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The view from Russia

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, August 2nd, 2014 - 123 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags:

As some of you may realise, I (grumpy) cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as a “leftie” and it may surprise your readers to know that I have been involved in International business for about 30 years and have many close friends throughout the world.

My mate Konstantin is one of the best, a degree educated Electrical Engineer, Konstantin is a fiercely proud Russian who has never held back from voicing his opinions, something that the multinationals who have employed him have found out the hard way.

Anyway, Konstantin has been so dismayed by the way the Western media have portrayed his country in the Ukraine crisis that he has taken to writing.

He sent me this to critique and I was so impressed that I asked for, and was given, his permission to offer as a post here.

The below is Konstantin’s opinion and you are welcome to disagree.

 

1.     Turmoil in Kiev or how it all started

The policy of the Ukraine for the last few years has been blackmailing the West on the ground that Ukraine will develop closer economic ties with Russia and blackmailing Russia that the Ukraine joins the EU next day. Their goal was to milk as much money and preferences as they could from one side and oil and gas and more loans from the other. Adding up an enormous level of corruption and very different lifestyles, economics, ethnic traits and religious beliefs between Western and Eastern Ukraine, this situation couldn’t last long. Ukrainian people got tired and went on Maidan. The US regarded this situation as very favorable one for reaching their two main goals in Europe: getting a firm foothold as close as they can to the Russian border and revive the NATO which with years has become too lazy and peaceful organization and obviously needed to be kept in check. This was the reason why Nouland, Biden, the CIA director, the US senators were visiting Kiev as frequently as they visited the golf courses. At exactly the same time Putin was enjoying his time at the Olympics and his aides stayed away from Kiev. Personally I was really amazed at such a bold and direct interference of the US officials in internal Ukrainian affairs. Well, just as they say, «Why there will never be a revolution in the United States? Because there’s no US embassy there».

 

2.     Annexation of Crimea

I strongly believe this was the right thing to do. First, putting aside the all-Russian history of Crimea and the unlawful secession from Russia by Khruschov, if it wasn’t for the annexation we’d have a full scale bloodbath in Crimea right now, far worse than we currently see in Eastern Ukraine, to say nothing of a couple of naval NATO bases in Crimea in a few years from now. Second, uniquely enough for the modern history, the annexation was a «clean kill», so to speak, not a single person got hurt and 98% of the population supported joining Russia. The outrage of those who overlooked the event while they were supposed to keep an eye on Russia is understood. And let’s leave all the cries that there were no changing borders in Europe since WWII for the kids. I mean – Germany, Yugoslavia, Kosovo – the borders were changed every time the West thought they should.

 

3.     Putin’s stature

Putin is supported by a vast majority of the Russian population because he leads more or less independent policy as opposed to Eltsin’s times when the West basically regarded Russia as a lowly state with non-existent interests. Russians are very sensitive to being treated this way even if in many cases they do not live up to the standards when they should be treated the other way. Right now people start grumbling that Putin backed down on Eastern Ukraine and doesn’t take any firm actions. Note that the number of Russian and Ukrainian(!) refugees fleeing to Russia exceeded several hundred thousand which is a big burden for the southern Russian regions to bear. If Putin keeps being indecisive his ratings will definitely start plummeting to finally meet Obama’s. That’s us, Russians – today we love, tomorrow we hate.

 

4.     The West and the downing of the Malaysian plane

Now I am being sarcastic. I mean, guys, what’s happened to the West? Where are the basic Western democratic values like, say, the independent system of justice? Where is the presumption of innocence? In half an hour after the plane was shot down Putin personally was held culpable. The downing of the plane has raised many questions which desperately need answering before we are to blame anyone (why the pilots changed the course towards the war zone and lowered their altitude, who told them to do so, why the Ukrainian BUK battery radar activities increased drastically that day, were there any Ukrainian fighter jets following the Malaysian liner, what recent Poroshenko’s «we’ll have a surprise for you» remark meant, etc., etc.). Instead of a proper investigation we are being fed with some «psakiing» like «we got the information from social networks proving that the separatists shot down the plane and Putin was personally responsible. We also got some intelligence that we can’t disclose». I mean, are you kidding me? Social networks? If all the verdicts in Western courts had been based on «this is obvious that he did that» statements the West wouldn’t have become the West as we know it. I always respected the US internal policy and I still consider it to be the best in the world with a few minor exceptions. But the international policy of the US has been a disaster lately and more and more reminds me of some sort of trolling other nations. Unfortunately I do not see any attempts to solve the Ukrainian crisis in a diplomatic way. No talks between Putin and Obama, a few talks between Lavrov and Kerry, obviously, to no avail. So far the Western approach has been overly simplified – Putin is the villain of the peace, a pariah, let’s kick him out of our sandbox (G7, G20, 2018 WFC, what else?).

Indeed it looks like «the US and Russia are going to fight with each other until the last Ukrainian is standing». I do hope it doesn’t lead to WWIII. Big wars start with small incidents, as we all know.

P.S. My personal best to Matthew Lee, he is a great guy with brain and courage. Keep on, Matt!

 

grumpy

 

123 comments on “The view from Russia”

  1. lprent 1

    Before anyone asks. 

    • Yes I put it up. Despite the odd way of emphasising particular points, it is a interesting piece from a different side.
    • No I don’t believe much of it. It does sound an awful lot like PR spin. Just as much of the US posing and posturing has done. To be perfectly frank, I’ve been watching the reaction of the other border states more closely than the predictable strokers in the Russian and US diplomatic circles. Clearly they think that the current regime in Russia is a menace, and so do I.
    • The usual limit on guest posts is who has time to read the mail box and has time to put them up. Since that is usually me, it is kind of spariodic. 
    • Yeah I think that the front image is a photoshop. Someone riding a horse, shopped on to a bear, and Putin’s head attached. But it is both fun, and probably also makes a statement about the position that Putin is in.
    • Grumpy 1.1

      Yep, Konstantin’s writing style is unusual, until you realize that as a young boy, who showed an aptitude for languages, he was educated at a school linked to the KGB and taught by Americans who left the US during the McCarthy era. He speaks perfect mid-western American English, mannerisms and all!

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Wow, thanks for that background and thanks for helping Konstantin contribute. Interesting stuff.

        • Grumpy 1.1.1.1

          I hope Konstantin takes part in this discussion, bearing in mind the time difference, I have sent him the link.

      • Konstantin 1.1.2

        I’m sorry Grumpy but I can’t leave that without a comment. I was never educated at any institution connected to the KGB. It’s all our good old friend Kevin’s fantasies. I learned English at home lying on my sofa. Then I got to the States and just polished it up. Some people sing well, some play chess well, I speak mid-western American English well – probably the only real talent I got. Sorry for the off-topic comment but I wrote it to stress that I was never connected to any governmental organizations which could have affected my judgement in a pro-government or pro-Putin way.

