Streetwise Professor

April 17, 2014

Ukraine Update: Charlie Brown, Lucy, the Organ Grinder and His Monkey

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia,Snowden — The Professor @ 10:05 pm

The farce involving Ukraine continues. Today John “Charlie Brown” Kerry and Sergei “Lucy” Lavrov met in Geneva, the scene of many previous Kerry pratfalls, mostly involving Syria. (Yeah, the Euros were there. Like that matters. Well, I guess someone has to make sure the places are set properly, with the forks in the right spot and all that stuff.)

Even after having Lucy pull the ball away time and again, Charlie Brown had another go at “diplomacy,” which in Russian means “war continued by other means.” In military terms, the Russians treat diplomacy with the US as a delaying action, knowing the US won’t do anything meaningful as the “process” is “working.” In Syria, Assad has used Russian diplomatic cover to turn the tide of war decisively in his favor.

Kerry and Obama have apparently never heard Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. Maybe Kerry should hop the train to Bern and visit the Einstein museum. Maybe he’ll collect a clue.

This time around, Putin and the Russians are using the diplomatic pause to delay the implementation of meaningful sanctions. UST is continuing the FUD game, holding meetings with hedge funds and money managers to inquire about their Russian investments, knowing that the inquiries would be leaked, and perhaps spook the markets. But truly throttling sanctions will remain in abeyance as long as the jaw jaw continues. Putin is also using the diplomatic pause to continue infiltration and subversion in Ukraine. The Ukrainians are constrained by their own divisions, and incompetence, but the US is also restraining them while talks continue.

The meetings produced this paean to the passive voice:

All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

Who is going to do the disarming? The returning? The vacating? The GRU and the 45th Airborne and the locals are just going to say “my bad” and walk away? Really? I see objects here, but no subjects.

This hardly inspires confidence:

It was agreed [more passivity!] that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these deescalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days.

The OSCE? You mean the guys who were prevented from entering Crimea? My confidence is not inspired! (Damn, this passive voice thing is contagious!)

The Russians deny anyone in eastern Ukraine is theirs, so they can disclaim any responsibility. The Ukrainian military is too intimidated to take them on. The OSCE has no army to back it up. So I doubt much disarming, vacating, etc. will actually, you know, be happening.

But I forgot. “Local communities” are going to do it! This is a job for Community Organizer Man! Obama can follow his true calling!

Just one problem. Those “local communities” in large part support the “Pro-Russian” (or “pro-federalist”) forces, to the point of surrounding Ukrainian APCs so that the “local militias” could seize six of them. (As an aside, let’s give the “pro-Russian” bullshit a rest. It is more accurate to say “Russian pros.”) (Actually, the active supporters are few, but characteristic Russian apathy in the vast majority means that a few can achieve their objectives.)

All meaning that this plan will work out about as swell as the plan to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons that Lucy used to entice Charlie into taking a big kick at the Syrian football, winding up flat on his back as always.

But as hard as it is to believe, the comedy in Geneva pales in comparison to the total farce in Moscow, where Putin held one of his call in shows. The whole thing was a carnival of mendacity, all too familiar to discuss in detail. But the banal absurdity of a VVP presser was excelled by a new high (or is it low) in farcicality: Snowden (in another Wizard of Oz appearance on a large screen) asked Putin whether Russia, that paragon of privacy and individual liberty, engaged in mass surveillance against its citizens. “Nous? Nous? Jamais!” responded Vladimir Vladimirovich. Even worse, Putin answered only after acknowledging Snowden as a fellow Chekist, and hence a man he could understand and respect. The pair posed for a photo after the event (Eddie is on the left):

organ-grinder-monkey

There may be some uncertainty as to whether Snowden was Putin’s monkey before he decamped to Sheremetyovo, but there is no doubt now. Eddie is now totally owned and operated by Putin and the FSB.

But despite all this Obama and Kerry think that Putin and Lavrov are legitimate interlocutors, interested in reaching mutually beneficial deals.

David Ignatius had a column in the WaPo yesterday describing the administration as being “flummoxed” by Putin’s refusal to see reality the same way Obama does. Believe me, “flummoxed” is never a good thing.

I swear to God, mirror imaging is going to be the death of the west. Distressingly, good little mouthpiece that he is, Ignatius reports that Obama’s strategy is “to make Putin pay for his adventurism, long term. Unless the Russian leader moves quickly to de-escalate the crisis, the United States will push for measures that could make Russia significantly weaker over the next few years.”

Excuse me while I go bang my forehead on the corner of my desk. In the long term we are all dead. At least a lot of Ukrainians may be.

And the point of this is what, exactly? Just how will this deter Putin? And note that the administration will just be “push[ing] for measures that could make” Russia weaker. Not implementing. Pushing for: what happened to Mr. Executive Order? (Sounds like more community organizing is involved.) Not measures that will make Russia weaker, but “could.” And Putin cares about tomorrow. The long term-whatever.

To give you an idea of Putin’s mindset, and how little he cares about Obama’s incredible threats to push for some measures that could impose some costs at some ill-defined future date, the Russian president used the term Novarossiya to refer to parts of Ukraine. Meaning that his irredentist goals remain, undeterred. (And does anybody else notice that the only thing that Putin criticizes the leaders of the USSR for is their penchant for redrawing borders in ways that put traditional Russian territories outside of the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic?)

Russia is weak economically, demographically, and militarily. The US is none of those things. It is weak by choice, and letting Putin proceed in his irredentist and revanchist mission.

We are so screwed.

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24 Comments »

  1. All three previous German Chancellors have come out on Russia’s side on the issue of the Ukrainian sniperous junta.

    I wonder what Merkel herself will say once she is out of office and can speak the truth…

    http://rt.com/news/schmidt-crimea-russia-germany-465/

    Russia’s actions in Crimea ‘completely understandable’ – German ex-chancellor

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10697986/Merkel-fury-after-Gerhard-Schroeder-backs-Putin-on-Ukraine.html
    Merkel fury after Gerhard Schroeder backs Putin on Ukraine – Telegraph

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/world/europe/on-ukraine-merkel-finds-limits-of-her-rapport-with-putin.html?_r=0

    In a strong indication of how worried even conservatives are about losing good contact with Russia, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Wednesday gave a statement to Bild, the country’s biggest-circulation newspaper, saying that “great omissions” had been made in policy toward Ukraine. “The mood of revolt in Ukraine was not intelligently followed. Equally there was a lack of sensitivity in the dealings with our Russian neighbor, especially President Putin,” he said. “We cannot forget: War is not policy,” he added.

    And don’t forget: back in 2003 Germany didn’t approve of the USA’s destruction of Iraq.

