Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The End of a Brand

On his blog The Vault of the Future, Silicon Valley startup entrepreneur Max Skibinsky takes an undeceived view of today's Russia in the aftermath of the MH17 disaster, and explains some of the reasons for his reluctance to return there:
To understand Russia’s lightning fast descent into the abyss one has to understand a simple truth that many (myself included) suspected all along: Russia was and is a failed state. What is seen from the outside is just a facade imitating a functional country and government. High oil prices, residual infrastructure of USSR and internal mass propaganda machine maintained the illusion for more than a decade.
Not only is Russia a mafia state -- it's controlled by a vast propaganda machine that is even more all-devouring than the Soviet one:
Official TV propaganda lies professionally and constantly. There are no independent TV channels; everything is controlled by government stooges. The “news” teams employ special teams that do video editing and fabrications to present absolutely falsified accounts for TV transmission...
The best way to understand modern Russia is to imagine a steep pyramid. At the very top there is a clique of KGB-affiliated oligarchs, who manage a barely-competent class of middle-managers (who can and do steal a fraction of everything they touch) which in turn sits on top of a largely brainwashed and deranged mass population living on life-long government welfare. 
As the author notes, "this is the most toxic environment imaginable to incubate a startup ecosystem."

He concludes:
I think we came to the end of the line with regards to Russia as a name, culture, a global brand. For the time being the country future is destroyed, police state is well-entrenched and the narrative for the brainwashed locals would be xenophobic tale of struggle with the “West”.
Hat tip: Anders Östlund on Twitter: @andersostlund

Friday, July 18, 2014

Take Russia out of Europe

Dmitry Tymchuk, on the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH17:
I sincerely believe that some part of the responsibility for this tragedy lies with the European leaders. In the case of the Russian aggression against Ukraine they have been too busy counting their money, forgetting that the world is very crowded and fragile. They forgot how small Europe is. And it cannot be that one country is the victim of aggression and consumed by war, while this is apparently of no concern to all the others. 
It's also time, I believe, that those in Europe and the U.K. who are involved with Russia at a general cultural and educational level made their position clear. Time that Russian propaganda organizations like RT (Russia Today) and Voice of Russia were taken off the air and closed, time that Russian PR agencies like the Russkiy Mir Foundation and Academia Rossica were shut down and their offshoots and branches in Western universities removed.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Dictatorship

Yuri Felshtinsky, in a recent article discussing what he sees as Russia's current gradual preparation for a major war:
Сейчас уже понятно, что никакой элиты нет. Есть довольно жестко отстроенная вертикаль власти. В конце 15-летнего пути все, что мы имеем в России, – это диктатура. Это диктатура не сталинского типа, а скорее мягкая диктатура фашистского типа, как при Муссолини или раннем Гитлере. Диктатура при открытости границы – а при Сталине границы были закрыты, при рыночной экономике – а при Сталине никакой рыночной экономики не было, без концентрационных лагерей, без массовых политических репрессий. Но эта мягкая диктатура в любой момент может превратиться и в более жесткую диктатуру – просто по законам жанра.
It is now clear that there is no elite. There is a rather rigidly constructed power vertical. At the end of a 15-year-old path, all that we have in Russia is a dictatorship. It is not a Stalinist dictatorship, but rather a soft dictatorship of the fascist type, like that of Mussolini or early Hitler. A dictatorship with open borders - under Stalin the borders were closed. One with a market economy - under Stalin, there was no market economy. One without concentration camps, without mass political repressions. But this soft dictatorship can at any moment turn into a more hardline dictatorship - simply by the laws of the genre.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Putin's Russian World

At the annual conference of Russian Federation ambassadors and permanent representatives on July 1 Putin delivered an address "on protecting Russia’s national interests and strengthening the foundations and principles of international relations." 

This year, prompted by events in Ukraine that are being deliberately engineered by Russia itself, Putin's speech contained some unambiguous pointers to the future direction of Russian foreign policy and military strategy, which are now impelled by considerations of what the propaganda calls "national interest" and "rights to protective intrusion". From the English translation posted on the official website:
In Ukraine, as you may have seen, at threat were our compatriots, Russian people and people of other nationalities, their language, history, culture and legal rights, guaranteed, by the way, by European conventions. When I speak of Russians and Russian-speaking citizens I am referring to those people who consider themselves part of the broad Russian community, they may not necessarily be ethnic Russians, but they consider themselves Russian people.
What did our partners expect from us as the developments in Ukraine unfolded? We clearly had no right to abandon the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol to the mercy of nationalist and radical militants; we could not allow our access to the Black Sea to be significantly limited; we could not allow NATO forces to eventually come to the land of Crimea and Sevastopol, the land of Russian military glory, and cardinally change the balance of forces in the Black Sea area. This would mean giving up practically everything that Russia had fought for since the times of Peter the Great, or maybe even earlier – historians should know.
I would like to make it clear to all: this country will continue to actively defend the rights of Russians, our compatriots abroad, using the entire range of available means – from political and economic to operations under international humanitarian law and the right of self-defence.
It should be noted that in the translation designed for foreign consumption the phrase "Russian world" (русский мир), with its quasi-imperial overtones, is rendered by the more innocuous term "Russian community".

