Voices from Russia

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Hopes for the New Pope

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. T-shirt. 23.03.13


As I stood on St Peter’s Square awaiting the famous smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney, I felt an immense sense of satisfaction. Daily, journalists, political analysts, and the public bemoan a lack of leadership in the world. On the other hand, here, here was a definitive opportunity to see a new leader in the making. After all, irrespective of who occupies the Holy See, the papacy has a potential for leadership that’s probably only rivalled by the potential of the office of the US President.

Already, Pope Francisco shows that he’s keen to give the Catholic Church a new sense of itself. His gestures (like shunning an armoured limousine with a bodyguard and going to pray at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on short notice) demonstrate that “leading by example” isn’t just an empty concept for the new pontiff. I have a feeling that he’ll be a respected global figure, both as a spiritual leader and statesman. Actually, if one looks around the world, there are plenty of leaders. Although I didn’t approve of his policies, the late Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was one. Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma is yet another example of charisma, ideas, and perseverance fusing to create a real leader. Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, despite their bitter hatred of each other and no matter what one thinks of their policies, have already left their mark on history.

Curiously enough, the emergence of major political personalities in the EU is an increasingly-rare occasion. European leaders aren’t almost universally dull and uncharismatic, but they’re also mostly mediocre intellectually. A few bright exceptions, like the clever and ironic Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Tomasz Sikorski, and Sweden’s long-serving Minister of Foreign Affairs (and former Premier) Nils Daniel Carl Bildt are the only exceptions I could find. They combine sharp intellect, willingness to challenge dated truisms, and a public presence. The EU is the only area of the world where these characteristics frequently disqualify a person from achieving major public office. What started as a European post-war yearning to avoid future conflict morphed into complacency and a fear of healthy debate. Don’t mention religion (except if it’s the infamous “religion of peace” of 9/11 fame), don’t mention national history, don’t mention values… unless it’s the prescribed medley of secularist dogmas on permanent offer from Brussels… and you can count on great advancement as a political leader in the EU’s councils of the holy … er, sorry, just councils.

Hence, the result… if you’re looking for fresh thinking in Europe, you’re left with either the Front National and its imitators, the “New Left”, or clowns like Beppe Grillo (but then, who said they’re actually thinking anything?) Actually, Grillo’s astonishingly-high standing is sharp and dark testimony to European disillusionment with traditional politics and their inability to cope with it. It’s no wonder the EU can’t find its way out of the current crisis… the politics of consensus evolved into a politics of paralysis. I don’t think highly of Barack Obama’s policies and I don’t find him a very effective leader, but those European politicians who pledge their love to him look small compared to the US President. In contrast, here comes Pope Francisco, who may well try to shake up Europe’s lethargic Catholics into remembering that they are Christians… and Catholics… after all. I wish him success, but I’m not very certain that he’ll succeed in the Old World. For leadership and vision these days, it’s more logical to look to Brazil, rather than to Brussels.

18 March 2013

Konstantin von Eggert




Tuesday, 2 October 2012

American Lickspittle Saakashvili Conceded Defeat in Parliamentary Elections in Georgia


On Tuesday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili conceded defeat in the Georgian parliamentary election for his United National Movement (UNM), adding that his party would go into opposition. He went on to say in a special address acknowledging the victory of the opposition Georgian Dream in the 1 October election, “As the leader of the UNM, I declare our party will go into opposition. For me, there were fundamental unacceptable views held by the Georgian Dream coalition. There are big differences between us, and we think that its views are false. However, democracy works that way, the majority of the Georgian people have decided this, so, we respect their choice”.

2 October 2012



Editor’s Note:

I’d say that there isn’t anything to cheer about in the Georgian election yet. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of Georgian Dream, is an oligarch who holds much of the country’s wealth (some sources say up to 50 percent)… the proportion of the country’s GDP that he holds personally is far above John D Rockefeller Sr’s 1 percent of the American GDP in 1900 (which was a gross stash and hoard in itself).

Therefore, I’d say that Georgia might have gone from the frying pan into the fire. Ivanishvili may be MORE of a lickspittle to the Americans and EU, as his main preoccupation is his wealth, not the welfare of the Georgian people. I’d wait to see the reaction of people such as Nino Burdzhanadze. Langley knew that Saakashvili was on the way out, and it didn’t want Burdzhanadze in charge of the parliament for some reason (she was pro-American at one point… has she changed her spots?). Ergo, it put up Ivanishvili, who has no political experience or connections (beyond those that all of the Affluent Effluent has). That is, was the Inside the Beltway crowd using an obliging oligarch to rid itself of an increasingly-irritating liability? After all, the K Street commandos did support Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden at one time, didn’t they?

