Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

bouquet diplomacy...


As Russian President Vladimir Putin presented France's first lady with a bouquet of flowers ahead of talks with his French counterpart on Thursday, Sputnik discussed the move with Elena Maximova, a lector at the floristic design school "Nicole" in Russia.

Florist Elena Maximova assessed a bouquet of flowers given by Vladimir Putin to Brigitte Macron as a positive sign.

"Light-colored roses are a sign of femininity. And they are quite high-status," Maximova said.

"Peony is a symbol of dignity. It is a status flower with a delicate aroma. According to feng shui, this flower brings luck. Most likely, in this situation, it is a sign of hope for a favorable outcome of a meeting, negotiations," she added.

The Russian president made the diplomatic gesture ahead of talks with his French counterpart in St. Petersburg on Thursday. The move came just a week after he presented a similar bouquet to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi.

READ MORE: Bouquet Diplomacy: Putin Wows Brigitte Macron, and Internet, With Fresh Flowers

Some German media criticized the present, seeing in it a "hidden meaning" and perceiving it as an "insulting" act of "macho dominance." But Elena Maximova has a more optimistic opinion about the gift.

"With these bouquets he [Putin] shows that both women are nice and kind," she said. "Freesia in the bouquet of Angela Merkel emphasizes her tenderness and delicacy."

Previously, Putin also gave flowers to Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Austrian diplomat Ursula Plassnik, and the wives of numerous statesmen, from Cherie Blair to Laura Bush to Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan. In 2007, he even gave a bouquet to Patriarch Alexy II on the occasion of his 78th birthday.


Read more:

from his own peace garden...


Seemingly ignoring recent German media criticism that his bouquet for German Chancellor Angela Merkel was an "insulting" act of "macho dominance," Russian President Vladimir Putin did it again, this time giving Emmanuel Macron's better half an arrangement of pink and yellow flowers.

The Russian president's diplomatic gesture, made ahead of talks with his French counterpart in St. Petersburg on Thursday, prompted Twitter users still recovering from Bild's claim that Putin's flowers have a "hidden meaning" to swoon anew.


Read more:


Just put things in perspective (age has nothing to do with it):

Merkel: born 1954

Brigitte Macron: born 1953

Putin: born 1952

Emmanuel Macron: born 1977

The "old man" Trump: born 1946



the bashing putin industry...

by Tony Kevin, from a talk given to ANU Business Students, 7 June


Two and a half years ago, in Jan-Feb 2016, I visited Russia for a month. The result was this published book, a literary travel memoir,  Return to Moscow.  I returned  in January-February this year, 2018. I gave a public lecture in the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Russian History.

In the two years since I wrote my book, relations between Russia and the West have become worse. On the other hand, Russian relations with China, and with the whole vast Eurasian region bounded by China, Korea, Japan, the ASEAN countries, India and Pakistan, and westwards through Central Asia as far as Iran, Syria and Turkey, even with Israel, have correspondingly warmed and deepened.

For a country with a GNP allegedly similar in size to Australia’s, Russia is punching way above its economic weight in the world. I attribute this to the Russian people’s high intelligence, their national unity of purpose, and their efficient priority-setting in allocating their limited national wealth to what they see as most important. Little of Russia’s GNP goes to waste. Their national security, despite the loss of 25% of their territory and 49% of their population when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991 – which Mr Putin has described as a geopolitical disaster – is now securely protected by Putin’s rebuilding of a credible second-strike nuclear weapons deterrent capability, that could respond to any actual or threatened surprise attack on Russia.

Also, the strategic and economic alliance with China is enormously strengthening both these great nations’ security and economic potential. They have each other’s back now.

China’s One Belt One Road initiative 

China’s One Belt One Road vision is already transforming the whole Eurasian Heartland, including Russia. It is actually beginning to reshape the whole world economy, away from the historic Euro-Atlantic centred economy, to a diverse multipolar world economy.

Russia and China by virtue of their geography, size and resources, sit at the centre of this geopolitical transformation now just getting underway. The challenge for the Euro-Atlantic world, to which Australia belongs by history and alliance ties, is either to join in the building of this new world economic axis, or to stand aside and become increasingly marginalised from it.

