Saturday 30th of August 2014

a bit of symbolism...


Two doves — released by the Pope in a call for peace in Ukraine — have been attacked by two larger birds, in what many interpreted as an ominous sign for the country.

The doves were set free from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square on Sunday, after the Pope had led morning prayers preaching "the spirit of peace and the search for common good to prevail in the hearts of all," and calling for an end to the violence in Ukraine.

However, the symbolic gesture soon backfired as the peace birds were set upon by a seagull and a crow, which repeatedly pecked and grabbed at the smaller birds as thousands of people watched.

Social media users have been speculating what the unfortunate incident may mean for Ukraine, with many people drawing parallels between the larger birds and the Ukrainian special police, who go by the name "Berkut," or "Eagle."

"It is symbolic. The dove of a free Ukraine in the clutches of the 'Berkut,' one user said in a comment on radio station Ekho Moskvy's website.

"Putin and Yanukovych?" another user said, referring to the two preying birds.

In another comment, one user drew a parallel between the attack and Russian General Prosecutor Yury Chaika's last name, which is Russian for "seagull."

"The seagull — as the Prosecutor General's last name — is the embodiment of law in Russia and Ukraine today," he said in a comment on Ekho Moskvy.

If there were not a picture accompanying this article I would be suspicious.... Sure birds attack other birds, but not in this "deadly" manner... Is the article a way to be indirectly subversive in Russia by reporting a "fait-divers"... with connotations...


not moved to the airport...


KIEV — The interior minister of Ukraine accused Russian troops Friday of blockading an airport in the Crimean city of Sevastopol in what he has described as an armed invasion.

While stressing that no direct violent confrontations had taken place, Arsen Avakov said the matter should be dealt with on a diplomatic level before armed clashes broke out.

Avakov said on his Facebook account that troops from the Black Sea Fleet, which is stationed in the city, could be seen outside Belbek airport, although the inside of the terminal was controlled by Ukrainian troops.


"The airport is not operating. At the external perimeter there are Ukrainian Interior Ministry checkpoints. There have been not armed clashes," Avakov said.


The alleged presence of Black Sea Fleet troops at the airport, if confirmed, would be in direct defiance of a demand by Ukrainian interim authorities Thursday for Russian troops to refrain from leaving their quarters. That appeal apparently echoed international concern that Moscow may choose to throw its weight behind pro-Russian groups in Crimea seeking to defy interim authorities in Kiev.


"Any movement, particularly with weapons, outside official residences regulated by our agreement will be interpreted by us as military aggression," interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said.

A spokesman for the Russian Black Sea Fleet said that its forces had not “moved toward [Sevastopol airport] let alone taken any part in blockading it,” Interfax reported. 


Already frayed nerves on the Crimena Peninsula were tested Thursday when a group of apparently pro-Russian gunmen occupied the parliament in the Crimean regional capital of Simferopol, only one day after fistfights erupted outside the building between supporters and opponents of the country's incoming leadership.


Russia, which has a substantial military presence at its leased naval base in Sevastopol, has insisted it will not interfere in its neighbor's affairs, while at the same time voicing worries about possible discrimination against ethnic Russians in the country.



The picture accompanying the articles "of the invasion" in ALL the western press is that of a lone soldier that could be a clown in army clothes, a Ukraine soldier or a rebel in uniform... who knows. But the power of the "image" is there to give credence to, so far, what appears to be a non-event with lots of disinformation...

Sevastopol airport


The picture used by the Moscow times shows NO SOLDIER IN IT and as far as I can tell (I am an expert on photography and fiddles, it would have been taken at about the same time as the one above...


the news is crook...

I could be wrong, but there is a lot of grandstanding tuttututting by western government for Russia not to go in Ukraine, especially in Crimea...


I have news for you here: the Russians rent the space in Crimea, including the harbour of Sevastopol and have been doing so since the disintegration of the USSR... THUS THE RUSSIANS HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A LONG TIME,  including before the split of the USSR, as the Russian navy was there as well.... 


But why not hype the "presence of Russian troops" in our own "liberated" minds...? We crap on, don't we?

orphan of the cold war...


From Malcom Fraser, former PM of Australia


After the fall of the Soviet Union, many hoped the cold war ideology could be put behind, and that the powers could work for a more co-operative and a better world. Nato had done its job.

There were many ways in which the former members of the Soviet Union in eastern Europe could have been given security for the future. Nato chose to provide that security by moving eastward to the borders of Russia. The then president, Gorbachev, in negotiating with secretary of state, James Baker, had insisted that Nato should not move one foot east – this was an area of traditional Russian influence. President Clinton pushed to expand the Nato alliance to the very borders of Russia. There was talk of Ukraine and Georgia being included.

The move east, despite the negotiations held with Gorbachev, was provocative, unwise and a very clear signal to Russia: we are not willing to make you a co-operative partner in the management of European or world affairs; we will exercise the power available to us and you will have to put up with it.

The message was re-emphasised years later, when President Bushsought to place elements of the anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. America said this was aimed at Iran. Russia would not have believed that. The west was acting as though the cold war still persisted.

What happened a while ago in Georgia, and what is happening now in Crimea, grows directly from those early mistakes made by the west. The west has been angling over the years to draw Ukraine into Nato. It has been doing whatever it could to support a pro-European government in the Ukraine, and to oppose or to bring down a pro-Russian government.

