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"Ukraine will return Donbas next year,".  Congress strongly supports providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.  Kremlin ready to "surrender" Donbas - Tuka predicts return of eastern territories under Ukraine control by mid-2018. US Ambassador. Chaly lashes out at Pinchuk for article about ‘painful compromises’.  Russian military to leave the Donbass banned "the people" in camouflage.  

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Putin’s Russia has Passed through Stagnation to Degradation, Gubin Says

Ever more Russians and others suggest that Vladimir Putin has returned Russia to the kind of stagnation it experienced under Leonid Brezhnev, but, Dmitry Gubin argues, what he has done is much worse: Russia is not simply stagnating; it is degrading and slipping into the Third World even as Moscow talks about becoming the Third Rome.

In a commentary for the news portal, the Moscow editor and commentator says that “Russia is losing its positions in the world” across the board, something that means and can be seen in the fact that its “culture is also rapidly degrading and becoming more primitive” (

Moreover, the degradation and simplification of culture now is much worse than even that which followed the 1917 revolution, Gubin says. Then, that process affected ordinary people alone, but now it affects everyone. “In the 1920s, an avant-garde existed; under Brezhnev, a counter-culture. Now, there is no avant-garde or counter-culture.”

There is not even the kind of high culture Russian intellectuals have long been so proud of. Some but not all of this loss reflects the consequences of the end of the Soviet system and the departure of many of the country’s best minds. But one can’t explain what is taking place simply by these losses or by “a paradigm of a new stagnation.”

Moscow television isn’t horrific so much because the regime has driven out all the interesting liberal commentators but because it no longer has any space for serious discussions of art and scholarship. Even under Brezhnev, figures like Kapita, Averintsev, and Likhachev appeared on television; now that is unimaginable.

One can’t this simply by suggesting that those active in these fields now are second-rate or by making references to stagnation, Gubin says. What is happening is the direct result of Kremlin’s policies which have driven Russian “into a new place: into the group of countries of the third world.”

“We no longer will struggle for a place on the pedestal of honor as was true during the times when the US and the USSR competed. We are not even a country of the second world, that is one which lags behind but has hopes of better, like the East European countries,” led by Poland.

“The Third World,” he continues, “consists of countries with decorative democracy, personalist rule, and hybrid systems. Here [Russia] occupies a slot at the very top, between Turkey … and Kazakhstan … Rwanda and Uganda are in this very same group but for the time being still much lower.”

Russia is no longer part of the first or the second world; and even “Putin long ago stopped promising to catch up with Portugal in terms of GDP per capita. In the world’s economy, we contribute less than does Korea” and the productivity of labor in Russia is only a quarter of what it is in the United States.

Indeed, Gubin says, “for the first time since Peter I, we have turned away from competing with the first world,” a clear sign of something much worse than mere stagnation although the current regime tries to confuse everyone with talk about “the uniqueness of the Russian path.” It isn’t unique at all but much like Turkey’s.

In Russia today, he argues, “the simplification, crudification and primitivization of culture is an inevitable process is the descent of the country into the third world, and this means that we do not have the stagnation which will disappear when a new Gorbachev appears. There aren’t the mechanisms that used to exist, and the new one works in a different way.”

For any Russian, resistance to this process therefore must assume “different forms than those of earlier times. One must not, for example, retreat into internal emigration [because’ in self-isolation now, there is no counter-cultural base” on which to rely. That helps to explain why so many are simply leaving the country and going abroad to live and work...........
on Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:47 pmAdmin
US senators praise Ukrainian marines, slam Putin

‘I admire the fact that you will fight for your homeland,’ Lindsey Graham tells Ukrainian soldiers.

On the frontline of the war in Ukraine, U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham voiced strong support for Ukrainian marines and sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, underscoring the gulf between leading Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump over Russia policy.

“I admire the fact that you will fight for your homeland,” Graham told Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade in the town of Shyrokyne, about four kilometers from the line of contact, according to a video released Monday by the Ukrainian presidency.

