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Cozying up to the Russians

By Patrick Van Roy On September 17th, 2020 at 4:59 pm

KYIV – Ukraine and the United States launched joint military exercises on Thursday, two days after Russia began joint military drills with forces in neighbouring Belarus.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said the U.S. Army-led Rapid Trident exercises, taking place near Yavoriv in western Ukraine, would involve about 4,000 servicemen from 10 countries.

It said the exercises show the strength of the U.S.-Ukraine strategic partnership and “commitment to enhance readiness in a challenging operational environment, which increases the strong relationships that are necessary for peace and stability.”

Missing, nine million bodies, reward offered!

By Mike Cunningham On May 12th, 2015 at 12:32 pm

The photograph below, taken from The Guardian, shows a portion of the St. Petersburg crowd which remembered the ‘Immortal Regiment’; those soldiers who died whilst fighting the Nazi invasion of the then Soviet Russia in WW2. Those placards do not exaggerate, if anything they tend to simplify the facts that Russian soldiers died in their thousands, and their tens of thousands, as the Nazi divisions methodically made war upon an Army whose officer corps had been savagely mutilated by Stalin’s purges, the fruit of a paranoia which nearly sank Soviet Russia. Yes, they recovered, and yes, they returned to wreak vengeance upon the invader, but there is no denying the multitude of Russian soldiers who died during the deadly advance of the Nazis during the ‘Great Patriotic War’.

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It is a pity that there is no photograph of the massed crowds viewing a memorial to the estimated nine-odd million Russians who died in Stalin’s purges, pogroms and plain genocides in the late twenties and thirties, when young Josef was just getting started.

 

As I wrote before, despite Ukraine, the Crimea and Georgia, we should have been in Red Square. After all, we had been there before!

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But there again, it was, after all, in another far away country!

 

and so, Mr. Wagner, would you have approved of Auschwitz?

By Mike Cunningham On April 15th, 2015 at 10:38 am

I feature the divine music of  Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise’ this morning for many reasons. Partly my own enjoyment, because to watch and to hear a talented virtuoso perform this enchanting piece is like balm to a wounded soul; but also to ask, as I attempt to do so in my headline, a very important  question. Does, or should, a composer’s or artiste’s politics or beliefs have any place in the performance of that composer’s or artiste’s works?

Consider Wagner: his works feature majestic themes, fantastic sweeping lyrical overtures and superlative works such as the ‘Ring of the Nibelung’ and ‘Lohengrin’; the majesty of ‘Gotterdamerung’ from that same ‘Ring’ series, and many, many more. His works espoused nationalistic pride, and deep fervour, and those works still speak to many today. But he was also a vehement and vicious anti-Semite, and his efforts to keep Jews out of his orchestras and audiences are well documented. But should we allow his beliefs to intrude on our enjoyment of his superb musical works?

Now I would move to the young lady who performed with skill and verve in that performance featured in the video. She is Russian, and besides being extremely well-known for her skills at the piano, she is also well-known for her pro-Russian and –Putin pronouncements especially on the subject of the Ukraine, and Russia’s involvement with that unhappy State. She is a fervent Nationalist, and whilst I might have an argument as to the target of her adoration; namely the Russian federation, and Putin as its boss: I have no qualms at all with her philosophy, which is Nation above all. There is nothing wrong, in my view, with expressions of a deep love for the country of one’s birth, and allied to that love, a hope that that country will prosper. But that is why Miss Lisitsa has been told that she is no longer welcome to play the piano with the  Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which had booked Lisitsa to perform Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the orchestra last Friday.

It seems as though the local chapter of the Ukrainian Nut-Cases National (Canadian Branch) was ‘deeply offended’ by Miss Lisitsa’s tweets and comments, and threatened legal action. So, because of a so-called ‘hate-speech’ agenda, a vivacious, charming and talented pianist will not be playing Rachmaninov in Canada; and yet another nail has been driven into the already-dormant body which is labelled ‘Freedom of Speech’ in this once tolerant world in which we live. So, enjoy those fragrant moments ‘Fur Elise’, and sympathise, if you will, with the citizens of Toronto, whose orchestra management caved in at the slightest sound of the noise and fury of the so-called Liberal Left!

 

We should be represented in Red Square.

By Mike Cunningham On April 10th, 2015 at 10:26 am

Around this time in the electoral debate, politicians usually cling to statistics, well, lets all accept that  the phrase which should be used is ‘comforting statistics’: the numbers which seem to bear out their point of view.

So, on an entirely different area of discussion, let us all review some settled statistics.

Soviet Russia, the ally of the Western powers after that nation had been invaded by Hitler’s armoured legions, lost around 12,000,000 military dead as a direct result of the Nazi invasion.

All the Allied deaths combined (America, British & Commonwealth, European) totalled 1,300,000.

