Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Xi Jinping’s New Year’s Speech Says a Lot About What to Expect in 2017

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This year’s 2017 New Year’s speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping speech was rich in symbology, by intentionally portraying a much different mien than in previous years of his leadership. While most Westerners wouldn’t notice the change, it was definitely not lost on the citizens of the People’s Republic. The modern art of reading the tea leaves quickly moved into the conversation on China’s streets and social media. His presentation shouted out to them and the rest of the world what Xi and the Communist Party of China (CPC) are expecting in this New Year of the Fire Rooster.

In earlier years, Xi was in a warm looking, wood-panelled office, seated comfortably behind a huge bureau. On it were notebooks to show studiousness, as well as several red and white phones, to suggest ongoing and urgent lines of communication with all concerned. A pen holder and an open-faced calendar exuded the daily rigours of being leader of the world’s most populous country, whilst burnishing his already well-deserved reputation of outworking even the most dedicated Party member.

Almost all the camera shots were up close and personal, his upper torso above the big desk filling up most of the screen. He mostly kept his hands clasped together, like an avuncular Confucian scholar, leaning into the camera to make important points, and often making hand gestures, in a relaxed, personal style. Surrounding him were walls of books, many obviously being series of old Chinese classics, projecting sagacity and learning, two highly prized traits of all top historical leaders. Group family photos with Mom, Dad, brother and sisters were prominently shown, as well as an old black and white photo of his father sporting a Red Star of Communism on his People’s Liberation Army field cap, all facing the cameras. The implied message: family man, respect for elders and the legacy of his family in the CPC. In the middle of these bookshelves and right behind him was a smallish ancient painting of the Great Wall, offering subdued strength and protection for the people. Also behind him to his right was a standing national flag of China, with the famous five-star arrangement proudly turned toward the viewers (CPC at the helm of farmers, workers, small- and large businesspeople).

For the last three years, a very similar speech, in the exact same panelled room, with identical accoutrements, was given, all signalling to Xi’s 1.4 billion citizens continuity, stability, and harmony, the perfect definition of the much coveted historical Heavenly Mandate. All was good and predictable. My, oh my, what a difference does a crazy global geopolitical year and a new US president make, and Xi’s speech this week showed that in spades. Gone were the warmness, intimacy and friendly, familial ambience. This year, Xi strode sombrely into a large open high-ceilinged sumptuous room with plush carpeting. He stood behind a modern podium that came to a narrow triangular point at the base. Two microphones were on the podium top, whilst on its front was the national seal of China staring into the cameras. No more Uncle Xi. This year it was President and Chairman of the CPC and Central Military Commission (CMC) writ large. He looked like has was riding a mighty steed, or steering the country’s ship, looking out for treacherous waters, from the captain’s deck.

The carpet had lotus flower floral designs, which symbolise rectitude, purity, and honesty in Chinese lore. It wasn’t lost on careful observers that Xi’s podium was in the centre of one of these floral patterns, like a presidential lotus bloom rising above the troubled and murky seas of world geopolitics. Gone were Mom and Dad and all the hundreds of books that used to ensconce Xi. This year, all that was behind him was a massive four-metre-wide by three-metre-tall classic painting of the Great Wall and the national flag. This immediately represented danger outside the boundaries of the Motherland, foreign invaders massing on the outside. After walking straight to the podium, he put his two hands on its sides and never moved them during the nine-minute speech, as if he were helping maintain control of the circumstances, holding down the fort. Much more rigid and serious than the previous three years, he looked like a dead serious general preparing his officers for a great and challenging battle.

Even last year, after China’s mighty military muscle flexing at Beijing’s huge, 70th anniversary World War II Victory Parade (with Vladimir Putin at his side), there was no need to acknowledge the West’s never-ending efforts to destabilise and overthrow China’s communist government, nor the USA’s obviously aggressive maritime pivot off its shores. But this year, with President-Elect Donald Trump making Sinophobic appointments in his cabinet and suggesting that Taiwan is a bargaining chip for future discussions and negotiations, Xi unequivocally reassured his people and let Uncle Sam know the obvious:

We’ll resolutely safeguard our territory and sovereignty, as well as our maritime rights. No matter who seeks to make an issue of this, the Chinese people will never give way.