It is going to be a very different multipolar world 10, 20, 30 years from now, with very different strategic power balances and world trading and investment patterns.

In some ways, we seem to be moving towards the world foreseen by British pre-WW1 strategic geographer Halford Mackinder in his classic 1904 book The Geographical Pivot of History , postulating a world in contest between the Eurasian continental Heartland and the Anglo-American maritime world.

Russia’s economy is growing steadily and living standards are improving in all parts of the country, the largest country by land area in the world. Population, at around 150 million, is at last beginning to grow again after the demographic disasters and collapse of national morale in the 1990s, the Yeltsin decade after the collapse of the Soviet system.

You will shortly see, as I did on my two recent visits, a country of high educational and cultural level, and high civility, ethical values and morale. This may surprise some of you.

You will also get a sense of the buoyant Football World Cup atmosphere. I don’t like to predict too much but I can predict this. Over the next few weeks, the spate of Western mainstream media articles hostile to the Russian hosting of the World Cup will rise to a crescendo. There will be stories alleging unsportsmanlike behaviour, unfinished stadiums and visitor facilities, tourist scams, and hostility of Russian people towards visiting football fans. None of this will be true. The Russian people will make their football visitors, players and spectators, very welcome. Any isolated acts of football hooliganism will be quickly brought under police control. The World Cup contest will be a happy experience for all.

Let me focus now on what has sadly become over the past few years my main area of expertise, the deteriorating political relationship between Russia and the Western alliance, built around NATO and the EU but also taking in Australia.

The prime movers of this hostility are the security and intelligence complexes in the US and the UK. Something similar, but not yet quite as bad, is happening now in China’s relations with the West. Again, the main cause is Western attitudes and behaviour towards China.

A key theme in my book is the contest between two Russian views of Russia’s place in the world, the Slavophile tendency versus the Westernising tendency. The giants of Russian literature, from Pushkin through Tolstoy and Turgenev and Dostoeyevsky and Anton Chekhov and Alexander Blok to Boris Pasternak, were at heart Slavophiles, believers in Russia’s unique destiny: that Russia is not just another European nation.

This continues to be Russia’s eternal existential debate – the question, who are we Russians? What is our specific role and responsibility in world history? I have tried in the central part of my book fairly to portray that debate, as it developed in Tsarist Russia and how it was transformed in the Soviet Communist period, and then again since the fall of Communism in 1991. I explore where the Yeltsin and Putin governments have sat in this debate.

It pains me to have to analyse, as the third section of my book on the West’s information warfare against Russia does, the negative and hostile role that the Western world, including Australia, now plays towards Russia. This third section offers my perspective as a former Australian diplomat who served in Soviet Russia 50 years ago, on how and why Russia-West relations have become so dysfunctional and dangerous in recent years.

How did such a hostile language and imagery mind-set form in the West since around 2008, of an inbuilt disdain for Russia? We are now living in a permanent default condition of Western information warfare against Russia.

In this escalating information war against Russia over the past ten years, words and images have been weaponised by the West, with the aim of discrediting, demoralising, and destabilising the Russian nation. This was at its height in the 1990s . Most of us did not realise this was happening, but Russia was at its lowest ebb. Women stopped having babies, there was widespread alcoholism among men, Russian people were emigrating,

England, always master of the dark arts of propaganda and disinformation, has played and continues to play a key role in this hidden war: London is egging on its senior partner Washington to ever more audacious lies and false claims against Russia. Only Trump offers some sort of resistance to this rampant Russophobia in Washington and London.

Under Putin, whose presidency began in 2001, Russia has been skilfully fighting back in its own defence, using adept official diplomacy, internet channels and social media, while still trying to maintain basic norms of respect for facts and elementary good international manners.

Britain and the US have mostly abandoned those norms in recent years. Their diplomacy towards Russia now consists mostly of slanders, false-flag operations, threats and ultimatums. As Putin has put Russia back in its feet, these two key Western nations have become correspondingly more hostile to him and to Russia.

Since  2016, much has happened to set in stone the breakdown of working trust between Russia and the West. I thought things were bad then, but they are much worse now.

