Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 28, 2019

How Russia's President Putin Explains The End Of The 'Liberal' Order

Today the Financial Times published a long and wide ranging interview with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

A full transcript is currently available through this link.

The talk is making some waves:

From the last link:

Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times Friday that the "liberal idea has become obsolete," and referred to Germany's decision to welcome more than one million refugees — many fleeing savage urban warfare in Syria — as a "cardinal mistake."

It is only the last part of the very long interview, where Putin indeed speaks of the 'obsolesce' of the 'liberal idea', that seems to be of interest to the media. Most of the interview is in fact about other issues. The media also do not capture how his 'obsolete' argument is ingrained in the worldview Putin developed, and how it reflects in many of his answers.

Here are excerpts that show that the gist of Putin's 'obsolete' argument is not against the 'liberal idea', but against what may be best called 'international (neo-)liberalism'.


Putin explains why U.S. President Donald Trump was elected:

Has anyone ever given a thought to who actually benefited and what benefits were gained from globalisation, the development of which we have been observing and participating in over the past 25 years, since the 1990s?

China has made use of globalisation, in particular, to pull millions of Chinese out of poverty.

What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies — the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners — made use of these benefits. [..] The middle class in the US has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up.

The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump’s victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference.

On Syria:

Primarily, this concerns Syria, we have managed to preserve Syrian statehood, no matter what, and we have prevented Libya-style chaos there. And a worst-case scenario would spell out negative consequences for Russia.
I believe that the Syrian people should be free to choose their own future.
When we discussed this matter only recently with the previous US administration, we said, suppose Assad steps down today, what will happen tomorrow?

Your colleague did well to laugh, because the answer we got was very amusing. You cannot even imagine how funny it was. They said, “We don’t know.” But when you do not know what happens tomorrow, why shoot from the hip today? This may sound primitive, but this is how it is.

On 'western' interventionism and 'democracy promotion':

Incidentally, the president of France said recently that the American democratic model differs greatly from the European model. So there are no common democratic standards. And do you, well, not you, but our Western partners, want a region such as Libya to have the same democratic standards as Europe and the US? The region has only monarchies or countries with a system similar to the one that existed in Libya.

But I am sure that, as a historian, you will agree with me at heart. I do not know whether you will publicly agree with this or not, but it is impossible to impose current and viable French or Swiss democratic standards on North African residents who have never lived in conditions of French or Swiss democratic institutions. Impossible, isn’t it? And they tried to impose something like that on them. Or they tried to impose something that they had never known or even heard of. All this led to conflict and intertribal discord. In fact, a war continues in Libya.

So why should we do the same in Venezuela? ...

Asked about the turn towards nationalism and more rightwing policies in the U.S. and many European countries, Putin names immigration as the primary problem:

What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the US? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.

Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.

There is also the so-called liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.

When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well. That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?
What am I driving at? Those who are concerned about this, ordinary Americans, they look at this and say, Good for [Trump], at least he is doing something, suggesting ideas and looking for a solution.

As for the liberal idea, its proponents are not doing anything. They say that all is well, that everything is as it should be. But is it? They are sitting in their cosy offices, while those who are facing the problem every day in Texas or Florida are not happy, they will soon have problems of their own. Does anyone think about them?

The same is happening in Europe. I discussed this with many of my colleagues, but nobody has the answer. The say they cannot pursue a hardline policy for various reasons. Why exactly? Just because. We have the law, they say. Well, then change the law!

We have quite a few problems of our own in this sphere as well.
In other words, the situation is not simple in Russia either, but we have started working to improve it. Whereas the liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.

So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. Or take the traditional values. I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us.

They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.

While Putin says that liberalism is 'obsolete' he does not declare it dead. He sees it as part of a spectrum, but says that it should not have a leading role:

You know, it seems to me that purely liberal or purely traditional ideas have never existed. Probably, they did once exist in the history of humankind, but everything very quickly ends in a deadlock if there is no diversity. Everything starts to become extreme one way or another.

Various ideas and various opinions should have a chance to exist and manifest themselves, but at the same time interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten. This is something that should not be overlooked.

Then, it seems to me, we would be able to avoid major political upheavals and troubles. This applies to the liberal idea as well. It does not mean (I think, this is ceasing to be a dominating factor) that it must be immediately destroyed. This point of view, this position should also be treated with respect.

They cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades. Diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics. But why?

For this reason, I am not a fan of quickly shutting, tying, closing, disbanding everything, arresting everybody or dispersing everybody. Of course, not. The liberal idea cannot be destroyed either; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But you should not think that it has the right to be the absolute dominating factor. That is the point. Please.

There is much more in the interview - about Russia's relations with China, North Korea, the Skripal incident, the Russian economy, orthodoxy and the liberal attack on the Catholic church, multilateralism, arms control and the G-20 summit happening today.

But most 'liberal' media will only point to the 'obsolete' part and condemn Putin for his rallying against immigration. They will paint him as being in an alt-right corner. But even the Dalai Lama, held up as an icon by many liberals, says that "Europe is for Europeans" and that immigrants should go back to their own countries.

Moreover, as Leonid Bershidsky points out, Putin himself is, with regards to the economy and immigration, a staunch liberal:

Putin’s cultural conservatism is consistent and sincere.
On immigration, however, Putin is, in practice, more liberal than most European leaders. He has consistently resisted calls to impose visa requirements on Central Asian countries, an important source of migrant labor. Given Russia’s shrinking working-age population and shortage of manual workers, Putin isn’t about to stem that flow, even though Central Asians are Muslims – the kind of immigrants Merkel’s opponents, including Trump, distrust and fear the most.

What Putin is aiming at, says Bershidsky, is the larger picture:

[W]hat Putin believes has outlived its usefulness isn’t the liberal approach to migration or gender, nor is it liberal economics – even though Russia has, in recent months, seen something of a shift toward central planning. It is the liberal world order. Putin wants to keep any talk of values out of international politics and forge pragmatic relationships based on specific interests.
Putin’s drive to put global politics on a more transactional basis isn’t easy to defeat; it’s a siren song, and the anti-immigrant, culturally conservative rhetoric is merely part of the music.

There is in my view no 'siren-song' there and nothing that has to be defeated. It is just that Putin is more willing to listen to the people than most of the western wannabe 'elite'.

The people's interest is simply not served well by globalization, liberal internationalism and interventionism. A transactional approach to international policies, with respect for basic human decency, is in almost every case better for them.

Politicians who want the people's votes should listen to them, and to Vladimir Putin.

Posted by b on June 28, 2019 at 17:50 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

The few pieces from Helmer I have read in the past are very similar to most MSM - in that proving what he states he links back to his previous opinion pieces. Often finding a fact that suites then building a fictional narrative around that, also similar to western MSM.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 6:10 utc | 101

@ Jen re: John Helmer

I have been reading John Helmer both within MSM the Globe and Mail begining roughly 20 years ago and outside of it after he was ousted from his position by none other than Neocon Nazi bimbo Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, when she became editor.

What can I say about him? He does not pull his punches and has all the right enemies, including on this blog.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jun 29 2019 6:20 utc | 102

@ psychohistorian 96

Power is power, and a jackboot is a jackboot. The alleged difference between "public" and "private" is standard bogus divide-and-conquer misdirection.

What could such an alleged difference even mean in the era of the corporate state?

It's the finance sector as such which needs to be wiped out completely. It serves zero purpose and only wastes and destroys, a primary goal of the Mammon religion.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 29 2019 6:21 utc | 103

@ Peter AU 1

It is dishonest for you to suggest linking back to previous articles, as John Helmer does in almost all of his pieces, is anything but an effort to further elaborate on the points being made and which he has reported on before.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jun 29 2019 6:26 utc | 104

@6 Joe Nobody - you say "let's not force everyone else to pretend reality is not reality..nature choose (dichotomy) for you to be male or female, sucks if that doesn't match your preferences but better luck next life...accept the reality you are in and let's not force everyone one else to pander to your delusions.."

Hey Mr Nobody - just a quick note to point out what a total bigoted asshole you are. No trans people are making asshole bigots like you 'pander' to them. They are an ultra minority and simply want to be left alone: but obviously your insecurities and hatred of LGBT people can't handle that. But at least you got your avatar name right.

Posted by: deschutes | Jun 29 2019 7:12 utc | 105

What is the cause of human migration today?
Many factors cause people to flee. In the case of Syria, a US/Israeli/Saudi/Turkey inspired, finance and armed unleashed a brutal war to remove by force the leader of Syria.
In Libya, the same occurred which included Nato bombing of Libya, and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi. The theft of Libya's arms and subsequent wars and social disruption. In Central America the brutal wars of the 1980's, the Honduran coup supported by Hillary Clinton, the deportation of Central American criminals from US prisons then the resultant organized crime in CA. The US arms traffic into Mexico and Mexico's supplying the drug demands of Americans. The immense US/EU/Japan carbon footprint causes climate change and droughts and famine in the world. The US perpetual wars throughout the world. These problems are cause by Imperialism. It should take responsibility. Too much money is spent on war and killing people. It must stop.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 29 2019 7:15 utc | 106

CI eh? #109 and Jen

I have had direct contact with Helmer on an issue where I had privileged inside information. He reported it verbatim so my impression is that he is upfront

Posted by: m | Jun 29 2019 7:28 utc | 107

This post by b has sure brought the naysayers, anarchists and trolls crawling out of the woodwork.

Apart from that, thanks b for posting a piece on the Putin interview.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 7:42 utc | 108

@ m

Helmer has emailed responses to my comments and questions, on several occaisons. I am impressed by this level of diligence. It shows through in his reporting.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jun 29 2019 7:58 utc | 109

Has everybody forgotten the mess Russia was in during the late 90s? The Russians have not.

In 1999, Shamil Basaev and his gang were on the verge of taking over Dagestan and completely cutting Russian land connection to the Eastern parts of the Caucasus. After it became clear how serious the situation was, Putin became Prime minister and on New Year's day Yeltsin resigned transferring power to Putin.