What this year’s change in speech ambience, tone, and message means is that Xi Jinping and the CPC are battening down the hatches; preparing to fight the USA and its NATO and regional allies. Diplomacy and dialogue are de rigueur, but in the meantime, psychologically preparing the citizens is critical. The Western Huns are encircling their great nation and it’s time to assume the worst. Hopefully, on 20 January, at his first national security meeting, a bright spark will ask President Trump:

Sir, are you prepared to go to war over Taiwan? Because China is.

16 January 2017

Jeff Brown

Greanville Post

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/01/16/xi-jinpings-new-years-speech-says-a-lot-about-what-to-expect-in-2017/

Editor:

The Sino-Russian alliance is a reality, and China is the senior partner. VVP knows and accepts this reality. He had a choice… he could be China’s junior ally or he could be America’s lickspittle colony. It’s not rocket science to figure out his choice. China isn’t an arrogant nation like the USA… proud, yes… stiff-necked at times, yes… but inflexibly arrogant as are the Anglos are, no. China needs Russia as an ally to secure its western flank… Chinese are nothing if not pragmatic and realistic. However, Chinese don’t make a practise of making their allies grovel, as do the Americans. The Chinese ARE communists; make no mistake on that, they’ve abandoned imperial pretence. No, they haven’t renounced the substance of power… but they’ve abandoned the practise of making their lessers kowtow incessantly.

The alliance works for both sides… there’s no way that the USA can break it, short of offering concessions that’d be unacceptable to the American Establishment and Deep State. God willing, this alliance will keep the peace… it’s the only hope that we have, in the face of a toddler ravening America armed with nukes…

BMD

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Boiling Point: Podkarpatskaya Krai Threatens Kiev with ”Donbass Scenario”

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“Podkarpatskaya isn’t Galicia”

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Over the past year, the councils of a number of Ukraine oblasts (Poltava and Ivano-Frankovsk) adopted resolutions demanding that President Poroshenko put regional devolution in place. Kiev regarded these as manifestations of separatism. Now, not only is this taking place in Lvov, but also in Podkarpatskaya Krai. Indeed, it appears that Podkarpatskaya is gradually regaining the status of the main “separatist region” in the Western Ukraine. On 12 October 2016, the chairman of the Podkarpatskaya Oblast Council, Mikhail Rivis, demanded that the region have more funds to develop infrastructure. Otherwise, Rivis threatened, Podkarpatskaya might secede from the Ukraine. On 2 December, in the oblast capital of Užgorod, a meeting of Magyar (Hungarian) youth and local deputies proclaimed support for Rivis’ statement that the region could separate from the Ukraine and establish autonomy. Magyar activists then called on President Poroshenko to sign a special agreement which was read aloud by the leader of the initiative, Magyar activist Ivan Farkosz. Farkosz stated:

We invite Kiev to agree to an agreement on the devolution of powers, which would allow Hungarians to live in the Ukraine with dignity. We support the opinion of the head of the Podkarpatskaya Oblast Council, Mikhail Rivis, who announced the existence of objective preconditions for potential secession from the Ukraine. If Kiev wants this region to be part of its state, we demand the establishment of a quota of 20 percent for representatives of Magyar communities in the Podkarpatskaya Regional Council and television broadcasts in Magyar.