    • barry 1.2

      It may be PR but I think it reasonably accurately represents the perspective of the average Russian.

      Given Russia’s historical fear of being encircled, it does look to them like the Americans are getting ever closer to their doorstep.

      • Konstantin 1.2.1

        Are they not? I mean, leaving aside the historical fears.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          The US has been building up its empire for well over a century now but they’ve been doing it slowly and behind closed doors (not discussed in the MSM). Most people are surprised when it’s pointed out how many wars the US has been in with the result of those wars usually being another client state.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.1

            Up to 900 US military bases in foreign countries. That’s real empire. And that’s military installations – non-military intelligence installations eg NSA, CIA aren’t included in that number.

    • For a smart man you can be incredibly prejudiced and narrow minded. My country lost 195 of it’s inhabitants and yet is far more inclined to await the result of the investigation.

      I wonder how the US would feel if Russia started to put Rocket launchers in Canada and Mexico. The only really dangerous regimes are the big NATO countries who have attacked country after country in the aftermath of 9/11. Libya is destroyed. Syria is in pieces. Iraq is gone, Afghanistan is DU polluted like Iraq, Syria and Libya by the way and yet you seem to think that this is OK. To save a country we have to destroy it but if Russia, if they did, helps the Russians currently being threatened by a genocide defend themselves Putin is the bastard.

      There is evidence for Ukrainian fighter jets following the Malaysian airplane and the plane having been shot down rather than with a guided missile. In fact there is no evidence so far for a guided missile. The US spend $5 billion to get their hands on the Ukraine.

      Is Putin a nice guy. Probably not but considering the Western psychos he has to fight off trying to destroy Russia so they can control the entire globe he better not be.

      • Populuxe1 1.3.1

        So out of curiosity, would you prefer to live in a western state (seeing as they are all run by psychos) or in Russia?

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          You prefer to live in your home if you can, of course.

          • Populuxe1 1.3.1.1.1

            I’d prefer not to live in a country where prominently disagreeing with the government got me arrested or forced into exile, mentioning my sexual orientation publicly could get me arrested, and where violent organised crime was rife at all levels – if it’s all the same. There seems to be a steady trickle of Russians who feel similarly.

            • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1.1.1

              No ones asking you to give up your NZ citizenship mate. And if some Rusky has enough points to get NZ PR and they want it, good on them.

            • D'Esterre 1.3.1.1.1.2

              @ Populuxel: “I’d prefer not to live in a country where prominently disagreeing with the government got me arrested or forced into exile, mentioning my sexual orientation publicly could get me arrested, and where violent organised crime was rife at all levels – if it’s all the same.”

              So: you’re not keen to live in the Ukraine, then. A lot of Ukrainians agree with you, as it happens!

              But really, what on earth have putative living conditions in Russia got to do with other commenters’ critique of US involvement in the coup in the Ukraine? Is this another way of accusing people of being “Russia-lovers” in the pejorative sense?

              • Populuxe1

                Ukraine is in the long slow process of liberalisation that comes with the attractions of the EU. While Ukraineis far from ideal in terms of LGBT legal protections, that is still a far cry from introducing the discriminatory laws Putin has.

                The US is perfidous in an ad hoc and largely abstract way, however this does not justify the nuseating rush of certain people to Putin’s defense. It tends to absolve Pootie of his role in the current crisis and therefore crates an inaccurate view of events – sort of like RT does.

      • Stuart Munro 1.3.2

        The survivors of his Zatchistka in Chechenya do not think Putin is a nice guy – nor do the colleagues of the murdered Politkovskaya.

        America is indeed a monstrous, murderous global force. But this does not suffice to canonise Putin – he’s a bad’un even if Joe Biden & son are no better.

        MH17 was probably a screw up, not policy. A lot of young cowboys with way too much ordnance and not much of a command structure in Ukraine right now.

    • D'Esterre 1.4

      @lprent: “Yeah I think that the front image is a photoshop. Someone riding a horse, shopped on to a bear, and Putin’s head attached. But it is both fun, and probably also makes a statement about the position that Putin is in.”

      Of course it’s a photoshop: good luck to anyone who thinks it’s possible to ride an Arctic Brown bear. It’s a statement about his power and manliness: make of that what you will. In the last few days, I’ve seen what I judge to be the same image of him photoshopped onto a tank. It was on the cover of a Time magazine.

      Apropos the content of this piece, it chimes with a great deal of what we in this household have found out by way of news sources that aren’t Kremlin or Washington mouthpieces. It’s worth reiterating that the “annexation” of the Crimea was accomplished virtually without a shot being fired. That couldn’t have happened without the consent of the Crimean people – and indeed of most of the Ukrainian military who were serving there at the time, and who defected to Russia. This will have come as no surprise to anyone even remotely acquainted with the history of the Crimea.

      With regard to the shooting-down of the Malaysian Airlines flight, it’s wildly implausible to assert – as the US has done – that the rebels shot it down. These men are mostly irregular forces – guerilla fighters, in other words – at whom the Ukrainian government’s forces have been shooting since about April. Some of them are fighting in crocs: really. They’re most unlikely to have BUK missile systems and the radar systems to operate them effectively. And even if the counterfactual applied, and they had got their hands on such a system, it takes a great deal longer than a couple of months to be trained up in its use.

      On the other hand, the Ukrainian army most definitely does have these systems; possibly relics of Soviet times, but also possibly supplied to them by the Russian Federation since 1991. Applying Occam’s Razor to the whole ghastly situation, it’s most likely that the Ukrainian army shot the plane down by mistake. They’ve done it before, in 2001: they shot down a Siberian Airlines plane over the Black Sea in a military exercise gone wrong. That’s why they’ve conducted no further exercises with the BUK systems in the years since. Which will no doubt have done wonders for their competence and professionalism.

      And – speaking of said army – the Kiev regime is using it to attack its own citizens: exactly the same thing as the Assad regime is doing in Syria, and about which the West continues to wring its hands. So how is it acceptable for Kiev to do this, but it’s a war crime when Assad does it?

      • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1

        So how is it acceptable for Kiev to do this, but it’s a war crime when Assad does it?

        One is a possible client state and the other is regarded as the enemy. The hypocrisy of the West can be truly astounding.

    • vto 2.1

      So some Russians are in eastern Ukraine and Americans are in western Ukraine?

      What the fuck are the Americans doing there? They are about 10,000 miles from home simply trying to expand empire … ruskies tryng to defend home ….

      sheesh

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      All those geotags could be easily falsified, and further more, what unit commander is going to let a low level guy like that continually posting in a hostile area and giving away their position?

      • Populuxe1 2.2.1

        Eastern Ukraine. Hostile to Russia. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          Uh, east Ukraine has been subject to continuous artillery and air attack by Kiev forces for a couple of months now, resulting in over 1000 civilian casualties.