As Vladimir Socor points out in a recent article for EDM, the "right of self-defence" "translates into Russia’s paramilitary intervention in Ukraine’s east. Moscow rejects all proposals to disarm its proxy forces there, or evacuate them back to Russia, or disavow them, at least verbally". Socor continues:
This is the boldest application to date of Putin’s concept of compatriots’ “right to self-defence.” Moscow acts as if this is an inherent right in principle and an already acquired right in Ukraine’s east. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Updates

I haven't had time to update this blog recently - however, I have continued to post Ukraine and Russia-related links to Halt in the Wilderness, the news and discussion group you are welcome to join if you feel so inclined.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Interpreter vs. RT

The Interpreter's James Miller, on RT's sudden interest in his magazine:
It is curious...that The Interpreter – a magazine which is barely a year old (RT was established in 2005), has an extremely small staff (RT has over 2,000 staffers), and runs on a tight budget... — should increasingly come under attack by some of the network’s staff members and television guests.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Neo-Nazism now a part of Russia Today

The Interpreter online current affairs magazine recently ran a feature on a neo-Nazi who represents Germany on the Kremlin's propaganda TV channel Russia Today (RT). Now the Interpreter discusses another right-wing extremist who appears regularly on the same channel. It seems that the Moscow authorities have no qualms about associating themselves with some of the most vicious racist and extremist movements in Europe and the United States. A few years ago, I would not have believed that this was possible - but now it's plain for everyone to see.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The rise of antisemitism in Russia and the crisis in Ukraine

The Winnipeg Media Centre has published an analysis of the Putin regime's campaign of disinformation and defamation against Ukraine, the basis of which is an attempt to incriminate the Ukrainian government and people with the charge of organized antisemitism. In fact, as the analysis shows, the rise of antisemitism is taking place not in Ukraine but in neighboring Russia, where officially sponsored fascist and neo-Nazi ideology is creating a situation not unlike the one that existed in Germany during the 1930s. 

The analysis is divided into three sections:
The first section gives the view of the Ukrainian Jewish community and of organizations that monitor human rights. It is clear from these articles that Jews in Ukraine see neither the current Ukrainian government nor the groups that brought about the change of government as a danger.  On the contrary, they are unanimous in the view that the biggest threat to the safety and security of Jewish people in Ukraine comes from the militant separatists backed by the Russian state.
The second section presents articles by scholars who are following events in the Donbas area and in Russia. These researchers are among many who warn of an alarming rise in chauvinistic and xenophobic attitudes in Russia. They are particularly worried by the rise of fascist groups supported by the government, and by the development of a fascist ideology in circles close to Putin.
The third section presents articles that indicate what we can expect from governing circles in Moscow, and raises broader issues in connection with Putin’s propaganda campaign.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Wavering Line

There are some interesting insights into the political status and prospects of Ukraine's president-elect Poroshenko in this (NB) Valdai Club article. A couple of excerpts:
Statements made by US politicians did not have much influence on Ukrainian voters. More likely, the electorate was swayed by technologies invented by a Ukrainian spin doctor, Igor Gryniv (who was behind the electoral success of Viktor Yushchenko and still earlier planned the establishment of the Reforms and Order and Our Ukraine parties). First of all, he cleaned out the minds of Ukrainian voters and made them accept Poroshenko as a “new politician.” Next he began publishing his growing ratings and convinced the public that his client took the lead in the race. All that remained was to give voters a motivation for support and urge a first-round vote.
-------------------------------------
The new Ukrainian government’s ability to steer an independent line with regard to the Russian Federation will depend on many factors, including the international situation. The world is volatile. Poroshenko, a flexible politician and diplomat, is unlikely to focus on just one line of behavior. I would not be surprised if the utterly pro-American politician Poroshenko turns into a no less enthusiastic pro-Russian politician, come a change of mood in the world. It’s almost like an old joke from the Stalin era: “Did you waver with regard to the Party’s general line? I wavered with the general line.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ukraine as Antidote

