Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 31, 2022

Then I Woke Up And Saw This. WTF?

This was the weather in my hometown over the last week.

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40-50° F, somewhat sunny, spring was in the air.

And this is what I woke up to today. Two inch of snow with more falling as I write this. "What the f***?"


Those who have lived on a diet of 'western' news over the last weeks may have the same feeling when waking up to the real data.

Overthrowing Putin?


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Yes - U.S. citizens would probably like to see that.

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But why not start with this guy?

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And here is the data from those who really count.

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Wait - wasn't Putin finished after he destroyed the value of the Russian currency?

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Not really.

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And today it's even better ...

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Time for another coffee.

Posted by b on March 31, 2022 at 7:46 UTC | Permalink

next page »

don't you f-k with Russia's snow cannon. Telling this to my American penmates for some years now :)

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 7:48 utc | 1

Wish I was there.

Aussie and Kiwi Alps are larger than the Swiss Alps.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 31 2022 7:55 utc | 2

Just In! Snow is warm!

Posted by: David Brewer | Mar 31 2022 8:01 utc | 3

Briefing by Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, as of 10:00 a.m. on March 31, 2022

Units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, continuing the offensive, took full control of the village of Zolotaya Niva, crossed the Kashlagach River and consolidated their position in a favorable position.

▪️ The advance within a day was 6 kilometers. Up to 60 Ukrainian nationalists, two tanks, four BMPs, and nine vehicles of various purposes were destroyed.

▪️ Units of the Lugansk People's Republic, having completed the cleansing of the Zhytlovka settlement from insurgents, advanced 5 kilometers and are fighting with nationalists on the outskirts of the Kremennaya settlement.

In the evening of March 30, high-precision air-launched cruise missiles destroyed large fuel bases in the settlements of Dnepropetrovsk, Lysychansk, Chuguev and Novomoskovsk, from which fuel was supplied to the Ukrainian group of forces in Donbas.

▪️ During the night, operational-tactical and unmanned aircraft hit ▪️ Ukrainian military facilities.

Among them were four command posts, one S-300 surface-to-air missile system south of IZUM settlement and one Buk-M1 near KURAKHOVO, two multiple rocket launchers, one ammunition and rocket-artillery weapons depot, two fuel and lubricant depots and 38 strongholds and areas of ammunition concentration.

▪️ The air defense assets of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down 18 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the BALAKLEY settlements during the day, VERBOVOYA, VERKHNETORETSKAYA, DOKUCHAYEVSK, KOROLEVKA, KOMARIN, OPYTNOY, PAVLOVKA, REPKI, CHERNIGOV, CHERNOBYL, SCHORS, including one Bayraktar-TB2 near BEZIMYANNOY.

A total of 124 aircraft and 77 helicopters, 216 anti-aircraft missile systems, 341 unmanned aerial vehicles, 1,815 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 195 multiple rocket launchers, 762 field artillery guns and mortars, and 1,689 special military vehicles have been destroyed since the start of the special military operation.

Posted by: sitrep | Mar 31 2022 8:09 utc | 4

Another ukie helicopter shot down attempting to fly over to azovstal, mariupol.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 8:16 utc | 5

In fact, 2 shot down.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 8:20 utc | 6

Gotta give credit to Biden. He started low and thus didn't have far to fall. :-) Now, Putin, at 83%, he'd have to nuke Moscow to be overthrown. LOL

But here are the real winners: the neocons. Despite the utter and complete collapse of their plans to date, they will remain in power and probably grow in power in Washington. There's nothing like failing upward. All the self-help books tell us so.

Meanwhile, I'm proud to be among the 6% of Americans who approve of Putin's handling of the situation. And that comes from an anarchist, so it actually means something, as opposed to those other 6% who are probably just closet Communists who are so ignorant they don't understand Putin hates Communists. LOL

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 31 2022 8:27 utc | 7

Germans might get a bit cold soon, but in Sri Lanka big trouble is already on:

Posted by: Antonym | Mar 31 2022 8:28 utc | 8


Stage 1; launched and complete.

Stage 2; Deal with unexpected
results of stage 1.
Remove egg from faces.
Blame China & India.

Stage 3; Santion China & India.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 31 2022 8:31 utc | 9

Meanwhile, it's back to business as usual for the US and the EU, i.e., doubling down on disaster...

US-EU first High-Level Dialogue on Russia looks at further sanctions against Moscow

The first meeting of the US-EU High-Level Dialogue on Russia was held in Washington on Wednesday to consider further steps to "isolate Russia further from the U.S. and EU economies and the international financial system," according to a joint statement of the US Department of State and the European External Action Service.

The US side was represented by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and the European Union was represented by European External Action Service Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Enrique Mora.

What did I say about neocons?

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 31 2022 8:32 utc | 10

Once again, found no response 2 days ago:

Please allow me to shift attention to central Asia for a moment, Kasachstan, where the Ukraine war seems to bring up conflict and discussion about the Russians living there and the role of russia as their protecters. What does it mean, when a deputy Secretary of State, Roman Vassilenko, says that Kasachstan does not want to stay behind the "new iron curtain" and invites international companies that leave Russia to come to his country?

Is Tokayev playing a game?

Posted by: njet | Mar 31 2022 8:38 utc | 11

From Donbass Insider Telegram channel...

The last of the Azovites have few options - Basurin, DPR Defence Minister

As the battle for Mariupol is seeing its near completion - the last opportunity for Azovites to leave the city has closed. The remainder are encircled and no corridor will be provided.

Well, that ends that discussion from previous thread. Also, Kadyrov says 95% of Mariupol has been liberated.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 31 2022 8:50 utc | 12

Bit of light-hearted entertainment:

Boss of military intelligence is fired for claiming until the last moment that the Russians will not attack Ukraine.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 8:50 utc | 13

Wow. You gotta look at this - try not to puke...

Azov Battalion: ‘We are patriots – we’re fighting the real Nazis of the 21st century’
Catherine Philp finds an elite battalion challenging its far-right reputation
Full Page archived here:

Volodymyr became the patron saint of both Russia and Ukraine but Azov’s nationalist leanings hark back to the original pagan faith, which some cite as the inspiration for its symbols, including Azov’s trademark Wolfsangel, also used by Nazi Germany.
Azov has its fair share of football hooligans and ultranationalists but also scholars like Zaikovsky, who worked as a translator and book editor. Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert in the European right, claims Azov has evolved so far from its origins as to make its far-right roots meaningless.

“Ukraine is a democratic country and people of all nationalities and religions live here side by side,” said Artem Hubenko, who came to Kyiv’s striking Soviet modernist crematorium to mourn his comrade, Denis Kotenko, the second of the three Azov men killed in Lukianivka last Thursday.
“We have Jews, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Georgians and Russians all among our fighters. We are all fighting for Ukraine.”

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 31 2022 9:01 utc | 14

In my hometown they do call this season the 'blackthorn winter' and they 'don't cast clouts 'till the may (hawthorn) be out'

Posted by: Clive | Mar 31 2022 9:11 utc | 15

You just got a few centimeters of 'global warming'

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 31 2022 9:11 utc | 16

I feel I am being snowed when I hear and read claims that Germany can manage without Russian gas and oil. I wonder if the snow was sent as a helpful reminder that that might not be prudent. With snowy greetings from Fischtown.

