in fact, snowden’s question to putin and putin’s answer to it do seem “scripted”, and not just to imperialist hacks at faux news or the wapo
Media Humiliates Itself: WAPO Gives Platform to Shameless Anti-Snowden Smears
Jesselyn Radack, Daily Kos, Apr 18 2014
Less than a week after Edward Snowden was an MSM darling, as the Graun and WaPo secured the Pulitzer Prize, the media proves itself rapidly willing to revert to rabidly trashing the whistleblower whose revelations made their Pulitzer Prize for Public Service possible. WaPo, in addition to running a story about Putin with Snowden’s picture, implying completely incorrectly and without evidence that the two are in cahoots, gives commentator Steven Stromberg a platform to resurrect the long-disproven “Russian spy” narrative, while attempting to tarnish Snowden with a tired list of negative personality traits like “contemptible” and lacking “a shred of dignity.” If only commentators were as skeptical of the US government officials who lied to the US about surveillance, torture and the “evidence” for wars, lies the media eagerly reprinted. No matter how often named and “anonymous” government officials mislead the public, the media is always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But Snowden, who has told only the truth in the past 10 months, receives no benefit of the doubt and instead gets the scrutiny that should be aimed at our elected officials. What did Snowden do to unleash these latest personal attacks? After being damned by critics for not questioning the Russian government more, Snowden asked Putin a question, the same question that Senator Ron Wyden asked DNI Clapper, who lied. Instead of reading an uninformed commentator, hear it from Snowden himself, who eloquently explained in the Graun, which deserves credit for running the piece:
But to me, the rare opportunity to lift a taboo on discussion of state surveillance before an audience that primarily views state media outweighed that risk. Moreover, I hoped that Putin’s answer, whatever it was, would provide opportunities for serious journalists and civil society to push the discussion further … I blew the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance practices not because I believed that the US was uniquely at fault, but because I believe that mass surveillance of innocents, the construction of enormous, state-run surveillance time machines that can turn back the clock on the most intimate details of our lives, is a threat to all people, everywhere, no matter who runs them. Last year, I risked family, life, and freedom to help initiate a global debate that even Obama himself conceded “will make our nation stronger.” I am no more willing to trade my principles for privilege today than I was then. I understand the concerns of critics, but there is a more obvious explanation for my question than a secret desire to defend the kind of policies I sacrificed a comfortable life to challenge: if we are to test the truth of officials’ claims, we must first give them an opportunity to make those claims.
The fact that Snowden even had to explain himself for asking a question that mirrored the one Senators and journalists appropriately posed to the US officials demonstrates just how quick the media is to condemn the whistleblower even when, as Snowden accurately points out:
In fact, Putin’s response was remarkably similar to Obama’s initial, sweeping denials of the scope of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, before that position was later shown to be both untrue and indefensible.
The media should be focused on Putin’s answer, not the question, and certainly not who asked it. But given the speed with which the media picks up on rumors about a whistleblower, let’s get one thing straight: Snowden is in Russia because the US government stranded him there by revoking his passport while he was en route to Latin America. Snowden has been forced to seek asylum because the US is seeking to persecute him, giving the press the ability to report on the NSA’s ineffective and invasive mass surveillance operations. I’ve explained in detail why he would not get a fair trial in the US. Criticism about Snowden’s location should be aimed at at the responsible party: the US government, which created an atomosphere where a whistleblower could not safely reveal government waste, fraud, abuse and illegality without leaving the country. The facts about Snowden haven’t changed since he first went public in June. Meanwhile, with an informed press and public thanks to Snowden, the US government’s answers about surveillance are ever-changing. Clapper has admitted to “being the least untruthful” he could be, Obama has called for a end to the bulk metadata collection, but hasn’t ended it yet, and a federal judge has held that the program that government officials insisted was “legal” is in fact “likely unconstitutional.” Such commitment on Snowden’s part should earn him credibility, or at least as much as the US officials who in contrast to Snowden have proven themselves willing to mislead the public.