In the wake of the large gains by ultra-right wing parties in the recent European elections, Timothy Snyder suggests in the New York Review of Books that Ukraine could provide an antidote to the problem. A country that actively wants to join the European Union and is willing to work for it could help the body to rediscover its purpose:
In the Ukrainian revolution, people fought carrying the EU flag; in the Ukrainian elections, people stood in line for hours wearing EU symbols. The European Union has been enlarging since its establishment as the European Communities, and it will and should continue to do so. A promise of further enlargement would not be expensive: on the contrary, the incentives for reform and for investment would reduce the need for future aid.
By contrast, Snyder says, the voters who in Scotland, France, England, Greece, Austria, Bulgaria and elsewhere in Europe voted for a return to the nation state are living in a parallel universe, and really voted for a "separation from the world". Their detachment from reality is merely enabling Putin's scheme for the Russian domination of Europe - the Russkiy Mir - for these nationalists and advocates of "independence" also support Putin's aims and policies. However, "if Europeans voted the way Ukrainians did, Europe could count on a far more secure and prosperous future."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Russian right-wing mercenaries in Ukraine

The Winnipeg Media Centre has published a detailed survey of the leaders of Russian neo-Nazi and other extreme right wing groups currently operating in eastern Ukraine. These include the high-profile Strelkov-Girkin 'Donbass self-defence' group, but also many others that are less well known but are also trained in Russia and have a fascistic, anti-Semitic and militaristic orientation.

Ukraine: Real Deals

In Grani, Ilya Milstein writes about the aftermath and possible consequences of yesterday's Ukrainian presidential election (my tr.):
Meanwhile Tymoshenko has other plans. Her "Fatherland " party is initiating a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO, and it is only outwardly that this step appears risky, reckless and unwise. Well, yes, NATO does not accept states with unresolved territorial issues, but after all it is not a question of joining the alliance immediately. It is rather about scaring Putin, who has been scaring the Russians and giving himself nightmares about a terrible scenario: the entry of American cruisers into the peaceful waters of Sevastopol and the installation of American missiles on the territory of Ukraine. Now, if the issue is discussed in the Rada, the propaganda horror stories that were suitable only for justifying intervention in Crimea will acquire the traits of another geopolitical disaster.
Poroshenko himself is by no means a supporter of Ukraine's accession to NATO, but he can offer Putin an exchange. You get rid of Grandpa Babai and his RPGs, and I will calm Yulia. You stop supporting the bandits who are already building real concentration camps in our country and have effectively used them, and we will postpone the referendum on accession to NATO. You temporarily forget about Ukraine and stop blackmailing us with rising gas prices, and we will temporarily forget about Crimea. Agreed?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kyiv's eastern strategy

Mychailo Wynnyckyj in Euromaidan PR:
Effectively, the strategy of Kyiv in the Donbas must gradually shift from waging a “hot war” to exercising “soft power” eastward – i.e. the goal must be to shift the line that formerly defined Ukraine’s electoral geography to the Russian border (or at least as far eastward and southward as possible). From this perspective, the war in eastern Ukraine becomes a civilizational war (i.e. informational, economic, cultural). The conflict is less about whether the population wishes to be Ukrainian or Russian (or about what language they speak), but rather about whether the Donbas will be a part of Europe or will continue to be (post)Soviet. Putin has made it eminently clear that he wishes to reinstate the USSR, and during the economic summit in St. Petersburg today he reiterated that he views the conflict in eastern Ukraine in geo-political terms (as engaging the US and EU), rather than as a local/regional struggle for ethnic or linguistic self-determination.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Russian army tries to break up Tatar rally

The Russian army has used military helicopters in an attempt to disrupt a small prayer rally of Crimean Tatars in Bakhchisaray, after the occupying forces banned all commemorations of the 1944 deportations under Stalin.

https://twitter.com/svaboda/status/467934317482876928/photo/1

There are similar reports from other areas of Crimea today.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ukraine:Thinking Together

An international conference called Ukraine: Thinking Together («Мислити з Україною») is currently being held in Kyiv, with participants who include Timothy Snyder, Leon Wieseltier, Timothy Garton Ash, Adam Michnik, Slavenka Drakulić, Paul Berman and others. The conference aims to discuss Maidan and reactions to it in the context of wider questions of human rights and contemporary geopolitics, and the sessions can be followed in livestream here.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Language as a barrier to dialogue in Ukraine

Via openDemocracy


Monday, May 05, 2014

Russian troop locations near Estonia's borders

Kaarel Kaas, editor of Estonia's Diplomaatia monthly, has compiled a detailed survey of the state of Russia's conventional forces near Estonia's borders.