          • D'Esterre 2.2.1.1.1

            @ ColonialViper: “Uh, east Ukraine has been subject to continuous artillery and air attack by Kiev forces for a couple of months now, resulting in over 1000 civilian casualties.”

            Indeed. Peter Hitchens has recently characterised it as a “filthy little war”, which isn’t being well-reported by Western news media.

            It’s certain that this would also have happened in the Crimea, had its citizens not acted swiftly to make good their long-held desire for escape from the Ukraine.

            And, incidentally, the claims that Russia “invaded” the Crimea are a distortion of the truth, which was that the Black Sea Fleet Treaty with the Ukraine allowed Russia to have up to 25000 troops permanently stationed there. So: no invasion then, and the troops were there legally.

            • Populuxe1 2.2.1.1.1.1

              So if the Americans decided to pour out of Operation Deepfreeze without military insignia and toting ordinance, and decided to take over Christchurch, that would be ok by your argument?
              Damn, the Putinbots aren’t getting any smarter.

              • D'Esterre

                @ Populuxel: “So if the Americans decided to pour out of Operation Deepfreeze without military insignia and toting ordinance, and decided to take over Christchurch, that would be ok by your argument?”

                Hell yeah, if a violent neo-nazi gang had just seized control of the government in Wellington!

                • Populuxe1

                  You know, every time you use the word “neo-nazi” and your notable absence from any other post threads on The Standard as far as I can see simply leads me to the conclusion that you are a Putinbot.

                  • D'Esterre

                    @ Populuxel: “You know, every time you use the word “neo-nazi” and your notable absence from any other post threads on The Standard as far as I can see simply leads me to the conclusion that you are a Putinbot.”

                    What an extraordinary thing to say. Are you interested in a debate at all, or does this comment indicate that you don’t have a countervailing argument? What I take from it is that anyone who disagrees with your views must be an agent of the dreaded Kremlin. This is just the sort of tactic that George W Bush was given to using anent the “war on terrorism”. Or “tourism”, as it used to come out when he said it.

                    “Putinbot”: good grief!

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well no, I’m not interested in debate with people who cavalierly throw around terms like “neo-nazi” – especially as that its application to the current ruling coalition of Ukraine is mainly favoured by RT, other Russian media outlets, and Putinbots.
                      And then you launched into ad hominem.

          • Populuxe1 2.2.1.1.2

            It’s not controlled by Kiev, however. It’s controlled by seperatists who at the least are Russian friendly, but probably have Russian Buks to play with – some of which may well be crewed by Russians. Wow those ideological blinkers block the flow of blood to your brain something deadful.

            • Konstantin 2.2.1.1.2.1

              Obamabot!!! :)))

            • D'Esterre 2.2.1.1.2.2

              @ Populuxel: “Well no, I’m not interested in debate with people who cavalierly throw around terms like “neo-nazi”…”

              OK: so you’re back to debate then? Good.

              Anent “neo-nazi”: definitely nothing cavalier in my throwing-about of this term; this is just how many of these people describe themselves. Have a look at this:

              Freedom party (‘Svoboda’): Founded in 1991 as the ‘Social-National Party of Ukraine’, with the ‘Wolfsangel’ (insignia of several SS units) as its symbol. Led by Dr Oleg Tyahnibok. Part of Ukrainian opposition coalition together with Timoshenko’s Fatherland Party and Klichko’s UDAR party. Honours and upholds the legacy of:

              UPA ‘Ukrainian Insurgent Army’: WWII-era terrorist organisation fighting for an independent Ukraine, usually in cooperation with Nazi Germany. Responsible for genocide of Poles in western Ukraine. Led by Stepan Bandera, whose portrait was so often and so proudly displayed by Maidan supporters, which you would have seen, had you followed the live coverage, not least by RT.

              Maidan’s more aggressive members were organised as ‘Maidan Self-Defence’, under the command of Andriy Parubiy, who:
              – Co-founded the Freedom party along with Dr Tyahnibok in 1991.
              – Parubiy left the party in 2004, becoming involved with Viktor Yushchenko’s ‘Our Ukraine’ party, and playing a leading role in organisation the Orange Revolution of 2004.
              – Yushchenko’s party openly embraced Stepan Bandera and his legacy during their time in power, with Yushchenko granting Bandera the award ‘Hero of Ukraine’.
              – When Our Ukraine’s fortunes collapsed after the 2010 and 2012 elections, Parubiy joined Timoshenko’s Fatherland Party.
              – After the success of the Maidan coup, Andriy Parubiy was appointed as head of the Ukrainian National Security council, giving him tremendous power over Ukraine’s police and military forces.

              Also joining in the Maidan violence:

              A new ultranationalist paramilitary group called ‘Pravy Sektor’ (Right Sector), formed under the leadership of Dimitro Yarosh. Right Sector is a union of several different ultranationalist organisations:
              o Trident: Yarosh’s group. An ideological heir of Stepan Bandera’s branch of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists.
              o Patriots of Ukraine: Formerly the Freedom party’s armed wing. The two organisations formally (not actually) ended their association in 2004. Patriots of Ukraine uses the ‘Wolfsangel’ as its symbol. Espouses national socialism, ‘Ukraine for the Ukrainians’ and promises to build the ‘third Ukrainian empire’.
              o UNA-UNSO: Ultranationalist paramilitary organisation. Fought in every post-Soviet war, fighting against the Russians in every case but one (Transnistria). Also served as armed muscle for the ‘Ukraine without Kuchma’ movement. Never successful in parlaying its notoriety into electoral success, UNA-UNSO lost a lot of members in the 21st century and developed a reputation as little more than a veterans’ club. Alexander Muzychko, active in post-coup thuggery and later assassinated after threatening the new Interior Minister, was a stalwart of this group.
              o White Hammer: straight-up Neo-Nazi outfit. Known for using hammers to attack stores accused of selling drugs – hence the name.

              A complete list of all the ultra-nationalists appointed to the government following the coup:

              o Vice-Premier: Oleksandr Sych (Freedom)
              o Prosecutor-General: Oleh Makhnitsky (Freedom)
              o Defence Minister: Ihor Tenyukh (Freedom)
              o Education Minister: Serhiy Kvit (Various nationalist organisations, including Trident)
              o Agriculture Minister: Ihor Shvaika (Freedom)
              o Ecology Minister: Andriy Mokhnyk (Freedom)
              o Minister of Youth and Sports: Dimitro Bulatov (formerly of UNA-UNSO)
              o Chairman of the National Security Council: Andriy Parubiy
              o Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council: Dimitro Yarosh

              So: an unlovely lot altogether; the citizens know the cut of these people’s jib, hence the speedy skedaddle of the Crimea out of the Ukraine, and the attempts of the separatists to cut loose.

              Ad hominem? Nope; an assessment based on evidence. “Putinbot” on the other hand: now that’s ad hominem. Trolling, even…

  2. Foreign Waka 3

    And it begs the question, who is the winner? As the Russians will tell you, there is a saying: when two parties fight, a third always wins.