Magyars are about 12 percent of Podkarpatskaya’s population and have wide representation in councils on all levels. The raising of their demands for representation to 20 percent suggests that they’re feeling empowered and are actually dictating terms to Kiev. In turn, the SBU has opened a criminal case on the holding of anti-constitutional events and is carrying out an investigation. Following the example of the Magyars in Užgorod, the Poles in Lvov, the capital of Galicia, also asserted their rights. On 25 December in Lvov, a Polish forum of Lvov Oblast demanded that the Kiev government grant economic autonomy to the region. Sergei Lukyanenko, chairman of the Polish Association in Lvov, stated:

We’re 50 years behind Poland in economic development. Poland will allow Lvov residents to realise themselves. We still have a chance.

Note well that the Poles sympathise with Magyars in Podkarpatskaya. In March 2016, in Užgorod, a procession of Ukrainian fascists shouted, “Knife the Magyars!” This caused an outburst of indignation not only in Hungary, but also in Poland. To compare reactions, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and Ukrainian authorities expressed indignation at Warsaw after one person (only one!) yelled “Death to Ukrainians!” at a march in Polish Przemyśl. However, these same authorities chose not to notice the calls for killing Magyars in Podkarpatskaya, a group that’s lived in the region for more than a thousand years.

On 22 December, representatives of Rusins in Podkarpatskaya also announced their intent to seek an autonomous Podkarpatskaya Krai. They demanded that the Ukrainian authorities recognise the results of the 1991 referendum, wherein locals voted for autonomy within the Ukraine. Ivan Palinkash, a member of the Presidium of the People’s Council of Rusins in Podkarpatskaya, said:

We have two main demands. They must recognise the Rusins as a nationality and they must recognise the results of the [1991] referendum, in which 78 percent of locals voted for autonomy within the Ukraine. We believe that there’s nothing wrong in this. We want to develop.

Next in the chain of events, on 23 December 23rd, Rivis called on the Ukrainian authorities to not allow the region to reach the point of a “Donetsk and Lugansk scenario.” Rivis issued his statement during a session of the Oblast Council, during which deputies voted for autonomous economic ties with other oblasts, in particular Poltava and Ivano-Frankovsk. Those oblasts also adopted resolutions on extending their rights, in addition to the demand that Kiev grant devolution to the oblasts. Rivis said:

The president appointed the administration, but the people elected the councils. We must convey our ideas so that they hear them, so that things won’t be like Donetsk and Lugansk, when people rose up and said, “You’re not listening to us”.

In other words, the dodgy Poroshenko régime opposes the legally elected deputies of the oblast councils. This is a dangerous legal and political precedent for Poroshenko. Moreover, Rivis’ words blatantly threaten President Poroshenko with a repeat of the Donbass scenario. Rivis and other deputies haven’t faced punishment for their words. Apparently, the regional SBU is afraid to use repression. The fate of the Ukrainian Berkut is still fresh in the minds of Podkarpatskaya SBU officers. What’s more, Kiev is afraid of upsetting Magyar “separatists”, because not only Hungary, but Poland and the EU as a whole could support them.

According to reports from Podkarpatskaya, Hungary actively issues passports in the region. Even Rusin activists acknowledged that local residents received 500,000 passports from the Hungarian government. It’s likely these are inflated figures; the number of issued passports is hardly likely to have exceeded 150,000-200,000. Just a year ago, one came across the figure of 100,000 passports. Even this number is significant, however, given that the region has (including migrants working abroad) only 1,260,000 people. This centrifugal process in the Ukraine will only increase in view of the obvious crisis of Ukrainian statehood and the destruction of the very idea of Ukrainian statehood. This process is being led not by “separatists” from the former Southeast, but by “patriots” from the Western Ukraine. Back in 2008, the author of these lines predicted a similar scenario. I’m convinced now, as I was in 2008, that the Ukraine will lose territory in the West and Southwest as the Ukraine’s current allies (Poland, Hungary, and Romania) will take advantage of the Ukrainian state’s weakness and foolishness to return territories annexed from them by the USSR, which these countries still consider their own.