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 4:04 am

  2. I recently met a very patriotic woman from a very patriotic family. One of her sons is serving in Kosovo, another – in Afghanistan, the third – in Iraq. The fourth has signed with Blackwater to fight for Ukraine. The fifth bombed Libya and is awaiting a call of duty to Syria. And their father is touring the world with his lecture series: “We must stop Russian interventions in other countries!”

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 4:09 am

  3. Anschlussing the Novorossiya will improve Russia’s demographics, food security and industry. The warm ports are a huge bonus as well. Decrepit as Ukraines industry is, some things it produces have either not been replaced in Russia or done so at great cost. To the EU, of course, Ukrainian industry has zero value.

    Comment by So? — April 18, 2014 @ 4:24 am

  4. There should not and will not be annexation. East Ukraine, Novorossiya and Transdniestria should be a separate country. Constitutional Republic of Ukraine. Or call it Novarus (like Belarus).

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 5:10 am

  5. Like that will be acceptable to Moscow Vladislav.

    I’d be intetested to hear your opinion of the pro Russian separatists demand that Jews register themselves and their property.

    Looks like the traditional anti semitic behavior of Russians is back.

    Comment by Andrew — April 18, 2014 @ 6:49 am

  6. Putler says – “why do you need a car?” in his marathon press conference

    http://romaninukraine.com/not-an-onion-putin-why-do-you-need-a-car-then-its-some-kind-of-a-provocation/#comment-14544

    and a separatist poster from Luhansk:

    http://romaninukraine.com/separatist-poster-in-luhansk/

    “the Rasha – a superpower – has never been defeated”

    Comment by elmer — April 18, 2014 @ 8:18 am

  7. > I’d be intetested to hear your opinion of the pro Russian separatists demand that Jews register themselves and their property.

    That was a forgery, Andrew. The fact that Kerry mentioned it in his speech and the US mass media went hysterical over it, shows that it was not a mere improvisation from some junta supporters, trying to get back at Putin’s calling the junta “antisemitic fascists”. Most likely, it was done with the CIA’s help.

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

  8. Andrew,

    Since you are preoccupied with innocent soldiers/politicians caught on photo with an arm outstretched as if in a “Zieg Heil” position, tell me what you thin about the US troops consciously posing for pictures with a Nazi SS flag next to the US flag?

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4122494/SS-flag-and-US-troop-storm-Marines-posed-with-Nazi-style-flag.html
    US Marines have sparked outrage after being snapped with a Nazi-style “SS” flag under a US banner in Afghanistan.

    http://img.thesun.co.uk/aidemitlum/archive/01451/Camp-Pendleton_532_1451612a.jpg

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

  9. Gentlemen, be attentive to the ladies around you. Look what happened to our mutual fiend Kim Zigfeld/LaRussophobe after everybody abandoned her: she went mad and, in desperate attempts to regain notoriety, pretty much made a claim that the horrors of WWII in Europe were “very, very good to America” and that the USA defeated USSR in WWII, killed 10 million Soviet soldiers, and exterminated 17 million Jews and other Soviet civilians, or at least that the Holocaust and other horrors of WWWII was something for her to celebrate and gloat:

    http://dyingrussia.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/get-it-straight-russia-lost-world-war-ii/

    World War II, as Studs Terkel declared, was a “good war” for the US that led to superpower status, economic boom and atomic monopoly. For the Soviet Union, victory over Nazi Germany led to the deaths of 10 million soldiers and 17 million civilians while another 25 million people lived in holes in the ground by 1945. So get it straight: Russia lost World War II, and America won.”

    She then goes on making other, less hilarious mistakes. Such as:

    1. Not knowing that USSR was a nuclear superpower which, if attacked, was capable of turning the entire USA into a “burnt ground”, as Yulia Tymoshenko would say. Actually, Kim believes that the USA had an “atomic monopoly”, i.e., USSR, UK, France etc didn’t have any nuclear weapons!

    “World War II, as Studs Terkel declared, was a “good war” for the US that led to superpower status, economic boom and atomic monopoly.”

    2. Not knowing the number of casualties in the Russian Civil War:

    The Russian Civil War (11 million deaths)

    3. Total historical ignorance:

    “Russia, losing half its population and Eastern European empire, went from being a superpower to being derisively called “upper Volta with nuclear weapons.”

    In reality the Soviet dissidents called their country “upper Volta with nuclear weapons” back in hte 1960s, that is, 25 years BEFORE hte break-up, not AFTER.

    4. Total lack of logic:

    “Russia went from being a superpower to being derisively called “upper Volta with nuclear weapons.” Earlier in the 20th century there were other disasters: the Japanese victory in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, massive defeats in World War I that led to the February and October Revolutions, the Russian Civil War (11 million deaths) and the horrors of the 1930s.”

    So, all through its 20th century history USSR went from one disaster to another, never even had nuclear arms, but was “a superpower”! When?

    5. IQ that of a pigeon:

    Crimeans are finding out fast that Russia’s promises to them were illusory, and that they’ve made a fatal mistake by throwing in their lot with Russia. They will watch their former fellow citizens to the north join the EU and NATO and soar to economic prosperity while, chained to Russia, they sink into the miasma of Russian failure.

    She actually thinks that the EU will accept Ukraine as its member! LOL!

    Let me just finish with a bit of economic reality:

    List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita

    44 Estonia 24,450
    45 Lithuania 24,356
    46 Russia 23,589
    47 Poland 22,783
    48 Hungary 22,635
    49 Latvia 21,810

    99 Ukraine 7,298
    103 Bhutan 6,591
    104 Armenia 6,544
    108 Angola 6,006
    109 Georgia 5,833
    110 Mongolia 5,374
    113 Swaziland 5,161

    > I’d be intetested to hear your opinion of the pro Russian separatists demand that Jews register themselves and their property.

    I have just received an article from our mutual (with LR and SWP) friend Julia Joffe, confirming that this was indeed a provocation. She writes:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117415/relax-ukraine-not-ordering-its-jews-register

    Ukraine Is NOT Ordering Its Jews to Register

    Today, the Western press caught up with the Ukrainian rumor mill: apparently, the People’s Republic of Donetsk had ordered all Jews over the age of 16 to pay a fee of $50 U.S. and register with the new “authorities,” or face loss of citizenship or expulsion. This was laid out in officious-looking fliers pasted on the local synagogue. One local snapped a photo of the fliers and sent it to a friend in Israel, who then took it to the Israeli press and, voila, an international scandal: American Twitter is abuzz with it, Drudge is hawking it, and, today in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the fliers as “grotesque.”

    The Donetsk Jewish community dismissed this as “a provocation,” which it clearly is. “It’s an obvious provocation designed to get this exact response, going all the way up to Kerry,” says Fyodr Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs. “I have no doubt that there is a sizeable community of anti-Semites on both sides of the barricades, but for one of them to do something this stupid—this is done to compromise the pro-Russian groups in the east.”