  3. blue leopard 4

    Thanks very much for sharing this Grumpy. Thanks to Konstantin too It is very interesting to hear a perspective from outside of the media-bubble that we live in. (O.K, there is the internet)

    I agree with a lot of the points Konstantin makes – especially re Russia being so quickly accused of culpability. I shuddered on hearing Australia’s stance.

    The thing is, when these accusations get thrown so quickly in the West, I just stop believing ‘the line’ altogether because that is all it appears to be ‘a line’.

    I think Konstantin sounds a bit naive about America’s ‘internal policy’. Although, perhaps he is simply trying to be polite/diplomatic?

    I think America is highly compromised by big money and the sooner they sort out their own internal corruption the sooner the rest of the world will be able to breathe more freely.

    p.s what is ‘psakiing’ ?

    “Instead of a proper investigation we are being fed with some «psakiing» like …”

    Is it this?

  4. vto 5

    Good to hear the view from close to the action.

    The US are in the Ukraine.

    The US are in Israel

    The US are in Iraq

    The US are in Afghanistan

    My own sentiments run with the Russians. Putin should steam into the Ukraine and be done with it.

    I mean, what the FUCK are the Americans doing arming and training the Ukrainians?

    Check this out for an expose on far right American attitudes and thinking http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/aug/01/russell-brand-takes-on-sean-hannity-in-gaza-spat (you need to scroll down to the youtube titled “Israel plestine – is this a debate?”

    They are bloody out there …..

    • vto 5.1

      and the follow up round two… Russell Brand does well … Hannity is a goon

      hat-tip to te reo uptake

    • Putin should steam into the Ukraine and be done with it.

      If you’re so keen to see World War 3 kick off, put your money where your mouth is and go join the separatists in Donetsk – I’m sure they could do with additional cannon-fodder.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        Putin is way smarter than that. He’s just being Cool Ivan right now.

        • Tamati 5.2.1.1

          Putin, smart?

          Hardly, he’s an effective operator but a terrible strategist. He has consolidated his power, but systematically isolated Russia on the global arena. I see a number of similarities to George W. Bush actually, nationalist strongman who rattles his sabre to remain in power, yet isolates his country abroad and leaves them in economic ruin.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1

            He has consolidated his power, but systematically isolated Russia on the global arena.

            Not really. The US has been trying to isolate Russia since Russia started to build up to be another world power. The US really doesn’t like others to play in what it considers is its sandbox. Russia has just gone about building up relations with other nations outside of the US Empire.

            And Russia has all those resources – they don’t actually need those connections.

            • Tamati 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Absolutely they are isolated.

              They are suffering and will struggle. The EU will come down firmly with sanctions and will only continue to buy gas as they have no alternative. He’s already been kicked out of the G8 and been forced to sell gas to China for next to nothing. All they need is a slump in gas prices and they’ll be on the brink of bankruptcy.

              This runs through some of the details of the sanctions.

              http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21610322-cost-vladimir-putins-gamble-ukraine-going-up-he-shows-no-sign-changing

              • Draco T Bastard

                You seem to think that isolation from the US is a death sentence – it is not. And nations cannot go bankrupt as long as they control their own currency.

                • Tamati

                  Isolation from the US and Europe is leaving you pretty lonely. The Chinese are happy to do “business” with them, but only on their terms.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    BRICS my friend, BRICS. Further, Europe’s energy ministers know very well which side of their black bread is buttered on.

                    As for the US – as a market its still the world’s largest economy, but now in permanent stagnation/decline.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Hmmm, BRICS. Not exactly famous for their economic and political stability – well, except China, which has Russia over a barrel and getting gas dirt cheap.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      US dollar is slowly slipping as the world’s chosen reserve currency. It’ll take another 10-20 years but its well on the way to becoming strictly optional in world trade.

                    • Tamati

                      Russia will eventually supply energy to China and India, I don’t see them building pipelines to South Africa or Brazil though. The Economist article I cited above basically stated that the EU sanction will hurt Russia through denying technological imports and capital to Russian firms. These are needed to develop further the natural gas industry, and exclusively supplied from Europe and America.

                      Putin has still put his personal popularity ahead of his countries long term interests. He still is a KGB agent at heart.

          • tricledrown 5.2.1.1.2

            Tamati economic ruin what uninformed trash you talk,Russia has got OIL and Natural GaS.
            Europe needs the Natural Gas the rest of the world needs oil so your theory Tamati is being shot to pieces as we speak,
            the longer the gas and oil are left in the ground the more valuable they are.
            Russia is one of the worlds largest arms producers and the arab world are fed up with the exploitation of their resources so the oil money from the middle east will end up in Russias coffers. as the Arab world rearms with oil money.
            So the western developed world will go back into recession as Oil prices go up !
            while Arab countries and Russia keep their Oil in the ground.
            Putin got part of Georgia without much of a bother.
            Now !/2 of Ukraine.
            Russia is a country of great chess players with a very large well armed military of which Putin has risen to the top KGB russian intelligence and you say he stupid that says more about you than Putin .
            The US are not going to be able to open up on another front as they have proven inept at maintaining a longterm conflict.
            As their is no substitute for grunts on the ground The US are stretched beyond their gruntability.

            • Tamati 5.2.1.1.2.1

              Read your own post slowly in your head and see if it makes any sense. Then think what you want to say and write it down slowly and clearly.

  5. Jrobin 6

    Excellent programme now 2 21 RT Crosstalk. Fair and balanced view of the xenophobia of the West towards Russia. The shooting down raises many questions about US involvement through rightist s in Ukraine. Sanctions against Russia an obvious motive for the blame game. This is another example of MSM pro Right wing Western rhetoric Konstantin, they are biased on many things so many are very skeptical about their hegemonic rantings. Containment as in Cold War seems to be being reinstated here. Thanks for your post.

    • Konstantin 6.1

      You are welcome. Frankly, I do not watch RT much because, as pampering as it may be to my views, I think RT was created as an alter ego of Foxnews just to balance the media impact on the Western viewers and, hence, is biased to the same extent. Maybe I am wrong. I have it on cable, I’ll watch some more.

      • the pigman 6.1.1

        Their coverage of the genocide in Gaza has been exceptional (my words, not theirs). Balanced and informative.

        Likewise, I think they were the only news outlet providing daily coverage of the Bradley (Chelsea) Manning trial. So there’s that.

        • Populuxe1 6.1.1.1

          Oh yes, it is actually very good – accurate, impartial – so long as it’s not covering anything in which Russia has an interest, it’s fine.

        • D'Esterre 6.1.1.2

          @ the pigman: “Their coverage of the genocide in Gaza has been exceptional (my words, not theirs). Balanced and informative.”

          And they had a live feed at the Maidan – and were shot at for their pains.

