Voices from Russia

Thursday, 10 May 2012

10 May 2012. You Can’t Make Shit Like This Up… Michele Bachmann’s Swiss Citizenship: The Best Jokes

In case you forgot, here’s her political stance…


The former presidential candidate, Tea Party favourite, and socialism-hater is officially a European… triggering a celebration in Irony Land. US Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the former presidential candidate and conservative darling, is officially a Swiss citizen. Bachmann’s husband Marcus has long been eligible for dual citizenship due to his parents’ Swiss origins, and he went through with it in March, automatically making his wife and three of their young children dual citizens as well. Bachmann is even eligible to run for office in the Swiss Canton (Province) of Thurgau. The improbable development was sure to strike the funny bones of bloggers everywhere, given that Bachmann suggested that President Obama holds “anti-American views” and often rails against government-run, European-style healthcare systems. Here are some of the best jokes:

Just Nuts

Ilya Gerner at Indecision Forever wrote, “Congratulations, Switzerland! Elaborate clocks are no longer the only kind of cuckoos your scenic confederacy will be known for.

A Blow to Freedom Lovers

Noah Kristula-Green at The Daily Beast wrote, “Don’t tell Bachmann, but all Swiss citizens are required to purchase basic health insurance under the country’s tyrannical healthcare system. Worse still, the system has transparent costs, its consumer driven, and it provides near-universal coverage”.

Ulterior Motives

Gerner wrote, “This is part of a transparent ploy to qualify Bachmann for the position of IRS Commissioner in a Mitt Romney administration. What better way to learn the ropes of promoting tax avoidance than to visit Romney’s money?

Good Riddance

Cassie Murdoch at Jezebel wrote, “With her fancy new dual citizenship, she’s now eligible to run for office in Switzerland. Let’s hope she goes for it ASAP”.

History Lesson

Noreen Malone at New York wrote, “I can’t wait to hear the factually-challenged congresswoman’s version of Swiss history, in which, we assume, the founding battle of Thurgau was fought by the Von Trapp Family, aided by General Swiss Miss”.

9 May 2012

This Week

As quoted in Yahoo News



Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The US Primaries: Will Emotions Decide the Outcome?


Editor’s Foreword:

This piece uses Anglosphere political terminology… that is, he doesn’t use “liberal” for “conservative”, or “conservative” for “nationalist”. That’s rare in a Russian writer, and it bespeaks Mr Makarkin’s familiarity with the American scene. His conclusion is interesting. However, I doubt that the GOP’s going to turn away from its lemming-like march to the cliff (you can’t respect any group that adulates Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin). Most foreign observers see President Obama winning handily in November… you can’t rip yourself apart in internecine conflict and then regroup for the general election.



A week before the Republican primary in South Carolina, Mitt Romney was everyone’s favourite to win the upcoming primary. However, in a matter of days, the situation flip-flopped. Newt Gingrich was the clear—cut winner of the election…

Conservative Passions

I must say that in the period between the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, Romney had no luck at all. A more accurate count of the votes in Iowa showed that he lost that contest, being 34 votes behind former US Senator Rick Santorum. Thus, the victorious march of the favourite stopped in its tracks… Romney suffered a severe psychological blow, at the most inopportune moment. Fact is, Romney’s momentum led to a strong vigorous mobilisation of the most conservative Republican voters, who want another Reagan in the White House, not someone who made concessions to liberals during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts; they want a regular Christian, not a Mormon.

The conservative wing of the party winnowed its list, consolidating its forces. After her failure in Iowa, Tea Party-favourite US Representative Michele Bachmann backed out of the race, and, after New Hampshire, another loser, Texas Governor Rick Perry, dropped out, throwing his support to Gingrich. It seems that the exit from the race of John Huntsman, the former US Ambassador to China, balanced out these moves, as he urged his supporters to vote for Romney. However, in South Carolina, Perry was popular enough (he had the backing of 6 percent of the Republican voters), whilst the more-liberal Huntsman didn’t really bring Romney all too many additional voters in that state.