    Why? The Russian government has been playing up the (real but small) role of fascists and neo-Nazis in the victory of the EuroMaidan in Kiev. The Ukrainian government, utterly powerless to fight off the Russians and their local stooges, have had to rely on other methods, like leaking taped phone calls of allegedly local separatists getting their commands from Moscow. This may be just another tactic to smear the so-called anti-Maidan in the east of Ukraine: you think we’re fascists? Well, take a look at these guys.

    Indeed, the Russian web chatter has sniffed the hand of the Dnipropetrovsk city government. (Dnipropetrovsk is another eastern Ukrainian city, but one that has been spared this chaos, in part because of the firm hand of its new regional governor, Jewish businessman Ihor Kolomoisky. One (Jewish) blogger said he received a similar looking flier from an official in the Dnipropetrovsk city administration.

    Here are Julia’s links:

    http://dandorfman.livejournal.com/498317.html

    Beware: provocation!

    Last night, the Dnepropetrovsk governor’s office (headed by the notorious pro- OUN/UPA Maidan gangster oligarch Kolomoysky) issued yet another forgery, written by the assistant governor of Dnepropetrovsk Boris Filatov, this time regarding Jews. On behalf of the alleged self-proclaimed leader of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Filatov ordered all Jews of Donetsk and other cities in the region “to register” and pay $50 fee.

    This monstrous wild text is so absurd that no one with brains would believe it. Again, the author and INSPIRER of this bogus paper is Boris Filatov. To reminds readers what kind of a person Boris Filatov is, here is what he wrote about Crimean pro-Russian demonstrators: “No armed Maidan men should be sent there. No extremist statements. Right now we should pretend to give these scum promises, guarantees and concessions. And hang them? We’ll hang them later.”

    http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%91%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%81_%D0%90%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%B1%D0%B5%D1%80%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87#.D0.9F.D0.BE.D0.BB.D0.B8.D1.82.D0.B8.D1.87.D0.B5.D1.81.D0.BA.D0.B8.D0.B5_.D0.B2.D0.B7.D0.B3.D0.BB.D1.8F.D0.B4.D1.8B

    The real question here is: given the absurdity of this text and the fact that no one with brains would believe it, why did each and every US mass medium simultaneously report it as a “fact”? And more importantly: why did the US Secretary of State John Kerry choose to spread this forgery? He definitely has brains. Was the US State Department behind this forgery? Or was it the CIA?

    More interestingly, this week the US public has been shocked by the news that a US neo-Nazi opened fire at two Jewish centers, killing 3 civilians (btw, all Christians). Mr. Kerry ignored this news, but chose to throw a temper tantrum over a fake piece of paper that demands “registration” and a $50 “fee” from Donetsk Jews.

    How does the Russian saying go? “He notices a spec of dust in other people’s eyes but refuses to acknowledge a big log in his own eye…”

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

  10. Oops, a careless cut-and-paste… Please delete. Let me correct:

    > I’d be intetested to hear your opinion of the pro Russian separatists demand that Jews register themselves and their property.

    I have just received an article from our mutual (with LR and SWP) friend Julia Joffe, confirming that this was indeed a provocation. She writes:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117415/relax-ukraine-not-ordering-its-jews-register

    Ukraine Is NOT Ordering Its Jews to Register

    Today, the Western press caught up with the Ukrainian rumor mill: apparently, the People’s Republic of Donetsk had ordered all Jews over the age of 16 to pay a fee of $50 U.S. and register with the new “authorities,” or face loss of citizenship or expulsion. This was laid out in officious-looking fliers pasted on the local synagogue. One local snapped a photo of the fliers and sent it to a friend in Israel, who then took it to the Israeli press and, voila, an international scandal: American Twitter is abuzz with it, Drudge is hawking it, and, today in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the fliers as “grotesque.”

    The Donetsk Jewish community dismissed this as “a provocation,” which it clearly is. “It’s an obvious provocation designed to get this exact response, going all the way up to Kerry,” says Fyodr Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs. “I have no doubt that there is a sizeable community of anti-Semites on both sides of the barricades, but for one of them to do something this stupid—this is done to compromise the pro-Russian groups in the east.”

    Why? The Russian government has been playing up the (real but small) role of fascists and neo-Nazis in the victory of the EuroMaidan in Kiev. The Ukrainian government, utterly powerless to fight off the Russians and their local stooges, have had to rely on other methods, like leaking taped phone calls of allegedly local separatists getting their commands from Moscow. This may be just another tactic to smear the so-called anti-Maidan in the east of Ukraine: you think we’re fascists? Well, take a look at these guys.

    Indeed, the Russian web chatter has sniffed the hand of the Dnipropetrovsk city government. (Dnipropetrovsk is another eastern Ukrainian city, but one that has been spared this chaos, in part because of the firm hand of its new regional governor, Jewish businessman Ihor Kolomoisky. One (Jewish) blogger said he received a similar looking flier from an official in the Dnipropetrovsk city administration.

    Here are Julia’s links:

    http://dandorfman.livejournal.com/498317.html

    Beware: provocation!

    Last night, the Dnepropetrovsk governor’s office (headed by the notorious pro- OUN/UPA Maidan gangster oligarch Kolomoysky) issued yet another forgery, written by the assistant governor of Dnepropetrovsk Boris Filatov, this time regarding Jews. On behalf of the alleged self-proclaimed leader of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Filatov ordered all Jews of Donetsk and other cities in the region “to register” and pay $50 fee.

    This monstrous wild text is so absurd that no one with brains would believe it. Again, the author and INSPIRER of this bogus paper is Boris Filatov. To reminds readers what kind of a person Boris Filatov is, here is what he wrote about Crimean pro-Russian demonstrators: “No armed Maidan men should be sent there. No extremist statements. Right now we should pretend to give these scum promises, guarantees and concessions. And hang them? We’ll hang them later.”

    http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%91%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%81_%D0%90%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%B1%D0%B5%D1%80%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87#.D0.9F.D0.BE.D0.BB.D0.B8.D1.82.D0.B8.D1.87.D0.B5.D1.81.D0.BA.D0.B8.D0.B5_.D0.B2.D0.B7.D0.B3.D0.BB.D1.8F.D0.B4.D1.8B

    The real question here is: given the absurdity of this text and the fact that no one with brains would believe it, why did each and every US mass medium simultaneously report it as a “fact”? And more importantly: why did the US Secretary of State John Kerry choose to spread this forgery? He definitely has brains. Was the US State Department behind this forgery? Or was it the CIA?

    More interestingly, this week the US public has been shocked by the news that a US neo-Nazi opened fire at two Jewish centers, killing 3 civilians (btw, all Christians). Mr. Kerry ignored this news, but chose to throw a temper tantrum over a fake piece of paper that demands “registration” and a $50 “fee” from Donetsk Jews.