EU leaders have mostly, though sometimes reluctantly, followed Anglo-American Russophobic policy leads.

Only at military-to-military level, as in the Syrian War deconfliction arrangements, does some form of essential trust-based communication survive between the two militaries. The strategic balance is still very fragile.

 how President Putin tries to speak to the West. 

Putin has gone up twice on television in 2017 and 2018 against the smart and sexy American TV presenter Megyn Kelly. Don’t waste your time watching truncated American news versions. Watch the full-length Russian-filmed Youtube videos, to see how he deals with Megyn’s ‘gotcha’ questions politely, calmly and logically, but with occasional flashes of humour. Megyn tries desperately to stay on message, to stay hostile and confrontational, but Putin charmingly wins these amiable battles of wits. And we, the viewers, can learn a lot about his country’s priorities and concerns, if we choose to watch these entertaining interviews on YouTube.

A different kind of attraction – a bromance, actually – develops between Putin and Oliver Stone in the making of Stone’s 2017 ‘Putin Interviews’ documentary series. Stone does not try to play ‘gotcha’ with Putin. Over several conversations, the two men build a friendly relationship of mutual liking and respect. Putin opens up, and Stone learns why one should not joke with a Russian about Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove. For Russians, the certainty of mutual assured destruction under second strike nuclear deterrence is no joking matter at all. It is the real world they inhabit. It is the world they have learned to live in, under years of constant American military pressure around their borders since around 2002, after the tough disciplined Putin in 2001 replaced the alcoholic US- compliant Yeltsin.

Putin was determined to restore Russian pride, military and economic strength, and self-respect. He has never wavered from this goal through three American Presidents George W Bush, Obama and Trump.

Russians do not see their restored nuclear deterrent under Putin as some kind of video entertainment game: it is what they see as ultimately defending their sovereignty as a nation: their preparedness to start the Doomsday Clock ticking, if pressed by the West beyond their endurance limits. They have recently shown this during the ongoing war in Syria.

The message Stone tries to bring back to the West: that Russians are a deeply serious and truthful people, a brave people, and that Putin is the strong and able leader they are fortunate to have.

Stone returns to America, and goes on the popular liberal Stephen Colbert show to publicize his TV series and book. To watch this on Youtube is dispiriting. Stone tries to explain seriously to Colbert what he has learned from his hours conversing with Putin, on what interests the US and Russia might find they have in common, on how their relations might be improved to mutual benefit. He is met with disbelief and facetious sarcasm. The studio audience soon get into the spirit of Colbert’s game: they start to laugh mockingly with Colbert at everything Stone says. Later, mainstream American viewers express amazement and contempt for Stone’s ‘soft’ and ‘gullible’ approach to the ‘wily’ Putin.

The Washington Post sums it up thus: ‘Oliver Stone defended Vladimir Putin to Stephen Colbert. The audience laughed at him.’

This is the arrogant voice of American liberal Democratic opinion. This powerful segment of America – the liberal globalisers who support what they are most familiar with, an American-led rules-based world order – have by now almost entirely succumbed to obsessive Russophobic prejudice.

 books that convey truth about Russia.

Almost every book published in the West about Russia and Putin is misleading, but the authors cannot see this. They come from within self-indoctrinated intellectual communities that – whether physically living in the West, or even in Western journalistic and diplomatic enclaves within Russia, it makes no difference really – have internalised group mindsets of hostile Western perceptions of Russia to the point where they cannot see outside this framework. Anti-Russian assertions of belief, repeated and exchanged often enough, become the alternative reality. As Goebbels understood.

Look at these examples of titles of a few well-regarded recent books about Russia:

  • The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin,  Steven Lee Myers, 2016
  • Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped, by Garry Kasparov, 2016
  • Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, 2015
  • Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha, 2015
  • Putin’s Wars: The Rise of Russia’s New Imperialism, by Marcel H Van Herpen, 2015
  • The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, by Masha Gessen, 2013

Since at least 2008, perhaps earlier, the majority of Western commentators and writers on Russia have come to live in such a distorted mental world of their own imagining. They prefer to re-circulate their own Russian nightmare images – their own language of Russian politics – than to reckon with the reality of what is now a generally decent and serious, well-governed and well-mannered country. To these writers, Putin is simply a greedy criminal whose brutal kleptocratic regime threatens the peaceful world order.