Posted by: johnf | Mar 31 2022 9:14 utc | 17

“Another ukie helicopter shot down attempting to fly over to azovstal, Mariupol”. #5

Speaking about frenetic attempts to evacuate Ukrainian military leadership from Mariupol I was puzzled by a previous comment. Are there any “foreign military advisers” (probably US and UK) in Mariupol? Is this the reason of these attempts? If true Russians would probably want to catch them alive. Does anyone have any information on this?

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 9:25 utc | 18

So Euros to Rubles conversion via Gazprom bank for EU gas. Step back by Putin, but ensures Gazprom bank is not sanctioned and remains part of Swift. 1-1 draw.

Posted by: Oh | Mar 31 2022 9:34 utc | 19

About gas for rubles, it's clearer now:

Regarding the next Internet "zrada", on the topic that Russia has passed back and will not sell for rubles.

"The proposed scheme requires mandatory opening of accounts in Russian rubles in a Russian bank by a foreign buyer of Russian gas," a government source told RBC. According to him, "the payment from the buyer to Gazprom will have to be made exclusively in rubles." A source close to Gazprom confirmed the structure of the proposed scheme.

(c) RBC

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 9:39 utc | 20

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 9:25 utc | 18

Yes, there's chatter across multiple channels (not just collonel cassad's) that there are US, UK advisors, potentially from other countries.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 9:41 utc | 21

I though Fools' Day gonna be tomorrow, but seems i mistaken. (there is some map there too, for non-Europeans)

Zelensky firghten Norges that sea flows would drift "Russian" sea mines from Black Sea into Norwegians seaports.

Norges, are you scared yet???

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:42 utc | 22

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 9:25 utc | 18

What puzzles me is how do they convince pilots to go on a clearly suicide missions?

Why won't pilots just escape to Turkey if not evil Russia? Why won't them jump into sea close to some shores ?

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:45 utc | 23

Why won't pilots just escape to Turkey if not evil Russia? Why won't them jump into sea close to some shores ?
Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:45 utc | 23

Family ?

Posted by: Tom_12 | Mar 31 2022 9:49 utc | 24

Posted by: Tom_12 | Mar 31 2022 9:49 utc | 24


Increasing number of reports from different sources confirm the fact that remaining "forces" of Azov and VSU are constantly high and under the influence of hard drugs, including heroin and other "cocktails" one shoots into veins. So, it is just the matter of method of how to finish those remnants off and if anything is worth saving at Azov Steel plant. We'll know soon enough.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 9:55 utc | 25

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 9:55 utc | 25

Nope, those are for desperate rats cornered in Mariupol.

Heli pilots go from "main Ukraine" into that corner, like moths to the candle.

The idea of families took hostages is unnerving but... practical.

Remembering that Ukraine even took Russia nuclear workers hostages.... Tom's idea abot pilot's fmailies seems vommitingly plausible.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:57 utc | 26

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:57 utc | 26

Yeah, it's entirely possible. I just think that normal ppl will consider their chances to be extremely close to 0 and beg to reconsider. Even 100 million US dollars for "succesful" extraction is not worth it.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 10:00 utc | 27

I remember reading the US supplied amphetamines to its troops during world war 2, I'm sure this is common practice, as well as ped's. chemical frenzy. A lot of US cops are on some kind of chemical cocktail, too.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Mar 31 2022 10:11 utc | 28

"Posted by: Paul | Mar 31 2022 7:55 utc | 2"

Aussie "Alps"? are such in name only, sorry to say it. One can drive up to the highest peaks. Major reason why the continent will never sustain more than 20-30 Million people: No snow to store fresh water, no rivers = No sustainable life inland.

Posted by: Et Tu | Mar 31 2022 10:13 utc | 29

18+ photo from the purported site of one of the shot down hellies. Could be after an extraction, one of the corpses has got bandages.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 10:13 utc | 30

The new gas for rubles payment mechanism will be published today according to Peskov.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 10:25 utc | 32

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:45 utc | 23

That sure is a suicide mission in a helicopter.
It's over 500 km's one way.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 31 2022 10:51 utc | 33

That’s a lovely photo, b. Some freezing rain here in Montreal overnight. Very weird feeling to have milder weather than Hamburg in early spring. How’s the port traffic faring?? (Very well is what a quick Google search tells me (Austria, China, maybe LNG) clicking on the News tab. As well as something about flooding.)

Is it just me or does Biden’s arm look different than what you’d expect? That’s a lot of muscle tone for a man of his years. (Maybe he’s on that same drug regimen as Mary J. Blige was.)

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 11:02 utc | 34

Statement by the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, Wang Wenbin, on relations with the Russian Federation. March 30, 2022.

“Cooperation between Russia and China has no limits, our struggle for peace has no limits, our desire to maintain security has no limits, our opposition to hegemony has no limits. China and Russia will work together to promote the development of genuine multilateral relations in the world, promote the formation of multipolar mechanisms and the democratization of international relations."

Posted by: Kim | Mar 31 2022 11:05 utc | 35

Who really cares about US public opinion ? A nation where barely 50% turn out to vote and then vote overwhelmingly for a senile bagman and warmonger who hides in his basement in Delaware simply because they did not vote previously for a stumbling demented warmonger from the Arkansas Crime Family funded by Viktor Pinchuk son-in-law of Kuchma, Kleptocrat in Chief and whose Clinton Foundation was funded through Ukraine, UK and with German Government money.

A country so lacking in educational quality that most Americans could not name the capitals of 50 states let alone point to Russia or China on a map

It is the epitome of Western Decadence that politicians in Europe who publicly scorned Trump - like Steinmeier the German Puppet Prince - now fall into line because a senile old fool blabbers inanities in Poland.

The West is run by Bloatware. - Germany with someone as intellectually constrained as Scholz and visibly so - surrounded by frightened school kids like Lindner, Habeck and Baerbock - steers Germany into the cliff face in a suicide dive and Lauterbach feels neglected because that was his avowed intent.

The Inexorable Collapse of The West is as certain as the Twin Towers in NYC. - it will be a demolition

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Mar 31 2022 11:05 utc | 36

Weather forecasts are not good in the coming days in France.
Sad, our trees are just giving flowers.
We use wood as heating energy.
I called my wood provider one week ago and he told me that penury is expected for end of this year, lack of manpower, ressources, ...
Good luck.

Posted by: FromFrance | Mar 31 2022 11:14 utc | 37

India and Russia have completed work on an alternative transaction platform, seen as a replacement for SWIFT, according to the Economic Times, citing sources.

The new payment system is likely to be installed at the headquarters of both the Reserve Bank of India and VEB. The new system is expected to be in place within a week and will be able to ensure "the smooth transmission of import or export documents for transactions in rupees and rubles."

Posted by: Kim | Mar 31 2022 11:23 utc | 38

Arioch @1 - love it! Must be the Russian snow cannon!

