Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

RF Gosduma Passes Law Imposing Counter-Sanctions Against the USA and Unfriendly States

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The RF Gosduma passed the final third reading of a law on counter-sanctions against the USA and other unfriendly states. The law stipulates that the Russian President could provide the government with the right to impose restrictions, provided they don’t apply to vital supplies without analogues produced in Russia or other countries. The President could make decisions on sanctions based on proposals submitted by the Security Council. At the same time, the government could remove these restrictions in case the situation causing the introduction of sanctions should change. The document read:

The federal law aims to protect the interests and safety of Russia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, from unfriendly actions by the USA and other states, which may take the form of political and economic sanctions on Russia, Russian citizens, and legal entities, as well as from other actions posing a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity and aimed at destabilising the economic and political situation in the country.

A group of lawmakers led by RF Gosduma Chairman V V Volodin initiated the proposal.

The second reading of the bill omitted a reference to specific industries, goods, and services, and reduced the list of possible actions from 16 to six. Russia could impose counter-sanctions on unfriendly countries, organisations under their jurisdiction, whether directly or indirectly controlled by those countries or affiliated with them, as well as on those countries’ officials and citizens. Companies from the USA and other unfriendly states, and those controlled by or affiliated with them, couldn’t take part in contracts for government purchases or for the privatisation of state property. The Russian cabinet would have the right to halt cooperation with unfriendly states, and with organisations controlled by or affiliated with them. The government could also ban and limit the export of goods and raw materials from the USA and other unfriendly states. However, restrictions wouldn’t apply to goods that Russian and foreign citizens bring from abroad for personal use. The law would take effect on the day of its official publication.

22 May 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/politics/1005493

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Trump’s Iran Policy Might Be Linked to “Big Setback in Syria”

Most of the Syrian people, of all confessions and all nationalities, support the government, not the American-backed Islamist terrorists… that’s why the American attempt to topple Assad failed… along with help from Russia, Iran, and Hizbullah (probably, also with covert Chinese aid, too).

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Last week, US President Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Sputnik discussed the implications and the consequences for global companies and especially the ramifications of an already strained relationship between the USA and the EU with Salil Sarkar, journalist and writer based in Paris.

Sputnik

Give us a quick insight into how things are progressing in terms of President Trump and his policy on isolation; there’s never a quiet day when it comes to Trump; what’s your take on President Trump and this constant barrage of news every day?

Salil Sarkar

Sure, but that was planned, it was probably planned like that, I’d say it was certainly planned like that. President Trump seems to be on a sort of isolationist line; he and his allies, and that brings him into a conflict with other parts of the American, the US deep state. So, it keeps on appearing either in sleazy stories or more developed political stories, so that’s what’s going on, there’s this tussle inside the USA as to whether they’d get more isolation as they withdraw from other parts of the world while clenching their teeth and grunting like in the case of the DPRK, supporting Israel, or even in the case of Iran, for example, this jettisoning of the nuclear agreement signed in 2015.

Sputnik

President Trump threatened to withdraw from this JCPOA agreement for many months now; in fact, it was his policy strategy for the presidency, but why has he chosen this move now when previously he bolted on it, what’s your take on it?

Salil Sarkar

It’s tough to say. Why now? Probably, it was in the aftermath of their big setback in Syria, where the USA, its Western allies, and the Gulf countries tried to replace the Assad government in Syria by supporting Islamists, which they have done before in other countries, but in this case, it was a big setback. Most Syrian people supported the government, so they tried to keep the war going somehow using other forces, but hitting out at Iran was one of the things to do, they already had sanctions against Russia, for example, Iran was slipping by after this agreement in 2015, the nuclear pact. So, it’s a way of starting things all over again, and I don’t know which section of the US deep state is pushing it, Trump, of course, is the President, he has to balance everything, but that’s the way it is and it’s happening now, but I can’t give you any guarantees, I’m not in the minds of some of those people there in Washington.