Thus, conservative voters coalesced around two candidates… Santorum and Gingrich. No one really takes libertarian Ron Paul very seriously, he’s only interested in advancing his ideas in a public forum; he’ll stay in the primaries until the bitter end. In the last week before the primaries in South Carolina Santorum made a bid for the religious faction, as 150 leaders of influential American Evangelical Christian organisations tapped him as their choice for the Republican nomination for president. However, this “anti-Mormon” initiative didn’t fill up Santorum’s war chest. Big-money backers, in contrast to Iowa voters, don’t believe that Santorum, an uncompromising opponent of abortion and gay marriage, has a chance of success even in the Republican race, not to mention the November election, where the Republican nominee will face Barack Obama.

The Gingrich Factor

Unlike Santorum, before the primaries in South Carolina, Gingrich received strong financial support. US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the owner of the newspaper Yom Yisrael, donated 5 million dollars (154.8 million Roubles. 3.85 million Euros. 3.2 million UK Pounds) to the Super-PAC Winning Our Future, which backs Gingrich’s campaign. Adelson agreed with Gingrich’s statement that Palestinians were an “imaginary people”, saying to those who disagreed with him that they had to “brush up on their history”, to see where the name of Palestine came from, and to find out who has the right to call themselves Palestinians. Conservative Israeli politicians want to help Gingrich to “punish” Obama, whose relations with Israel soured recently. President Obama approached Arab régimes, being cool towards the Netanyahu government, which is too far to the right for the Democrat Obama.

In South Carolina, Gingrich received 40 percent of the vote (Romney had 28 percent, Santorum got 17 percent, and Paul brought the rear with 13 percent). In his campaign, he relies on an image of a “man from the heartland”, which he contrasts with an American élite that he considers too liberal and too self-absorbed. This is in spite of the fact that he spent two decades in the US Congress, and was the Speaker of the US House of Representatives for four years (1995-98). However, Gingrich’s political career didn’t exactly follow the career path typical for a professional American politician. He isn’t a lawyer or an economist, but a historian; he has a PhD, and he taught at a small-time college in Georgia. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress twice, but finally won election in 1978, when he was 35-years-old. Two years later, Ronald Reagan became the US President, and Gingrich became one of his advisors, but didn’t hold any formal executive office, so, now, his opponents reproach shim for a lack of managerial experience.

In 1994, Gingrich led a very successful electoral campaign; the Republicans won a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1952. Gingrich put forward a conservative alternative to the “modernist” proposals of the Clinton administration, but his activities as Speaker were disappointing, as he was found guilty of using tax-free funds for political purposes, he had to pay a large fine. In addition, Gingrich faced accusations of adultery, which was especially frustrating for a conservative Republican politician. As a result, Gingrich left Congress, and he left politics, to which he returned only last year when he announced his intention to be a Republican presidential candidate (before that, he was engaged in consulting and teaching). Over time, the accusations against him lost relevance (after his divorce, Gingrich married his girlfriend), but before the primaries in South Carolina, he was reminded of it. Gingrich’s ex-wife televised revelations about their family life, but they didn’t perceptively affect the results of the voting.

Emotions and Rationality

Gingrich won in South Carolina, riding on a strong emotional tide of conservatives who don’t trust Romney and who’re looking for a new Reagan. Nevertheless, a rational approach suggests that Gingrich is too conservative for “swing voters” who decide the outcome of national elections. These voters voted for Reagan in 1980, but that was in an extreme crisis, not only economic but moral as well. Today, Obama’s popularity is down, but it hasn’t yet collapsed, there hasn’t been a “New Reagan” yet. In addition, no one has been elected US president after leaving political office due to scandals, which will come back more than once during the election campaign. Finally, even during the primaries, a negative factor for Gingrich may well be his religion. He was born in a Lutheran family, for a significant part of his life he was a Baptist (including during his political career), but his current wife persuaded Gingrich to convert to Catholicism. Not surprisingly, evangelical preachers prefer Santorum to him. In US history, there was only one Catholic elected president, a Democrat from the East Coast, John F Kennedy (however, no Mormon has ever been elected President).