    How does the Russian saying go? “He notices a spec of dust in other people’s eyes but refuses to acknowledge a big log in his own eye…”

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

  11. > How does the Russian saying go?

    The Russian saying goes that Russia is the Motherland of the elephants. The claim to the Bible is something new. Has this been approved by the Lubyanka, or are you being a little over-zealous?

    Comment by Ivan — April 19, 2014 @ 2:00 am

  12. OK, I stand corrected:

    As my and John Kerry’s ancestors wrote, “he notices a spec of dust in other people’s eyes but refuses to acknowledge a big log in his own eye…”

    Comment by vladislav — April 19, 2014 @ 2:35 am

  13. https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1.0-9/10262027_271897689658522_2610252850242033857_n.jpg

    Comment by vladislav — April 19, 2014 @ 4:42 am

  14. https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-9/10262135_575392545893080_7468198960950089909_n.jpg

    Comment by vladislav — April 19, 2014 @ 4:43 am

  15. vladislav the Kremlinoid troll is following orders and repeating the same old Kremlin Krappola over and over and over again

    Here is BBC’s story on the People’s Republic of Putlero-Donyetsk and the registration of Jews:

    The BBC piece is very powerful …. particularly at the end. A long time member of the Donetsk Jewish community muses about the future. She says that two generations of her family have lived in peace in the city (the last 20 years have been especially calm). Now she worries…..she “fears a future with Russia (in Russia)”……she also uses the word “Genocide’ (with a remarkable binary meaning: Donetsk was once the site of both the Holocaust and the Holodomor….the ultimate Snyder-ian ‘Bloodlands’!!)

    Posters and leaflets have appeared in Donetsk, Eastern Ukrainian, demanding Jews register, pay a new tax or leave, because of ‘their support for the Kiev government’.

    The leaflets were signed by the pro-Russian group People’s Republic of Donetsk, but it says they are fake and designed to discredit Moscow’s supporters.

    The BBC has obtained CCTV footage that shows how leaflets were distributed. Around 15,000 Jews live in the city.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27086345

    Comment by elmer — April 19, 2014 @ 11:04 am

  16. In this piece, you see Mustafa Cemilev accompanied by Crimean Tatars, driving through the Russian occupied Crimea with Ukrainian national and Crimean Tatar flags. Since the annexation, nobody saw a Ukrainian flag until yesterday, when Cemilev returned from his month-long trip to the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, where he met with political officials.

    His homecoming was problematic though. At the Crimean border, the border guard did not want to let him in and they told him that he was a persona-non-grata. But he was not. His name was not on that list. In any case, they made him wait for 30 minutes. Meanwhile Crimean Tatars who were separated by him with the artificial border created by the Russian annexation were very concerned. There were approximately 100 cars there waiting for him at the border. When they finally saw him, they were relieved. Then they accompanied him all the way to Simferopol accompanied by those cars waving Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags.

    http://ru.krymr.com/content/article/25355364.html

    I wonder how long before psycho wacko Putler and his psycho thug Kremlinoids try to shut down all newspapers and Internet in Crimea – except for Vlad Dracul Putler’s glorification, of course.

    Comment by elmer — April 19, 2014 @ 11:08 am

  17. Counter-intelligence: RF to kill 100-200 and send in troops

    http://en.pravda.com.ua/

    Saturday, April 19, 2014, 09:58

    Vitaly Naida, one of the counter-intelligence chiefs of the Secret Service of Ukraine, announced that Russian servicemen are tasked with killing a few hundred people and after that sending regular troops into the territory of Ukraine.

    “The main goal of diversionist and the Special Forces on the territory of Ukraine is to destabilize the situation to a maximum level,” he said. “Moreover the intercepted talks give us information and it is sad to say it that the country which declared itself as “fraternal” has given the task to its special forces to shed blood on the streets of our cities,” he said.

    “The recorded talks clarified that they should kill 100-200 people and a half of an hour later the Russian troops and APCs (Armoured Personnel Carrier) would be put into the territory of Ukraine,” he added.

    Naida confirmed again that the diversions on the territories of the Eastern oblasts have been committed by the 45th Separate Intelligence Brigade of Guards, which is headquartered in the town of Kubinka, Moscow Oblast.

    “These are the Russian Special Forces that seized the buildings of Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers of Crimea,” he pointed out.

    Naida also reiterated that these Special Forces get their commands from Ihor Strelkov, who is a Russian military intelligence officer from the GRU (call sign Stryelok) and who had been in charge of the seizures of the state buildings in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa.

    Comment by elmer — April 19, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  18. Ah, yes – the “Putler Republic of Slovyansk” –

    http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/bystrytsky/535293ad3218c/

    Stop Ethnic Violence in Slovyansk!

    [From the Ukrainian Pravda Blog Section]

    Saturday, 19 April 2014 14:58

    In Slovyansk, the Eastern Ukraine, separatists began riots targeted at Roma residing in the city. The armed separatists burst into houses inhabited by Roma, beaten and robbed them regardless of gender or age, UNIAN reports. According to this report, they have beaten even women and children. Separatists said that they operate under the direct order of their “people’s mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev”. The armed men loaded the property of Roma families in the truck, eyewitnesses say.

    While military and political conflicts the most vulnerable groups are the minorities. They often are victims of massacres and one of the first hostages of the actions made by aggressors.

    During World War II, the Roma have become the second largest nation suffered from the actions of the Nazis. During World War II more than 500 000 Roma were exterminated. In Ukraine they were among the first victims of mass tragedy at Babi Yar.

    In order to intimidate and destabilize the situation in Eastern Ukraine the separatists choose the most vulnerable group of people as their target. Ukrainian and international communities must respond immediately to prevent separatists’ ethnic cleansing attempts in Slaviansk area.

    For many years The International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) support comprehensive integration of the Roma people into a social life of Ukraine strengthening at the same time cultural identity of Roma. The IRF urges the Ombudsman of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministries of Culture and Social Policy to verify the information on Roma pogroms in Slovyansk and take all the necessary steps to stop violence against Roma, as well any kind of human rights abuse based on ethnic grounds.

    Yevhen Bystrytsky

    Executive Director of International Renaissance Foundation

    Olga Zhmurko

    Director of Roma of Ukraine Program Initiative of

    International Renaissance Foundation

    Євген БистрицькийДоктор філософських наук, виконавчий директор
    Міжнародного фонду Відродження (з 1998).
    Припинити етнічне насилля у Слов’янську!
    19 квітня 2014, 18:18
    Версія для друкуКоментарі192

    У місті Слов’янску сепаратисти почали погроми ромів, які там проживають. Як передає УНІАН, озброєні сепаратисти вриваються в будинки, де проживають роми, б’ють та грабують їх, незалежно від статі та віку. Зокрема, було побито декілька жінок та дітей. За словами сепаратистів, вони діють за прямою вказівкою народного мера В’ячеслава Пономарьова”. Як стверджують очевидці, озброєні люди завантажують майно людей у вантажні автомобілі.