The first thing Putin did as acting president was to visit the troops in Chechnya and raise morale.

In two years, the war was basically over, the rest being mop-up ops only.

Do you remember that one of the first things that he did when first elected was to gather the oligarchs and make them sign in !public! that from now on they will start paying taxes, treat their workers as humans and not mess in politics. The famous moment when Deripaska forgot to give Putin back his pen, the "please, give me my pen back" by Putin and the scared look on Deripaska's face?

Didn't Putin say in the early 2000s:"It is best for you to keep your money in Russia. Or you may found yourself choked by dust chasing for your money fruitlessly in Western courts"? Oh, the irony, 15 years later...

How much taxes did Yukos/Khodorkovsky pay? Anyone aware of the famous scheme where crude oil was classified in accounting as "earthen liquid", then bought from subsiduaries for nothing, so no taxes were paid. And now Gazprom or Rosneft announce that they have an annual income of 100 billion USD (figures are as an example) and that they paid 50 billion of it as taxes to the state?

The situation in Russia in Putin's early years was so dire that there was no other future but breakup and misery. You make your conclusions.


Posted by: BG | Jun 29 2019 8:18 utc | 110

Sorry. The Syria and Comments section in this format unreadable. Otherwise "Best".

Posted by: Lawrence Higgins | Jun 29 2019 8:35 utc | 111

snake@92 not only thinks Trump won the election, snake thinks elections in the US are free and fair. This is only true if you restrict free and fair to meaning election fraud isn't massive and centrally organized. No political insight here, I'm afraid. @ S T Johnson @99..

Mr. Johnson => snake tries not to respond to complaints, but you either misunderstood.... or are attempting to put words in my message?

what I said,
1. Congress is elected by the people in a popular vote, since the 17th amendment... before that the people had no vote on anyone in government.
2. Outcomes of elections are controlled results, candidates gating makes sure only the approved are eligible for election.
3. Behind the scenes, Oligarchs attempt to divide and conquer the untouchables (voters);
a. the media identifies issues and attach to each pole of each issue one or the other party, the propaganda takes over..
b. Hence a lesser of the evil binary election occurs: Check the box to vote for either A or B.

4. Article II persons (el presidente and his side kick) are elected by the electoral college <==not by you or your vote;
<= your vote has nothing to do with who becomes the President <
5. Trillion dollar propaganda campaigns to polarize voters are essential components of divide and Conquer strategy.
The party candidate is like a football player, his skills are the paid entertainment, but
the team owner and the stadium owners are making all of the money.
6. Since 1789 <= the president has never been elected by the people. 7. Your three votes(2 Senators and 1 member of the house) elect 525 people to a salaried job in congress? How is that?
8. The 2nd American Revolution (1789) terminated America's open and free democracy see ratification, Art. VII? .
The Articles of Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one year term during any three year period, so John Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time. Seven other presidents were elected after him — Elias Boudinot (1782-83), Thomas Mifflin (1783-84), Richard Henry Lee (1784-85), John Hancock (1785-86), Nathan Gorman (1786-87), Arthur St. Clair (1787-88), and Cyrus Griffin (1788-89) — all prior to Washington taking office We don't we hear about the first eight presidents?
George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States. He was the first President of the United States under the Constitution we follow today. The first eight Presidents denied their place in history created our independent of Britain Colonial rule: America.
Read the constitution.. there are only 7 articles and I just recapped three of them. BTW can you name the presidents of the government that did defeat the British and that did in fact write the Declaration of Independence?
please correct any misunderstandings I have as I am very interested to fully understand this ..

Posted by: snake | Jun 29 2019 9:09 utc | 112

B, just an off topic question. This morning, about 9 hours ago, I posted a comment that included a link to an article about the way 999the000 organism transmitted it's control of Australia's polity to the rising generation. I watched it go up on line and when i checked back in later it had vanished.

This is the third time my posts with that link have vanished.

Am I breaching some rule of yours are is there some other moderating force at work that we should all be aware of.

Congrats on what is one of the must read sites on the net at this most interesting moment in history.

Posted by: eagle eye | Jun 29 2019 9:10 utc | 113

ahhh, the world would be so much nicer if all the people that are not men, not predominantly white, would just go back to their allocated places in the slave house (leibeigener is a nice german word for it, i am sure the russians have also a nice term for the ownership over people), women back in to the kitchen property of the father or the husband or any other men who needs one - really who cares, children, fuck em, back to the 1850 or maybe 1650 or maybe even before that? Cause fuck it, putin says so, and trump essentially just wants to fuck his daughter and his sons, and besides capitalism is bad, and luckily for all of us the evil witch is not president, cause otherwise we would really be in trouble. Right?
Frankly we really do deserve what we get. I am so fucking tired of these gasbags that get to decide what happens to all of us, while one half of hte planet is shit scared of what will happen to them and the other half tries to convince each other that surely they must mean good.
The world is populated will well educated wankers who have learned absolutely nothing.
but yei! liberalism is dead. Long live Authoritarianism, cause that way no one has to take decisions on their own, we are all just following orders now.

Posted by: Sabine | Jun 29 2019 9:17 utc | 114

@97 Allan Davis: what is the point you are trying to make? That MoA is antisemitic, judging by the link under your name. Is that it?
Please elucidate.

Posted by: Ernesto Che | Jun 29 2019 9:24 utc | 115

Posted by: Jen | Jun 29, 2019 1:29:51 AM | 104

"In any case, it seems that any person who meets with Putin to discuss a possible business venture that might require funding from the Russian government (or the Russian government to assist in financing and building the necessary infrastructure for the venture to go through) automatically becomes a favoured crony of his, in the eyes of Western mainstream news media. "

Yes. You are not supposed to have to TALK to the president about this. It should have to go through the Dóuma, the budget, there should be a process how to apply and guidelines how to grant and if there is a public tender it should be regulated and the best bid get it.

Your Wikipedia link goes to nowhere by the way. You are sure the Rotenberg Law did not pass the Douma? First read seams to have been successful.

This here is Moscow Times from 2017

Understanding how these oligarchs built their wealth goes a long way in predicting their future loyalty to Putin.

The commitment of the inner circle often goes unquestioned, as the future of their massive business empires requires staying in Putin’s good graces. But oligarchs coming from the intelligence services owe no particular allegiance and may be more interested in ensuring that the defense-industrial complex receives special treatment from the state.

Same for the holdovers from previous eras, who have suffered some attacks from the Putin government over the years, mainly in the form of expropriation through politically motivated court cases — the state’s main tool against the oligarchs.

They may be tiring of the uncertainty surrounding their property rights and have an incentive to demand different political institutions to protect their assets. Coaxing these groups to remain loyal requires the strategic use of rewards and repression.
First, the Russian government has spent incredible resources to directly compensate oligarchs for their financial losses.

Massive infrastructure contracts such as bridges and pipelines find their way into the hands of the connected elite, while import substitution policies in sectors such as agriculture help create enormous profits for investors. Government bailouts to the tune of tens of billions of dollars have stabilized balance sheets, while the state has also taken over toxic assets such as those gone unused after the Sochi Olympics."

There maybe a process in Russia where oligarchs forced to repatriate get more interested in regulations and a court system that protects their assets when they can no longer go to London.

But claiming that there are no longer oligarchs in Russia is an alternative universe.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 10:10 utc | 116

Posted by: Sabine | Jun 29, 2019 5:17:27 AM | 123



Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 10:11 utc | 117

The meaning of the word "liberal" has been deliberately re-engineered over the past thirty years.

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Jun 29 2019 10:30 utc | 118

Posted by: Vitaliy Yakubovskiy | Jun 29, 2019 12:17:01 AM | 100


Putin seems to have been mentored by Steve Bannon.

Chabad is interesting. They are a network of independent open chassidist communities, charities and schools with strong bases in Brooklyn, Chabad Israel and Moscow, and lots of political and secret service connections. The do not finance themselves via membership fees but via donations. The founding Rabbi has died, so there is no one in control of this network except the - diverse - people who donate. There is no legal restriction on who may or may not call themselves Chabad and there is no controlling within the network. They seem to have a policy of restricting political interventions on "Jewish issues" and not to interfere in the politics of the host countries otherwise. So they don't mind being seen with Viktor Orban.
Abramovich - see non existant Russian oligarchs - funded a lot on the Russian side. On the US side they encourage real estate donations" and are connected to Jared Kushner.
In Israel they are close to the government and Netanyahu.

A network like this can be influenced/used by all sides that donate to it. So you can see Chabad as a CIA tool to get their foot into Eastern Europe/Russia in the 1990's, as a Russian influence campaign or an Israeli tool.

Should Russia stop its military backing of Iran, and should the US attack Iran against their interests, I am prepared to believe Israel succeeded. I very much doubt this will be the case.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 11:23 utc | 119

add to 122

There is of course this.

I would headline this as Israel asking Russia for protection, but of course, other people would give it another headline.

I think what Putin tried to do in the interview - and did not manage to get it across because the interviewer wanted different headlines and managed to provoke him - is to get into a position as mediator.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 11:38 utc | 120

Seems a lot of folks think these "Russian Oligarchs" just showed up out of the blue.
Russia was a communist country so how did a few 20/30 year olds communists manage to become billionaire oligarchs in 10 years or less after the fall of communism? My guess is money from the west supplied to a few to buy up Russia for less than pennies on the dollar.
Putin described Oligarchs as people that influence the government in ways that create even more wealth for themselves. In that regard he said there are no more oligarchs in Russia.
Those billionaires have all fled Russia it seems.

Posted by: arby | Jun 29 2019 11:49 utc | 121

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Jun 29, 2019 6:30:08 AM | 121

Yes. This is what it means

Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 11:50 utc | 122

arby 124

This is a good video on the rise of the oligarchs.

It is some time since I watched it, but a big part of how the oligarchs came to control most of the state assets was in the way Anatoly Chubais went about privatisation. From memory all citizens were given paper that gave them part ownership of state assets. The wannabe oligarchs snapped these up for peanuts and owned the bulk of what were state assets.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 12:10 utc | 123

Such is the state of world leadership today that an oligarch coddling autocrat like Putin is hailed hereabouts as somebody who's making sense. He does, of course, undeniably. It's just that what he's proposing to embrace is a world that's dystopian as ever.

