Voices from Russia

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Why Russians are Losing Faith in Donald Trump

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When Donald Trump was running for the office of US President, many in Russia viewed him with cautious optimism. Many saw him as a breath of fresh air compared to the shocking level of Russophobia that underscored Barack Obama’s failed presidency, as well as that put forth in Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign. Recent polls found that this good will is starting to wear off, as Congress seems to be unwilling to let Trump even have the possibility to engage in meaningful détente with Russia. RT reported:

On Friday, state-run pollster VTsIOM reported that research from the end of July showed that 68 percent of Russians are aware of the new sanctions introduced against Moscow by the USA. 32 percent told researchers it this was the first time they had heard about the developments. In the same study, 48 percent of respondents said they expected the new restrictions to cause no changes in Russia’s policies or its relations with foreign nations. A little under a third (28 percent) said that the consequences of the sanctions could be negative, and 9 percent believed that Russia would actually benefit from them. In addition, 29 percent thought it is best to leave the new US sanctions without a reply, whilst 19 percent said they supported a symmetrical response and 9 percent admitted that although they considered reciprocal sanctions necessary, they couldn’t give any specific ideas for such steps. When asked about previous Western sanctions against Russia, 35 percent of respondents said that in their opinion these measures had improved the situation in the country. Just over a quarter (26 percent) said that they thought the West managed to worsen the situation in Russia, and 29 percent said that they saw neither positive nor negative changes. Moreover, 72 percent of poll participants shared the opinion that the Russian authorities shouldn’t push for the cancellation of the sanctions as they’d lift them in due time.

These poll results are in line with the general attitude that Russia requires virtually nothing from the USA and expects even less. Donald Trump became a figure of interest to some in Russia because he promised peace and reconciliation. Any people would naturally favour a foreign leader who seeks peace with them; Russia’s no different from any other country in this respect. However, that optimism faded as stagnation seems to be setting in. Having said that, still, most Russians are somewhat glad that Hillary Clinton, with her openly-hostile policy towards Russia, lost the election.

8 August 2017

Russia Feed

http://russiafeed.com/russians-losing-faith-donald-trump/

Saturday, 12 August 2017

12 August 2017. What D A Medvedev Said on the Amerikantsy and Their Loud “Sanctions”

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I start with the Russian original. Then, I made my own translation from the original. All too often, when Russian pieces transit into English, one finds either jangly grammar or “dumbed-down” comment. I avoided this by doing a “roll yer own” translation. Do note that Dmitri Anatolyevich isn’t overly hot n’ bothered by the Amerikan temper tantrum… he also notes that the Amerikantsy toddlers have declared a Cold War because Russia won’t kiss their naked ass in public at high noon for the whole world to see. I mourn… the Amerikantsy are dragging the world into crisis and one only hopes that these demented toddlers with nukes won’t fry the world to a crisp. May the Good God help us…

BMD

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Подписание президентом США нового санкционного закона против России создает несколько последствий. Во-первых, надежде на улучшение наших отношений с новой американской администрацией – конец. Во-вторых, России объявлена полноценная торговая война. В-третьих, администрация Трампа продемонстрировала полное бессилие, самым унизительным образом передав исполнительные полномочия Конгрессу. Это меняет расклад сил в политических кругах США.

Что это означает для них? Американский истеблишмент вчистую переиграл Трампа. Президент не рад новым санкциям, но не мог не подписать закон. Новая санкционная тема возникла прежде всего как еще один способ поставить Трампа на место. Впереди новые заходы, конечная цель которых – отстранение его от власти. Несистемный игрок должен быть ликвидирован. При этом интересы американского бизнеса практически проигнорированы. Политика возвысилась над прагматическим подходом. Антироссийская истерия превратилась в ключевую часть не только внешней (что было много раз), но и внутренней американской политики (а это – новелла).

Санкционный режим кодифицирован и будет сохраняться десятилетиями, если не произойдет какое-то чудо. Причем он будет жестче закона Джексона – Вэника, ибо носит всеобъемлющий характер и не может быть отложен специальными распоряжениями президента без согласия Конгресса. Таким образом, отношения между РФ и США будут крайне напряженными вне зависимости от состава Конгресса или личности президента. Предстоят длительные выяснения отношений в международных органах и судах. Дальнейшее усиление международной напряженности. Отказ от решения важнейших международных проблем.

Что это означает для нас? Мы спокойно продолжим работу по развитию экономики и социальной сферы, будем заниматься замещением импорта, решать важнейшие государственные задачи, рассчитывая прежде всего на себя. Мы научились это делать за последние годы. В условиях почти закрытых финансовых рынков, боязни иностранных кредиторов и инвесторов вкладываться в Россию под страхом санкций против третьих лиц и стран. В чем-то это даже пошло нам на пользу, хотя санкции – в целом – бессмысленны. Мы справимся.

Д А Медведев

Председатель Правительства Российской Федерации

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The signing of a new sanctions law aimed against Russia by the US President has several implications. Firstly, our hopes to improve our relations with the new American administration are over. Secondly, it declares an actual trade war against Russia. Thirdly, the Administration demonstrated its complete impotence; Congress overrode Trump’s executive powers in the most humiliating way. This changed the balance of power in US political circles.

What does this mean? The American Establishment completely outsmarted Trump. The President isn’t happy about the new sanctions, but he couldn’t veto the law. Primarily, the new sanctions ploy is just another way to put Trump in his place. This is the first in a series of moves with the ultimate purpose of removing him from power. They must liquidate any non-system player. This virtually ignored American business interests, which prefer a pragmatic approach to policy. Anti-Russian hysteria isn’t only a salient point in foreign affairs (an old theme), but also in domestic American politics (which is something new).

