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An open letter to the people of Europe

The future of peace and of prosperity in Europe depends upon reconciliation with Russia, which far from having aggressive designs on Europe wants to be Europe’s friend.

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Dear friends,

It has become incumbent upon me as a lover of peace and understanding, and as an opponent of the lies that often plague public discourse, to write to you the following:

In many countries in your region, the new media message which is being embraced throughout the world – from America to the Far East, from the Middle East to southern Europe, from Latin America to Africa – is being slandered and misrepresented.

I do not claim for a moment that new media are in anyway a monolithic bloc. The opposite is true.   This itself is part of the appeal of new media.

New media are news and opinion organisations that speak for themselves, and which speak against a rotten status quo which for too long has censored free speech, free thought, and freedom of conscience in the West.

I speak today therefore not on behalf of new media as a whole (as such a thing would be dishonest and realistically impossible) but instead in order to address the issue that ‘Russia is hurting you’, ‘Russia seeks to hurt you’ or that ‘Russia shall hurt you’.

Russia is a proud country, a vast country, a powerful country, a culturally and academically rich country. Many of your countries could be the same, but it is your governments which are strangling your people, retarding your progress, and serving as the soul obstacle to your national improvement.

Russia exists as a stable bulwark of statehood, not of ideology, not of territorial ambition, nortof greed.

She is a satisfied country, though one understandably frustrated with the provocations made against her, and the mistruths said about her.

It is not only unfair for your governments and media to cast Russia in this light, but it is an educational crime to destroy the minds of young generations, so that they cannot engage in friendly if not
fraternal relations with the Russian people, who are your friends and in some cases your neighbours.

To Norway, Sweden and Finland:

The idea that the Great Northern War is suddenly going to resume is fanciful.   Yes, you lost your territory in the early 18th century, a time of which no living person in the Nordic countries has a personal historical memory. 

Such wars are not going to be repeated in some act of vengeance, not least because Russia won those wars.

Instead of teaching your young people that Russia is barbaric, you should be teaching good global relations and cultural understanding, in the way your countries are famous for doing about places located on the opposite side of the world.

To the people of Estonia, Latvia and Latvia:

It is not Russia which has made the gap between wages and purchasing power bloat itself to tragic levels.

It is not Russia that has taken away job opportunities, forcing young people to seek emigration upon graduation.

It is not Russia which has put foreign weapons on your soil, often asking you to foot the bill.

Russia is a neighbour, a country with a shared history, and a country that is open for business.

It is your national and European politicians who are lining their pockets at your express whilst Russia looks for and finds economic opportunities elsewhere.

To Poland:

Napoleon is dead, so is Piłsudski, and so is Stalin.

Russia is not looking towards you in any aggressive sense. She is currently hardly looking to you even in a business sense, since you have decided to lump yourselves in with western European countries like Britain, a state whose current  government uses you to twist the arm of Brussels, only to spit in your face a moment later.

In Britain good minded, hardworking Poles are being murdered, beaten and spat upon in the streets by illiterate thugs, whilst the government completely ignores their plight.

This isn’t happening to good minded Poles in Russia. 

Is this dignity? Is it dignity for NATO troops to use your treasured land as the launching pad for a third world war?

Poles have suffered much in wars.  The people do not want another war – much like the Russian people.

Interestingly, who is it that is condemning the genocide of Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army during the 1940s? It is not your so called allies.  It is Russia.

And what’s more during the funeral of Leonid Brezhnev, the Funeral March of Poland’s most treasured composer – Chopin – was played, just decades after the works of Jewish composers were banned in Germany.

Are these the traits of an enemy? I do implore you to consider all of this. 

To Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia:

Because of your status as geographical gatekeepers between east and west, you are at an advantage.

You have witnessed all of the horrors of the 1940s, and because of this many in Hungary and Slovakia are anti-communist to this day, yet not anti-Russian, whilst many in Germany remain nostalgic for the Marxist-Leninist government of the DDR, and associate this positively with Russia.

The Czech government has remained sceptical of many of the antagonistic policies towards Russia of many of its neighbours, whilst many Czechs remain loyal to socialist parties which would not have exist without the aid after 1945 of the USSR.

Finally, to the people of southern Europe:

Many of you are more sympathetic to Russia than you are to your north and north-eastern fellow Europeans.

Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus have seen first-hand how Germanic domination has been economically stifling, and how it is incompatible with your culture for any number of historical, climatic and geographical reasons.

Russia is happy to be your friend, and is moreover happy to be so without any rigid impositions of governmental dogmas.

It is the EU which has raped you of your dignity; Russia is willing to do business with you on mutually agreeable terms.

To Albania: 

What has NATO membership done for you? Has it lifted you out of breath-taking poverty? Has it satisfied the demands of your extreme factions? Has it ended corruption?

No it has done nothing for you.

To Serbia:

Has the European Union with its carrot and stick approach to negotiations with you been your friend, or does it see you as the next Greece? – a lamb to be slaughtered by a wolf.

I am speaking mainly to older generations who have a sense of history, and to younger generations who are more interconnected with each other than were their parents.

You have a chance to make history, you have a chance to make peace, and above all you have a chance to make sense.

Russia is not the enemy of the peoples of Europe.

Because of a shared history and neighbouring geography, Russia – which is not and never will be politically part of Europe – can be, should be, and indeed wants to be your friend.

The enemies are your corrupt governments; the enemies are educators who act as propagandists rather than purveyors of knowledge; your enemies are the international terrorists and extremists who threaten us all; your enemies are those in NATO selling you the promise of wealth of the biggest price imaginable.