Should we follow him on his illiberal, inward looking, polarized view of humanity and the world? I don't think so.

Is he an enemy of the plundering and cruel neo-liberal economic ideology? I don't think so.

On the contrary, he seems to be, like his western "partners", enamored by its ability to accumulate immense wealth in the hands of corporate mafia and to control the sheeple through economic enslavement.

Then again what do I know. Unlike Bush Junior, I haven't looked into Vladimir's eyes and divined his soul.

Posted by: Arlene | Jun 29 2019 12:31 utc | 124

Arlene @ 127 and other like minded posters--

"that an oligarch coddling autocrat like Putin"

Any evidence for that bold statement or are we to take your word on it?

Posted by: arby | Jun 29 2019 12:40 utc | 125

@ snake 90

"Nationality, is a named object, programmed by propaganda."

Nationality in the formal sense, derives from two or more feudal monopolies defining their differences and according a seperate recognition to the other, usually including geographical markers. The extension of personal identity to national identity is product of the recognition of belonging to one specific feudal hierarchy. This might be natural or imposed, the theme of nation literally implies the environment or peoples one is born into.

The term multi-cultural is propaganda, the shift from "nation" to "culture" is used to atomise the perception of belonging that nation implies, into becoming one amongst many under the authority of state, which at this point has usually become an impersonal law and structure from which a bureaucratic elite govern and thrive off of private enterprise, where before a feudal lordship profited by taking a share of personal endeavour. The extremes might be Frankfurt school vs serfdom, with various combinations of philosophy in-between.

The evolution of the above has been observed to occur by financial means, but is itself also an ideology. The capitalist side to this ranges from the granting of favours (as per permission to reside) through to fractional lending backed only by national debt (spending). The taxation that must still occur to provide a sense of connectedness to real economy, and hence to provide a sense of value to the currency, punishes the established and functional society. The sum when mispent goes towards recruiting new nationals, and on paying the elite bureaucracy for their pet projects. The old hierarchy tends to maintain much control the private financial sphere, and works with the state by granting it a certain legitimacy, as well as receiving positions, contracts and favours.

The economic zionism you describe is via knowledge of finance, monetary theory, trade, weaknesses in society, political reality and more. It uses international realities as a tool. Where before international banking was a measure of trust in the clearing of accounts, this left room for manipulation, and the ability to pressure by holding control of that accounting. The reality though is that nations (leaders) became weak or corrupted, decided on grand enterprise they could not repay, and so broke trust in the old order by resorting to or accepting manipulation of accounts (for example ending the original European Monetary Union of the 19th century), and eventually resorting to war amongst themselves where outward conquest was no longer profitable enough.

Were, or are they, clients of monopolies though ? Well no, because it is an illusion that anyone holds monopoly of finance or money. However they did commit themselves to a system without which they would then be left weak, where they would lose public honour and respect if they did not produce a result of some kind. The resulting corruption between various sides became a feature of national policy, a kind of symbiosis at elite levels. "Multiculturalism" helps hide that reality, as well as serving in terms of having population with weakened identity at their disposal.

The only monopoly states are truly client to is that of the use of force.

On a more social side, there are corners of the world where various cultures exist well side by side, and where interaction is positive. This even within the boundaries of one country. However it is not that country that makes that work, the different cultures tend to hold a deeper respect and understanding for one another, but if you look you will find that they do keep to themselves voluntarily, and simply reside next to each other peacefully. They don't call themselves multiculti or anything. I expect multiculturalism theoretically could exist, but because it is so artificial a concept, it seems more like an ersatz for loss of own culture, so being sad cheap and empty once trying to celebrate it returns to common day to day reality.

You are right about the correct form being a society that knows itself, that naturally governs and watches over itself. This is often criticised as simplistic or idealised, and the reason for that is that those who seek more centralised control only have the view of putting down vast law as scripture and then forcefully imposing it, they love complexity so as to be those that clarify it. If we live outside of that the rules, and life, are much simpler, and fortunately most people have an innate understanding of right and wrong somewhere. The local culture explains or represents the true form of interaction, so if that becomes confused, so does society, and strife and unhappiness results.

Here is an interesting and very readable explanation on monetary theory, it gives a quite clear explanation of how finance actually works in social and political terms

Posted by: gzon | Jun 29 2019 12:49 utc | 126

"Multiculturalism" is a loaded term: if it is used to mean different styles of food, music and dress, then I am all for it.

But it does not mean that the host nation should accept misogyny, homophobia, honor killings or other "traditional values" that immigrants bring along.

And although immigrants should feel free to speak their language at home and even in society, they will have to accept that the language of the law, commerce, education and civil authority is that of the host nation and it is up to them to learn it or at least learn how to work with or around it.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 29 2019 13:08 utc | 127

128 arby

I don't know about "coddling". But it is clear that - apart from the military-industrial complex, the securitiy services and state controlled oil and gas, this is where the power is in Russia.

Putin is in the role of mediator between these power centers. He also tries to rally the population (Russians know what revolution means) by religion, "traditional values", the promise of security and stability, and yes - Make Russia Great Again - therefore - Peter the Great.

The problem is that Russian oligarchy is without legitimacy. Most oligarchy world wide is based on historical robbery but in Russia it is within this generation. They used to be part of the Soviet nomenklatura Communist Party network. It IS conceivable to litigate the riches robbed from the people in the 1990's (and has been done to oligarchs "not close to Putin") and the only shield between "the oligarchs" and Russians considering this idea is Putin's popularity and "Russian conservatism".

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 13:15 utc | 128

The problem of rule by law in Russia.

These high-profile cases suggest that Russian legal outcomes, while unpredictable if one goes by the content of the law, are entirely predictable if one knows the preferences of the political sovereign: the Kremlin always wins. However, this predictability is exaggerated. Outside a few very salient cases, the Kremlin either does not reveal its preferences or simply has no preferences. When the Kremlin’s position is uncertain, lower-level political actors, the prosecution, and judges try to guess the politically correct outcome and this guessing game introduces significant unpredictability into the legal regime. In addition, when political actors vie for relative power within the regime, they often seek to demonstrate that power by influencing court decisions in politically relevant cases. Consider the frequent conflicts between mayors of major cities and regional governors. These conflicts are often fought vicariously through court cases, with each side attempting to mobilize enough political resources up the power ladder to secure a victory in court. Judges face the tough task of interpreting the signals that come from judicial superiors and the extrajudicial actors to deliver a decision that would be acceptable to whoever represents power (vlast’) in that concrete case.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 13:33 utc | 129

add to 132 - So the only security for Russian oligarchs is to legalize their riches abroad - which they have done - or - if forced to keep their capital in Russia because of sanctions - Putin.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 13:36 utc | 130

Somebody @ 119:

The proposed legislation that was known as Rotenberg's Law (after Italy sanctioned Arkady Rotenberg's properties in that country) passed a first reading in the Duma in October 2014. That is not the same as being declared law: there is a second reading in the Duma the legislation should have undergone and passed, and that second reading appears not to have been done. Objections to the legislation were raised by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Arbitration Court, and the Minister for Economic Development at the time (late 2014) also raised concerns.

It seems odd that every business venture that might need some government funding or funding to develop necessary infrastructure has to undergo deliberation twice by lower houses in a country's parliament and then passed through the senate or its equivalent before the venture can go ahead?

If business people talk to Putin or people close to him, that does not mean their venture can go ahead without being put to tender or subjected to scrutiny to see that it complies with current regulations. I merely observed that it seems that business people who happen to meet Putin or talk to him about a venture they might have, seem to get tarred with the "Putin crony" brush.

The Moscow Times is an English-language weekly newspaper with a small circulation (about 55,000) which is given away for free. For several years it was published by a Finnish company (Sanoma Corporation). The newspaper is currently owned by a Dutch-based owner and its CEO runs a catering business for commercial airlines. For a leading English-language Russian newspaper, The Moscow Times seems to have a poor business model.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 29 2019 13:41 utc | 131

gzon@102 The distribution of income and wealth, as a proxy for class, is too uneven for averages to be useful. Even if you try to use the median, you have to be cautious because arbitrarily dubbing everyone below the median "working class" ends up with chronically unemployed people being included. If you pay attention to politicians when they can't avoid being more specific, "middle class" is sometimes a euphemism for "working class," even as they prattle about "hard-working families." Households with an income of $100 000 per year have somehow become the salt of the earth. The median household income is more like $62 000! That's half of all households are well below---sometimes far below---the supposed middle class family. This ignores the extent to which household income isn't even a good indicator for socioeconomic status. By the usual false use of middle class, there can be two middle class families where a marriage between two of their children will be deemed a terrible match, because they just aren't really the same sort of people. Whether the families would intermarry is a far better indicator than simple income and wealth statistics. There really is a difference for families where both have to work to stay afloat, and one where the nanny does child care because the mother wants to fulfill herself. Some kinds of ambition may be laudable but there simply is a difference. Middle class is used as a deceitful to avoid labeling anyone working class lest they take up unsavory left wing politics, to pretend most people are just a fictional average to promote non-class politics and to imply the state is the servant of the good people, neither the rabble nor the idle rich.

snake@115 #1 is incorrect, the 17th amendment expanded direct election to Senators, but the House was always directly elected. #6 is also incorrect, the members of Congress are directly elected in popular votes---diligently supervised to be meaningless, but even so. The two Senators and a representative seem to refer to the number of electoral votes cast by the state being equal to the number of representatives and senators, viewed as the number of representatives a citizen in a voting district has in presidential elections? #8 is also incorrect, in that the presidents under the Articles of Confederation weren't elected by "the people" but by the states. The congress under the Article of Confederation was much more like the Senate before the 17th amendment. Further, since not only slavery but property franchise was so widespread, "the people" under the Articles are not the same as later on. The Constitution of 1789 was much more like the Directory in France, the advent of a more conservative government meant to contain excesses by the people. The second American revolution was of course the Civil War.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 29 2019 14:14 utc | 132

I agree with comment #21. The problem is not "multiculturalism" it is exploitation and inequality. In times of prosperity and stability people of diverse backgrounds get along fine. It is only when they are forced to fight over scraps that their national/religious/ethnic background becomes an issue.

