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  1. Jun 2023
    1. On the other hand, the lack luster figures out of America’s Bureau of Economic Analysis show overall growth slowing fast. Falling investment is retarding America’s growth, not accelerating it. Nor should that be a surprise. It is one of the intended effects of jacking up interest rates to fight inflation.


    1. Сожженные стрелы


    2. Лама-иноагент


    3. «Будда, Далай-Лама, Путин, и лампадка стоит»


    4. Оппозиционер второй волны


    5. «Нам нужен Советский Союз»


    6. Между национализмом и ассимиляцией


    1. Second, as the Soviet Union was nearing its collapse in 1991, Yeltsin banned the Communist Party. Gorbachev’s glasnost campaign had already exposed the legacy of its misrule—including the brutal collectivization of Russian peasantry, the millions who died from starvation in Ukraine, the suppression of basic freedoms—and it seemed its reputation could never be restored. Yet the party soon returned as a political force: it reconstituted itself in 1993 as the Communist Party of Russia, formed a powerful opposition faction in the Duma in the 1990s, fielded a candidate who won over 40 percent of the vote running against Yeltsin in the 1996 election, and survives to the present day. The party’s longtime leader, Gennady Zyuganov, endorsed Putin’s war against Ukraine, calling for the “demilitarization and denazification” of the country.

      Lustration of Communists - FAILURE

    2. When Putin does leave power, it is unlikely that Russia’s elites and the general public will wake up and face the legacy of his rule. There are two twentieth-century precedents in Russian history for a de-Putinization campaign, and neither is encouraging. First, the Soviet Union attempted a de-Stalinization process after the dictator’s death, in 1953. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev debunked Stalin’s “personality cult” in a 1956 speech to the leadership of the Communist Party and released millions who were lucky to survive Stalin’s labor camps. But Stalin’s reputation was partially restored as early as the 1960s in official Soviet propaganda, which praised him as the great leader who led the Soviet Union to victory in World War II.

      Destalinization of 1950s - FAILURE





    5. Other figures have moved beyond economic issues to become eager enforcers of Putin’s imperial vision. The story of Sergey Kiriyenko, Putin’s deputy chief of staff, is particularly instructive: Kiriyenko briefly served as Russia’s prime minister in 1998 and is a one-time close associate of liberal opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was killed within sight of the Kremlin in 2015. But starting in 2000, he allied himself with Putin and is now one of the most influential officials in the Kremlin. He holds a seemingly ever-expanding range of responsibilities, including overseeing much of the Kremlin’s propaganda and messaging, and helps lead the mass brainwashing of the Russian people to support the Ukraine war and the ongoing crackdown on what little remains of liberal civil society. Dubbed “the viceroy” of the occupied parts of Ukraine, he travels there on Putin’s behalf to oversee their integration into Russia.

      Sergey Kiriyenko

    6. Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, for instance, played a central role in steering Russia through the economic turbulence in 2014. During that period, the price of oil collapsed, the West imposed sanctions on Russia for the annexation of Crimea, and the ruble lost more than half its value against the dollar. In 2018, she was invited to Washington to give a major address at the International Monetary Fund, where she was introduced by the IMF's then Managing Director Christine Lagarde and shared insights about taming inflation. Now, she enables Putin’s war by trying to insulate Russia from the effects of Western sanctions. In the future, she will probably be likened to Albert Speer, Hitler’s favorite architect, who helped keep the Nazi war machine humming.


    7. THE ELITE


    1. Even in the absence of strong earthquakes, 200 people die in the region. This indicates the stable dangers that are present in the daily life of every resident of the region.


    2. Over the past 100 years, strong earthquakes have occurred in every country in the region, killing hundreds of thousands of people and causing billions of dollars in damage.


    1. No amount or manner of American support, of course, can rescue Taiwan if its people and leaders are unwilling to fight. And that’s a problem that no fleets of U.S. aircraft carriers or warplanes can solve. Taiwan’s battles will be won or lost in the trenches, as has been true since the beginning of recorded history, but today those trenches are increasingly dug under the aegis of each side’s spy services.