Arioch @ 22 - I can’t prove this definitively but I think Canadian frigate, HMCS Montreal which is part of NATO Standing Maritime Group 2 is helping with de-mining. (The Commander of that group is from the Italian navy, by the way.) NATO does have two mine countermeasures groups, as well? According to Twitter, on March 9, group 1 was in the Norwegian inner leads

Group 2 was in the Aegean Sea with the Hellenic Navy on March 18, so this article reports

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 11:31 utc | 39

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 9:25 utc | 18

Interesting hypothesis about the embeded advisors:

[Forwarded from ADEKWAT Z]
An extremely interesting knot can now be knitted around Mariupol.

Raz: in recent days, the UKR have made several very persistent attempts to evacuate someone from there. Reports of three of their helicopters shot down at the same time and one who escaped, barely hitting our radars, came into my field of vision. The DPR and our Defense Ministry say they are trying to take out the Azov command.

Two: Macron calls Putin with such fervor and perseverance, with which he used to overcome only his grandmother when he was her fiance. Only in March - at least seven calls. And the topic of evacuation from Mariupol is raised regularly in them.

Three: the same Macron insists with the same mouth that he, in the company of a cat and dog of Turkey and Greece, be allowed to conduct a humanitarian, or rather evacuation, operation of unprecedented scale in Mariupol. With our consent, somehow not very.

Four: just today it is reported about the imminent dismissal of the head of the French military intelligence. According to the version announced by the press - for not predicting and oversleeping the beginning of debanderization.

And now, on all this ground, the network has been enthusiastically wondering for quite a few days what kind of such or such monsieur can or can be in Mariupol side by side with the most complete human scum. With the prospect of falling into our hands alive and doing incalculable good to the reputation of Belle France in general and personally Macron in particular.

The first round of the presidential elections in France on April 10. The second one, which is guaranteed not to do without - in another two weeks.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 11:34 utc | 40

Did you check-in with Punxsutawney Phil?

Posted by: imo | Mar 31 2022 11:34 utc | 41

Boo @ 40 — you have this avid La Presse follower from Montréal concerned with this news that you posted:

« Four: just today it is reported about the imminent dismissal of the head of the French military intelligence. According to the version announced by the press - for not predicting and oversleeping the beginning of debanderization. »

I’ve had a question on my mind for several days now. For the barflies from Australia: has there been any sign of the Royal Australian Navy joining the naval activity in the waters surrounding Europe? It seems to me like this would be something to anticipate (more skin in the game from other continents)

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 11:40 utc | 42

People in Russia should overthrow Putin, right. Seems like the usual suspects are still having wet dreams of a new Yeltzin. We also have a rather cold and rainy day today in Germany, after everybody thought a wonderful spring had already begun. I'm probably developing psychopathic tendencies, for I find myself wishing it gets real - real! - icy cold for a while, just to serve as a shot across the bow. But then I look at my poor little tress that have started blossoming already and oh well.

Posted by: Katharina | Mar 31 2022 11:41 utc | 43

@Boo | Mar 31 2022 11:34 utc | 40

Very interesting speculation indeed... clearly some embarrassing revelations to come soon, and just in time for the French (s)election.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 31 2022 11:48 utc | 44

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 11:40 utc | 42

The news of the dismissal are also discussed in more details in Le Monde. Also, the latest news about the second downed heli is that DPR have captured 3 ppl that survived and one of them is conscious; more news to come.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 11:48 utc | 45

regarding the two (possibly 3) helicopters that have been shot down trying to evacuate the Nazis leadership trapped in Mariupol in the past week. The rumor I keep hearing is that the leadership is actually made up of NATO special advisors (mostly American and British with some Turks as well). the fact that they are willing to throw away helicopters on a suicide mission like this to save, at most, 15 or so people can only mean that the capture of these people would be very, very embarrassing. But the US shouldn't worry, the Russians have always known how to treat their captured Nazis!

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 31 2022 12:01 utc | 46

Thanks, Boo. I don’t suppose any of these reports from today’s La Presse had anything to do with his dismissal…

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 12:01 utc | 47

@Antonym | Mar 31 2022 8:28 utc | 8

Indeed, I was in Sri Lanka (Colombo) in early 2018. Even then everything was on edge. They shut the internet after some assassinations just as I was flying out.

Through local contacts I became aware of a significant outflow of capital funds to buy chlorine for the city water supply. There was a special agency set up to manage it etc. All because the colonial salt-based system in the north, mainly run by Tamil engineers, had been destroyed and the government was not willing to fix it.

The gas, in large cylinders, came in from India. This was a sorry post-civil war island state largely run by local oligarchs with old dot-matrix printer level technology in the airport and little or no paper for the ATM machines. China was the source of the military equipment that tipped the balance in the 25-year war and they were making large donations for various white-elephant infrastructure projects.

There was a definite socialist "we are all equal, comrade" sense to it all but equally a lust/desire to be a new Singapore. There was a very strong focus on new identity and their own local scripts (which could not be easily addressed by optical character recognition etc) and at the same time they hung on to the old colonial history with statues of British Queen Victoria.

A very complex situation, and yet the island had something in the air. Powerfully good or negative and highly superstitious. 7 was a lucky number and 9 an very unlucky number -- but no one could tell me why.

There is a good book on the place: "Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka" by John Gimlette (2016). Again, another borderland between great power plays (India & China in this case) and a sorry state of affairs that echo the Ukraine atm.

Corruption in the island is significant – as the (then) recently retired Auditor General of Sri Lanka made clear: "Sri Lanka's public sector is the most corrupt in the world". (*) Although corruption is not limited to Sri Lanka his secure retirement pension from a long career in the U.N. meant he was able to speak bluntly on his retirement not long before I arrived.

If drinking water becomes unprocessed in that city environment, then public healthy and poor sanitation related disease is the next bus stop. I understand from some ex-pat Sri Lankans (one a medical doctor) that there are also some chronic organ failure diseases in the countryside that some think are related to toxic chemicals used (or misused) in agriculture.

Not good, ... woke-identity has a high cost when you don't have the grunt to live somewhere near sustainability. The Sinhalese in the south may have grabbed the power over the island, with some meddling by external vectors, but the delicate and enigmatic balance across the island, once known as Serendib (also spelled Serendip, Arabic Sarandīb), seems gone. It surely is a leading indicator for those who cannot live at peace with others in their home locality.


(*) Newsfirst Sri Lanka. 2018. “Sri Lanka's Public Sector is the Most Corrupt in the World - Auditor General.” Newsfirst Sri Lanka (August, 17). (Video) (6-12-2019).

Posted by: imo | Mar 31 2022 12:20 utc | 48

Aussie and Kiwi Alps are larger than the Swiss Alps.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 31 2022 7:55 utc | 2

Not really. Be it area, height, the number of skiers, the Alps France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Slovenia are bigger.

