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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

What the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election

eal Kremlin insiders — not Steele’s anonymous “trusted officials” — reveal that Putin did not share the elation of his security officers and of the Russian people with respect to the unexpected election of Donald Trump. No conspiracy structure was in place. Putin had no idea how to create either a formal or a back channel to the Trump team, and he warned his oligarchs to get ready for more sanctions under Trump. He “suggested” that his oligarchs open up back channels, but his low expectation of success turned out to be correct.
Even The New York Times has admitted that the Steele dossier could be a Kremlin disinformation campaign to “hedge their bets and place a few land mines under Trump’s presidency as well.” Yet, the Times’ recognition of that does not answer why the Kremlin would sabotage the candidate it wanted so much to win.
https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/444673-what-the-mueller-report-tells-us-about-putin-russia-and-trumps-election

Monday, May 13, 2019

Is Russia Preparing A Gas Nuclear Option?

Clearly, a nuclear option would risk long-term damage to Russia’s gas business with Europe. It would promote the construction of LNG terminals throughout Europe and drive European buyers into the clutches of American LNG. Europe could not afford to gamble with Russia’s unreliability as a supplier of such a key resource. But the nuclear option carries with it tempting short-run gains. It would remove Ukraine from the gas delivery business. Russia could destabilize the new administration of a young and popular president. Russia could again play king of the hill and split Eastern Europe from Western Europe, not only with cyber-attacks but with the more potent weapon of energy.
Let’s wait for Putin’s move.



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Thursday, May 2, 2019

How Socialist is Bernie?

It's about time Sanders stopped pretending to be a social democrat and explains that  Democratic Socialism calls for the end of private capital and profits.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Putin's provocations are met with ridicule in Ukraine

The Western world and Ukraine have had reservations concerning the election of a young, political novice with popular appeal based upon a career in show business. Zelensky’s handling of his first foreign policy challenge suggests a velvet-gloved Donald Trump willing to fight back but with a smile on his face and with carefully chosen words. Zelensky is off to a good start, but we have to recognize that he is not playing with a deck of strong cards.



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Monday, April 22, 2019

Why Putin Refuses to Recognize the Ukraine Election

The election of Zelinskiy has given Ukraine a third rebirth after the Orange Revolution and the Maidan Revolution. Consider this the “Citizen President Revolution." Ukraine has demonstrated it is a democracy.
Can it now become a prosperous free-market economy growing at its potential 8-10 percent? Much depends on the success of the reforms Zelenskiy has promised. If so, Putin’s worst fears would be recognized — a prosperous democratic Ukraine on his western border. 
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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Putin stands to be the biggest loser of Ukraine's elections

In evaluating the prospects for Ukraine’s election, it is tempting to focus on its glaring flaws and weaknesses, but that is not the point. The point is that we do not know who will win. It appears that no candidates wishing to run were denied their place on the ballot by a phony “electoral commission” as in Putin’s “managed democracy.”  
On election day, Ukraine will be flooded by local and foreign election observers. Candidates who smack of Russian ties will have little chance. Putin’s aggression has indeed created a Ukrainian nation, whose voters will reject any Yanukovych-like candidate.
The various candidates seem to have marshalled an even balance of electoral resources so as to make this a battle of countervailing power.
Ukrainian voters, unaccustomed to the rough-and-tumble world of democratic politics, may be turned off by the unseemly electoral gutter fight, but they should worry more if the campaign resembled the routine of their Russian neighbor, with its slates of token candidates selected by the Kremlin.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Steele Dossier Is either Trash or a Russian Trojan Horse?

Victory has many mothers; defeat is an orphan. The Steele dossier is now officially an orphan. It served its purpose and must disappear from the scene.
In the tens of thousands of words that the New York Times devoted to the history of the collusion investigation in the last few days, the words “Steele” and “dossier” do not appear once.


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Friday, March 1, 2019

For Kim, his regime 'ain't broke.' So why fix it?

The agreement that President Donald Trump is offering Kim Jong Un carries uncertain rewards and considerable risk for Kim. Trump’s offer is based on the false assumption that Kim wants a prosperous country from which he and the people of North Korea can benefit.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Merkel Salvages Nord Stream, But Is Putin Losing Russia's Gas Monopoly?

The European Union took a first step with its February 8 vote towards turning Russia’s gas monopoly, Gazprom, from an instrument of Russian power politics into a regulated utility, deprived of its monopoly power. In an odd twist, Germany, the self-proclaimed guardian of European unity, found itself politically isolated from the rest of Europe, which sided with U.S. President Donald Trump. A bitter pill for Germany to swallow.



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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Progressives pulling a bait-and-switch with 'Medicare for All'

"Medicare for All," if properly explained, should markedly increase the chances of Donald Trump’s re-election. The media has already figured out that "Medicare for All" outlaws the employer health insurance of 170 million Americans and that medical resources may cover 44 million currently on Medicare but would be insufficient for 325 million. 
Tough decisions lay ahead for the Democrat presidential candidates.
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Friday, February 1, 2019

My Quest for an Oscar: Women of the Gulag

One thing is certain: There will be no second Women of the Gulag. We captured these heroines near the ends of their lives—in their eighties and nineties. As the voting began, we learned the sad news that Fyokla, a peasant girl who grew up in a Gulag settlement in the Urals to become a local human rights activist, had passed on. She has joined Ksenia and Vera as “last witnesses” lost forever. Adile, now 98 years old, put it best: “I have lived so long so as to be able to tell the truth.”

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Oscar Contender Women of the Gulag Meets its First Troll – A Gulag Denier

Our documentary film, Women of the Gulag, made the Academy’s short-list of ten documentary films contending for a place in the final five. That Russian-American director, Marianna Yarovskaya, is the first Russian documentary film maker in the history of the Russian Federation to make it so far in Oscar competition has attracted considerable attention in Russian media, especially its liberal sites. It did not take long however before it caught the attention of Russian Gulag deniers. A writer for  https://zol-dol.livejournal.com/994442.html viewed the film and concluded that the five female Gulag survivors, telling their story on camera were lying. Such things that they describe – the arbitrary sentences, the beatings, and arrest of innocent fathers and husbands – were made-up fantastic stories. Who could believe that a young woman sleeping in a tent at a freezing logging camp could wake up with a frog in her mouth? Surely viewers will not be taken in by such nonsense. Besides, director Yarovskaya is incompetent – a dupe of faux human-rights organizations, like Memorial. In the same edition, another Gulag-denier writes that the much-authenticated order 00447 that initiated the Great Terror is a fabrication of Russian human-rights organizations. So far, Russian mainstream media is waiting and watching, asking should Yarovskaya’s Women of the Gulag be treated as an accomplishment of Russian film makers or an attempt to sully the greatness of Russian history?