Voices from Russia

Friday, 16 September 2016

Sputnik International Presents… Seven Unknown Wonders of the World

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The Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is one of Africa’s most famous landmarks

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Great Mosque of Djenné

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Chand Baori is a stepwell in the village of Abhaneri in Rajasthan (India)

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As others look on, an Indian youth jumps into the historic Chand Baori stepwell

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Probably, the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest (Romania) is the largest civil administration building in the world

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The Alexandru Ioan Cuza Hall dwarfs foreign tourists… another name for this building is the “House of the People”

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The Stari Most (Old Bridge) is a 22-metre-high (72-foot-high) reconstruction of a 16th-century Ottoman bridge over the Neretva River in Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina… in 1993, Croatian forces destroyed the original bridge during the Croat-Bosniak War

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A diver leaps from the Stari Most in a traditional bridge diving competition

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Kumbhalgarh Fort, in the former princely state of Udaipur/Mewar (Rajahsthan (India))… its walls extend over 38 kilometres (23.7 miles), making them the second-longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China

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Kumbhalgarh Fort

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Built in the early 17th-century, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan (Iran) is one of the greatest architectural masterpieces of Safavid Iranian architecture

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Interior of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

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Derawar Fort, a massive square fortress in Bahawalpur in Pakistan… the fortress has 40 towering bastions; the circumference of its 30-metre-high (99-foot-high) walls is about 1.5 kilometres (0.94 mile)

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Derawar Fort

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Some man-made “wonders of the world”, such as the Colosseum or Taj Mahal, have much fame, but there are many more architectural masterpieces scattered across the globe that aren’t quite so famous.

27 February 2016

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/photo/20160227/1035439233/hidden-world-wonders-photo.html

Saturday, 19 January 2013

19 January 2013. Don’t Believe Everything That You Hear on the News Department… Be Kind to Your Interlocutors, They Only Know What the Corporate Media Feeds Them

00a Russia. Chaplain. Belarus. Spetsnaz. 19.01.13

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Talk about media obsession! Over the last three days at work, they had CNN blatting away in the corner in the lunchroom. They’re obsessing over Lance Armstrong (a washed-up jock) and some jerkoff jabronie at Notre Dame with an imaginary girlfriend. I kid you not! They didn’t talk about the Algerian hostage crisis… they didn’t talk about the fighting in Mali… they didn’t talk about the Syrian Army kicking ass on the insurgents… they didn’t talk about Russia and China giving support to Iran. They didn’t report the massive First Nations protest in Canada snarling up traffic at the border between Detroit and Windsor… they didn’t report the good economic news from Russia and Belarus… they didn’t report about the Magnitsky Law or about Russia’s response to it, the Guantánamo List. Fox is the same thing, only from the other side of the crapitalist coin.

Be generous with your interlocutors. Most only follow the crank American “news” networks (remember, Canada wouldn’t let Fox operate, as it isn’t really a news operation, it’s a propaganda outlet), so, they only know what the Corporate Leadership wants them to know. If they saw the above image… a Belarusian army chaplain with spetsnaz troopers… they’d say, “Hey, that’s a lot like here. They look like stand-up guys to me”. Remember, most haven’t read what we’ve read or seen what we’ve seen. Give ’em a break. Tell ’em the truth, but give ’em a break. We just might win some friends and influence some people. After all, the greedsters are showing their bloody talons… a lot of people who didn’t see what’s out there before, are seeing it now. They’re seeing that “trickle down” really meant “trickle upon”, and we all know what flows down, don’t we? It’s not prosperity or honey, kids…

BMD

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Will Russia be Able to Weather the Tempests and Storms?

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For decades, Western propaganda trumpeted that the USSR and its “satellites” were to blame for conflicts in the world and the appearance of trouble spots on the planet’s map. Western politicians and the media brazenly claimed that the USSR harboured expansionist plans. Twenty years have passed since the collapse of the USSR. Has the world become any safer? What do we see today? The planet sinks ever deeper into a quagmire of chaos and violence. Acute interstate, social, and religious conflicts flare up, more than ever before. Even in once-prosperous Europe, mass protest actions mount against the attempts of the bourgeois authorities to make not only the proletariat, but also the so-called middle class, bear the brunt of the deepening crisis caused by the greed of the global oligarchy.

