Voices from Russia

Sunday, 10 September 2017

10 September 2017. The Bear Sez…

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The Battle of Poltava in 1709… this is what Russia does to aggressors! Oh, yes… the “indispensable” USA wasn’t in existence yet, was it? If it wasn’t there, it isn’t “indispensable”, is it? Just a thought… 

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Russians wish to live at peace with all decent honourable people. Russian people don’t want war. They want peace… they love peace… they want to build lasting peace. However… they’ll fight like no one else can if aggressors come in war. The American Establishment wants war. Russia knows this. As V V Putin said:

There’s something that I learnt on the streets of Piter. If a conflict is inevitable, then, land the first blow!

If the USA continues its bellicose and vain sabre-rattling, Russia will come to a reasonable conclusion. The Russian forces are already on alert. The Russian forces have orders to meet any aggression with force. It isn’t 22 June 1941… Russia doesn’t trust its Western interlocutors. If Trump and his cronies continue to escalate their threats… if the Establishment Dems continue their relentless and feral hate campaign… well, Russia will draw the proper conclusions. I’d note that Russia tends to win defensive wars. If the American Establishment pushes Russia into war… Russia will launch its strategic forces… the USA doesn’t have reliable defences against them. Even if the much-touted ABMs were as good as the Yanks claim that they are (they’re not… the Yanks are known boasters and bloaters), some of the Russian nukes would get through and devastate wide swathes of this country. That’s what angers so many Anglos… they want to hurt others and suffer no consequence. China and Russia have the capability to strike back and strike hard at the Anglo heartland. That angers that pack of bullies.

Russia wants peace… the American Establishment seems to want a “preventative war” to forestall a Sino-Russian condominium in Eurasia. You see, if the Chinese plan for One Belt-One Road reaches fruition, Sino-Russian transportation could use land routes, immune from American naval interference. This scares the Anglos. Shall we have peace, as Russia wants, or shall we have war, as some Anglos want? I don’t know… God willing, we’ll be spared…

BMD

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

26 August 2017. VVP’s Wry Comment on the Anglos

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VVP has no illusions about the Anglos. He finds them violent, dishonest, self-centred, and brutal. Therefore, he believes that Russia must build strong defences to deter American aggression (which they deliver with smarmy self-righteousness and pseudo-piety). Russia is defending its interests… as are China and Iran. If you listen to the Western MSM narrative and believe it, you’re stupid, and I’m not ashamed to put it that way…

BMD

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

From February to October

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In his Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, President Putin placed special emphasis on the anniversaries of the February Revolution and the October Revolution:

This is a good moment for looking back on the causes and nature of these revolutions in Russia. Not just historians and scholars should do this; Russian society in general needs an objective, honest, and deep-reaching analysis of these events.

Indeed, history is a great teacher giving us a variety of cases and making us draw numerous lessons. However, we need to learn from our experience and apply our knowledge to specific circumstances and particular landscape for these lessons to be more than just a tribute to the memory of the events. We must learn from our historical, political, and social errors and contribute to the state’s development. The available data shows clear evidence that the February Revolution and the October Revolution had roots in a complex mix of internal and external factors. We should particularly emphasise that problems leading to a coup or a revolution aren’t exclusively domestic ones. Still, A M Gorchakov, an outstanding diplomat and Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire, who studied the French revolutions that broke out in 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1871, quite rightly noted:

Unless the government has made an error, a revolution won’t break out; the government is to blame for every revolution.

Therefore, let’s consider the contemporary internal political situation in the Russian Empire. 1917 became a turning point in the period of Russian history that started with the 1861 Emancipation Reform abolishing serfdom. Although it was the most important of the “Great Reforms”, however, it laid a foundation for future social upheavals. In fact, the emancipation of the serfs impoverished them. The reform took 20 percent of land away from serfs, and the size of land allotment almost halved, shrinking by 43 to 50 percent (5.24 hectares per person earlier against 2.84 after the reform). Meanwhile, those people had trouble assimilating into urban life, so numerous serfs were on the edge of survival. In retrospect, one can justifiably state that the events of 1917 were the direct continuation of the events of 1905 and completed earlier processes.

