Voices from Russia

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Ex-European Commissioner sez the Ukraine Faces Humanitarian Catastrophe in Winter

00 Winter 2015. Those Moskali aren't freezing-26-06-14.jpg

Those Moskali (Russians) aren’t freezing… Winter 2015


On Friday, Günter Verheugen, who served as European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, wrote an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung pointing up that the Ukrainian economy is showing no signs of rebound, and that the forthcoming winter may bring about a humanitarian catastrophe, in a country where public disillusionment with the government is growing every day. Furthermore, Verheugen thought that the EU is doing nothing to prevent this catastrophe happening, “The Ukraine is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, the economy is in a tailspin and unemployment is going through the roof. Chances of a rebound are next to nil because who’s going to invest anything in a situation like this? Public disenchantment and anger over a political situation that hasn’t changed since the Maidan revolution are growing, the popularity of the government and the President are down, and the ultranationalists are sowing hatred and provoking unrest. With the advent of winter, the crisis will become even more hard-hitting with power outages and heating problems, leading up to a serious social and political crisis. The EU was wrong in rushing its association agreement with the Ukraine and putting forward a set of potentially explosive demands, such as an end to the Ukraine’s traditional gas pricing policy that subsidises gas and heating for all households. The EU should wake up to the prospect of a humanitarian catastrophe flaring up in the Ukraine  and start talking about the upcoming winter, also with Russia”.

8 August 2015

Sputnik International



Wednesday, 3 December 2014

3 December 2014. A Whisper on Merkel and Mollard

00 a whisper in the loggia. 08.12


Got this from the Cabinet:

The word on the street is that Merkel takes an anti-Russian line because the CIA has dirt on her from Stasi days. Besides that, I hope that they’re putting Mollard in his place in Moscow. We have to sort out the OCA problem before the 2016 all-Orthodox Sobor. Basically, HH is asking him… “Are you with us or are you with the Greeks? Make your mind up now, or else we pull the plug”. The chips could go down on the table now.

There’s nothing to add. It’s “put up or shut up time”, it appears…


The EU’s in Serious Trouble… It Isn’t Russia’s Fault

00 EU Evil Inside 01. 08.10.12______________________________

Angela Merkel criticised V V Putin’s apparent strategy to spread Russia’s sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. The Chancellor doesn’t acknowledge that Germany’s domination of Europe was disastrous for some states. Europe’s neo-liberal media are having a collective hernia at the thought that some former Warsaw Pact countries now cosy up to Moscow, especially in Germany. On top of that, Merkel’s recent speech in Australia was full of tough criticism of Russia. However, on closer inspection, what they’re accusing the Kremlin of doing is exactly what the EU has done for the past 20 years. Do a random street poll in any Eastern European capital, like Prague or Bratislava, where I was this week, for example. Ask whether life is better now, under the thumb of the EU, compared to how it was in 1989, under the Soviet jackboot. The responses I got are 50-50. If you’d tried the same query a decade ago, it’d have been unanimous that 2004 would’ve trumped ’89.

The EU is in serious trouble. Living standards are falling all over the union and political instability is fomenting from Dublin to Athens and Madrid to Zagreb. Iceland recently u-turned on a plan to join the grouping and, previously, resolute aspirants like Serbia and Montenegro cooled their ardour for membership. Angela Merkel thinks this is Russia’s fault. That’s akin to blaming Brazil’s strikers for their 7-1 World Cup capitulation to Germany… pure hokum. If Merkel wants to find the real culprit, she need only look in the mirror. The Berlin government, which she led for 9 years, is sucking the continent dry. Peripheral states flounder and pivotal countries stagnate, but Germany’s doing just fine. This is because the entire EU system… especially, the Euro currency… props up its largest member as it chokes the rest.

Of course, a quarter century ago, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and France’s Francois Mitterrand warned us of this, and they were both spot on. In January 1990, Mitterrand confided to his UK counterpart, “Reunification will result in Germany gaining more European influence than Hitler ever had”. In fairness, it’s worth mentioning that the ugly Euro currency monster was Mitterrand’s naïve attempt to curtail this eventuality. The Germans were quite content with the solid Deutschmark, but Paris believed that a currency union would keep their neighbours in check and made it the price of agreeing to a united Germany. Thatcher foresaw this and informed Mitterrand that strengthening EEC (later EU) institutions wouldn’t tame Bonn (then, the German capital), saying, “Germany’s ambitions would then become the dominant and active factor. We beat the Germans twice (in war), and now they’re back”.