    Під час воєнних та політичних конфліктів найбільш вразливими групами стають представники меншин: вони стають жертвами показових розправ і одними з перших заручників дій з боку агресорів.

    За часів Другої світової війни роми стали другим за чисельністю народом, який постраждав від дій нацистів. Вони піддавались цілеспрямованому винищенню через свою етнічну приналежність. Під час Другої світової війни по всій Європі, за різними даними, було винищено більше 500 000 ромів. В Україні вони були одними з перших жертв масової трагедії, що сталася у Бабиному Яру.

    З метою залякування й дестабілізації обстановки сепаратисти обирають своєю мішенню найменш захищені групи населення. Українська й міжнародна спільнота мають негайно відреагувати на тривожні сигнали й зробити все можливе, щоб не допустити переслідувань людей за етнічною ознакою.

    Програма “Рома України” Міжнародного Фонду “Відродження” багато років сприяє всебічній інтеграції народу Рома у суспільне життя України разом із розвитком їхньої етнічної ідентичності. Ми звертаємося до Уповноваженого Верховної Ради з прав людини, до Кабінету Міністрів України – Міністерства внутрішніх справ, до Міністерств культури і соціальної політики з проханням негайно перевірити інформацію про погроми ромів у Слов’янську й вжити необхідних заходів для припинення насилля по відношенню до ромів та порушення прав людини за національною ознакою.

    Виконавчий директор Міжнародного фонду “Відродження”

    Євген Бистрицький

    Директор програмної ініціативи “Рома України” Міжнародного фонду “Відродження

    Ольга Жмурко

    Comment by elmer — April 19, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  19. http://foreignnotes.blogspot.com/2014/04/slovyansk-under-siege.html

    Slovyansk under siege
    Almost exactly a year the town of Slovyansk and its ‘gangster moll’ mayor, Nelya Shtepa featured in on of my blogs.

    Today, Slovyansk is totally in the hands of separatist thugs; Shtepa has been detained by them, ‘for her own good.’

    Ostrov.org describes the dire situation in which Slovyansk currently finds itself, in an article entitled: “Slovyansk siege, a few hours in a captured town”

    Here’s what they say:

    Slovyansk is no longer controlled by Ukrainian authorities. The city is dominated by the separatist groups and has descended to an [anarchist] ‘Gulyai Polye’ enclosed on all sides by rows of barricades of tyres at the entrances to the city. The familiar young guys in masks and helmets, some with guns, some with sticks, are arrogantly spot-checking vehicles and carrying out inspections as they pass through.

    These guyss react aggressively when they are called “separatists”. Most of the participants in anti-government protests openly say they want to secede from Ukraine, but it is not clear whether they want a Donetsk Republic, or to go with Russia..

    Since the start of the take-over of Slovyansk the number of people and cars seen on the streets has dramatically reduced. The unusual emptiness is striking..

    It is difficult to assess how many separatists there are in the town, but could be about a thousand. Groups of armed men are constantly moving around the city by foot or in cars.

    The situation, which not so long was diligently being stoked up by Party of Regions, in the end, it seems, has spun out of control. Mayor of Slovyansk Nelia Shtepa, who initially tried to appeal to the separatists and even declared support for them now speaks of them in an extremely unflattering manner. According to her, looting has started in the town, and uncontrolled criminal elements have seized power.

    The separatists say Shtepa has been deposed and Sloviansk now has another mayor. It seems negotiations with the separatist are not going well for the “Regionals” to whom they respond almost as badly as to the government in Kyiv.

    The main problem is the reluctance of separatists who have seized the town to negotiate with anyone at all.

    Slovyansk remains under a voluntary siege, and if it goes on like this, then in the near future its residents will realise the full depth of their desperate situation.

    In the past few days in Slovyansk a whole series of banks and shops have not been able to operate; deliveries of goods have stopped because suppliers fear robberies. Timely payments of pensions etc. to residents are now hardly likely.

    Comment by elmer — April 19, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  20. Vladislav, those US troops should be punished. End of story.

    Of course I wonder how you feel about the problems Russian youths are causing in Israel?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israels-nightmare-homegrown-neonazis-in-the-holy-land-396392.html

    Israel’s nightmare: Homegrown neo-Nazis in the Holy Land
    A A A
    Swastikas daubed on the walls of synagogues. ‘Heil Hitler’ salutes. People beaten in the streets because they are Jewish. Where could this be? Germany? Eastern Europe? Try Israel. Neo-Nazism has taken root in the very nation forged from the ashes of the Holocaust. Eric Silver reports
    Tuesday 09 October 2007
    Rivka Zagaron, a 75-year-old Holocaust survivor, left her home in the Israeli port city of Haifa one September morning for her daily stroll along the beach. As she walked, two young men accosted her and shouted: “Heil Hitler!” One of them kicked her, the other cursed her. When she managed to get away, she saw them beating a street sweeper. “I never thought,” she said afterwards, “that in our country I would hear the words ‘Heil Hitler’.”
    The attack took place a week after the arrest of eight neo-Nazis in the Tel Aviv satellite town of Petah Tikva, an incident that stunned Israel. Like the old lady, the people of this country had thought that the Jewish state, founded on the ashes of Auschwitz, was immune to the neo-Nazi virus. But the epidemic seems to be spreading, raising serious questions about Israel’s failure to adjust to the multicultural society of Jews and non-Jews it has become.
    Last week, police arrested two 13-year-old boys on suspicion of daubing swastikas and naked women on the door of a Haifa synagogue. A 19-year-old was charged with setting fire to a booth where Haifa’s religious Jews celebrated the Sukkot festival. In Bnei Brak, a predominantly Orthodox town near Tel Aviv, someone painted “Heil Hitler” on a synagogue wall.
    According to the police, the Petah Tikva gang met every few days with their leader, Eli Buatinov, the self-styled “Eli the Nazi”, to decide who and where to strike next. Buatinov is quoted as saying he would never have children because his grandfather was half Jewish, and he didn’t want to father a “piece of trash with even the smallest percentage of Jewish blood”.
    The gang members’ arms are tattooed with Nazi and white power symbols. Though they protest their innocence, they are expected to come to trial later this month on charges of assault, illegally possessing weapons and denying the Holocaust.
    Members of the cell, aged 16 to 21, are Russian immigrants. One is Jewish, the rest were admitted to Israel under the Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent – the same criterion adopted by the Third Reich for sending Jews to the gas chambers. In the former Soviet Union, their families were defined on their identity cards as “ethnic Russians”. In Israel, they are outsiders, frustrated and angry. Neo-Nazism is a way to hit back where they know it hurts.
    One of the gang’s alleged victims was Anatoly Levin, a 38-year-old Orthodox Jew with a bushy black beard and black hat who emigrated from St Petersburg 12 years ago. He was walking home through a park late one night after a Talmud study session when two teenage skinheads mocked him and made anti-Semitic jokes in Russian.
    When they started throwing stones, he threw them back. One of theirs hit his leg, and another struck a passing car. As the driver jumped out, the boys ran off. Levin, a geriatric nurse, continued on his way, but the two skinheads attacked him again, this time with wooden clubs, and broke his right hand. He says he couldn’t escape because of his injured leg. The boys fled when he yelled “Police!” and people rushed out to see what was going on.
    Zalman Gilichenski, a Russian immigrant teacher who runs a help and information line for victims of anti-Semitism, says neo-Nazism is widespread in the Jewish state. “There are groups in many towns. They distribute cassettes and written material. They began with graffiti, and then graduated to beatings.”
    The police say there are more individuals than groups. They spray-paint swastikas, vandalise synagogues, taunt recognisably religious Jews and terrorise people who look vulnerable – the homeless, homosexuals, drunks, old people. There is no evidence of a coordinated nationwide movement, no Führer, no Oswald Mosley figure. But the Petah Tikva gang was unusually well-organised.
    The Petah Tikva youths were caught after they made videos of their rampages and posted them on a viciously anti-Semitic Russian website. One showed them savagely beating a Thai worker in the Tel Aviv bus station. The site, Format 18, said the images had been sent by “our comrades in Israel”.