For example: One of the leading Western journalists of this new Cold War, Luke Harding of the UK Guardian , cannot see how silly he sounds when he solemnly intones, after having been caught out in yet another evidence-free Russophobic claim:

Ah, but you must look at the whole context. You see, this is what they always do.

Most Western commentators writing about Russia today fall into this same ideological strait-jacket. They are the new Stalinists. Even when they think they are being objective and fair-minded about Russia, their superior and condescending stereotypes of Russia dull their brains and compromise their integrity.

John Le Carré understood the Cold War very well, the moral ambiguities and yet the humanity that persisted in citizens on both sides, even through the worst years. He never demonised Russia or Russians. To me one of his wisest books is The Russia House, written in 1989, the last years of Gorbachev’s rule.

Fred Schepisi’s film version made in 1990, starring Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of my favourite films.

Le Carre’s engaging anti-hero Barley Blair, and his Russian lover Katya who is played with heartrending warmth and sincerity by Michelle Pfeiffer, refuse to play the Cold War games demanded of them by the governments of their day.  We can still today, 28 years later, learn much from reading or watching The Russia House, a charming fable in which love and human decency triumph over Cold War hatred and ruthlessness.

Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago is the indispensable novel of 20th century Russia, which truthfully represents Russia’s complex and tragic past hundred years, from Tsarism to Soviet Communism and prophesying contemporary Russia. . I visited Pasternak’s home at Peredelkino two years ago. I hope that my chapter on Pasternak, I think the best chapter in my book, captures him fairly.

He came from a cultured and comfortably-off intelligentsia family in Moscow. He made the fateful choice to stay in Russia with his brothers, when his parents and sisters emigrated after the Civil War ended. He never saw them again. His life was tragic and heroic. He confronted and triumphed over both the cruel Stalinist state, and the Anglo-American intelligence agencies which tried to use his great work as a tool to undermine the Soviet system.

Pasternak was intensely patriotic for Russia, his motherland. He never lost his faith that Russia after all its sufferings would grow into a decent humanist country and become an inspiration to the world. I think he would be unreservedly proud of Russia today.

These days one frequently comes across passionate and illogical Russophobia in Australia’s elite government, academic and mainstream media circles, the people who basically set the parameters of Australian policy towards Russia. I have recently been characterised unfavourably by a person from within this group as one of a number of ‘contrarians, Putinists and instant experts’ in Australia. I have also been described as ‘in love with Russia’. I actually take both these remarks as compliments.

What never seems to go away nowadays in our Anglo-American national security elite world is the presumption that Western conduct is generally proper, and Russian conduct is generally improper. I see evidence of such confirmation bias now again on display, acutely, in Western government and mainstream media handling of the Skripal Affair, and of the alleged Assad Government series of three chemical weapons attacks on rebel-held areas in Syria since 2012. People filter out the sources and information elements they want to believe, and ignore the rest as presumed ‘fake news’.

It is sad that a whole people and culture can be misrepresented in such ways. This must be countered, and I am doing my best to help counter it.

The Russian and Western narratives on both these events, the Skripal Affair and the Syria War, sharply conflict. In the end, one must make a choice – one cannot split the difference, or sit on the fence – and I have made my choice. To my mind, the Russian government’s positions on the Skripal Affair and the alleged series of three Syrian Government CW attacks on rebel-occupied areas in recent years fit best with the available public evidence. The Western governments’ positions on these events are false propaganda constructs, and I am no longer prepared to take them on trust.

On every issue in contention, Western governments and mainstream media simply refuse to consider – or even to report – evidence presented by Russia. Instead, they turn their backs, or they resort to angry anti-Russian rhetoric.

