Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Listen Liberals: Russia Isn’t Our Enemy

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. What Fine Targets! 2014

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I must say that it simply baffles me what appears to be the prevailing view in this country (especially among liberals) that Russia is somehow a threat to the USA. In truth, one of the only redeeming qualities of a Trump presidency that I saw was the possibility that his administration would repair ties with Russia and work with that country in trying to solve issues of mutual concern, particularly in the Middle East. Yet, that’s one goal of the new White House that the Establishment, both in Washington and in the media, seem hell-bent on preventing. Indeed, I agree with some commentators’ assessments, including Dennis Kucinich who is breaking ranks with fellow liberals over this issue, that the motivation behind the US intelligence community’s successful attempt to remove Mike Flynn as National Security Adviser was the desire to keep the new Cold War going.

While I certainly understand it is in the interest of the military-industrial complex, again as Kucinich explains, to continue to vilify Russia to justify our already-bloated military spending, I’m a bit taken aback at how eager most liberals are to embrace and even stoke this demonisation. Given the poor historical knowledge of most Americans, a little refresher on past and current affairs is in order. Russia was our ally in World War II in defeating the Nazis. Moreover, contrary to what most Americans learned in school, Russia truly won the war in Europe, losing over 20 million people in the process and being responsible for 80 percent of the Allies’ Nazi kills.

In addition, while many of us might not like the messenger, Donald Trump was correct when asked about Putin being a killer, he suggested that the USA was less than innocent in this respect. Indeed, although such a moment of candour by a US President horrified many, Trump engaged in gross understatement. Let me be so bold as to say that, certainly since 1960 and up to the present time, the USA was much more brutal and bloodthirsty than Russia. It isn’t even a close call here. For example, as Noam Chomsky (no lover of the USSR he) explained:

It isn’t seriously in question, as John Coatsworth writes in the recently published Cambridge University History of the Cold War, that from 1960 to “the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the USSR and its East European satellites”. Amongst the executed were many religious martyrs, and there were mass slaughters as well, consistently supported or initiated by Washington.

Chomsky went on to detail the millions killed by the USA in Indochina during its shameful war on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and Reagan’s support of apartheid South Africa’s rampage through Southern Africa, which led to the deaths of 1.5 million people. Moreover, what about today? While many are up in arms about Russia’s annexation of the Crimea (although this was with the approval of the majority of Crimeans who are happy to return to Russia) as well as Russia’s intervention in the war in Syria, these actions pale in comparison to the USA’s own intervention in Syria, its recent destruction of Libya, its destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, its continued support for the Saudi rape of Yemen, and the USA’s support for the pillaging of The Democratic Republic of the Congo which cost the lives of around 6 million innocents. These US wars, along with the USA’s over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries (Russia has bases in only one country (Syria) outside the former USSR) have led to the USA rightly being viewed in a poll of people in 65 countries as by far the greatest threat to world peace.

Meanwhile, at the USA’s urging, and despite its promises to Russia in return for the USSR relinquishing any hold over Eastern Europe, NATO now has troops on the Russian border and the USA just sold extended-range missiles to Poland that’d surely be pointed at Russia. Russia isn’t similarly postured along the USA’s boundaries, and it’s unthinkable that it ever would be. In other words, Russia should be afraid of us, not the other way around. In addition, we should welcome President Trump’s expressed desire to stop antagonising Russia and to work with it in defeating ISIS in places like Syria as eminently reasonable and indeed necessary to avoid a possible nuclear confrontation. The American public should also welcome this, as the greatest military spending spree by far on the planet drains its resources. Certainly, liberals, who at least once stood for peace and for greater social spending, should be in the lead in cheering such overtures instead of drumming up anti-Russian hatred which can only lead to more war and more impoverishment of our society.

15 February 2017

Dan Kovalik

Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/listen-liberals-russia-is-not-our-enemy_us_58a4ba39e4b0fa149f9ac0c8

Monday, 20 February 2017

Washington Wants Coalition of Sunni Régimes to Fight Iran

00 Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi. 06.12

Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi in 2012

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The Saudis can’t even defeat the poorly-equipped Houthis in Yemen… good luck fighting a well-trained well-armed Moscow-backed military. We know it’s a badly abused cliché, but we really did laugh out loud after reading that Washington is “working to create a military alliance of Sunni Arab nations” to “counter” Iran. Close your eyes and imagine NATO. Are you seeing visions of an incompetent useless dinosaur that can’t tell the difference between a wedding party and a terrorist pow-wow? Now, clear your mind and imagine a NATO-like coalition with Egypt, Jordan, the KSA, and the UAE as members. Imagine that this coalition of medieval failures had one mission and one mission only… to provoke a war with Iran.

Typical. Washington finally realised that Americans have zero interest in starting a war with Iran, despite years of tireless propaganda portraying Tehran as an existential threat to humanity… or Israel, but what’s the difference, right? They’ve tried everything… even lobbing accusations that one can easily debunk with a simple Google search. Hey, wait a minute… maybe, our medieval Sunni allies would fight Iran for us? That’d be swell. Isn’t that what friends are for? This is true desperation seeping out of Washington’s adult diapers.

