Category Archive 'Vladimir Putin'
05 Oct 2015

Not Getting the Message

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PutinLittleMuslimGirl

04 Oct 2015

Obama-Putin

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ObamaOurTerrorists

02 Oct 2015

The Hunt Is On

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The-Hunt-for-Obamas-Testicl

11 Feb 2015

Bitter Polish Humor

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VodkaMapofPoland
Translation: “Garçon, bring us a bottle of vodka and a map of Poland.”

The Guardian:

Ukraine conflict: four-nation peace talks in Minsk aim to end crisis

Planned summit in Belarus capital on Wednesday comes after intense diplomacy between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia

31 Aug 2014

Another Summer of 1939?

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Novorossiya2
Novorossiya

Max Fisher identifies the key term in Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric.

Russian President Vladimir Putin just dropped the biggest, scariest dogwhistle of the Ukraine crisis: “Novorossiya.”

The word literally means “new Russia” — it was an old, imperial-era term for southern Ukraine, when it was part of the Russian Empire, and is now a term used by Russia ultra-nationalists who want to re-conquer the area.

Putin has used the word twice during the crisis. First, he used it in April, about a month after Russia had invaded and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, subtly suggesting that the annexation was justified because Crimea was in Novorossiya and thus inherently part of Russia.

He used it again on Thursday, in an official presidential statement addressed to the eastern Ukrainian rebels that have seized parts of the country — and whom he addressed as “the militia of Novorossiya.”

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Anne Applebaum, who has written a book on the totalitarian genocides committed in Europe’s Eastern Borderlands during the last century, tells us that she suddenly feels as if she is living in the Summer of 1939, and warns, on the basis of familiarity with the kinds of things which appear in the Russian press which the New York Times is never going to report, just how scary the thoughts are that Russia is thinking.

A few days ago, Alexander Dugin, an extreme nationalist whose views have helped shape those of the Russian president, issued an extraordinary statement. “Ukraine must be cleansed of idiots,” he wrote — and then called for the “genocide” of the “race of bastards.”

But Novorossiya will also be hard to sustain if it has opponents in the West. Possible solutions to that problem are also under discussion. Not long ago, Vladimir Zhirinovsky — the Russian member of parliament and court jester who sometimes says things that those in power cannot — argued on television that Russia should use nuclear weapons to bomb Poland and the Baltic countries — “dwarf states,” he called them — and show the West who really holds power in Europe: “Nothing threatens America, it’s far away. But Eastern European countries will place themselves under the threat of total annihilation,” he declared. Vladimir Putin indulges these comments: Zhirinovsky’s statements are not official policy, the Russian president says, but he always “gets the party going.”

A far more serious person, the dissident Russian analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, has recently published an article arguing, along lines that echo Zhirinovsky’s threats, that Putin really is weighing the possibility of limited nuclear strikes — perhaps against one of the Baltic capitals, perhaps a Polish city — to prove that NATO is a hollow, meaningless entity that won’t dare strike back for fear of a greater catastrophe. Indeed, in military exercises in 2009 and 2013, the Russian army openly “practiced” a nuclear attack on Warsaw.

Is all of this nothing more than the raving of lunatics? Maybe. And maybe Putin is too weak to do any of this, and maybe it’s just scare tactics, and maybe his oligarchs will stop him. But “Mein Kampf” also seemed hysterical to Western and German audiences in 1933. Stalin’s orders to “liquidate” whole classes and social groups within the Soviet Union would have seemed equally insane to us at the time, if we had been able to hear them.

25 Jul 2014

The Current Tsar

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Putin1

Ben Judah, in Newsweek, has an intriguing profile describing the private life, work habits, and outlook of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The President behaves as though he is made of bronze, as if he shines. He seems to know that they will flinch when meeting his eye. There is a silence around him. The voices of grown men change when they speak to him. They make their voices as low as possible. Their faces become solemn, almost stiffened. They look down: worried, ­nervous, alert.

“He doesn’t talk,” the interpreter says. “He feels no need to smile. He doesn’t want to go for a walk. He doesn’t want to drink… At anyone time there are 10 people around him… You cannot get more than 3m close to him because the space is guarded so carefully. He is endlessly surrounded by whispering aides, cameramen, bodyguards.

“The politicians whisper when he is in the room. They stay very attentive. There is next to nobody close enough to joke with him. When he enters a room the sound level drops. There was a time when I spoke loudly – ‘ladies and gentlemen of the delegation we must move to the next room for the signature’ – and a minister grabbed my hand. ‘Shut up,’ he hissed. ‘He is here.’”

The President has no time to think. He goes from gold room, to gold room, in an endless sequence of ceremonial fanfare, with the lightest ballast of political content. The photoshoot. The reception. The formalities that enthrall those new to the summit of power, but irritate those long enchained to it. He thinks very little on his feet: the speeches are all pre-written, the positions all pre-conceived, the negotiations mostly commercial in nature.

The ministers have arrived with him. There are very few close enough to address him directly, fewer still able to joke in his presence. But he takes little interest in them and the moment he can he retires to the sealed and secured bedroom. Because he has seen all this before.

The ministers like to imitate the ­President. They like to imitate his gestures and affect that world-weary air. They like to pretend they too disdain technology. They like to imitate his tone and parrot his scoffing remarks. But, unlike him, the ministers laugh and drink with the night. Their half-shadowed faces become puffy and garrulous. But he is nowhere to be seen.

“He looks emotionless, as if nothing really touches him,” the interpreter remembers. “As if he is hardly aware of what happens around him. As if he is paying little attention to these people. As if he is worn out… He has spent so long as an icon he is not used to anyone penetrating… He is not used to anything not being so perfectly controlled for him. He is isolated, trapped.”

“The impression… you get from being close to him is that he would have been quite happy to step down. But he knows he has failed to rule Russia in anything else but a feudal way. And the moment his grip falters… it will all come crashing down and he will go to jail… and Moscow will burn like Kiev.”

There are courtiers who claim to have heard him speak frankly. There was one who remembers one warm summer evening where he began to talk openly about the fate of his country. The President asked those, whose business it was to be with him that night at Nov-Ogaryovo, who were the greatest Russian traitors.

But he did not wait for them to answer: the greatest criminals in our history were those weaklings who threw the power on the floor – Nicholas II and Mikhail Gorbachev – who allowed the power to be picked up by the hysterics and the madmen, he told them.

Those courtiers then present, claim, that the President vowed never to do the same.

Read the whole thing.

20 Mar 2014

Definitely Missing Vertebrae

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Hat tip to Vanderleun.

11 Mar 2014

Time to Apply Sanctions

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06 Mar 2014

US-Russia Bilateral Relations

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05 Mar 2014

A Recent Phone Call

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04 Mar 2014

Tweet of the Day

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From Time Magazine’s Michael Crowley:

16 Sep 2013

Successful Russian Angler

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