Voices from Russia

Monday, 22 April 2013

Speaking Ill of the Dead

00 Margaret Thatcher caricature. 09.04.13

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Following the death of Margaret ThatcherBritain’s first and, so far, only female Prime Minister… many in Russia are still struggling to understand the polarised reaction to her death back home. On Facebook, Russian playwright Yuri Klavdiyev praised Thatcher’s achievements, writing, “Rest in peace, Comrade Thatcher. You did for your country a thousand times more than [members of the Russian Occupy movement] have done for theirs”. Yet, whilst tributes poured in from landmark figures across the world, in Britain, the song Ding, Dong! The Witch Is Dead from The Wizard of Oz controversially reached no. 2 on this week’s BBC Radio 1 music chart. On the day of Thatcher’s passing, the Daily Telegraph announced that, given the volume of abusive messages it had received, it was blocking all comments on any Thatcher-related article. That was besides the street parties and other impromptu celebrations.

By her own admission, Thatcher had inherited a country rendered ungovernable by the influence of the trades union movement. Her solution was stark. Thatcher chose to pick a fight with their most powerful and, in doing so, break the will of the movement as a whole. The resulting 1984-85 conflict between the government and the miners’ unions at times bordered on civil war, with British police forces accused of acting more as militia than as law enforcement. That the government won is a matter of historical record. More subjective is the question of cost. Last week, former miner Darren Vaines told the BBC, “The cut went so deep, people have never been able to forget about it”.

When she came to power in 1979, Thatcher’s monetarist government was on a collision course with a young generation radicalised by the extreme politics of the late 1970s. As the government lurched to the right, the educated liberal opposition would step to the left. Joe Strummer, poster boy of the New Left, wanted to illustrate The Clash’s Cost of Living EP with a picture of Margaret Thatcher’s face and a swastika. Alexei Sayle, firebrand of the early alternative comedy scene, joked, “In the old days, people used to be named after what they made. Carter if they made carts, Cooper if they made barrels, Thatcher if they made people sick”.

Many seized upon the Falklands War, which almost certainly saved Thatcher from an early resignation as her popularity waned, as an example of her political opportunism. To howls of popular protest, Thatcher also resisted sanctions against South Africa, branding the African National Congress a “typical terrorist organisation” and inviting apartheid-era President P W Botha on a state visit in 1984. Elsewhere, Thatcher proposed that the deposed Khmer Rouge retain their UN seat for Cambodia. Even after her removal from power, she continued to infuriate the left, calling for the release of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.

Last Tuesday, former Irish Republican Army chief of staff Martin McGuinness felt obliged to urge Republican households to stop celebrating the death of the IRA’s former “Number One Target”. Republican resentment of Thatcher grew throughout the 1980s, after her refusal to consider the political status of prisoners at Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison resulted in the deaths, by hunger strike, of Parliament member Bobby Sands and nine other prisoners.

Mass unemployment, climbing since the global recession of the early ’80s, snapped at Thatcher’s heels as she led the way toward her vision of a deregulated economy. Joblessness in Britain reached record highs not seen since the Great Depression. Dramatic cuts in government spending on arts, healthcare, education, and welfare, plus the deliberate sacrifice of many of Britain’s manually-intensive staple industries on the altar of modernity, further alienated an already-disenfranchised poor. All of this, coupled with the internal machinations of Thatcher’s own Conservative Party, would force Thatcher from office in 1990 amidst yet more riots (this time against her government’s poll tax).

For Russians struggling to understand the response to Thatcher at home, it may be useful to recall the polarising reactions to her Cold War contemporary, Mikhail Gorbachyov. Thatcher’s role in the end of the Cold War is debatable. Paul Dukes, professor emeritus at the University of Aberdeen, said, “Her role in bringing the Cold War to an end was probably not as significant as she and her admirers asserted. At least, the individual contributions of Gorbachyov and Reagan were far greater”. Yet, both Gorbachyov and Thatcher, though lauded internationally, engender, at best, mixed reactions on home soil. Gorbachyov, with his surname a global byword for postwar tolerance, only polled 0.5 percent in the first round of the 1996 presidential election. In a 2011 opinion poll, 47 percent of Russians claimed “not to care about him at all”. A significant 20 percent, reported “active hostility” to the former Communist General Secretary. As Gorbachyov leads the eulogies to Thatcher, he may be watching the dramatic reactions to her death unfold in Britain with one eye fixed firmly on his own legacy.

15 April 2013

Simon Speakman

Moscow News

http://themoscownews.com/international/20130415/191442888/Speaking-ill-of-the-dead.html

Monday, 8 April 2013

Maggie Thatcher Dies at 87

00 Martin Rowson. She Vanquished the Miners. 2009

She Vanquished the Miners

Martin Rowson

2009

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On Monday, Lord Bell, Mrs Thatcher’s spokesman, announced that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died at the age of 87 following a stroke, saying, “It’s with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother, Baroness Thatcher, died peacefully following a stroke this morning”. British Prime Minister David Cameron called her a “great Briton”, whilst the Queen expressed her sadness. US President Barack Obama issued a statement, “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend”.

Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister, a post she held from 1979 until 1990, when a Conservative Party coup forced her out, following rioting in Trafalgar Square over her unpopular poll tax. Perhaps the most controversial figure in modern British politics, a grocer’s daughter, Thatcher was a committed believer in the free market and an opponent of the culture of a welfare state… or the “nanny state”, as she called it. In 1987, she said, “There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families”.

She took Britain to war in 1982, after Argentina took back the Malvinas Islands, located just off the coast of Argentina. “Rejoice! Rejoice!” she cried after British Marines took a key island, the triumph carrying her to an easy victory in the 1983 national election. Thatcher also famously took on Britain’s once-powerful trades unions, labelling striking miners the “enemy within” during their 1984-85 walkout. Her eventual defeat of the miners’ union changed Britain’s political landscape and made her a hated figure on the left.

A firm ally of US President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War, nevertheless, Thatcher hailed future Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachyov during a 1984 meeting in Britain. Three months later, Gorbachyov became the leader of the USSR. On Monday, Gorbachyov said in a statement, “Margaret Thatcher was a great politician and a striking person”.

Thatcher was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her perceived toughness, a moniker that was then picked up by her supporters and critics at home. She also survived an IRA attack on the Brighton hotel she was staying at ahead of a Conservative Party conference. Thatcher’s time in power transformed Britain both politically and culturally, seeing the rise of what critics labelled the “me” culture. Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler of Brockwell, who served as Thatcher’s principal private secretary from 1982 to 1985, told RIA-Novosti that Margaret Thatcher was “above all a conviction politician. She had her own principles, whatever trial she faced, be it in the Falklands {i.e., the Malvinas: editor}, the miners’ strike, or the Cold War. She believed in freedom and justice under the law … these were such clear principles that she always knew what direction to take”. Her funeral, with full military honours, will be at London‘s St Paul’s Cathedral.

8 April 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20130408/180513538/UK-Ex-PM-Thatcher-Dies-at-87.html

Editor’s Note:

Margaret Thatcher, along with Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachyov were amongst the most evil people of the Twentieth Century. They enabled the massively-corrupt and greedy “New World Order” that plundered the world in the nineties and aughts. Their legacy is thousands of shattered lives… but that didn’t matter to them… they were just little people… they weren’t “productive”… they weren’t “successful”… they weren’t “focused on goals and objectives”. The Unholy Trinity brought us the Economic Meltdown of ’07 by dismantling government regulation or by destroying a non-capitalist society. Truly, there’s little to choose between Reagan, Thatcher, and Gorbachyov. All three were anti-Christian destroyers. Again, take note of Mrs Thatcher’s quote:

“There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families”.

That’s utterly repulsive and disgusting. It says that we needn’t take a care for our society or environment, for it isn’t our concern. We need only enrich our families, or ourselves, and to hell with the consequences to society, for “there’s no such thing as society”. That remark reveals the inner character of Mrs Thatcher. Scary, isn’t it? Remember, evil doesn’t wear red tights, carry a pitchfork, or have horns and hooves. It doesn’t raise its voice, it dresses neatly, it’s polite, it “goes along to get along”, and, above all, “Greed is GOOD”.

I hope that Maggie repented of her godless actions, but I fear that she didn’t. Crank world, isn’t it?

BMD 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Malvinas: Is a Compromise Possible?

Argentine vet José Bratulich in front of the Argentine War Cemetery in Darwin ISLAS MALVINAS (currently under British occupation). About half of the crosses bear the inscription, “Soldado Argentino Solo Conocido Por Dios” (An Argentine Soldier Known Only Unto God)… they “stand vigil” until the day when the islands will bear their proper name, yet again.

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It’s highly unlikely that the UK will ever comply with Argentina’s demands for the return of the Malvinas. This territory is a most important strategic point, giving access to Antarctica, with reserves of oil, gas, and other minerals. Juan Recce, Director of the Argentine Centre for International Studies, and founder of the movement “For the Malvinas” expressed his point of view in an exclusive VOR interview.

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Maria Dunayeva

This year, the problem of the Malvinas has once again become topical. How does Argentine society perceive the war with the UK today?

Juan Recce

The war over the Malvinas has had an influence on Argentine foreign policy. In 1982, when the war began, it became a turning point. During the last 30 years, a process of acknowledging this event and turning our foreign policy in the direction of peaceful initiatives in Latin America was under way in Argentina. The war over the Malvinas is still a hot topic, because it concerns the strategic agenda of the future of the real economy of Great Britain and the real economies of Argentina and South America. The Malvinas consist of only two main islands, but they are part of the larger system of the South Atlantic, which gives access to Antarctica.

Today, the British prefer not to talk about this, but the Malvinas are their logistic centre for access to Antarctica and the basis of their claims to part of the continent. The Malvinas as part of a single Antarctic system provide access to significant (according to preliminary estimates) oil and gas reserves. Although they’re hard to produce under such severe conditions, they have a sufficient value, taking into account the overall situation with oil and gas reserves in South America. There are also significant deposits of minerals. In the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean, there are complex ore deposits, containing manganese, cobalt ore, and other ore-bearing minerals that one can mine. In fact, the UK and the USA are already mining minerals at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Of course, when they have the technical and economic facilities, they’ll also start in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean.

