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Western Propaganda – Not

August 21, 2014

I just read an article shared by a friend in Australia about the Russian economy teetering on the brink of collapse.

I’m shaking my head about the article.  I can easily predict what my Russian acquaintances will say about the article.  ‘Western propaganda.  Lies. All fake.’

I’m not going to bore you, however, with all the verifiable facts contained in the article, “Is the Russian economy on the verge of collapse?”.  I’m not going to verify the authenticity of the witnesses, the people with whom the author conferred.  I’m not even going to sow fear into anyone’s brain and predict an economic collapse of the Russian economy.

What I am going to do is show how journalists write a good honest story that shows experience, honest hard work and presents verifiable facts which reflect negatively on Russia.  Verifiable facts.

 cites a long term trend where Russian oligarchs (a term favored by the Russian media meaning a newly rich business person) are considering fleeing Russia prior to the impending economic collapse.  Dina cites interviews from early 2013, March of 2014 and as recently as August 2014.  This is professionalism, dedication to the job, and over time she has established a reputation as a competent journalist who investigates in depth and publishes truthful pieces.

Dina also points out Putin’s target audience is the Russian public, where he has a higher than 80% approval rating, brought about because Putin controls the media. In other words, the Russian people know nothing about how fragile their economy is. We’ve already seen shows of growing dissent in Moscow, imagine if the people knew.

Dina’s next point could have been stronger, she only lightly touches on the European food ban.  She does not say that Putin’s ban on European food actually hurt Russia more than it does Europe.  Putin’s ban is for one year, which is no incentive for Russians to make an investment and raise crops or cattle to replace European goods.  Russia is already touting arrangements made with South American countries, but at great expense – another hit on their economy.

Her last point hints at the centralized control that Putin has, and, it seems, the lack of adequate input from economic experts.

Vladimir Frolov, author and president of the LEFF Group, recently wrote in The Moscow Times that Putin has two options: “The disastrous and the cynical.”


Frolov correlated the former “disastrous” option with the move by former Soviet leader Yuri Andropov of escalating tensions with the West to the point of near catastrophe, and the latter “cynical” option with the move by former Russian President Boris Yeltsin to rearrange the government while throwing domestic allies turned enemies under the bus.

All in all, Putin appears to have over-insulated himself in the decision-making process concerning Russia’s economy, and this is causing long term problems in Russia.

Russian propagandists will surely label this article as Western propaganda, but I see it clearly as a well researched article without prior bias.  Fire away, Russian trolls.

See also:
US driving global oil prices down, destroying Russian economy:

Russia Suddenly Closes Four McDonalds

August 20, 2014

In what appears to be a symbolic shot across the bow, “Russia Suspends Operation at Four McDonald’s Restaurants in Moscow over Food Safety“.  

The timing is curious, McDonalds has operated in Russia since 1990 and suddenly Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare, finds

that McDonald’s products contain more fat, protein and carbohydrates than are allowed by the country’s “technological norms.”

This includes the McDonalds next to Red Square, the busiest McDonalds in the world. 

Sound suspicious?  Yep.  Me too. 

“Multiple violations of sanitary norms were detected in the sourcing of food and waste disposal in McDonald’s restaurants during inspections carried out between the 18th and 20th of August,” said an official statement from the watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor.  (RT)

I’m not alone, apparently.  USA Today says the same thing, here, the word “allegedly” should carry a lot of weight.   BusinessWeek didn’t mince words and alleges retaliation, unfortunately the owner is Russian, so the move is largely symbolic and self-defeating.  The same article indicates this is part of a European-wide economic war with Russia.  

Let me see if I can lump this in with what is going on in Ukraine.  There is guerrilla warfare.  Unconventional warfare.  Conventional warfare.  Proxy warfare. Legal warfare.  Agricultural warfare. And now Economic warfare.  Fruits, vegetables, food of all sorts and now McDonalds.  

Putin.  Have you no shame? 