If you look at the immigrants from Mexico and Central America (to the U.S.) they are forced to flee harsh inequality/neo-liberal conditions that have been exacerbated by so-called “free trade” agreements and enforced by ruthless/brutal military and vigilante violence. Then they come to a country whose middle class has been decimated by that same neo-liberal/free trade order. This then creates tension/resistance among certain sectors of society who mistakenly identify the immigrant -- “the other” -- as the cause of their ills, when a more in depth analysis would show that they, the immigrants, and the middle class deterioration in their own country, are symptoms of the same and much deeper problem. Both are victims but they are set against one another in support of a prevailing order based on exploitation.

Posted by: Steverino | Jun 29 2019 14:25 utc | 133

What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies — the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners — made use of these benefits. [..] The middle class in the US has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up.

The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump’s victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference.

Trump did indeed "use" this discontent to get elected. However, what has he, and Putin for that matter, delivered in the way of results to the "middle" class and what will their open pursuit of authoritarian fascism deliver in the future for the "middle" class?

The future course of globalisation is obvious. The past is prologue. The working (or middle) classes of the most developed economies with higher wage bases (US, EU) lose jobs and income as the multinational corporations offshore industrial production to lesser developed economies with lower wage bases (China, Asia "Tigers").

As China and the "Tigers" ascended the higher stages the same process occurs, offshoring to lesser developed economies (Vietnam, Sri Lanka).

Imperialism 101.

This is a historical process which evolves. It also lends itself to the destruction of the global environment which itself is hardly soemthing to cheer.

This process will not be stopped nor reversed by the "great men" Putin, Trump nor the "benevolent society" China. Economic "nationalism" will likewise not resolve globalisation. These are myths. People organising and fighting back politically are still the only tools at our disposal. Globalisation makes the fight more difficult but doesn't eradicate the need for the class struggle.

And this is not to say Putin isn't a historically "great" man nor that China is not a "benevolent" society. Clearly, in relation to decadent western models they are. But this is to say these categorisations are beside the point of battling global capitalist development. This only tends to obscure the need to fight back.

Reverence at MoA for Putin's baldly political rhetoric, which is neither particularly interesting nor original (neither the rhetoric or the reverence). Neither Putin, Trump or Xi lift a finger to challenge the globalist status quo. They are themselves charter members of the club.

This is all a political con game meant to anesthesize those who should know better and who should rise up in opposition or at least exhort the younger generations to rise up and challenge the oppressive systems.

Alas, the drugs seem to be working all to well....

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 29 2019 14:29 utc | 134

Posted by: Jen | Jun 29, 2019 9:41:37 AM | 134

You have to explain why what the Moscow Times say is wrong, ownership might throw a shade, but in this case the shade is not anti-Russian.

I guess in the end Rotenberg got compensated by building the Crimean Bridge. It is "highly likely", there was no serious tender as Rotenberg's company - building oil and gas infrastructure - had no experience in building railway bridges. So they presumably passed it on to subcontractors and kept the difference.

Main point is you usually don't become a 2.5 billionaire by being a judo teacher.

From Wikipedia

"In 1978, Rotenberg graduated from the Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health and became a judo trainer.[4] After Putin returned to Russia in 1990, Rotenberg trained with him several times a week.[4] During the 1990s, Rotenberg and his brother, Boris, who had moved to Finland, traded in petroleum products.[4] When Putin became vice-mayor, Rotenberg secured funding from Gennady Timchenko to found Yavara-Neva, a professional judo club.[4] Later, after the club won nine European Judo Championships and trained four Olympic champions, it was given a new state-funded $180 million facility, including a thousand-seat arena and a yacht club.[4]

In 2000, Putin, who had become President of Russia, created Rosspirtprom, a state-owned enterprise controlling 30% of Russia's vodka market, and put Rotenberg in control.[4] In 2001, Rotenberg and his brother founded the SMP bank, which operates in 40 Russian cities with over 100 branches, more than half of them in the Moscow area. SMP oversees the operation of more than 900 ATM-machines. SMP bank also became a leading large-diameter gas pipe supplier.[4]

Gazprom often appears to have paid Rotenberg inflated prices. In 2007, Gazprom rejected an earlier plan to build a 350-mile pipeline and instead paid Rotenberg $45 billion, 300% of ordinary costs, to build a 1,500 mile pipeline to the Arctic Circle.[4] In 2008, Rotenberg formed Stroygazmontazh (SGM) with five companies he had purchased from Gazprom for $348 million.[4] The next year the company earned over $2 billion in revenue.[4] Rotenberg then bought Northern Europe Pipe Project, which eventually supplied 90% of Gazprom's large diameter pipes and operated at a 30% profit margin, twice the industry average.[4] In 2013, Gazprom increased Rotenberg's contract for a Krasnodar pipeline by 45%, then continued payments for a year after the Bulgarian segment was canceled.[4]

While he was the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation from May 20, 2004 to 2012, Igor Levitin ensured in 2010 that Arkady Rotenberg's firms (Mostotrest) would construct the toll roads on Russian federal highways.[7][8] "

But let's look up the definition of Oligarch

One of a small group of powerful people who control a country or an industry

Russia is an extensive country, it is unlikely "Putin's inner circle" control all of it. They do control the government though in long continuity (since 2000). And this government owns wealth they cannot legitimize by their own court system.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 14:55 utc | 135

Putin's position is one more sign to the US of the Russia/China problem that has caught the attention of the US intelligence[sic] community in its January "Worldwide Threat Assessment." It's gotten so bad that "some US allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington!"

Threats to US national security will expand and diversify in the coming year, driven in part by China and Russia as they respectively compete more intensely with the United States and its traditional allies and partners. This competition cuts across all domains, involves a race for technological and military superiority, and is increasingly about values. Russia and China seek to shape the international system and regional security dynamics and exert influence over the politics and economies of states in all regions of the world and especially in their respective backyards.

China and Russia are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s, and the relationship is likely to strengthen in the coming year as some of their interests and threat perceptions converge, particularly regarding perceived US unilateralism and interventionism and Western promotion of democratic values and human rights.

As China and Russia seek to expand their global influence, they are eroding once well-established security norms and increasing the risk of regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and East Asia.

At the same time, some US allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington in response to their perceptions of changing US policies on security and trade and are becoming more open to new bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

The post-World War II international system is coming under increasing strain amid continuing cyber and WMD proliferation threats, competition in space, and regional conflicts. . .here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 29 2019 15:08 utc | 136

@124 arby. Just do a search for Engdahl' s article on the pillaging of Russia during the late Yeltsin years and you will have your answers..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 29 2019 15:22 utc | 137

I think self-identified "liberals" should embrace multiculturalism, particularly where those cultures are candida auris and necrotizing fasciitis.

I've traveled a bit and I like that Mexico is different from Venezuela is different from Spain is different from France is different from China. Mixing and homogenizing the world to become one giant Southern California strip mall is a crime against the cultures of the world, but that is what the liberals want. They are perfectly content with a plastic Disney version of Germany where the bratwurst is made by Tyson Foods, but whole countries with their own cultures? Terrifying!

Most of these "liberals" are middle class Caucasians with degrees in the university equivalent of Special Education (business or journalism) or squishy fake sciences that don't require mathematics. They are wracked with guilt and self-loathing for their undeserved easy living. They serve the empire, and the empire rewards them with a small share of the blood and sweat raped from the colonial holdings. At one level or another these middle class scum know that their comfy lifestyle floats atop a sea of blood that is refreshed daily by their bombs and death squads, but with the aid of modern prescription psychoactive substances they bury that knowledge deep in their subconsciousness where it festers and eventually erupts as cancer or heart disease or some weird ailment.

To assuage their guilt and virtue signal, these middle class scum cry for open borders so that a few of the people crushed by the empire that the scum support can escape to the imperial heartlands. The middle class scum convince themselves that this makes up for the millions that they slaughter.

If you liberal scum truly cared about the lives of the peoples in the Global South, then why don't you stop your empire from killing them, wrecking their cultures and societies, and knocking their economies down whenever they gain their feet? Because then your bananas wouldn't be $0.40/lb, and the fuel for your SUVs wouldn't be $2.50/gal, and your t-shirts wouldn't be $10 for a pack of three anymore. The only reason the Global South is still impoverished is because the American Empire wealth-strips those places. The only reason the crime is high in those places is because crime is what the imperial death squads do on their days off.

You liberal middle class scum supporting empire are why people flee Honduras and Guatemala and Libya.

Not white working class "deplorables".


So stop your pathetic fake virtue signaling about "multiculturalism" and take responsibility for the blood on your hands.

The population of Honduras immigrating to the US isn't going to make the world a better place. The empire leaving Honduras alone so the Honduran people can fix their problems without your malign interference so that Honduran people can live decent lives right in Honduras is what will make the world a better place.

But then you would have to pay $3/lb for bananas, so I don't expect you selfish and self-engrossed liberal middle class scum to be up for a change like that. Better just to let a few Hondurans into America to cut your lawns for real cheap, right?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 29 2019 15:48 utc | 138

steven t johnson - i really disagree with your viewpoint, but i appreciate and thank you for stating it..

donkeytale - i don't agree with your viewpoint either!

C I eh? and m - i share your viewpoint on john helmer...thanks..

arby - as lozion mentions, the info is out their.. your basic comment @124 was in line with how i see that too..

don't have time to comment further other then to say i found putins comments on immigration and liberalism bang on..

