Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Five Years After the Five-Day War, Everyone’s Learned Their Lessons

01g South Ossetia 2010

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Russia and Georgia’s clash over South Ossetia happened five years ago, but today it feels like an age away. Much has changed since then in Georgia and Russia, as well in all the countries that were indirectly involved in the conflict. Georgia was the first post-Soviet republic to engage in a direct military clash with Russia, certainly an extraordinary event. Georgia changed politically since then, with a new government coming to power last fall. The five-day war didn’t topple Mikhail Saakashvili, as many in Moscow hoped it would, but it did seriously mar his moral and political image. Little by little, Saakashvili’s government abandoned its pro-reform policy and turned into a repressive régime that wanted only one thing… to remain in power at all costs. When a strong political rival appeared three years later, it turned out that Saakashvili’s chair was much shakier than many thought.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream, which won the parliamentary elections last fall, promised to examine the causes of the military conflict and the role of Tbilisi in it. Some members of the current Georgian government said that the government made gross mistakes, but Georgia is unlikely to do a U-turn on its attitude toward the war. The war did major damage, and if a leading politician tried too abruptly to change the idea that Georgia was a victim in the events, the political consequences might be unpredictable. It’s unclear whether anyone should do this at all, although such a positive change would be of truly revolutionary importance for relations with Russia and a breakthrough in relations.

The new Georgian authorities are grappling with many problems. However, most predictions agree that the Georgian Dream will easily win the presidential election in October and that Saakashvili’s United National Movement is losing weight. Firstly, Georgia still heavily depends on the West, which sees Georgian Dream’s attempts to restore political order as a persecution campaign, even if there may be very serious reasons behind it. Therefore, the government should move slowly and act prudently. Secondly, people heaved a sigh of relief when the previous government’s pressure eased, but they soon became aware of drawbacks in the new democratic rule. Georgians are heatedly discussing their problems, and political life is in full swing, but there are few practical results so far. Furthermore, with the United National Movement discredited and no other serious political forces in the country, the government is in a dangerous position, with no opposition to keep it in check. Life without opposition corrupts, as we know from history. Nonetheless, it looks like Georgia learned its lesson and is unlikely to act opportunistically again.

The West took a warning from the Georgian example. The August 2008 war put an end to the idea of NATO’s eastward expansion, which the West hasn’t discussed since, at least not in practical terms. Only a major change in American policy would bring this issue back in focus. However, so far, events have gone in the opposite direction. NATO’s extensive development, which masked the lack of a strategy in the 2000s, gave way to attempts to adapt the bloc to the more practical tasks at hand. These tasks have very little connection with the Caucasus, and the bloc is no longer enthusiastic about the post-Soviet space as a whole.

The five years after the South Ossetian war were a time of quest for Russia. Many saw the defeat of Georgia as a major landmark and a psychological resurgence after more than 20 years of geopolitical retreat. At the same time, it became clear that Russia wouldn’t pursue an expansionist policy to regain the losses it sustained after the dissolution of the USSR, which the West and some neighbouring countries feared would be the case. Moscow is gradually abandoning the post-imperial mentality rooted in the Soviet collapse and related feelings in favour of a new vision of itself and its interests in the neighbouring countries. The Customs Union idea proposed several months after the war was a major improvement on all previous plans. It focuses on economic expediency and the logic of mutually beneficial integration rather than reunion for the sake of reunion.

Russia’s most controversial postwar move was the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In the five years since, Russia hasn’t convinced any major country to do the same, and it’s unlikely to succeed any time soon. Moscow had to make the decision because the situation was rocky and they needed to stabilise the state of affairs. Nevertheless, it hasn’t resolved the problem. It only put the political and diplomatic conflict on ice, and it’s a fact that what’s frozen sometimes melts. A final settlement will come only when we find a solution that suits all sides, which means that aggravation is still possible, even though the status quo is stable and no one wants an escalation.

