Voices from Russia

Saturday, 15 December 2012

15 December 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Should I Sleep or Not Sleep Through the Coming Protest?

00 Sergei Yolkin. Should I Sleep or Not Sleep Through the Coming Protest. 2012

Should I Sleep or Not Sleep Through the Coming Protest?

Sergei Yolkin



The leaders of the opposition movement emphasised that a rally marking the anniversary of the demonstration on Bolotnaya Square would take place, even though they didn’t get a permit for the affair, and that they didn’t get a dialogue with the authorities.

12 December 2012

Sergei Yolkin



Editor’s Note:

Yolkin’s clear here… he doesn’t think that the protestors are going to do much good, and that they’re not going to draw the same crowds as last year. “Should I even bother to notice”, he seems to say. I don’t think that he’s against the protestors… I believe that he thinks that the rally isn’t going to amount to a hill o’ beans. In short, VVP’s still firmly in the saddle…



Sunday, 7 October 2012

President Vladimir Putin Celebrates 60th Birthday


Today is President Vladimir Putin’s 60th birthday. Putin was born 7 October 1952 in Leningrad (St Petersburg). He served as President from 2000 to 2008. Between 2008 and 2012, he served as Prime Minister under the Presidency of Dmitri Medvedev. He was sworn in for his third presidential term following his victory in the presidential election earlier this year. In 1975, Putin graduated from the law faculty of Leningrad State University, where he specialised in international law. In the mid 1970s, he joined the KGB and served in the First Chief Directorate (PGU), an élite division in charge of intelligence abroad. Putin was posted to the DDR; in the mid-1980s spent over three years as deputy director of the House of Soviet Science and Technology in Leipzig. In the early 1990s, Putin started his career in the St Petersburg city administration, working under influential Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, who would become his mentor. He rose to Deputy Mayor from 1992 to 1994 and First Deputy Mayor from 1994 until 1996.

In 1996, Putin entered federal politics, when he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Presidential Budget and Management Office. The following year, he became Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration and head of the Main Presidential Control Department. Two years later Putin was appointed head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the following year he became Secretary of the Russian Security Council. Putin’s rise to power continued in August 1999, when he was appointed Prime Minister. On 31 December of the same year, he took over from Boris Yeltsin as acting president and was confirmed in the post in presidential elections held in May 2000, winning 53 percent of the vote. As the Russian Constitution prohibits a single person to occupy the post of the president for more than two consecutive terms, Putin didn’t run in the 2008 presidential election, but then-President Dmitri Medvedev appointed him as Prime Minister. In 2012, Putin enjoyed a landslide victory in the presidential election winning almost 64 percent of the vote to win a third presidential term, which Medvedev had extended, from four to six years.

Putin styles himself as an active leader and frequently promotes this image in the media, via a series of strong-man photographs. These include shots of him doing martial arts, fishing bare-chested, and hunting exotic animals. Putin is married and has two daughters, Yekaterina and Maria. He’s also an Orthodox Christian. His mother baptised him secretly, but since the collapse of the USSR he’s been open about his faith.

7 October 2012



Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Unbearable Awfulness of the 2012 Election Campaign


When the Republican race for the presidential candidacy started, I thought it’d be fun to write a series of columns tracking the 2012 election campaign race from its beginnings to its conclusion this November. I’d poke fun at fatuous press dribbling, the evasions, and misrepresentations of the candidates, etc. That ended when I realised that the whole Republican race was a freak show beyond parody, consisting of nothing but gimps, lepers, and glue-sniffers. Well, it wasn’t that bad but you get my gist. There was Newt Gingrich, talking about Outer Space; Rick Perry, high as a kite on painkillers; Herman Cain, and his ladies; Rick Santorum, wanting to puke over JFK; Michele Bachman doing her low-budget Sarah Palin schtick; a few other nonentities; and, of course, Ron Paul. All Mitt Romney had to do was stand there, smile, and do nothing to remind people he was a Mormon. He won easily. There was no point writing about it.

Romney’s a preppy, upper-crust CEO type, lacking in people skills. As for Obama, the days when he would appear on TV instead of American Idol and ramble on about whatever he wanted to, Chávez-style, are gone, but he still has a high opinion of his charm and oratorical skills. The president was reportedly delighted with the GOP’s selection. The Democrats set the tone early, as Obama surrogates started digging for filth on this well-groomed, caffeine-dodging executive. Ancient yarns about Romney the teenage school bully and Romney tying his pooch to the roof of a car were unearthed as evidence of his diabolical character. Hacks and media lapdogs ran with both tales, but neither really took off.