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2019 16:00 utc | 139

@89 Deborah / snake.. thanks for the link to the transcript at the kremlin site, but i get the circle jerk when i try to see it! i can see the photos, and the button for text which i click and get nothing...

the reason i am looking for something alternate to the ft article, is one is not allowed to copy and paste from the ft article.. if someone can tell me what i am doing wrong with the kremlin site to access the transcript, i would appreciate it.. i can see the pictures and all, but unable to access the transcript.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2019 16:08 utc | 140

@ John Smith 142
Instex is now operational, so Iran will be able to buy aspirins and band-aids from Europe, and not much else. Certainly TOTAL and Citroen-Peugeot will not be returning to Iran, and no oil will be sold.. .So let's call it fake news. . . Now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 29 2019 16:09 utc | 141

Helmer: Russia Has Bolstered Iran’s Air Defenses With Technical Advisers To help speed up Iranian reaction times

Posted by: ninel | Jun 29 2019 16:10 utc | 142

Bernhard, I am not sure to what extend you got into a framing trap.

Posted by: jonna | Jun 29 2019 16:33 utc | 143

William Gruff #141

One of the best comments i've read in a long time

Posted by: m | Jun 29 2019 16:40 utc | 144

@152 Iranian oil will become a major bargaining chip in the US/China trade talks.

Meanwhile it looks as though Putin has managed to upset a lot of people. Elton John is furious.

Posted by: dh | Jun 29 2019 16:41 utc | 145

It is cold and harsh to chastise European countries for making the "mistake" of allowing entry of a large number of refugees without proposing an alternative solution. Moreover, it is not plausible that Putin is unaware that these refugees are fleeing violence and disorder that were created by the military interventions of the Western alliance (i.e. the U.S. led NATO). Refugees from war and civil unrest are not a new phenomena, and present day refugees should not be regarded as an historical aberration. So, tell us, Mr. Putin, where should these miserable, suffering people go? Back to their home countries? Why would they, when they know better than any of us how intolerable the conditions there are?

Posted by: Rob | Jun 29 2019 16:46 utc | 146

If this is the clowns problem, then he is a good example of what Putin is talking about.
Sir Elton said he was "deeply upset" by the President's comments.

"I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to 'be happy' and that 'we have no problem in that'," he said.

"Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film Rocketman by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25-year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons.

"This feels like hypocrisy to me."

Russian film critic Anton Dolin said footage was missing from Rocketman at the screening he attended, writing that "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut out".

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 16:55 utc | 147

@26 TD
@108 d

Both of you undermine your argument with your ad-hominems... in fact, in some respects you substantiate Joe Nobody's argument @6. Did he use personal, derogatory terms as you did? No...

Do both of your REALLY think that Identity Politics is about live & let live? It isn't - it's a tool used by the PTB to constrain the majority of citizens to the whim of the minority... be it products/advertising (i.e. Gillete, Chips Ahoy), public education (sex ed), civil laws/policy, etc.

Recently I came across the term "shared consensual narrative" (Caitlan Johnstone?), which nicely describes the various, often conflicting narratives at play in society, esp. in the West and how the PTB use them to "Manage Reality" (or the perception of it)

For example, at MoA, there seems to be a shared consensual narrative that most adhere to, to one degree or another

And although I can't speak for Joe N or even Putin, it seems he implies that if you want to be LGBTetc, go for it... but where things get sketchy is when one party believes their narrative trumps anothers'... and we see this regularly in the West via censorship, doxxing, etc.

You are welcome to your narrative... I may not agree with it, but I will defend your right to express it (as long as no others are harmed in doing so). Joe N is welcomed to his narrative too. And by all means, discuss your differences in a calm & rational fashion, as "iron sharpens iron". Where I take issue is when you cross over into his lane & try to drive him of the his road, figuratively speaking...

EVERYONE has a voice, and should be allowed to express themselves without personal attacks...

And to that end, I will say this, at least in the West, Identity Politics has taken on a religious fervor that seemingly defies rational discussion, much like Climate Change, Vaccines, Abortion, etc

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 29 2019 16:59 utc | 148

@John Smith

This is a blog where commentators discuss the posted issue. They may provide a link once a while to make their case.

What you are doing is link dropping. You postg tens of links, most of which are not related to the relevant post, and thereby disrupt the comment thread.

Stop doing that or you will be banned.

Posted by: b | Jun 29 2019 17:03 utc | 149

@149 ".... religious fervor that seemingly defies rational discussion..."

There can't be much discussion when 'progressive' means good and 'conservative' means bad.

Posted by: dh | Jun 29 2019 17:10 utc | 150

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29, 2019 6:10:10 AM | 119
(This here is Moscow Times from 2017)

Moscow is Fake News/ Western drivel.

A Moscow would be a bit more convincingly Moscow-ish.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29 2019 17:12 utc | 151


FYI I have a comment that hasn't appeared.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29 2019 17:57 utc | 152

The problem of migrants has been caused largely by US foreign policy and its attempt to impose its neo-liberal agenda in other countries, e.g., Latin America. This agenda obviously does not have as its goal the addressing of the best interests of the average person, to say the least. The US created the refugee crisis in Latin America (and of course other areas as well) and, to add insult to injury, now says the Latin immigrant crisis is Mexico's problem to solve. Americans will have to wake up very soon to this reality and change it or face the consequences of their ignorance.

Posted by: Ben C | Jun 29 2019 17:59 utc | 153

This year's edition of the G-20's over. Trump's already in RoK and hopeful of meeting Kim in the DMZ. I've yet to see if the consensus Final Statement's done, what it says and if TrumpCo signed it.

Pepe Escobar's recap is all I have to leave you to chew on. Perhaps b will have a new thread posted in a few hours when I come back online.

Overall, this was a productive discussion!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29 2019 18:16 utc | 154

@139 william gruff.. good comment.. thanks.. i share your sentiment..

@148 peter au... everything has to be all blatant and out in the open, or it is repressive.. that seems to be the thinking.. personally, i don't buy it and don't share elton johns position..

@150 b.. re john smith.. thanks for saying all that.. i was wondering how long it was going to go on for..

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2019 18:18 utc | 155

I find the interview disappointing. But it is probably a real reflection of Putin, who comes across as a pragmatic, competent, conservative politician without a vision, passion or charisma.
He said nothing of substance, nothing not already known. There is some honesty and wisdom in his answers about certain major international events/developments, but that is also a repetition of his positions.
What is most concerning, to me at least, is the multiculturalism bit. I find it actually quite disturbing. It is superficial and poorly articulated, but the main problem is - here's a Russian president
not acknowledging the great danger to the world, and Europe specifically, of the constant and consistent rise in the last 20+ years of fascism and nazism! How irresponsible. He reinforces the
script that immigration is the cause of the decline and decay of Western society (and not only Western) and implicitly of the rise of the fascists/nazis, not the other way around.
It's unimaginable to me that a Russian president would not use this, and every opportunity, to warn of the danger of the onslaught of fascist/nazi forces only 74 years after WWII, and the true causes of this.
Although I consider him to be the only statesman the world has because of his constraint in the face of the many provocations and challenges that can blow the world up at any moment, this interview
reveals just another opportunist; a statesman only because most of the other heads of state today are so absolutely dreadful, that is, much worse.

Posted by: JB | Jun 29 2019 18:36 utc | 156

@154 jr... i too have a comment that isn't showing... wonder if this one goes thru?

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2019 18:39 utc | 157

OT but VERY important! Here is the link to the first article I've seen on the opening of the INSTEX system today.

Trump To Unleash Hell On Europe: EU Announces Channel To Circumvent SWIFT And Iran Sanctions Is Now Operational

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 29 2019 18:39 utc | 158

@John 36

"rstand this important struggle—and it is a struggle—unfolding in the Russian policy elite.

The same kind of struggle (between proponents of radically different economic theories/programs) characterized the USSR under Gorbachev.
There were two schools as to the best way forward for the Soviet economy. Gorbachev kind of tried to please everyone, and it didn't work. Which is not to say that Putin won't make choices that are good for the Russian economy. Just to note that this kind of struggle is not unique to Putin's Russia.

Posted by: Realy? | Jun 29 2019 19:13 utc | 159

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 29, 2019 2:39:44 PM | 159

I'm glad to hear Europe is organising an alternative system to SWIFT. It was about time. No doubt Trump will impose sanctions. He will end up imposing severe sanctions on the former US ally, Europe, as well as on everybody else. Trump is well on the way to discrediting US sanctions policy, where once the US reigned supreme, as controlling the exchange system.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29 2019 19:25 utc | 160

@JB 157

I don't think most people would recognise national socialism or fascism if it were on their doorstep. The representation of populism and even self proclaimed more right wing attitudes as harbingers overlooks facets of how the world actually is run that definitely are much closer to the original structures. Whether this focus is for distraction, whether it is to make clear that there is no tolerance for anything close to be publicly sanctioned, whether it is political point scoring, I don't know. I am no apologist for any particular direction that forces greater control, or that encourages hostilities, but there you have a subtle reality of propaganda and manipulation coming from various sides. No wonder there is so much disillusion with politics nowadays maybe, no wonder simple discussion often cannot occur without descending into stereotypical arguments.

People above have mentioned the reality of refugees and the non solution beyond acceptance. You know what the proper reply is though - not to encourage wars, not to fund them. After that hosting refugees does not imply permanent residence and so on, we know that three quarters or more of those who enter Europe will not be returning to their own nations now, at least not without a European nationality. This as chosen result is blatantly obvious. So before anyone gets irked with their fellow citizens over this, well why not look at the wider policy choices of own politicians and hold them accountable. You cannot do that though, and you know that. Do you think turning on those that protest this reality is really going to resolve anything though ? It won't, it will just deepen divisions in society and polarise it. That either makes a third force more potent, or leads further towards the extremes we are talking about. As for nationalism, I think we will be deluding ourselves if we think what replaces nation will be any more beneficial or moral than those we are to now familiar with, what is left of them. I think we will find ourselves trapped eventually, if we are not already. People react to feeling trapped, and so much for the promise of new found freedoms. Just wait to see what happens when the supranational has to take direct responsibility for its results. I don't look forward to it.

