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Backed By Western Money Derk Sauer Makes A Comeback At The Moscow Times

Derk Sauer comes with The Moscow Times, still receiving funding from the West and still promoting the anti-Putin Western line in Russia.

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Republished with the Author’s permission.  Previously published by Dancing With Bears.

Russia has grown up; Derk Sauer (lead image), boy scout for American, Dutch and NATO plots for Kremlin regime change since Boris Yeltsin left office, can’t.

Under cover of Russian frontmen, he has bought back the Moscow Times, and put his son Pyotr in charge of opinion. The opinion is the same as it was when Sauer started in Moscow in 1992. Mark Ames, the scourge of Moscow Times duplicity then, says now: “They’re trying to make the MT even more boring than it ever was, with just a hint of standard Moscow liberal politics. Right now Derk seems like a garden gnome I dreamed about long ago.”

Sauer started the Moscow Times on a shoestring in 1992. He recovered it with a shoestring in 2017.  For details of his start, read.

Owner of the shoe from whose string Sauer has dangled for this interval have included investors connected to the US intelligence services (he admitted to me himself); a Swiss entity owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Vladimir Potanin, the Norilsk Nickel oligarch; a Dutch media conglomerate, VNU; a Finnish media group called Sanoma, together with the Murdoch media group and Pearson’s, when it owned the Financial Times of London; then a Russian journalist without money, Demian Kudryavtsev. He appeared when Sauer and his offshore partners surpassed the 20% maximum foreign ownership threshold enacted in the amended Russian Law on Mass Media (N 305-FZ) in October 2014; the measure took effect from January 2016.  Kudryavtsev has claimed he made the acquisition with the “moral support” of the coalmine operator, Dmitry Bosov.

MONEY AND MORALS — THE MOSCOW TIMES’S SUPPORTERS


Left to right: Mikhail Khodorkovsky (in Moscow before his arrest in 2003); Rupert Murdoch (in St. Petersburg to meet President Vladimir Putin, 2005); Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Sanoma board chairman since 2014; Dmitry Bosov; his role in financing Kudryavtsev is reported here.  

Sauer followed the advice of lawyers on how to restructure his Russian media operations “to divide the business so that the editorial and broadcasting activities are controlled by a Russian entity and the remaining part of the business remains foreign-controlled, e.g. separating the roles of the so-called founder (registration as mass media in Russia) and the editorial office/broadcasting entity, on the one hand, from the publisher being in control of the remaining business streams, on the other hand.”

Meantime, Mikhail Prokhorov employed Sauer in his RBC media group, until he was ousted in 2016. There was internal criticism of Sauer’s financial operations at RBC, followed by a police raid and threatened indictments for fraud.  For the story of the fraud and other allegations against Sauer, click to read.   He claimed he was forced to flee to The Netherlands  for political reasons connected to Prokhorov’s presidential campaign against President Putin. Sources with access to RBC’s accounts do not substantiate that version. An independent media investigation by Meduza reportedthat RBC became unprofitable when its “shadowy sources of income” dried up.

The financial collapse at RBC was the largest of Sauer’s loss-making businesses. The Moscow Times had also run up sizeable debts at VNU; more at Sanoma. When Kudryavtsev took over, Sanoma reported a non-cash transaction for €8 million in value for shifting Sauer’s debts off the Sanoma balance sheet.   How much of the debt accumulated at the Moscow Times isn’t known. Sanoma, like the Dutch VNU earlier, had been unable to dispose of it and cut its other Russian losses for several years.  Sauer has been unwilling to explain how he (or who) underwrote the losses.

In 2017, after Kudryavtsev, an Israeli, lost his Russian citizenship and transferred the Russian daily Vedomosti to his wife, Sauer returned. Sauer’s authorized version claims the Moscow Times became the operation of a Stichting 2 Oktober,  Dutch charitable foundation in which he, Kudryavtsev and Sauer’s wife were in charge;  then they devised a shareholding arrangement between a Chinese-Russian named Vladimir Jao (Zhao) with 51%; a Sauer trustie  named Svetlana Korshunova with 30%; and with 19%,  Sauer himself.

Jao (right) is reported in the Moscow press as the operator of a catering business called Aeromar, a joint venture owned by Aeroflot and Lufthansa to supply meals for commercial airlines and shops at Moscow airports. In 2016 it reported a profit of Rb874 million ($14.3 million). Jao also operates a Moscow club  called, after himself, Chinese Pilot Jao Da. “It is basically a big, dirty student den and as such makes a great venue for getting drunk”, reports a current review.

