December 5, 2013
Writing in svoboda.org, Andrei Piontkovsky assesses the probability of a “Soviet trace” in the assassination of President Kennedy:
Официальная версия комиссии Уоррена – убийца, действовавший в одиночку, – не убеждает ни экспертов, ни, судя по опросам, большинство американцев. Слишком много фактов, начиная с убийства самого Освальда, косвенно указывают, что, скорее всего, он действовал не в одиночку, а был элементом разветвленного заговора. Между тем, полвека попыток независимого расследования убийства Кеннеди десятками конспирологов, ориентированных на версии правоконсервативного заговора, не привели к убедительным результатам. Версия советского следа с первых же дней после трагедии сознательно на уровне идеологического табу отвергалась в США как властью, не заинтересованной в новом острейшем кризисе в отношениях с Советским Союзом, так и леволиберальными media, жаждавшими дискредитировать своих традиционных оппонентов. Тем более что людей, ненавидевших Кеннеди, действительно было много и среди южных расистов, и среди ультраправых консерваторов.
November 29, 2013
It’s exactly 50 years since the poet Joseph Brodsky was attacked in the pages of Vechernii Leningrad as “A Pseudo-literary Parasite”, in an article that led to his trial, imprisonment and exile.
November 19, 2013
Having read the Kindle edition of Peter Savodnik’s The Interloper I’m left with a sense of incompleteness – the book aims to show that Oswald was a far less mysterious personality than most accounts make him out to have been, yet in doing so it raises many more questions than it answers.
In particular, the author’s analysis of Oswald’s inner life seems to lead merely to a confirmation of just how blank and uninteresting that life was. While the study of Oswald’s time in the Soviet Union is well researched, it reveals a dead end: although it’s clear that while in Belorussia Oswald did come into contact with many representatives of the KGB, and was deeply involved with them, there appears to be no link between this fact and anything that might have led him to assassinate the U.S. President. Indeed, as Inessa Yakhliel, who knew Oswald, has recently pointed out, he “spoke about Kennedy very sympathetically. He said he was the only sensible president. Those were his words.”
Savodnik makes much of the ease with which conspiracy theorists have set out to present their own versions of what really happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and advances his own “simple” explanation – Oswald was angry about issues in his confused personal life and took it out on the president – as most likely to be near the truth. Yet this eagerness to promote the “lone gunman” theory also has its questionable aspect: for in the same way as the conspiracy theories can be used to promote particular political agendas, so can the supposed absence of a conspiracy.
The Kindle edition of the book contains a number of typographical glitches, most of which are unconnected with Oswald’s own idiosyncratic English spelling (in letter and diary passages quoted frequently in the text). In particular, Russian street names and words are sometimes presented wrongly, as in the often-repeated “Kalinina Ulitsa” for “Ulitsa Kalinina”, and there are some odd transliterations that lead, for example, to the Cyrillic letter “у” being rendered as uy. I haven’t seen the book’s print edition, but hopefully these typos have been ironed out there.
November 17, 2013
On October 24, Russia’s Kremlin-friendly politician LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky went on television, where he shouted and ranted about the North Caucasus, apparently calling for barbed wire to be placed around the region, for the fertility of ethnic North Caucasians to be suppressed, and for an increase in the military presence and level of surveillance in the area. His comments received wide support from viewers, by a ratio of three-and-a-half to one over those of his opponents on the show.
Zhirinovsky’s high-profile intervention came in the context of the suicide bombing in Volgograd, the riots in Biryulyovo, and the recent ethnic pogroms in several of Russia’s cities.
Writing in North Caucasus Weekly, Jamestown analyst Valery Dzutsev commented that
the controversy surrounding Zhirinovsky’s latest comments may not end up being as beneficial to the political players as initially assumed—emotions within society are running high, and the politicians might be forced to actually take some decisive steps beyond simply making a show of their indignation. The Kremlin does not seem to have a good way out. If Moscow reprimands Zhirinovsky, thereby supporting the North Caucasians, it will face a backlash from ethnic Russians. If Moscow does not react to Zhirinovsky’s tirade, it will disappoint the North Caucasians and undermine the positions of the governors in the region. Since the Russian government cannot afford to offend ethnic Russians, the North Caucasians are likely to bear the brunt of ethnic-Russian resentment. This is likely to result in ever greater levels of distrust between non-ethnic-Russian North Caucasians and ethnic Russians, while the governments in the republics of the North Caucasus will have to adopt much more nationalistic stances in order to retain some credibility among their constituents.
Later, on November 12, Caucasian Knot reported Zhirinovsky as saying that his comments had been misunderstood:
“I regret that part of our society got a negative impression. I spoke only about combating terrorism,” Vladimir Zhirinovsky said at a plenary session of the State Duma.
The LDPR leader also stressed that he meant “to take measures if terror acts were committed”, “Interfax” reports.
As far as the statements about birth control were concerned, then, according to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, he was talking about international practice, and did not make them with regard to the Russian Federation.
The LDPR leader expressed his regret about the situation.
November 11, 2013
It is sad to admit that in the 21st century there are no mechanisms in the country or the international community to stop the country’s rapid slide into the abyss of violence. In the recent past, it seemed that the country was heading “back to the U.S.S.R.,” but now the situation is more reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s, when gangs of storm troopers ruled the streets, beating up and killing Jews and others with impunity.
Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/the-kremlin-storm-troopers/489306.html#ixzz2kKMixTgJ
The Moscow Times
October 31, 2013
One aspect of the upcoming “Steadfast Jazz” NATO military exercise, to be held from 2-9 November, that may give pause for thought is that in it parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway are deemed to be enemy territory, an article in Finland’s Hufvudstadsbladet explains.
According to Svenska Dagbladet,
Sweden and Finland have been cut into fictional states that previously belonged to a fictional empire, Skolkan. These former Skolkan countries are independent and economically developed but are also marked by corruption, paranoia and a desire to expand.
Three of the six countries (Torrike in central Sweden, Bothnia in western Finland and the new island Lindsey in the Norwegian Sea) are hostile and threaten NATO.
The fourth country, Framland in eastern Norrland, is NATO-friendly, while the fifth, Arnland in southernmost Sweden is a failed state. The sixth country, Otso, in eastern Finland is a neutral buffer state against Russia.
The NATO countries are the same as in reality, except that northern Norway has been added to with a part of Sweden – western Lapland.
Russia and Belarus to the east are not involved in the game but are classified as neutral.
October 29, 2013
In a response to Zapad 2013, the Russian/Belarusian Baltic Sea military exercises in which land, sea and air forces took part in a simulated confrontation with NATO forces, in November NATO will hold its Steadfast Jazz exercise, which is based on the so-called SKOLKAN scenario. This will likewise focus on the Baltic Sea region, and will feature the defence of a NATO member. An article on the NATO website gives some information:
The change in how NATO trains is one of the most significant organisational modifications for the Alliance in the last 25 years. In addition to revisiting the challenges associated with conducting operations in and from the sovereign territory of NATO Nations and how imperative it is to partner with host-nation governments and military forces, SKOLKAN also allows for the integration of emerging challenges such as cyber defence, ballistic missile defence and energy security into a complex training environment.