For myself, I reside in a nice, if rather vertically challenged, nook of Appalachians.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 31 2022 12:31 utc | 49

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 12:01 utc | 47

I can't make any sense of the first article: the idea of overthrowing Putin and how to achieve it - not really realistic based on the arguments exposed. The political request for the military to be less letal and incur more losses than necessary does not lead to dissatisfaction with Putin and desire to overthrow him by the generals. It's also very one-dimensional thinking based on the idea that Putin is dictator and he selects who is executing the contracts for the military for example as insinuated in the article.

How that connects with the firing of the French mil. int. Boss, hard to connect it, imho.

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 12:35 utc | 50

Posted by: imo | Mar 31 2022 12:20 utc | 48

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll check it out.

In kind I'd like to strongly recommend the following book to get a good understanding of the complex tapestry that are the Balkans. Although it is about Bosnia, it gives the reader a deep understanding of the region's complex interrelationships throughout history and its mechanics.

Bosnia: A Short History Paperback – August 1, 2002
by Noel Malcolm

Bosnia: A Short History was celebrated on its first publication as a brilliant work of history which set the terrible war in the Balkans in its full historical and political context. This revised edition has been updated with a new chapter that covers the events of 1993-1995 and remains the definitive work on the complex history of Bosnia.

`A quite brilliant piece of historical record-straightening. Everyone who wishes to have an opinion about Bosnia must read this book.` Niall Ferguson, Daily Mail

`Clear-sighted, authoritative and eloquent.` Dimitri Obolensky, Times Literary Supplement

`A Triumph of clarity, learning and balance.` Adrian Hastings, New Statesman and Society

`Excellent.` Paddy Ashdown, Sunday Times

`This is a splendid work of synthesis on a very complex subject, written with insight and sympathy: the best, indeed the only, informed book on a history that has become both topical and tragic.` Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Telegraph

`A marvellous book, a work of great scholarship.` Margaret Thatcher

Posted by: Tom_12 | Mar 31 2022 12:42 utc | 51

Posted by: Tom_12 | Mar 31 2022 12:42 utc | 50

Any book about Balkans and it's history, with glaring reviews from Anglo/British scum that instigated civil wars there in the first place will be seriously biased.

Posted by: Abe | Mar 31 2022 12:45 utc | 52

A "snow kiss" before spring :) Father Frost has hot daughters lol.

Love the birdtray. Feed the dinosaurs responsibly :) Imagine if T. Rex in reality looked much like a ball of fluff! Still got the teeth though..

- - -

Impossible not to wonder about what (if anything, that's a big if) the heck the French were fishing for in Mariupol. Another serious WTF moment (akin to the brief short-lived (hah) rumor of "Russians resurrecting the dead") and some part of the French system clearly is as adamantly stubborn about not understanding their multiple and large past failures as the US and UK.

If that's the right end (the clean end) of the stick that is. I wouldn't bet on it. It could be that the nasty Mr. M. is only trying to call in a favor on behalf of his nasty NATO peers.

But maybe just maybe it is something that is important enough to become the last straw for the generals. (Long overdue imo).

In non-Russian parts of Europe hope seems to live in the south: France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, possibly Romania, Austria, Greece, and yes even Turkey.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 31 2022 12:49 utc | 53

Posted by: Abe | Mar 31 2022 12:45 utc | 51

I wouldn't be so knee-jerk dismissive. Even the Anglos do sometimes write history well. I have made a habit of reading from all sides of an issue. This gets even more interesting if you can do so in several languages. In the end I make up my mind who I believe more or less. In this case the history is not one where Britannia plays the lead role, so what one gets from the book, IMHO, is very good. If they were involved then I'd say caution is warranted ;-)

"Don't judge the book by its cover"

Posted by: Tom_12 | Mar 31 2022 13:02 utc | 54

Is Tokayev playing a game?

Posted by: njet | Mar 31 2022 8:38 utc | 11

It sounds to me like he wants to grow his economy, which would make sense after the crisis they went through. Having survived the crisis, he needs to show some results.

In any case, I don't want to get excited about it unless he starts doing more than business with "the West", selling some gas & oil and whatever else they will PAY for.

If Tokaev starts to babble about "western values", then I might worry.

Pashinian in Armenia is another one Putin seems to trust despite some "mistakes" made.


What I find interesting is former President Medvedev of Russia is being used as prominent spokesperson in the information war now. Putin still wants him around, even after Libya, he still gets to be on the team.

This is so unlike what happens here in the Uncle Sugar Armaments Co. between political actors, and no I don't think that is bad.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 31 2022 13:06 utc | 55

Very normal weather I believe ... one need gas I believe ...
Greg (from Canada).

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Mar 31 2022 13:12 utc | 56

Posted by: pretzelattack | Mar 31 2022 10:11 utc | 28

With "Pervitin" the German took Greece in ten days: fighting nights and days without sleep.
It was a bad case of high morale due to being permanently high from "Pervitin".

"The remarkable endurance of German and Allied soldiers during World War II had a secret ingredient: performance-enhancing drugs.

During the 1940s, Nazi troops were liberally supplied with a methamphetamine called Pervitin, while American and British soldiers stayed alert with the help of the amphetamine Benzedrine.

Medical officers on both sides distributed these stimulants — and others, such as cocaine — to keep weary soldiers awake for days at a time; to enable troops to perform longer under punishing conditions; and to deaden the horrific and debilitating effects of shell shock and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to "Secrets of the Dead: World War Speed," a new documentary airing today (June 25) on PBS. [The 10 Most Outrageous Military Experiments]"

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Mar 31 2022 13:18 utc | 57

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 31 2022 13:06 utc | 54

Putin likes to keep his enemies at hand - as well as the big file he has on them.
Anyway the leash is short - with prong collar.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Mar 31 2022 13:25 utc | 58

Is it just me or does Biden’s arm look different than what you’d expect? That’s a lot of muscle tone for a man of his years. (Maybe he’s on that same drug regimen as Mary J. Blige was.)

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 31 2022 11:02 utc | 34

Looks like an enhancement to me, he is older than I am, there should at least be some loss of muscle mass when you get this old. Politicians do worry about their image. I'm in decent shape, but nobody is going to think I'm still 50 looking at my arm.

Biden's presidency looks like a real train wreck so far, epic.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 31 2022 13:30 utc | 59

Well, what kind of weather did you really expect in April?
It's been volatile since the beginning of times and it's not going to change anytime soon, also I too get frustrated when the weather doesn't meet up to my expectations. Then again, maybe my expectations are set too high. However, I can't do anything about it, so it's no use to whine about it. (Although I do, just not on the internet).

I am sure you saw this bad weather occur before, although you prefer not to remember it. As we all do.

Kind regards

Posted by: Connor | Mar 31 2022 13:49 utc | 60

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 31 2022 13:06 utc | 54

Putin likes to keep his enemies at hand - as well as the big file he has on them.

Anyway the leash is short - with prong collar.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Mar 31 2022 13:25 utc | 57

Yes, an excellent habit.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 31 2022 13:50 utc | 61

in mariupol there is jeffrey epstein servicing the nazis. his presence is required elsewhere, hence the urgency.

Posted by: albagen | Mar 31 2022 13:50 utc | 62

Al Jazeera filmed ukro-warriors "smart" transportation in medical cars

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 13:54 utc | 63

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 11:34 utc | 40

And there is one more item: who has last seen Henri Bernard-Levi, the famous discourse-monger?

