What the Odesa Port Saga Means for Reform in Ukraine

(November)

In an interview last October, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman revealed that not a single x-ray scanner was operational at customs checkpoints in Ukraine, suggesting that corrupt customs officers had deliberately damaged the equipment to facilitate criminal activity.

The accusation speaks to the severity of entrenched corruption in the customs services of Ukraine, even amid a slew of post-Maidan reforms to improve the trade and investment climate. Perhaps no other economic hub captures this tension between vested interests and substantive change better than the Odesa ports on the Black Sea. The recent return of wholesale corrupt practices to Odesa ports demands attention: it underscores the necessity of sustained political will to implement reform and the ongoing threat to both economic prosperity and national security that corruption poses in Ukraine.

https://anticorruptiondigest.com/anti-corruption-news/2017/11/07/what-the-odesa-port-saga-means-for-reform-in-ukraine/

On the off chance that you didn’t think Poroshenko was corrupt: Candy Company Plans Haunt Ukrainian President

Every time there is a major leak of offshore documents, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko seems to get caught in another discrepancy regarding his plans for Roshen, his candy company.

The latest leak, the Paradise Papers, gives the most detailed view to date of Poroshenko’s true intentions for the troubled restructuring of his confectionary empire.

During his election campaign, Poroshenko publicly promised to sell his business if elected. But just days afterwards, his lawyers were asking a legal services firm to set up a structure that would allow him to move his company offshore, evade Ukrainian taxes, and stash money abroad. Citing the risks of associating with him, the firm eventually declined to deal with Poroshenko.

He ended up setting up a similar offshore structure with a different, less wary firm.

A separate financial filing discovered by reporters raises questions about whether Poroshenko’s claims not to have moved any Ukrainian cash to his offshore holdings are true.

https://www.occrp.org/en/paradisepapers/candy-company-plans-haunt-ukrainian-president

Moscow museum gives the full picture of Jewish role in 1917 Russian Revolution

The last 100 years: “Jewish involvement in Communism is an anti-semitic conspiracy theory”

Today: “Well ok, sure the Bolsheviks were Jewish, but they didn’t have a choice”

While even Vladimir Putin has repeated some myths, Jews were highly represented in establishing Soviet rule — and they didn’t have much choice in the matter

Of all the many loaded issues tied to the bloody history of Jews in the former Soviet Union, none is as sensitive today in that part of the world as their role in the 1917 revolution that brought the communists to power.

The outsized prevalence of Jews in the ranks of the revolution that broke out a century ago on November 7 has remained a mainstay of anti-Semitic vitriol in the area.

During the Holocaust, it served as a pretext for the murder of countless Jews across Eastern Europe by self-proclaimed enemies of communism and Russia. And it’s still being used today to incite hatred against local Jews, including among devout Christians who were persecuted by the anti-religious Soviet authorities.

Living in religious societies that by and large feel victimized by communism or its effects, many Russian-speaking Jews and their leaders have either remained silent on communism or downplayed the Jews’ role in it.

It’s a logical strategy, given the rhetoric of senior politicians like Peter Tolstoy, the deputy speaker of the Russian parliament. At a January news conference, he blamed Jews with interfering in a plan to relocate a church in Saint Petersburg. Tolstoy said Jews use their positions in the media and government to continue the work of ancestors who “pulled down our churches” in 1917.

. . . .

“For many years, neither Jews nor the authorities wanted to open up the subject, which became the stuff of myths for the ultranationalists, neo-Nazis and other anti-Semites,” said Boruch Gorin, chairman of Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. “But now the time has come to look at the facts.”

. . . .

Jews in the top echelon of the Communist Party during its early days in power included Yakov Sverdlov, its executive secretary; Grigori Zinoviev, head of the Communist International; press commissar Karl Radek; foreign affairs commissar Maxim Litvinov; as well as Lev Kamenev and Moisei Uritsky.

“The observant Jews thought in 1917 that the communists would allow them to extend Jewish life, the Zionists thought the revolution would advance their goals and there was a feeling of liberation,” Gorin said.

But it’s not like Russian Jews ever really had a choice.

“At a time when the Red Army had posters denouncing anti-Semitism, the monarchists fighting for the czar had posters disseminating [anti-Semitism] as a pillar of what they were fighting for,” he said. The exhibition includes such posters.

. . . .

During the Holocaust, the alignment of many Jews with the communist cause was cited as justification for wholesale slaughter by collaborators with the Germans. They resented not only communism but Russian domination in countries across Eastern and Central Europe.

The Jewish role in communism is used by anti-Semites to justify the Holocaust.

Zsolt Bayer, a co-founder of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, last year wrote in an op-ed: “Why are we surprised that the simple peasant whose determinant experience was that the Jews broke into his village, beat his priest to death, threatened to convert his church into a movie theater — why do we find it shocking that 20 years later he watched without pity as the gendarmes dragged the Jews away from his village?”

