Interesting. Azov founder sees Russian nationalism as the only possible opposition to Putin regime

– Speaking of Russian nationalists, who do you have in mind?

– in Russia, it’s impossible to organize officially anything other than the party “United Russia.” We are talking simply about Russian nationalists, a kind of underground. But they have a huge potential. Russian chauvinists dream of the Russian Empire from Georgia to the Kurils. But Russian nationalists perceive Putin’s regime as an enemy. That’s why they long suffer repression. They perceive this Eurasian project as an attempt to destroy Russian identity and turn it into a Eurasian one, by means of reinforcing the elements of Kadyrov’s clan influence. But, whether their potential is used? Hundreds of them were coming to Ukraine, after all.

– According to Russian nationalists, the whole “Russian world” was based on their grounds.

– Yes, back during the Maidan. But then frankly outrageous rhetoric of some Ukrainian politicians estranged these people – the potential that did not have any territorial claims. This is an axiom for a non-chauvinistic part of Russian nationalists that Ukraine is an independent state, a separate nation, a homeland to Kievan Rus. These people understood it very well, they did not have any territorial claims neither to Ukraine, nor Belarus. At one time, Russia was captured by the Bolsheviks of the Russian Empire. Thus, overall, there is only one revolutionary potential in Russia, and it is Russian nationalists.

The EU just granted visa-free travel to 50 million people

The EU has granted visa-free travel to 50 million Ukrainians and Georgians.

Officials said the deal had been struck on Thursday to end an internal EU dispute that had been holding up the promised measures.

Late-night talks involving EU member states and the European Parliament had reached a compromise on the terms of a mechanism which can be used to suspend the visa-free schemes in emergencies.

International Criminal Court: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Is A ‘Crime,’ Not A Civil War


On November 14, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its preliminary findings that “there exists a sensible or reasonable justification for a belief that a crime [my italics] falling within the jurisdiction of the Court ‘has been or is being committed’” within the Crimean and Donbas territories of Ukraine. On release of the ICC report, Russia announced that it would withdraw from the organization because it “failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal.” The ICC report intensifies Russia’s isolation following the Joint Investigative Team’s (JIT) blaming Russia for shooting down MH17.

Russia thus finds itself in the questionable company of Burundi, Gabon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, and Niger as suspects in creating international armed conflicts. The ICC report demolishes Putin’s narrative of the Ukrainian conflict, which paints Russia as an innocent bystander. Following the ICC report and Russia’s angry withdrawal from the international tribunal, there should be no further reference to “civil war,” “separatists,” or “insurgents.” Instead the conflict that has claimed 9,578 lives is an “international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” Another consequence is that Russia, as a party to the conflict, should no longer have a “peacemaker” seat in negotiations in Minsk.

The ICC report is particularly embarrassing for the Kremlin as it tries to peddle its parallel-reality version of the Ukraine conflict to the incoming Donald Trump administration.

ICC: Crimea is occupied by Russia, not a part of Russia

The ICC report summarizes events in Crimea as follows:

In the early hours of February 27, 2014, armed and uniformed individuals wearing no identifying insignia (“green men”) seized control of the Crimean parliament and admitted pro-Russian deputies, who appointed a new prime minister (a local gangster) and called for a referendum on the status of Crimea. (See You tube of Russian special forces’ takeover of parliament.) Two days after a referendum conducted under the supervision of Russian Kalashnikovs, Crimea was admitted into the Russian Federation. Residents of Crimea automatically became Russian citizens. Crimea’s annexation by Russia was declared invalid by the Ukrainian provisional government and by a majority of states of the UN General Assembly. After an initial denial, Putin later admitted that his military personnel had been involved in these actions (and that he had planned the annexation well before the above events).

IT investors call on government to ease tech companies’ path to growth

Prominent Ukrainian capital investors and business angels discussed their algorithms for investing in Ukraine’s tech industry at the Lviv IT Arena conference on Oct. 1.

And all agreed that the process of investing, either in big tech companies or small startups, could be made simpler and easier if the government did its part by passing better laws and improving the economy.

Time lapse: colossal Chernobyl shelter slides into place

Ukraine on Tuesday unveiled the world’s largest moveable metal structure over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s doomed fourth reactor to ensure the safety of Europeans for future generations.

The gigantic arch soars 108 metres (355 feet) into the sky – making it taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty – while its weight of 36,000 tonnes is three times heavier than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

#Trump reiterates position on #Ukraine

#Trump reiterates position on #Ukraine. As I said, he’s not pro-Putin. His goal is more local involvement:

Trump makes unexpected statement on Ukraine – reiterates his position. (As I said, his goal is local involvement.)

President-elect Donald Trump expressed sympathy for Ukraine in his interview with The New York Times Dec. 3.

Trump said he has friends in Ukraine. He also noted Russia has become very confrontational.

He said the United States suffered the least from what has happened in Ukraine. However, Ukraine’s closest neighbors are reluctant to speak about Ukraine’s problems and do not take an active part in trying to settle them.

The US president-elect said other countries are just saying ‘we have to stop the Russian aggression’ but haven’t done much to do it.

He said Europe’s feeble stance on Russia is explained by the oil and gas Europe wants to get from Russia.

“We are fighting for Ukraine but no one else, except Ukraine. This is not fair and logical,” Donald Trump said.

Vladimir Putin ‘wants’ to reinstate Russia’s royal family and bring back the Tsars

(Article from 2015)

This is really interesting. The founders of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment who fought against Russia, and has dozens of Russians fighting in its ranks, says that Russian nationalism is the only thing that can stop the Kremlin.