“Your fight is our fight,” Graham said during the visit on Saturday alongside President Petro Poroshenko. “2017 will be the year of offense,” he continued. “All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of a Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price. Our fight is not with the Russian people but with Putin. Our promise to you is to take your cause to Washington, inform the American people of your bravery and make the case against Putin to the world.”

McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate and prisoner of war in Vietnam, said: “I believe you will win. I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win. We have succeeded not because of equipment but because of your courage. So I thank you and the world is watching and the world is watching because we cannot allow Vladimir Putin to succeed here because if he succeeds here, he will succeed in other countries.”............

Access complete text of the editorial: In English
U.S. Senators Conclude Georgia Visit Pledging Tougher Russia Sanctions

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and a delegation of U.S. senators have discussed the Caucasus country's aspirations for joining Western institutions and the Georgian-U.S. strategic relationship in Tbilisi.

The president's office said Margvelashvili thanked John McCain (Republican-Arizona), Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina), and Amy Klobuchar (Democrat-Minnesota) on January 2 for their support of Georgia's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" during talks in the Georgian capital.

The senators included talks on their two-day trip with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze. McCain said he also met with some opposition leaders.................

Replace Obama: Putin chose the new "scarecrow" for Russians - NYT

After Barack Obama leaves the powers of the US president, the new "scarecrow" for Russia will be German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This publication reports The New York Times.

"It is not surprising that Russia welcomed the extradition of its diplomats by President Obama, as he said Thursday in response to the attempts of the Kremlin to intervene in the electoral process in 2016, a collective shaking of shoulders. Moscow seems ready to wait for the match, knowing that on January 20 replace Obama in the White house comes his fan, and the State Department - his old friend, "- said in the article.

After the departure of Obama's head Vladimir Putin loses his favorite "horror" to the Russians, so the time comes for the new "target".

"Since the annexation of Crimea in the 2014 vote, Merkel became decisive in the matter of sanctions against Russia. The following year, it took in Germany million refugees and forced all of Europe to do the same - thus, in terms of Russian nationalists, blurred European culture. and she still believes in a united, integrated EU - a bastion of liberal values ​​and secret political and economic bulwark against Russia, "- said in the article.

According to journalists, Russia is planning to do with Merkel and her allies in 2017 the same as it did with Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in the US in 2016.

"After all, last year the same hackers who broke into the computers of the Democratic Party, attacked the German parliament and the network, they are also accused of stealing documents in the individual members of parliament," - said in the article.

Observers point out that what Russia is doing today, is largely a digital version of what the Germans until 1989 was called "decomposition" (Zersetzung).

"We have seen before how it used the KGB and" Stasi "research: psychological warfare, spreading rumors, schemes of bribing politicians with their subsequent exposure as criminals ... Putin and his former KGB colleagues should know that this time we have a better idea of ​​their dirty tricks and how they Zersetzung updated to use the Internet, "- said in the article................

Access complete text of the editorial: In English
Borovoy explained how Ukraine to confront the Russian Federation without lethal US arms

The annexation of the Crimea, the war in Donbass - is the result of inaction, including the Americans, the Russian opposition

Ukraine should stop to look at the US and start to develop its weapons or its purchase to counter Russian aggression, as Ukraine is not so important for Americans. Such an opinion in the comments edition of "Gordon" expressed the Russian oppositionist Konstantin Borovoy.

According to him, Ukraine could follow in the footsteps of Israel and to start to conduct foreign policy without Hold West.

"Look at Israel , which has enough strength to pursue their own policy in the international arena Ukrainian authorities should implement its policies in the international arena, even without the United States and the European Union support for independent policy, pragmatic and, in a good sense, selfish.." - Said Borovoy .

He believes that the Russian occupation of the Crimea and the war in the east Ukraine steel including the result of the American side of inaction.

"For example, if the West refuses to supply Ukrainian lethal weapon, so it is helpful to produce, extract and purchasing a weapon, without regard to the United States over the past three years Ukraine felt the betrayal of the policy of the West's annexation of Crimea, the war in Donbas -.. It . including the US omissions result Ukraine is important for America, but not paramount, "- concluded Borovoy.