The Skripal affair
The Skripals Affair, the attack on Sergey and his daughter Yulia , allegedly with lethal quick-acting Novichok (A234) poison of Soviet Russian origin, in Salisbury on 4 March, initially seemed to offer to UK Prime Minister Theresa May a politically convenient Russophobe narrative. Its falsity has been progressively exposed by the accumulation of public facts ever since. It seems now that the Skripals were victims of an anti-Russian false-flag poisoning and narrative, designed to lay a Western public opinion foundation for the false-flag alleged CW attack in Syria in Douma a month later, which led to a US and allied aerial attack on Syria.

Whoever designed the bizarre Skripal operation went so far as to tamper with the Skripal biological samples that the UK government sent some weeks later to the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, for testing in OPCW’s own trusted Swiss laboratories. Theresa May had demanded a simple yes-or-no answer from OPCW: did the samples contain a Novichuk –type poison?

But the OPCW laboratory in Spiez actually did comprehensive professional sample testing and found inconvenient truths. The Skripal samples were found to contain traces of a strong temporary debilitating but non-lethal toxin called BZ, long in use by NATO, which produced the exact same symptoms as the lethal A234 Novichuk, but with recovery under good medical care expected after around 4 days. Which is what happened to Yulia.

The Spiez lab also found in the samples that OPCW was given by the UK government large freshly added concentrations of the lethal agent A234, in the Novichuk family, as well as decomposed residues of lethal A234 which had been added much earlier , soon after the samples were obtined from the Skripals. It would seem therefore that the OPCW safe chain of custody protocols had twice been seriously violated during the weeks the samples were in British government sole custody.

We only know about these sensational findings because Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov obtained them from a Spiez Lab or OPCW source, and deliberately leaked them publicly in Moscow on 14 April.

Britain, though caught red-handed, tried to deny the story, and still continues brazenly to reject or ignore it, supported by all its Western allies including Australia. At the OPCW Executive Council meeting on 18 April, every Western ambassador lined up to denounce Russia, in abusive language, for allegedly bringing the trusted OPCW inspection system into disrepute. The Council decided to suppress its own laboratory reports. The Secretariat offered an improbable cover story as to why BZ toxin had been found in samples. No explanation was offered at all for the presence of freshly added A234, in concentrations that would have certainly killed the Skripals outright if they had been exposed to it on 4 March.

A few days ago, a fully recovered Yulia Skripal appeared on Reuters television reading a prepared statement in Russian. She has said she looks forward to returning to her home country.

She clearly had not ingested Novichuk, A234. D-notices have been imposed on British media by the British Goverment, and Western mainstream media have fallen strangely silent on the Skripal story as it collapses under its own factual contradictions. I believe that more will come out on the Skripal story, because in the end truth does come out. I hope that both the Skripals, father and daughter, will sooner or later be able to return unharmed to their country, now that proof of Yulia’s life and her desire to return home has been publicly established.


So where do relations now stand between Russia and the West? Certainly worse that when my book was published, just 16 months ago. Putin and Lavrov and the charismatic Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova patiently state again and again their understanding of the truth of these matters, and the need for civil and business-like regular Russia-West dialogue based on mutual respect for national sovereignty, and simply on mutual good manners. Western governments’ manners towards Russia were much better during the Cold War than now.

Trump is unpredictable and irresolute. He seems most of the time to wish to be friends with Putin and Russia, but he seems powerless to defy the obsessively Russophobe lobby which effectively controls Washington. There is renewed talk now of a possible Putin-Trump summit meeting, but powerful elements of the Anglo-American strategic bureaucracy and mainstream media seem determined to derail it.

This is also the dominant message we hear in Australia from the ABC, Fairfax, The Australian, and The Guardian. The Anglo-American elite world seems to need an existential Russian enemy.

In conclusion, I urge you to read critically and widely, and to monitor reputable Russian official websites in their English versions – in particular,, the Russian global news and commentary equivalent of the BBC World Service; and the Russian Foreign Ministry website; and the Russian Embassy websites in Washington, London and Canberra – and also trustworthy independent Western social media writers like the UK’s Craig Murray, Australia’s own Caitlin Johnstone, Vanessa Beeley on Syria, or even my own Facebook and Twitter pages, if you want to make up your own mind on what is really happening in this strange new world of Russia-West relations.