NATO’s action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove
John Pilger, Graun, Apr 17 2014
I watched Dr Strangelove the other day. I have seen it perhaps a dozen times; it makes sense of senseless news. When Major TJ “King” Kong goes “toe to toe with the Rooskies” and flies his rogue B52 nuclear bomber to a target in Russia, it’s left to General “Buck” Turgidson to reassure the president. Strike first, says the general, and “you got no more than 10-20 million killed, tops.” President Merkin Muffley: “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler.” General Turgidson: “Perhaps it might be better, Mr President, if you were more concerned with the US people than with your image in the history books.” The genius of Stanley Kubrick’s film is that it accurately represents the cold war’s lunacy and dangers (but of course, John: Kubrick was the official Jewish liberal film-maker of his day – RB). Most of the characters are based on real people and real maniacs (really? then why not identify them? Strangelove himself is Herman Kahn. Does that help? – RB). There is no equivalent to Strangelove today (he means, to the film, not to the people – RB) because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same. The nuclear clock has remained at five minutes to midnight; the same false flags are hoisted above the same targets by the same “invisible government”, as Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations, described modern propaganda. In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, “the missile gap” was the false flag. To build more and bigger nuclear weapons and pursue an undeclared policy of domination, JFK approved the CIA’s propaganda that the Soviet Union was well ahead of the US in the production of ICBMs. This filled front pages as the “Russian threat.” In fact, the US were so far ahead in production of the missiles, the Russians never approached them. The cold war was based largely on this lie.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its NATO enlargement project. Reneging on the Reagan administration’s promise to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO would not expand “one inch to the east”, NATO has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, NATO’s military build-up is the most extensive since WW2. In February, the US mounted one of its proxy “colour” coups against the elected government of Ukraine; the shock troops were fascists. For the first time since 1945, a pro-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party (There are Jews in the coup leadership, Pilger, why don’t you mention that? sometimes your primary mission seems to be to maintain WW2-era propaganda myths about anti-Semitism – RB) controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism on the border of Russia. Some 30 million Russians died in the invasion of their country by Hitler’s Nazis, who were supported by the infamous Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which was responsible for numerous Jewish and Polish massacres. The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, of which the UPA was the military wing, inspires today’s Svoboda party.
Since Washington’s putsch in Kiev and Moscow’s inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet, the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the “Russian threat.” This is fossilised propaganda. The USAF general who runs NATO forces in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, the SACEUR, no less, claimed more than 2 weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops “massing” on the border with Ukraine. So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures proving there were WMDs in Iraq. What is certain is that Obama’s rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Putin is being lured into a trap (well, in the upshot, Putin actually indicated that as long as they left Crimea in Russian hands, the Nazis could do what they wished throughout the rest of Ukraine – RB). Following a 13-year rampage that began in stricken Afghanistan well after Osama bin Laden had fled, then destroyed Iraq beneath a false flag, invented a “nuclear rogue” in Iran, dispatched Libya to a Hobbesian anarchy and backed Jihadis in Syria, the US finally has a new cold war to supplement its worldwide campaign of murder and terror by drone. A NATO membership action plan straight from the war room of Dr Strangelove is Breedlove’s gift to the new dictatorship in Ukraine. “Rapid Trident” will put US troops on Ukraine’s Russian border and “Sea Breeze” will put US warships within sight of Russian ports. At the same time, NATO war games in eastern Europe are designed to intimidate Russia. Imagine the response if this madness was reversed and happened on the US’ borders. Cue General Turgidson.