The failed lingua franca

Leonidas Donskis, writing in New Eastern Europe:
The Russian language could have become a lingua franca of Eastern Europe. It failed irreversibly precisely because Putin and his regime stripped the political vocabulary of Russia of its potent moral imagination and alternative potential. What is left is not even the banality of evil practiced by the Kremlin with no impunity and in the moral and political void created by the West and its impotence – the West that attempts to reset relations with a regime hostile to every single political and moral sensitivity of the EU and the US. Instead, it is the evil of banality whose essence lies in exercising power for no meaningful reason and with no love for humanity.

Breedlove: Putin may not need to invade Ukraine

Instead, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be able to annex pieces of Ukraine simply by encouraging unrest among pro-Russian forces inside the country, said Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who commands U.S. and European NATO forces.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/nato-commander-says-russia-doesn-t-need-to-invade-to-take-over-eastern-ukraine-20140502

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Hrytsenko: a third world war has already begun

In Ukraine, Civil Position leader and ex-defence minister Anatoly Hrytsenko writes that Putin’s current foreign policy aims include much more than an annexation of Crimea and East Ukraine. Putin wants the whole of Ukraine, and much more besides. Hrytsenko says that the Russian president has decided to demonstrate to the world by his aggression that international law no longer has any validity and that money and power are the only factors that have meaning in the modern world.

Hrytsenko considers that the fears of Western nations that by confronting Putin they will provoke a third world war lag a long way behind the reality of what has actually happened: Putin has already begun such a war, and the West will need to take swift and decisive action to stop it.

Pointing to recent threatening statements from Moscow about the rights of Russian-speakers in the Baltic States, to the movement of heavy artillery and missile launchers to Russia’s borders with Moldova and Transnistria, to the direction of  strategic bombers down the Baltic and North Sea, to the redeployment of fighter and long-range aviation including Su-27s, MiG-29s and Tu-22M3s to the Crimean peninsula, to the distribution of airborne assault teams, sabotage units and  covert agents throughout Ukraine, and probably also into neighbouring countries, Hrytsenko says that Putin has made no secret of his plans: they are already in operation, without any restrictions.

The West’s attempts to slow the aggression by means of negotiations, diplomacy and economic sanctions have not been effective, Hrytsenko warns. To deter further aggression, the West will need to  form an anti-Putin coalition and focus all  available means and capabilities on taking practical military steps. These should in the first instance be the relocation and deployment around the territory of Ukraine (Poland, Slovakia , Hungary, Romania , Bulgaria, Northern Turkey) of a powerful NATO aviation group (80-100 F-16s and F-15s), a carrier strike group in the Mediterranean (70+ carrier-based aircraft) plus 7-8 warships in the Black Sea (destroyers and cruisers with powerful air defence) and several airborne brigades - to establish reliable control over Ukraine’s air and sea space in order to prevent  Russia from building up additional forces and halt the invasion that is now in progress.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Voices of Ukraine

Daniella Peled of the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has interviewed the English-language editor of Voice of Ukraine, a volunteer-run translation project that is proving to be a vital resource in the Ukraine crisis, providing cross-checked reports and in-depth analysis:
It started in early December 2013 as a social network project when Euromaidan SOS put out a call to translate a text for the OSCE, and the Euro-Maidan As It Is  Facebook page was created by one founder to post such texts to, and very soon after a MaidanNeedsTranslators  Facebook page was started by the other founder in Ukraine as a companion, so translators could take on articles posted there for translation. 
At the beginning, there were two or three people working on the project. Now there is a core group of 15 coordinators and editors, with between eight and 11 doing most of the daily work. Beyond this core are many translators who are not coordinators but who put in a lot of time translating on a regular basis.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Should Ukraine hold a presidential election on May 25?

In an article published in Die Zeit, but apparently translated from English, political analyst Andreas Umland thinks it would be wise for Ukraine to cancel this month's planned presidential election, which he believes could turn into a political disaster that would play into Russia's hands:
Ein Scheitern der Wahl würde Moskau die Möglichkeit geben, die Legitimität der Kiewer Staatsgewalt auf Jahre hinaus infrage zu stellen. Eine niedrige Wahlbeteiligung in der Ostukraine würde Putins Propagandamaschine das Futter liefern, um eine Teilung der Ukraine in zwei Staaten zu propagieren. Das Scheitern der Wahl könnte gar als Vorwand für einen Anschluss ostukrainischer Gebiete an Russland nach dem Muster der Krim-Annexion benutzt werden.
A failure of the election would give Moscow the opportunity to put into question the legitimacy of Kievan state power for years to come. A low voter turnout in eastern Ukraine would be fuel for Putin's propaganda machine to call for a division of Ukraine into two states. The failure of the election could even be used as a pretext for an annexation of Eastern Ukraine by Russia after the pattern of the Crimean annexation.
Umland holds out several alternative ideas, including a switch in the near future from a presidential system to a parliamentary one, and also a reform of Ukraine's constitution.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Armed in Error