    2. It’s a given that U.S. security agencies are helping Taiwanese intelligence compete with China’s, but the details are closely held. In 2021, the Wall Street Journal revealed that two dozen U.S. special forces soldiers and an unspecified number of marines had been secretly training Taiwanese counterparts for over a year. Certainly, American military advisors have been  present in larger numbers than in previous years, according to other news reports, particularly in the southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s principal port. The American Institute in Taiwan, a downgraded version of the U.S. embassy after Washington and Beijing established diplomatic relations in 1979, has a Defense Department contingent and an FBI representative, both presumably augmented by a considerable CIA station.

      American presence and espionage support

    3. Beijing’s spycraft, he said, is very good. “To communicate, they stay off of phones and the web. They often use couriers carrying secret writing inside physical objects.” It’s a practice with roots in party hagiography, harkening back to the early days of CCP Intelligence, specifically the legendary 1934 theft of Nationalist battle plans for the encirclement and annihilation of Mao’s Red Army. CCP Intelligence agents employed invisible ink to copy the plans onto paper hidden inside the binding of a set of school books and smuggled them across enemy lines to Communist headquarters. With that information, the Red Army was able to break out of the Nationalist trap and begin its “Long March” to Yan'an, Mao’s legendary strategic retreat to China's northwest.Upgrade to paidToday, Beijing’s spymasters look for recruits amid “retired people [who] have lots of time on their hands, a wealth of experience, wide-ranging contacts, and reduced incomes…,” said the former Taiwan military intelligence officer. In 2021, four retired military intelligence officers—including a major general— were indicted on charges of spying for China.

      Espionage methods

    4. Alone at Home


    5. Shades of Vichy


    6. In numerous interviews conducted on Taiwan in April, we found only three respondents—all former senior military officers—who were optimistic about Taiwan’s population responding to an invasion in the way Ukrainian citizens rallied to stymy Russia’s assault.  A Western journalist in Taipei, fluent in Chinese and living on the local economy, guessed that only a third of Taiwan’s population would resist CCP rule if it were forced on Taiwan. A third would accept it, and those in the middle would eventually be persuaded to collaborate. Polls in 2021 on “willingness to fight” in the event Beijing “uses force to achieve unification” failed to sort out the issue. One, linked to the government, “had 62 percent of respondents say yes and 27 percent say no, while the other survey, with a slight difference in its wording asking whether ‘you or your family’ would be willing to fight, found only 40 percent said yes and 51 percent said no,” according to an analysis published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “This led to an ironic scene where Taiwan’s media, pundits, and international commentators cherrypicked whichever of the two polls that best suited their partisan narrative and declared either that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will have to fight an all-out ‘people’s warfare’ should they invade Taiwan, or that Taiwanese society will surrender in a heartbeat at the first sign of war,” wrote Paul Huang of the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundatio

      Unclear stance of citizens vis-a-vis armed resistance - polls are ambiguous

    7. And here’s an irony that poses another question about Taiwan’s defense readiness: Even as fretting over a potential Chinese invasion reaches a fever pitch in America, a large number of ordinary Taiwanese seem blasé about Beijing’s military might, not to mention the prospect of thousands of spies in their midst. One Westerner with extensive experience across Asia, speaking on terms of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue, told SpyTalk that he detects little sense of the China threat and urgency among Taiwanese that people in nearby nations express about Beijing’s repeated violations of their airspace and waters.
      1. General population doesn't take Chinese threat seriously
    8. First, Taiwan’s military and justice system are at a disadvantage in resisting the combined onslaught of China’s spy agencies—its Ministry of State Security, the PLA’s Joint Intelligence Bureau, and the CCP United Front Work Department (not to mention official and unofficial hacking and electronic warfare operations). Wendell Minnick,  a longtime China defense expert and Taiwan resident,  wrote in January that Taiwan’s security is weakened by military retirees who are underpaid, leaving them prey to Beijing's spies. Nor do they have to worry much if they’re caught, he said: Taiwan’s  criminal justice system levies only short sentences on former officers convicted of espionage; more severe punishment is reserved for those on active duty.
      1. Justice and military not fit for fighting against the spies
    9. Advantage, Beijing


    10. Flood the Zone


    11. In 2017, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau publicly estimated that 5,000 mainland spies were operating in Taiwan. When SpyTalk interviewed former ROC senior intelligence officers in Taipei in May, one of them said the real number is closer to 2,000 to 3,000. But even that more modest figure is a lot of spies for Taiwan, an island the size of Belgium with a population of 24 million.


