Voices from Russia

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ukrainian Azov Irregulars Posed With Portrait of Adolf Hitler

00 Azov. Ukrainian neofascists. 01.02.15.jpg-large



Zvezda TV reported that a group of irregulars from the infamous Azov Unit posed with a portrait of Adolf Hitler. The group photo, published on Facebook by someone with the username “Weiss Kämpfer” (German for “White Fighter”) shows a group of eleven bare-chested young men, and another in a t-shirt featuring the official symbol of the unit, which incorporates runic characters used by Nazi German SS units during the VOV. A soldier in the centre of the photo holds a portrait of the late German Führer. Facebook and Twitter users were quick to voice their hostility over the photo, one user noting sarcastically, “I say, there are no fascists in the Ukraine… it’s all Putin propaganda”. Others said that they hoped that the Azov fighters would soon meet the VSN on the battlefield, alluding to its poor training. The all-volunteer Azov unit is widely reported to be amongst the most brutal of the so-called “National Guard”. They formed in April 2014 and have expanded to regiment-size. The regiment has unrepentant fascists and nationalists in the ranks, listing its ideology as “social nationalist”, including Ukrainian and foreign volunteers. The unit uses Nazi German runic symbolism for its flag. Novorossiyan and Russian commentators accused this unit of widespread abuses and of committing war crimes against civilians. At present, the unit is in Mariupol. In September 2014, the BBC quoted its commander, Andrei Biletsky, condemning the first cease-fire in Minsk; he commented, “If it was a tactical move, there’s nothing wrong with it… if it’s an attempt to reach an agreement concerning Ukrainian soil with separatists (sic), then obviously it’s a betrayal”. Earlier this week, a video showed unit members, which sluggishly denied its association with outright fascism and Nazism, in a “training dance” featuring Nazi salutes.

31 January 2015

Sputnik International



Obama Admits American Role in Neofascist Coup in the Ukraine on CNN

00.03a WWII Reds and Yanks at the Elbe

THIS is what the Republican neocons and Democratic interventionists spit on…


00 Uniate Azov Battalion Nazis. 22.01.15

THIS is what they support today in the “Ukraine”… why is the USA shitting on our glorious past… why is the USA aiding neofascists who glorify the Nazis? WHY?


On Sunday, US President Obama told CNN in an interview that the USA took an active part in the February 2014 neofascist coup in Ukraine that installed a pro-Western junta. He said, “Since Mr Putin made this decision around the Crimea and the Ukraine… not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the Maidan protests and [Ukrainian then-President V F] Yanukovich then fleeing after we’d brokered a deal to transition power in the Ukraine”.

1 February 2015

Sputnik International


1 February 2015. RT Novorossiya War Roundup

00 VSN troops 01. Novorossiya. 01.02.15

VSN on the advance… no one wants to die for Galician Uniate “Consciousness”… not even Galician Uniates! However, the war must drag itself out to its sorry conclusion, as the Galician Uniate hardheads won’t give up their delusions of a papist “Ukraine” ruled by the gun. More must die before we put this evil to bed…


On Friday, Minoborony spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, “Yesterday afternoon, V N Muzhenko, the Ukrainian Chief of the General Staff, officially acknowledged during a briefing for foreign military attachés that Russian troops aren’t involved in the fighting in [Novorossiya]. His statement is a legal fact, which thwarts numerous accusations made by NATO and Western states about an alleged Russian military invasion in the Ukraine”. However, a later statement from Muzhenko’s subordinate Sergei Galushko puzzled the Minoborony. Galushko, an employee of the Department of Information Technology, alleged that there are Russian troops in a so-called “second echelon”. On Thursday, Muzhenko said, “The Ukrainian army isn’t engaged in combat operations against Russian units”, but he added that he had information about Russian individuals fighting in [Novorossiya]. He also said that junta forces have everything that they need to win in the Donbass. Channel 5 television, owned by junta strongman P A Poroshenko, aired Muzhenko’s remarks.