A third very important aspect is the patenting of biological diversity, which is of great importance for pharmaceutical industry. This aspect includes biological diversity, not only of the ocean, but also of Antarctica as a whole. This, too, is connected with the Malvinas, as all British ships sail to Antarctica from there. These issues are of great importance in the long-term strategic agenda and give sense to political conjuncture, leading to verbal arguments between Argentina and the UK.

Maria Dunayeva

Under what conditions could Argentina and the UK agree to a compromise? For example, they could come to an agreement about the joint use of resources.

Juan Recce

I think that the UK isn’t going to return the islands. The UK, and the West in general, headed by UK and the USA, lost the race for control over the real global economy many years ago. Now, they don’t have control over resources, which are in the possession of developing countries… China, India, Brazil, and Russia… and they don’t control the industrial processes, because those have moved to south-east Asia or to South America. This leaves the Western powers with very little space for manoeuvre. Therefore, they need access to resources and control over them. From this point of view, the UK can easily control the Malvinas, which doesn’t entail a large logistic and military cost.

Most likely, I believe that they aren’t going to return the islands. On the other hand, they invented a humanitarian cover for the conflict, that is, the “kelpers”. This is an English-speaking community, of a very small population, that came to live on the islands. Most of them were born in the UK or one of the British overseas territories. From the UN legal criteria standpoint, they aren’t considered a nation, and, therefore, don’t represent a side of the conflict.

Argentina believes that, according to UN General Assembly resolution 2065, the negotiations between Argentina and the UK should be bilateral. However, Great Britain insists that three parties must take part in the talks… the UK, Argentina, and the inhabitants of the islands. That’s why I think that it’s very difficult to achieve something by means of dialogue. It seems to me that there’s a scenario, according to which the inhabitants of the islands (that is, the same third party not included by Argentina in the negotiation process) could appreciate the advantages of joining us under the Argentine Constitution.

In our country, strategic oil, gas, and other mineral resources don’t belong to the central government; they belong to provinces that make up the country. That is, if the inhabitants of the islands choose to join the Argentine Constitution in the capacity of a province, the oil and gas reserves would belong to them. Of course, Argentina would have a significant incidental benefit through a huge expansion of its continental shelf, which would include mineral reserves, biological diversity, and access to Antarctica. Namely, all these things are the basis of the calculations for the UK today.

2 April 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_02/70357135/

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“To the Heroes of the Malvinas”

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Editor’s Note:

Slobberin’ Ronnie shat all over the Monroe Doctrine when he aided the European aggressors in the Malvinas War of 1982. That tells you how far the Republican Party has fallen. They aided the European aggressors in a conflict where an American nation-state simply took back what a European imperialist seized in the 19th century. Under the Rio Pact, the USA had the obligation to come to the aid of an American nation-state under attack from an overseas aggressor. Its central premise is that an attack against one is an attack against all.

Interesting detail, that, isn’t it? However… the leadership element in the Anglosphere view themselves as Übermenschtumen (the concept of the Master Race actually arose in the slave-holding American South… fancy that, the Nazis only copied what the Anglo-Saxons invented), and all others must acknowledge this, or else. There’s an unmentioned codicil to the Rio Pact. That is, the USA would aid an American nation-state invaded by a third party, except when it’s the UK. The English-speaking world is superior to all others and it can attack whom it pleases without any damage to its pristine public image. That’s what they believe; I kid you not. These people brought us the Trail of Tears and the fire-bombing of Hamburg… but that doesn’t count… the Anglo-Saxons are the crème de la crème, dontcha know. No… the Anglo-Saxons are NOT the worst of the worst… but they’re not exemplars, either. They’re sinful-ginfuls, just like the rest of us.

However, the point stands… the USA had an obligation under treaty to have halted the British aggressors, but it didn’t. Let’s put it this way, if the “kelpers” were Italians, the Argentine flag would still fly over the Malvinas. Ponder that. None dare call it racism.

BMD 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Lest We Forget… It’s Been 30 Years Since the War for the Malvinas…

Argentine Malvinas War vet José Bratulich in front of the Argentine War Cemetery in Darwin in the Malvinas Islands (presently under British occupation).

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Thirty years ago, on 2 April 1982, Argentine forces landed in the Malvinas Islands, which were under British occupation. Britain launched a counter-attack with the full cooperation and support of the USA. Even though the Argentine position was correct, US influence saw to it that it was portrayed in the West as a cruel aggressor (even though Thatcher was the real warmonger in this instance). Ronald Reagan threw his full weight of support to Maggie, in one of the most shameful episodes in American history (it annulled the so-called Monroe Doctrine, as the USA aided a European aggressor in a strike at a country in the Americas). 624 Argentine soldiers, 255 British servicemen, and 3 civilians in the Malvinas died in the ensuing conflict. Their blood is on Slobberin’ Ronnie’s and Maggie Thatcher‘s hands… and neither one was ashamed of it.

The Malvinas remain under the British boot. They’re Argentine territory… always were… always will be… no matter how many “kelpers” squat there.

BMD

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