However, the most acute and violent conflicts rage outside Europe. Tensions around Iran have built up for many years, and one hears ever-more vocal threats of military intervention against that country. The DPRK is under constant pressure. In the heart of Africa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for many years, a civil war simmered away unabated. The West’s insane policy with regard to Libya didn’t only destroy one of the most successful states on the continent, but had dire consequences for neighbouring countries. For example, Northern Mali fell into the hands of religious fanatics; it’s seceded for all intents and purposes. A similar process is taking place in East Africa, where the split of Sudan led to a state of constant armed confrontation between its northern and southern parts.

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Islamist rebels in Syria

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At present, the Middle East is the focus of stormy events. Immediately after the Second World War, the region became a source of constant tension and numerous wars because Israel and its Western allies refused to comply with UN resolutions on ending its occupation of Arab territories, the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland, and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Meanwhile, during the past two years, almost all the Middle Eastern and North African states were destabilised to varying degrees. Today, a fratricidal civil war ramps up in Syria. Afghanistan and Iraq are areas of great instability. In Turkey, Kurds wage an armed struggle for national liberation. Most recently, relations between the People’s Republic of China and Japan deteriorated sharply over territorial disputes.

None of this is happening accidentally. Of course, each of these conflicts has its own internal causes. However, the main source of global instability is due to the Western powers’ policy of seeking to impose a neo-colonialist development scenario on the whole of mankind. Again, the world is at a turning point in its history. Contrary to recent cheerful claims that the economic recession’s over, capitalism sinks deeper and deeper into an all-embracing crisis. This is inevitable because it hasn’t eliminated the underlying causes of the crisis. This time around, it hit Europe, where a whole group of countries faces bankruptcy. The ruling élites are trying to shift the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the mass of the population. Contradictions between the collective character of modern production and the private appropriation of its results have sharpened.

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In what direction will the world move? One needn’t say that the world élite will seek to preserve a capitalist system of social organisation dominated by the “golden billion”, which wallows in money and parasitic consumption. That being said, the more farsighted members of the privileged are beginning to understand and admit that the West is driving the world into a dead end. Franz Müntefering, the leader of the SPD, said, “In 1990, when communism and its planned economy found themselves on their knees, we rejoiced in vain, believing that now the social market economy finally triumphed. In reality, after that, a different capitalism developed throughout the world, with all of its abuses and without any of its social component. Communism exerted a disciplining impact on capitalism. We must consign the present form of capitalism, which doesn’t feel responsible to man and society, to the dustbin. We must stop the abuses of unbridled financial capital”. Former German President Horst Köhler (CDU) said that he saw the breakdown of “Anglo-Saxon capitalism“, run by gamblers and adventurers, saying, “Money-making without rules, without responsibility, and without conscience has collapsed”. The leaders of other European countries echo him. The President of the USA, from which the paroxysms of crisis shaking the whole world emanate, never tires of urging the need for change… sweeping, profound, and fundamental change. Obama hurls accusations at “fat cats”, who grow richer, even at the peak of the economic crisis.

Therefore, sober Western leaders already realise that the “uncontrolled self-regulating market economy” model has reached an impasse and that we need to scrap it. However, the formal leadership doesn’t always lay down foreign policy guidelines. Neoconservatives hidden in the bowels of the American establishment express the interests of the more aggressive transnational monopolies and banks, whose interest is in global control over markets and in political diktat. They believe that they can reach both these ends by using military force, which they increasingly buttress with aggressive information and propaganda campaigns. Another element in the neocons’ strategy is managed chaos. It only seems that all the events referenced above are spontaneous. There’s a profound inner link between them; all of them, to varying degrees, manifest the class strategy of the most-belligerent Western circles, which seek to subjugate the whole world.