The exhibition goes on to explore how the hopes for Jewish emancipation through communism were ultimately dashed, making some Jews prominent perpetrators of repression and turning many other Jews into victims.

What Communists Did To My Family In The Soviet Gulags

he prisoners finally disembarked in a city called Tomsk. From there, they walked two days through the Siberian taiga (forest) in the dead of winter to a set of barracks with small, barren rooms built specifically for Poles. This was part of the Soviet gulag system, a chain of forced-labor camps and settlements where tens of millions of prisoners were punished and “reeducated” by the state through grueling physical labor in harsh conditions.

This account of life under Soviet rule is not an extreme outlier, but indicative of how the communist regime treated its own people. This week marks 100 years since the revolution that gave rise to communism in Russia and, subsequently, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Avowedly Marxist regimes killed anywhere from 65 to 100 million people, a total so high that it is impossible for the human mind to conceptualize.

So goes the apocryphal Joseph Stalin quote, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” A good way to grasp the breadth of communism’s evils is to understand the depth of the suffering in the lives of its individual victims. That’s why the stories of the Rybickis and others are apropos. . . .

From the psychologically poignant nighttime arrest without explanation, to the inhumane transport by cattle car, to hard labor under-clothed in the bitter cold, to the starvation, to the omnipresent stench of death, to the totalizing oppression even outside of the gulags, the parallels between Witold’s story and other victims’ are striking.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 and partitioned the country in two. The USSR deported to Siberia about one and a half million of the 13 to 14 million Poles in the eastern half of the country. Hundreds of thousands of them died or were executed in the process. Over decades, millions of kulaks, Cossacks, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Soviet veterans, and Orthodox Christians, among others, suffered similar fates. The USSR killed 20 to 30 million of its own people in total. . . .

In the Rybickis’ settlement, able-bodied prisoners above the age of 12 worked felling trees, preparing lumber, and collecting sap in weather that would sometimes fall to 50 below zero degrees Celsius. The laboring prisoners were given a ration of 400g of bread daily, roughly 1,200 calories, while non-working prisoners were given 200g, a measly 600 calories. Sometimes food shipments would get delayed to the camps, and prisoners like the Rybickis would go days without eating.

“We were practically starving to death,” Witold recalls. Some prisoners had “swollen, huge bellies” from hunger. Prisoners were “dying like flies all around” from hunger, disease, or being worked to death. There was a makeshift cemetery by the settlement where “hundreds and hundreds were buried.”

Witold’s sister, Irena, who was 14 when the Soviets deported their family, eventually refused to work because she didn’t even have shoes to wear. She was sentenced to three months in a prison in Novosibirsk where she survived by the graces of a better-situated, older male prisoner.

Upon Irena’s return, she was badly shaken, exclaiming she “had enough of Russia, communism, and Siberia, and was running away,” which she did. A year later, her father discovered that authorities had captured her trying to cross into Iran and sentenced her to seven years in prison. Because the USSR was in the throes of a brutal war with Nazi Germany, it gave prisoners like her a choice to risk likely death on the front lines of the eastern front or in a harsh, small, cold prison cell. By great fortune, she survived the war, fled to the West at the end, and got documentation to emigrate to the United States.

http://thefederalist.com/2017/11/09/communists-family-soviet-gulags/

Russia organized 2 sides of a Texas protest and encouraged ‘both sides to battle in the streets’

A Facebook page named Heart of Texas, whose link to Russia was first reported by Business Insider, organized a rally at noon on May 21 at the Islamic Da’wah Center in Houston to “Stop Islamization of Texas.” The account paid to promote the event, which was viewed by about 12,000 people, said the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr.

Another Russia-linked account, United Muslims of America, organized a counterprotest — a “Save Islamic Knowledge” rally.

As The Daily Beast reported in September, the United Muslims of America page was impersonating a real nonprofit organization. More than 2,700 people saw an ad placed by the account that targeted people in the Houston area, Burr said.

http://www.businessinsider.de/russia-trolls-senate-intelligence-committee-hearing-2017-11?r=US&IR=T

Kevin MacDonald’s Culture of Critique

Kevin MacDonald was a psychology professor at UC Long Beach who took up the question of group evolutionary strategy, and specifically, whether Jews have a group strategy. Like any gentile who writes critically about Jews, he is a controversial and heavily censored figure.