Next, the Democrats decided to reignite the “Culture Wars” by making it mandatory for the Catholic Church to provide free contraceptives to frisky young lassies in their institutions and, also, Sandra Fluke. Cue conservative outrage, and lots of media jibber-jabber about the Republican war on women, Republicans tying women to the roof of Mitt Romney’s car, the Republican Taliban, etc. It worked for a bit, but then passed. Then, came attacks on Romney’s business record, as Obama surrogates portrayed the Wooden Mormon as a cackling, top-hat wearing capitalist of the sort Mayakovsky drew in Bolshevik propaganda posters in the 1920s. Apparently, there was nothing Romney loved more than bathing in cash after asset-stripping a firm and firing all its employees. These attacks backfired because there are plenty of gazillionaire Democrat asset-stripping venture capitalists and a few politicians voiced their disapproval of all these attacks on capitalism, which is, after all, a big part of the American Way of Life. So, the strategy then shifted to outright innuendo and lies… a whispering campaign that Romney hadn’t paid taxes since the Mormons practised polygamy in the 19th century, and, oh yeah, that he kinda sorta killed some dude’s wife, while taking a bath in money. Kinda.

That last attack, which appeared in a Democrat ad, and was swiftly revealed to contain no truth whatsoever, impressed me with its sheer chutzpah. The media duly talked about it for a few days, whilst Romney just stood there, wooden, preppy, grinning nervously; eager to escape to the next board meeting where he could perhaps fire some people and take a bath in money. He dispatched an underling to make a weak response, and, then, a few days later accused Obama of running a campaign based on “division and anger and hate”, an assessment not entirely without merit, but then he let the attack slip away and soon we were back to talking about his dog strapped eternally to the roof of his car yipping for release.

How times have changed! I enjoyed the election in 2008 because it made so little sense. Obama talked sweetly, conjuring a magical fluffy cloud out of words, inviting the people to come float away with him to a wondrous land where there was no hate or political division, and where the government didn’t keep foreigners locked up forever at Guantánamo Bay. This time around, it’s all about personal attacks, innuendo, gibberish, and appeals to special interest groups. Still, 2008 and 2012 do have one crucial factor in common… in neither campaign, has Obama run on his record. Four years ago, it was because he didn’t have one, so, it was all hope, change, and millenarian blather; this time around, he does have a record, but it’s clearly not anything he wants to talk about, other than, “Yeah dude, I totally blew a hole in bin Laden’s head”. The media is still pretty friendly to Obama, so they’ll happily run with stories about Romney’s dog or push unfounded accusations about his business record if they get an opportunity. Thus, the election is about everything except what’s important, which is something that rhymes with “economy”. Instead, we get a perpetual side show display of inanity, bumbling, distractions, and general rottenness. I’d say, “Wake me up when it’s over”, but I’m about to leave the country for a few weeks, so, that may not be necessary. I’ll save my nap for when I get back.

24 August 2012

Daniel Kalder



Editor’s Note:

I’ve noticed a great deal of “battle fatigue” amongst those covering this excuse for a political campaign. No one, but no one, has ANY enthusiasm whatsoever over it. Yes, many of us are willing to vote for “the lesser of two evils”, but there’s no “fire” in it. On the one hand, Mittens is unrepentantly greedy… “Yes, I screwed people unmercifully to get where I am today. I’m secretive, and I don’t owe you a damn thing, except to pay extortionate taxes so that I and my friends don’t have to… and I’m going to cut all programmes for ordinary people because I and my friends don’t want to pay for them”. On the other, Obama’s supremely feckless… “I promised to end the wars and close Gitmo… but that wasn’t expedient, so I didn’t do it. I won’t do anything that’s remotely unpleasant for me and my backers. If you don’t like that, find another planet to live on. I know that the One Percent parties hearty whilst most people suffer, but that’s life. I like the money that my rich backers give me, so I won’t cramp their style”.

In short, many people want to vote for “none of the above”. Neither the GOP or Dems are trusted… NEITHER. The Dems are seen as having turned their backs on New Deal square-dealing and the GOP’s seen as violating the principles of its most-revered leaders (Lincoln, TR, and Ike). Both are seen as greedy and grasping enablers of the rich… the Dems are simply less blatant about it (and will keep the social safety net somewhat intact). That’s why no one has any “fire in their belly” over the present campaign. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. Everybody just wants it all to end, and we all know that we’re stuck with this shit for two more excruciatingly-long months. I think that the turnout this year will be the lowest in decades, if not in history. That’s sad… and it vitiates every criticism that American “conservatives” and “liberals” hurl at Russia… especially, if the turnout at the American presidential election is less than that in the late Russian election (65 percent of eligible Russian voters actually cast a ballot in 2012, compared to 63 percent of American voters actually voting in 2008). Vova will lift a glass and smile… and he’ll have every right to.