Reunification greatly diluted a previously four-pronged (France, Britain, West Germany, and Italy) European élite. Restored to its former capital of Berlin, the now much-larger German state began to dominate the EU. In the early 00’s, the EU expanded massively to the east; it grew by ten members in one day in 2004, with a further three following later. What happened in all these newbies, from Estonia in the north to southern Cyprus was that German commerce rapidly swamped their economies. If you think that’s fanciful, I’d urge you to visit a shopping centre in Kraków or Brno… please, tell me how it differs from one in Dresden. To my eyes… I’d say not by much. Cheap German credit flooded existing members such as Ireland and Spain, which was a form of captive loan-sharking. German banks handed out easy money to ease the purchase of German-made goods, from cars to electronics. When the scheme went wallop in 2008, the German creditors didn’t accept a haircut. Instead, they passed on the penalties to Irish and Spanish taxpayers, further enslaving them to Berlin.

Meanwhile, Germany’s trade surplus continued to expand and they were happy to leave the rest of Europe to rot. Instead of showing empathy, the Hamburg and Berlin media were full of features mocking the economically wrecked nations. Apparently, Ireland had an epidemic of wild abandoned horses and the Spanish were delighted at the extra time for siestas. Oh, what fun the yellow press had in those halcyon days… and what harm they did to perceptions of Germany. Now, Merkel seems to believe that Russia coerced some European states into doing business. That’s complete nonsense. It’s rather more believable that financially stressed governments have begun to see through Berlin’s practises and are hedging their bets. After all, it’s the duty of a sovereign to look after its own citizens, not the pampered bankers of Frankfurt or industrialists of München. Germany’s arrogant mistreatment of the rest of Europe is coming home to roost.

“Frau Nein”, as she was once known, is especially upset about Russian influence in Hungary and Serbia. Apologies if I’ve missed something, but I haven’t noticed reports of Berlin heaping goodies on them. Does Merkel seriously expect their rulers to reject advantageous deals with Moscow to keep her happy? If she does, she’s lost touch with reality. Last weekend, she emoted, “This isn’t just about the Ukraine. It’s about Moldova. It’s about Georgia. If things carry on like this… we’ll need to raise the issue of Serbia, of the states in the western Balkans. How can something like this happen in the middle of Europe? Old thinking about spheres of influence… must not succeed”. What Merkel is trying to say with breathtaking arrogance is “how dare Russia nose in on our patch”… as if Germany had a divine right to control these independent nations. Spheres of influence aren’t an issue if they tilt towards Berlin or Brussels, which the former increasingly controls. Lost in all of this is the economic fact that Germany and Russia are now neck and neck economically, with Moscow poised to overtake its historic rival in the next few years. Russia has also succeeded in creating an alliance with China, Germany’s biggest export rival. This has forced Berlin into solidifying its previously waning alliance with the USA, something that isn’t uniformly popular in Germany.

However, in Budapest and Bratislava, Viktor Orbán and Robert Fico are doing what’s right by their electorate and striking the best deals for their countries. Such practises deeply offend Merkel… it reduces Germany’s omnipotent stranglehold on their commerce. Orbán is also committed to pushing ahead with the South Stream pipeline, in partnership with Moscow. Why? Not to undermine Berlin, but to guarantee its energy supply because the Ukraine is unreliable as transit territory. This is entirely understandable… it’s Orbán’s job to look after Hungary, not to bow down before Germany. The pro-NATO neoliberal media in Western Europe are presenting Russia’s trade deals with struggling eastern states as a dastardly plan to undermine the EU. Such suggestions are hyperbolic nonsense. The leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia would, gladly bite the hand off Merkel if she’d throw some German cash around. However, she’s not and Putin is. Consequently, these countries are doing what’s best for their current circumstances. There’s nothing sinister about it.

20 November 2014

Bryan MacDonald



Monday, 24 November 2014

German FM Steinmaier against Ukies Joining NATO and the EU

00 Eurointegration. 30.04.14


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke out against the Ukraine joining NATO. He said that it’s unrealistic to expect Ukrainian accession to the EU and NATO in the short-term, noting, “The economic and political modernisation of the country is a project of several generations”, adding that Kiev should soon begin appropriate reforms.

23 November 2014




This is BAD news for the Uniate junta. Germany’s throwing ice-cold water on their efforts to join NATO and the EU, which means that Berlin has written them off. In short, Berlin doesn’t expect them to last out the year, it appears. BIG NEWS…


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