This is a summary of his book’s chapter about communism, and communism’s self-consciously Jewish leaders. The video ends with narrator’s own research into MacDonald’s sources:

The Novocherkassk massacre How the Soviet authorities murdered peaceful demonstrators in 1962 and kept it a secret for decades, until the victims fought back

On June 2, 1962, Soviet soldiers fired on a demonstration by workers demanding better living conditions and lower prices. The shooting took place in downtown Novocherkassk, an industrial city near Rostov-on-Don. More than 25 people were killed, and more than 85 people were injured. For decades, the Soviet authorities kept the incident a secret, executing another seven demonstrators and sentencing another 100 participants to 10 years in prison. The truth about the Novocherkassk massacre only started leaking to the media during Perestroika, and a formal investigation didn’t occur until after the collapse of the USSR.

https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/11/23/the-novocherkassk-massacre

Fury as Russia launches investigation into whether the last tsar Nicholas II was killed with his family as part of a ‘Jewish ritual murder’, at behest of Putin’s ‘confessor’

Russia is launching an investigation into whether Tsar Nicholas II and his family were killed by Jews as part of a ‘ritual murder’ in a move that has infuriated anti-Semitism campaigners.

Father Tikhon Shevkunov, the Orthodox bishop heading an investigatory panel, is among hardcore members of the church who claim the final Russian emperor was murdered in a Jewish ritual.

Tsar Nicholas was shot with his wife and five children by Communist Bolsheviks in 1918 after Vladimir Lenin came to power, and wild rumours about the circumstances surrounding his death have circulated ever since.

Mr Gorin said his group was shocked and angered by the statements from both the bishop and the Investigative Committee, which he said sounded like a revival of the century-old ‘anti-Semitic myth’ about the killing of the imperial family.

Discussing the Tsar’s murder, Father Shevkunov claimed the ‘Bolsheviks and their allies engaged in the most unexpected and diverse ritual symbolism’. . . .

He claimed that ‘quite a few people involved in the execution – in Moscow or Yekaterinburg – saw the killing of the deposed Russian emperor as a special ritual of revenge’.

And he alleged that Yakov Yurovsky, the organizer of the execution who was Jewish, later boasted about his ‘sacral historic mission.’

He put forward as evidence the claim that a bullet was assigned to eat royal but the majority of the bullets hit the tsar because ‘everybody wanted to be part of the regicide’ and ‘it was a special ritual for many’.

The ‘ritual’ claims were dismissed by the Prosecutor General’s Office in the 1990s but will be explored again as part of a new criminal investigation into the killing. . . .

‘They murdered the entire royal family, they killed the children in front of their father, they killed the mother in front of the children,’ said the politician, formerly the chief prosecutor in Crimea. This is a crime, a frightening ritual murder.’

‘Many people are afraid to talk about it – but everyone understands that it happened. It is evil.’

Top Bolshevik Yakov Sverdlov – who specifically ordered the killing of the last tsar – was also Jewish, say supporters of this theory.

Alexander Boroda, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, said the accusations – tantamount to a conspiracy theory – were plainly aimed at Jews, and risked stirring up hatred.

‘Accusing Jews of a ritual murder is one of the most ancient anti-Semitist slanders,’ he said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5125545/Russia-investigates-tsar-killed-Jewish-ritual.html#ixzz5153F2zbu

Interview with Leonid Muha, a veteran of the SS Galicia Division, awarded the Medal of Honor “Nachkampfspange.”

“… There were 20 000 Ukrainians in the division … In general, up to 209 000 Ukrainian had served in the Gernam troops … neither the Nuremberg trial nor the Deschênes Commission – which was directly worked over the Galicia Division – has reveal any facts of our involvement to the murder of a civilian population.

But what are we talking about? Why do we need to justify ourselves? Does everyone wants Ukrainians to be in clean gloves during all our wars and revolutions … ”

Interview with Leonid Muha, a veteran of the SS Galicia Division, awarded the Medal of Honor “Nachkampfspange.”

US State Department comment on Ukraine’s corruption

Recent events – including the disruption of a high-level corruption investigation, the arrest of officials from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), and the seizure of sensitive NABU files – raise concerns about Ukraine’s commitment to fighting corruption. These actions appear to be part of an effort to undermine independent anti-corruption institutions that the United States and others have helped support. They undermine public trust and risk eroding international support for Ukraine.

As Secretary Tillerson has said: “It serves no purpose for Ukraine to fight for its body in Donbas if it loses its soul to corruption. Anti-corruption institutions must be supported, resourced, and defended.”

Reflecting the choice of the people of Ukraine, the United States calls on all branches of Ukraine’s government to work together cooperatively to eliminate corruption from public life. Eliminating corruption is key to achieving stability, security, and prosperity for all Ukrainians.

a horrifying 23 percent of Americans between ages 21 and 29 believe that Stalin was a “hero.”

The admiration of young people for communist leaders is slightly down from last year, according to the annual report on U.S. attitudes toward socialism, which was released by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Joseph Stalin saw the greatest fall in popularity, from 12 percent of millennials reporting a favorable impression of him down to 6 percent. However, a horrifying 23 percent of Americans between ages 21 and 29 believe that Stalin was a “hero.” Also, 32 percent of millennials hold a favorable view of Karl Marx, slightly down from 34 percent last year.

http://humanprogress.org/blog/what-millennials-should-know-about-the-soviet-union