And there is China. On Apr 23, Obama will begin a tour of Asia to promote his “pivot” to China. The aim is to convince his “allies” in the region, principally Japan, to rearm and prepare for the possibility of war with China. By 2020, almost ⅔ of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific area. This is the greatest military concentration in that vast region since WW2. In an arc extending from Australia to Japan, China will face US missiles and nuclear-armed bombers. A strategic naval base is being built on the Korean island of Jeju, less than 400 miles from Shanghai and the industrial heartland of the only country whose economic power is likely to surpass that of the US. Obama’s “pivot” is designed to undermine China’s influence in its region. It is as if a world war has begun by other means. This is not a Dr Strangelove fantasy. Hagel was in Beijing last week to deliver a warning that China, like Russia, could face isolation and war if it did not bow to US demands. He compared the annexation of Crimea to China’s complex territorial dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Hagel said with a straight face:
You cannot go around the world and violate the sovereignty of nations by force, coercion or intimidation.
As for the massive movement of US naval forces and nuclear weapons to Asia, that is “a sign of the humanitarian assistance the US military can provide.” Obama is seeking a bigger budget for nuclear weapons than the historical peak during the cold war, the era of Dr Strangelove. The US is pursuing its long-standing ambition to dominate the Eurasian landmass, stretching from China to Europe: a “manifest destiny” made right by might.
i hope you don’t mind if i remark in passing on what a stupid motherfucker obama is. i doubt if he’s ever had an original thought in his life
Obama signs law to bar Iran diplomat from serving in UN post
Reuters, Apr 18 2014
WASHINGTON – Obama signed a law on Friday that effectively bars an Iranian diplomat from serving as an envoy at the UN because of suspicions he was involved in the 1979-81 Tehran hostage crisis. Obama signed a law passed by the US Congress that blocks any individual from entering the US who has been found to have been engaged in espionage or terrorist activity against the US or if that person may pose a threat to US national security. The US had already said it would not grant a visa to Iran’s proposed UN ambassador, citing the envoy’s links to the 1979-1981 hostage crisis. Obama had come under strong pressure not to allow Hamid Abutalebi into the country to take up his position in New York. The US government objects to Abutalebi because of his suspected participation in a Muslim student group that seized the US embassy in Tehran in Nov 1979 and held 52 USAians hostage for 444 days. The veteran Iranian diplomat has acknowledged that he acted as an interpreter for the militants who held the hostages. The US said a week ago it had told Iran it would not give Abutalebi a visa. US officials privately said at the time they hoped Iran would quietly drop the issue and name a new envoy. But Iran on Monday asked for a special meeting of a UN committee on the US decision, calling it a dangerous precedent that could harm international diplomacy.
i can’t help noticing that deutsche welle has chosen a jewish reporter for this mission into the very jaws of the terrifying bear
These configurations we’re seeing now prove a point which has been argued among revisionist historians and political analysts for decades, namely, they prove that Nazism was never primarily concerned with Jews as such. It was concerned with communism as such. It still is. In fact, Nazism and these various neo-Nazisms do not deserve to be classed as political theories in the proper intellectual sense of the word ‘theory’. They are patchworks of fantasy, riven with self-contradiction, and they are only viable at all to the extent that the rank and file are dumbed down enough not even to think about their twists and turns. I have been arguing for some time that the so-called anti-Semitism of the radical Right is basically a blind, and that the Jewish bosses know that. Nevertheless, the Jewish press maintain a constant stream of hate propaganda against those who the empire wishes them to discredit. This does not mean that Jews do not control the empire, which I believe they do. It just means that big Jews will terrorise little Jews and throw them to the dogs if it is profitable to do so, as they always have. The little Jews, I think, know this, but feel they cannot escape, because becoming ex-Jews is not an intelligible option for them except as they see it, by ‘converting to Christianity,’ which they quite rightly regard as soul suicide. Religious thinking blocks political thinking, because this is the way they’re brainwashed. Even the so-called reform, progressive, liberal etc Jews, from whom one expects reason, are fiercely protective of their Jewishness, a thing they themselves have defined out of existence logically, but cannot dispense with emotionally. Hence this Jacob Resneck becomes the ideal emissary. Who would dare touch, or even insult, a Jew? – RB:
Inside the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’
Jacob Resneck, Deutsche Welle, Apr 18 2014
Behind a makeshift barricade of old tires, razor wire and pallets, masked, club-wielding men in worn combat fatigues police the entrance to the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Since Apr 7, when pro-Russia demonstrators seized the Soviet-era administration building for the Donetsk region and declared the republic, daily rallies have been held where crowds in the hundreds to thousands chant slogans that equate the two-month old caretaker government in Kyiv with fascism. Denis Pushilin, chairman of the self-proclaimed republic’s leadership council, told DW:
The Donetsk People’s Republic, this was a spontaneous decision, made several hours after the occupation started. There was a need to make a strong decision through this act and declaration.