In the belief that Russia could be drawn into greater military cooperation by "engagement" (an unclear term that can be interpreted several ways), Western countries, particularly Germany, directly supported and trained the Russian military - and this even continued until recently, when Russia began its attacks on Ukraine. An article by Josh Rogin in the Daily Beast states that in 2011, for example,    
the German defense contractor Rheinmetall signed a $140 million contract to build a combat simulation training center in Mulino, in southwest Russia, that would train 30,000 Russian combat troops per year. While the facility wasn't officially scheduled to be completed until later this year, U.S. officials believe that Germany has been training Russian forces for years.
Rheinmetall defended the project even after the invasion of Crimea, up until the German government finally shut it down late last month. But many tracking the issue within the U.S. government were not happy with Germany's handling of the Russian contract, and worry that some of the training may have gone to the kind of special operations forces now operating in and around Ukraine.
Moreover, it also appears that the German help was going not only to Russia's traditional armed forces but also in a high degree to the sophisticated GRU Spetsnaz units that are now being deployed in the new Russian strategy of intervening "on behalf" of Russian-speakers abroad whenever the latter claim discrimination. While it looks as though now the era of military cooperation with Russia is at an end, some observers are wondering whether the realization of what was really happening may have come too late.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Russia Today and Britain's Far Right

In Searchlight on April 16, Gerry Gable noted that
A film crew from Russia’s RT Documentaries TV channel is coming to London on 19 April. Headed by producer Eldar Kazakov, they plan to interview representatives of as many far-right groups as possible for a long programme.
They approached Searchlight as they hoped we could give them contact details for some of these groups.

The article also mentions groups that RT don't want to take part in the programme - these include the Traditional Britain Group and the Iona London Forum, which apparently have links with Vladimir Putin's propagandist Alexander Dugin. As Gable observed:
Dugin is a close friend of Putin. I suggested Kazakov investigate Iona’s links not only with Dugin but with extreme right groups in Russia, Syria and Ukraine. Such a programme would be far more relevant than the one he was planning.
Putin has cultivated European extreme-right organisations and even invited their representatives to observe last month’s illegal referendum in Crimea.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kasyanov: Putin will not attack Ukraine

According to Mikhail Kasyanov, quoted in an interview for VoA's Ukrainian service, Putin is not going to attack Ukraine, and is using his troops on the border and acts of sabotage inside Ukraine as a form of blackmail to gain recognition for Russia's control of Crimea, the payment of Ukraine's gas debt, Russian as Ukraine's second state language, and changes to the country's constitution. But Putin is bluffing. His regime is on its last legs - the Russian economy is in a bad way, and the confidence of investors and creditors is falling. The West need only apply some firm and concerted economic pressure in order to secure Russia's total collapse.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter from Navalny