The only qualification that Ivanishvili has is his wealth… which blinds the Mammon-worshipping and money-grubbing Americans. They don’t realise that if Ivanishvili doesn’t deliver on real change (that is, abolish Saakashvili’s Neoliberal pro-oligarch/anti-people “reforms”), he’s out, too. Oh, yes… Vova’s in the wings… he be patient… the fruit WILL drop from the tree in due course.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lawsuit Filed in Belgium against Saakashvili to Forbid Him Access to Brussels


A lawsuit filed in Belgium against the President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia could shut off Saakashvili’s access to that country, which would close his entrée to EU institutions and NATO headquarters in Brussels. In an interview with ITAR-TASS, the plaintiff in the suit, Merab Bladadze, Georgian human rights activist in exile and spokesman for the independent Georgian media-outlet “Objective”, said, “We accuse the current President of Georgia of crimes against humanity, rigging the presidential elections in 2007, fomenting war with Russia in 2008, systematically repressing the opposition, including arresting his political opponents, breaking up rallies and demonstrations, and using physical threats and murder against opposition figures and organisations”.

According Bladadze, there are currently 93 political prisoners in Georgia, 19 of them officially recognised as “prisoners of conscience” by the International Federation for Human Rights. In addition, the total number of inmates in Georgian prisons today breaks all historical records, totalling some 45,000 {about 1 percent of the population… at its peak, the GULag had 1.7 million prisoners, a lower proportion from a larger population: editor}. Bladadze emphasised, “For a much smaller number of political prisoners, the EU has now held Byelorussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on their ‘black list’ for 7 years. If the officials in Brussels don’t do the same for Saakashvili, we’ll take them to court. We’ve collected all the materials we need on the case and we expect to start the process within a month. Our Belgian lawyers are confident of success. We’ll shut Saakashvili out from the headquarters of the EU and NATO”.

Belgian law has a unique concept of universal jurisdiction, enacted in 1993. This allows a plaintiff to bring proceedings against the citizens of any country, including foreign government officials, for genocide or crimes against humanity. On several occasions, activists have used this law; in particular, in 2001, a group of people from the Middle East filed a lawsuit against then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, accusing him of organising the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. After several years, at great cost, Israel’s lawyers managed to hush up the matter, but it led to the cancellation of several official visits by Sharon to Belgium, and to wide media coverage of the massacres in 1982.

8 May 2012

Denis Dubrovin


As quoted by Novosti@mail.ru


Editor’s Note:

It’s interesting to note that Georgia admits to an incarceration rate of 536 per 100,000, higher than Russia (522), Byelorussia (381), and Kazakhstan (321), which means that Bladadze’s allegations aren’t pure moonshine, and bear investigation. Note well that the USA has a significantly higher incarceration rate than the three CIS countries named, and only about 25 percent less than Bladadze’s estimate for Georgia (at 730/100,000). I should mention that the US rate was at a steady 150 per 100,000 from the turn of the 20th century until the Reagan years, when it grew explosively to a peak in 2000 (with the greatest growth under Slobberin’ Ronnie), with no sign of abatement (but it’s levelled off, thank God). Crime has NOT increased exponentially… only imprisonment has. Politicians in search of “cheap political grace” claim that they’re “tough on crime” by keeping criminals locked up. It led to an almost 500 percent rise in imprisonment, making the USA the “Prison House of All the Nations”.

Trust me, violent crime’s a young man’s game. Most men after 40 don’t commit such offences (there are exceptions, of course, but not that many). To keep a man over 60 behind bars is idiotic. Ergo, the USA could cut its rate of imprisonment drastically by paroling older prisoners and decriminalising small amounts of recreational drugs. Not only are wars in foreign parts draining the treasury, so are unnecessary imprisonments and executions. The culprits aren’t Social Security and Medicare… it’s the generals and the pols… fancy that. End the wars, close the prisons, and tax the affluent… that’s the ticket. It can be done… if we have the will to do so, that is… but shall we?

Looking at the figures above, if Belgium’s blackballing Byelorussia, then, it should censure the USA even more so for being the worst gaoler in the world. Observe well that it doesn’t… interesting little titbit, isn’t it?


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