Put It On The Credit Card, America Russia!


The word “irony” is so poor and lacking when it comes to this story that I have first seen on the Russian news sites and, I will admit it, did not trust – Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported: 

 

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s permanent mission to the UN has received a letter from U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain asking for financial support of his election campaign, the mission said in a statement on Monday.

“We have received a letter from Senator John McCain with a request for a financial donation to his presidential election campaign. In this respect we have to reiterate that neither Russia’s permanent mission to the UN nor the Russian government or its officials finance political activities in foreign countries,” the statement said.

According to Ruslan Bakhtin, press secretary of the Russian mission, the letter dated September 29 and signed by McCain, was addressed to Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN, and arrived on October 16.

Strange? You ask. Why would McCain, the same guy who supported Georgia in the recent confrontation against Russia without any reservations concerning who was responsible for what, ask the hated KGB-run evil empire for money? 

Politico’s Ben Smith now confirms the story: Continue reading

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To Sarah Palin Lovers: Be Glad He Did Not Ask About “The Monroe Doctrine”


Everyone and their mother have expressed their opinions on the Palin interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson – everything from admiration and cautious support to outright glee at her stumbling around and showing how shallow her knowledge of… well, anything is. The part that seemed to bother some conservatives and gladden some liberals was the one about the Bush Doctrine – whether it was a fair question to ask or not, you decide, but I would like to point out that lovers of Palin should be glad Gibson was not asking about the Monroe Doctrine vis-a-vis the situation in Georgia – I bet my life she wouldn’t have been able to wiggle her way out of that one:

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Monroe doctrine and how do you think it’s relevant in our interpretation of the Russia-Georgia conflict?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Monroe — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: Her worldview? Continue reading

Palin To “Perhaps” Invade Russia (Good Thing It’s So Close To Alaska)


My prediction – Russia will “perhaps” be really entertained by this comment from really a nobody as far as they are concerned. Most sane people already concluded that, despite Russia’s willingness to invade and occupy, Georgia started the recent conflict, even if blaming it on the Russian provocation – that’s the point, silly, a large powerful nation can provoke as much as it wants, not very nice but still, you don’t go to war with it without either confirming that you are crazy or, which is more logical, having some unspoken support from your masters – and let’s be clear here, with all due respect but Georgia is a client-state of the US. Now Palin claims in the about-to-come-out interview with Barbara Walters Charlie Gibson:

GIBSON: Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?

PALIN: Ukraine, definitely, yes. Yes, and Georgia.

GIBSON: Because Putin has said he would not tolerate NATO incursion into the Caucasus.

PALIN: Well, you know, the Rose Revolution, the Orange Revolution, those actions have showed us that those democratic nations, I believe, deserve to be in NATO. Continue reading

Sarah (Van) Palin Obsession


As I am told, Palin is pronounced the same way as Halen in “Van Halen” – probably not a very good association for this conservative VP candidate – as everyone and their mother are talking about her, I cannot stop thinking about this particular choice. Clearly, I don’t have the grasp of politics that would allow me to launch into a detailed analysis of what this selection means for the upcoming election.  What surprised me the most was an orchestrated campaign to praise this choice by right-wing circuit: I mean I realize that most of the things said about her are going to be partisan, but the whole thing leaves even the most cynical part of me wondering about the present political discourse and its crushing ability to talk up or talk down basically anybody.  In a sense, this move by McCain shows that whoever told him to do this, knew that it is all about likability of the person, not about the political credentials – I know I’ve been reading about how people vote with the gut, not their head, but this is becoming a bit ridiculous… I mean watch this, for example, – really? Do Republicans really think that people are complete morons? Continue reading

Medvedev in Financial Times (English/Russian)


Why I had to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions

By Dmitry Medvedev

Published: August 26 2008

On Tuesday Russia recognised the independence of the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It was not a step taken lightly, or without full consideration of the consequences. But all possible outcomes had to be weighed against a sober understanding of the situation – the histories of the Abkhaz and Ossetian peoples, their freely expressed desire for independence, the tragic events of the past weeks and inter national precedents for such a move.

Not all of the world’s nations have their own statehood. Many exist happily within boundaries shared with other nations. The Russian Federation is an example of largely harmonious coexistence by many dozens of nations and nationalities. But some nations find it impossible to live under the tutelage of another. Relations between nations living “under one roof” need to be handled with the utmost sensitivity. To continue reading, go here.

Почему я был вынужден признать области, отделившиеся от Грузии 

Дмитрий Медведев (Reference: Inopressa)

Во вторник Россия признала независимость территорий Южная Осетия и Абхазия. Этот шаг не был предпринят с легкостью, без всестороннего анализа возможных последствий. Но все варианты исхода событий пришлось соизмерять с трезвым пониманием ситуации – с историей абхазского и осетинского народов, самостоятельно выражаемым ими стремлением к независимости, трагическими событиями минувших недель и прецедентами, созданными для такого шага в мире.   

Не все народы планеты имеют собственные национальные государства. Многие благополучно живут на территориях, которые делят с другими народами. Российская Федерация – образец преимущественно гармоничного существования многих десятков народов и народностей. Но некоторые народы находят невозможной жизнь под опекой другого народа. Отношения между народами, живущими “под одним кровом”, необходимо регулировать с крайней деликатностью. Continue reading

Somebody Should Do Something About It.


UPDATE: A nice piece in Guardian that sort of confirms my initial reaction to the matter: 

Once such conflicts could be quarantined by the United Nations’ requirement to respect national sovereignty. That has been shot to pieces by the liberal interventionism of George Bush and Tony Blair. The result has reinvigorated separatist movements across the world. Small-statism is not an evil in itself: witness its quadrennial festival at the Olympics. But the process of achieving it is usually bitter and bloody.

The west’s eagerness to intervene in favour of partition, manifest in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Sudan, is more than meddling. It encouraged every oppressed people and province on earth to be “the mouse that roared”, to think it could ensnare a great power in its cause.

______________________

These are today’s words of Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, as many already know. I really have had little to say about this conflict and, as a Russian who knows very little about the situation there at this point, it is silly of me to pronounce any kind of judgment.  However, I have been following the development of the situation there just as anyone would and it strikes me as a strange position by Georgia, a very small country: Russia has invaded us, somebody should do something about it.  Of course, there’s a rather amusing exchange of rhetoric between Moscow and Tbilisi – Russians are calling Saakashvili a new Saddam, Georgians compare the situation with that in 1930s and the rising Nazi Germany.  I am sure people will write long essays analyzing this rhetoric and studying the history of the conflict (because knowing that a nation A was unhappy about nation B for a long time usually solves the issue, right?) My point of entry here is precisely this way of putting the present task: somebody should do something about it. Continue reading

Russian Aesthetics Under Capitalism (Rethinking Marxism Symposium)


UPDATE: For those interested in the discussed issues, good sources (in Russian) are Moscow Art Magazine and Scepsis (Скепсис), the former journal has a Russian (original) version of Sofronov’s essay Why I Am a Marxist.

New Rethinking Marxism ( Volume 20:3, July 2008 ) has a symposium dedicated to a discussion of contemporary Russian Marxism and aesthetics – the theme itself is worth attention, since after the end of the Cold War the assumption is that Russia abandoned itself dark Marxist past and rushed into a new bright capitalist future – see excellent essay by Vladislav Safronov Why I Am a Marxist in the same issue (356-366). The participants are listed below: Continue reading