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 14:02 utc | 64

@ Arioch | Mar 31 2022 14:02 utc | 63

Please please PLEASE let him be in Azovstal! And taken dead or alive . . .

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 31 2022 14:10 utc | 65

@ Greg Galloway, @ Bemildred

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 31 2022 14:11 utc | 66

Posted by: Boo | Mar 31 2022 11:34 utc | 40

Thank you. This all starts to make a lot of sense. We will know shortly.

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 14:12 utc | 67

@ Greg Galloway, @ Bemildred

Of course it's possible that folks like Medvedev aren't exactly enemies but "loyal opposition." Putin might be one of those few world leaders with more than an ounce of Socratic wisdom, and actually prefers not being in an echo chamber of sycophants.

Now Chubais, on the other hand . . .

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 31 2022 14:12 utc | 68

Vzglyad Russian website - Yandex translation
The deputy commander of the national battalion "Azov" Svyatoslav Palamar was liquidated

March 31, 2022, 16:19
Photo: frame from the video
Text: Alexey Degtyarev
During the special operation in Ukraine, the deputy commander of the Azov Svyatoslav Palamar, known by the call sign "Kalina", was liquidated, said the Deputy Minister of Information of the DPR Daniil Bezsonov.

Palamar was in one of the Mi-8 helicopters shot down by the DPR air defence on Thursday, Bezsonov told RT.

Earlier, the DPR reported that two helicopters aimed at the evacuation of nationalist commanders from Mariupol were destroyed.

The People's Militia of the DPR reported that one of the helicopters was shot down by a prepared calculation from a captured Stinger MANPAD captured during the liberation of Mariupol, RIA Novosti reports.

The bodies of Azov militants were found at the crash site. Two of them survived, operational measures are being carried out with them.

Prior to that, the official representative of the Russian Defence Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov, noted that a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter was shot down near Mariupol over the Sea of Azov, which was sent to evacuate the commanders of the Azov national battalion. In addition, on Monday Konashenkov said that over the past day, the Russian Aerospace Forces and air defence shot down five Ukrainian combat aircraft and 19 drones.

Posted by: Waldorf | Mar 31 2022 14:16 utc | 69

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 14:02 utc | 63

That would be such a deserving Anti-climax for that bastard.

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 14:20 utc | 70

But Simes has a caveat to those numbers he posted.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Mar 31 2022 14:21 utc | 71

It should be interesting to see how the story develops in Ukraine about repeated attempts to exfiltrate Azov leaders from Mariupol in light of the contrast with the regular reports of Russian general officers fighting and allegedly dying with their troops. I can’t imagine that morale among the Ukrainian forces will be enhanced, reflecting that while the enemy’s military knows that the top guys are with them in harm’s way, their own can be helped by the government to skedaddle if things are going badly.

Posted by: Cortes | Mar 31 2022 14:32 utc | 72

So what is your view concerning the German government's recommendations to turn thermostats down to 15C, to bike around, to wear warmer clothes and to heat by cooking?

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 31 2022 14:39 utc | 73

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 31 2022 14:39 utc | 72

I guess the good old german tradition of believing in the "Endsieg" never came really out of fashion. Just a few sacrifices here and there, and everything will be good.

The only thing that keeps me alive is that it feels like more and more german barflies hang around here. Maybe not everything is lost.

Posted by: TomD | Mar 31 2022 14:50 utc | 74

Posted by: Cortes | Mar 31 2022 14:32 utc | 71

It should be interesting to see how the story develops in Ukraine about repeated attempts to exfiltrate Azov leaders from Mariupol in light of the contrast with the regular reports of Russian general officers fighting and allegedly dying with their troops.

Or even dying at the hands of their own troops according to some reports.

I don't see why whatever happens to Azovs will affect Ukrainian morale much. Either militias like that are fringe elements different from the actual Ukrainian army, or if they really are the primary fighting force in Mariupol like everyone here insists, then one wonders why the mighty Russian army has of yet to defeat a bunch of stormtrooper wannabes.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Mar 31 2022 14:52 utc | 75

(*) Newsfirst Sri Lanka. 2018. “Sri Lanka's Public Sector is the Most Corrupt in the World - Auditor General.” Newsfirst Sri Lanka (August, 17). (Video) (6-12-2019).

Posted by: imo | Mar 31 2022 12:20 utc | 48

New York should be considered in comparisons. For example, vastly expensive and vastly underperforming subway system.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 31 2022 14:59 utc | 76

I finished an exceptional book called the Jakarta Method. I have been handing out the book to people so they learn a little about the US hatred of Russia and how we have spent years slaughtering people for that hatred and of course oil. When I looked at the jacket I was shocked then had a laugh at the hypocrites at the NYT WP Atlantic NPR, who all gave praise to this book, while pretending they did not promote the slaughter.

Posted by: Susan | Mar 31 2022 15:04 utc | 77

Posted by: Tom_12 | Mar 31 2022 13:02 utc | 53

It was from the period when Serbophobia and propaganda was as strong in same way Russophobia is today in all western countries.

If there was book about Russia and Ukranian war written today (as many are) and UK prime minister and BBC/all other UK state propaganda outlets were giving it excellent reviews - would you trust it?

Posted by: Abe | Mar 31 2022 15:19 utc | 78

Are there any “foreign military advisers” (probably US and UK) in Mariupol?

Posted by: Milos | Mar 31 2022 9:25 utc | 18 and others

This was discussed in the March 29 thread. A civilian interviewed by Patrick Lancaster seems to support the contention that US military are indeed embedded.

Posted by: farm ecologist | Mar 31 2022 15:33 utc | 79

Spring might be in the air but Winter has not been cancelled.

Sober up. Today is DDD. Putin is not bluffing. If you do not have rubles well then.......

Putin: Existing Contracts on Russian Gas Will Be Frozen in Case of Failure to Pay in Rubles

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree regulating gas trade with designated 'unfriendly' states, saying countries wishing to do business with Moscow must open bank accounts in Russian banks, and stressing that existing contracts will be frozen unless ruble payments are made.

"We are offering contractors from these countries a clear and transparent scheme. To purchase Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments for gas supplied starting tomorrow, 1 April, will be paid," Putin said, speaking at a meeting on aviation industry matters on Thursday.

Putin stressed that Russia would continue to meet its obligations in supplying gas at volumes and at prices set under existing contracts. However, the need to pay in Russian currency is not up for negotiation, according to the president.

"No one sells anything for free, and we too will not engage in charity. That is, existing contracts [not paid for in rubles] will be stopped," he said. "If such payments [in rubles] are not made, we will consider this a default on obligations by buyers. With all the ensuing consequences," Putin added.

(emphasis added)

Identifying the thieves

Prediction: there'll be a run on duvets and thermals.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 31 2022 15:34 utc | 80

Presence of foreign military advisors would imply that there was a complete intelligence failure. West is completely risk averse, as the civilian in the link @78 states. They went into this without any idea what was about to hit them.