    ***
    The use of a website was no accident. Russian racism is going global. The Israeli neo-Nazis draw their inspiration from the thriving radical right in Mother Russia, where Vladimir Putin’s Interior Ministry estimates there are 70,000 white-supremacist skinheads. A poll this summer found that 35 per cent of Russians dislike Jews.
    Sergei Makarov, a researcher who monitors Russian racism from Jerusalem, says: “You can’t understand neo-Nazis in Israel if you don’t understand the upsurge in neo-Nazism in Russia. It’s nourished by what’s going on back home. These people came from there, and they are in touch through the internet.”
    Despite the Russians’ bitter memories of their “Great Patriotic War” against Germany, groups there flaunt the Nazi connection. One, the National Socialist Forum, boasts that 80,000 messages have been posted on its website. It claims 1,500 regular participants and 343 visits a day. One of its contributors calls himself “Dr Goebbels”.
    Some groups are reported to hold military training camps. They have headquarters, weapons caches and firing ranges. Neo-Nazism is banned in Russia, but tolerated. When violators are prosecuted, the sentences tend to be light.
    The Russian ultra-nationalists, nostalgic for the glory of the Czars, target immigrant workers from the former Soviet Asian republics, as well as Jews. The National Socialist Party of Russia posted a gruesome video clip of its members stabbing and decapitating two Muslim “aliens” from Dagestan and Tajikistan. “Our party is a fighting avant-garde of the National Socialist struggle,” it bragged.
    Another nationalist website, Russkoe Delo (“Russian Cause”), accused the “Zhids” (Yids) of seeking to dominate the world and of encouraging white women to have sex with black men, who infect them with Aids. “The Jews, through their knavish propaganda, infect the minds of white women and inspire them to look at the Niggers with friendliness and benevolence,” it wrote. “We must protect our women. We must liberate their minds from the Zhid obsession.”
    Up to 300,000 of the one million emigrants who flocked to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 do not identify themselves as Jewish. The families came because the gates were suddenly thrown open and the economic prospects looked brighter in Israel than Russia. Some are the gentile spouses of people with a half-forgotten Jewish grandparent. Others are the children of previous all-gentile marriages, who have no connection to Jewish history or the Jewish religion. Their divorced parent married a Jew. To complicate things further, in Russia ethnicity is defined by the father’s origins, in Israel by the mother’s. So a child could be a Jew in Russia and a Russian in Israel.
    It is estimated that 20 to 25 per cent of this post-Soviet wave have failed to integrate into Israeli society. Children came to Israel because their parents brought them. Immigrants account for 42 per cent of all school drop-outs, although they are only 11.5 per cent of the total school population. Even those who have been successfully absorbed remember being tormented as “stinking Russians” and told to “get back to Russia”, mostly by working-class North African children of a previous mass immigration.
    A recent Hebrew University study found that only one third of Russian immigrant teenagers identifies themselves as Israeli. In a society with no binge-booze culture, about 90 per cent of them reported drinking alcohol in the past year. One third said they got drunk at least four times, while 36 per cent admitted using drugs. Almost a third of those who took drugs said they had committed violent acts under the influence.
    Marina Solodkin, a Russian member of the Israeli parliament and former deputy minister of immigrant absorption, says: “Neo-Nazi activity is the way a young generation that has not found itself in Israel protests. They’ve lost their identity. They are not Jews, they are not Israelis. They are Russians who are not accepted, not in schools, not in the families of other children.”
    Eli Zarkhin, an educational counsellor who runs the Israel Association for Immigrant Children, says: “We’re talking about 40,000 children who are not Jewish and identify themselves as not Jewish. It adds one more difficulty. They already have problems in Israel because it’s a foreign country, because it has a foreign language, because there are foreign cultural codes, because their parents are busy with their own integration and can’t help the children, and because there are no programmes in schools to bring these children closer to Israel.
    “There is no Nazi ideology, but there is a lot of anger. We used to see graffiti against the Moroccans. Now we see it against the Jews, who represent for them the Israel that doesn’t want to accept them. These teenagers are looking for provocative symbols. They use the swastika because they know it makes Jews angry. It also makes the educational authorities take notice of them. They get attention.”
    Zarkhin cites the case of Sasha, whose family settled in the Mediterranean town of Ashqelon when he was eight. “He feels he is a Russian, he grew up as a Russian. He had a Russian father and a Russian mother. One day his mother came home and said his father’s grandfather was Jewish, so they were allowed to go to Israel. Life there was easier. They could earn more money.”
    In Ashqelon, Sasha went to a school where half the children were Russian-speaking and half native Israelis. “Nobody accepted him,” Zarkhin reports. “Even the Russian-speaking children didn’t want to deal with him because he was a goy. They hit him, they called him names. He has problems with Hebrew. His parents are working. So, more and more he started fighting in school. On one occasion he said, “It’s a pity Hitler didn’t kill you.” When we talked to him, he knew nothing about Hitler, except that Hitler killed Jews.”