Now, Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum and will compete in the Florida primary on 31 January, one of the most important states in the American South. Then, it may be clear which tendency will prevail… will it be “the vote of rationality” (for the not-much-loved, but more promising Romney), or, will it be “the vote of the heart” (for one of his conservative opponents). In the meantime, the continued sharp controversy amongst the Republican Party weakens it, which, therefore, benefits Barack Obama, the single candidate of the Democrats.

23 January 2012

Aleksei Makarkin

Voice of Russia World Service


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

28 December 2011. Photo Essay. Why VVP is STILL the “Man to Beat”

Never forget, Vladimir Vladimirovich is a black-belt judoka… and that judo uses an opponent’s strength against them…


VVP’s a sincerely religious man who refuses to use his faith for political purposes… quite unlike Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, or Sarah Palin (note to Orthodox people: he makes Freddie M-G, Rod Dreher, Michael Baumann, Gregory Jensen, Patrick Henry Reardon, and Terrence Mattingly look like the punks and phonies they are).


Note well that Vladimir Vladimirovich didn’t try to ride a standard Harley Hog… he knows his limitations. Aleksandr the Surgeon, the head of the Nochnoye Volki (Night Wolves) MC is on the Hog to the right of VVP.


VVP’s a man of many talents… the KGB DID only take the “best and the brightest”. Note well that he speaks and understand English… and that no leading American understands Russian (especially such GOP chowderheads as Bush, Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Palin… and Rush Limbaugh… the tantrum-throwing guru of the Republican Party). Hell, one could argue that no American politician from the Republican/Democratic duopoly understands the English language either (not a single one of ’em could’ve made the cut for the Keystone Kops, let alone the KGB)…


No other candidate on the horizon has VVP’s unique brand of talent, showmanship, determination, and chutzpah… it’s why you can’t count him out. Note well that none of his critics in the Western media have a tithe of his ability or grit (especially New York Times poseurs like Serge Schmemann or Sophia Kishkovsky). Let’s be blunt… Vladimir Vladimirovich doesn’t give a fig for United Russia… if he had to rule with the KPRF, he would, and he wouldn’t have ANY qualms or misgivings about it.


I’ll go out on a limb, barring something in the nature of a miracle, expect VVP to win re-election as President in March. He’s a judoka, after all…


Sunday, 20 November 2011

20 November 2011. Six Republicans Kiss Up to the Religious Right… Here’s What Three Russian Leaders Say About Morality in Leadership…

Here’s a REAL Christian leader… Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (1952- ), he puts all the Republican charlatans in the dust, doesn’t he?


Read this. To see Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain posture about morality is simply disgusting. Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann weren’t much better. Let’s not expatiate on what’s WRONG. Let’s zero in on what’s RIGHT. Here are three Russian leaders (two political and one religious) to blaze the CORRECT PATH:

There are things I believe, which shouldn’t, for someone in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large, for everybody’s consumption, because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease.

Vladimir Putin


Let the great values and aspirations of labour, justice, equality, brotherhood, and truth, things that are bedrock to the timeless Christian faith and the communist ideal alike, triumph in our lives.

Gennady Zyuganov


If your earnings are higher, consequently, that increases your moral responsibility  to society, too; it follows that you can afford to pay more taxes to help those who can’t earn their own bread. High-income people earn more than most do; yet, others can’t earn a thing, they need our help. Society shouldn’t be a place where wolves chase rabbits; even a wolf pack has a certain amount of mutual support. If society refuses to support its weaker members, of necessity, it surrenders to the “law of the jungle”. This isn’t vacuous moralising; all of human history validates these things.

Vsevolod Chaplin


You can have Rick Perry… or you can have VVP. You can have Herman Cain… or you can have Gennady Zyuganov. You can have Newt Gingrich… or you can have Fr Vsevolod Chaplin. You can have six Republicans competing in a “political striptease” or three Russians giving the straight deal. I KNOW where I stand… I wonder who Reardon supports, by the way? Does he support VVP (who’s always been loyal to his wife) or does he support Slippery Ol’ Newt of Many Wives (giving divorce papers to someone in a hospital bed with cancer… c’mon!)? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 20 November 2011

Albany NY

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