When our mainstream media will almost always distort, or simply not report at all, credible new disclosures of facts as just more pro-Russian propaganda or ‘fake news’, we must read more sources. We must question the anti-Russian stereotypes that are being served up to us. Repetition of lies does not make lies into truth.


Read more:



See also: 

war and peace...

die verprügeln-Putin-Industrie ...

Leading German-language media outlets are creating their own conception of the world, indoctrinating themselves and thereby losing their grip on reality.

It is clearly demonstrated by their coverage of Russia-related issues, Ulrike Reisner, a political analyst with "Creative Diplomacy" (PICREADI), said in her analysis of the latest interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF).

In the run-up to his June 5 visit to Vienna, Putin gave an interview to ORF host Armin Wolf. The latter repeatedly interrupted the president, which ultimately led to Putin at one point asking the interviewer to be patient and let him finish before asking any further questions, quickly switching to German to convey his message.

Media VS Friendly Public Interest in Putin's Visit

The research starts with a short historical overview of Austrian-Russian ties, stressing that Vienna’s attitude toward Moscow has long been "marked by a combination of commitment and pragmatism."

The author noted that the two countries had consistently encouraged economic cooperation, tourism exchanges, as well as maintained strong ties in the energy sector.

Austria, for example, has been purchasing Russian gas since 1968 – the fact that Vienna was the first country in Western Europe to sign a supply contract with the then Soviet Union might yet again be explained by pragmatic commitment, Reisner said.


According to the researcher, the Austrian public accompanied Putin’s state visit with predominantly friendly interest, unlike [the] media, which has got so politicized that it has ultimately lost grip on the reality.

"Media reality, however, looks somewhat different … German language media is decreasingly committing itself to the diversity of opinions, but increasingly indoctrinating the public with its political and social dogmas. This, at the moment, specifically refers to Russian politics," the interview’s analysis, providing an insight into the issue, read.

Interruptions, Simplification to Give Desirable Twist to Interview

The research notes that the analysis of the content and the wording of the interviewer's questions revealed his preconceived opinion on the issues concerned.

"The interviewer did not ask questions with an intention to collect new information, but merely asked questions to get his own opinion confirmed. This procedure requires a special kind of questioning technique, including interruption, offence, leading questions, erratic changes of topics, and sometimes even provocation," the paper said.

The research said that, instead of having been qualified as an example of "rude and unprofessional behavior," the interview was touted by the broadcaster as an "impressive journalistic achievement."


Another unwritten law of this interview technique is to keep the message simple, which "should not be allowed to falter due to complex and challenging answers on the part of the interviewee," the research noted.

The expert pointed to the interviewer’s implicit message, which had been pushed through during the interview — that the famous quote of Louis XIV – L´Etat c’est moi – could be allegedly projected on Putin.

Editing and 'Nuances' in Translation Also Come in Handy

A comparison of the interview’s "full versions," published on the Kremlin’s and the broadcaster’s websites also sheds light on how editing was used for simplification of messages.

The research noted that the broadcaster’s version did not contain all of Putin’s remarks on the alleged chemical attacks in Syria, pointing to their staged nature; and entirely omitted his comments on former Georgian President and ex-Governor of the Ukraine's Odessa Region Mikheil Saakashvili.

"Although the reasons for this might be manifold and justify further analysis, it is a fact that this piece of information was kept away from the audience completely – unless Russian sources of information weren’t used," the paper concluded.


Finally, the research looked into how the desirable narrative was subtly supported by biased wording.

The paper brought the overuse of the term "Machthaber" (potentate) by German media as an example. The term has predominantly negative connotations and is generally applied to what it considered to be totalitarian or abusive regimes.

"A comparison of the German translation of the interview and the Russian original showed that [Putin] used the Russian term 'лидер' as political designation for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, whereas the interviewer used the term 'Machthaber.' In the German translation the Russian term 'лидер' was translated incorrectly into 'Machthaber' ('potentate')," the paper revealed, noting that, as a result, the interviewer and the interviewee seemed to have agreed on Kim’s designation, which in fact was not the case.