30 January 2015





Fighters of the notorious irregular Aidar Battalion rallied in Kiev against their disbandment; they attempted to storm the Minoborony Ukrainy HQ, accusing the regular army of deliberately shelling Aidar’s positions with heavy artillery. The most infamous “volunteer” unit in the Ukraine, Amnesty International condemned the Aidar Battalion for its unmatched brutality in Novorossiya. It allegedly came under Grad and Smerch MRL fire from regular junta forces near Shchastye in the LNR. Sergei Melnichuk, Aidar commander and Rada People’s Deputy of the Radical Party, said during a protest outside the Minoborony Ukrainy building in Kiev, “[Ukrainian] artillery targeted our positions”. Citing his own fighters, Melnichuk claimed that junta artillery targeted the battalion’s positions “15-20 times”. On Friday, Melnichuk and his fighters rallied outside the Minoborony HQ after it received news that the Minoborony had disbanded the unit {“rebranded”, according to Minoborony Ukrainy sources). Melnichuk told Apostrophe, “Three days ago, they disbanded our battalion. According to their documents, it doesn’t exist. The Minister of Defence and the Head of the General Staff said that they didn’t sign such an order. However, they’ve already delivered documents to the frontline confirming that such a unit doesn’t exist, as well as the seal of a new unit”.

According to the battalion’s alleged media spokesman, Yuliya Yevdokimova, the Minoborony is disbanding all “volunteer” units “as it’s detrimental to have volunteer battalions at the frontline”. She told Pravda Ukrainy that the Minoborony would “re-format all ‘volunteer’ battalions into other organisations, merge them with other brigades or other units, and thoroughly purge them”. However, the next day, the Facebook page of the battalion refuted the disbandment of the fighting force, claiming that Yevdokimova does not represent the “volunteer” fighters.

On Friday, the confusion on the status of the battalion continued as some 50 Aidar fighters rallied to show their “under-appreciation” by their own command. Formally, all “volunteer” territorial battalions under the Minoborony Ukrainy. NTV quoted Melnichuk as saying, “we won’t leave the frontline, no one will leave our positions, even if our own storm us, and such has happened” as quoted by NTV channel. Melnichuk told NTV that the decision to get rid of the nationalist contingent arose from the unwillingness of the junta to pay Aidar’s men, saying, “Now, they have to give us our pay, but if they disband us, no one has to pay anyone. Let them show whom they paid in Aidar. Did they help any of us? We’ll continue to fight, no matter what”. Melnichuk also claimed in an interview with 112 TV that the central military command might have “gotten big funds” in exchange for surrendering Shchastye to the VSN. Melnichuk claimed that they offered a similar deal to him… 20 million USD (1.4 billion Roubles. 125 million Renminbi. 1.24 billion INR. 25.5 million CAD. 25.7 million AUD. 17.69 million Euros. 13.28 million UK Pounds) in exchange for Aidar leaving Shchastye… he turned it down.

In fact, the Minoborony Ukrainy claimed the opposite, saying that they’d “strengthen” the “volunteer” unit under a new title. They stated, “The recasting is required to prevent abuse of the seal and documents that were previously lost and can become an instrument of fraud. To perform essential tasks, we’ll strengthen the Aidar Battalion further, and equip its soldiers with everything that they need”, adding that changes were only made to the official seal of the unit, as they changed its formal designation. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arseny Avakov called the actions of the Aidar fighters “treason”, saying, “Blocking the Defence Ministry of a country at war, during the active battles at the front is treason”.



According to TASS, on Saturday, Vladimir Talalay, a junta army spokesman, stated that low motivation amongst potential soldiers hobbles recruitment efforts, even in the midst of ever-more intense fighting in Novorossiya, saying, “The fourth wave of mobilisation was problematic. We saw the biggest difficulties in Sumy, Kharkov, Cherkassy, Ternopol, and Podkarpatskaya Oblasts”. Talalay’s comment came after the junta general staff reported that the first stage of the draft… sending out conscription notices… is over. The junta warned that it’d blacklist deserters and pass on the information to the police. The Minoborony Ukrainy announced that about 7,500 Ukrainians already face criminal charges for evading military service.

Earlier this week, Yu S Biryukov, advisor to junta strongman Poroshenko, was more specific. He cited preliminary draft statistics, showing evasion was extremely common in the Western Ukraine, supposedly a major locus of anti-Russian sentiment. According to Biryukov’s figures, 57 percent of potential conscripts in Ivano-Frankovsk Oblast didn’t show up for the Voenkom, another 37 percent fled the junta-occupied Ukraine. He mentioned that local authorities in Ternopol Oblast sabotaged the draft, refusing to help distribute notices. In Volyn Oblast, 19 percent of conscripts declared themselves conscientious objectors; previously, only some 0.7 percent cited such a reason.  International monitors noticed this mass wave of draft dodging. Members of the OSCE Mission in the Ukraine spoke to a city official and a “volunteer” battalion commander in Krivoi Rog; both shared their concerns over the draft evasion. In a 27 January OSCE report, the mission stated, “The plan called for mobilising about 800 individuals within a week. However, our interlocutors told us that a considerable number of people evade mobilisation by various means”.