Sauer has described Jao as his friend and partner who “doesn’t control the publication”. There is no substantiation for Jao’s capital contribution, if any, through a Russian front company called Tiemti. The Russian word spells out TMT, Sauer’s acronym for The Moscow Times. Since Kudryavtsev passed the financial liabilities of the publication from the Dutch foundation to Tiemti, it has been Sauer who has been financing the balance of the debt and the accumulating losses.

Sauer’s son Pyotr, a dual Russian and Dutch citizen, is listed on the publication’s website as an editor.  Another listed editor, Eva Hartog Skorobogatova,  reports herself as a current journalist in Moscow but former editor of the publication.   Hartog is also a Dutch citizen.


Left to right: Pyotr Sauer on Twitter;   Svetlana Korshunova on Facebook;   and Eva Hartog Skorobogatova on Dutch  television.  

The loss-making of the Moscow Times has required subsidization from the start. That has produced another consistency in Sauer’s media career – promotion of US and NATO propaganda for Boris Yeltsin until 1999, and since then of regime change at the Kremlin. While US law in the past has prohibited US journalists working for US media from operating on CIA or State Department funding for information gathering or disinformation circulation, the restriction hasn’t applied to Americans working for foreign media, or to foreign journalists. The Moscow Times has been that type of operation.  Celebrating the publication’s tenth anniversary in 2002, then US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow wrote of Sauer’s “marvelous job chronicling Russia’s transformation over the past decade.”

As Sauer moved back into management, his editorial line has favoured the NATO and Dutch Government version of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster;  and the Bellingcat version of the Skripal case.  According to Sauer junior, “the Skripal case has served to remind readers that, against the odds, there is still an appetite in Russia for investigative reporting. It has also begged the question of how long the Kremlin will allow it to continue.”

His website has proposed Ukraine as a model for presidential election campaigns in Russia;  Council of Europe supervision of Russian human rights;  and endorsement of State Department sanctions against Russia.  Anti-Russian campaigners like Leonid Bershidsky, the Israeli Zev Chafets and Bruno Macaes, a Portuguese politician employed by a US think-tank, are regular contributors.  The Moscow Times is the only publication in the country to refer to the “annexation” of Crimea in 2014.


Source: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/

Pyotr Sauer has posted a curriculum vitae in which he describes his career before joining the Moscow Times in August of last year. His previous job, he says, was at the London-based Control Risks organization, founded and run by retired British Army, SAS and UK Government officials.  According to Sauer, at Control Risks he was “Research Analyst. Compliance Forensics and Intelligence (CFI). Former Soviet Union.” That was in 2017 and 2018. In 2016, he was “Research Officer- Political Affairs Embassy of the Netherlands in Azerbaijan.” With university degrees from Utrecht and University College London, Sauer also identifies his association with the Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the International Crisis Group, and Amnesty International.


Source: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/pjotrsauer/de

The connexion between the Moscow Times and Control Risks isn’t coincidental, as there is more than one of them.  Nabi Abdullaev was one of Derk Sauer’s editors at Moscow Times until 2015.   When Sauer replaced Kudryavtsev, Abdullaev began appearing on the Moscow Times website until the end of 2018. Now, he and Control Risks say, he is a director in the Moscow office of the outfit.


CLICK TO ENLARGE
Source: https://www.controlrisks.com/ The company résumé says: “Prior to joining Control Risks, Nabi was the chief editor of The Moscow Times, an English-language daily newspaper in Russia, where he was a political and security writer for many years… Nabi has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where he studied negotiation and conflict resolution.” Tim Stanley, British, runs the Moscow office.  The third staff man identified on the company website is Yevgeny Gordeichev, a British government employee. The company website says this about him: “Yevgeny worked at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, where he divided his time between the British Embassy in Moscow and British Consulate in Yekaterinburg. During this time he worked as a Risk Assessment / Immigration and Liaison Officer alongside international law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes such as immigration fraud, document forgery, illegal facilitation and human trafficking. Yevgeny has also worked on a number of short-term assignments for Schlumberger Inc. as a head of its subcontractor visa and immigration compliance department and as a Country Security Advisor at the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) during the 2012 Russian presidential elections.” 

Abdullaev was telephoned and emailed at his office. He was asked how the relationship with Control Risks contributes to the journalism of the Moscow Times. He refused to answer.

Are Sauer and his TMT a target for the new amendment to Article 19.1 of the Mass Media Law  which is in review this month by government officials, as well as by members of the State Duma. Follow the details here.

The new amendment was prompted last year by concerns that the foreign ownership limit enacted between 2014 and 2016 isn’t extensive enough to cover internet aggregators moving translations of stories from foreign-controlled sources into the Russian audience.  There is also suspicion in media business circles that Sberbank wants tighter restrictions to help expand its control at Yandex, since the two commenced a joint venture in internet retailing in 2017 to compete against Amazon.