Secondly, the integration of largely agrarian Russia into the world capitalist system, which started in the 1850s, adversely affected most of the population. The country experienced two opposite trends. On the one hand, foreign investment allowed introducing new technologies and constructing plants, factories, and roads, with foreigners owning 90 percent of Russian mines, 50 percent of chemical enterprises, 40 percent of metallurgical and machine-building plants, and 30 percent of textile mills. On the other hand, the rising export of resources, including capital, needed to support economic development, stood in the way of the emerging Russian bourgeoisie. To put it differently, foreign capital was both an engine and a brake on domestic savings, and the country gradually gave up its financial and resource independence. As a result, industrialisation was in its initial stages up until World War I. Industry earned 6 billion roubles, whilst agriculture remained the major source of national wealth, earning 24 billion roubles, accounting for 75-80 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the population worked in agriculture, and the rural population constituted 87 percent of the total.

Thirdly, the state’s growing dependence on foreign loans provoked revolutionary upheavals. Russia accounted for 1.998 billion USD, or 31.2%, of the total external debt accumulated by all countries, and amounted to 6.317 billion USD by early 1914. However, the state remained the largest landowner, factory-owner, wholesale merchant, creditor, and so on. Naturally, capital-owners strongly opposed the situation, which fuelled tension between wealthy capitalists and the state. The big bourgeoisie mainly aimed to reduce the role of the state in the economy and limit it as much as possible; their idea was to transform capital into power. The fourth reason translating into large-scale demonstrations across the country was a logical extension of the above-mentioned causes. On the one hand, the difficult socioeconomic situation aggravated by the war provoked political disgruntlement. On the other hand, wealthy capitalists actively backing workers’ councils and establishing an extensive network of organisations fuelled popular resentment. Since 1916, prices rose four- or fivefold, and Russia saw a four-time increase in cash, with gold, in fact, withdrawn from circulation. Strike movements, unrest in villages, and rebellions on the periphery were exhausting and destabilising the state.

Weak government enjoying little popular support constituted a fifth, and perhaps most important, cause of the February Revolution, with the enrichment of the few accompanied by the impoverishment of the many. Specifically, Carl Fabergé received an unprecedentedly high number of orders in the crisis year of 1916. Thus, the paralysis of the state, mostly of the national security agencies, gripped the country. Already at war, Russia had a systemic crisis, resulting in the élite’s inability to perform its basic functions, infrastructure disruptions, and ultimately overt sabotage. As such, the revolution didn’t break out until the Tsar’s abdication, specifically until Nikolai II left his people and army to their own devices. Until then, one could see events as a plot or a rebellion, quite reversible phenomena. However, the Emperor’s abdication unleashed irreversible, and at the same time, most radical, processes, with the February Revolution followed by the October Revolution.

Finally, one should again point up that the internal factors of the February Revolution emerged full blown in the context of the world political game. The February Revolution came to be of crucial importance in the struggle for European and global primacy waged by Great Britain and its allies. Specifically, the fight aimed at erasing Russia from the geopolitical map and reducing it to a resource source, which was impossible to accomplish without the deposition of Nikolai II. At the Tsar’s abdication, Lloyd George actually said in Parliament:

[Through this], Britain achieved one of its major war aims.

Finally, yet importantly, the February events have a special meaning amid more frequent coups, more broadly known as “colour revolutions”. Current seizures of power fit into the structural pattern of the 1917 February Revolution, as they tend to capitalise on popular discontent to cause political destabilisation and breed opposition groups. Globalisation-shaped technological innovations also affect this. Whilst anti-monarchy propaganda circulated via newspapers and leaflets, today’s new mass media network takes the place of the press, revolutionary clubs, and strike committees. At the same time, the “Februarists” and contemporary “revolutionaries” share similar tasks and objectives, namely the overthrow of the state. Moreover, the February events and putsches have another important aspect in common, particularly their essential requirement to neutralise, even liquidate, the political leader. His or her deposition (or assassination) presages chaos, civil wars, and economic and political devastation, rather than the triumph of freedom and law.

8 April 2017

Yelena Ponomareva

Professor MGIMO

Rethinking Russia

http://rethinkingrussia.ru/en/2017/04/from-february-to-october/

Monday, 10 July 2017

10 July 2017. A Point to Ponder from Vladimir Putin

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Russia and the USA don’t have any significant ideological differences, but we do have fundamental cultural differences. Individualism lies at the core of the American identity, whilst Russia has been a country of collectivism. One student of Pushkin’s legacy formulated this difference very aptly. Take Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind, for instance. She said, “I’ll never be hungry again”. This is the most important thing for her. Russians have different, far loftier ambitions… more of the spiritual kind. It’s more about your relationship with God. We have different visions of life. That’s why it’s very difficult to understand each other, but it’s still possible.

Vladimir Putin

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