Biryukov made an angry Facebook post (deleted by now), “[The draft dodger] is a cowardly animal. With his tail between his legs, he hides from the mobilisation, changes his phone number, he gathers his stuff, and runs off to Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, or Poland. He sits there, happy that he’s so clever”. On Friday, junta strongman Poroshenko decreed additional measures to ensure a successful draft in 2015. A major provision is temporary restriction on leaving the country for men liable to military service. Neither appeals to patriotism nor threats nor insults made Aleksei, a young man from Mariupol, eager to find himself on the battlefield. He chose to flee to Russia. He told RT’s Roman Kosarev, “We don’t want to fight, but nobody asks whether we want to or not. Recently, a friend of mine was on her way home from work, when the National Guards got on the bus. They told the women to leave the vehicle, and made the young men stay inside. Then, they drove off somewhere. What do we need this war for? They’ll kill us and no one’ll care”.

 31 January 2015



On Sunday, Ukrainian neofascist nationalists carried out a torch-lit march in central Kiev to support the junta’s aggression in Novorossiya, which has caused over 5,000 deaths so far. Several hundred young men wearing balaclavas and carrying burning torches marched from the Verkhovnaya Rada building to the Presidential Administration building. The demonstrators chanted offensive slogans aimed at the DNR and LNR, which have stood up to the junta’s military aggression. The marchers set off fireworks, flares, and smoke bombs. Chesne Slovo (Honest Word) put on the march; it sees “the promotion of development of the ‘Ukrainian national idea’” as one of its core aims.


00 berkut. 30.05.14


Anti-junta hacktivist group CyberBerkut released legal documents allegedly obtained from the office of Ukrainian neofascist politician and warlord D A Yarosh, which it claims implicate him in a host of economic crimes. An unsigned statement that accompanied the scans on the CyberBerkut website read, “We’re publishing documents that expose the criminal activities of the leading Ukrainian neo-Nazi, which confirm multiple incidences of extortion… the illegal and cynical seizure of properties and businesses belonging to Ukrainian citizens by Yarosh and his associates. Then, they take the stolen money out of the country through fronts and deposit it in offshore accounts. Now, everyone will know that Yarosh and his band of neo-Nazis are just using politics as a cover for their criminal activities and personal enrichment at the expense of ordinary Ukrainians”.

As well as posting what they called a scan of Yarosh’s passport and other private documents, as proof of their break-in, the hackers uploaded several contracts for the purchase and lease of property, which they said people signed under coercion. They also posted three compressed files of other scans. None explicitly feature Yarosh’s name, but one of the companies in question belongs to Sergei Yarosh… although the connection between the two men is unclear. Interpol wants Yarosh on charges of inciting terrorism, but he won election as a Rada People’s Deputy in October 2014. He played a key role in the Evromaidantsy protests that toppled legitimate President V F Yanukovich earlier that year.

CyberBerkut takes its name from the Berkut, a former MVDU spetsnaz group used for crowd control. With their motto, “We won’t forgive! We won’t forget!” the online group targeted high-profile figures in the new government. As well as posting private documents and conversations of top politicians, including Yu V Timoshenko, it shut down high-profile websites… including NATO sites… with distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks.

If confirmed, the latest revelations would be of a sort with the high level of corruption inside the Ukrainian élite. In December 2014, Transparency International named the Ukraine the most corrupt country in Europe, coming in at 142 out of 175 countries in the worldwide ranking. It retained this title from the previous year… despite the new Ukrainian leadership staking their reputation on cleaning out what junta strongman Poroshenko, himself the subject of several serious financial scandals as the “Chocolate King”, called the “paralysing” corruption of the Yanukovich era. Last October, the Rada approved anti-corruption legislation at the behest of the IMF, trying to stave off a Ukrainian government default. As part of the demanded IMF diktat, the Ukraine was supposed to set up two agencies… an independent body to investigate officials and another to monitor state expenses. Neither is in effectual existence and neither shall be operational until next year. Francis Malige at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is funding some of the demanded IMF diktats, told Bloomberg this week, “Right now, I see much more conversation about what needs to be reformed and less in terms of actual achievement. It has to do with reforming the country, really changing it, not just passing laws”.