    ***
    Israel takes pride in fulfilling its Zionist mission and has absorbed more than three million Jews from 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas over the past 60 years. But critics protest that a country whose raison d’etre is to be the state of the Jews has yet to come to terms with multiculturalism – the presence of nearly one and a half million Arab citizens, 20 per cent of the total population, and tens of thousands of Russian non-Jews, as well as long-term immigrant workers who care for the aged, till the fields and build the cities.
    “Being Jewish doesn’t mean to be against other nations,” says Eli Zarkhin. “We have a reality. Israel is not the state of the Jews only. We should take it into account, we should deal with it. The government should do more to make others feel they belong. Maybe a state with a Jewish majority, a state with Jewish values of all people being equal, all people having rights, can work too.” More bluntly, the Arabs demand “a state of all its citizens”.
    Anatoly Gerasimov, another advocate of multiculturalism, is trying to give the ethnic Russians a voice through a new lobby, the Russian Centre of Culture and Information. Gerasimov, a dapper 49-year-old Christian who worked as a nurse, denounces successive Israeli governments for failing to adopt a clear and policy on minorities.
    “In Israel,” he complains, “all problems revolve around Jews and their conflict with the Arabs. National minorities have long been cast to the margins of cultural, public and political life. The state refuses to perceive hundreds of thousands of citizens, working in industry, studying in schools and universities, serving in the army as full members of society.
    “Every fourth citizen of Israel is non-Jewish, but open any newspaper and you will not see
    anything about our non-Jewish holidays, about the history of our presence in the Holy Land, or about our communal activities. Last year our Russian community participated in an international youth sports festival in Moscow. Our boys and girls brought gold and silver medals back to Israel. Not a line was written about it in Israeli newspapers. Even Russian-speaking MPs gave them no encouragement.
    “Israel has problems with non-Jews? Israel has one greater problem – the absence of a desire to cooperate with us in solving the vital issues of Jews and non-Jews living together in the Holy Land.”
    Marina Solodkin, the immigrant MP, says that many of the mixed Russian families came to Israel because they wanted to be one thing or the other. “If they had Jewish blood, they wanted to be Jewish.” Israel, she protests, has not made it easy for them. The Orthodox rabbis still run the conversion process. They try to impose a pious way of life that is alien to most veteran Israelis, who manage to be both Jewish and secular. Converts are expected to keep the Sabbath and observe kosher dietary laws. Inspectors reserve the right to make random checks that they are not back-sliding.
    Women are ordered to stop wearing trousers, which are regarded as masculine and thus immodest. Girls are forbidden to join the army, though it is widely accepted that military service offers their best route to integration. The rabbis don’t want them hanging out with the opposite sex. “Not everyone,” Solodkin insists, “wants to live the strict Orthodox way of life.”
    Coalition constraints keep the more liberal Reform rabbis at arm’s length. Ehud Olmert, like previous prime ministers, needs the support of at least one Orthodox religious party to stay in office. These groups fight every effort to recognise Reform Judaism.

    ***
    So far, anti-Semitic hate crimes are restricted to the young. But some older non-Jewish immigrants quietly share their smouldering resentment at the discrimination and ostracism they have experienced. They seek comfort in old prejudices.
    A Russian-language bookshop near Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market stocks anti-Semitic books and Holocaust denial material among its shelves of novels, thrillers, science fiction and DVDs. They are on open display. One, What We don’t Like about Them, an anti-Jewish tract by Vasily Shulgin, first published in 1929 and reprinted in 2005, has the exiled Jewish oligarch Boris Berezovsky on its cover. Another, by Alexei Mukhin, is dedicated to “Jewish Elites”. It features the familiar smiling face of Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich.
    Vladimir, the bookshop owner, a mild-mannered intellectual who asks us not to publish his second name, reports a steady demand from older customers. He draws the line at Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the notorious century-old forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purports to map a Jewish takeover of the world. “As for the rest,” he shrugs, “I’m in the business of selling books.”
    For the 75 to 80 per cent of Russians who made it, the post-Soviet immigration has been a success story. Most of them were educated people with modern skills. Once they got over the initial difficulties, they found jobs. Israel’s orchestras are full of Russian musicians. Russian doctors and nurses man its hospitals. Engineers and mathematicians work in the country’s high-tech industries.
    Lisa Rubchinsky, a 29-year-old hairdresser who came here alone when she was 18, says: “At first I felt hatred of Russians in the street, in the market. But I’m a strong person. I know how to defend myself. If you’ve chosen to come here, you have to try to be part of this country. Don’t blame other people.”
    She admits that it’s been easier for her than for some of her friends. Unlike them, she doesn’t look Slavic.
    The Law of Return: immigration and Israel
    The Law of Return was first passed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on 5 July, 1950. It established a system for allowing foreign nationals to “make aliyah” (emigrate to the country) and claim citizenship.
    Originally, the right to become an Israeli was restricted to practising Jews. But an amendment in 1970 broadened the definition to anyone who had just one Jewish grandparent. The move aimed to help all those who had been defined as Jews (and hence persecuted) under the Nuremberg Laws during the Nazi Holocaust, and to bolster Israel’s Jewish population against the perceived demographic “threat” of a rising Arab population.
    Following the collapse of Communism, there was an explosion in the number of emigrants from the former Soviet Union, where authorities had previously placed heavy restrictions on the numbers of Jews who could leave the country. Since 1990, more than a million Russian migrants have made the move, forming a significant minority in a country of only seven million.
    Many of these newcomers have claimed that they face discrimination in the job market and in wider Israeli society, fuelling a sense of alienation. Opponents, for their part, argue that many of the new arrivals have only a tenuous connection to Judaism and affinity with the Jewish community.
    Other major ethnic groups in Israel include Ashkenazim (European Jews), Mizrahim (descendents of Jewish communities elsewhere in the Middle East), Sephardim (those from the Iberian peninsula), and Ethiopian and Indian Jews, not to mention the one million-plus Israeli Arab community. There are also a large number of non-Jewish immigrant workers, who also claim to have faced discrimination.
    Jastinder Khera

    Looks like Russians are a problem wherever they go.

    Comment by Andrew — April 20, 2014 @ 12:09 am

  21. > Of course I wonder how you feel about the problems Russian youths are causing in Israel?

    Ooooh, eeeh, Andrew, did you look at the date of that article? It’s Tuesday 09 October 2007. Can you find some more recent articles about this “problem” or was October 2007 the last time we heard of it?

    Moreover, many years ago you and I discussed this in the LaRussophobe blog. How much trouble can a dozen Russian neo-Nazis cause to their fellow Jews in Israel? As much trouble as a dozen Jewish neo-Nazis cause to Russians in Russia.

    Don’t you have some more important and recent stories to discuss?