In January, Seumas Milne described those fighting against the then government. If but a small part of what he then said was correct, the west has once again chosen some unsavoury partners and that does not augur well for the future. Milne then described the elements then fighting the government as pro-fascist, pro-nazi, anti-Jew.

The west has again been flat-footed and unprepared. There is a significant Russia minority in Ukraine; Russia would be bound to take steps to protect that minority.

terror in ukraine...

Russia's Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case on terrorism-related charges against the leader of a Ukrainian nationalist group widely seen as the driving force behind former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin on Monday said Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the ultranationalist group Right Sector, was wanted for "public appeals to commit acts of terrorism" on Russian soil and acts of extremism, charges that carry up to seven and five years in prison, respectively.  

Investigators say Yarosh posted a statement on the group's Vkontakte page urging the Islamist insurgent leader Doku Umarov — often referred to as Russia's equivalent of Bin Laden — to join Ukraine in fighting the Kremlin. The Right Sector has denied the charges, however, saying that people hired by the Kremlin had hacked the group's official Vkontakte page and written a fake appeal to Umarov that was falsely attributed to Yarosh.

The Right Sector was widely seen as the driving force behind the protests in Kiev that led to a violent uprising against the government and heightened tensions with Russia. The group gained prominence when the protests became more radical in January and February, after the mainstream opposition and Svoboda, a more moderate nationalist party, began to lose their appeal.

Yarosh rose in popularity for his role in the protests and was appointed a deputy chairman of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council last month.

It is for this reason that the group believes Yarosh has been accused of colluding with a terrorist — to villainize him and eliminate any influence he may have had among Ukrainians.

In the Vkontakte message that prompted criminal charges by Russian investigators, the author said that many Ukrainians had participated in the same "liberation war" being waged by Chechens and other North Caucasus peoples. Members of UNA-UNSO, one of the groups constituting the Right Sector, reportedly fought against Russians in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and first Chechen War in the 1990s.

roubles in the bank...


A cheaper ruble and more expensive oil could actually go a long way in improving Russia's economy, possibly offsetting other potential aftershocks of the Ukraine crisis.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in interviews on Sunday identified the ruble's slide as among Russia's economic challenges that could get worse if Western powers retaliated economically for a takeover of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula by armed men thought to be Russian troops. He was speaking after President Vladimir Putin won unanimous approval from the parliament to use armed forces in Ukraine.

The currency declined further in Monday trading, but a ruble that is losing value is a great prop for struggling local manufacturers, which now find themselves more competitive with Western imports. Besides, oil prices that edged up about $2 a barrel Monday are creating additional income for a federal budget that depends on these revenues heavily.

"Some of the consequences [of the Ukraine situation] can be for the better," said Oleg Kuzmin, an economist for Russia at investment bank Renaissance Capital. "First of all, it is the weaker ruble, which will … slow down the growth in imports."

At the same time, Kuzmin warned that a devaluation that was too fast would come as a shock to businesses and the general public, casting doubt on economic stability. The Central Bank intervened in Monday currency trading with all its might and largely restrained the ruble downfall. Its official ruble exchange rate for Tuesday was only 19 kopeks more per dollar, an increase of about 0.5 percent.

In another effort to keep a lid on the exchange rate, the Central Bank temporarily raised its interest rates Monday, thus restricting access by banks to the money supply, which could end up being used to buy U.S. currency. If the measure lasts for more than a month, it could further chill the country's sluggish economic growth, Kuzmin said.

The effort comes despite the fact that a drop of 1 ruble in its exchange rate to the dollar gives state coffers an additional 180 billion rubles ($5 billion) of revenues, he said. The Central Bank set the exchange rate at 36.4 rubles per dollar for Tuesday, compared to the government's estimate of 34 rubles on average for this year.

But Russia will not be able to substitute all imports. The easiest replacements will be in the foodstuffs segment, while high-tech equipment has to come from the West if upgrades of the industry are to continue, Kuzmin said. Russia is also highly dependent on foreign medicines.

Combined with a cheaper ruble, the increase in oil prices raises the prospect of billions of dollars in additional funds streaming into state coffers.


mixed news...

From Chris Flyod

While Russian barbarians violate the sovereignty of another nation in an unconscionable show of force, American agents of peace and light make nice with friendly locals overseas:

American Special Forces troops … scaled his walls with ladders on Thursday, arresting [Qazi Nasir] Mudassir and two other employees of [his] Radio Paighame Milli. … They were apparently unaware, he said, that his radio station is supported in large part by pro-government, pro-coalition propaganda advertisements paid for by the American military.

Mr. Mudassir said a force of more than two dozen Americans carried out the raid, ransacking his premises and damaging much of the broadcasting equipment, as well as seizing computers, phones and recording gear. “They even put that black hood over my head and slapped me and beat me,” he said.

“They treated us inhumanely even though we were very pro their presence, and pro-government,” Mr. Mudassir said. He said that he had been taken to the United States Army’s Special Forces base in Logar and held overnight, and that interrogators had tried to get him to identify photographs of people suspected of being insurgents. “They said, ‘You better tell the truth because you know if we want to kill you we can.’ “

And there you have it, American foreign policy stripped down to its quintessential core: "If we want to kill you we can." 

We now return you to our regularly scheduled 24/7 coverage of Russian atrocities in Crimea.