Voices from Russia

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Xi Seeking “Rich, Democratic, Modernised Socialist China”

Filed under: China,politics,Uncategorized — 01varvara @ 00.00
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Andrei Karneyev, deputy head of the Institute of Asia and Africa at Moscow State University, told us that whilst it demonstrated commitment to a policy of openness, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) placed emphasis on people’s ever-growing needs for a better life, ecology, deep reforms, and law-based governance. He commented on the Resolution of the 19th National Congress of the (CPC), which took place in Beijing between 18 to 24 October 2017.

Policy of Openness

He said:

The Chinese leadership will continue to act in the world arena within the framework of openness, regardless of the difficulties [it faces] in the way of globalisation and emerging anti-globalist and protectionist bias in some countries. China is an important participant in the international system, contributing to world development through its ability to provide dynamic economic development whilst maintaining internal social-political stability. However, new phrases such as “great cause”, “great struggle”, “great dreams”, and “great project” appeared in the Congress’s resolutions.

“Large-Scale Processes Within CPC”

Karneyev highlighted:

These formulations indicate that complex and large-scale processes are taking place within the [CCP]. After Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he launched an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign. The fight against corruption intended to clear [CPC] ranks of those who abused their power and authority.

Xi’s sweeping anti-corruption efforts saw about 1.34 million grassroots-level officials, as well as tens of thousands of high-ranking officials, punished. However, many criticised the policy, arguing that Xi targeted his political opponents, including former security chief Zhou Yongkang, politician Bo Xilai, and Lin Jihua, an aide to former Chinese president Hu Jintao. Yet, according to Karneyev:

By solving the corruption problem and improving executive discipline at all levels, the country’s leadership is seeking to boost the CPC’s ability to manage an increasingly complex Chinese society. Therefore, one of the 14 points that form the CPC’s basic policy aimed at developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era is to uphold absolute Party leadership over the people’s forces.

Rule of Law

Karneyev suggested:

President Xi announced the establishment of a government group aimed at maintaining a law-based state and creating verification mechanisms to ensure that the decisions made by state bodies comply with the country’s constitution. Apparently, China will soon create a controlling body… a State committee for supervision.

One of the Congress resolutions emphasised:

We must uphold the authority and centralised unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, closely follow the Party political line, strictly observe political discipline and rules, and closely align ourselves with the Central Committee in terms of political stance, direction, principle, and path.

Karneyev pointed up:

The CPC congress also focused attention on the need to redistribute power between the centre and local governments and announced other important initiatives in the sphere of public administration. They follow the same logic adhered to during the anti-corruption campaign… to boost the role of the state and to make management more efficient and transparent. Xi and his team [took these steps] to implement a new package of economic and social reforms that’d turn China into a rich, powerful, democratic, harmonious, civilised, and modernised socialist state by the middle of the 21st century.

Speaking to us on Thursday, Ding Xueliang, a political analyst and a social science professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, reiterated that President Xi seeks to consolidate his power, but faces opposition from some CPC members.

“Moderately-Prosperous Society in All Respects”

Karneyev noted:

The CPC regards the principal contradiction in Chinese society as being between unbalanced and inadequate development against the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life, whilst proclaiming the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Previously, party documents put an emphasis on contradictions between the material needs of the Chinese people and the relative underdevelopment of productive forces. Additionally, the new vision highlights the importance of harmony between mankind and nature. What’s more, the document promised the CPC’s adherence to a people-centred approach.

A Congress resolution stated:

With this, [China] can be better placed to meet the ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs of our people, and to promote well-rounded human development and all-round social progress.

Karneyev observed:

The 19th Congress of the CPC was an important event, both for China and for its international partners. It met most expectations surrounding the forum’s political course and decisions. Xi’s report both summed up the results of the party’s work over the past five years and formulated new ideas and approaches for new conditions. Additionally, the Congress pledged to modernise the country’s armed forces to make them a world-class army and voiced its commitment to implementing the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project. Following the final day of the congress, Xi introduced five new members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), but he evaded naming his potential successor.

26 October 2017

Sputnik International



29 October 2017. Remember the REAL Cost of America’s Warmongering


The warmongering of the neoliberal élite has a cost. No, I’m not talking about the stupendous monetary cost. I’m talking about the human cost of these wars for global hegemony. The élite doesn’t send its sons to die in their wars. No, not at all. They send YOUR sons to die in their wars. Remember what Russian people say:

They all had faces; they all had names.

Remember this well… none of the élite’s kids is amongst the dead. NONE. The rankers come from the working and lower classes, the officers come from the middle class. None come from élite families. As your sons die, the sons of the élite fuck coeds and get plastered. If you believe a word about “defence”, you’re terminally-stupid and no one can help you. However, I think that Americans are waking up to reality. When they do, the Mar-a-Lago commandoes had best have their guns handy… for ordinary folks do have them and know how to use them (the Repugs would find out that their advocacy of laissez-faire gun laws would boomerang on them).