          It’s worth noting that RT and all other Russian media are now banned from broadcasting in the Ukraine. Said ban took effect immediately after the coup. So: democracy isn’t a word that immediately springs to mind in connection with the regime in Kiev.

          • Populuxe1 6.1.1.2.1

            I expect they got tired of the Russian propaganda. Mind you, everyone’s a bit tense immediately following a coup. I’d be inclined to do teh same to Fox. Still, Kiev has had an election since then, so suck it.

  6. Sanctuary 7

    “…Putin is supported by a vast majority of the Russian population because he leads more or less independent policy as opposed to Eltsin’s times when the West basically regarded Russia as a lowly state with non-existent interests…”

    Russia has a population the same size as Indonesia and an economy the same size as Italy. Put another way, the combined GDP of the ANZAC nations will probably pass Russia sometime in the next 15 years, which theoretically would make the Australian/NZ military alliance more powerful than Russia – a remarkable and startling marker of the rise of the Pacific century.

    The only reason anyone pays them any attention is because of all the left over nukes and the energy resources.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      GDP – that’s only electronic numbers. The energy and human resources are on the other hand, pivotal.

    • Konstantin 7.2

      Yeah! The colossus with feet of clay. That’s what the Germans thought in 1941 when Russia had just started to recover from consequences of WWI, the revolution, the civil war and a few years of famine. I wonder what the Russian GDP was at that time… One twentieth of France’s? Next four years forced the Germans to rethink. Having lived in very harsh conditions for several hundred years (which was mostly because of our own faults and mistakes) Russians developed a habit of being pretty resilient. This is intangible and has nothing to do with the GDP. But it counts. BTW, the yanks are still flying to space using Russian rocket engines, so it’s not only nukes and oil, there’s more.

  7. Policy Parrot 8

    The original post is the view of an ardent Russian nationalist, no more, no less.
    I issue this response.

    1. Ukraine is a sovereign nation. Whoever it does its deals with is its own business, it does not need to seek permission from other states to do so, this is the very foundation of Westphalian sovereignty.
      a) – the Belavezha Accords signed in 1991 implied that Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus recognised each other’s sovereignty. When Russians overwhelming voted for Yelstin in 1991 – he campaigned on making Russia ‘sovereign’ – i.e. ‘Republic’ laws would trump those of the ‘Union centre’ – it is difficult in retrospect to see his win as anything but a choice for Russian independence, over continuation within the Soviet Union.
      b) – The Budapest agreements in 1994 in which Ukraine handed all Soviet nuclear weapons based in Ukraine to Russia in return for Russian recognition of Ukraininan territorial intergrity.
      c) There is no need to be naive, all large states, including Russia, interfere in the affairs of other states, where their interests may be affected.
      d) The Maidan was indeed mob-rule, conducted a change of government outside of the legal processes, and has some rather unsavoury elements – however you cannot legitimately argue that such a movement was the creation of Western agitation – this would happened sooner or later.
    2. At the most sympathetic to the OP- Crimea is an accident of history – there are many others throughout the world – but they need to resolved peacefully and lawfully, not through force or gangsterism. I agree with the OP regarding the border comment.
    3. Putin is just a politician – like all the others. He has simply been in the right place, at the right time – to come into uncontested power, and is making a point of things staying that way – through a mix of nationalism, populism, and undermining those he sees as a legitimate threat – e.g. Sergei Udaltsov, Mikhail Khodorkovsky etc. He represents a reversion to the archetypical Russian tyrant – and the historical leader he most resembles is Stalin (obviously without the mass murder) – i.e. Stalin was the regime consolidator, not the revolutionary leader (Lenin/Yeltsin) or chief ideologue (Trotsky/Gaidar)
    4. Russia provided the anti-Kiev rebels with the capacity to shoot down high-flying aircraft. Kiev – whilst possessing these weapons, would only use these in the event of an overt Russian air incursion – something that neither Russia or Ukraine has claimed occurred; and the rebels have no aircraft. Rebel commanders shot down a Ukraininan military transport three days earlier – in the same region – and the MH-17 was originally triumphantly claimed to be another. It was a case of mistaken identity – and MH-17 are the collateral damage – something that occured only because Putin backed gangsterism in eastern Ukraine – while it is not his fault – but it is something that happened on his watch – so he needs to take responsibility.
    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Three points:

      1) Ukraine ceased to exist as a sovereign country when an unconstitutional coup occurred and the legitimate and democratically elected government of the country was ousted, apparently with very significant foreign support. I understand your point that a change in government may have happened sooner or later, one way or another, but this is in fact the way it did happen i.e. another US agitated coup d’etat.

      2) The country is now in a civil war. Kiev is using heavy munitions and airstrikes on eastern Ukrainian cities. This only reduces the legitimacy of the Kiev regime.

      3) Kiev forces also operates lots of BUK batteries. No one has established if the rebels were the ones who fired one, whether they had taken one over from the Ukranian forces or whether Russia had supplied them with one.

      b) – The Budapest agreements in 1994 in which Ukraine handed all Soviet nuclear weapons based in Ukraine to Russia in return for Russian recognition of Ukraininan territorial intergrity.

      Irrelevant once NATO decided to ignore its 1990s commitments not to move one inch east towards Russia.

      • Shrubbery 8.1.1

        1) A country is still a sovereign country even when a coup has deposed its government. If New Zealand somehow had a coup, that would not give Australia the right to invade and annex us.

        2) What the fuck are Ukraine supposed to do? Sit there and watch as Russia uses proxies to annex the country?

        Regarding the OP, I very much doubt 98% of the population supported Russia annexing Crimea. The Crimean Tartars and Ukrainians living there would be insane to support that. And no, referenda run by Russia don’t count (because, as it were, they didn’t bother to count). Also, “All-Russian history” takes a rather short term view of the peninsula.

        • Travellerev 8.1.1.1

          So why where 10 NATO and soon to be NATO Countries training for illegal regime change in an exercise called Southern Katipo last November on the South Island?

          • Populuxe1 8.1.1.1.1

            There is a difference between a popular revolution and a military or foreign-backed coup.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.2

          1) A country is still a sovereign country even when a coup has deposed its government. If New Zealand somehow had a coup, that would not give Australia the right to invade and annex us.

          Sure it would. If the coup leaders were not much more than a puppet front for say, the Russians. And were going to build Sydney pointing missile bases in Taranaki.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.3

          I very much doubt 98% of the population supported Russia annexing Crimea.

          It wasn’t, it was 98% of Crimea and that falls well within the international laws regarding self-determination and the redrawing of borders.

          And no, referenda run by Russia don’t count (because, as it were, they didn’t bother to count).

          AFAIK, Russia didn’t run the referenda – Crimea did.

          Also, do you apply the same standards when the US runs referenda in other countries?

          • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.3.1

            AFAIK, Russia didn’t run the referenda – Crimea did.