West continues to behave like the dinosaur injured in hindquarters and the pain signal has not yet reached the brain.

Last ruble quote was 81.00 to the dollar. Before gas sales have even begun.

Posted by: oldhippie | Mar 31 2022 15:42 utc | 81

They're defeated. The fact that Azov chiefs are being killed while attempting to flee by helicopter is proof enough that all that is left for the Russians is mopping up. But helicopters are taking huge risks to try and get them out - obviously Azov is seen as an elite force whose commanders at least are worth saving. What the ordinary Azov troopers make of it would be interesting to know. Not everyone trapped in Bataan in 1942 was delighted when Dugout Doug was evacuated while they went into Japanese captivity.

Posted by: Waldorf | Mar 31 2022 15:44 utc | 82

@ Greg Galloway, @ Bemildred
Of course it's possible that folks like Medvedev aren't exactly enemies but "loyal opposition." Putin might be one of those few world leaders with more than an ounce of Socratic wisdom, and actually prefers not being in an echo chamber of sycophants.

Now Chubais, on the other hand . . .

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 31 2022 14:12 utc | 67

I'm no expert, but in my limited experience, sometimes you have to get rid of them, and sometimes you want to keep them around. If they are useful and reliable, or can be taught, not just obsessed with themselves, then I would usually try to get more work out of them. Breaking in new people wastes a lot of time, for one thing. Always a blessing when you get someone who doesn't need to be supervised.

So yeah, if you are a good judge of people, which Putin appears to me to be. That is what I find interesting, and he is nuanced about it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 31 2022 15:47 utc | 83

A very good article by Laura Ruggeri today at

It gets to the nub of one of the paralysis on the left which leads to analyses including as this one by Yves Engler does "... Canadians should sympathize with Ukrainians who reject Russian influence, and condemn Putin’s criminal invasion.."
To which the quick answer is that to talk of "Putin’s criminal invasion." is to endorse the imperialist position.
Those who argue that all empires fall and this one will too are making the basic mistake of viewing history as cyclical. It isn't, there are cycles to be discerned in it but its most prominent feature is change. The US Empire is, in important ways, unique. It is very close to being globally hegemonic not merely militarily or commercially but culturally. (The fact that this blog is written in English is an incidental indication of this.)

And in the past months we have seen how close to complete control of public opinion within its targeted audiences, the Empire has come. The actual history of events in The Ukraine, a history which in the past three decades has been openly rehearsed before us all, has been swept aside by the volume and intensity of media campaigns mounted by institutions that, as most people are aware, are so corrupt that the messages that they convey are almost certain to be the polar opposites of reality. Everyone 'knows' that the media lies. And yet everyone 'believes' those lies- whatever 'belief' may mean.

This has never happened before. In both 1914 and 1939 there was widespread incredulity of the official 'lines.' This incredulity seems to have been forgotten but it was there.
The problem that lies at the centre of Imperialism today is its cultural unipolarity- the universal power of the Hollywoods, and there are a few of them, in an era in which the reach of the media, all controlled in the final analysis by US Intelligence, is almost total.
Those who tell us that Putin is a neo-liberal with deep ties to the shock therapists and that the CPC is larded through and through with kleptocrats and corrupt regional 'bosses' are telling us nothing new. Or important. What is important- and the current Indian stance is a perfect illustration of this-is that these are alternative cultural, economic and military poles. Their existence as alternatives, challenging the Empire, is an earnest of the competition among and the divisions within the ruling class. Should those divisions be diminished to the point where they could be resolved institutionally, the final defeat of the people in the war against injustice and privilege would become inevitable.
Look around you- the current political climate is Orwellian, the Two Minute Hates have been replaced by 24/7 Hates of Russia and Putin.
When the Snowden revelations came out the thought struck me that humanity was nearing a final stage in its evolution as a species with a central brain, like a beehive, in which the minds of every one of the billions of individuals who make up the species will be controlled by government.

This is a part of what Ruggeri has to say:
"...The “information war over Ukraine” didn’t start in response to Russia’s military operations in 2022. It was initially unleashed in Ukraine. Since 1991 the U.S. spent billions of dollars, and the EU tens of millions, to tear this country apart from Russia, not to mention the money spent by Soros’ Open Society. No price was deemed too high due to the importance of Ukraine on the geopolitical chessboard. U.S. influence operations led to two colour revolutions, the Orange Revolution (2004-05) and EuroMaidan (2013-14). After the 2014 bloody coup, with the removal of any counterweight, U.S.-NATO influence turned into full control and violent repression of dissent: those who had opposed Maidan lived in fear – the Odessa massacre being a constant reminder of the fate that would befall anyone who dared to resist the new regime.

"The promotion of Neo-Nazi tendencies intensified, together with the cult of Nazi collaborationist Stepan Bandera; members of terrorist organizations such as the Azov Battalion and other ultranationalist groups joined government and the Ukranian National Guard, the past was erased and history re-written, Soviet monuments were destroyed, Russian-speakers faced daily threats and discrimination, pro-Russian parties and information outlets were banned, Russophobia was inculcated in children starting from kindergarten. In 2020 alone ultranationalist projects, such as the “Young Banderite Course”, “Banderstadt Festival of Ukrainian Spirit”, etc. received almost half of all the funds allocated by the Ukrainian government for children’s and youth organisations.

"Ukrainians who lived in the separatist People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and couldn’t be targeted by influence operations were targeted by rockets, bombs and bullets: the former compatriots had been recast as enemies almost overnight. While all quality of life indicators revealed a marked decline, large segments of the population lived in a permanent state of cognitive dissonance: they were told that discriminating LGBT is wrong but discriminating Russian speakers is right, remembering Soviet soldiers who had fought Nazism in WW2 and liberated Auschwitz is wrong, remembering the Holocaust is right. Because cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling, people resorted to denial and self-deception, embraced whatever opinion was dominant in their social environment to seek relief...."

On the last thread we had two contributors jeering at Strategic Culture and sites like it (which would include this one) where some people regard VV Putin as a superman or see China as the collective saviour of us all what they missed is the recognition that without these sites do not take the space that would otherwise be occupied by perfect sites, always correct, run by saintly people with unsullied motives etc but even more sites parroting the puppet talk from the MSM.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 31 2022 15:50 utc | 84

The Cash Farm and a Delaware Grand Jury?

Federal Prosecutors Open Investigation Into Hunter Biden Cash Farm in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and China

This is the beginning of the end for the Biden family political dynasty.
This week federal prosecutors move to advance a tax probe of the President’s son Hunter Biden for the millions of dollars cultivated through overseas business deals while his father was sitting Vice President under the Obama Administration.

According to reports, a grand jury heard witness testimonies in February about Biden’s rampant drug use, wild spending habits and illicit relationships with Ukrainian oligarchs.
Federal prosecutors are advancing their investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and are now gathering information related to his foreign income, including from Ukraine.