    Comment by vladislav — April 20, 2014 @ 2:07 am

  22. As much trouble as a dozen Jewish neo-Nazis can cause to Russians in Russia.

    Comment by vladislav — April 20, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

  23. Professor,

    What do you think about the Russian super-agent Koba that was caught red-handed in Kiev?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LtxbHzutzV0

    Comment by vladislav — April 20, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

  24. Why the Russian Jews in Israel Vote Reactionary
    April 26, 2013
    The Russians Came
    Uri Avnery

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Russians-Came-by-Uri-Avnery-130428-758.html

    April 27, 2013

    WHEN THE huge immigration wave from the Soviet Union arrived in 1990, we were glad.
    First of all, because we believe that all immigration is a good thing for the country. This, I believe, is generally the case.
    Second, because we were convinced that this specific group of immigrants would push our country in the right direction.
    These people, we told ourselves, have been educated for 70 years in an internationalist spirit. They have just overthrown a cruel dictatorial system, so they must be avid democrats. Many of them are not Jews, but only relatives (sometimes remote) of Jews. So here we have hundreds of thousands of secular, internationalist and non-nationalist new citizens, just what we need. They would add a positive element to the demographic cocktail that is Israel.
    Moreover, since the pre-state Jewish community in the country (the so-called “yishuv”) was largely shaped by immigrants from Czarist and early revolutionary Russia, the new immigrants would surely mingle easily with the general population.
    Or so we thought.
    THE PRESENT situation is the very opposite.
    The immigrants from the former Soviet Union – all bundled together as “the Russians” in common parlance – have not mingled at all. They are a separate community, living in a self-made ghetto.
    They continue to speak Russian. They read their own Russian newspapers, all of them rabidly nationalist and racist. They vote for their own party, led by the Moldavian-born Evet (now Avigdor) Lieberman. They have practically no contact with other Israelis.
    In their first two years in the country, they mainly voted for Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor party, but not because he promised peace, but because he was a general and was presented to them as an outstanding military man. From then on they have consistently voted for the extreme Right.
    The very large majority of them hate Arabs, reject peace, support the settlers and vote for right-wing governments.
    Since they now constitute almost 20% of the Israeli population, this is a major component of Israel’s move to the right.
    WHY FOR heaven’s sake?
    There are several theories, probably all of them right.
    One I heard from a high-ranking Russian official: “During the Soviet era, the Jews were just Soviet citizens like everybody else. When the Union broke up, everybody retreated into his own nation. The Jews were left in a void. So they went to Israel and became more Israeli than all the other Israelis. Even the non-Jews among them became Israeli super-patriots.”
    Another theory goes like this: “When communism collapsed in Russia, there was nothing but nationalism (or religion) to take its place. The population was imbued with totalitarian attitudes, a disdain for democracy and liberalism, a longing for strong leaders. There was also the widespread racism of the ‘white’ population of the Northern Soviet Union towards the ‘dark’ peoples of the South. When the Russian Jews (and non-Jews) came to Israel, they brought these attitudes with them. They just substituted the Arabs for the despised Armenians, Chechens and all the others. These attitudes are nourished daily by the Russian newspapers and TV stations in Israel.”
    I noticed these attitudes when I visited the Soviet Union for the first time in 1990, during the era of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Glasnost. I could not visit it before, because my name was regularly struck from every one of the lists of people invited to see the glories of the Soviet fatherland. I don’t know why. (Curiously enough, I was also struck from the lists of dignitaries invited to the US embassy parties on the 4th of July, and some years I had great difficulties in obtaining an American visa. Perhaps because I demonstrated against the Vietnam War. I must be one of the few people in the world who can pride themselves on having been simultaneously on the black list of both the CIA and the KGB.)
    I went to Russia to write a book about the end of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe (it was published in Hebrew under the title “Lenin Does Not Live Here Anymore”.) Rachel and I liked Moscow very much, but it took only a few days for us to be amazed at the rampant racism we saw everywhere around us. Dark-skinned citizens were treated with undisguised contempt. When we went to the market and joked with the vendors, all people from the South with whom we established immediate rapport, our young, nice, serious-faced Russian translator distanced himself quite open.
    MY FRIENDS and I have been meeting every Friday for some 50 years. When the Russians started to arrive, our “table” was in Tel Aviv’s Café Kassit, the mythological meeting place of writers, artists and such.
    One day we noticed that a group of young Russian immigrants had established a “table” of their own. Full of sympathy – as well as curiosity – we joined them from time to time.
    At the beginning it worked. Some friendships were struck up. But then something curious happened. They distanced themselves from us, making it clear that for them we were only some uncultured Middle Eastern barbarians, unworthy of association with people brought up on Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Soon enough they disappeared from our view.
    I was reminded of this last Friday when an unusually heated discussion broke out at our table. We had a guest, a young “Russian” female scientist, who accused the Left of indifference and a patronizing attitude towards the Russian community which had caused it to turn to the right. A leading female peace activist reacted furiously, arguing that the Russians had already come to the country with a near-fascist attitude.
    I agreed with both of them.
    ISRAEL’S ATTITUDE towards new immigrants has always been a bit on the strange side.
    Leaders like David Ben-Gurion treated Zionist immigration as if it was merely a transportation problem. They went to extraordinary lengths to bring Jews from all over the world to Israel, but once they were here, they were left to fend for themselves. Sure, material assistance was given, housing was provided, but next to nothing was done to integrate them into society.
    This was true of the mass immigration of German Jews in the 1930s, the Oriental Jews in the 1950s, and the Russians in the 1990s. When the Russian Jews showed a marked preference for the USA, our government pressured the American administration to shut the gates in their face, so they were practically forced to come here. When they did come, they were left to congregate in ghettos, instead of being induced to spread and settle among us.
    The Israeli Left was no exception. When some feeble efforts to draw them to the peace camp were unsuccessful, they were left well alone. The organization to which I belong, Gush Shalom, once distributed 100,000 copies of our flagship publication (“Truth against Truth”, the history of the conflict) in Russian, but when we received only one sole answer, we were discouraged. Obviously, the Russians did not give a damn for the history of this country, about which they do not have the slightest idea.
    TO UNDERSTAND the importance of this problem one must visualize the composition of Israeli society as it is (I have written about this in the past). It consists of five main sectors, of almost equal size, as follows:
    Jews of European origin, called Ashkenazim, to which most of the cultural, economic, political and military elite belongs. The Left is almost completely concentrated here.
    Jews of Oriental origin, often called (mistakenly) Sephardim, from Arab and other Muslim countries. They are the base of Likud.
    Religious Jews, which include the ultra-Orthodox Haredim, both Ashkenazi and Oriental, as well as the National-Religious Zionists, which include the leadership of the settlers.
    Arab-Palestinian citizens, mostly located in three large geographical blocs.
    The “Russians”
    Some of these sectors overlap to some minor extent, but the picture is clear. The Arabs and many of the Ashkenazim belong to the peace camp, all the others are solidly right-wing.
    Because of this, it is absolutely imperative to win over at least sections of the Oriental Jews, the religious and – yes – the “Russians”, to create a majority for peace. To my mind, that is the most important task of the peace camp at this moment.
    AT THE end of the furious debate at our table, I tried to calm down the two sides:
    “No need to fight about sharing the blame. There is quite enough for everybody.”

    Comment by Andrew — April 21, 2014 @ 12:52 am

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