Привет, друзья.
Алексей написал очень важное письмо и попросил передать его вам. Мы таже будем признательны, если вы поможете распространить эту информацию.
========================================
Сейчас скажу вам вещь важную, а также незаконную. Вернее, незаконной она считается для меня персонально, поэтому на такой запрет мне плевать. Я хочу, чтоб вы знали.
В четверг меня будут судить, что совсем неоригинальное заявление, потому что меня и вчера судили (и даже приговорили), а также судят постоянно — с начала этого года уже три раза осудили, признав виновным.
Но в четверг будут опять судить по-крупному. Это, так называемое «дело «Ив Роше», по которому подсудимыми будут я и мой младший брат Олег.
Как вы может быть помните, дело это возбудили весьма цинично: прямо не скрывая как «ответку» за то, что я призвал выходить на несанкционированную акцию 15 декабря. Месседж был понятен: если ты думаешь, что будешь народ водить на массовые несанкционированные митинги и думаешь, что мы не ответим по беспределу, то ошибаешься. Тогда, в течение недели, СК заявил о возбуждении аж трёх уголовных дел против меня.
«Дело Ив Роше» было основным и активно использовалось зобмоящиком и всеми мерзкими единороссами, чтобы два года подряд к слову «Навальный» добавлять «похитивший со своим братом 50 миллионов рублей у французской компании Ив Роше».
Таким образом Олег и Алексей Навальные совершили хищение мошенническим путем денежных средств торговой компании в сумме свыше 55 миллионов рублей. Большую часть этой суммы братья Навальные потратили на собственные нужды, а более 19 миллионов рублей из этой суммы, чтобы легализовать полученные преступным путем средства, Навальные по фиктивным основаниям и договорам якобы за аренду нежилого помещения, за сырье и материалы перечислили с расчетного счета так называемой фирмы-прокладки на расчетный счет «Кобяковской фабрики по лозоплетению», учредителями которой являлись в том числе и братья.
Постепенно сумма «похищенного» снизилась до 27 миллионов, но суть от этого не изменилась.
Главным следственным управлением Следственного комитета Российской Федерации Алексею Навальному и его братуОлегу Навальному предъявлено окончательное обвинение в совершении хищений путем обмана денежных средств ООО «Ив Роше Восток» в сумме свыше 26 млн. рублей и ООО «Многопрофильная процессинговая компания» в сумме свыше 4 млн. рублей (ч.4 ст.159 УК РФ), а также в легализации денежных средств в сумме более 21 млн. рублей (п. «а» ч.2 ст.174.1 УК РФ). В ближайшее время СК России планирует завершить расследование данного уголовного дела и предъявить его материалы для ознакомления потерпевшим, обвиняемым и их защитникам.
Бороться с этим не очень легко. Ты понимаешь, что это полный бред. Вот просто бред и полная выдумка. Но и понимаешь, что любой нормальный человек подумает: ну невозможно же совсем на голом месте придумать хищение 27 миллионов. Не будет так Путин подставляться. Какие-то, значит, доказательства есть. Или в суде Навальный докажет, что он прав.
Докажет, да. На всех судах последних лет мне до последнего казалось, что не могут меня осудить, ведь и право, и правда на моей стороне.
Как можно осудить меня по «Кировлесу» без экономической экспертизы?
Как можно осудить меня за сопротивление полиции, если на видео любому видно, что сопротивления нет?
Как можно осудить меня за выкрики, если любому на видео видно, что я спокойно стоял?
Нормально. Везде осудили. Посмотрели видео, убедились, что выкриков не было и написали в судебном решениии: выкрикивал и размахивал руками. Судить по «делу Ив Роше» меня, кстати, будет та же судья Коробченко, что и разглядела на этом видео скандирование и выкрики.
Поэтому в суде я ничего не докажу. Зато вам хочу доказать, поэтому и пишу. И поэтому прошу помочь мне распространить эту информацию.
Итак, с самого начала мы знали, что Ив Роше заставили написать заявление. Они работали с «главподпиской» (компанией, через которую, якобы, совершено хищение) пять лет, были довольны, а теперь вся эта работы объявлена мошенничеством.
К ним пришли ФСБ и СК, сказав: не будет заявления, не сможете работать. Это мы знаем со слов сотрудников самой компании. Бизнес Ив Роше полностью завязан на таможню, контролируемую ФСБ и «небольшие проблемы с оформлением грузов» похоронили бы всё дело в течение месяца.
Написали — ничего не поделаешь. Мы не ФСБ и заставить обратно взять заявление не можем.
Через некоторое время, видимо, Ив Роше осознали, что их хотят использовать не просто для какого-то рутинного запугивания и угроз, а для прямой фабрикации политического уголовного дела. Они сделали сделали очень туманное заявление «после того, как всё будет окончено, ни у кого не возникнет сомнений в нашей репутации». Что это означает, было совершенно непонятно.
Потом пошли разные сообщения на тему того, что Ив Роше ущерб не признаёт и заявление забирает. Об этом, в частности, много раз говорил главред «Новой Газеты» Дмитрий Муратов со ссылкой на личную беседу с директором компании по имени Бруно Лепру.