Investigators with the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware are scrutinizing the money Biden made from his association with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings Ltd. and how Biden spent that money to pay off debt, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.;.[.] (original emphasis)


Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 31 2022 15:51 utc | 85

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 31 2022 14:39 utc | 72

What they really think:
We will get through this for some weeks until desperate Putin will finally commit suicide.
After that we are going to loot his shithole country and everybody will be allowed to switch on the heating again, because the gas is ours.
No joke. Thats what they really think.
Mit den USA im Rücken macht der Totale Krieg doch endlich richtig Spaß!

Posted by: njet | Mar 31 2022 15:56 utc | 86

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 31 2022 15:51 utc | 84

Do Biden realyl misbehave so badly that Deep State had to do this ???
Was Biden ordered to "press the button" but dared to refuse compliance?

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 16:06 utc | 87

"All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty stream of the river Oceanus." Iliad 18

"All streams run to the sea"-Ecclesiastes. I.e., the one sea. (how did they know there's only one sea? it's not apparent to anyone sitting in the Mediterranean basin. maybe blindness helps?)

This of course includes the vapors released from every poisonous breath coming out of those who have unmasked themselves during the coronavirus. it all runs to the same sea that you shit out of when you open your mouth. (You in particular Norwegian).

but oh no, it's the bombs and missiles that are real. the world ocean, that unites both the city at war and the city at peace and all that they contain, every breath, every molecule of being, it's that that's fake. look at all the gunfire! Biden wants it to go on forever, as "sacred duty". why not?

seeing they will see...and not see...

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Mar 31 2022 16:11 utc | 88

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 9:45 utc | 23

That sure is a suicide mission in a helicopter.
It's over 500 km's one way.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 31 2022 10:51 utc | 33

Why not use some mini sub: the depth of Azov sea is about 40 feet.
Suggest it to Macron, he'll jump on the idea!
Especially if he gets paid in Ruble so he could pay his upcoming gas bill before the Elections!

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Mar 31 2022 16:13 utc | 89

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Mar 31 2022 16:13 utc | 88
Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 31 2022 15:34 utc | 79

...and about the gas.

The decree - unofficial text in Russian - makes me raise few eyebrows.

First, it can be done only in one special bank, EU/US would slap sanctions upon it and that's how it would end - no legal way to pay and no gas for EU.

BTW, did you noticed one of the last items of the decree? The decree comes to force effective TOMORROW. Yet Putin "recommends" to GazPromBank to define the procedure of payments in the next 10 days.

1. in case GazPromBank delivers in time, how many more days would it be needed for EU partners to figure out some modus operandi to comply with both GazPromBank's rules and EU rules?
2. what if those rules would be intentionally incompatible with EU rules? i did not read in the decree any recommendation for compatibility.
3. what if GazPromBank would not be up to *recommendations* and would not set the procedure even on the April 11th?

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 16:09 utc | 51

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31 2022 16:15 utc | 90

such a shock to read technofetishists scoffing at something pure, gentle and nourishing falling from the sky. will they notice how quickly such purity becomes sick and disease-making with the filth of their society?

nah, all that blackness that the white becomes in a matter of hours from the pollution in the air, that's fake, too. zoom zoom away from it, get you a fast car.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Mar 31 2022 16:16 utc | 91

Putin signed a decree on gas trade with “unfriendly countries” (RIA Novosti, March 31, 2022 — in Russian)

Vladimir Putin announced that he had signed a decree on a new procedure for paying for Russian gas with unfriendly countries.

“We offer contractors from such countries (unfriendly — RIA Novosti) a clear and transparent scheme. To purchase Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that gas supplied starting from tomorrow will be paid for, from April 1 of this year,” the head of state said, speaking at a meeting on the aviation industry.

He added that Moscow would consider the rejection of these rules as a default, and would stop existing contracts. As the President explained, the freezing of Russian assets abroad showed that Western countries are using their financial systems as a weapon.

“We supplied European consumers with our resources, in this case gas. They received it, paid us in euros, which they then froze themselves,” Putin pointed out.

It follows from the text of the document that it’s only about the supply of raw materials by Gazprom through pipelines. Gazprombank was appointed as the authorized bank for opening ruble accounts.

As I wrote before, Uniper and other European gas companies will have to open Russian subsidiaries with ruble accounts at Russian banks. Western economy will have to continue selling something useful to Russia—whether gold, goods or services—to obtain enough rubles for the European economy to be able to buy natural gas and continue to function.

Media: U.S. excludes Russian fertilizers from sanctions (RIA Novosti, March 31, 2022 — in Russian)

The United States has eased restrictions on the import of Russian mineral fertilizers in order to avoid a shortage of products, Kommersant writes.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury published a new general license dated March 24, which effectively removed Russian mineral fertilizers from possible sanctions.

They were included in the list of vital products along with agricultural products, medicines and medical products.

According to Kommersant's interlocutors, this is due to a shortage in the world market due to problems with supplies from Russia. Major carriers have stopped cooperation with Russian enterprises. And although new logistics have already been established with the help of countries that did not impose restrictions, experts noted that after the publication of the license, the situation improved.

Sources of the publication also hope for the abolition of duties on Russian chemical products. These duties are levied in the United States and Europe on urea-ammonia mixture and phosphorus-containing fertilizers.

As Kommersant notes, Europe and the United States are to a significant degree dependent on supplies from Russia, while Moscow is able to redirect the flow of goods to Asia if the situation deteriorates.

Fertilizers are likely the next commodity to be sold to “unfriendly countries” only for rubles.

Posted by: S | Mar 31 2022 16:18 utc | 92

Are there any “foreign military advisers” (probably US and UK) in Mariupol?

Sounds like the usual suspects, Blackwater (academi) mercenaries, are there as well.

Posted by: Marcella | Mar 31 2022 16:23 utc | 93

bevin @83--

Thanks for the excerpt! I'll need to read the whole thing later.

Today, Lavrov was asked the following by Xinhua News:

"Question: What are the causes of the current crisis in Ukraine?

"Sergey Lavrov: The main cause of the crisis in Ukraine is the policy pursued by NATO for several decades under the leadership of the United States. After the disappearance of the USSR, they continued to move the military infrastructure further to the east, "pumped" Ukraine with weapons, created a military infrastructure there. This threatened Russia's security and was a serious violation of the decisions taken in the OSCE and in the framework of Russia-NATO relations not to strengthen its own security at the expense of the security of others."

The very simple, official answer as to who, what and why being responsible--essentially the Outlaw US Empire--now distilled to its essence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 31 2022 16:25 utc | 94

Finally able to get through to Kremlin website for the link to Putin's remarks. Here is the complete machine translation without any emphasis by me, although there are some passages deserving such treatment.

Today I have signed an Executive Order that establishes the rules for trade in Russian natural gas with so-called unfriendly states. We offer counterparties from such countries a clear and transparent scheme. To purchase Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payment will be made for gas delivered starting tomorrow, from April 1 of this year.

If such payments are not made, we will consider it a failure to fulfill obligations on the part of buyers - with all the ensuing consequences. No one sells anything to us for free, and we're not going to do charity either. That is, existing contracts will be stopped.