(I say this once here: I always have the wish to read replies to my own comments and discuss further. If I don't it is because of time)

Posted by: gzon | Jun 29 2019 19:40 utc | 161

William @ 139 Great comment. It is disgusting to watch the liberals in action, waving their virtue flags as they stop the bed company from selling beds to the "poor abused children sleeping on the floor". There are thousands of people out there, protesting bed selling.
If they got out there to protest the coups, the assassinations, the death squads, the sabotage, the bombs....yeah but then who would pick the lettuce? Do you want poor people in America to be able to afford lettuce? Then you have to support immigrants who work for slave wages, you heartless, anti-poor bigot, you. (The only time they mention poor people in America is when they loudly support their right to cheap lettuce).
It is like a reality TV show to them, I swear, a real life "Survivor", where the living conditions of people in their own country are never revealed, and their right to stay home is ignored, while the few who manage to make it over the mountains and through the deserts are cheered on, lauded, and "rewarded" with a job and place in the USA, as if that is some Grand Prize.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 29 2019 19:42 utc | 162

"'s a Russian president not acknowledging the great danger to the world, and Europe specifically, of the constant and consistent rise in the last 20+ years of fascism and nazism! How irresponsible. " JB@157

The problem is that fascism, in all it forms, goes together with neo-liberalism as peaches do with cream. You cannot have neo-liberalism without getting fascism. And neo-liberalism is just a fancy word for capitalism.

Putin's problem, which is shared by what looks like a majority of the 'alternative media, is that he seems to believe in a 'Third Way.' He and Tony Blair and Bill Clinton all have this refusal to face up to the reality of capitalism as a system, in common.

Capitalism is a tiger, governed by its instincts. It cannot be tamed and certainly not, in RH Tawney's phrase, 'claw by claw'. Rosa Luxemburg put it best: the choice is between Socialism and Barbarism. And the choice has been made: this is Barbarism-any form of class rule and exploitation must be.That ought to be obvious.
There can be no peace without justice. And there can be no justice without socialism.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 29 2019 19:44 utc | 163

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 29, 2019 12:59:47 PM | 149

Putin may say so (building a bridge from United Russia to Trumpism) but that does not make it true.

And although I can't speak for Joe N or even Putin, it seems he implies that if you want to be LGBT etc, go for it... but where things get sketchy is when one party believes their narrative trumps anothers'... and we see this regularly in the West via censorship, doxxing, etc.

There is no "censorship" in the West (nor in Russia). There is self-censorship but that is the responsibility of the people who do it to themselves.
You are not allowed to insult or slander people. And if you attack people they counter attack. The counter attack can be violent. This is a case for the law but not censorship.

According to Putin the "interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten". Do these people speak for themselves, are they censored and doxxed? Censoring and doxxing millions of people? I would like to be shown an example of this. The catholic church is not, the orthodox church is not, mainstream Islam is not. Who gets censored are terrorists, Nazis, racists and anti-semites. As they should.

If I understand LGBT people correctly, they say that they went through hell in adolescence trying to understand their sexuality. And let's face it you won't get a job in the West if your employer sees in your application that you have changed your name at one point.

Putin declaring

Or take the traditional values. I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us.

They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.

is disingenious. Children are taught gender roles in traditional education. It is not natural, but an agreement by society what these roles should be. And these roles can be changed if society finds it necessary eg in the case that there are no male descendants.

The Russian problem is not just LGBT by the way. It is gender equality between two genders never mind more.

“People have to start to deal with violence and harassment at work. Women face these things rather frequently,” says Davtyan. “There are complaints on the labor market about lower salary offerings. There are very many complaints from women who ‘had to leave’ work because of their pregnancy or do not receive benefits.”

Davtyan says that the biggest problem is that the authorities do not recognize at the official level the existence of problems related to gender. She said that in the Duma there are draft laws that could protect women, but they do not make it onto the agenda.

At the Duma Committee for Family, Women, and Children, they declined to comment on the situation regarding sexism in the country.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 19:45 utc | 164

The sheer ignorance of some clowns on this thread is an eye opener.

Vladimir Putin warns over rise of neo-Nazism before Serbia visit

Nazi propaganda to be banned in Russia

Putin: Nazi virus ‘vaccine’ losing effect in Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the spread of neo-Nazi ideology in Europe and called for efforts to prevent the revision of the outcome of the Second World War.

U.S., Ukraine Vote Against Russian Measure Condemning Nazism At UN

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 20:00 utc | 165

@159 antispin and @163 laguerre... i think the devil is in the details regarding instex... this jan 30 2019 reuters article give a good overview on the pros and cons of it as it presently stands.. it will still be subject to politicization..

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2019 20:07 utc | 166

I don't comment much on Russia, as I don't have much local knowledge, but I'm always blown out by the discussions. Putin may not be very nice, but his foreign policy is always defensive.

If we take out of the equation the evident powerful US desire to construct an aggressive enemy, followed by their little puppy, UK, in alliance with the Eastern Europeans, who have reasonable fears of Russia, there's not much left. Expansion is absolutely not in Russian interests. If they left the Baltic States voluntarily in 1991, why would they want to recover them today? More trouble than they're worth. Crimea was defensive, because the base was threatened. Eastern Ukraine was supporting the family.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29 2019 20:09 utc | 167

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2019 1:12:09 PM | 152

Moscow Times is Moscowish enough. I guess they are the liberals Putin talks about.
John Helmer does a good summary of its Dutch Russian history.

"Sauer started the Moscow Times on a shoestring in 1992. He recovered it with a shoestring in 2017. Owner of the shoe from whose string Sauer has dangled for this interval have included investors connected to the US intelligence services (he admitted to me himself); a Swiss entity owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Vladimir Potanin, the Norilsk Nickel oligarch; a Dutch media conglomerate, VNU; a Finnish media group called Sanoma, together with the Murdoch media group and Pearson’s, when it owned the Financial Times of London; then a Russian journalist without money, Demian Kudryavtsev. He appeared when Sauer and his offshore partners surpassed the 20% maximum foreign ownership threshold enacted in the amended Russian Law on Mass Media (N 305-FZ) in October 2014; the measure took effect from January 2016. Kudryavtsev has claimed he made the acquisition with the “moral support” of the coalmine operator, Dmitry Bosov. ...Sauer followed the advice of lawyers on how to restructure his Russian media operations “to divide the business so that the editorial and broadcasting activities are controlled by a Russian entity and the remaining part of the business remains foreign-controlled, e.g. separating the roles of the so-called founder (registration as mass media in Russia) and the editorial office/broadcasting entity, on the one hand, from the publisher being in control of the remaining business streams, on the other hand.”

Meantime, Mikhail Prokhorov employed Sauer in his RBC media group, until he was ousted in 2016....

Mikhail Prokhorov is this guy.

The White House thinks he is Putin's guy.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 20:14 utc | 168

@169 It always seems to me that the Russians withdrew from Eastern Europe and the Baltics because there was no future there for Communism ( none in Russia either as it happened). The only reason they might want to recover the Baltics is to protect Russians living there. There is certainly no reason to recover Poland....controlling 38 million people who all hate them is not practicable.

Posted by: dh | Jun 29 2019 20:33 utc | 169

@@@ #23

Well put rabbit.

Posted by: johnT | Jun 29 2019 20:34 utc | 170

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2019 4:07:52 PM | 168

According to wiki (fr), INSTEX is more specific to Iran than I thought. I don't think that makes a lot of difference. Trump is going to end up sanctioning the EU in any case, for whatever reason, because they're an independent rival of the US. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that INSTEX is the nub of a wider system that the EU isn't ready to admit to yet. After all, INSTEX = Instant exchange, a general term not limited to Iran.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29 2019 20:37 utc | 171

Posted by: dh | Jun 29, 2019 4:33:38 PM | 171

It always seems to me that the Russians withdrew from Eastern Europe and the Baltics because there was no future there for Communism
It's a basic of International History that the Soviets occupied and maintained their occupation of Eastern Europe out of a fear of German resurgence, quite reasonably (followed by a fear of the West, Soviet policy didn't change fast). When that fear had evaporated, there was no more real reason. And that led to that night in 1989 when the gates were opened (I happened to be there that night)

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29 2019 21:17 utc | 172

"The White House thinks he is Putin's guy."

He's Russian. In the simple-minded way Americans view the world today that means he is "Putin's guy". Every Russian is "Putin's guy" unless the New York Langley Times says otherwise.

Anyway, the Moscow Times is an English-only newspaper that is only available at hotels in Moscow to foreigners. Its ties to western intelligence are well-known and continue to this day. It cannot survive on legitimate subscriptions or advertising. It is garbage that makes Murdoch publications look respectable in comparison.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 29 2019 21:29 utc | 173

It is cold and harsh to chastise European countries for making the "mistake" of allowing entry of a large number of refugees without proposing an alternative solution. Moreover, it is not plausible that Putin is unaware that these refugees are fleeing violence and disorder that were created by the military interventions of the Western alliance ...

Posted by: Rob | Jun 29, 2019 12:46:43 PM | 147

It is not practical for Putin to belabor the obvious. that "sudden wave" came in a lesser part from Mediterranean, spurred in part by the chaos in Libya, and in part by woeful conditions on sub-Saharan Africa -- where France is supposed to have some positive (??!!) influence, and in the major part by the destruction AND crippling sanctions on Syria/

Clearly, a rational thing to do would be to make some temporary (even if civilized) camps, and work full speed on returning the refugees to their countries. All sanctions on Syria, except some customary symbolics (think Myammar) should be lifted, and Syria declared as a valid target of deportations. Some aid (and the removal of sanctions) in exchange for promised and monitored enforcements of the rights of the former refugees.

Something of the same form could be worked out with other nations like Erithrea, and bold development should start in Sahel belt. Local industries fuel with wind energy? The edge of Sahara has plentiful winds.

And, as they are at it, reduce military spending to 1% of GDP. Saving money on social services to refugees probably does not cover all costs of development, although wise investments (like sustainable electricity supplies) may spur a lot of self-financed development. And defense speding is wasted on capabilities neither needed nor useful (like destroying Libya from the air with all the spiffy expensive bombers and bombs).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 29 2019 21:31 utc | 174

Liberalism & Neo-liberalism are essentially the same thing.