    12. if you think America has a tough nut to crack, consider our brethren in Taiwan. There, the Republic of China, as it’s formally known, is battling an astounding onslaught of Beijing’s spies. Such subversion raises the question of whether Taiwan will really be able defend itself during an invasion until help arrives from the U.S.—or even whether it will fight.


    1. Anxiety in Kyiv about ties between the Romanian religious community and Russia have been brewing for some time, but they reached a boiling point in late 2022, when Ukrainian Security Services (known as the SBU) raided the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as part of a series of searches across the country. The SBU Telegram account reported that law enforcement officers found Russian passports and pro-Kremlin literature among the belongings of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina clergy. Soon after, citizenships of 13 representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — including from the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese — were suspended by presidential decree. In response, a Romanian cleric threatened to sue President Zelenskyy. The U.N.’s human rights office said that the nationwide SBU searches could “undermine the right to freedom of religion.” In April 2023, a resident of the Chernivtsi region was arrested on suspicion of burning down a Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the village of Milieve. In early May, prosecutors in Chernivtsi submitted to a court an indictment against the local Banchen Monastery, claiming that an assistant abbot helped men of draft age illegally cross the border. Ukraine’s wartime rules prohibit men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country.

      REgional push against the church on suspicions of Russian affiliation

    2. In Chernivtsi, many Romanians still worship in the Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Although the Church claims it broke off communications with Moscow in May 2022, months after the invasion, and denies being influenced by Russia, Ukrainian political leaders have trained their focus on church figures, keen to identify and sever any remaining ties to the Kremlin. Sitting inside the Ascension Church on the outskirts of Chernivtsi, clad in black robes and a matching puffer coat, Father Pavel Paulencu told me he feels a crisis setting in. He worries it is only a matter of time before the authorities arrive at his door.  “I’ve had people ask already why I’m doing a mass in Romanian in Ukraine,” he said. Ethnic Romanians make up 60% of his congregation, and Romanian is the language of priority for services. “I told them to go and read the history,” he said with a heavy sigh. “In church, it should not be politics, just God.”

      Romanians and Moscow Orthodox Church

    3. “They want to assimilate us, they try a total assimilation, starting with the schools,” he said. He excoriated the Zelenskyy government, arguing that officials were unwilling to meaningfully engage in dialogue with the Romanian community. Levcic is not alone in his distrust of the Zelenskyy government. The current situation has also angered politicians in Romania, who feel slighted by Kyiv’s position on the minority issue despite Romania’s support for Ukraine in the ongoing war. Tempers flared in December 2022: The Ukrainian parliament adopted a law on national minorities to fulfill one of the conditions necessary to start negotiations for EU membership but did not take on board fully recommendations from the Venice Commission on the protection of minorities. Condemnation from Bucharest was swift and cemented the idea that, although Romanian speakers were not necessarily being targeted by Kyiv, they had become an afterthought in Ukraine’s corridors of power. Adding insult to injury, the move came months after Zelenskyy made a speech before the Romanian parliament, in April 2022, in which he promised to “start a dialogue” on a “new comprehensive agreement that guarantees the absolute protection and development of our national minorities” — a reference to the approximately 46,000 ethnic Ukrainians living in Romania. He reiterated this position to the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in January 2023, after the two heads of state had a call on the issue. A read out from the call said Zelenskyy “expressed his full openness to identifying solutions, so that the Romanian community in Ukraine benefits from the same rights enjoyed by the Ukrainian community in Romania.”