Однако, никаких формальных последствий это не имело: дело шло, под его соусом шли выемки, обыски и допросы, подписки о невыезде и тд. Компания Ив Роше хранила молчание, хранит его до сих пор и не сделала ни одного заявления, кроме того, что выше по ссылке.
Ну, а потом настал всё-таки долгожданный момент, когда СК объявило об «окончании расследования» и у нас появилась возможность ознакомится с материалами дела. 157 томов. Когда мы начали знакомиться, в одном из самых первых томов мы нашли следующую последовательность документов:
1. Заявление директора компании с просьбой проверить на предмет ущерба и мошенничества (то самое заявление, написанное по настоятельной просьбе сотрудников СК и ФСБ).
2. Бумагу, где Ив Роше сообщает, что оно проведёт проверку на предмет установления возможных убытков.
3. Бумагу, где Ив Роше официально сообщает следствию, что ни прямых убытков, ни упущенной выгоды нет, а «главподписка» оказывала услуги на 4-15% дешевле других контрагентов.
Вам не показалось и вы не ошиблись. Это официальное письмо от компании в СК.
Когда мы прочитали её, то подумали, что чего-то не понимаем в этой жизни. Братьев Навальных обвиняют в хищении денег у компании, а компания говорит: у нас ничего не похищали.
Это было слишком хорошо, чтобы быть правдой. Каким бы жуликом, пьяницей и дебоширом, а также иностранным шпионом ни был Бастрыкин, он же не может быть окончательным дебилом, чтобы шить громкое уголовное дело на таком материале.
Поэтому мы были уверены, что в одном из последних томов (а нам давали их строго по очереди, запрещая смотреть последние), есть документ от Ив Роше, опровергающий этот.
Чем дальше мы знакомились, тем понятнее становилось, что нового документа нет. Это, кстати, объясняло странную штуку: в деле появился ещё один заявитель — некая МПК с какими-то совсем абсурдными и непонятными обвинениями. По датам было видно: Ив Роше написало, что ущерба нет и следствие побежало искать нового «потерпевшего».
Ну так вот, тем дальше мы читали дело, тем больше спрашивали у следствия: а вы ребята совсем что ли плохие? Где у вас документ о том, что Ив Роше причинен ущерб.
И доспрашивались: поняв, что сейчас будет скандал, СК нашёл прекрасное решение: домашний арест с таким экзотическим и абсолютно незаконным условием «запрет на любые комментарии в СМИ о деле». Обратите внимание: мне разрешается (через посредников в лице защиты, конечно) комментировать Путина, Медведева, Крым, Украину, Кадырова, Якунина, Сечина и всё остальное. Только «дело Ив Роше» комментировать в СМИ мне официально запрещено.
Увидев именно это (совершенно уникальное) требование в письме в суд, мы окончательно поняли, что никакой новой бумаги от Ив Роше мы не найдём.Ущерба нет, это официально зафиксированно в материалах дела. А задача следствия сейчас одна: заткнуть нам рот до суда, а там уже судья поможет обойти сложный момент.
Поэтому сейчас я совершенно открыто и официально говорю: что мне плевать на всякие запреты и требования молчать. Плевать на угрозы изменения дом.ареста на обычный. Я молчать не буду и хоть в суде ничего не докажу, но сделаю всё, чтоб доказать вам.
Поэтому я передал это письмо в Фонд борьбы с коррупцией с просьбой опубликовать его и помочь мне написать этот пост. Читайте сами. Тут всё просто:
Вот и всё. Вот вам и «дело Ив Роше», вот вам и «хищения».
Я не знаю, что ещё я могу сделать на суде. Я не знаю более сильного аргумента в пользу невиновности своей и Олега, чем письмо от потерпевшего, что он не потерпевший.
Ничего не буду писать дальше по существу дела, бесполезно уже. Могу добавить только, что мы обращаемся с заявлением о преступлении по факту привлечения заведомо невиновного к уголовной ответственности. Текст здесь.
Что я хочу от вас? Вы мне можете помочь очень просто. Прочитайте это всё и расскажите кому-нибудь ещё. Блог в жж заблокирован, твиттер, ВК и ФБ на очереди. СМИ, которые не побоятся написать об этом, остались единицы.
На это и расчёт: немного людей в интернете знают правду, а в зомбоящике бомбят «похитил 27 миллионов».
Но ведь вы-то не «немного людей из интернета». Вас сотни тысяч. Нас сотни тысяч. Три раза нажали на кнопку и поговорили с парой человек — уже несколько миллионов знают об этом.
Ребята из ФБК даже сделали такой небольшой сайт, чтобы проще было распространять этот расчёт Ив Роше: http://delo.navalny.ru
Хотите помочь: распространите его (а если удобнее, то этот пост) где можете, пришлите каждому, кто вслед за пропагандой пишет про «похитили у Ив Роше». Маме расскажите, бабушке. С таксистом поговорите.
Вот и всё. Я сто раз говорил: нас больше и сила у нас такая, что любую пропаганду мы можем разоблачить моментально. Просто надо работать и не думать, что кто-то это сделает за тебя. Кто-то, у кого больше времени или друзей в Фейсбуке.
Никто ничего не сделает — просто ваш участок фронта будет не закрыт.
Вот в него и проползёт мерзкое рыльце дмитрия кисилева и разнообразная маргарита симонян с подрагивающими ложноножками. Никто не будет виноват, кроме вас.
Другого сопротивления не существует. Это сопротивление может победить и победит.
На этом я своё пафосное мотивирующее выступление заканчиваю.
Заранее спасибо всем, кто поможет. http://delo.navalny.ru

