Voices from Russia

Saturday, 29 April 2017

29 April 2017. We Need New Bridges… NOT New Walls

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It’s insane to build a “border wall”… what we need to do is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. We need to stop insanity like the “border wall” and stop the warmongering in foreign parts. Then, we can devote resources to rebuilding our country. Shall we do it? Choose wisely…

BMD

Friday, 28 April 2017

Personal Message From Xi Jinping To V V Putin: “Chinese-Russian relations are Going Through Their Best Period Ever in Our History”

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Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a personal message of friendship to President Putin on China’s behalf, scotching attempt by the USA to make trouble between them. President Putin met in the Oval Hall of the Kremlin with Li Zhanshu, Director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China, and Chief of Staff of Chinese President Xi. The meeting came directly after Li held talks with his Russian counterpart A E Vaino, who’s the head of the President’s Executive Office, and is President Putin’s Chief of Staff. I previously explained who Li is, and why his visit is important, and the likely reason for his visit, which is the continuing attempt by the Trump Administration to cause trouble between China and Russia, and China’s and Russia’s concern to squelch any mistaken impressions which might be caused by that attempt. In turn, that explains the way the Chinese and the Russians… undoubtedly by pre-arrangement… used Li’s meeting with Putin to publicise a personal message from President Xi to Putin. The Kremlin’s transcript of Li’s words follows:

Before my departure, I went especially to see President Xi Jinping and asked him what he wanted to pass on to you. He told me to say that today, Chinese-Russian relations are going through their best period ever in our history. Today, our relations are deservedly called an example of relations between great powers, characterised by cooperation and mutual benefit. Today, our relations are very solid, mature, and distinguished by strategic cooperation and a lasting nature. He also said that despite the serious changes in the international situation, we’d continue to work with you, unfailingly adhering to three constants, namely:

  • regardless of the circumstances, we won’t change our policy of deepening and developing our strategic partnership and cooperation
  • our policy, based on joint development and prosperity, won’t change
  • our joint efforts to defend peace and justice and promote cooperation in the world won’t change

These were President Xi’s words.                                                                                  

(bold italics added)

Evidently, the “serious changes in the international situation” refers to the change of administration in Washington, and the new administration’s attempt to make trouble between China and Russia.  President Xi in his personal message to President Putin went out of his way to say that this attempt wouldn’t succeed and that China’s strategic partnership with Russia “won’t change”. Of course, they primarily intend the message for the Trump Administration. The Chinese and the Russians scarcely need to reassure each other about the depth of their relationship. However, Xi and Putin are anxious that there should be no illusions about it in Washington. Alas, given the chaos in Washington, it’s doubtful whether anyone there is paying attention.

27 April 2017

Alexander Mercouris

The Duran

http://theduran.com/xi-jinping-vladimir-putin-friendship-unbreakable/

Mind the Culture Gap: “Russian Soul” Meets “Big Mac” Culture

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If Russians and Americans learned to understand our cultural differences, it could ease diplomatic tensions a great deal. In the 1980s, Sting sang the lyrics:

I hope the Russians love their children too!

In Russia, the popular group Lube lovingly joked:

Don’t be silly, America, we’re all the same!

Yes, for a few years, we lived learning our similarities. However, why was this Russian-American romance so short-lived? Why did we turn to hate again? Geopolitics and financial issues aside, it’s worthwhile to ask a question:

Are Russians and Americans culturally complimentary or do our cultural differences get in the way of our ability to understand each other?

Samuel Huntington observed in his 1996 The Clash of Civilisations:

Cultural commonalities and differences shape the interests, antagonisms, and associations of states, accordingly, countries with cultural similarities are more likely to cooperate economically and politically, and the major differences in political and economic development among civilisations are clearly rooted in their different cultures.

Are Russians more aggressive by nature?

According to Washington and all of the Western mainstream media, this isn’t up for debate… Russians are bad! How many movies have you seen with Russians portrayed as the good guys?  I can’t recall even one. Russians are the quintessential badass guys, according to Hollywood or any political thriller. Don’t even bother with the portrayal of their politicians! According to Hollywood and most of Washington, Russia has been always up to no good. What do you get by reading Russian history from Western textbooks? According to some, the Russian state expanded left and right like crazy to amass 1/5 of the Earth. Just keep in mind this simple fact… most Russian wars were defensive wars! The acquisition of Siberia and the Far East wasn’t done by wars, but rather by including the native populations with acceptance of their cultural traditions into the Russian Empire.

Villains became humans for a while

In the early 1990s, there was certainly excitement on the both sides of the Atlantic to discover that we are all humans… “Reds” and “Yankees” alike! The peaceful dissolution of the “Evil Empire” took everyone by surprise. Unlike previous Soviet leaders, Gorbachev charmed the West with his smile and promising words of “glasnost” and “perestroika”. In doing so, he dissipated the fears of “Reds” for some time. Later, the perpetually drunk Boris Yeltsin added more humanity to the face of Russians:

Hey, they’re just like us, except that they prefer vodka, while we prefer beer!

At this point, one can almost imagine the archetypal American hugging the badass Russian in mutual understanding. Yes, we were more similar than different.

Manners

Have you observed on the Russian subway that you can spot Americans right away? Just listen up for their loud speaking. It isn’t that they don’t mind revealing the most intimate details of their lives to the public because people around might not understand English… they do it on American public transportation as well. Russians whisper… God forbid people might hear!