Western Media Solidarity

To conclude, the research noted that the interview had been hyped as something extraordinary, a message which was also based on the fallacious assumption, as senior Russian officials regularly give interviews to various media outlets from all over the world.

Predominantly positive reflections on the interview and the interviewer were published in leading German language media the day after the broadcast, while the work was also cited and re-cited by almost all global media, the research noted.


So, the interview technique has not been questioned, though one of the ORF’s core principles is to ensure objectivity, the report concluded.

PICREADI — Public Initiative "Creative Diplomacy" — is a Moscow-based non-governmental organization founded in 2010 by a group of new generation experts committed to develop and support civil initiatives in public diplomacy and foreign affairs.


Read more:


Read from top.

more bouquet diplomacy...

So, the mad Donald has done what the righteous Democrats and previous administrations have not: we love flowers.


a dance and a kiss...

The Russian president visited the ceremony as a stopover on his way to Germany, where he is due to sit down for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Saturday.

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl married businessman Wolfgang Meilinger in a ceremony at the Gasthaus Tscheppe restaurant in the city of Graz earlier on Saturday.

Putin spent about sixty minutes at the ceremony where he danced with the bride, reportedly shouted "Now a kiss!" and signed his name across the newlywed's car, according to local media.


Read more:


Read from top.


Beats war (trade war, bomb war, war of word) diplomacy-alla-USA any day...

mostly on the same page...

The Iran nuclear deal, which was recently ditched by the US, humanitarian efforts in war-ravaged Syria, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project… Putin and Merkel hold three-hour talks and are mostly on the same page.

The surprise visit announced earlier this week between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin took place in Meseberg Palace, 65km north of Berlin, on Saturday afternoon. Putin arrived in the 18th-century palace shortly after attending the wedding of Austrian FM Karin Kneissl.

Both Russia and Germany have been affected by US tariffs, while Moscow has also been hit by sanctions. As rifts with Washington grow, the two leaders found some common ground in their detailed three-hour talks.

Purely economic project Nord Stream 2

The €9.5 billion (US$10.8 billion) pipeline project was one of the key talking points at the meeting. During the Saturday media conference, Putin said the Nord Stream 2 is a "purely economic project" and does not mean the transit of gas through Ukraine will stop. "I am aware of the Federal Chancellor's position. All that matters to us is that this transit is economically feasible… and makes economic sense."

During the closed talks, Putin and Merkel discussed the project and the prospects for Russian gas transit through Ukraine. Merkel said that even after the launch of the Nord Stream 2, Ukraine "should play its part in gas transit to Europe."

READ MORE: Putin & Merkel could stick it to Trump as they look to bring Nord Stream 2 over the line

Merkel and Putin are obviously aware of the backlash from Washington and some Western politicians on the joint project between Gazprom and Western European energy giants. European Council President Donald Tusk has campaigned endlessly for the cancelation of Nord Stream 2 ever since it was announced in 2015. US President Donald Trump has also expressed strong opposition to the project, calling Germany a captive of Russian energy. The US leader has made no secret of American ambitions either, promising during his last whirlwind tour of Europe that Europeans will be buying "vast amounts" of US-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Iran: Merkel, Putin stand for saving nuclear deal recently dumped by US

Both the Russian leader and the German chancellor are in favor of preserving the milestone Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Putin insisted that it is important "to preserve this multilateral agreement" approved by the UN Security Council, which aims at "strengthening regional and global security and the nuclear non-proliferation." Merkel also supports the deal, but noted that Germany is "following Iran's activities with concern, be it the missile program or the situation in Syria."

READ MORE: 'Iran Action Group' a new US tool of regime change, but Tehran’s resilience is 'strong' – researcher

It has been three months since Donald Trump, a long-standing critic of the Iran deal, pulled out of the agreement, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Tehran's compliance with the deal on numerous occasions. The US president also ignored attempts of world powers, including France and Germany, to talk him out of withdrawing.


Read more:


Let's say here that the German news outlet Der Spiegel has so far been more that quiet about this meeting. Its boffins and journalists would not ne happy... Like the US press, the UK press and most of the western press, they have demonised Putin and Russia since forever. This meeting is telling them to put a sock in it and listen. It will be interesting to see what the Teutonic Der Spiegel makes of it in the long run...