This is a really incongruous idea for most western nationalists, because the Kremlin’s propaganda is so strong. But the reality is that Putin has imprisoned a number of Russian nationalists who refused to ally with the Kremlin. Some of them refer to Putin and the Eurasia project as “neo-Bolshevism.”

The New Yorker: Ukrainian Writer Serhiy Zhadan and Dobas

In the novel, Herman returns to a world that remains deeply familiar, in part because nothing has changed. “I’ve always had the sense that after 1991 people in the Donbas . . . didn’t allow time to move along in a natural way,” Zhadan told me. The result was “blacked-out places, temporally anomalous zones.”

In this temporally anomalous wasteland everything existential emerges through the physical: a bit of soccer, a lot of sex, still more violence. The material objects Zhadan describes with an almost grotesque precision—wooden icons of Christian Orthodox martyrs, a Manchester United pendant, a pair of Bosch electric scissors—serve as missing words amid laconic dialogue. It is not only words that are missing. People call the Donbas the “Bermuda Triangle,” Yevhenii Monastyrskyi, a twenty-three-year-old graduate student in history from Luhansk and fan of Zhadan, told me: objects, years, people—like Herman’s brother—disappear all the time there. Many of those who remain have survived beatings of various kinds. “We all wanted to become pilots,” Herman says, of his friends from childhood. “The majority of us became losers.” And not only losers, Zhadan wants us to understand, but damaged losers, their torsos, limbs, and faces inscribed with scars. “I looked more closely at the rest of my old friends, their bodies battered by hard lives and the fists of their rivals,” Herman says. . . .

After the Maidan’s victory in the Ukrainian capital, the population in eastern Ukraine remained divided. Russian “tourists” began arriving from across the border to take part in “anti-Maidan” demonstrations. On February 26th, Zhadan posted on YouTube, in both Russian and Ukrainian, a six-minute appeal to the residents of Kharkiv. “Don’t listen to the propaganda,” he said. “There are no fascists, no extremists. None of that is true. Come over to our side.” Three days later, on March 1st, Zhadan was led away from a demonstration in Kharkiv bloodied, his head bashed in. The poet was cavalier. “I’m a grownup—it’s hard to stun me with a blow to the head,” he said in an interview later that month.

. . . .

Today the former Voroshilovgrad falls within the territory of the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic—an entity which, Zhadan wrote in May, 2014, “exists exclusively in the fantasies of the self-proclaimed ‘people’s mayors’ and ‘people’s governors.’ “ The latter form a cast of characters that could easily be drawn from his novel: Zhadan provides telling depictions of men in tracksuits with stretched-out tattoos, glass eyes, and missing fingers. (The missing fingers are not part of the magical realism: Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the forty-something separatist who in April, 2014, declared himself the “people’s mayor” of Slovyansk, has two fingers missing from his left hand.)

. . . .

(I wrote to Zhadan in Polish about a novel he had written in Ukrainian and I had read in English. He answered me in Russian. The whole situation was very Ukrainian.)

. . . .

The graduate student I spoke with, Monastyrskyi, prefers the Donbas to Lviv, where he lives now, precisely for the chest’ and chestnost’ that supercede a more conventional bourgeois morality. For all its violence, Monastyrskyi insists, “the Donbas is full of joy and mercy—and empathy.” And he loves Zhadan for portraying these people who don’t have a lot of words more authentically than anyone else, for showing us that “these people are beautiful, beautiful in their ugliness.”

Danylo’s Proto-speach

(cuteness warning)

My son bumped his head today. I’m not sure how aware he was that hard surfaces exist in the world.

Anyway, once he was in his mother’s arms, he babbled through his tears with such earnestness and intensity, he could have been describing all the injustices in the world. We’d never heard him go on like that. It was by far the most expressive proto-speach we’d heard from him yet.

Comparing Russia to Mexico

Russia vs Mexico


Russia: 145 million
Mexico: 122 million
Edge Russia with +23 million

Population growth rates

Russia: .1%
Mexico 1.3%
Mexico will equal Russia in the next 2 decades or so.


Russia: $1.2 trillion
Mexico: $1.1 trillion
Both represent around 1.5% of the global economy.

GDP per capita

Russia: $9200
Mexico: $9400
Edge to Mexico. With similar GDP, but 23 million less people, Mexicans on an individual basis are slightly wealthier than Russians.

GDP growth 2015

Russia – 3.7%
Mexico +2.5%
Advantage Mexico

Corruption (using Transparency International rankings, lower number is less corrupt)

Russia 120
Mexico 94
Advantage Mexico

Global trade – export volume

Russia 15th
Mexico 13th
Advantage: Mexico

Life expectancy

Russia: 70 years
Mexico: 77 years

HDI (human development index, measures an assortment of living standards, scale of 0 to 1, larger is better.)

Russia .798
Mexico .756
Both are in same “group,” advantage to Russia

Democracy Index ranking (via Economist intelligence unit)

Russia 132
Mexico 66
Advantage Mexico

Alliances, FTAs

Russia: 3 FTAs/PTAs, G8+5 (currently suspended, WTO, multiple foreign conflicts, no major military alliances
Mexico: 17 FTA/PTAs, G8+5, no foreign conflicts, no major military alliances

Trudeau vs Trump reactions to Castro Death

Trudeau on Castro Death:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro:

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”


“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said in a statement released on the news of Castro’s death Saturday.

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said.

“While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve,” Trump said.

“Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty,” Trump said. “I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”