The revision of Art. 19.1 was also forced by a ruling of the Constitutional Court on January 17. The court had upheld an application by a Yevgeny Finkelshtein, part-owner of Radio-Chance (49%) and Russian Radio Europe-Asia (51%), and a dual-Russian Dutch citizen; read the ruling in full here.   Finkelshtein (right) had argued, according to the court transcript, that the law “disproportionately restricts the right to private property, the right to judicial protection, and the right to freely transfer, to produce and disseminate information (without contributing to limiting the excessive influence of foreign investors on the broadcasting policy of the media);  is discriminatory (putting citizens of the Russian Federation with foreign citizenship in a disadvantaged position compared to other citizens);  is insufficiently defined (not allowing to establish what share of participation in the authorized capital of a commercial company organizing broadcasts is recognized as permissible).”

In its ruling, the court judged that national security justifies the restriction of foreign information operations in Russia. The judges also agreed that the wording of the restrictions in the current statute is too ambiguous in interpretation and uncertain for application. They ordered that “the federal legislature shall – proceeding from the requirements of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and taking into account the legal positions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation expressed in this Resolution — make the necessary changes following from this Resolution in the existing legal regulation.”

Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma’s Information Policy Committee and a co-author of recent measures to stop “fake news” in Russian media, was asked to say if he considers Sauer and the Moscow Times a target of the proposed new amendment. He refused to say. Other deputies supporting the redrafting of Art. 19.1 are also determined to stay silent for the time being. Finkelshtein would not say what outcome he expects for his own radio stations, or for his fellow Dutch stakeholder in Russian media, Sauer.

Where Sauer’s money is coming from is the key. “Perhaps the secret is not in how but in why”, comments Ajay Goyal (right), publisher and editor-in-chief of The Russia Journal, a strong rival of Sauer’s publication in the Moscow market. “The how is easy. The online newspaper costs just a fraction of a print publication and it can easily avoid Russian legislative restrictions on [foreign ownership of] print media. Why he has this need to continue to be the fountainhead of anti-Russian poison is a mystery. This country [Russia] has given him everything. Sauer was a nobody when he came to Moscow. He would have remained that in Holland. Russia has given him everything he has and yet he pisses on this country in every headline, every editorial and every opinion or news piece. Why is he doing it? Perhaps he is just bored. Perhaps the man has developed a serious case of hubris and he wants to do regime change in the Kremlin single-handedly.”

“Or perhaps he senses another opportunity to get big money out of anti-Russia propaganda. There is that very juicy piece of fruit in info-warfare money from NATO, the EU and the State Department hanging low. There is no reason, Sauer thinks, not to grab it.”

Sauer and his wife, Ellen Verbeek, control the Stichting 2 Oktober — in Dutch stichting means a foundation — which is based in Amsterdam. Their purpose, according to the foundation website,  “is to support independent journalism in Russia and the CIS countries. Freedom of the press and freedom of information are vital for gathering and distributing reliable, fact-based news. Media play a crucial role in providing citizens with free and unrestricted access to information that can help them monitor the authorities and make empowered decisions. In Russia, where the vast majority of the media is state-controlled, it is of vital importance that objective news and information remain available to everyone.

The foundation’s mission statement is more explicit: “Stichting 2 Oktober supports the activities of The Moscow Times. Founded in 1992, The Moscow Times was and still is an inspiration for generations of Russian journalists. With its fact-based, unbiased and objective journalism, The Moscow Times has a long and distinguished track record which in many ways set the standards for decent journalism in Russia. Until 2015, The Moscow Times published a daily newspaper. Today, it is primarily distributed through themoscowtimes.com and several stand-alone print products.”

The foundation acknowledges that the journalists working at the Moscow Times are paid by the Dutch Foreign Ministry:


Source: https://www.stichting2oktober.org/our-work/

Pyotr Sauer was asked to explain, since his publication appears to run no advertising, how its costs are paid for. He was also asked whether the Moscow Times or its writers benefit, directly or indirectly, from grants or other payments from non-Russian government sources, or from non-Russian NGOs?  He refused to reply.

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Regula

The Moscow Times is in essence a CIA propaganda organ.

Food for Thought
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So…what isn’t that’s in the public’s eye these days?

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Food for Thought

The US tried to go for Russia’s post-Soviet soft-underbelly but couldn’t handle it, so it went for Ukraine’s soft-underbelly instead, and couldn’t even handle that without creating a disaster.

Time to have a serious rethink there, NATO. Maybe you just ain’t up to the task. Military-type knuckledraggers rarely are. Neo-conniving draft dodgers even less so.

Platon
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The Moscow Times is the manufacture of shit, out of shit, by shits, to bypass sewage treatment regulations.

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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