Supporters of the movement equate the political crisis as larger struggle against political extremism. 73-year-old supporter Vladimir Khachaturian, who says he has very early memories of WW2, said:
All of Europe should help us against fascism. And we don’t want more oligarchs who help Kiev.
Cleavages in Ukrainian society are increasing between those who support a united Ukraine and those who look to Russia as a guarantor for peace and security. Cyril Cherkashyn, whose Donetsk Centre of Political Analysis and Technology polled 547 people earlier this month, said:
Nearly 80% of the Donetsk region saw the Maidan movement as a coup d’etat, not a legitimate revolution. Respondents were about evenly divided into camps over staying with Ukraine, albeit with greater autonomy, or seceding as an independent state or even joining Russia.
Inside the 11-story former administration building, Soviet-era posters warn against excessive drinking or talking to strangers. Anti-USAian and anti-EUian graffiti adorns the walls as nervous young men in ski masks search visitors as they file in and out of the occupied building. The Ukrainian government has dismissed the occupation of administrative buildings as the work of terrorist extremists, puppets of the Kremlin intent on annexing this industrial region in a repeat of events in Crimea in March. Pushilin, the secessionist leader, said:
That’s nonsense. Russia is trying to keep this conflict from intensifying. It was started by Kiev.
He also dismissed the US-brokered Geneva agreement signed by Ukraine and Russia on Thursday Apr 17, which demands that protestors vacate administration buildings occupied in the region, saying his group would do so only if Ukraine’s so-called prime minister and president leave the buildings that they themselves are occupying illegally. Instead, the self-proclaimed leadership is pushing ahead with a May 11 referendum over the region’s future, either as an independent state, an autonomous republic within Ukraine or annexed to Russia. Alexander Gnezdilov, spokesman for the self-proclaimed republic, said:
Either we will become an independent state, or we can rejoin Ukraine within a confederation with more freedom to decide what’s good for us, not just taking orders from Kiev. I personally think most people will vote for joining Russia, but it that’s just my opinion.
Opinion is mixed, and the outcome of any fair referendum is in question. Recent poll numbers show about 26% saying they wanted to join Russia, whereas 26.5% support remaining within in Ukraine. The rest either wanted to be independent or envisioned a confederated republic of Ukraine with greater autonomy for the regions. The referendum would be held two weeks before national elections in Ukraine, the latter of which local authorities say they intend to boycott. With neither side recognizing each other’s legitimacy, there are doubts as to the legitimacy of such a vote. On Thursday, pro-Ukraine demonstrators held a rally on the outskirts of the city center. The demonstration was moved just across the river due to safety concerns in the event of clashes between rival factions. A cordon of riot police formed a phalanx to protect the crowd as about two thousand people gathered in the park. Attending the rally with her mother, 19-year-old university student Olga Dovgalova said she was sickened by the divisions within her own city. Dovgalova, who was born six years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, said:
I have a sense of déjà vu. The Cold War isn’t over. The participants are the same. The Iron Curtain between Europe and Russia again, I am tired of this. I want peace and unity, for my country, as it was a couple of years ago.
