Voices from Russia

Friday, 31 January 2014

31 January 2014. Simply CARLESS for Three Weeks…

00 sick car cartoon. 31.01.14

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Three weeks ago, Nicky had a slight fender-bender going to work. Luckily for both of us, both of our jobs are on bus lines. We just got the “machine” back. The insurance covered the bills, but we didn’t have the money to rent a car in the interim. Trust me, life in contemporary America revolves around the private automobile, even in urban areas. Thank God, Albany has a comprehensive transport system, but it doesn’t go everywhere that one needs to go, nor is it set up for convenience (mostly, the routes bring in state workers to offices where there’s no parking available… however, one CAN get things done, quite unlike many areas in this country). I’m glad that I don’t live in Republican-misruled areas like Florida and Texas… the public transport sucks, and there are cities the size of Albany without any public transportation at all. Nasty, ain’t it? After all, if you don’t have the money, you’re not a human being… that’s why Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter (and all the rightie shitbirds in general) leave me cold… it’s clear that they spit on all those with moderate means. The country’s been on the wrong track since 1981… it’s time for some justice… in fact, it’s long overdue…

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31 January 2014. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… Ukrainian Police at a Staging Area Near the Rada Building

00 Kiev. Police near cross. 31.01.14

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00 Kiev. Priests with icon. 31.01.14

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The above images are of a Ukrainian police staging area near the Rada building. Be advised that much of what you read, see, and hear from the Western media is “white propaganda“. It’s truthful as far as it goes… but it AIN’T the “whole truth and nuttin’ but the truth” (there be plenty of holes in that there block of swiss cheese, kids). The rebels only have control of a few areas in central Kiev… life goes on elsewhere, even in the same city. Oh, yes… the authorities in Simferopol are raising armed druzhinniki to aid government forces in case of trouble. It’s not the only place where that’s happening. In short, the South and the East are solidly in government hands. Contrariwise, anti-government rebels hold effectual control of the Far West, in Galicia. That’s to say, what’s in contention is Kiev and the centre of the country. The present contretemps will decide who gets to control it… the legitimate government or the Western-backed rebels. It’s still undecided… but don’t trust any American, EU, or pro-Western Ukrainian source… they all have agendas, and the Orange Revolution should tell you that they’re evil to the bone. Have a care… the jury’s still out on this one…

One last thing… the priests in the second image are wearing police uniform as they’re chaplains to the cops… the REAL Church is for the legit government…

BMD 

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Minoborony Big Urged Russian Women to Join the Army

00 Russian female soldier. 31.01.14

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On Friday, Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov said that more women should serve as long-service personnel in the Russian forces, telling a meeting of Siberian university students, “My personal opinion is that we should see more women in the ranks serving as officers, generals, sergeants, and privates”. He added that such service would be voluntary. Pankov said that 200 women were cadets at various military education establishments in Russia last year; he expects that number to grow in 2014, noting, “We’ve opened admission [for women] even to the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School… and the number of applications is enormous. This goes to show that women want to enter the military profession, so, we shouldn’t ignore it”. According to statistics, 11,000 women are now on military duty, down from 30,000 five years ago due to staff cuts under present military reforms. They serve as officers and NCOs, mainly in staff positions, as specialists in medical and financial services, or in communications units.

31 January 2014

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140131/187091825/Russian-Women-Urged-to-Join-Army-Ranks.html

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The Menace Across the European Continent: The Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism

00 Ukrainian rioter 01. 31.01.14

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The violence on the streets of the Ukraine is far more than popular anger against a government. Instead, it’s merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism in Europe since the fall of the Third Reich. Recent months saw regular protests by the Ukrainian political opposition… protests ostensibly in response to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich‘s refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU that many saw as the first step towards European integration. The protests remained largely peaceful until 17 January, when protesters armed with clubs, helmets, and improvised bombs unleashed violence on police, storming government buildings, beating anyone they suspected of having pro-central government sympathies, and generally wreaking havoc on the streets of Kiev. However, who are these violent extremists and what’s their ideology?

The political faction is Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), essentially an umbrella organisation for a number of ultra-nationalists (read fascist) rightwing groups, including Svoboda (Freedom), Patriots of the Ukraine, Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self Defence (UNA-UNSO), and Trizub. They share a common ideology; they’re all vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish, amongst other things. In addition, they share a common reverence for the so-called “Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists” of Stepan Bandera, an infamous Nazi collaborator, who actively fought the USSR, who engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

Whilst Ukrainian political forces, opposition and government, continue to negotiate, a very different battle goes on in the streets. Using intimidation and brute force more typical of Hitler’s “Brownshirts” or Mussolini’s “Blackshirts” than a contemporary political movement, these groups managed to turn a conflict over economic policy and political allegiances into an existential struggle for the very survival of the nation that these so-called “nationalists” claim to love so dearly. The images of Kiev burning, Lvov streets filled with thugs, and other chilling examples of the chaos in the country, illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the political negotiation with the Maidan (Kiev’s central square and centre of the protests) opposition is now no longer the central issue. Rather, the issue is Ukrainian fascism… should one support it or reject it?