The US Congress formalised sanctions, so they’ll be there for decades, barring some sort of miracle. Moreover, they’re tougher than the Jackson-Vannick Amendment was, as the President can’t modify them by executive order without Congressional consent. Thus, the relationship between Russia and the USA will be extremely tense, regardless of the composition of Congress or the personality of the President. The sanctions face a lengthy showdown in international bodies and courts. They further heighten international tensions and don’t address critical international problems.

What does this mean for us? We’ll continue developing our economy and social sphere; we’ll implement import substitution and resolve critical needs in our state by relying primarily on ourselves. In recent years, we’ve learnt how to manage things, even with almost-closed financial markets, as foreign lenders and investors fear to invest in Russia, as they face sanctions penalties from third-parties and countries. In some ways, it’s even to our advantage, making the sanctions generally pointless. We can cope with this.

A D Medvedev

Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Donald Trump’s America is Starting to Look Like Boris Yeltsin’s Russia

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While many attempt to debate who or what is in charge of the USA, the truth is that no single individual or even a single entity is in charge of the USA anymore. This was true under Barack Obama, but Obama’s middle-management style of governing helped to hide this fact. Donald Trump is a single-minded, straight-talking, and deeply-opinionated man… by contrast, he’s thrown a great deal of light onto the reality of just who governs the USA. The truth is that in 2017, the textbook balance of power between the President, Congress, and the judiciary no longer applies.

The reality is more of a combination of business oligarchs, foreign money, foreign lobbying groups tied to Israeli geopolitical interests in some cases and Gulf gold in others. Then, there’s the deep state including the intelligence agencies, the military-industrial complex, and its financial partners. Then, there are random corrupt and criminal mafioso interests in the Beltway and a renegade mainstream media that ought to be classed as a super-rich NGO. While this might sound unfamiliar to the “Schoolhouse Rock” generation where everything in America was functional, the story will be very familiar to those who can remember the horrors of Russia between 1991 and 1999.

During the dark Yeltsin years, Russia had no real leadership. Instead, it had competing factions of local, national, and supranational oligarchs and economic pirates, a governing class made up of both ageing traitors and young ambitious greedy individuals. Often, organised crime held more sway amongst the alleged governing classes than ordinary people did and foreign influence (including and especially from the USA) helped to sway the political process away from anything that could be remotely called democratic. It’s little wonder that at this time, Russia’s economic strength, military strength, international prestige, and living standards all plummeted.

While America isn’t yet in economic doldrums that one can compare to 1990s Russia, other similarities are already present. Nikki Haley, America’s Ambassador to the UN, increasingly looks like Boris Berezovsky, if he decided to dress up as a cocktail waitress. Like Berezovsky, Haley is conducting a kind of unilateral foreign policy interdependent of the official dictates of the State Department, which in theory she is answerable to. While she threatens what amounts to military attacks on Russian and Iranian interests, no one can find the actual Secretary of State. She’s clearly aiming to position herself as some new leader, perhaps a new President of the US. Will her hubris get the better of her as it did with Berezovsky? Only time will tell.

Within the White House, domestic policies seem to be a tug-of-war between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. This reminds one a great deal of the war of policy war and ideological power struggle between Gaidar and Yavlinsky. All the while, Paul Ryan is becoming something like Chubais, trying to cling onto his neocon Republican values in spite of a public that has clearly rejected them. Ryan may become a major thorn in the side of the Trump agenda, just as the public hatred of Chubais ended up tarring what little dignity left in the Yeltsin Presidency. With some statements coming out of the USA seemingly prepared for war against Syria and others, including from Defence Secretary Mattis saying the opposite, it’s clear that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

Making things worse, while Russia in the 1990s did have a stalwart opposition movement led on the left by  Zyuganov and on the right by Zhirinovsky, it’s difficult to see if Tulsi Gabbard and Rand Paul will be able to weather the storm and remain prominent leaders of the real US opposition as Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky did. Indeed, Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky are among the only major political figures of the 1990s who are both still successful politicians. The internal chaos in the USA, matched by increasing social divisions, falling living standards, and an out-of-control media is a lot like the situation in 1990s Russia. The next time people hold a mirror up to Trump, they shouldn’t see Putin. In time, they might see Yeltsin, a man who came to power on a sea of vodka-soaked promises, all of which were broken and broken “big league”. Trump can still save his administration if he holds fast to his principles and is willing to fight for them with both strength and tact. While Yeltsin never meant well, I personally feel that Trump does mean well. However, if the oligarchic swamp of Washington DC consumes him, Trump may end up having a similarly failed legacy as Russia’s giant failure, Yeltsin.

28 June 2017

Adam Garrie

The Duran

http://theduran.com/donald-trumps-america-is-starting-to-look-like-boris-yeltsins-russia/

Monday, 10 July 2017

10 July 2017. A Point to Ponder from Bishop Lazar

00 russia new year 03 puhalo 180417

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The following encapsulates the evil programme of American neoliberalism (both Republican and Corporate Democrat). Note well that Orthodox konvertsy dance in glee about Trump’s Golden Calf (and call themselves “pro-lifers” to boot)…

To boast of being “pro-life” while acceding to the removal of health care from millions of people, many of whom, children in particular, will die from lack of adequate health care, is surely one of the most gross and egregious hypocrisies of our epoch.

It says it all about the neoliberals (and Orthodox konvertsy), doesn’t it?

BMD

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