As the rally broke up, hundreds paraded across the bridge, where passing motorists alternated between horns honking in support and occasional jeers of derision. Back in the center, supporters of the self-proclaimed republic dismissed the rally as orchestrated by students paid to travel from western Ukraine. There was no evidence of this. No buses picked up the demonstrators. The majority boarded public transportation to head home as dusk settled on the city. Meanwhile, stick-wielding masked youths patrolled the city center as local police and medics stood by. The masked youths are often found milling around the front of the occupied building, in this case coming to the far end of the square in an apparent search for pro-Ukrainian nationalists on the very edge of their ‘territory.’ So far the veneer of civility remains intact, though the peace among Donetsk’s own population remains fragile.
another gigantic, collectively produced, network package of lies and arrogant imperialist assessments and etc
New Russia sanctions threats as Ukraine stalemate goes on
Thomas Grove, Aleksandar Vasovic, Reuters, Apr 18 2014
(Additional reporting by Richard Balmforth, Pavel Polityuk and Alastair Macdonald in Kiev and Christian Lowe, Alissa de Carbonnel and Conor Humphries in Moscow; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Will Waterman)
SLAVIANSK/DONETSK – A day after an international deal in Geneva to defuse the East-West crisis in Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists vowed not to end their occupation of public buildings and Washington threatened further sanctions on Moscow if the stalemate continued. Leaders of gunmen who have taken over city halls and other sites in and around Donetsk this month in pursuit of demands for a Crimea-style referendum on union with Russia, rejected the agreement struck in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the US and EU and demanded on Friday that the leaders of the Kiev uprising must first quit their own government offices. Moscow renewed its insistence that it has no control over the “little green men” who, as before Russia annexed Crimea last month, appeared in combat gear and with automatic weapons to seize public buildings, a denial that Western allies of those who overthrew the pro-Russian president in Kiev do not accept. The White House renewed Obama’s demands that the Kremlin use what Washington believes is its influence over the separatists to get them to vacate the premises. It warned of heavier economic sanctions than those already imposed over Crimea if Moscow failed to uphold the Geneva deal, or if it moved to send troops massed on the border into Ukraine. National security adviser Susan Rice said:
We believe that Russia has considerable influence over the actions of those who have been engaged in destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine. If we don’t see action commensurate with the commitments that Russia has made yesterday in Geneva, then obviously we’ve been very clear that we and our European partners remain ready to impose additional costs on Russia. Those costs and sanctions could include targeting very significant sectors of the Russian economy.
Putin’s spokesman hit back, while voicing scepticism of a kind also heard from the Ukrainian government about how useful the cautiously worded Geneva pact would be. Dmitry Peskov said:
You can’t treat Russia like a guilty schoolboy. That kind of language is unacceptable.
The Russian foreign ministry said:
The US are once again stubbornly trying to whitewash the actions of the Kiev authorities, who have embarked on a course of violently suppressing protesters in the south-east who are expressing their legitimate indignation over the infringements of their rights.
The Ukraine junta was at pains to show it was keeping its part of the bargain. Its ill-equipped security forces have shown little sign of being able to regain control in the east by force. Yatseniuk, though admitting he was not overly optimistic about the agreement solving what has become the gravest East-West crisis since the Cold War, said militants would be offered an amnesty. He & Turchynov made a formal joint broadcast pledging constitutional reform to devolve power to the regions and bolster the status of Russian as an official language in areas where it was widely spoken. Russia has made much of the presence of far-right “fascists” among those who forced Yanukovich out in February. In parliament, nationalists briefly tried to abolish a law allowing the official use of Russian, the first language of many in the 46 million population, and of a majority in the eastern regions. Critics of Putin say that Kremlin-controlled Russian media have fuelled unjustified fear of the new Kiev leadership in the east of Ukraine, where Yanukovich had his power base. But Russia, which Ukraine and the West say is destabilising the new government in order to maintain and extend its influence over its most populous ex-Soviet neighbor, echoed the Donetsk militants in denouncing the authorities’ failure to dismantle what is effectively an anti-Russian protest camp in Kiev. The barricaded encampment around Independence Square, known as Maidan, played a crucial role in bringing down Yanukovich after he roused popular anger by rejecting closer economic and other ties with the EU in November. Now, hard-core activists on the square say they will defy any efforts to move them on until a presidential election has been held successfully on May 25. Ukraine’s foreign minister warned the militants in the east that they could face “more concrete actions” after the Easter weekend if they failed to cooperate with OSCE monitors and start vacating buildings. But, he said, the Maidan was not an “illegal” occupation and so unaffected. Russia’s envoy to the EU said:
Ukraine is misreading the Geneva agreement, specifically by saying that it only applies to the eastern and southern provinces and those who are demanding federalism, but not to Kiev, where everything is legal, including the ongoing occupation of Maidan.