            Hopefully, one day you’ll get to experience the joy of being a minority in a region in which the majority is conducting a referendum actively opposing your interests, and your participation in said referendum depends on how you feel about asserting your rights against heavily-armed special forces troops and lightly-armed but heavily-bigoted ethnic-majority militias.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.3.1.1

              Hopefully, one day you’ll actually make sense. The only people who complained about the referendum conducted in The Crimea was the US and it’s sycophants.

              • joe90

                Nah.

                Refat Chubarov: We have not only appealed to the Crimean Tatars, but also to various other ethnic groups and denominations in Crimea. We’ve called on them to actively boycott the referendum, not to take part in the voting, because the referendum is illegal. It is against current Ukrainian law. It is being carried out even as foreign troops have occupied the whole of Crimea. People are in a state of fear about their future – and their present.

                http://www.dw.de/tatar-leader-referendums-results-predetermined/a-17500078

                • Draco T Bastard

                  It is against current Ukrainian law.

                  When a people decide to secede from a nation that nations laws no longer apply – international law does and international law allows for and protects self-determination.

                  It is being carried out even as foreign troops have occupied the whole of Crimea.

                  That was true but the Russian troops didn’t interfere with the referenda or even instigate it.

                  • Populuxe1

                    When a people decide to secede from a nation that nations laws no longer apply – international law does and international law allows for and protects self-determination.

                    So you concede that the popular coup and throwing out of the Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych and his government and the emergancy government that replaced it are totally legitimage as an artifact of self-determination?

    • Konstantin 8.2

      Ardent nationalist? Pretty flattering. Anyway, I am referring to paragraph 4 of your ardent post. I have to admit, your statement is dead on balls solid. Except for a minor thing that still bugs me: the “We’ll have a surprise for you” comment that slipped out of Poroshenko’s tongue some time before the Malaysian airliner was shot down. I mean, imagine that the yankees promised you all kinds of support like they did to the Georgians in 2008. They are good at promises, we know. Imagine also that the whole world KNOWS that the only guys that shoot down everything that flies in that area are separatists, no doubt about that. Would you be tempted if you were a newly “elected” president of an “independent” country?

  8. adam 9

    So can he tell me if the Anarchist Alexander “Tundra” Kolchenko, who were arrested by the Russians during the invasion/annexation of Crimea will be released. What about the film maker Oleg Sentsov, social activist Gennady Afanasyev and Alexey Chirny who were also arrested. Crimea may have been bloodless, but loads of people had disappeared. “Tunddra” was on his cell phone, when he was arrested, thank goodness – Because he filmed it and got it to friends in England. The others have a high profile, and it would look bad if they disappeared.

    If it was so squeaky clean as you suggest, why arrest so many people? Why target activist? Why target film makers?

  9. aj 11

    Luboš Motl is a Czech theoretical physicist by training who was an assistant professor at Harvard University from 2004 to 2007. His scientific publications are focused on string theory. He also has a very interesting Blog called The Reference Frame where he ponders theoretical physics, politics, and a few other things.
    He has a interesting take on current affairs in Ukraine, Russia, and global affairs. His views on many matters would be regarded as right-wing but he has a rational and pragmatic approach to geopolitics.
    The comments threads on his blog are also interesting and he often cuts down some of the views with withering responses.
    The following link takes you to his most recent blogs on the subject of Ukraine, and the 2nd page of links have some very interesting points relating to the current and historical problems in the region.

    http://motls.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/brainwashed-sheeps-obsession-with.html#uds-search-results

    I’m not sure if I caught this link on the Standard or somewhere else, but I think this video clip should be required viewing for all parties involved one way or the other in the Ukraine. he BBC’s WW1 Battle Rap.

    Finally, for a taste of his comments, slightly long-winded, sorry.

    maznak
    “The world is not this simple”. I am sorry Lumo but from reading your posts, the world seems to be very simple for you: Russia/Putin good, West bad. If anything, in a country with such a vertical power structure as Russia, Putin could have stopped the flow of sopthisticated, high power weaponry and guerillas across the border. The whole thing could have been resolved long time ago.

    Luboš Motl > maznak
    Dear Mazňáku, it is remarkable how much twisted thinking and self-evident lies you are able to compress to a text that combines to three lines on my screen. It looks like you have not only been brainwashed by some totally indefensible propaganda but it seems that the temptation to “elaborate” upon this crap is irresistible for you.

    First of all, every single text I write about Ukraine very clearly contradicts what you try to attribute me – I write that Russia and the Russian politicians including Putin are the same kind of people and are doing the same thing that others are doing, or at least others would be doing (and indeed, have been doing) in an analogous situation. In particular, I always emphasize that the Russians and the Ukrainians are effectively the very same East Slavic ethnic group and it is absolutely preposterous to imagine that one of these nations is “good” and the other is “bad”. They are really the same which is why it is idiotic and patently dangerous to build an iron curtain on the Ukrainian-Russian border. If something, Russia has a more working capitalist economy than Ukraine these days, and is naturally more similar to the West. The Ukrainian and Russian nations may have diverged in some respects and be pushed into different roles and situations but their proximity is still primary and they don’t really benefit from the attempts to make them divided and fight each other, do they? Many of these attempts are being actively pushed from abroad.

    I don’t believe that my texts about these basic matters leave any room whatever for brutal misinterpretations like yours. One must be either almost completely illiterate, total moron, or a hardcore dishonest demagogue to say that I have a simple picture of the world where Putin/Russia is good and the West is bad. I am saying that they’re effectively on the same level – and if you want to steal the word “West” for likes of you who just hate Russia,I would love to emphasize that you are not the West. You are at most a primitive xenophobic South. We are disagreeing about the values that the West stands for and you are definitely not “more Western” than I am – quite the contrary.

    Second of all, the vertical power structure. It’s just unbelievable why 1) you choose to describe Russia in this way, how 2) you are dreaming about such an organization of the society by yourself. Concerning the first subpoint, Russia is a democracy of a sort and isn’t any more authoritarian than any average country including Ukraine or other countries and would-be countries that individuals like you routinely lick asses from. Moreover, this conflict has nothing to do with having vertical or horizontal power structures so this reference you make is clearly meant to hurt the image by another uncalled-for propagandist shot. Third,. you say that “Putin could have done something because he enjoys the vertical power structure”. Clearly, he doesn’t enjoy enough of this direct power if he doesn’t do what you demand he should do. You may love if the power structure in Russia were so simple that the “only right opinion” (yours) has the right to control all of society but Russia is much more democratic and complicated in its structure of power than your openly admitted ideas how an ideal society should work.