Russia: Please Stop Defacing Soviet Monuments

August 20, 2014

Recent events in Ukraine have caused many people in former Soviet states to have increased anxiety over the dreaded perception that Russia may attempt to reassert control.  This perception has been manifested in many ways, the most obvious are acts against memorials, statues and other reminders of Soviet occupation. Defacements. Vandalism.  Statements.  Desecrations.

In Ukraine, three statues of Lenin were destroyed.

Now we have reports, verified by Russian news sites and here (containing a picture of the incorrect statue) and here (Picture of the monument before) , that a monument to Soviet soldiers has been desecrated.  To look like American superheroes.  Superman is the most prominent, but I can also identify Captain America, Santa Claus, The Joker, Ronald McDonald, and Wonder Woman.

A whole host of more desecrations can be seen here.

Other statues in Bulgaria have been defaced as well.  Other statues have been purposefully removed, such as one of Stalin in Georgia.  And Stalin was one of their favorite sons.

Defacements have occurred in Moscow, as well.

There is a rise in defacements of Soviet era monuments, statues and other reminders.  Obviously today’s defacement of the star on top of one of the Seven Sisters in Moscow, a relic from the Stalin era, is directly related to the current crisis in Ukraine.

There have been other reminders of the Soviets destroyed.  The Czech Republic systematically destroyed some, here.  Recall that in 2007 there was a large scale hacker attack by Nashi against Estonia when they removed a Soviet soldier statue.

Russia, itself, seems to have a love-hate relationship with their past heroes, removing statues of Lenin.

Russia appears to be at a crossroads.  It seems former Soviet states want to remove many traces of their former Soviet rulers.  It appears Russia wants these symbols to remain.  This can be interpreted in a number of ways, most of which cause former Soviet states to worry.

The actions by Russia, today, may portend Russian desires to restore a Soviet style empire.  Many believe that is the motivation for Putin.  There does not appear to be a desire to restore Communism, however.

These symbols, left intact in former Soviet states it is hoped by Russian rulers, will serve as a reminders of the good times possible under their rule.  Many Russians desire a return to the order of the Soviet state.

But it is obvious that many former Soviet states do not desire the return of their former oppressors.  It is also obvious that some inside Russia do not like their leadership.  They are willing to risk prison to make that statement.

Maybe Putin’s fears are coming true…   a popular revolution within Russia?

Please allow yourself to enjoy this video from the Beatles, Revolution.



Pallywood in Action, Again

August 20, 2014

….and now for something completely different.  We shift your attention to Gaza, where a load of ‘corpses’ are lain for display.  Except they are moving.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Pallywood, it stands for Palestinian Hollywood and dates back to 2007.  “Little Green Footballs” probably has the best coverage. They first revealed the “Green Helmet man”, a man wearing a green helmet, obviously a director/actor of the action, who appeared in multiple obviously staged propaganda pieces designed to show Israeli soldiers as vicious, mean bastids.  Once he was revealed most of the videos produced by Pallywood were highly suspect.  Obviously the lessons were forgotten. 

Flag of Ukraine Hoisted in Moscow

August 20, 2014

Russia Behind The Headlines confirms that several young men scaled a Stalin Skyscraper, hoisted the flag of Ukraine and painted part of the star yellow and blue,

the colors of Ukraine.

This symbolic assault on one of the most powerful symbols of Stalinism in Moscow, one of the “Seven Sisters”, illustrates one of the deepest fears of Putin, internal dissent.  This is surely driving the leaders of Russia into a tizzy, such a public showing of support for Ukraine is unimaginable.

Another Russian news site, Lifenews, included video of the ‘vandals’ parachuting off the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment.

Though the flag of Ukraine remained in place for only three hours, the impression and the pictures may last forever. 

A Simple Analysis of Russian Propaganda

August 19, 2014

Tonight I read an article entitled “Western Europe is fed on a diet of propaganda“.  Of course I was interested and I plunged ahead, getting to the subtitle before I realized the twist – the article was going to be pro-Russian, anti-American and it would stink.  It read

In many Western European countries, governments friendly to the U.S. have been using the media to spread ridiculous fears about Russia.