Courting/Dating

If any Russian dates an American or vice versa, you can expect a long list of surprises ranging from believing that opening the door for a woman might degrade her as a human being (some American young men seem brainwashed by feminism) to Russian girls’ entrenched belief that men should always pay the bill at the restaurant (even if you are just friends) just because Russian men would never let Russian woman pay for them.

 Smiling

Don’t expect Russians to show a full row of front teeth just because your conditioning in the land of Hollywood leads you to do it for every stranger you meet face to face. Russians consider American smiles fake and insincere. If Russians smile at you, it means:

I like you and it’s a pleasure to be near you.

There is one major difference between Americans and Russians… it has to do with keeping your word!

Russians don’t waste words and they’re direct in their language, foreigners often misunderstood this as rudeness, but the truth is, there’s little tolerance in Russia for hypocrisy. If you don’t like a person… you don’t give them a full-front teeth smile. Russians look down upon duplicity. Russians value each other by how much they can trust each other and any sign of insincerity is enough to break a relationship. For Russians, a man isn’t a man if he can’t keep his word. Either you’re a man of your word, or you’re a little, unreliable, and worthless weasel…  a chatterbox. Men keep their promises; weasels throw away words without meaning or consideration. You learn it early as a child in Russia. When Bush Sr made a promise to Gorbachyov not to expand NATO, Gorbachyov treated him and the USA as a trustworthy partner. Therefore, when every Russian leader after Gorbachyov told the world that they have a problem with NATO expansion and took a break of the promise as an offence… you have to understand that they mean it!

What Washington fails to grasp is that Russians mean what they say. American leaders have to learn to understand that we aren’t the same. Perhaps, the Pentagon and State Department ought to have positions for cultural advisers? It’d be much cheaper than military advisers are; in the end, it might prevent unnecessary wars. Let’s admit it… from rituals of courting, conducting yourself in public, raising children, to high diplomacy… Russians and Americans aren’t the same and it helps to understand our differences to avoid foreign policy and diplomatic blunders.

28 April 2017

Angela Borozna

The Duran

http://theduran.com/mind-the-culture-gap-the-russian-soul-meets-big-mac-culture/

Monday, 24 April 2017

Empty Threats: Why Trump’s Vow to Strike the DPRK Was a Bluff

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When the White House threatened Pyongyang with a potential strike if there was a new nuclear weapons test by the DPRK, the US task force was actually moving away from the Korean Peninsula. It appears that Donald Trump’s “armada”, led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, had only been approaching the DPRK figuratively. Trump told Fox Business Network:

We’re sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you. This deployment was part of our response to Pyongyang’s provocations.

Earlier, on 8 April, US Pacific Command stated that the Carl Vinson and its escorting task force would head to the Western Pacific in a “show of force” towards the DPRK. Predictably, the gesture prompted a fierce response from Pyongyang, which dubbed the supposed deployment of a task force in the Sea of Japan as a “reckless act of aggression”. A chain reaction of tough statements led to Pyongyang threatening the USA with a pre-emptive strike in the event of any US “political, economic, or military provocation” and prompted US Vice President Mike Pence to announce that “the era of strategic patience [towards the DPRK] is over”. Meanwhile, contrary to all expectations, the much-talked-about “armada” was heading toward Australia, far away from the Korean Peninsula. On Wednesday, Phil Stewart of Reuters noted:

It was even farther away over the weekend, moving through the Sunda Strait, and then into the Indian Ocean, as the DPRK displayed what appeared to be new missiles at a parade and staged a failed missile test.

On Tuesday, the US Pacific Command clarified that the flotilla needed to complete joint naval drills with Australia. The statement added that now the strike group was “proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered”. The paradoxical episode prompted a heated debate in the media, with some observers claiming that Trump’s empty threats have dealt a blow to the new administration’s credibility and others blaming the embarrassing situation on a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House. However, at the same time, some experts called attention to the fact that Trump somehow toned down his harsh rhetoric toward Pyongyang during his recent interview with TMJ4-TV in Wisconsin. Trump expressed hope that DPRK Kim Jong-Un wants to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula:

Hopefully, [Kim Jong-Un] wants peace, and we want peace. That’s gonna be the end determination. We’re gonna have to see what happens.

However, just a few days ago, US media circulated reports that Trump might order a strike against the DPRK if Pyongyang decides to carry out a new nuclear weapons test. Commenting on the matter, political scientist Aleksei Gusev told us:

It’s highly unlikely that the USA would engage the DPRK in a direct confrontation. There’ll be no strike against the DPRK, for the DPRK possesses not only nuclear weapons but also delivery vehicles… missiles with a range of about 5,000 kilometres. That’s enough to reach American territory. Therefore, it’s most likely that [the USA] wouldn’t launch a strike against the DPRK, for such an adventure could end very badly for the USA. Pyongyang remains a major irritant for the Trump administration. I don’t exclude a new nuclear weapons test on the part of the DPRK, as it has already conducted several nuclear weapons tests. Now, probably, there’ll be yet another atomic test… one can understand that Trump should issue a “serious” response [to it].

On Monday, Georgi Toloray, head of Korean studies at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, took a similar stance:

US threats toward the DPRK are a mere bluff. Now, Trump and his administration say that it’s necessary to act decisively and take measures against the DPRK, including military options. However, in my opinion, this is still a bluff. Primarily, this bluff has the aim of making China act more decisively towards the DPRK.

It seems that the Russian experts nailed it, given the fact that the Carl Vinson and its task force were heading away from the Korean Peninsula as Trump and Pence issued threats to Kim Jong-Un.

19 April 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201704191052780421-trump-strike-north-korea/

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