    Third, the flow of weaponry. One reason why this comment of your is pathetic is that there is clearly no empirical reason to think that the flow of weaponry from Russia is significant and decisive. The anti-Kiev forces have managed to grab many if not most of their weapons from their own sources, or took it from Kiev as a “theft” or from deserters. The second dimension why this comment of yours is totally sick is that Russia clearly has the natural moral right to arm its fellow ethnic Russians who are being ethnically cleansed or at least violently pushed towards obedience. Every good enough leader of a nation should do the same for the nation he is supposed to lead. The fact that Zaorálek shits on the Volhynian Czechs who requested to return to their ancestors’ homeland and who are being harassed by the nationalist terror in the present Ukraine means that Zaorálek is a piece of trash who prefers to lick the asses of the powerful over helping someone whom he would be obliged to help if he had any morality.

    Fourth, much more generally, there is this question why Putin should be doing anything that individuals like you would like him to do. Putin isn’t your leader. He isn’t a leader of fascist propaganda brainwashed parts of random European nations doing their best to dissolve in the stinky cesspool of a new Soviet-like Union with its new group think, demands on uniformity, and witch hunts (like the witch hunt on Putin and everyone who dares to say that he is just a politician who sensibly reacts to the situations facing him) – I mean the picture of the European Union that you undoubtedly support. Putin was elected by Russians and his primary goal is to pursue policies that are good from the Russian citizens’ viewpoint. What a shock. Every other nation is really doing the same thing except that a large fractions of some other nations love to be hypocritical about that.

    Fifth, you say that “things could have been resolved a long time ago”. What you omitted is that when it comes to the “basic questions”, things have already been resolved by the end of 2013 or much earlier. Ukraine was living within a basically peaceful and democratic system, on its way to stabilization, surely a complicated process that wasn’t done optimally, but one that didn’t face any “major” or “existential” hurdles. The very point of people like you was to take this “resolved” situation in which the main conflicts had been resolved, “undo” the situation, help to overthrow a legitimately elected government, and send Ukraine towards the self-evidently inevitable civil war of one kind or another. Perhaps your “final solution” that you want to achieve is one in which the ethnic Russians on the Ukrainian territory don’t exist at all (extermination or expulsion) or are made completely inconsequential and every citizen of Ukraine is obliged to wave the EU flags behind their windows. But you are a hardcore imbecile if you really can’t understand that this “final solution” isn’t something that Putin wants you to help to achieve. I find it more unacceptable than Putin does!

    If one wants to resolve the situation in Ukraine, it is totally obvious that the different sides of the conflict have to negotiate again and restore the democratic order where no major group is treated as criminals just because they politically disagree with another one – or because they consider a coup to be illegitimate. I am confident that it is fair to say that Putin, Lavrov, and others are working rather hard to achieve a resolution – which effectively means the return to the pre-Maidan order. There is really no “completely different” democracy than one that Ukraine has tried. The system in which tens of millions of people who feel naturally close to the Russian Federation don’t have the right to influence the poiltics of their country isn’t called democracy, it never has been, and it never will be. Putin knows these ABC of democracy very well. He knows that to resolve the situation, one has to undo all the changes to the society that the Maidan revolution brought. It’s others, like you, who are preventing the resolution, because you don’t intrinsically like the democratic order where people may have different ethnicities and different political preferences. You prefer a regime led by angry mobs that are the best ones because they are capable of staging violent coups. You prefer a system where everyone who disagrees with the “only right opinion” is being intimidated, harassed, perhaps violently, or at least character assassinated. You prefer a vertical power structure where the self-evident and indisputable opinions of the “class of citizens who hold the only right opinions” are flawlessly enforced across the whole society and the whole world. You have made this point very clear many times. Russia doesn’t really work like that which is why I consider average Russians to be more democratic and, in general, better people than the below-the-average people in the West like you.
    Note that I in no way say that Russians are good and Westerners are bad. I am saying that on both sides, and almost everywhere, there are people who are OK and there are people who just suck. You happen to belong to the latter category.

  10. Harry Holland 12

    So I guess what we learn from this is that blinkered views from the Russian right are no more enlightening than blinkered views from the American right – what a surprise.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Putin represents mainstream Russia, not the Russian corporate right wing.

      • Shrubbery 12.1.1

        The Russian corporate right wing control an awful lot of mainstream Russia though.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Can’t deny that. Perversely, the West appears to have helped to increase Putin’s sway over them by attacking the Russian corporate oligarchs, and demonstrating that the USA/EU cannot be trusted to follow through on business deals.

          • Populuxe1 12.1.1.1.1

            Are you high? You have sympathy for oligarchs?

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Just saying that the West has inadvertently helped Putin make his point to the oligarchs. The West can’t be trusted to follow through on business deals.

              • Populuxe1

                False dichotomy. They can be trusted to follow through on business deals as much as Putin can. It is not in their interests to lose the trust of their clients because western business people like money – hence the west has been very slow to impose sanctions on Russia, though Putin himself usually has no such qualms.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Not “the west” that has been slow to impose sanctions. The EU has been – despite US encouragement to go further faster. Because the EU actually regard Russia as an important long term economic partner.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Because the EU actually regard Russia as an important long term economic partner.

                    That’s a rather curious euphemism for “held hostage by their reliance on Russian gas in the bleak European winter.”

                    • Colonial Viper

                      True though, ain’t it. And Russia ain’t some tin pot African or ME country they can use their cook book methods to push around either.

                    • Populuxe1

                      So basically power is the ultimate aphrodisiac and you are masturbating.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      from the comments coming out of NATO I think that Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Grumman shareholders are the ones getting all the pleasure.

                    • Populuxe1

                      We know they’re wanking, but they’re relatively vanilla compared with your preferences

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yeah, right 😎

          • D'Esterre 12.1.1.1.2

            @ Colonial Viper: “Perversely, the West appears to have helped to increase Putin’s sway over them by attacking the Russian corporate oligarchs”

            Putin’s project since he first came to power has been to neuter the oligarchy which was allowed to develop during Yeltsin’s tenure. He’s certainly been successful in that enterprise: the oligarchs have been hauled into line, and reminded that they’re not above the law.

            @ Shrubbery: “The Russian corporate right wing control an awful lot of mainstream Russia though.”

            True; but then the American corporate right wing controls most of mainstream USA. I doubt that Russians would prefer Bolshevik expropriations; neither would Americans, were such a thing to happen in that polity.

      • Psycho Milt 12.1.2

        Putin represents mainstream Russia…

        You seem to have an extremely low opinion of ordinary Russians…

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          Or maybe it’s you?

          Putin popularity soars to record while US/EU leadership languishes: Gallup

          WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Vladimir Putin’s popularity in Russia is now at its highest level in years, likely propelled by a groundswell of national pride with the annexation of Crimea in March on the heels of the Sochi Olympic Games in February. The 83% of Russians saying they approve of Putin’s leadership in late April/early June ties his previous high rating in 2008 when he left office the first time.