The Geneva agreement requires all illegal armed groups to disarm and end occupations of public buildings, streets and squares. This week has already seen several people killed in eastern Ukraine, although details remain unclear. The self-declared leader of all the eastern separatists said he did not consider his men to be bound by the agreement. Denis Pushilin, head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, told journalists at a news conference in the heavily barricaded, occupied headquarters of the regional administration in Donetsk, the regional capital:
Lavrov did not sign anything for us. He signed on behalf of the Russian Federation. First of all, Yatseniuk and Turchynov should quit their offices, which they have occupied illegally since the fascist coup. The Kiev junta is signing agreements and fulfilling none of them. They are provoking crisis. Turchynov committed a crime against his own people. We will keep going to the end.
But Alexei, a separatist in nearby Slaviansk, commented:
It turns out Vova (Vladimir Putin) doesn’t love us as much as we thought.
Massive unknowns hang over the situation. Putin’s ultimate goal may not be the Crimean-style annexation of Ukraine’s industrial heartland, despite his comments in a major public appearance on Thursday in which he recalled that what is now eastern and southern Ukraine was the tsars’ New Russia (not exactly; he merely referred to it as Novorossiya – RB). The Kremlin denies any ambition to take territory, and many analysts believe it is principally seeking to influence events in Ukraine to ensure a favorable outcome in next month’s election. That in turn raises questions of the role of Ukraine’s oligarchs in the crisis and the election. Conspiracy theories abound in Kiev, according to which the rich and powerful may be fomenting unrest behind the scenes to further their own ends, or to curry favor with Putin, who holds sway over the Russian business interests of Ukrainian tycoons. Suspicion of the elites whom they blame for robbing the national wealth and corrupting government and society for the 23 years of post-Soviet independence drives activists on Kiev’s Maidan to insist they will not dismantle “self-defense” barricades until after they see a fair election next month. 56-year-old Viktor Palamaryuk from the western town of Chernivtsi said:
The people will not leave the Maidan. The people gave their word to stay until the presidential elections so that nobody will be able to rig the result. Then after the election we’ll go of our own accord.
As shrines to the 100 or so who died in violence on the square became a focus for Good Friday solemnity, many said that weariness after five months of protests would not break their will. 34-year-old Volodymyr Shevchenko from the southern Kherson region, said:
Nobody will take down our tents and barricades. If the authorities try to do that by force, thousands and thousands of people will come on to the Maidan and stop them.
Right Sector saw the Geneva accord as being directed only at pro-Russian separatists in the east. Right Sector spokesman Artem Skoropadsky said:
We don’t have any illegal weapons. We, the vanguard of the Ukrainian revolution, should not be compared to outright gangsters.
Washington did not spell out what further sanctions it might place on Russia. With the EU, it has so far imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a small number of Russians, a response that Moscow has mocked. But some EU states are reluctant to do more, fearing that could provoke Russia further or end up hurting their own economies, which are heavily reliant on Russian gas.
