” Russia they are not going to be crucified, are they? Really, his excellency should have known better while preparing the sermon. Even the Scholls, Bonhoeffer and Stauffenberg did not enjoy the West’s support. Worse, the world learnt about the Scholls and Bonhoeffer relatively late after the war. Your excellency, even your comparison drawn between Nawalny and the figures of the German resistance during the Second World War does not stand! Alexej Nawalny is not another Saviour (or Scholl, or Bonhoeffer, or Stauffenberg), as you would like him to appear, not by any measure.

He came down in history as great

Before medieval Rus’ split into its many parts, which in the course of hundreds of years led to the emergence of the present trio of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, deep back in the 10th century it was ruled by Prince Vladimir, variously spelt as Volodymyr, Vladymir, Volodimir and the like. What a coincidence that today’s two parts of the medieval Rus’ are also governed by men whose names are reminiscent of the most famous medieval ruler Vladimir, with one of them being Vladimir Putin and the other – Volodymyr Zelensky. The few variants of spelling show accidentally how much dissimilar or rather how much similar are Russian and Ukrainian, descendants of the language used in Rus’ in the Middle Ages. The difference may be like that between Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, or Czech and Slovak, in which case mutual intelligibility stands at 95%, or that between German spoken in Bavaria or Berlin. Linguistic classifications are – just like anything that allegedly is part of otherwise objective science or scholarship – subject to political pressure to the effect that at one time in history two varieties of a language are recognized as… precisely two varieties, while at other historical times they are all of a sudden viewed as two totally separate tongues. The same was true of the Serbo-Croatian language now mercilessly split into three “very much” different languages of Croatian and Serbian and Bosnian. It was no less a figure than Bernard Shaw who is credited to have said that the United States and the United Kingdom are two countries divided by the common language, but we are digressing.

The medieval ruler of medieval Rus’ – Vladimir/Volodymyr (take your pick) – is regarded by both Russians and Ukrainians as a founder of their respective present-day states or – as it is customarily (yet somehow misleadingly) said in the English language – nations. He was the one who held the many territories in his iron grip, but first and foremost he was the one who in 988 joined Rus’ (present-day Belarus, Ukraine and Russia) to the Christian family of European states by having Rus’ christened. When Rus’ was about to be baptized, a name like Ukraine did not exist (and would not exist for many centuries to come); instead, the designation Belarus = White Rus’ had currency. It did not, however, denote a dukedom or principality, a kingdom or any other political entity: it denoted the Western part of the vast territories occupied by and collectively known as Rus’. Apart from White Rus’ we had Red Rus’ to denote the souther regions of Rus’ and Black and Green Rus’ the denote respectively the northern and eastern part of the same. There was a common word that resembled today’s name Ukraine, but it meant edge, border, or borderline. It had and still has a lot to do with the Slavic word meaning cut, cut off. With time it began to be applied to territories that were regarded as a country;s edge or that were cut off from a country. Such was the birthmark of the appellative Ukraine. By the way, the same could be observed in the former Yugoslavia, where the borderland between Croatia and Serbia is known as Krajina (cf.: u-kraine). Just as Ukraine was the south-eastern edge of the once large Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, an edge protecting the Commonwealth against Turks and the Grand Duchy of Moscow, so was Krajina a strip of land, guarding the Habsburg Monarchy, which comprised Croatia, against the Ottoman Empire, which at that time comprised Serbia. But again, back to the core story.

Vladimir, the ruler of all Rus’, had a hard time deciding to transform his nation. Christianity was by no means the only choice that he faced. Also Muslims and Judaic Khazars vied for the ruler’s attention, while Christians had already been split between the Western (later known as Catholic) and Eastern (later known as Orthodox) branches. Yet choose he had to, because stepwise, Vladimir along with the governing elite had grown out of the Slavic heathen beliefs. Much the same would play out a thousand years later when the elites of the heathen Soviet Union would begin to slough off the economically and politically pagan Marxism-Leninism and steer their country towards the family of the majority of the nations of the world by (re)accepting the political (democracy) and economic (free market) and financial (capitalism) credo.

Vladimir, the medieval ruler of Rus’, had a choice, as mentioned above. He could opt for accepting the faith of the Khazars, Muslims, Eastern or Western Christians. That would have automatically meant his alliance with Khazars, Muslims, Eastern or Western Christians. Vladimir decided to choose the Orthodox version of Christianity. He and his entourage became Christian, very soon to be followed by the rest of the Rus’ population. Vladimir just wanted to join his state to the family of Christian states. Why, at that time Europe was almos all Christian, either Catholic or Orthodox (Bulgarians and Serbs). Vladimir simply wished to (or felt compelled, or felt attracted to) turn Rus’ into a member state of Christendom. He may have thought that step would protect his subjects from being molested by the Christian rulers. Alas!