One can describe the South Ossetian war, which is deeply rooted in the dissolution of the USSR, as the closing page in a long chapter. The global financial crisis, which broke out a month later, put into question the results of an era that began in the 1990s and was a time of triumph for the West and its market ideology. It also engendered processes that have made things even more problematic. The Arab Spring, which began two-and-a-half years after the South Ossetian war, further complicated matters. There’ll be many more such events before a new world order emerges from the chaos. Russia paid a high price for being a lead actor in 20th-century history. It had its share of shocks and would rather be a spectator from now on, unless a new play develops in direct proximity to its borders.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti8 August 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130808/182661056/Uncertain-World-5-Years-After-the-5-Day-War-Everyones-Learned.html

Editor’s Note:

The above is far different from the narrative that’s still bruited in neocon and interventionist circles. They claim that Georgia was the totally-innocent victim of Russian neo-imperial aggression. Such wasn’t so… indeed, they’re the most disgusting apologists for AMERICAN neo-imperialism. Since 1991, American neocons and interventionists have been drunk on their ”victory” in the Cold War. Factually, the Cold War ended in 1987, after the Reykjavik Summit, not the 1991 implosion of the USSR, which was something else altogether (and had nothing to do with Socialist vs Market ideologies, in any case). America has run riot… showing all concerned that the leading elements of the USA are greedy, self-centred, and violent; they’re incompetent, uncivilised, uncultured, and indecent, not fit for the role of a “world leader”. That’s true of both the Right and Centre in American politics (there’s no Left in the USA… the last Leftists were FDR and Henry Wallace).

We see the moral bankruptcy of the trend in the USA (and the West, in general) that’s been regnant since the time of Slobberin’ Ronnie. “Might makes right” has run rampant in the USA… “Greed is Good”, “The race goes to the swiftest”, and “You earned it” sum up its evil credo. It’s Social Darwinism (actually, a misnomer, as it owes everything to Spencer, not Darwin) writ large. America’s become a McMansion… glitzy on the outside, cheap softwood plyboard inside (with the termites busy at work). It’s time to put things right… but shall we? That’s up to YOU…

If we don’t, the consequences will be dire… I’m not advocating chaos and bloodshed, I’m predicting that it could happen if we don’t scrap our present neoliberal Rightwing arrangements… that’s two very different things…

BMD   

Sunday, 30 December 2012

30 December 2012. Home Truths From a Priest in the Rodina

00 Buddha Quote. 07.12

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This is from an MP archpriest in the Western Ukraine:

I was disgusted to hear of your “noble” priest’s mouthing of dirty White Guard propaganda. I could vomit! This is a good example of why many of us have issues with the ROCOR being included again in the Orthodox Church. Ask that prince what WORK his family did to allow them to live in luxury… in palaces, with titles, and with balls and festivals. Ask him why his fathers lived in laziness whilst mine slaved in fields and mines, and why his lived off us. Ask him where the money that WE produced went! More than likely, it went to his grandfathers and their lazy families… and their prostitutes and perversions.

I’m so sick already of how American, Australian, and Canadian clergy judge us. They want to tell us about our Lenin, and about what we “must” do to be “good Orthodox Russians”. To them, we are forever SOVIETS! They must be quiet! Silence them! These criminals and prostitutes of Hitler betrayed our Russia. We should spit on them still! Vlasov was and is a traitor! We’re sick of them; they set fire to Russia, and, then, ran away to America and France, telling us what to do. Filthy! I almost hate them. They helped to destroy our dear Soviet Union, so, now, we all suffer under all this new criminal régime, but those who live abroad praise it. I’m sorry, but I do despise them. I hope we’ll soon have our USSR again, god willing!

Today, we have poverty, people without homes, dirty filthy rich parasites, whores, gays, drugs trade, pornography, sexualised children, racists, and all manner of dirty and deathly crime… thank you, ROCOR whites! Thank you! Before, we had a good life and peace. Now, you “corrected” this. Thanks to you! I’m Soviet forever! Please, know that I pray for you at the Holy Table, but I only tolerate your priests and church. Forgive me for speaking out!

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This was from a priest in the Western Ukraine. When you support Victor Potapov, you spit on him. When you support James Paffhausen, you spit on him. When you support Rod Dreher, Freddie M-G, or Terrence Mattingly, you spit on him.

You can stand with REAL Orthodox Christians such as HH, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, and this anonymous priest (I removed all traces of his contact information), or you can stand  with phonies like the White Guard ROCOR fanatics (many ended by working for the American special services), the SVS/St Sergius loons, and the konvertsy meatheads. That’s your Real World choice; that’s what on offer, for there’s nothing else.