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How It Was Done in Odessa

In LRB Keith Gessen takes a tour of post-revolutionary Odessa - and has some commentary on the historical background to recent events:
Concerns over the collapse of the Russophone political space are nothing new. In the 1990s such disparate writers as Solzhenitsyn, Brodsky and Eduard Limonov worried over it. Solzhenitsyn proposed creating a Russian-language superstate, encompassing the Russian Federation as well as the Russian-majority sections of northern Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. Limonov actually took up arms, or tried to: he was arrested in 2001 for trying to transport a cache of Kalashnikovs and some explosives which he may have been planning to use in an invasion of northern Kazakhstan, with the intention of declaring a Russian republic there. Brodsky’s poem ‘On Ukrainian Independence’, written in the early 1990s, excoriated Ukrainians for wanting independence from Russia. He read the poem once at a public gathering in New York, then forbade its publication, but it’s circulated online for years. It’s a furious poem, but I had never truly realised, until seeing the Russians in Odessa, just how nasty it was. Brodsky warns his Ukrainian readers that on their deathbeds they’ll remember the poetry of Pushkin, not the brekhnya (‘gibberish’) of the Ukrainian national poet, Taras Shevchenko. And maybe he’s right: maybe Pushkin is the better poet, and maybe a Ukrainian inclined to remember poetry on his deathbed would choose Pushkin. But maybe he wouldn’t. And in any case Ukrainian independence isn’t a poetry competition.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Who is Fascist?

In this Al Jazeera article, Halya Coynash discusses the irony in the fact that accusations of "fascism" are being made against Ukraine by a Russian government that's increasingly establishing close links with the parties of the European far right. In addition,
A number of the main actors in the pro-Russian protests in the Donetsk region have strong links with far-right parties. Pavel Gubarev, for example, is a Donetsk business owner and the head of the "People's Militia". On March 1, he was supposedly elected "people's governor" and led a crowd in storming the Donetsk regional administration building, demanding that a referendum be held on the oblast's secession and calling for Russian military intervention. His detention was presented by Russian TV channels as politically motivated persecution. They preferred not to delve into Gubarev's ideological roots as a member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity Party.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Unmasked

On his Facebook blog, Ukrainian military expert Dmitry Tymchuk observes a difference in the behaviour of Russian forces in East Ukraine:
It is worth noting that earlier Russian troops tried to hide their affiliation to the Russian Armed Forces. But immediately after yesterday's signing by Moscow of the so-called Geneva agreements, they began to "legitimize themselves", though the Russian government sharply denies their presence in eastern Ukraine.
And in Novaya Gazeta a report from Slovyansk suggests that Russian servicemen are no longer bothering to conceal their identity on the ground.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Map of a Conflict

In the New Atlanticist, Taras Kuzio writes that the unthinkable has happened in Europe - Russia has invaded Ukraine. But there are obstacles in Russia's path:
First, the aim of the “green men” is to mobilize support for separatism in Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine opinion, but polls do not give high levels of support for either federalism, a strong Russian demand, or for union with Russia. In a poll conducted by the Kyiv-based Democratic Initiative foundation, only 6 to 7 percent in eastern and southern Ukraine support their region’s separation and union with Russia. That support reaches its high, 18 percent, in the Donbass region, in the far southeast. Nowhere does secession have majority support.
Second, Ukraine ultimately will fight for its eastern regions, meaning there will be high numbers of casualties on both sides.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Navalny's new blog

The blog of Alexei Navalny, blocked by Roskomnadzor, now has a new home at navalny.com

Eurasianism and Separatism in Ukraine

Voices of Ukraine notes that the "Bravo" section of the Information Resistance Group has published a list and overview of organizations in Ukraine that use the presence of Russian and Russian-speaking minorities to provoke autonomist and separatist sentiment and also to threaten Ukraine's territorial integrity. One of these structures is the officially banned Eurasian Youth Union. From its Wikipedia entry:
The early-20th century Eurasianism ideology of a part of the Russian emigration and modern Neo-Eurasianism developed by Aleksandr Dugin has been declared the main ideology of the organization. Its ideology also features prominently Russian nationalism and imperialism, calls for the creation of a new Eurasian empire centered around Russia. On its website the movement declared the West and in particular the United States as its main opponent and termed it as the "main evil".

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crimea Loses its Freedom

At Voices of Ukraine, Aleksei Fyodorov, a Crimea resident, describes the intimidation and threatening, Soviet-style behaviour of the civil and military authorities now that the Russian occupation is a fact of daily life:
When the “little green men” started to take over the peninsula, some people really were euphoric. I even entertained the perfidious thought that Russia would put its petrodollars into the Crimean economy and life would at last sort itself out. But that’s not how it turned out! Already after a few days some incredibly terrible things happened, it’s difficult to describe them, but to see them live is even worse. It’s like a nightmare or a horror film! A family of Crimean Tartars lived in our building, they had come back home at the beginning of the 1990s. The head of the family dared tell a Russian soldier that his armoured car was blocking the parking spaces near our building (it is on the edge of the city, almost as you come into town). The soldier immediately started swearing, then laughing loudly he commanded his comrade to ram the car. The front of his Lada Priora (bought six months ago on credit) was crushed and the Tartar, hardly believing his eyes, only just got out of the car.