Iran isn’t Syria. It doesn’t have to worry about appeasing 1,000 different ethnic and religious groups. It’s a proud country with a long history of fighting off foreign parasites. A Sunni war against Iran would’ve likely been a disaster even ten years ago. Today? It’d be suicidal. Russia is Tehran’s dependable political and military ally, and the idea that Washington would somehow drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran is ludicrous. Russia would do everything it could to help Iran fight off Sunni fanatics, for the same reason it intervened in Syria… if Washington’s “moderates” were to overrun the Middle East, Russia would be next.

Forget the fact that Iran already deploys Russian-made S-300 SAMs, or that Russia and Iran coördinated a miraculous military campaign to turn the tables in Syria in less than a year… an experience that’d be invaluable if there were a Sunni-led war against Iran. Just for a moment, consider that Russia has gone so far as to ask Washington to acknowledge Hizbullah as a crucial part of anti-ISIS efforts in Syria. Hizbullah! The very name sends shivers up the crooked spines of every Israel First blowhard with an American passport.

People worry that Moscow would abandon Tehran? For Russia, Iran is a holy grail of business opportunities and security coöperation. There’s one takeaway from Syria… Washington loves to stir up trouble in countries that can’t defend themselves. However, when a formidable force such as Russia steps into the ring, the Americans run for the hills (crying foul, of course). Even with full support from Washington and Israel (Israel would stay in the shadows, to keep up appearances), the KSA, Qatar, and the UAE would get a Russian-backed Persian beating that they’d never forget. The icing on the cake would be that this “anti-Iran” bloc includes some of the most autocratic states on earth… anti-women, anti-democratic, anti-everything… it’d be a true joy to watch Washington claim that the KSA and Qatar were fighting Iran to protect democracy in the Middle East.

Of course, we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves. Following NATO’s model, this coalition of medieval head-choppers would first surround Iran with defensive military bases. Then, the provocations and (more) sanctions would begin. It won’t work. Iran isn’t Iraq. It isn’t Libya. It isn’t Syria. It already has the full backing of Russia. If Washington were smart, it’d take note.

18 February 2017

Rudy Panko

Russian Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/washington-wants-coalition-sunni-regimes-fight-iran-tehran-would-completely-crush-them/ri18978

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Is Putin’s Decision on DNR/LNR Passports a “Message to the West”?

00 LNR Passport. 04.04.15

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Putin’s recent decree doesn’t give DNR/LNR residents Russian citizenship; it just gives them an opportunity to cross into Russia if they want to. Zak Novak, a US citizen who’s spent 2 years in the former-eastern Ukraine and now works at Novorossiya Today Press Centre, spoke to us about this decision:

Recognising all documents was a message to the West, to McCain, to the Ukraine that these are now our people and we have every right to defend them with this signature of Vladimir Putin. This gives people an opportunity to find protection in Russia.

In response to this decree, Kiev reacted with a decree of its own, calling it “a violation of international law” but is it really? Novak noted:

We all know very well what it means and that Poroshenko now fears that Russia is here to protect us. That’ll put pressure on the EU and Poroshenko to stop the bombing, stop the terrorism, stop killing our children, and implement the Minsk agreement that you all signed. I don’t think that they’ll implement the Minsk agreement; I don’t think so because the Ukraine really doesn’t want that and it will do everything to break it apart. “This is a story of toy soldiers. [Ukrainian] boys die, Poroshenko and [the Ukrainian authorities] send them to the frontline, and as they retreat the Right Sector kills their own guys. That’s good for us, and the Minsk agreement is even better for us because sooner or later we’ll liberate all of our territories because the people want it.

19 February 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702191050846275-putin-order-donbass-residents-message-west/

Putin Decree Declares DNR/LNR Papers Valid in Russia… Lavrov Explains Putin’s Decision

00 DNR Donetsk PR military ID 01. 23.04.15

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On Saturday, the Kremlin media office announced that President V V Putin signed a decree that declared documents issued by the Lugansk Peoples Republic (LNR) and Donetsk Peoples Republic (DNR) valid in Russia. The media release stated:

We hereby declare that IDs, academic certificates, birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, name changes documents, death certificates, transport registration certificates, and vehicle license plates issued by corresponding local authorities to permanent residents of these regions who are citizens of Ukraine or are stateless are valid.

Later that day, LNR Head of State I V Plotnitsky praised the decision:

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a fateful decision. This is another sign that our Republic achieved statehood. Today, we made a step closer toward international recognition of our sovereignty.

Meanwhile, DNR Head of State A V Zakharchenko told us:

The decree proved that Russia has always upheld and will continue to uphold our right to defend our lives, our culture, our language, and our dignity. If the Motherland is adamant about standing by our side and supporting our fight, then, our fight is fair, our sacrifices aren’t in vain, and it justifies our hopes.

https://sputniknews.com/russia/201702181050821741-putin-donetsk-lugansk-documents/

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On Saturday, Minster of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov said that the issue of recognising DNR/LNR documents wasn’t brought up during foreign ministers’ talks in the so-called Normandy Four format in Munich, noting:

The decree stated clearly that we made this decision out of humanitarian concerns until we can fulfil the Minsk agreements. The presidential decree validated IDs of Donbass residents so that they could enter Russia legally and use Russian rail transport and air carriers.

https://sputniknews.com/russia/201702181050825502-lavrov-putin-donbass-documents/

18 February 2017

Sputnik International

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