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The West is the main sponsor of international terrorism, which it uses to further its global ends. There’s a growing conviction in the world that American power structures planned the events of 9/11 (the terrorist strike on New York) to provide a pretext for a “worldwide offensive against international terrorism”, which is, in reality, an expansion of American global economic, military, and media power. However, the concept of a unipolar world is crumbling and collapsing in front of our eyes. Even Zbigniew Brzeziński, a foremost apologist of American globalism, admits the failure of the “American dream” in his recent book. That’s why socialism is increasingly attractive in the 21st century as a new focus of civilisation. Above all, it connotes a harmonious development of productive forces, a reasonable level of consumption, and a prudent attitude to nature, with well-being and progress for each and every one.

Opposition grows worldwide to globalisation American-style. After the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, it seemed that there wouldn’t be a counterweight to the rampant greed and aggressiveness of the West, but an alternative centre of political and economic influence recently appeared in the alliance of the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). These countries are home to more than half of the world’s population, and account for an ever-growing part of the world economy. South Africa‘s joined the alliance, completing its “southern arc”. The growing economic, political, and military might of the BRIC bloc not only increases its international influence, but also, for the first time since the collapse of the USSR, puts an obstacle in the way of Western expansion, in the way of attempts to restore a neo-colonial world order. We must emphasise that unlike the USSR and the socialist bloc, which provided a powerful political and military alternative to the West, but failed to draw level with our rivals economically at that stage, today, China’s steadily turning into the “workshop of the world”, entering ever-new markets, including Europe and the USA. Together with the fast-growing economies of India and Brazil, that creates a fundamentally new situation in the world.

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It’s important that the international system based on the UN, created with the active participation of the USSR, has withstood the test of time. In spite of all the attempts by the USA and its allies to gain control over it, the UN’s still a key element in stabilising international relations. The principle of the balance of forces at the Security Council instituted by its founding fathers, including Soviet leaders, make it possible to restrain open acts of aggression on the part of financial imperialism. With the disintegration of the USSR and the humiliatingly pro-Western policy of the Yeltsin group, including notorious Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, the role of the UN Security Council sharply diminished. This situation lasted a long time, which enabled the USA and its allies to launch a series of brazen acts of aggression against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. However, because of the changing balance of forces, the system of legitimising aggression by using the UN misfired for the first time in the last two decades. That happened when Russia and China vetoed draft resolutions that would give the West the right to perpetrate armed intervention against Syria.

Therefore, the USA and its allies are trying to build a new parallel system of world governance by expanding the role of NATO and the WTO. Their aim is to gain global control not by crude military force, but by preserving and deepening the unfair economic relations and non-equivalent exchange between the rich industrialised North and the planetary South, which possesses vast natural resources. There’s no doubt that the WTO, contrary to its official declarations on removing barriers to international trade, in reality, serves centuries-old colonial goals. They seek to get natural resources and manpower from the South at miserly prices and sell the goods from the North at staggeringly-high prices. They achieve this through a system of international courts entirely dominated by Western representatives. Those recalcitrant leaders who challenge the justice of such a state of affairs are likely to suffer the fate of Slobodan Milošević, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi.

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Galician Uniate priest in Nazi service serving traitors in the Waffen-SS… reflect on this… the USA and the UK protected Nazi collaborationist scummers from Estonia, Latvia, and Galicia, and still do!

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In the context of the deepening crisis of capitalism and the inevitable concomitant mounting protests, one must assume that the leading imperialist countries would seek to limit the influence of communist and left-wing parties. They’ll intensify persecution and reprisals against their leaders. In particular, Eastern European countries go out of their way to demonstrate their loyalty to Uncle Sam. They openly glorify Bandera and other Hitler accomplices as fighters against communism, erect monuments to surviving fascists, ban Soviet and communist symbols, intimidate honest and upright politicians, and pass legislation that equates communism and fascism. In spite of all this, communist and left-wing movements have noticeably strengthened their positions at the international and regional levels. Elections for parliaments and local legislatures in many countries bring ever more proof of that.