21 May 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201805211064634506-trump-iran-policy-linked-syria/

US Policy: Provocation and War

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Many observers note that the USA appears to be undergoing a historic process of “strategic decline”. In order to stave off deterioration in its political and economic power, the USA resorts to greater dependence on militarism and aggression. For that to work, a policy of ramping up provocations against other nations is a necessary concomitant, as militarism and aggression need a pretext of conflict. This is the unavoidable conclusion from several international interfaces. The USA resorts to stepped-up aggression as a means of asserting its power against its perceived global rivals, as well as to shore up its debt-ridden decrepit capitalist economy. Washington explicitly identifies those rivals as Russia and China, as well as to a lesser extent Iran, Lebanon’s Hizbullah, Syria, the DPRK, and Venezuela. Washington views all of them as impediments to American ambitions for global hegemony.

One can see the violence in Gaza this week by the Israeli military in the context of a wider policy in Washington of provocation. The shooting dead of over 60 unarmed Palestinians in a single day by Israeli snipers and the maiming of thousands of others, including women and children, was arguably a deliberate attempt to incite greater violence across the Middle East. It seems no coincidence that the atrocity happened on the very day that the USA controversially opened a new embassy in the contested city of Jerusalem, despite widespread international warning against the move as violating Palestinian rights. US President Donald Trump embraced the right-wing Israeli leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu to articulate an extreme partisan view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in which Palestinian rights are non-existent. The gratuitous use of lethal force, as American dignitaries gathered a short distance away in Jerusalem, seems to have been a calculated attempt to provoke a violent reaction.

If the USA and Israel incited an armed response from Lebanon’s Hizbullah or Iran…parties that long-denounced American imperialism in the Middle East… then, the ensuing chaos plays well for Washington. It’d give the USA and Israel an excuse to step up military force against these rivals. That could take the form of more US-backed Israeli air strikes on Iranian and Hizbullah bases in Syria, despite those bases being legally present. For the USA, the main objective of provoking greater instability and conflict is to undermine Russia and its recently regained stature as a major international power in the Middle East, owing to its successful military intervention in Syria at the end of 2015 to defeat US-backed régime-change proxies.

Russia’s intervention in Syria ordered by President Putin served to accelerate the sense of strategic decline for the USA. Russia’s military deployment in Syria abruptly stopped the American policy of régime-change in the Middle East (as seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere) in its tracks. Iranian and Hizbullah forces legally requested by the Assad government to defend the state also halted the American bingeing on regime-change. The defeat of its terrorist proxies in Syria was a major setback for the USA and its British, French, and Turkish NATO allies, as well as for American client régimes in Israel and Saudi Arabia that colluded in the covert regime-change assault. To salvage this momentous defeat, and more generally, strategic decline, the USA seems to have embarked on a desperate policy of provocation, aided by its client régimes.

The aggressive way that Trump pulled the US out of the international nuclear accord with Iran last week caught many observers and European allies by surprise with his hardline obstreperous manner. Everyone knew Trump despised the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015 by President Obama. However, few expected Trump to violate the deal with such bellicose threats to intensify economic sanctions on Tehran, as well as on European states doing business with Iran. By vilifying Iran as a terrorist state and ranting against Tehran over its alleged secret nuclear-weapons building, Trump ostentatiously adopted the Israeli position of demonising Iran.

In particular, the Trump Administration’s warnings to Europe that the USA would penalise its firms and banks for continuing to do business with Iran, as is their right under the JCPOA, seemed to be a calculated provocation to crash the accord and incite Iran to resume past nuclear activities, which Trump, as well as Israel, intimated would be met with military attack. So far, Trump’s provocations over the Iran deal have failed. Iran and the other signatories… Russia, China, and the EU… agreed to continue implementing the accord. However, given this failure, so far, to sabotage the JCPOA, one can expect that the USA and its regional partners will try to ramp up provocations. The Israeli air strikes on Iranian bases in Syria the day after Trump announced the US pullout from the accord appears to have been a deliberate attempt at antagonising Iran even further. So too were Saudi claims that a missile attack on Riyadh from Yemen were “an act of war by Iran” owing to its alleged support to the Houthi rebels.