The essential pillar of liberalism is the "classical" free market and law of supply and demand. Liberal freedom is all about money, property and the individual. Any impediment on what money, private property and an individual can do is "anti-liberal".

A safety net for those in need is "anti-liberal".

Laws that outlaw e.g. paedophilia are "anti-liberal".

Laws that protect minors from economic or sexual exploitation are "anti-liberal".

The legal age of consent is "anti-liberal".

Rights for the collective, be it trade unions, workers rights, community rights are "anti-liberal".

Going on strike, even asking for money is "anti-liberal".

Social Housing is "anti-liberal".

Taxation is "anti-liberal". Higher taxation for the rich is "crazy anti-liberal".

A social conscience is "anti-liberal".

Free education of any sort is "anti-liberal".

Social spending be it on youth clubs, policing, parks, etc. are "anti-liberal".

Getting anything for free whether it be a hand-out, drink of water, parking space, clean air, even breathing air (somethings escape financialisation for the time-being) and all "anti-liberal".

Elected parliaments, Dumas, Congress, Senate, Presidents, Prime-Minsters, Parties, Religions, Priests, Monarchies, Kings & Queens, are all "anti-liberal" (because their power is not derived from money though, of course, it may be corrupted by money).

Btw: Adam Smith wasn't a liberal. His "invisible hand" meant the social obligations that would act as a restraint on capitalists. Adam Smith would therefore be better described as believing in a social market (nowadays we would say call him a social democrat) that would persist as long as capitalists were part of the community (therefore a warning not to break that link). The idea that Adam Smith believed in the unfettered market to find a price (the idea of the "invisible hand" that liberals always push) is just not true. This is a primary myth of liberalism and a good question (What is your view on the role of the "invisible hand" in the market?) to tease out very reasonable-sounding loonies.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 29 2019 21:37 utc | 175

Somebody @ 170:

According to John Helmer whose Dances With Bears article you link to, The Moscow Times is a loss-making venture - no surprise, when you see that until recently the print version was given away for free - whose funding has depended at times on Mikhail Khodorkovsky (jailed for a decade in Russia on various criminal charges), Rupert Murdoch and the Dutch Foreign Ministry who pays The Moscow Times journalists' salaries.

Helmer also notes that the newspaper (now online) follows the NATO / Dutch government version of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 shootdown and the Bellingcrap version of the Skripal poisoning. No wonder Hoarse Whisperer is snickering in the back corner of the room.

Then of course Helmer mentions the restructuring of The Moscow Times' ownership which was obviously done to avoid coming under Russian laws regulating non-government organisations that receive foreign funding and forcing them to declare their sources of funding.

One might also ask why staff at The Moscow Times have dual Dutch-Russian citizenship. Is this because they hope to benefit from access to individuals and organisations linked to NATO?

Not a great business model in my opinion.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 29 2019 21:44 utc | 176

Let's not deny that communism and in particular Soviet communism had international aspirations, ie. world-wide, ie. imperial.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 29 2019 21:52 utc | 177

Rob @147 & Piotr Brennan @179

It should go without saying but the obvious solution would be for the West to stop destroying other countries.

When we in the West destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanisation, and waged numerous other conflict operations, sanctions, and IMF loan traps for these people, we automatically created long-lasting resentment. We have killed their families, friends and relations, inflicted death, destruction, torture and psychological damage on millions of people.

The solution (which will never undo the damage done) is stopping the wars and rebuilding those countries that the West has so badly damaged. Allowing admittance as refugees to a society where the vast majority will only be further exploited is a poor substitute.

It is possible that, without the help of the West, China's OBOR will undo some of the damage done by helping countries and society's rebuild, but guess what, the West wants to destroy that too!

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 29 2019 21:52 utc | 178

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29, 2019 5:17:56 PM | 174

Gorbachev thought he had an agreement that NATO would not expand.

They were overstretched. 1989 is not just the fall of the Berlin wall but also the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Estimation is that 15.000 Russian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan and 35.000 wounded.

But the main reason was internal. Gorbachev had replaced the majority of the Politbureau with a new generation who wanted reform. That got out of hand fast. Communism ended in Russia before it ended in Eastern Europe.

I doubt "fear of Germany" was part of any equation. For some reason (containing Russia) the US/Britain started the Cold War (rearming Western Germany). Gorbachev assumed that by withdrawal the US would withdraw, too, and geography and economic relations would integrate the continent with Russia anyway. He probably was right but not in the short term.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 21:57 utc | 179

@AntiSpin 160

Thanks for posting the link on INSTEX - a very significant development indeed. This is the consequence of hubris and over weaponizing of economic sanctions by the US. The US dollar could very well lose its hegemony in international financial transactions as well as its status as the dominant reserve currency.

Posted by: Arlene | Jun 29 2019 22:04 utc | 180

in Jan of this year, jonathan cook offered a far more persuasive and concise critique of neo-liberalism / liberalist capitalism than putin ever could - & in response to a group of some 30 western European intellectuals. These intellectuals published a manifesto moaning and groaning about the "imminent collapse of Europe and its supposed Enlightenment values of liberalism and rationalism...."

Cook accurately and succinctly connects many of the dots. Nuclear war and its preparations, and climate catastrophe, are going to destroy us all this century, and the so-called liberalism of europe has no answers - in fact europe and the US are the causes of much of the ills in the real world (and the endless wars) and the apocalyptic train that we are all on is 5000 meters from going over the cliff

....In one sense, their diagnosis is correct: Europe and the liberal tradition are coming apart at the seams. But not because, as they strongly imply, European politicians are pandering to the basest instincts of a mindless rabble – the ordinary people they have so little faith in. Rather, it is because a long experiment in liberalism has finally run its course. Liberalism has patently failed – and failed catastrophically.

These intellectuals are standing, like the rest of us, on a precipice from which we are about to jump or topple. But the abyss has not opened up, as they suppose, because liberalism is being rejected. Rather, the abyss is the inevitable outcome of this shrinking elite’s continuing promotion – against all rational evidence – of liberalism as a solution to our current predicament. It is the continuing transformation of a deeply flawed ideology into a religion. It is idol worship of a value system hellbent on destroying us.

...But liberal ideology has been very effective at hiding its dark side – or more accurately, at persuading us that this dark side is the consequence of liberalism’s abandonment rather than inherent to the liberal’s political project.

....The liberal’s professed concern for others’ welfare and their rights has, in reality, provided cynical cover for a series of ever-more transparent resource grabs. The parading of liberalism’s humanitarian credentials has entitled our elites to leave a trail of carnage and wreckage in their wake in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and soon, it seems, in Venezuela. We have killed with our kindness and then stolen our victims’ inheritance.....

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jun 29 2019 22:06 utc | 181

Putin's interviews border the idiotic now. It must be the heat wave.

From RT

Though it’s attractive in general, liberalism has overreached on multiple issues, such as immigration, and is now “eating itself,” Vladimir Putin said, just days after he’d suggested that the ideology has failed Western societies.

Liberalism still remains “multifaceted” and there’s no need to be arguing about its overall attractiveness, the Russian president told reporters on Saturday, during a final press conference at the G20 summit in Japan. In the meantime, the philosophy has its own setbacks, he pointed out.

In Putin’s view, liberal approaches to immigration is a real problem. “In some European countries, parents are told that girls should not wear skirts at schools,” he asserted, adding that “people are living in their own country ... why has it come to that?”

Well, I have just watched a veiled woman with two unveiled teen/preteen girls in pink short dresses strolling through a German city in the summer heat - what is Putin talking about?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 22:09 utc | 182

@33 c1ue

True,,, When I said Yeltsin was smart I meant when he appointed V Putin as Temporary PM in 1999 replacing Sergei Stepashin. Maybe he suspected a coup (Putin was head of the FSS)or maybe he just saw something in Putin or both,,, IDK, but history indicates it was a good choice for Russia as the West was gobbling it up and had intentions of breaking Russia up.

Posted by: ken | Jun 29 2019 22:16 utc | 183

Posted by: Jen | Jun 29, 2019 5:44:02 PM | 178
Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 29, 2019 5:29:28 PM | 175

They have also ties to Russian oligarchs within Putin's grace or not.

There may be Western funding but there may also be Russian funding. As they print in English it is obvious their audience are non Russian speaking foreigners and maybe English speaking Russians.

I would say they are there to prove how open and liberal Russia is same as anti Putin candidates show how democratic Russia is.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 22:19 utc | 184

Sunny Runny Burger @179

The nature of the October 1917 is often misunderstood. What happened is that the people stopped listening to the Kerensky "Liberal" government (established in the February 1917 revolution) and all authority fell away. There was no violence.

All power had gone to the Soviets (which means Workers Councils). Lenin's call for "All Power to the Soviets!" was not so much a demand as a recognition of reality. The Bolsheviks placed themselves entirely at the service of the Soviets but they ran the government only at the Soviets disposal and it was the Soviets that called the tune.

Then the west invaded. A huge number of western armies, including the US, UK, Japan and many others (14 countries in total), invaded Russia. Authority was centralised around the Bolshevik government (only intended for the duration of the war).

The war was long (6 years) and at one point Soviet Russia was reduced to only 10% of Russian territory, but Russia prevailed and kicked out the invading armies in 1923. We in the West disingenuously refer to this as the Russian Civil War.

At the end of the war, the best of the Soviets and communist cadres had been killed. When the Kronstadt Sailors demanded a return to the situation that existed before the War (in 1917), the return to Soviet authority and rebelled, they were killed. From this point on Russia was governed by the Bolsheviks and Russia largely looked inward and had little interest in taking over the world.

The Soviets, though, did hope to inspire the whole world to adopt their method of governance, but they never really got the chance to espouse this.