Meanwhile, it’s important to understand to what extent the position of the Russian élite on international issues meets Russian national interests. We see that Russia’s external policy is markedly class-oriented. The constant neglect of the country’s interests for the sake of the personal ambitions and selfish interests of the ruling group manifests this. From the early 1990s, the Russian “élite” was eager to become part of the Western “establishment”. Initially, they kept them out, but then they graciously allowed them to enter the Western club, but only as a junior (and often unprivileged) partner. The Russian élite tolerate all this. It can’t be otherwise, because, as is well known, not only the Russian oligarchs, but top bureaucrats keep their money in Western banks, send their children to Western universities, spend their holidays in Western holiday resorts, and have “standby landing sites” in the shape of apartments, villas, and castles in Western countries.

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The Pyatnitsky Choir… one of the national treasures of Russia (they’re more worthwhile than a roomful of crapitalist greedsters… and most people would agree with me).

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From the 2011 Slavyansky Bazar festival in Belarus

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It’s a well-known truth that one must base a successful foreign policy on three foundations:

  • patriotic sentiment in society
  • a powerful economy
  • powerful armed forces

Russia doesn’t have any of these three components. Speaking about patriotic sentiment, throughout the twenty years after the coup d’état of August-December 1991, the ruling group has, in fact, done its best to eradicate patriotism. Indeed, the very word “patriot” has acquired a derogatory meaning. A continuing process seeks to eliminate love of country, folk traditions, and national customs, and to impose alien values upon us. The state of the Russian economy is well-known. It’s become a source of raw materials for the Western and, more recently, Eastern industry. It’s a semi-colonial economy heavily-dependent on demand on the part of the developed countries, and the slightest fluctuations in the global economy have very unpleasant consequences for Russia. Moreover, the bulk of property has already been withdrawn from our country’s jurisdiction and is in offshore zones. As for the armed forces, they’ve practically lost their combat ability because of continuous “reforms” lasting many years. The share of modern weapons is at best 10 percent. The officer corps has been decimated. The reforms under Defence Minister Serdyukov resulted in the expulsion of tens of thousands of the most experienced and knowledgeable officers from the Army. One can go on detailing the destruction of the national self-consciousness, the ruining of industry and agriculture. The message is clear… we can achieve nothing by merely professing the determination to uphold national interests.

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One has to bear in mind that even the modern empire, the USA, with its huge economic, military, and political power, needs allies. The Americans work vigorously to ensure that each of their foreign policy actions gets the broadest possible global support. On the contrary, in recent years, Russia pushed away all its traditional allies. Today, practically, we have only one reliable strategic ally, Byelorussia. However, that fraternal people again and again comes under powerful pressure from pro-Western elements in the Russian ruling élite. One has a feeling that these influential forces at the top would be genuinely glad if Byelorussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko fell from power, and the economic actions of the Russian government indicate attempts to create prerequisites for a worsening of living standards in Byelorussia and for the growth of protest sentiments there.

To sum up, one can safely say that the world has entered a zone of tempests and storms. If the huge Russian ship is to sail through that zone safely, we need a skilful crew and reliable equipment, and the passengers need the assurance that the ship is being steered in the right direction. So far, society’s increasingly doubtful that we’re moving in the right direction. We’re totally convinced that our country would regain its status as a great power, the respect of its rivals, and the trust of its friends only if the popular patriotic forces led by the KPRF came to power.

2 October 2012

Gennady Zyuganov

Chairman of the KPRF Central Committee

Pravda

As quoted in 21st Century Manifesto

http://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/will-russia-be-able-to-weather-the-tempests-and-storms/

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Militias in Libya and Syria Outwit the CIA


These are the militia thugs and this is what they do… lovely folks, aren’t they?