      Anger from within and without

    4. “We speak Romanian, but we are Ukrainian,” Gheorghe, the school’s director, told me. The presence of both languages and nations is evident at Petrashivka. As we walked through the school corridors with their lace curtains and reddish-brown wooden floors, the couple told me about Ukrainian and Romanian government support for their work. A grant from Bucharest allowed them to buy new tables for the Romanian history classroom. Next door, in the Ukrainian language classroom, a TV, chairs and other materials were brought in with support from Kyiv. When we stuck our heads into the classroom, the students greeted us eagerly. The teacher prompted a 12-year-old girl, Anastasia, to recite a poem she had written about the war. “I pray in my thoughts,” she said with zeal. “Bring peace on the earth, God! Have mercy on us, God! Save us from this war.”


    5. Following the Maidan revolution, Ukraine’s language issue took on a new urgency, and policymakers passed a series of laws to formally establish the use of the Ukrainian language in various aspects of public life, ranging from media to education to the legal system. In sum, these laws effectively dismantled Yanukovych’s 2012 language law. Its fate was finally sealed in 2018 when the Ukrainian Constitutional Court deemed the law unconstitutional. People who supported these changes argued that they would create a more cohesive Ukrainian society and lead to necessary improvements in the country’s struggling education system.  But the wave of legislation set off alarm bells for Ukraine’s Polish, Hungarian and Romanian minorities. These communities largely understood the motivations for the changes but also saw them chipping away at their own languages and traditions and at the practical bridge that their languages offered to living and working in the EU. Warsaw, Bucharest and Budapest stepped in, routinely chiding the Ukrainian government for not doing enough to protect minority rights. Supporting their pleas for a more considerate approach to the Ukrainian question was a report from the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s top advisory body on constitutional matters, that said that a 2019 language law passed in Ukraine “failed to strike a fair balance” between promoting the Ukrainian language and “safeguarding minorities.”

      Post-Maidan push back by Ukrainization supporters - Ukrainian as a path to cohesion

    1. Если считать, что роль правителя лишь в том, чтобы выиграть время перед наступлением конца света — в нашем случае «цветной революции», — из этого вытекает, что это событие все равно неизбежно. Самые яростные лоялисты и бескомпромиссные оппозиционеры, по сути, согласны в одном: наступление будущего можно в лучшем (или в худшем) случае надолго оттянуть, но в нем все равно не будет ни Путина, ни созданной им системы власти. Разница в том, что лоялисты против такого будущего, а оппозиционеры — за.Разрядить эту напряженность может лишь отказ от мыслительной ловушки, из-за попадания в которую политические перемены описываются апокалиптически — либо в негативном («конец света»), либо в позитивном («новое царство») ключе.

      Change (Putin's demise) is inevitable and undisputed by both loyalists and oppositioners, but they treat it differently

    2. Представление о том, что мир катится в пропасть, напоминает еще об одном древнем понятии — «катехон». В переводе с древнегреческого это слово означает «удерживающий» и используется во Втором послании апостола Павла к фессалоникийцам. В тексте говорится, что некая «тайна беззакония не совершится», «пока не будет взят от среды удерживающий теперь». Что это значит, не вполне ясно — но многие толкователи посчитали, что речь об особой роли политической власти, призванной сколько нужно предотвращать наступление конца мира. Правитель при таком взгляде отвечает за наведение порядка перед лицом хаоса. Прибегая к силе, он позволяет свершиться главному — распространению христианского вероучения на вверенной ему территории, благодаря чему больше людей получат шанс спастись, когда апокалипсис все-таки наступит. Правитель, таким образом, не может и не должен предотвращать конец света, но может выиграть время для спасения своих подданных.Понятие «катехон» популярно, в частности, в ультраправых кругах, поскольку к нему прибегал в своих рассуждениях немецкий юрист и философ Карл Шмитт. Шмитт, вступивший в НСДАП вскоре после ее прихода к власти в Германии в 1933 году, считал, что фигура «удерживающего» необходима для предотвращения «политического апокалипсиса», угрожавшего государству снизу. С его точки зрения, опасность исходила от многочисленных противоборствующих партий (прежде всего коммунистической).По Шмитту, осмысленная человеческая деятельность только и возможна благодаря «удерживающему», поскольку в противном случае страх перед хаосом заставляет человека опустить руки и сдаться. «Это секулярная версия христианской эсхатологии, которая делает возможной „политику настоящего“», — пишет современный комментатор Шмитта.