10 January 2017

Eduard Popov

Fort Russ

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/01/boiling-point-transcarpathia-threatens.html

Editor:

There’s no need to rehash the entire history of the Rusin people and their political hegira through the ages. Needless to say, they weren’t part of the notional “Ukraine” until 1945. Up until 1918, it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary under the Dual Monarchy… it had no ties with Galicia, either political or social. On the one hand, they were part of different “kingdoms” with different laws and customs; on the other, the Carpathian Mountains cut the land of the Rusins off from the Galicians, let alone other “Ukrainians”. To top it all off, the Unia imposed on the Rusins was not that of Brest (rammed through by the Poles in 1596), but rather it was a Unia ratified at Mukačevo (Munkacs) in the 17th century.

History conspired to make Rusins a distinct people from “Ukrainians”… nationalist cries to the contrary notwithstanding. The Rusins weren’t part of the Habsburg plan to destabilise Russia by using the Galician Uniates. The Rusins were a quiet people living in their valleys and towns… they wanted to be left alone and leave others alone. All in all, the Rusins, as a people, were superior to the Galician “Ukrainians”… they had (and have) no arrogance, no lust for power, and no overweening national hatred.

The Rusins want peace… they don’t want to be “Ukrainian”… they just want to live and let live. We should let them do that. Reflect on the fact that the USA wants to throw them to the Galician Uniates… great, isn’t it? The Anglos stole their land, grew rich off of slavery, murdered the First Nations, and invented outrageous lies as national myths. Can you see why they support the Galician Uniate nationalist junta in Kiev? I certainly do…

BMD

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Moscow Celebrated Despite Coldest Christmas Night “In 120 Years”

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Bitterly cold temperatures didn’t stop worshipers from celebrating Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas. Christian believers across the globe joined in celebrations. Those who attended midnight liturgy at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour had to bundle up for the bitter cold as temperatures in the capital dropped to about -30 (-22 Fahrenheit) on Christmas night. In Moscow Oblast, temperatures dropped below -32 (-26 Fahrenheit). Extremely cold weather hit the whole country, with some regions such as Siberia and Yakutiya recording temperatures of -40 (-40 Fahrenheit). In Moscow, the MChS deployed around 500 emergency personnel to help worshipers. Authorities provided around 200 mobile food tents with hot meals during the Christmas celebrations due to the cold. RIA Novosti quoted a meteorologist from Fobos weather centre:

This Christmas night was the coldest in the last 120 years, although the absolute record was more than 130 years ago in 1881, it was -35 (-31 Fahrenheit).

Frost hits Russia as Christmas Comes for Orthodox Christians (IMAGES)

The Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar adopted by the Catholic Church in the 16th Century. This is why Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, and not on 25 December. The Local Churches of Jerusalem, Serbia, Poland, Czechia/Slovakia, and Georgia, as well as the so-called Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniates) and some Protestants, use the Julian calendar, so they also celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

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On Friday, in Serbia, where temperatures dropped below -15 (+5 Fahrenheit), Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas Eve in front of St Sava Cathedral in Belgrade with a traditional oak log fire.

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In Turkey, Orthodox Christians also joined the celebrations despite sub-zero temperatures. On Friday, believers jumped into the Golden Horn strait in Istanbul in a traditional ceremony celebrating the Orthodox celebration of Epiphany, or the baptism of Christ. Traditionally, Orthodox Epiphany is on 19 January, according to Julian Calendar. However, some Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany on 6 January as they use the Catholic calendar for fixed feasts.

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Orthodox believers in Bulgaria waded into the icy waters of the Tundzha River and danced the Hora, in a traditional male-only event to celebrate Epiphany. The men dressed in folk costumes and dived into the freezing waters to find a crucifix thrown in by the priest, before handing it to the youngest participant of the dance. The folk belief is that the person who retrieves it will be healthy all year.

7 January 2017

RT

https://www.rt.com/news/372902-orthodox-christmas-frost-celebrate/

11 January 2017. The Russian Bear Has Spoken

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Two square arshins is the amount of land needed for a grave in Old Russian measures. The meaning is clear, no?

BMD

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