Mr Kalder’s struck a vein of pure gold here. However, who’s going to listen?


Thursday, 19 July 2012

As John Robles Sees It… Media Bias: American Coverage of Russia


In the Western media, there exists a tangible and increasingly obvious media bias towards global events and countries around the world, in particular when it comes to reporting on material related to Russia. For the American media in particular, recent years have seen a decline in readership and a plethora of other problems such as scandals about manipulation, plagiarism, intimidation, falling profits, and obvious cases of reporting outright lies as fact. The reasons for this are many, and even though there doesn’t exist an official censorship body to control the media, most American media outlets are the victims of self-censorship, or “Market Censorship” as some call it. This occurs due to a desire not to offend or displease their advertisers, owners, or the government.

Regardless of the underlying reasons, it exists, and we must counter it. Most readers and consumers of information and news are intelligent and can often judge for themselves how much validity to give a particular source, but the majority don’t have the time to investigate and take a closer look at the information they’re presented. Most of their time is spent in digesting the information they’re given and this is exactly what those who wish to manipulate the media count on. Unfortunately, this occurs so regularly that it emboldens media-manipulators and they rely on this fact.

One shining example of “less-than-honest-media”, and that’s putting it lightly, would be Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, an outlet so blatantly dishonest that anyone who even slightly opposes their views or seeks a balanced source of information rarely takes them seriously. The practises of Fox News include everything from having their own goon squad, or “Fox Security” as they call it, which they use to harass and physically intimidate people who oppose the organisation, to doctoring photographs of people they target so they appear less attractive (click here, here, here, here, and here for more detail).

When investigating Western media bias toward Russia some recent shining and blatant examples are impossible not to mention; too often, Fox News is right in the middle of them. The most-recent outright falsifications and attempted cover-ups involve the events in South Ossetia and the recent demonstrations by the so-called “opposition” here in Moscow. Other areas that are continuously the object of censorship and manipulation include Iran, Syria, conflicts in the Middle East, and events in the Balkans. One good example of manipulation by the media was coverage of the invasion and bombing of South Ossetia and the murder of civilians by the Georgian Army. The false reporting quickly became clear and obvious as witness reports began to come out, the clearest example being the scandal surrounding the then-12-year-old Amanda Kokoeva, who was stopped from telling her story in an interview on Fox News after she began relating how she and her family were saved from the Georgians by Russian forces.

The numerous doctored photos and even video coverage of the recent demonstrations in Moscow are also another clear example of Western media manipulation. These include the use of Moscow crowd photos from 1991 and footage of Greek riots passed as being in Moscow, also by Fox News. All of these attempts had the intention of showing that the level of violence and the amount of the people involved were much greater than they were in reality. The reality was that many of these events were attended by more western reporters than demonstrators, and that, even though they were being funded by the USA, through NGOs and their agents, and people were being paid to attend the anti-government demonstrations, the actual turnout was nothing to write home about. The fact that the USA attempted to interfere in the election of President Putin and organised anyone it could to do everything possible to de-legitimise his election is just one more example of American meddling into the internal affairs of sovereign nations.

For its part, the internet has helped in offsetting many attempts at media manipulation. Many incidents would never come to light if it weren’t for media watchdogs, bloggers, and alternative media outlets. For this reason, the USA has aggressively pursued anyone who does damage to its media manipulations or is too successful in getting out the truth. This was clear after 9/11, and the attacks on 9/11 truth sites has been epitomised by the American reaction to the efforts of WikiLeaks. The truth is something that criminals and tyrants fear. It’s also something that they can’t allow when it interferes with their plans for geopolitical domination, resource wars, or the military takeover of the planet. We saw this on 9/11 when the authorities prevented reputable experts, witnesses, and even engineers, by the hundreds, if not thousands, from telling the truth. We saw this in the invasion of Iraq, with yellowcake, WMDs, and fake atrocities. We also saw this in the former Yugoslavia, with fake atrocities and the continuing media blackout in Serbia. Unfortunately, that isn’t all; we continue to see this in Syria and Iran, and in other locations where the West has plans in place, and they must make the reality on the ground coincide with their scenarios, even if it means creating complete and total fabrications.

As the falsehoods continue, so do the number of dead, this is most obvious in such places as Afghanistan, Syria, Bahrain, and other “hot-spots”, even in Egypt, where the USA recently did a 180-degree about-face and supported the Muslim Brotherhood. Once again, we see that, for the USA, the truth is a very inconvenient thing, and if it doesn’t please them, they’ll attempt to create their own.

18 July 2012

John Robles

Voice of Russia World Service



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