The chivalrous religious orders – non-state actors on the medieval political scene – were not only founded in the Holy Land during the notorious crusades: they were also founded in the Iberian peninsula, where they combated the Muslim invaders, and along the south-eastern Baltic littoral, where they were supposed to fight Lithuanian and Slavic pagans (in modern parlance, their task was to bring democracy and human rights). It took Lithuanians more time to let themselves be baptized, but medieval Russians did it, as said above, already in the 10th century. Never mind that detail. Approximately two and a half centuries later – i.e. when all of Rus’ was firmly in the Christian grip – the German Livonian order would continue to make inroads into Russian territory, which culminated in the famous Battle on the Ice of 1242, when Alexander nicknamed Nevsky, one of the many descendants of the same Vladimir that christened Rus’, reported a big victory.

It is worth bearing in mind that the Livonian Chivalrous Order tried to suppress and subdue chunks of northern Rus’ at precisely the time when almost all of Rus’ was struggling with non-Christian Mongols also known as Tartars. One might (naively) think, Western Christians would have been more than willing to come to the aid of their Christian Orthodox brothers, especially when those brothers were existentially threatened by non-Christian tribes. Sadly, that was not to be. Rus’ may have been Christian and still this act did not turn it into an acceptable member of Christendom.

At the very beginning of the 18th century, precisely when Russian Tsar Peter I was hurriedly and vehemently turning his backward Russia into a westernized, Europeanized modern state, it faced an invasion of Swedes, who were only stopped at the Battle of Poltava in 1709 (south of Kiev). At the very beginning of the 18th century, when Russia as an empire whose elites almost preferred to speak French rather than their native tongue and certainly admired everything and anything French, when native-speakers of French as tutors to the children and the youth of Russian aristocracy and gentry were in high demand (leaf through Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace in the original and notice the many French dialogues inserted here and there, illustrating how firmly the French languages was rooted in high society), Russia was invaded by… a French-led coalition of European armies which managed to even capture Moscow (1812). Though two years later Russian armies marched into Paris, nonetheless Rus’ or Imperial Russia continued to admire everything and anything French while the West continued to spurn and denigrate Russia.

Fast forward to the 20th century and we see the same events and the same phenomena repeating themselves: yes, Soviet Russia repelled the Western invader and captured Berlin, but still and despite having been almost obliterated by the Western armies, and still and despite waging a four-decade long Cold War that ensued after 1945, Russian elites just couldn’t restrain themselves from kowtowing to the West and eventually trading their sovereignty for the promise of being accepted as full members of the Western, democratic, capitalistic world. You know, that’s the spell that MacDonald’s and Jeans and rock music casts on nations with an inferiority complex. This time, another Vladimir, better known as Vladimir Putin, tried to make overtures to the Western powers and clearly played up to them, offering Rus’ with all its citizens and resources as a joining fee. Even before Putin in his capacity of President, to please the West, Russia discarded and abandoned its communist (heathen, pagan) faith, dissolved the Warsaw Pact (the Eastern equivalence of the Western Atlantic alliance), let go of its fourteen republics which became separate, sovereign states, imbibed Western democratic political rules, internalized capitalist economic principles and even wanted to be admitted to NATO, while putting forward proposals of expanding the European cooperation from Lisbon on the Atlantic to Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. To no avail.

Russia was rejected, spurned, and frowned upon. Yes, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (all former Soviet republics, earlier also parts of the Russian Empire) could become NATO members, Ukraine and Georgia (also former Soviet republics, earlier also parts of the Russian Empire) were invited to join the alliance, yet Russia was denied. Why?

The medieval Vladimir, the ruler of medieval Rus’, had a choice between Khazars, Muslims, and Christians. Well, the present-day Vladimir has a similar choice between the Chinese, Iranians and the (post-Christian) West. A thousand years have passed and Rus’ – Russia – is faced with the same dilemma. A thousand years have passed and – as if nothing happened in the course of centuries – Russia is challenged again and again while its existence is threatened. Being snubbed by the West, Russia has gravitated into China’s embrace and has been made to ally itself with Iran and North Korea rather than becoming a NATO or EU member.