The renewed belligerence from the USA, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East appears to be a systematic effort to stoke conflict. Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, as well as Iraq and Yemen, are on the firing line for embroiling the region in further chaos. Ultimately, however, the bigger targets for US-induced instability are Russia and China, which Washington views as “great power competitors”. The American supply of lethal weapons to the Ukraine earlier this month… the first such supply after years of non-lethal military aid to the Kiev régime… rankled Russia. Deployment of US military advisors to oversee the use of Javelin ATGMs is a move that’d likely escalate the violence in the Eastern Ukraine on Russia’s border.

Of course, the continuing buildup of NATO offensive forces from the Balkans to the Black Sea along Russia’s Western flank presents an even bigger vista of provocation. The relaunching of the US Second Fleet in the Atlantic after years being in mothballs is evidently part of a massive NATO mobilisation. Elsewhere, increasing American deployment of warships in the South China Sea over alleged “freedom of navigation” concerns near Chinese territorial waters is another manifestation of Washington’s foreign policy of provocation. Trump’s superficial diplomatic engagement with the DPRK is now under test with Pyongyang’s warning this week that it isn’t going to give up nuclear weapons unilaterally on the say-so of Washington. It remains to be seen if Trump’s apparent flurry of diplomacy with the DPRK will give way to the previous pattern of American belligerence and threats of war. Indeed, if the USA is employing a systematic foreign policy of provocation, as seems the case, then, we can expect the USA to abandon the recent détente with the DPRK.

After decades of proclaiming itself a benign global power, the stark conclusion is that the USA is clearly emerging as a scourge on international peace. US foreign policy? There seems little else to it other than the USA is increasingly wired for provocation and war.

17 May 2018

Finian Cunningham

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201805171064551559-us-policy-provocation-war/

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov Became Head of the Pskov Metropolia

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The Holy Synod of Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias appointed the Head of the Patriarchal Council on Culture, Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, Ruling Bishop of the Pskov Metropolia. After a meeting of the Synod on Monday, the Press-Secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, Fr Aleksandr Volkov, informed journalists of the appointment. He said:

Bishop Tikhon of Yegoryevsk became head of the Pskov Metropolia, whilst remaining Head of the Patriarchal Council on Culture.

Bishop Tikhon shall receive the rank of Metropolitan. V R Legoida, the Chairman of the MP Synodal Department for Relations with Society and Media, wrote on his official webpage:

New Pskov Metropolitan is Tikhon Shevkunov.

The Pskov Metropolia has two dioceses, the Diocese of Pskov and Porkhov and the Diocese of Velikie Luki and Nevel. The head of the Pskov Metropolia was previously Metropolitan Yevsevy Savvin of Pskov and Porkhov. This metropolia includes a major pilgrimage destination, the Assumption Pskov-Pechersk Lavra, where Bishop Tikhon started his monastic career.

14 May 2018

TASS

http://tass.ru/obschestvo/5198557

Editor:

This is a sad day for the Church. Shevkunov is a fraud. He doesn’t have a theological education and he played a murky role in the Dickie Wood affair. Furthermore, he believes that Tsar Nikolai Aleksandrovich was the victim of a “Jewish ritual murder”. I shit you not! That’s blasphemous and false. Shevkunov is the perfect embodiment of a Black-Hundred bishop. He sucks up to the oligarchs and protects American alt-right creeps like Gleason and Jesse Dominick. The first is a renegade priest who swanned off to Russia without letters dimissory and the latter is a clueless rightwing asshat who spent all of his time at STS on online “traditionalist” rightwing forums.

My friends in the Rodina assure me that Shevkunov, who has delusions of becoming Patriarch, doesn’t really have a “party” in the episcopate. The real odds-on favourite to follow Patriarch Kirill is Metropolitan Mark Golovkov. Shevkunov is the confessor to members of the Putin family (not to VVP… his starets is at Valaam) and he’s used that to further his ambitions. Well, he’s only one of many “white hats”… it shows that HH still has to keep lines open to the oligarchs. Expect much loud BS from the konvertsy on this.

As I said, a sad day. He believes that Jews killed the last tsar in a ritual murder. Need I add more? No real Christian can accept that. We’ve fallen… shall we get up?

BMD

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