The video below is a balanced overview (provided by The Islam Chanel's Timeline series) of the Russian Revolution largely unaffected by Western or, for that matter, Russian propaganda:

The Russian Revolution - Timeline with John Rees

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 29 2019 22:34 utc | 185

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 29, 2019 5:31:40 PM | 176

I don't think Germany wants to send back refugees this time. They did after the Yugoslav wars in the 1990's but this time demographic voes mean they need the influx. They may want to control immigration to let only qualified people in and may wish to control numbers. They definitively don't want to send people back they have spent huge amounts on educating and training.

Health care, logistics, catering would not be sustainable in this country without foreign labour. Of course it is a political problem as house prices go through the roof. The right wing vote though is not in the areas where refugees concentrate and housing costs rise but in the countryside that does not profit from the boom.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2019 22:42 utc | 186

You cannot consider the vision of world wide communism espoused by the communists to be the same as imperialism.
"Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains", with the goal of a worldwide classless society of cooperation between humans, is a much different thing than capitalists going into a country and using force to loot its resources, for the benefit of a very small group of people.
Of course the USSR didn't have the capability, nor the desire, of forcing the rest of the world to overthrow their ruling classes. They were an inspiration, however, to millions of people around the world.
The US, with the help of its allies, has killed over 20 million people since WW2. Were they killed for their communist ideals or their resources? A little of both, most likely.
Back when the USSR was around, people with resources were killed because they were "communists". Now they are "terrorists". I detect a certain continuity of capitalist behavior, Soviet Union or no Soviet Union.
And don't forget that the biggest looting of all was the looting of Russia during the 90s. Billions of dollars and million of lives were taken.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 29 2019 22:56 utc | 187

somebody @186

Some of your views are perverse - you can say the same about any media in any country including the US and the West - "an oppositional voice is only allowed to show how democratic we are".

You're completely wrong about Germany, fears of German unification and economic power have always been a concern and remain so to this day. The US actively seeks to contain Germany and keep it in vassalage. Germany linking up with Russia is a nightmare for the West. I appreciate that you and many others don't feel like that, but that's a completely different thing.

It is not true that the Western press is uncensored, it is clearly controlled and subject to intensive propaganda. Alt media sites are tolerated because they show how democratic we are and have no real effect; however, recently TPTB have become concerned about alt-media and now of course restrictions are being implemented that shows just "how democratic we are".

Most of the problems you refer to in Russia have their roots in the nineties Western rape and pillage of Russia. Any unbiased research shows that Putin has been addressing this, the power of oligarchs has been curtailed and a large number have been dispossessed. Rights are being improved. The situation for all Russians is far better now than when the West had a virtual freehand in the nineties.

I shouldn't take what Putin says seriously. What he is doing is "interfering" in exactly the same way that the West has been interfering in Russia for the last 30 years. You don't like it? Well, imagine who Russians feel when we start lecturing them!

Let the US, UK, France, etc, deal with their problems in their own way. Let Russia do the same.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 29 2019 23:01 utc | 188

ADKC 190 "I shouldn't take what Putin says seriously."

What Putin stated in the interview have been his opinions over a long period of time.
Top in destinations and intakes of migrants are US,Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia according the a 2017 UN report.
Putin is not anti immigration, his comment regarding EU and immigration more to do with the way it was conducted - the sudden large influx of migrants of different culture into EU and Germany in with its open borders.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 23:48 utc | 189
"On October 18, 2018, three families of members of the aid organisation “White Helmets”, which is active in Syria, were admitted to Germany. The admission’s legal basis is § 22 AufenthG. The families spent several days in the initial reception centre Friedland and participated in the orientation course offered there."
"German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas supported the admission of White Helmets and said: ” It is a requirement of humanity that many of these courageous helpers find protection and refuge, some of them also in Germany.”"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2019 23:59 utc | 190

The comments are not rendering properly even on a standard laptop screen.

Posted by: KC | Jun 30 2019 0:09 utc | 191

Peter Au 1

I don't disagree, but, Putin's expression of that view (in the FT) still should not be taken seriously. It is unlike Putin to express a judgement on other Nation's in such a way, therefore, he is just giving the West a taste of its own judgemental medicine. Weren't the Western sanctions intended to have Russia on its knees by now? Instead, we have a confident Putin lecturing the West on where it's all gone wrong!

Anybody (like somebody) who gets agitated by Putin's expressed view is just fearful that it is true. And anyone who seeks vindication of their position in Putin's view is just desperate for validation.

I expressed my own view about European immigration @180, it's probably not a million miles from your own position.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 30 2019 0:18 utc | 192

Barovsky @ 3
Show me one country where multiculturlism works? In the UK, most Indian and West Indian immigrants adopted the home culture but tried to retain some parts of their original culture where the two cultures can co-exist - for example, many immigrants from the Indian sub-continent may have arranged marriages, even when born in the UK, where they go back to India (many for the first time) to meet a bride. But, those individuals who insist on retaining all of their original culture, and reject the home culture, end up living in enclaves, such as Southall in the UK. In these enclaves they speak their foreign languages, cook their foreign food and teach their children in their foreign culture. It is impossible for multiple cultures to fully co-exist in a single, united nation, they can co-exist as separate groups within the same nation, but this then causes strife. When making laws, the government either has to make different laws for different groups (accommodating the foreign cultures) or they have to pick a route that pleases one group but not another. If they are being honest they will pick the route that benefits the majority who have the home culture. This has recently become even more evident since the Muslims are not prepared to compromise their culture in the same way as Hindus and Sikhs did in the past.

Posted by: aspnaz | Jun 30 2019 0:26 utc | 193

somebody @186


There is no ambiguity. Moscow Times is a western intelligence propaganda operation. Putin or the Russian government have nothing to do with it. Your claim is like saying RFE/RL and VOA are being subsidized and directed by the Russian government. The claim is absurd.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 30 2019 0:30 utc | 194

Issue appears to be specific to Chrome. Strange. Fine on Firefox.

@ William Gruff ~139: Way too many straw men and tropes to even try taking apart, but the biggest one is grouping "liberals" into the "open borders" thing - Do you have any polling to back up this assertion that all liberals want the total bastardization of cultures from around the world or that we are all for open borders?

Another thing - The United States was, is and always will be a multi-cultural land - there is no arguing that, and even if pockets of it weren't and still aren't, that's due to a small group of rich white males manipulating the legal and economic systems to preserve an artificial imbalance and 'purity' of culture. The United States is on land taken by force, broken treaty, and outright theft from natives, purchased from European countries, and having had to import large numbers of laborers needed to man the factories starting with the Industrial Revolution.

Now, where I draw the line is with Europe. Why must a country like Sweden or Germany be forced to accept the refugees of U.S./U.K./French colonialism and resource wars? People in those countries - with ancient cultures of their own - are fully sane to ask questions such as "When did I get to vote on this?"

Of course many of these countries have been multi-cultural for centuries - the legacy of the aforementioned colonialism. Indians/Pakistanis by way of the Near East, Muslims by way of Algeria and blacks by way of the Congo have been in the UK, France and Belgium respectively for as long as I've been alive. Such is the price a nation pays, I guess, for its historical elites/oligarchs colonizing, terrorizing and stealing resources from a region over a period spanning up to a century.

But I have sympathy for those nations like Germany and Sweden (to name two, and each with their own roles in previous colonialism/imperialism)whose people are forced to welcome throngs of people with cultures vastly different than their own, and which strains the already increasingly austere social safety net.

I just have to ask: cui bono?

Posted by: KC | Jun 30 2019 0:36 utc | 195

My comment appeared and then poof! What gives? Retroactive moderation? I don't think I said anything offensive at all. Use of the word "bastardization"?

Posted by: KC | Jun 30 2019 0:37 utc | 196

@192 peter au... germany taking in white helmets is in line with their support for moderate headchoppers too.. the west is essentially screwed at this point.. up is down and down is up... merkel will be gone soon enough, but there are more like minded people behind it, or so it appears..

Posted by: james | Jun 30 2019 0:42 utc | 197

speaking of which - US presses Germany to extend military action inside Syria: report i guess the white helmet brigade was mostly a uk-usa creation with back up support from all the poodles... i know canada has let in many syrian refugees in the past few years as well...

Posted by: james | Jun 30 2019 0:46 utc | 198

michaelj72 -

"....The liberal’s professed concern for others’ welfare and their rights has, in reality, provided cynical cover for a series of ever-more transparent resource grabs."

More straw man B.S. You've been listening to too much "conservative talk" on the radio or something and you've been programmed all wrong.

The "liberalism" excuse used by the capitalist warmongering class of the United States and Europe since at least WWI has always been a thin veneer to disguise their own true motives. Bringing democracy to ______ is just another form of that - and there's nothing "liberal" about it once the sanctions begin, tank treads start hitting the road and the bombs start falling. It's pure unadulterated right wing gangster capitalism. Ask Smedley Butler's ghost, for God's sake.

There is no functional unified American "left" with any sort of real power - and that's because people programmed like you have long bought into the bankster/corporate/chamber of commerce/kleptocrat propaganda that convinced so many Americans of things like the need to crush communism at home and abroad - no matter how accurate the description was or how much that communism sprung up precisely to counter the previously mentioned gangsters' influence in their respective countries.

I mean, unless you want to actually define what you mean by "liberals" then it's a pretty pointless comment - and all one needs to do is read a history book. I have to assume you mean the current "left" which, if nothing else, is merely a recent reaction to the accelerating rightward shift of the nation and our government according to most realistic metrics. Nixon and his drug war were prosecuted for one reason - to fully stamp out the remaining real American left by neutralizing the black and activist communities.

I suppose I should stop here because, again, I really have no idea what you mean by "liberals" until you clarify because - and perhaps I'm the one in the wrong here for my assumption - that you mean it in the same sense Rush Limbaugh might.

Posted by: KC | Jun 30 2019 0:49 utc | 199

KC @197

If you're a liberal, as you claim, then why ask cui bono?

Liberalism would clearly regard closed borders as anti-liberal.

When Swedes and Germany voted for liberal governments they voted for the issues that concern you. So no force involved, stupidity maybe?

As a liberal, you are railing against a problem that you created!

Perhaps, you need to find out a bit more about liberalism and neo-liberalism' you could start with my post @177

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 30 2019 0:49 utc | 200

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