There are three basic assumptions the author has just used in the subtitle alone.  “Governments friendly to the US”, the assumption being the UK.  Depending on the day of the week and the subject at hand it could also be any other government in Europe or none, and the words are deliberately chosen to subtly imply a negative.  “Have been using the media” – the assumption here is that the governments control the media, and most of us know this is not true. Western governments may share information about a policy, a program, or an event, but they certainly do not control the media and tell them what to write or say.  “Ridiculous fears about Russia”, meaning any fear about Russia is ridiculous.  ‘Oh you silly boy, you must always trust Russia!’

Later he says:

When I asked him if he had any special intelligence sources or contacts that could supply irrefutable proof, he could only cite what he read in a local newspaper.

“Irrefutable proof”.  Of course not, almost every single event in the past six months has been clouded, confused and disputed.  Russian soldiers in Crimea did not exist, only later were they acknowledged. MH 17 was shot down by the Russians by an SA-21, but it can’t be proven (because Russia controlled the area and allegedly…).  Russia is systematically destroying the infrastructure of Donbass from across the Ukraine-Russian border but denies firing a shot, as a matter of fact Ukraine is blamed for the occasional misplaced round as a provocation.   There are no Russian soldiers or vehicles inside Ukraine, none of them have license plates. No Russian vehicles have entered Ukraine, those pictures and reporters stories aren’t real.  Those 40,000 Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border are there only to protect Russia from Ukraine.

We all know that many reputed newspapers in the West supported the U.S. government’s ridiculous fabrications about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003.

Now to deal with the greatest tragedy of last decade, when President George W. Bush and his Secretary of State lied to the world about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and as a result, we will forever wear the shame of their fabrications.  Consequently there is always be an element of doubt that can be inserted into almost every discussion concerning the US and Russia.  George W. Bush, you did us wrong.

The Russian Army could have overrun all of south-eastern Ukraine in a matter of days if it wanted to, but that would have given the country virtually no strategic assets of any kind.

Consequently, if Russia is waging an oozing war, a guerilla war, then an unconventional war of proxy troops, troops without identifiable nationality and consistently destroys all evidence of culpability, the statement above is used to avoid responsibility.  We will find a way to prove Russia’s guilt, but until then, it’s propaganda machine will continue to churn out this muck.

Although America lost a lot of lives in the Second World War, there was no fighting in the continental United States. It was Europe that bore most of the brutalities of the war.

In other words, United States, butt out.  This is our situation, go home Yankee. That was written on a lot of walls back in the 1960s by the Soviets, some things never change.

Now by meddling in the heart of Europe, the U.S. government is trying to create conflicts in distant lands from the comfort of the Pentagon.

By some abstract logic, the United States is somehow responsible for Russia meddling in Ukrainian politics, forcing then President Yanukovych to harshly suppress the Maidan protestors, forced Russia to overwhelm Crimea and then forced Russia to insert volunteers into Eastern Ukraine.

In his final paragraph, the author, Ajay Kamalakaran, does not name the United States and does not need to.  He points a finger at the United States and states that the evil of the world originates in one country.

Now notice the source.  The “Russia and India” report,  Now notice the RBTH part of the address, that stands for Russia Behind The Headlines, owned by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.  

Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russian: Российская газета, lit. Russian Gazette) is a Russian government daily newspaper of record which publishes the official decrees, statements and documents of state bodies. This includes the promulgation of newly approved laws, Presidential decrees, and Government orders. It was founded by a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR and its first issue appeared on 11 November 1990. (Wikipedia)

Yes.  This is Russian propaganda, plain and simple.  Designed to influence foreign audiences and persuade us to support their position. This is official propaganda that the Russians accuse the West, and especially the United States, of producing.