      What is catechon + Karl Schmitt

    3. Российский «катехон»


    4. Новые западные представления, связанные с эпохой Просвещения, включают в себя идею прогресса, то есть надежду на лучшую жизнь в будущем, возможную благодаря передаче опыта от прошлых поколений следующим. Во второй половине XVIII века в европейской мысли утвердилось представление о линейном (или спиральном), а не циклическом времени. Один из создателей идеи прогресса, французский просветитель и экономист Анн Робер Тюрго (1727–1781), верил, что благодаря «последовательным успехам человеческого разума» (название одной из его речей) нравы смягчатся, нации сблизятся, а торговля и политика объединят человечество.Между тем по-настоящему традиционным для многих культур было представление о времени как о циклическом процессе, где на смену лучшим временам идут деградация и распад. Прошлое представлялось светлым, а будущее — темным. Мир, созданный Богом сразу в совершенном и законченном виде, со временем становился только хуже. Человек от эпохи к эпохе терял изначальную невинность и причастность к божественному образу жизни. В Библии это было показано через историю об изгнании из рая. В мифологии — например, через рассказ о смене эпох, символизируемых различными металлами: сначала золотой век, потом серебряный, за ним бронзовый и железный. Каждый следующий металл оказывался менее ценным, зато более твердым.

      Cyclical vision of time vs Western progressive vision of time

    5. в России традиционно низкая безработица, и это означает, что сотрудники предприятий и организаций госсектора могут рассчитывать — при невысоком уровне доходов — на некоторую стабильность. Наряду с режимом западных санкций, действующим против РФ, это создает дополнительный «клапан безопасности» для Кремля. В силу растущей технологической отсталости работники российских предприятий будут все менее конкурентоспособными и не станут рваться ни к отъезду, ни к протестам против статус-кво, то есть против войны.


    6. Прагматический ответ здесь начинается с понимания, что у многих россиян все меньше альтернатив работе прямо на государство — или крупный бизнес, с государством связанный. Еще до начала полномасштабного вторжения доля малого бизнеса в общем обороте различных предприятий снизилась до 11,5%, а это самый низкий показатель с начала таких измерений в 2008 году.  Да, в госсекторе и госкорпорациях России, по данным на 2021-й, работали 39% из 75 миллионов трудоустроенных граждан, а в частном — 49% (.pdf). Но, как замечает политолог Павел Лузин, многие предприятия, формально относящиеся к частному или смешанному сектору, де-факто находятся под управлением государства. Например, такие крупные работодатели, как нефтяная компания «Роснефть» или крупнейший банк страны Сбербанк. Это означает, что фактическая доля работников госсектора должна быть ближе к 50%.

      Russians have no other big employers

    7. Время как угроза


    8. Свобода произвола и коррупции


    1. As Tlostanova argued, “In post-Soviet postcolonialism a more complex intersectionality is at work, where ideological Soviet discourses are superimposed on more straightforward imperial or colonial ones. This specific meaning of mind colonization always works against the background of global coloniality through the discourses of modernity (including socialist ones).”

      Soviet colononialism as a more subtle form of Russian colonialism

    2. This “easy absorption, adoption, and transposing of decolonization” in Putin’s rhetoric represents what Tuck and Yang argued to be, “yet another form of settler appropriation.”¹⁵ This is an example of what they described (following Mawhinney) as “moves to innocence,” or “strategies to remove involvement in and culpability for systems of domination.”¹⁶ The goal of “moves to innocence” is “to provide a framework of excuses, distractions, and diversions from decolonization” despite alleged claims that the actors follow decolonial agenda

      Russia's "move to innocence"

    1. Diplomacy and colonialism


    2. Then Leontiev sought to attract British, French and Belgian capital, often exaggerating the commercial potential of the territories he was governing. Needless to say, his investors never got their money back. In a few years, he accumulated enormous wealth thanks to the generous investments while also mercilessly exploiting local people and resources. As he told one of his Russian associates, “I will take all elephant tusks, I will exhaust all my future slaves, and only then will I think about the history of Abyssinia.” In 1902, on the run from angry investors, Leontiev once again invited the Russian government to take over the territories. This time, the Russian emperor and his ministers took the invitation more seriously, but Menelik was quick to intervene and expel his former confidant from the country. This episode effectively put the nascent diplomatic relations between the Russian Empire and the Ethiopian Empire in danger.