As the NSDC Secretary said Alexander Turchinov , Donald Trump and Republicans will help to ensure that Ukraine has received a lethal weapon . He noted that the Republicans have previously proved their commitment to Ukraine, by voting in Congress and the Senate.

In turn, the Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter told what kinds of weapons that Ukraine may receive from the United States . The politician believes that the US must move to provide more substantial assistance to Ukraine in the confrontation with the aggressor. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
Ukrainain Army soldier shot dead in conflict with civilians in Donetsk region, - Defense Ministry

On Jan. 2 at midnight, a conflict between a group of military and a group of civilians sparked near a grocery store in Donske village, Volnovakha district, the Donetsk region. The conflict resulted in shooting.
A contract soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was killed, and a local resident received injuries in the gun shooting, Censor.NET reports citing the press service of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry says is ready to assist in investigation of the military's death.

Read more: "200 killed, 300 wounded in Vostok Battalion in 2016," - terrorist Khodakovsky on enemy losses in 2016

The investigation into the conflict has been launched by the military command and police of Volnovakha, the Donetsk region, the Ministry reported. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
Russian military to leave the Donbas banned "the people" in camouflage

Military RF forbidden to go beyond the military units in the Donbas in camouflage because of the likelihood of committing against them by the local mob

Command 1 (Donetsk) and 2nd (Lugansk) AK banned Armed Forces during the New Year and Christmas holidays go beyond military units in military uniform clothes.

This was reported by the Intelligence Ministry of Defense.

Among the local population temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions growing resentment behavior in public places Russian soldiers, their wanton aggression and use of weapons, resulting in the death and injury of civilians.

"In this regard, the command of the 1st and 2nd AK Armed Forces are prohibited in the days of New Year and Christmas holidays going beyond military units Russian soldiers in uniform clothing to avoid cases of mob violence against them by the civilian population," - said in a statement.

As previously reported, in the Donetsk region during the shooting at the military store was killed.

Recall that in the Donbas, for the past days the militants fired in all directions from the launchers, mortars and small arms. It is reported that in Mariupol direction with 120mm mortars fired at militants Talakivku, Shyrokyne and water. A total recorded 38 attacks. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові

Last edited by Admin on Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:40 am; edited 1 time in total
US Ambassador. Chaly lashes out at Pinchuk for article about ‘painful compromises’

Ukraine’s Ambassador in the US Valery Chaly lashed out at tycoon Viktor Pinchuk for his Dec. 29 article in The Wall Street Journal in which the latter stressed the need for Ukraine to go for ‘painful compromises’ and concessions to Russia to settle the conflict in Donbas, Radio Svoboda reported Jan. 1

 “The article is an attempt to cash in on a proper moment [fears that the new US administration may ease anti-Russian sanctions – Ed.]  and return to the ‘business as usual’ format. Apparently, Pinchuk has misfired,” Chaly wrote in Facebook. 

“I would very much like to see the opinion of our servicemen from the frontline. It’s a pity that, while we in the United States are trying to counter Russian information attacks, Pinchuk in Ukraine is playing them up.

I hope that in 2017, our big business will at last start investing in our own survival instead of helping our enemies,” Amb. Chaly wrote.

Crimean Tatars assembly head Refat Chubarov called Pinchuk’s article the invitation to capitulation.

In his article, Pinchuk says, “Crimea should not stand in the way of the peace agreement. We [Ukraine] must send a clear message that we will accept a gradual reduction of the sanctions against Russia as we come closer to the final peace agreement.” 

Among the concessions to Russia Pinchuk named the refusal of Ukraine to join the NATO and EU in the foreseeable future.

As another concession, Ukraine should not insist on imposing its control over the rebel-held territories in Donbas ahead of the local elections there. Pinchuk realizes, though, that in this case the elections won’t be honest.  

 Interestingly, Pinchuk hasn’t offered any proposals on what the Russian concessions should be, with Russia having absolute control over the Donbas rebels and continuing its grab of Crimea, Amb. Chaly said.
Congress strongly supports providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, - US senators

Congress would also block any move by the President-Elect Trump to recognize the annexation of Crimea.
This was said by U.S. Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Amy Klobuchar in an interview with RFE/RL in Kyiv, Censor.NET reports.