But of course, the Russians will deny, deny, deny. 

ps. While you’re at it, please read “Pro-Kremlin Media Accuses West of Propaganda War Against Russia” and skip down to the part that is titled: “Information Counterattack”

List: Vrag Naroda or Враг народа – Enemy of the People

August 19, 2014

Враг народа

Okay folks. I need your help.  Supposedly this list comes from a Russian source but I’ve looked through dozens of Russian news and government sites and I can’t find the Russian source.  Can somebody help locate it for me?

This list is just too juicy to skip and it is quite thrilling, because it gives me more people to follow.  I only wish I had a better way to follow Russian sources.   At the moment I cannot attest to its authenticity but I will copy and paste it here, in its entirety, so that you, gentle reader, might consider this list of Vrag Naroda, or Russian Enemies of the People.  I guess this is a carryover effect from the Soviets…

Putin’s media published a list of Russia’s enemies

August 19, 2014
Originally published at: 

Russian media published a “black list” of famous people who have supported the current Kiev authorities and the military actions of the Ukrainian Army in the Donbas.

Full list looks like this:

1) Andrei Makarevich (group “The Time Machine”)

2) Alexei Navalny (opposition politician)

3) staff of radio station “Echo of Moscow”

4) a collective channel “Rain”

5) a collective portal

6) Arnold Schwarzenegger (bodybuilder, actor, former California governor)

7) Ruslana (Ukrainian singer)

8) Yuri Shevchuk (DDT)

9) Nikita Dzhigurda (actor)

10) the collective group “Okean Elzy”

11) the collective group “Liapis Troubetzkoy”

12) Sergei Zverev (singer, stylist)

13) Deacon Kuraev (religious and social activist)

14) George Clooney (American actor)

15) Ksenia Sobchak (daughter of Anatoly Sobchak)

16) Victor Shenderovich (human rights activist)

17) Leah Akhedzhakova (actress)

18) Boris Nemtsov (opposition politician)

19) Boris Grebenshikov (poet, musician c. “Aquarium”)

20) Garik (Bulldog) Kharlamov (former KVNschik, actor)

21) Anna Sedokova (former member of the group VIA GRA)

22) Irina Khakamada (opposition politician)

23) Gelman (gallerist)

24) Jared Leto (American actor, singer)

25) Milla Jovovich (American actress)

26) Martin Gore (musician Depeche Mode)

27) Zemfira (singer)

28) Vera Brezhnev (Ukrainian singer)

29) Vladimir Zelensky (Ukrainian showman, artistic director and leader of the studio “Quarter-95″)

30) Natasha Koroleva (singer)

31) Mikhail Khodorkovsky (former co-owner and head of the oil company “Yukos”)

32) Bozena Rynska (journalist, columnist of the newspaper “Izvestia”, the portal “Times” magazine «GQ».)

33) team radio “Freedom”

34) team of the magazine Snob

35) Boris Akunin (writer)

36) Serge rapper

37) Alexander Nevzorov (former reporter, presenter, MP. Now – publicist)

38) Nikas Safronov (Artist)

39) team portal

40) Garry Kasparov (chess, opposition)

41) Sasha Grey (former pornographic actress)

42) Belkovsky (Russian political scientist, sociologist and essayist)

43) Artemy Troitsky (rock journalist and music critic)

44) Activists of Femen (unregistered Ukrainian women’s movement)

45) The deputy Ilya Ponomarev

46) Diana Arbenina (singer, musician, leader of the rock group “Night Snipers”)

47) the group Scorpions

48) Evgeny Kiselev (Russian and Ukrainian journalist.)

49) Sofia Rotaru (singer)

50) Vakhtang Kikabidze (singer)

51) Mikhail Kasyanov (politician Prime Minister from 2000 to 2004.)

52) Madonna (American singer)

53) Michael Weller (writer)

54) Pavel Durov (founder of the social network VKontakte)

55) Andrew Bilzho (cartoonist, psychiatrist)

56) Anatoly Pashinin (actor)

57) Gleb Samoilov (former singer of the band “Agatha Christie”).

Originally publised at: 


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