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/173597/russian-approval-putin-soars-highest-level-years.aspx

          • Psycho Milt 12.1.2.1.1

            Right-wing authoritarian nationalists often are very popular. They haven’t been popular in Europe since the 1940s, but Russia isn’t in Europe – and apparently they have a fan right here in NZ.

            • Populuxe1 12.1.2.1.1.1

              I’m glad CV has found an authoritarian homophobic crony capitalist he can really love. It warms the cockles of my heart, so it does.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey guys, blame Gallup, not me, lulz.

              • tricledrown

                Putin would make an Ideal Republican president of the US then Populaxative

                • Populuxe1

                  American presidents, for all their faults, have a few more constitutional hoops to jump through than does Pootie. I suspect it would cramp his style.

          • Tamati 12.1.2.1.2

            Reminds me of Bush post 9/11 and after the invasion of Iraq. Let’s wait and see how Mr. Putin is thought of in five years from now.

    • Konstantin 12.2

      You are a 100% correct, Harry. Could you share with us your unblinkered view, please.

  11. Wayne 13

    I posted on this issue in the Pundit.

    One of the consequences of the break up of the Soviet Union is the problems that arise from where people live. The decisions made by people as to where they would live when the USSR existed are not the same they would have made if each of the republics had been independent throughout the twentieth century. Probably the world is lucky that the region has not turned out as bad as the Balkans did in the 1990’s.

    So a civil war in east Ukraine is not surprising. And I also suggest that by and large the West saw the basic justice of Crimea being part of Russia. The sanctions imposed back then were only intended to symbolic.

    I am of the view that key leaders in the West could do more with Putin to settle the situation in the East, for instance Hollande and Merkel. Otherwise we will get a mini-Cold War with Russia being pretty isolated. And that would be dumb. There are too many issues where Russian co-operation is needed, for instance the Iran nuclear talks.

    As for the theories that Ukraine downed MH17, well that will only be preferred by those who hate the US. There actually is a lot of evidence pointing to the separatists, though they clearly thought they were shooting down a Ukrainian military transport.

  12. D'Esterre 14

    @ Wayne: “As for the theories that Ukraine downed MH17, well that will only be preferred by those who hate the US.” This assertion makes you sound like George W Bush. Don’t conflate critique with hostility, as he was given to doing.

    “There actually is a lot of evidence pointing to the separatists, though they clearly thought they were shooting down a Ukrainian military transport.” What evidence is this? Please produce something of substance, not social media gossip and wild theorising.

    I note that the US itself has said that there is no evidence of Russian involvement, and that it cannot be certain who shot down the aircraft. Taking Occam and his trusty Razor to the issue, it seems much more likely that the Ukrainian army was responsible. It has form for mistakes like this.

    Have a look at this piece by William Parry. Remember him?

    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/22/the-mystery-of-a-ukrainian-army-defector/

  13. Sable 15

    I spend a lot of my time on RT News following the Ukraine situation and these comments sound more or less on the money. The US wanted to deprive Russia of its only warm water port in the Crimea and cut off its ability to pipe gas to Europe in the hope of forcing Europeans to pay three times as much for imported US gas. A hoped for added benefit was a proxy war in the Ukraine as a justification for NATO sneaking into the country.

    As it stands its mostly backfired. Russia is selling gas to China has a economic pact with India and China which shuts out the US dollar. I see too that both China and Russia are effectively minimizing US business in other ways too. China has dumped Windows 8, have suggested Chinese banks don’t use US IT gear (which means they wont as most are state owned) and US consulting companies are getting the boot. I see Russia is joining in too. No GM food, legal action against McDonalds, etc….

    Whats worrying for NZ is Keys is keen to have us get into bed with the defunct USA. A country the IMF said recently was in as bad a way economically as it was during the Great Depression….
    We should be looking to China not the USA for our economic future…

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      We should be looking to China not the USA for our economic future…

      Sorta. Actually NZ needs to be doing a careful balancing act of co-operation between USA, China, South East Asia and South America.

      Throwing us all in with a declining and increasingly irrational global imperial power (USA) is not a great move for NZ’s future.

  14. JonL 16

    As Dr Paul Craig Roberts says:-

    “I am concerned about the crisis that Washington has orchestrated, because I believe it is leading to war, which will be nuclear. Are you ready to be destroyed over Washington’s lies about one Malaysian airliner? I am convinced that Washington is behind the destruction of MH-17, because Washington’s propaganda show was already ready and was instantly in performance. That Washington is responsible is the reason that Washington will not release its satellite photos of the area during the moment of the airliner’s destruction. That Washington is responsible is the reason that Washington replies to Russian hard evidence with lies and propaganda.
    …….The propagandized people in the West have no idea of the fate toward which their demented governments are driving them. Russia needs to make it clear to the brainwashed propagandized peoples in the West that Russia is not going to be a puppet state of the West or to accept gratuitous aggression from the White House Fool.
    It would help to save life on Earth if China also made this clear.
    The sooner the better.
    Unless the world reins in the demented criminals in Washington, the world has signed its own death warrant.”

    Which is, perhaps, an extreme view, but one that is being taken up more and more by intelligent, reasoned commentators of the world situation.

  15. Cantabrian 17

    I mostly agree with you Wayne – and I am usually much further left than you on most issues. However the problem is not Russia – it is Putin and his circle. Pressure the Ukrainians to agree on federalisation and the continuation of Russian as an official language in the east and Odessa. This would defuse the separatist agenda. The West failed Russia with its neo-liberal policies in the 1990s and much goodwill has been lost. This will take time to heal but I agree with sanctions. I would advise Russia-watchers to read Alexander Litvinenko’s “Blowing Up Russia’ if you want to know how the present regime operates.

    • Konstantin 17.1

      Please let me comment on the sanctions issue. I can’t explain and you wouldn’t understand if I could that Russia is not Iran. It’s not Libya or Syria, either. We, the Russians, consider sanctions as a workout in the gym for us. They just add some adrenalin. We also regard sanctions as another instance of poking the sleeping bear – Russia. The question is what the West is doing that for? Yes, we can wake up and respond with all our might and, as it is peculiar to the Russians, slightly off target. Does the West need that? I am not sure. BTW, referring to Litvinenko – when do you think the independent British court which is definitely not operated by the “awful Putin’s regime that treat LGBT so improperly” finally discloses all the details about how he was killed? And do we have to wait another ten years until the meticulous Brits who are currently deciphering the black boxes disclose the talks between the Ukrainian flight dispatchers and the Malaysian pilots?

  16. Poission 18

    Ukrainian soldiers retreat into Russia for R&R citing stress (and a absence of ammunition)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28652096

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    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 hours ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 hours ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 hours ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 hours ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    8 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    8 hours ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    14 hours ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    18 hours ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    20 hours ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    20 hours ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    21 hours ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 day ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 day ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 day ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 day ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    2 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    2 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    3 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    3 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    3 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    3 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    4 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
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    6 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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    6 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    7 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
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    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
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    1 week ago