Senator John McCain says that the United States will not strike a "Faustian bargain" with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid speculation that President-elect Donald Trump could scrap sanctions in a bid to improve ties.

McCain (Republican-Arizona) said any possible deal with Putin "would interfere with and undermine the freedom and democracies that exist today."

The U.S. Congress imposed sanctions on Moscow shortly after Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and for its ongoing support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) said Congress would pursue in 2017 more sanctions against Russia, targeting the energy and banking sectors, as well as "Putin and his inner circle."

See more: US senators headed by McCain depart for Mariupol following meeting with Saakashvili. PHOTOS

"We're going to do two things: We're going after Putin harder with tougher sanctions and we're going to be more helpful to our friends, like here in Ukraine," Graham said.

McCain, Graham, and Amy Klobuchar (Democrat-Minnesota) said there is strong support in Congress to provide Ukraine with "lethal defensive weapons" to help Kyiv in its fight against Russia-backed separatists in the east.

The senators faulted Moscow for failing to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk accords -- a February 2015 agreement aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where more than 9,750 people have died since April 2014.

"How can you have a free and fair election or debate about the power-sharing with eastern Ukraine when you have 700 Russian tanks [in eastern Ukraine]?" Graham said.

Asked whether Trump may recognize Crimea as part of Russia, Graham said Congress would block any such move.

"The president alone can't do this. And the reason the Congress will reject such a notion is because it undermines the rule of law," Graham explained.

McCain also called for tougher action against Moscow for its alleged involvement in hacks into Democratic Party e-mails before the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

"We can make them a lot tougher, ranging from travel to identifying individuals who have been involved in this hacking and specific organizations. There are a lot more stringent measures we should take," McCain said. "After all, it was an attack on the United States of America and an attack on the fundamentals of our democracy. If you destroy the elections, then you destroy democracy."

U.S. President Barack Obama on Dec. 29 ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over what the administration says was their involvement in the hacking.

Putin said on Dec. 30 that Moscow would not respond in kind and would not expel any Americans from Russia, accusing the U.S. administration of "irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy."

On Dec. 30, Trump praised Putin on Twitter for holding off on retaliatory actions, calling him "very smart."

Trump has brushed aside allegations from the CIA and other intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the cyberattacks. But it is unclear whether he will seek to roll back Obama's actions.

"If you have a hard time figuring out who is behind this, that doesn't speak well of you," Graham said. "The Russians are doing it all over the world."

Klobuchar said it wasn't only the United States that was being targeted by Russian cyberattacks.

"We have learned on this trip visiting Estonia and Lithuania and hearing about these cyberattacks in Ukraine -- it has happened for years and years and years. And it's a technique that can be used in the French elections or the German elections," Klobuchar said, referring to two key upcoming elections in Europe in 2017.
Kremlin ready to "surrender" Donbas - Tuka predicts return of eastern territories under Ukraine control by mid-2018

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for the Occupied Territories George Tuka is sure that Moscow does not see the occupied territories acceding to Russia, according to Novoye Vremya magazine.

Ukraine will regain control over the occupied territories of Donbas either next year or before June 2018, George Tuka wrote in his column for Novoye Vremya. "Now Russia is ready to give Donbas back only on its own terms. However, I am sure that Ukraine will be able to take over the initiative and implement its scenario for the return of the occupied territories. I really hope that this will happen next year or maximum by mid-2018. However, it is critically important to retain the support of Europe and the United States," he wrote. At the same time, Tuka noted that populist forces in Russia have become more active recently, who say that it is necessary to "fence off" from Donbas.

Tuka moved on to claim that many factors point to the fact that Moscow does not see the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions acceding to Russia. "There are lots of facts supporting the suggestion that the Kremlin is ready to 'surrender' Donbas. The Russian Federation clearly does not see these areas in its composition. The clearest evidence is seen when comparing the actions of Russian occupation forces in Crimea and Donbas," Tuka wrote...............

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