One of the key failures has been the lack of effective action against figures from the previous government. Many of them… such as Energy Minister Eduard Stavitsky and Natural Resources Minister Nikolai Zlochevsky… left the Ukraine following the February 2014 coup, but the state never seized much of their property, so, they’ve resold it since, meaning that the money might have ended with the original owner. With murky corporate structures, it’s possible that much Ukrainian industry is still run by those ensconced aboard… that is, the parts that aren’t still owned by oligarchs and politicians almost universally tainted with the legacy of decades-long economic malfeasance

The junta aggression in Novorossiya bogged down due to pervasive government corruption. Local media circulated stories of men getting exemptions so that corrupt Voenkomtsy can extort money from draft-dodgers, whilst expensive equipment goes missing. At present, they’re supposedly replacing mid-level officials… the latest in a series of so-called “reforms” that repeatedly failed to produce “transparency” in the military. Unsurprisingly, with the war stalled and GDP predicted to shrink by five percent this year, 80 percent of Ukrainians told pollsters last month that they believed the amount of illegal financial activity had either increased or stayed the same since the toppling of the previous government..


Interpol puts Ukrainian ultranationalist Yarosh on wanted list

Right Sector threatens Poroshenko with Yanukovich’s fate

Right Sector refuses to obey Minoborony Ukrainy – presidential aide

1 February 2015







Rare Recording from 1909: Leo Tolstoy Reads From His Last Major Work in Four Languages

Ivan Kramskoi. A Portriat of the Author L N Tolstoy. 1873

A Portrait of the Author Graf L N Tolstoy

Ivan Kramskoi




Earlier this week, we brought you rare recordings of Sigmund Freud and Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges speaking in English. Today, we present a remarkable series of recordings of the great Russian novelist L N Tolstoy reading a passage from his book, Wise Thoughts for Every Day, in four languages… English, German, French, and Russian. Wise Thoughts For Every Day was Tolstoy’s last major work. It first appeared in 1903 as The Thoughts of Wise Men, and was revised and renamed several times before the author’s death in 1910. The Soviets banned it, only to reappear in 1995 as a bestseller in Russia. In 1997, Peter Sekirin translated it into English and published it as A Calendar of Wisdom. The book is a collection of passages from a diverse group of thinkers, ranging from Lao-Tzu to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Tolstoy wrote in his diary, “I felt that I was elevated to great spiritual and moral heights by communication with the best and wisest people whose books I read and whose thoughts I selected for my Circle of Reading”.

As an old man, Tolstoy rejected his great works of fiction, believing that it was more important to give moral and spiritual guidance to the common people. He wrote, “To create a book for the masses, for millions of people is incomparably more important and fruitful than to compose a novel of the kind which diverts some members of the wealthy classes for a short time, and then is forever forgotten”. Tolstoy arranged his book for the masses as a calendar, with a series of readings for each day of the year. For example under today’s date, 9 May, Tolstoy selected brief passages from Immanuel Kant, Solon, and the Koran. Underneath he wrote, “We can’t stop on the way to self-perfection. As soon as you notice that you have a bigger interest in the outer world than in yourself, then you should know that the world moves behind you”.

The audio recordings above were made at the writer’s home in Yasnaya Polyana on 31 October 1909, when he was 81-years-old. He died just over a year later. Apparently, Tolstoy translated the passage himself. The English version sounds a bit like the King James Bible. The words are hard to make out in the recording, but he said:

That the object of life is self-perfection, the perfection of all immortal souls, that this is the only object of my life, is seen to be correct by the fact alone that every other object is essentially a new object. Therefore, the question whether thou hast done what thou shoudst have done is of immense importance, for the only meaning of thy life is in doing in this short term allowed thee, that which is desired of thee by He or That which has sent thee into life. Art thou doing the right thing?

Tolstoy made several voice recordings in his life, dating back to 1895 when he made two wax cylinder recordings for Julius Block. Russian literary scholar Andrew Kaufman collected three more vintage recordings (all in Russian) including Tolstoy’s lesson to peasant children on his estate, a reading of his fairy tale The Wolf, and an excerpt from his essay I Can’t be Silent. You can listen to them on Kaufman’s website.

9 May 2012

Open Culture


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