The people will tolerate the loss of their sons for only so long… the élite forgets that true patriotism engenders a true love of country, something that the élite lacks in spades. They’ll learn in due course…


Steinmeier vs Klimkin: Why Kiev Will No Longer Receive Money From the West


In recent days, there have been three different, but significant and interrelated events. German Federal President (former Foreign Minister) Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a working visit to Moscow. The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavel Klimkin, paid a similar visit to Berlin. The head of the board of Naftogaz Ukrainy Andrei Kobolev said that, according to Kiev, the first stage of the Turkish Stream will be operational by 2018, after which the Ukraine will lose a minimum of 500 million USD (29 billion Roubles. 3.32 billion Renminbi. 32.44 billion INR. 640 million CAD. 650 million AUD. 430 million Euros. 380 million UK Pounds) in annual transit fees. This is about a quarter to a fifth of the total amount of 2-2.5 billion dollars (116-145 billion Roubles. 13.28-16.6 billion Renminbi. 129.76-162.2 billion INR. 2.56-3.2 billion CAD. 2.6-3.25 billion AUD. 1.72-2.15 billion Euros. 1.52-1.9 billion UK Pounds) that Kiev still earns on the transit of Russian gas to the EU. Kobolev was also concerned that if the second stage of Turkish Stream enters into operation, and it should by the end of 2019, then the total losses of the Ukrainian budget will amount to 1 billion USD (58 billion Roubles. 6.64 billion Renminbi. 64.88 billion INR. 1.28 billion CAD. 1.3 billion AUD. 860 million Euros. 760 million UK Pounds), and the annual earnings will drop to 1-1.5 billion USD (58-87 billion Roubles. 6.64-9.96 billion Renminbi. 64.88-97.32 billion INR. 1.28-1.92 billion CAD. 1.3-1.95 billion AUD. 860 million-1.29 billion Euros. 760 million-1.14 billion UK Pounds). However, Kobolev didn’t say a word about the Nord Stream-2. Nevertheless, in the last two years, Kiev has focused its main attention on it, and disrupting this project has become almost a Ukrainian national ideal.

In an attempt to persuade Germany to abandon the project, Kiev enlisted the support of Poland, the Baltic states and, most importantly, the USA. Washington actively pressured its German partners, even threatening the companies involved in financing the project with sanctions. America had a double interest. Firstly, it was necessary to save at least partial funding for its Ukrainian project, which was dying from lack of money, at the expense of Russia. The payment for gas transit isn’t the only reliable source of foreign exchange earnings in the Ukrainian budget. Besides that, there are remittances from Ukrainians working abroad, but their volume is more difficult to plan, and the people really don’t want to share their foreign exchange with the state. Secondly, the USA hoped that faced with inevitable problems from the Ukrainians (the usual theft of gas in winter, the deterioration of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, as well as serious political risks) and without alternative ways of delivering gas to the EU, Gazprom would lose part of its European market. The resulting vacuum would allow the Americans to offer more-expensive but politically-correct North American gas as a replacement.

The final success of the fighters against Nord Stream-2 was Denmark’s passing of a law to block the construction of a gas pipeline in its waters. This can’t stop the project; it only creates some additional (but surmountable) difficulties. We can say that the Danish incident was a consolation prize for those who lost the fight for blocking Nord Stream-2. They didn’t achieve their goal but received some moral satisfaction. Since Nord Stream 2 should be operational in 2019, Berlin had a need to inform its Kiev clients about the fundamentally changing geopolitical situation. Starting in 2020, Germany won’t have to deal with the Ukraine as an indispensable partner. Yet, it was also necessary to save face and demonstrate that “support for the reform policy” allegedly pursued by Kiev is still relevant, and show that Germany hasn’t changed its position on the Crimea and the Donbass, despite their wholehearted participation in Russian gas pipeline projects that bypass the Ukraine.

To this end, the Germans simply summoned Klimkin to Berlin, where, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he held meetings with politicians representing the ruling coalition, discussing with them the problems of the settlement in the Donbass, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the Crimea, and further extending reforms. They issued no joint statements and signed no documents. That is, the usual briefing of an official representing a client-state took place. If you translate the double-talk of the foreign press release into normal language, you’ll surmise the contents of the briefing. Berlin informed Klimkin that the Ukraine would have to carry out its “reform policy” at its own expense. The West not only won’t extend any more credits, it’ll end payment for gas transit to the Ukraine in the next two years. They’ve resolved everything involved with Nord Stream-2, so Kiev had better not cause trouble for Berlin.