By the way, how did Russia become again pagan at the beginning of the 20th century, how did it become an atheistic Soviet republic? Why, while experiencing difficulties arising from the prolonged war, later to be known as the First World War, Russia fell prey to a series of events that today would be called colour revolutions: a more proper name for those occurring towards the end of the First World War would be calendar revolutions: the one that broke out in February is known as the February Revolution, while the other that took place in November – the November Revolution. How those revolutions come about? Just like the notorious Euromaidans in Kiev: Western powers (the British and the Germans) provided money and subversive activists (Kerensky, Lenin, Trotsky) to overthrow the ‘dictator’ commonly referred to as tsar, and then to topple the legitimate and democratic government. Just think of it: one hundred years apart, almost to the year (1917 – 2014) and the same scenario played out, earlier in Sankt-Petersburg/Petrograd, later in Kiev.

Whether Russia is Christian (from Vladimir to the outbreak of the October Revolution) or pagan (before Vladimir and during the time of the existence of the Soviet Union), whether it is capitalist or socialist, whether it emulates anything Western (French, American) or remains isolated, whether it expands its territory (especially under the rule of Peter I, Catherine I, Alexander I, Stalin) or shrinks, giving up on huge chunks of it (the 1917 Brest-Litovsk peace agreement with Germany, the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union), whether its is ruled by a tsar, a parliament, a secretary general of the communist party or a president, only one catchphrase rings in the Western mind: Ruthenia delenda est, come hell or high water.

A friendly reminder: the first Vladimir at the beginning of the millennial history of Rus’/Russia, the man who pondered whether to ally himself with Khazars, Muslims, or Christians, has come down in history as Great: Vladimir the Great. He is regarded as the father of the nation by Russians and Ukrainians and Belorussians. Which of the two present-day Vladimirs – the one ruling Ukraine or the one ruling Russia – will come down in history as great? 

Pathetically piteous sight

A few days ago, Yulia Navalnaya, Alexei Navalny’s widow, gave a speech in the EU parliament. This is what she had to say:

Allegedly voters of the EU deputies ask them how they could help Yulia in her fight and the deputies relay those questions to her. Before answering the question how, Yulia said that Putin (she repeated this name more times than one can stomach, just as Victoria Nuland did in one of her latest speeches), who had begun the murderous war, had gone nowhere, and that everything had already been used – weapons, money, sanctions – with nothing working. Stop. It is hard to believe that Yulia Navalnaya wrote the speech on her own or, granting she wrote it on her own, that no one had a look at it before her address. Did they not notice the contradiction between “Putin had gone nowhere” and “weapons, money, sanctions (i.e. the support for Ukraine) did not work”? Obviously, she was nervous, but still she read the short text from paper. Never mind, let us scan the rest of her speech.

She said that that the worst had happened (again, so Putin has achieved something after all) in that people were getting used to the war (read: they became indifferent) and then, she said sort of disconnectedly, Putin killed her husband. Worse, she said. On Putin’s orders her husband had been “tortured for three years and had been starved in a tiny stone cell, cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters. And then they killed him,” she repeated, as if not sure that the EU deputies had understood her the first time she said Putin had killed her husband. Then, said Yulia Navalnaya “they abused his body(?) and abused his mother(?),” which only goes to show that “Putin is capable of anything and that you cannot negotiate with him,” at which point something weird happened (have a listen from this moment for a few seconds). Barely had the audience begun to clap as she said “thank you” – just as if she had it written in her speech text: applauds here, make a stop.

Yulia Navalnaya continued that many people believed that Putin could not be defeated at all, and still they kept asking her how they could help. Before answering that question Yulia Navalnaya saw it fit to describe the character of her husband in more detail. She said he was an inventor(?) with new ideas for everything(?), especially in politics. Then she reminded the deputies that soon they would be campaigning to get reelected. Imagine, she said, that all this political campaigning was impossible because no TV station would allow an interview with you, no money in the world would make commercials possible while the voters and the candidates would be arrested once they turned up at a rally. If you could picture that to yourselves, said Yulia Navalnaya, that was precisely Putin’s Russia. Applause.

An aside here. It was also a few days ago that we could witness how British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak publicly went ballistic and freaked out because in ONE British constituency ONE man (George Galloway) outside the establishment was elected by the local people. Rishi Sunak addressing journalists in front of Downing Street 10 repeatedly described the event as an ugly victory of the far right extremists even though George Galloway’s political proclivities are leftist. Most likely Yulia Navalnaya does not know about it at all. Yet, she should know, living for so many years in the West, that people get deplatformed and demonetized in the social media whenever they voice opinions diverging from the political correctness of the West. She should also be familiar with the fate of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden or most recently Gonzalo Lira. Gonzalo Lira was tortured, isolated and killed by Ukrainians because he dared to express opinions diverging from those propagated by the Kiev regime. These three men are not Putin’s victims so they simply don’t matter.