Of all the various lies, the redlighted one is the easiest to disprove, since we have that wonderful long video of one of the armoured columns surrendering – RB
Ukraine says ‘anti-terrorist’ operation continues despite Geneva
Richard Balmforth, Reuters, Apr 18 2014
KIEV – Ukraine’s military-led drive to root out pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country will continue despite the four-way agreement reached in Geneva, state security authorities said on Friday. SBU spokeswoman Marina Ostapenko told reporters:
The anti-terrorist operation is still going on, and how long it continues depends on how long terrorists remain in our country.
The Geneva agreement requires all illegal armed groups to disarm. It also calls for an end to the illegal occupation of public buildings, streets and squares, and gave a leading role to overseeing the deal to OSCE monitors. Ukraine announced a military-backed operation last weekend to flush out pro-Russian rebels who have taken over state buildings including police stations in the Donbass region, though the operation faltered when pro-Russian forces seized several APCs.
Russia’s new culture policy a weapon against West
Maria Antonova, AFP, Apr 18 2014
MOSCOW – The Kremlin is preparing a new culture policy for Russia focusing on its distinctive civilisation and traditional values, which observers say has political ends amid Moscow’s standoff with the West. At the end of four hours of questions Thursday in his annual call-in, Pres Putin waxed philosophical on what it means to be Russian. Russians not only have their own “cultural code,” he said, they also have a unique moral outlook: unlike Westerners, Russians are selfless and prone to self-sacrifice. “These are the deep roots of our patriotism,” Putin said. Tapping into perceived “traditional cultural values” of Russian civilisation, the culture ministry is drawing up a government strategy that observers say has all the trappings of a new state ideology, echoing Soviet legacy. The authors preparing the document, who are kept secret, believe that such a policy must be based on the thesis that “Russia is not Europe” and generously quote from Putin’s speeches. The policy states Russia is at a historical crossroads and must make a choice between cultural extinction or the preservation of its unique “moral and spiritual foundations,” which can only be done with a “state culture policy.” An early version of the document has been leaked to the press and is currently being examined by a Kremlin working group chaired by one of Pres Putin’s closest allies, chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, a former KGB agent recently blacklisted by the US.Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky said at a press conference Wednesday:
Russia is an ancient, independent, distinctive civilisation.
In an interview with the Kommersant daily, Medinsky further added:
Russia is forced to culturally protect itself. Perhaps Russia will be the last keeper of European culture, Christian values and truly European civilisation.
Political analyst Alexei Makarkin said:
The main idea is that we have to defend ourselves from the West, that the West is evil. The Crimea events reinforced this trend. We lived like that in the Soviet era. Conservatives like it, those who want a comfortable, airtight world without irritating things like abstract art.
On Wednesday, philosophy scholars of the usually apolitical Russian Academy of Sciences said that the policy violates Russia’s constitution. A public letter of 25 academy professors said:
The concept “Russia is not Europe” is only an opinion. It can’t be demonstrated from Russian history. Such a required state ideology is absolutely inappropriate in any self-respecting society. The government should encourage debate and research rather than dictate its views.
Medinsky on Wednesday tried to assuage fears of a return to Soviet-style censorship, where works of art or drama had to be reviewed by Communist party officials. The Kremlin’s new policy will be executed “not by bureaucrats” but by experts and respected culture figures, he said. One expert sitting on a jury that decides state grants for artists promised to make his judgements based on artistic merit, not political need. Eduard Boyakov, founder of Moscow’s Praktika theatre, last month surprised many by signing an appeal in support of Putin’s actions in Crimea. However, he said:
We’re a long-established, independently-minded people, not a military unit. But it remains to be seen how the new culture policy will be implemented. If there will be new plays and creative statements, then it means that it’s working. If we all end up writing about Crimea in iambic pentameters, then that’s another matter.
pots, kettles, soup tureens and for all i know the magic cauldron mentioned in the i-ching is here too
ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said in a statement posted on Jihadi forums:
Al-Qaeda today is no longer a base of Jihad. Its leadership has become a hammer to break the project of the Islamic State. The leaders of al-Qaeda have deviated from the correct path. They have divided the ranks of the Mujahidin in every place.