There are fewer and fewer WW2 veterans left who can remember their struggles in World War Two, and even a fervent anti-Communist such as myself; after being exposed to its delights when a young  Engineering Officer in the Merchant Navy, can never forget the sacrifices of the Russian people, who never had much say in how they were ruled; before the tides of war changed, and the Red Army and Air Force commenced their march towards Berlin and victory.

So, on May 9th, when the new Russia marches in memory of those who fell, we should be sending the Heir to the Throne to stand in solidarity with those who stood with us some seventy years ago; because we should never forget that, despite her leaders being tyrannical despots themselves, their people fought, bled and died so that, some seven decades later, despite the Crimea, despite Russia’s belligerence today;  ATW followers can read these words in ‘comparative’ freedom!

Fair enough, the British Prime Minister, whoever manages to crawl out of the electoral carnage will be busy forming a Government; the Monarch must be in residence to invite that politician to form Her Government; but Charlie has got the time, and he should go to Moscow.

 

Never believe anything………..

By Mike Cunningham On July 23rd, 2014 at 6:57 pm

………………….until it has been denied; officially.

That quotation, care of an Irish journalist named Claud Cockburn, says a great deal about the person, and the television station she worked for over five years which I write about today. The t.v. station is Russia Today, and the reporter’s name was Sara Firth. She resigned from her work as a tv reporter because she states she was disgusted at having to push ‘slanted’ reports over the massacre of innocents who flew, unknowing of their fate, on Malaysian Airways MH17.

She stated she resigned in disgust because said reports being run by the station gave her a ‘kick in the stomach” and ‘disrespected the facts’, prompting her to hand in her notice. She  said it was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ after growing increasingly frustrated during her five years as an employee.

Now apart from the fact that Russia Today is, and always has been, a totally-paid-up  member of the President Putin fan club, bought by the Kremlin; we must examine this female reporter’s beliefs and statements, both from the present and from the past. If, as she states, just about all news stories and commentary was slanted to place a Kremlin- and Putin-friendly viewpoint across the news-screens of the world, how is it that it took her five long years before she ‘saw the light’, and resigned?

Did this articulate and well-educated woman just have a sudden ‘Damascene Conversion’ over one lie too much, after speaking the Kremlin’s propaganda and slush for five years? She states that she was ‘increasingly frustrated’ and Firth also claimed the news organization has promoted Russian propaganda for years. The network uses young, obedient reporters for big, controversial stories — the less-experienced journalists are more likely to stay on message, she said, “The second you start to question or report honestly then you’re a problem.” Still, she respects many of her co-workers. She said many of them tell the truth, and have tried to fight the system while keeping their jobs on the inside.

Or did she finally decide that she should never have commenced working for a Putin- and Kremlin-backed t.v. station which has been routinely laughed at for the ludicrous manner in which it shamelessly followed the Russian-line, no matter what the actual facts might dictate?

 

That last query, of course, might well be aimed at another broadcaster which we are all, unfortunately, well-acquainted with? Answers on a used postcard, please.

 

Oleg, its cold inside!

By Mike Cunningham On March 20th, 2014 at 9:56 am

In an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, the Russian politician ALEXEY A. NAVALNY states his ideas for the isolation  and hopefully return to reality of Russia’s territory- and influence-hungry leader President Putin.

He states that the so-called ‘sanctions’ imposed by both America and Europe amount to little more than a slap on the wrist, and Putin, along with his super-rich criminal friends, would not even notice the fly-swats of these financial and travel sanctions from a bunch who are too nervous to use anything which might disturb their cosy trade and financial links with this dictator-in-waiting. He writes: –

First, although Mr. Putin’s invasion has already prompted the European Union to impose sanctions on 21 officials, and the United States on seven, most of these government figures cannot be considered influential. They do not have major assets outside Russia and are irrelevant to Mr. Putin; sanctioning them will not change Russia’s policy. After all the tough talk from Western politicians, this action is mocked in Russia and even seen as a tacit encouragement to Mr. Putin and his entourage, who seem to possess some magical immunity.

Instead, Western nations could deliver a serious blow to the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by the Kremlin’s cronies who shuttle between Russia and the West. This means freezing the oligarchs’ financial assets and seizing their property.

Such sanctions should primarily target Mr. Putin’s inner circle, the Kremlin mafia who pillage the nation’s wealth, including Gennady N. Timchenko, head of the Volga Group; Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, influential businessmen and former judo sparring partners of Mr. Putin; Yuri V. Kovalchuk, a financier believed to be Mr. Putin’s banker; Vladimir I. Yakunin, president of Russian Railways; the oligarchs Roman A. Abramovich and Alisher B. Usmanov; and Igor I. Sechin and Aleksei B. Miller, the heads of Rosneft and Gazprom, respectively.