The major point here that the two leaders do not need interpreters to talk to each others... Read from top.

confusing theatre of peace celebrations...

On Saturday, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron symbolically signed a memorial book in a railway carriage resembling the Compiègne Wagon, in which the German and French delegations sealed the much-anticipated armistice in November 1918, putting an end to the WWI fighting.

An awkward, albeit touching moment occurred at the First World War centennial anniversary celebrations over the past weekend, when a 101-year-old woman took Angela Merkel for France’s First Lady, who is approximately the same age as the German Chancellor.

The heads of state partook in an emotional ceremony near the town of Compiègne in northern France, where the armistice was signed to end the fighting in World War One, with both leaders signing a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the historic document was sealed. At some moment they even held hands to express their shared commitment to global reconciliation.


Read more:


Meanwhile, Donald-The-Tweeterer is angry that no-one in Europe wants to pay the bill for NATO, an organisation that should have been dismantled a long time ago — an organisation that even Trump wanted to terminate before being elected President, but has become a bigger tool for the US to "invade Europe" with their brand of soft Empire control:


The fresh tweets came just a few days after US President Donald Trump dismissed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron's idea of building a "true European army" as "insulting" and insisted that European states should first pay their fair share for NATO.

After returning from the Remembrance Day commemoration in Paris, where Donald Trump held a bilateral meeting with Emmanuel Macron, the US President launched into a Twitter tirade against his French counterpart, criticising his idea to build an EU army to protect the continent "with respect to China, Russia and even the United States"...


Read more:


The US has always tried to make sure Europe is "not strong" despite what The-Tweettering Twit is tweeting:

"Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!"


Sure.... This looks like trying to divide the French and the German with a vengeance by reminding them of their belligerent past... Meanwhile some of the US Aid NGOs are doing what they can to encourage "fake refugees" into Europe to weaken it some more:

Advocates Abroad is a widely-known US-based tax-exempt organization that has shuffled over 15,000 refugees to Europe through Greece and several thousand asylum seekers elsewhere since it was established in 2016.

A Canadian right-wing activist and journalist, Lauren Southern, has released a video of Ariel Ricker, head of Advocates Abroad, a major NGO which provides legal aid to migrants, openly detailing in front of a hidden camera how she coaches migrants to simulate persecution and lie to border officials as they are preparing to get across the western border.


Read more:

Read from top.

wie du mir so ich dir?...

The Georgian national killed in Berlin was a murderous terrorist, but Russia had nothing to do with his death, President Vladimir Putin said. He was commenting on Germany’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats.

Last week, the German government banished two Russian diplomats for insufficient cooperation with the police probe into the death of Tornike K, also known as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national gunned down in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park in August.

Asked about it after the ‘Normandy Four’ meeting in Paris on Monday, Putin said that to call the man a “Georgian” is not quite right, as he is not an ethnic Georgian and had in fact fought for the Chechen militants in the Caucasus.

“He was a militant, a very rough and bloodstained man,” Putin told reporters, noting that he was wanted for an attack that killed 98 people, and was one of the masterminds of the 2004 Moscow metro bombings.  

I don’t know what happened to him. He was part of a bandit environment, anything can happen there.

The two diplomats expelled from Germany had nothing to do with the killing in any case, and Russia will retaliate by expelling two Germans under the tacit rules of diplomacy, Putin added.

Putin’s remarks align with the reporting of US government outlet RFE/RL, which said that Khangoshvili had led a “few dozen fighters” in Chechnya and fought alongside Shamil Basayev – the notorious terrorist leader responsible for the 2002 hostage taking in Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, the 2004 Beslan school massacre, as well as a series of suicide bombings across Russia.

The Russian president said his government will cooperate with the German police as they investigate the killing. He noted, however, that Russia had asked Germany “more than once” to arrest and extradite the “bandit and murderer”Khangoshvili, as he was wanted for terrorism, but the German authorities refused.

“It would be good to cooperate in other circumstances, not just in time of tragedy,” Putin said.


Read more:


Read from top