As a consolation prize, Berlin guaranteed its unchanged position on not recognising the accession of the Crimea to the Russian Federation (which in reality doesn’t give anything to Kiev, for Siemens turbines will still go to the peninsula) and on the Donbass. As a result, Berlin would continue to insist on the preservation of anti-Russian sanctions. However, this is only moral satisfaction for Kiev. Note that the sanctions don’t oppress Russia at all, but only encourage the import substitution policy. Moscow derives more benefits than it does costs from the sanctions restrictions. On the other hand, the EU has costs and no positives. Finally, the annual extension of anti-Russian sanctions requires the consensus of all EU members. It’s enough for one member-state to oppose them (those who oppose them have been around for a long time) and the sanctions will simply lapse, as has already happened with the restriction of the rights of the Russian delegation to the PACE. Until now, Berlin has successfully suppressed such dissent in the EU. However, over the long haul, it can simply “fail” to convince its junior partners in the EU, without violating commitments made to the Ukraine, whilst strictly adhering to the advocacy of sanctions.

In this respect, Steinmeier’s visit to Moscow is symbolic. On the one hand, the Federal President is a purely decorative office in the German political system, a sinecure for honoured political retirees. On the other, Steinmeier suddenly told the press that he intends during his meeting with President Putin not to limit himself to a formal ceremonial conversation, but to focus on the German position about the Crimea, the Donbass, and sanctions. One could assume that the German President, who, by the way, is the last active politician of those who acted as guarantors of the agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition that opened the door to the February 2014 coup in Kiev, was once again trying to probe Putin’s position to see whether his position has softened. However, German politicians of all levels, including the Bundeskanzlerin, have done this so many times that no one has any such hopes. At the same time, against the backdrop of Steinmeier’s formally rigid statements, the German press wrote effusively about how he loves Russia and how he wishes to restore normal relations. This is a perfectly obvious hint that it isn’t important what he specifically said says about Berlin’s commitment to supporting the Ukraine, but what he says to whom, how he says it, and in what context.

Steinmeier, speaking of his commitment to sanctions, always emphasised that he stated his personal position, but the German government determined German foreign policy. All this took place against the background of Berlin’s continuing commitment to the completion of Nord Stream-2. Well, the general warm background of the German press hinted that it wasn’t necessary to take too much stock in the repetition of old shop-worn clichés. In principle, cooperation is developing, this is the main thing, but Germany has to observe certain forms. Judging from the despair of Andrei Kobolev, who preferred to remain silent about the Nord Stream-2, expressing timid hope with regard to Turkish Stream, that maybe at least the second stage won’t be in operation soon, everyone in Kiev understands the truth. The West will continue to mouth the same shibboleths for a while until it finds an excuse to nullify its obligations. However, there’ll be no more money. Absolutely none.

28 October 2017

Rostislav Ishchenko

RIA Novosti


ROCOR Remembers the Guardian of the Miraculous Icon of the Mother of God


On Saturday, the ROCOR marked the anniversary of the death of José Muñoz-Cortes, the guardian of the miraculous Montréal Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Hundreds of believers from all over the USA and Canada gathered at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY (the ROCOR’s main monastery). Clergy served pannikhida and an akathist at the monastery cemetery in honour of Brother José, murdered 20 years ago in Athens. Believers put dozens of candles that burned for several hours at Brother José’s grave. One of the ROCOR’s main holy objects… the Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God… was present at all the services. Amongst the believers was Angela Muñoz-Cortes, the sister of José Muñoz-Cortes. In an interview with us, she said:

In October 1982, I witnessed how the icon of the Mother of God began to glow in my brother’s house. I saw the miraculous flow from the icon, which happened at night. It woke up José with its strong odour. He didn’t know what it was. José thought that a friend who lived with him at that time used some cologne. Then, he saw the oily stains on the icon and thought that his friend carelessly poured oil on it. José wiped the icon, but soon the spots reappeared, then he realised that it was myrrh. My brother took the icon all over; it became one of the main holy relics of the Russian diaspora for fifteen years. He was very fond of the people that he met in parishes throughout the world. He was open to everyone and tried to help everyone.

José Muñoz-Cortes was a Chilean who converted to Orthodoxy in his youth at the Russian church in Santiago. In 1982, monks on Mount Athos gave him the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, which in a few months began to exude myrrh, and continued to do so regularly for almost fifteen years. Brother José was brutally murdered on 31 October 1997 in Athens, then, the icon disappeared. Presumably, the day before his death, he gave it to friends. Believers believe that the icon returned to Athos. The ROCOR Eastern American Diocese has set up a commission to collect documents for the glorification of Brother José. Ten years after the disappearance of the Montreal icon, in 2007 in Hawaii, a smaller copy, the Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, appeared, which exudes myrrh to this day. Believers believe that in this way the Montréal image returned to them.

29 October 2017

Dmitri Zlodorev

RIA Novosti 


See also:

Metropolitan: ROCOR Commission collects documents for the glorification of José Muñoz-Cortes

First Hierarch of the ROCOR: We don’t sense problems from ordinary Americans

ROCOR thinks that the meeting of the Patriarch and the Pope of Rome didn’t bring together two churches

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