Not all White émigrés are nasty… not everybody at SVS and the Paris Exarchate are heretics… not all converts are self-centred ignoramuses… but all too many are. You know that I have the habit of speaking the truth. This is one such time. Compare what this confessor archpriest said to the dreck issued by the ROCOR recently. I have much respect for the ROCOR, but I shan’t be silent in the face of arrant falsehood and subservience to the Western powers-that-be. That’s Sergianism (sucking up to the godless powers-that-be) of the vilest sort.

In the late 90s, Victor Potapov showered all sort of lies on the head of His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger when Aleksei was at Georgetown University to receive an honorary degree. Today, he’s the centre of a Far Right cabal that mouths loyalty to the Centre, but it’s actually in the thrall of the worst elements in the American political apparat. It’s apparent that all too many haven’t changed their spots. They’re more apologists for Western crapitalism than they’re Partisans of Christ. That’s especially true of the clergy and laity who take Uncle Sugar’s shilling (and there’s more than one of those). Hmm… that includes Potapov, Freddie M-G, and Alexander Webster, and that’s not exhaustive… Dreher and Mattingly are stink-tankers, that makes them K Street parasites; that’s the same as sucking on Uncle Sugar’s tit.

Note well how some loud sorts are either dependent on Western government monies or they’re of the Affluent Effluent. I think that I’m not the only one to have noticed this. Nevertheless, there are only two real choices… Christ and the Mother Church… Mammon and the Godless West. That’s it; there’s nothing else out there. There’s no such thing as “American Orthodoxy” or “Western Orthodoxy”… there’s no historical grounding for either contention. Your choice is stark… stand with the Mother Church or stand with Mammon. You know what Our Lord Christ said on that.

I’ve chosen. I don’t need to tell you where I stand. Now, you must do likewise… for the times demand it. If you do nothing, that’s a choice, and the deluge will roll over you, regardless of your “neutrality”. So, choose well. God be with you…

BMD barbara-drezhloBarbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 30 December 2012

Albany NY

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Putin Sez Playing Nationalist Card May Prove “Fatal” for Russia

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- )… don’t forget, he’s a black belt judoka… and that judo uses one’s opponent’s strength against them…

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On Friday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged his challengers in the presidential race to drop nationalist slogans, warning of the possibly “fatal” consequences of fuelling Russian chauvinism. At a meeting with World War II veterans in St Petersburg, Putin pointed up that a nationalist problem does exist in Russia, and that we should address it properly, saying, “Instead of proposing a solution to these problems… our politicians have started to exploit these difficulties” in order to achieve “selfish political goals. For a multi-ethnic country such as Russia, this behaviour can be fatal and lead to the destruction of the country”. Putin said this in response to a veteran who expressed concern over slogans such as “Russia for Russians” that he said have frequently popped up in Russia, including in the media. Vladimir Vladimirovich said that he believed Russia’s ethnic diversity was an advantage, “The broader and richer the genetic code is, the stronger the nation is”. The most obvious target of Putin’s remarks was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the ultra-nationalist LDPR party, who will challenge Putin in the 4 March elections, along with three other candidates.

Meanwhile, critics say both Russia’s ruling élites and the opposition benefit from flirting with nationalist sentiment. On Thursday, Putin pleased Russian nationalists by proposing an array of robust measures, including stiff laws, to deal with the soaring numbers of illegal immigrants in Russia. The issue has long been a source of huge public discontent among Russians who fear being “overrun” by people from the former Soviet republics. Speaking during a meeting with the Federal Migration Service, Putin said that his friends told him, “In some large cities people are afraid of leaving their homes on holiday” because of the fear of “strangers”. Putin’s proposals come less than a week after he wrote an article on modern problems in a multiethnic Russia as part of his election programme. He said that migrants should respect the customs and traditions of regions they come to live in, and that the authorities should properly address any aggressive or disrespectful behaviour on their part. On Thursday, Putin proposed making exams in Russian, history, and the basics of Russian law mandatory for migrants from 2013, saying that would help them to adapt to life in Russian society.

27 January 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/society/20120127/170986032.html

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