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The New York Times came out with interesting revelations about the details of the attack against the American mission in Benghazi. The American officials whom the newspaper quotes confirm that the CIA used the two American compounds in Benghazi, including the one where the American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died of smoke inhalation, for “secret missions”. Meanwhile, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, the head of the Libyan National Council and the interim head of state, issued an order disbanding all militias and ordering them to pull out of the army’s barracks and other public property before Tuesday. However, experts question the ability of Libya’s new government to re-establish order in the country in such a brief period.

From the latest reports, it also became clear that the CIA had a big staff in Libya, in particular, in Benghazi. In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa A.G. Abushagur expressed his surprise at the scope of the CIA’s operations in Benghazi, which became apparent to him only when a “surprisingly large number of Americans showed up at the Benghazi airport to be evacuated”. The Wall Street Journal quoted Mr Abushagour as saying, “We have no problem with intelligence sharing or gathering, but our sovereignty is also key”. The New York Times reports that CIA operatives listened to Libyans’ phone conversations; they intercepted and analysed a huge amount of e-mail messages, SMS messages, and other personal information.

These facts, coupled with worrying reports on militia activities in Syria, Libya, and Mali, pose some more general questions, whose significance goes well beyond the borders of Libya alone. How conscious is the USA of the real aims of the forces that surfaced in Arab countries thanks to the so-called Arab Spring? How could it happen that a massive CIA presence didn’t clarify the situation enough for the American authorities to predict the dangers that faced their own diplomatic staff? If the reports about the inner divisions inside these militias and their infiltration by Islamists are true, then, aren’t these militias a greater danger to their countries’ populations than the “dictatorships” that these militias claimed to fight?

Obviously, the USA pressed hard on the new Libyan authorities to do something about this terrible and, amongst other things, humiliating incident, what with the American ambassador being killed there. The government is making “all the right moves”… or, so it seems from the official reports. Mr al-Magarief, the official head of state, issued an order on disbanding militias, a move, that, according to expert opinions, would require the use of force. According to a report by the French newspaper Le Figaro, at least 10 people were killed on the first day of the “new peaceful order”, i.e. before al-Magarief’s ultimatum actually expired. The newspaper reports that the two militias where Islamist presence is at its strongest… Ansar al-Sharia and Abu Slim… prudently evacuated their facilities in Benghazi long before the government clamped down on militias. Instead of raiding the Islamists, people whom the New York Times calls “an angry mob demanding law and order” attacked the barracks of the more-or-less loyalist brigade of the local militia leader Rafallah Sahati. However, Le Figaro suspects that it wasn’t law and order, but Rafallah Sahati’s arms depots that the mob was after. That’s especially so if one bears in mind that the attack started at dawn… a time when “normal” mobs aren’t at their most active.

Would the situation in Syria be any different from what we’re now seeing in Libya? Georges Malbrunot, a veteran French reporter on Middle Eastern affairs, wrote in his blog on the “growing influence of radicals” in the so called Free Syrian Army, which announced today it was moving its operating headquarters from Turkey to Syria. Malbrunot noted that the FSA, created soon after the start of the “peaceful” rebellion in Syria, in June 2011, is now “just a label behind which rag-tag anti-régime militias hide”. The French journalist added that this armed force, actively supported by money and arms from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Western countries, “is torn apart by internal divisions”. The official FSA commander, Colonel Riad al-Assad (no relation to the ruling Syrian president), is reported to channel all the Saudi aid and arms to his loyalists inside Syria. Malbrunot quoted his sources amongst the Syrian rebels as saying, “He created his own militias inside Syria, and, now, he wants to be better placed in a fight for power in the long run… in a post-Bashar Syria”. Unfortunately, this description repeats word-for-word not-so-distant developments in Libya. That means that if the current American strategy succeeds, the world, including the USA, would see an increasingly insecure and violent Syria, torn by militia strife very much in the same way Libya is torn now.

24 September 2012

Dmitri Babich

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_09_24/Militias-in-Libya-and-Syria-outwit-the-CIA/

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