The sanctions must also hit the oligarchs whose media outlets parrot the regime lines, and target Mr. Putin’s entire “war cabinet”: the TV spin doctors, compliant Duma members and apparatchiks of Mr. Putin’s United Russia Party.

Just imagine the ‘angst’ and fury of, for instance, Chelsea supporters if the thief who has bankrolled their precious club was barred from even getting into his plush directors box seating, because all Abramovitch’s financial assets were seized by the British financial authorities as part of the collective punishment dealt out to friends of ex-KGB agent President Putin. Just imagine if even one of his super-yachts was confiscated whilst anchored in the waters around Monte Carlo. The screams of anguish would resound around the world, as all the oligarchs, who have pranced around the worlds’ capitals, insulated from the plebs by a huge financial cushion of (usually) stolen money; were forced to return to a Moscow which was suddenly very, very cold?

 

er, they went that-a-way, ’bout a year ago!

By Mike Cunningham On March 17th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

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The above image showing an Abrams M-1 battle tank being loaded on to a railcar ready to depart for Wilhelmshaven, then onwards by sea towards South Carolina. This image represents the first time in 69 years when heavy armoured units, divisions, regiments, brigades have not been based on European, and more sensibly; German soil.

Is it any wonder that Putin makes his grab for the eastern side of the Ukraine when he knows that US heavy armour is based some nine-odd thousand miles from the scene of his latest bare-faced theft.

We can discount the British army, along with the Germans, the Dutch, Belgians and of course, the bloody French, Not a single soldier will spring to readiness as the creeping might of the Russian version of the jackboot stomps complacently on the Ukraine borders; the only credible deterrent has mooched off back home under the slack-arsed direction of the Appeaser-in-chief, Hussein himself.

The only people who are getting ready are the people with long memories; the Poles, Estonians, Latvians and Estonians. They remember only too well what the Russians were like when occupying or invading their Nations. N.A.T.O. is supposed to be moving, but all we see so far is all talk and bullshit. Putin knows that he has virtually no opposition. We spent our blood and treasure fruitlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have no more mobile forces, and we have no political leadership with the guts to state ‘so far and no further’ because Putin would hear it for what it is, bluff and failure. Hague talks of diplomacy; of sanctions and visas.

And this is what we have become, a toothless tiger. I sometimes feel as if I should weep for my country!

 

THE PUSSY RIOT SENTENCE..

By David Vance On August 17th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Putin is a thug, well on his way to being an imperial Czar, and even as Russia goes down the toiler demographically speaking, his tyranny increases;

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been jailed for two years after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral. Judge Marina Syrova convicted the women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had “crudely undermined social order”. The women say the protest, in February, was directed at the Russian Orthodox Church leader’s support for Mr Putin. The US, UK and EU all criticised the sentences as “disproportionate”.

On the up side, I hear Paul McCartney is on his way back to the old USSR to perform a Hey Jude-athon until Pussy Riot are released. The only reason for these women to be behind bars is that dreadful music they performed. But on that basis, I would also imprison many modern pop stars.

LIKE A VIRGIN…

By David Vance On August 10th, 2012 at 6:41 am

Russia may be a State without much religion and it is clear they have no time for Madonna! I see that the Russian Deputy PM Rogozin has described her as a ‘moralising slut’.

Paying the price for interfering with Russian politics, the star was told: ‘Either take off your cross, or put on your knickers.’ The attack on Twitter by deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin came as Madonna vowed to back gay campaigners during her concert last night in St Petersburg where there is a legal ban on promoting homosexuality to young people. Earlier the 53-year-old had offended the Kremlin by demanding the release of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot  who face probable jail for an anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Putin is a thug, of course. That’s a given. In this instance, Madonna is in the right and whilst I am not a fan of her music these days, and don’t much care for her lifestyle, I think she spoke out and said the right thing. It is Rogozin who is the whore here, prostituting himself to keep his position of power in Putin’s tyranny.

CZAR PUTIN UNDER PRESSURE..

By ATWadmin On February 1st, 2009 at 10:23 am

Interesting to see that over in Russia subordinates have begun openly to defy Putin, a man whose diktat has inspired fear and awe in the echelons of power for nine years, according to government sources. Meanwhile a rift is emerging between Mr Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, the figurehead whom he groomed as his supposedly pliant successor.

As Russia’s economy begins to implode after years of energy-driven growth, Mr Putin is facing the germs of an unexpected power struggle which could hamper his ambition to project Russian might abroad. Mounting job losses and a collapse in the price of commodities have triggered social unrest on a scale not seen for at least four years, prompting panic among Kremlin officials more accustomed to the political apathy of the Russian people. The unease was deepened yesterday after thousands of protestors marched through the Pacific port city of Vladivostok and other cities, including Moscow, demanding Mr Putin’s resignation for his handling of the flailing Russian economy.

Russia is a demographic basket-case and the impact of the economic recession may well accelerate the fall of the Russian bear and Czar Putin.