Despite all the hindrances, Yulia Navalnaya continued, Alexei Navalny managed to become the most famous politician in Russia (really?), inspiring millions(you don’t say!) of people with his ideas. How did he do it, she asked herself. Well, if you are not allowed to appear on TV, let’s post YouTube videos for all to watch (surely, Alexei Navalny would not have been deplatformed like thousands of others!); even in Putin’s gulag, she said, Alexei was able to “pass ideas of projects that would make the Kremlin panic” (Wow!). But hang on for a moment! Didn’t she say a minute or so earlier that her husband was “cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters”? The audiences would not have noticed that, for sure. So the answer to the question of how to defeat Putin, she continued, is simple: you have to become an innovator, you have to stop being boring(!). Ovation. You cannot harm Putin, she said, with another set of resolutions or sanctions (obviously). “You cannot defeat him by thinking he is a man of principle who has morals and truths.” That’s dehumanization of the opponent or adversary in its purest form, an attitude which the Western ideologues are otherwise so vociferously against. This time the principle did not apply.

You are not dealing with a politician,” Yulia Navalnaya continued, “but with a bloody monster. Putin is a leader of an organized criminal gang.” Here she was interrupted by an applause after which she went on saying, “it’s good to repeat it again: Putin is a leader of an organized criminal gang.” To which she received more applause. This criminal group includes “poisoners and assassins”. The inference? The West needs to fight organized crime or mafia headed by Putin (Putin’s mafia in Europe itself? Gee…). How? By fighting the mafia’s associates who happen to be operating in the West(!), who help Putin and his friends to hide money (Where? Why can’t he hide his money in Russia?). In this fight the West has, according to Yulia Navalnaya, “tens of millions(?) of Russians on the West’s side, Russians who are against war, against Putin, against the evil he brings.” The West “must not persecute them [Russians], but on the contrary” the West “must work with them [Russians]”. Putin must answer for all that he had done to Russia and Alexei (in the Hague, I guess). “The evil will fall, and the beautiful future will come.” These were the final words of Yulia Navalnaya’s speech delivered in the EU Parliament.

Compare this address with the latest rant by Victoria Nuland. Putin, Putin, Putin said again and again with vilification, insults, vitriolic hate, and you name it. Dehumanization, bad-mouthing and immolation. Poor woman. She most likely believes in everything she said. And poor as she is, she was used in this séance of hatred by those who are beginning to taste a crushing defeat at the hands of the “mafia boss”. A pathetically piteous sight.

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Nord Stream 2 expects regulators to decide by May whether its contested natural gas pipeline linking Germany to Russia will be able to operate as planned. Already suffering U.S. sanctions, the project led by Gazprom PJSC is pinning its hopes on German regulator Bundesnetzagentur to help it clear hurdles erected by European Union competition authorities. So-called unbundling rules rolled out by the trade bloc last year require the owners of gas and those who deliver it by pipeline or ship to be separate legal entities, even the fuel comes from outside the EU. Source: Bloomberg

The stock closed 16.4 per cent higher at an over seven-year high of Rbs189.7 and lifted the company’s market value to Rbs4.49tn (€61.8bn). That is enough to help it surpass Rosneft and Lukoil, the country’s top two crude producers, to become the second most valuable company on the exchange. Sberbank, the country’s biggest lender remains the biggest with a market capitalisation of Rbs4.92tn. Source: Financial Times

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, next week, according to a release from the State Department.
  • Pompeo will meet with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday to discuss “the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges,” the release said.
  • Pompeo is scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Monday with a diplomatic team.


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Asked about these developments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a press briefing Tuesday that “countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Latin American countries, are all sovereign states,” so “they have the right to determine their own foreign policy and their way to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with countries of their own choosing.” Source: Newsweek

  • Shortly before an important decision, France is against the planned gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, which advocates Germany.
  • The decision is an amendment to an EU rule that would allow the Commission to take greater action against Nord Stream 2.
  • The project of the Russian energy company Gazprom raises problems in the strained relationship between Moscow and the Europeans, France justifies.

Source: Sued Deutsche Zeitung

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia finds the Kosovo authorities’ decision to create their own army regrettable and sees it as another risk of destabilization of the situation in the Balkans.

“Regrettably, Kosovo’s authorities took a series of provocative steps lately, thus greatly aggravating the situation. In the first place I have in mind their decision of December 14 to form a so-called army in Kosovo,” Putin told a news conference. “It goes without saying that this is a direct violation of the UN resolution, which does not allow for the creation of any paramilitary forces except for the international UN contingent.”

“Such irresponsible steps by Kosovo’s authorities may cause destabilization in the Balkans,” he warned. Source: Tass

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