      Leontiev - another conman? He invites Russian government, but Ethiopian Emperor steps up and puts a stop to it

    3. Nikolai Leontiev, a landowner and an adventurer, was one of the imperial subjects who led that effort. Celebrated in today’s Russia as an alleged anti-colonial hero who established Russo-Ethiopian “friendship”, he was anything but. Leontiev managed to get into Ethiopian Emperor Menelik’s closest circle and helped establish Russian diplomatic relations with Ethiopia. Although he was not authorised as an official emissary of St Petersburg, he nevertheless tried to play such a role. Taking advantage of Italy’s looming colonial invasion of Ethiopia, Leontiev promised the Ethiopian ruler large supplies of arms and ammunition in exchange for a colony for Russia on the caravan route from Harar to the Red Sea. Ethiopia did not receive any substantial military supplies from the Russian Empire until the war against Italy was over, but the Russian adventurer’s thirst for self-promotion led him to invent a myth of Russia’s, and his personal, role in the victory over the Italian troops.

      Leontiev wins over the Ethiopian Emperor

    4. The anti-colonial hero who was not


    5. New Moscow was finally a reality. To feed themselves, settlers started farming, but they did not stay there long enough to reap the fruits of their efforts. Contrary to the assurances that a local chief had given to the Russian newcomers, the entire coast had already been claimed by France. In February 1889, after a few attempts to force the Russians to surrender the fort, French gunboats shelled Sagallo, killing several settlers. The rest were collected by the French and dropped off at Port Said in Egypt, where a Russian steamship picked them up and took them home. To avoid a diplomatic scandal of tremendous proportions, the Russian authorities denied any involvement in the colonisation of Tadjoura.

      Ashinov's second venture and its crush by the French. Government denies involvement

    6. In March 1888, a Russian warship with Ashinov and several of his companions landed off the coast of Tadjoura, located today within the borders of Djibouti. Lieutenant AK Ivanovskii, a navy representative, negotiated a protectorate status for the territory with a local sultan while Ashinov’s task was to stay and lay the foundation of a future settlement. Soon, Ashinov had travelled back to Russia, boasting of having established the Russian colony of New Moscow. As preparations started for sending settlers in under the guise of a religious mission, officially led by Archimandrite Paisii, news reached the government that the settlement did not exist. Ashinov’s men who were supposed to have established the settlement fled soon after they came ashore as they had no livelihood to survive. Ashinov turned out to be what many suspected he was: a liar.

      Ashinov turns out to be a conman

    7. Others, like Nikolai Baranov, the governor of Nizhny Novgorod – Russia’s commercial hub for trade with the Caucasus, Iran and Central Asia – were more interested in the opportunity for resource exploitation. He suggested establishing the Russian-African company with its own fleet and garrison, which would extract resources and trade goods with the locals. Apparently, it was Baranov’s arguments about the commercial benefits of such an exploit that won over Emperor Alexander III.

      Economic reasons to push the Emperor

    8. Nikolai Ashinov, a self-styled Cossack, an adventurer and a man with the rare ability to charm imperial decision-makers, is credited with bringing Africa to the attention of Russian imperial officials. In 1885, his name started making headlines around the empire thanks to his audacious proposals to gain Russia a foothold in Africa by conquering Sudan and Ethiopia along with their Red Sea coasts. Ashinov asserted that he had enough volunteers willing to create a colony for the crown. The only thing he lacked was a green light from St Petersburg, the imperial capital. The most remarkable thing about Ashinov’s campaign was not the boldness of his venture but the excitement it caused within the highest echelons of power. A number of ministers as well as Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod Konstantin Pobedonostsev, who exerted enormous influence over the emperor, saw this idea as a chance to acquire a colony in Africa at a low cost. That is, St Petersburg would not have to send an army to make the conquest because it would be a private venture.

      Ashinov's proposal and hype

    9. New Moscow, the failed colony


    10. How Russia tried to colonise Africa and failed


  2. Oct 2022