I would like to stress once again that in a situation where the financial system of Western countries is used as a weapon, when companies from these states refuse to fulfill contracts with Russian banks, enterprises, individuals, when assets in dollars and euros are frozen, it makes no sense to use the currencies of these countries.

In fact, what's going on, what's already happened? We supplied European consumers with our resources, in this case gas, and they received it, paid us in euros, which they then froze themselves. In this regard, there is every reason to believe that we have supplied part of the gas supplied to Europe virtually free of charge.

This, of course, cannot continue. Moreover, in the case of further gas supplies and their payment under the traditional scheme, new financial revenues in euros or dollars can also be blocked. Such a development of the situation is quite expected, especially since some politicians in the West talk about it, speak publicly. Moreover, it is in this vein that the heads of government of the EU countries speak. The risks of the current state of affairs are, of course, unacceptable for us.

And if you look at the issue as a whole, the transfer of payments for the supply of Russian gas to Russian rubles is an important step towards strengthening our financial and economic sovereignty. We will continue to consistently and systematically move in this direction within the framework of the long-term plan, to increase the share of settlements in foreign trade in the national currency and the currencies of those countries that act as reliable partners.

By the way, you have probably heard that many traditional suppliers of energy resources to the world market are also talking about diversifying settlement currencies.

Let me repeat once again: Russia values its business reputation. We comply with and will continue to comply with our obligations under all contracts, including gas contracts, and we will continue to supply gas in the established volumes, I want to emphasise this, and at the prices specified in the existing long-term contracts.

I emphasize that these prices are several times lower than the current quotes on the spot market. What does that mean? Simply put, Russian gas is cheaper energy, heat, light in the homes of Europeans, an affordable cost of fertilizers for European farmers, and therefore, food in the end. Finally, this is the competitiveness of European enterprises, and hence the salaries of Europeans, citizens of European countries.

However, judging by the statements of some politicians, they are ready to neglect the interests of their citizens, if only to please their overseas master, the suzerain. Some kind of populism inside out: people are encouraged to eat less, dress warmer to save on heating, refuse to travel – and all this supposedly for the benefit of those people from whom these voluntary deprivations are demanded for the sake of abstract North Atlantic solidarity.

Such dubious approaches and actions in economic, energy, food policy on the part of Western countries have been observed for more than a year.

By the way, the food crisis will be followed by another inevitable, another wave of migration, including primarily to European countries.

Nevertheless, step by step, decisions are being made that push the world economy to a crisis, lead to the severance of production and logistics ties, lead to an increase in global inflation and increased inequality, to a decrease in the well-being of millions of people, and in the poorest countries – I have already said this – to the tragedy of mass starvation.

Naturally, the question arises: who is responsible for this? Who will be responsible for this?

It is clear that the United States will again try to solve its problems – namely its own problems – at someone else's expense, including launching a new wave of emissions and budget deficits. It has already grown exorbitantly, and in the leading European economies the record is broken by inflation, and in the United States. And at the same time, they are trying to blame their mistakes in economic policy on us, they are always looking for someone to blame. It's pretty obvious, we're seeing it.

I would like to add that the United States will try to capitalize on the current global instability, as it did during the First and Second World Wars, during its aggressions against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria and so on. Global markets are falling, and the value of shares of companies of the American military-industrial complex is only growing. Capital is flowing into the U.S., depriving other regions of the world of development resources.

As a result, Europeans are not only forced to fork out, but also, in fact, with their own hands to undermine the competitiveness of European companies, to remove them from the global market. For Europe, this means large-scale de-industrialization and the loss of millions of jobs, and against the background of rising prices for food, gasoline, electricity, housing and communal services, there is also a radical decline in the standard of living of citizens.

This is the price that the ruling Western elites offer to pay to people, as I have already said, for their ambitions and short-sighted actions both in politics and in the economy, including for the economic war that they are trying to unleash against Russia, or, one might say, have already unleashed.

It didn't start now, it didn't start in the last month. Illegitimate sanctions and restrictions have been imposed against our country constantly, for many years. Their goal is to restrain Russia's development, undermine our sovereignty, and weaken our potential in production, in finance, in technology.

Let me repeat that all these sanctions were prepared in advance, they would have been introduced in any case, I want to emphasise this. In fact, these are sanctions for our right to freedom, for the right to be independent, for the right to be Russia. For the fact that we do not want to dance to someone else's tune, to sacrifice our national interests and traditional values.

The collective West is not going to abandon the policy of economic pressure on Russia. Moreover, of course, he will look for new reasons for sanctions, namely pretexts. Therefore, it is not worth counting on changing these approaches, at least in the near future.

In this regard, I would like to ask the Government, the Bank of Russia and the regions to ensure that the sanctions pressure on our country, as it was in previous decades, will continue when organising systematic work to develop the economy and its individual sectors. That is the objective reality.

What do I consider important to note here and I ask you to draw the attention of all colleagues to this? Considering the situation in each specific industry, sphere, it is necessary to focus not only on overcoming the challenges of the current year, but also to build long-term development plans based on the internal capabilities of our economy, Russian science and education system. We must rely primarily on private business initiative and healthy competition, strive to maximize the load of our enterprises, create new competencies and increase Russia's global competitiveness as a whole.

At the same time, the key indicators of the effectiveness of economic policy for us should be the preservation and creation of jobs, the reduction of poverty and inequality, improving the quality of people's lives, the availability of goods and services. It is with these requirements in mind that we discussed the situation in the construction and housing sector last week.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 31 2022 16:33 utc | 95

"Diet of western news" - nice to hear I'm not alone. Western TV is unbearable, full of hate, warmongering and virtue signaling... watching almost nothing since maybe Feb 25.

Posted by: Tapio | Mar 31 2022 16:34 utc | 96

Warring in Ukraine and fighting endless sanctions and incessant resupply is like trying to stop a river when it has reached its delta. No way José!

The river will win.

However, capping the source ab initio is the most economic and complete way.

A few well placed nukes on several choice locations would do a lot to stop malfeasance in its track.

No further warnings, but swoop down like an eagle and strike to paraphrase Sun Tzu.

Posted by: CarlD | Mar 31 2022 16:35 utc | 97

@ S 91
Thanks for the translations and the info. This is definitely a work in progress.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 31 2022 16:45 utc | 98

@ 94
..and thanks to Karlof . .Putin finally clarifies

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 31 2022 16:49 utc | 99

Comparing Ukranazi refugees to the Polish Jewish refugees of the mid 1960ies expulsion, as I wrote another place todaye, might seem outlandish, but why not:
--The remaining Jews of Poland were forced out, so as to leave the streetwise lumpen proletariat of Jews who had run the black market small-scale corruption the area and letting ethnick Polish Catholic Christians take over that domain. Likewise, those lumpen mailes an Millionairs now left under the Kyiv/Kiev regime can no go wheeling-dealing.
-- The professionally very qualified high.ranking communist Jewish administrators in Poland got replaced with nobody Quislings to US interests and Popist aspirations -- just like in the Ukraine.
-- Lviv/Lvow/Lemberg was the mother lode of ignaitious conflagration and power keg for many -- or most -- of these troubles.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Mar 31 2022 16:52 utc | 100

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