For its part, the USA strongly came down on the side of the opposition, regardless of its political character. In early December, members of the American Establishment such as John McCain and Victoria Nuland were at the Maidan, lending support to the protesters. However, as the character of the opposition became clear in recent days, the American and Western ruling class (and its media machine) did little to condemn the fascist upsurge. Instead, their representatives met with members of Right Sector, deeming them “no threat”. In other words, the USA and its allies gave tacit approval for the continuation and proliferation of violence in the name of their goal… régime change.

Attempting to pry the Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the US/EU/NATO alliance allied itself, not for the first time, with fascists. Of course, for decades, fascist paramilitary forces in Latin America armed and supported by the USA murdered thousands and many more “disappeared”. To destabilise the USSR, the USA created and financed the Afghan Mujahideen, who were also extreme ideological reactionaries. Later, they transmogrified into al-Qaeda. Of course, there’s the painful reality of Libya and, most recently, Syria, where the USA and its allies finance and support extremist jihadists against a government that refused to align with American and Israeli interests. There’s a disturbing pattern here not lost on keen political observers… the USA always makes common cause with rightwing extremists and fascists for geopolitical gain. The situation in the Ukraine is deeply troubling because it represents a political conflagration that could very easily tear the country apart less than 25 years after it gained independence from the USSR. However, there’s another equally disturbing aspect to the rise of fascism in that country… it isn’t alone.

The Fascist Menace Across the Continent

One can’t view, let alone understand, the Ukraine and the rise of rightwing extremism there in isolation. Rather, one must look at it as part of a growing trend throughout Europe (and, indeed, the world)… a trend that threatens the very foundations of democracy. In Greece, savage austerity imposed by the troika (European CommissionEuropean Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) crippled the economy, leading to a depression as bad, if not worse, than the Great Depression in the USA. Against this backdrop of economic collapse, Golden Dawn became the third-most-popular political party in the country. Espousing an ideology of hate, Golden Dawn… in effect, a neo-Nazi party promoting anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant, and anti-women chauvinism… is a political force the government in Athens labelled a serious threat to the very fabric of society. This threat led the government to arrest the party’s leadership after a Golden Dawn Nazi fatally stabbed an anti-fascist rapper. Athens launched an investigation into the party, although the results of this investigation and trial remain somewhat unclear.

What makes Golden Dawn such an insidious threat is that, despite their fundamental Nazi ideology, their anti-EU anti-austerity rhetoric appeals to many in economically devastated Greece. As with many fascist movements in the 20th Century, Golden Dawn scapegoats immigrants, Muslim and African primarily, for many of the problems facing Greeks. In dire economic circumstances, such irrational hate becomes appealing; it’s an answer to society’s problems. Indeed, despite Golden Dawn’s leaders being in prison, other party members are still in parliament, still running for major offices including Mayor of Athens. Although an electoral victory is unlikely, another strong showing at the polls would make eradicating fascism in Greece that much harder.

Were this phenomenon confined to Greece and the Ukraine, it wouldn’t constitute a continental trend. Sadly, however, we see the rise of similar, albeit slightly less overtly fascist, political parties all over Europe. In Spain, the ruling pro-austerity People’s Party proposed draconian laws restricting protest and free speech, empowering and sanctioning repressive police tactics. In France, the National Front of Marine Le Pen, which vehemently scapegoats Muslim and African immigrants, won nearly 20 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections. Similarly, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands… a promoter of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies… grew to be the third-largest in parliament. Throughout Scandinavia, once-completely irrelevant and obscure ultranationalist parties are now significant players in elections. To say the least, these trends are worrying.

Besides this, one should note too that, beyond Europe, the USA supports a number of quasi-fascist political factions. In their seemingly endless quest to suppress leftists in Latin America, Washington tacitly and/or overtly supported rightwing coups that overthrew the governments of Paraguay and Honduras. Of course, one should also remember that Aleksei Navalny and his nationalist followers, who espouse a virulently anti-Muslim racist ideology viewing immigrants from the Russian Caucasus and former Soviet republics as beneath “European Russians”, spearheaded the protest movement in Russia. These and other examples paint a very ugly portrait of an American foreign policy that attempts to use economic hardship and political upheaval to extend American hegemony around the world.

In the Ukraine, the “Right Sector” took the fight from the negotiating table to the streets, attempting to fulfil the dream of Stepan Bandera… a Ukraine free of Russians, Jews, and all other “undesirables”, as they see it. Buoyed by continued support from the USA and the EU, these fanatics represent a more serious threat to democracy than Yanukovich and the pro-Russian government ever could. If the EU and the USA don’t recognise this threat in its infancy, by the time they finally do, it might just be too late.

29 January 2014

Eric Draitser

Counterpunch

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/29/ukraine-and-the-rebirth-of-fascism/

 

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