I implore you not to change your minds at my behest, but rather to examine new media, especially that with a Russian perspective, and question who the real enemy is.

I implore you to use your democracies to create a meaningful change to the corrupt narrative of politicians who don’t give a damn about your life or livelihood. 

Your enemy isn’t Russia, and I hope future generations may realise that, and extend the olive branch of fraternity in a world where small European countries are being increasingly cut off from the
burgeoning opportunities emanating from the wider world.

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US confirms pullout from INF treaty, Moscow will respond if missiles placed in Europe – deputy FM

Moscow will respond to possible attempts to place short and intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles in Europe if the US decides to go on with this plan.

RT

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Via RT…


Washington has confirmed its decision to withdraw from the INF treaty is final, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said, adding that Moscow will ‘take measures’ if American missiles that threaten its security are placed in Europe.

“Washington publicly announced its plans to withdraw from the treaty (the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) already in October. Through the high-level bilateral channels it was confirmed to us that this decision was final and wasn’t an attempt to initiate dialogue,” Sergey Ryabkov told the Kommersant newspaper.

The Deputy FM said that Moscow will respond to possible attempts to place short and intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles in Europe if the US decides to go on with this plan.

“We’ll be forced to come up with effective compensating measures. I’d like to warn against pushing the situation towards the eruption of new ‘missile crises.’ I am convinced that no sane country could be interested in something like this,” he said.

Russia isn’t threatening anybody, but have the necessary strength and means to counter any aggressor.
Back in October, President Donald Trump warned that Washington was planning unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty because “Russia has not adhered to the agreement.” The US leader also promised that the country would keep boosting its nuclear arsenal until Russia and China “come to their senses.”

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will suspend its obligations under the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.”

Signed in late 1988, the INF agreement was considered a milestone in ending the arms race between the US and the USSR.

In recent years, Moscow and Washington have repeatedly accused each other of violating the INF deal. While the US has alleged that Russia has developed missiles prohibited by the treaty, Russia insists that the American anti-missile systems deployed in Eastern Europe can actually be used to launch intermediate-range cruise missiles.

The deputy FM said that Washington “never made a secret” of the fact that its INF treaty pullout “wasn’t so much about problems between the US and Russia, but about the desire of the Americans to get rid of all restrictions that were inconvenient for them.”

The US side expressed belief that the INF deal “significantly limits the US military’s capabilities to counter states with arsenals of medium-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles,” which threaten American interests, he said. “China, Iran and North Korea” were specifically mentioned by Washington, Ryabkov added.

“I don’t think that we’re talking about a new missile crisis, but the US plans are so far absolutely unclear,” Mikhail Khodarenok, retired colonel and military expert, told RT, reminding that the Americans have avoided any type of “meaningful discussion” with Moscow in regards to its INF deal pullout.

While “there’ll be no deployment of [US missiles] in Europe any time soon,” Moscow should expect that Washington would try to void other agreements with Russia as well, Khodarenok warned.

The INF deal “just stopped being beneficial for the US. Next up are all the other arms control treaties. There’ll be no resistance from the NATO allies [to US actions],” he said.

“The neocons who run Trump’s foreign policy never have liked arms reduction treaties,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. “The new START treaty which comes up for renewal also could be in jeopardy.”

“The risk of a new nuclear buildup is really quite obvious” if the US withdrawals from the INF treaty, Dan Smith, the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told RT.

“I think the relations between the great powers – the US and Russia as well as the US and China – are more difficult than they’ve been for a long time,” he added.

However, with Washington having indicated that it wants China to be part of the new deal, “there are still possibilities for negotiations and agreement,” according to Smith. Nonetheless, he warned that following this path will demand strong political will and tactical thinking from the leadership of all three countries.

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US Pressures Germany To Ditch Huawei Over ‘Security Concerns’

This news will likely not go over well in Beijing, which is still struggling with the US and Canada over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

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Via Zerohedge


First it was Australia, New Zealand and Japan, now the US is pressing the German government to refuse to use equipment manufactured by Chinese telecom giant Huawei as Europe’s largest economy seeks to build out its 5G infrastructure.

According to Bloomberg, a US delegation met on Friday with German Foreign Ministry officials in Berlin to talk about the security risks presented by Huawei’s equipment, which the US says is vulnerable to spying. The meeting in Germany follows a report from late last month claiming the US had launched an “extraordinary outreach campaign” to warn its allies against using Huawei equipment (while its vulnerability to Chinese spying has been cited as the reason to avoid Huawei, it’s also worth noting that the US and China are locked in a battle for who will dominate the global 5G space…a battle that Huawei is currently winning).

Germany is set to hold an auction early next year to find a supplier to help expand its 5G network. The Berlin meeting took place one day after Deutsche Telekom said it would reexamine its decision to use Huawei equipment.

US officials are optimistic that their warnings are getting a hearing, though any detailed talks are in early stages and no concrete commitments have been made, according to one of the people.

The US pressure on Germany underscores increased scrutiny of Huawei as governments grapple with fears that the telecom-equipment maker’s gear is an enabler for Chinese espionage. The Berlin meeting took place a day after German carrier Deutsche Telekom AG said it will re-evaluate its purchasing strategy on Huawei, an indication that it may drop the Chinese company from its list of network suppliers.

France is also reportedly considering further restrictions after adding Huawei products to its “high alert” list. The US has already passed a ban preventing government agencies from using anything made by Huawei. But the telecoms equipment provider isn’t taking these threats to its business lying down.

U.S. warnings over espionage are a delicate matter in Germany. Revelations over the scale of the National Security Agency’s signals intelligence, including reports of tapping Merkel’s mobile phone, are still fresh in Berlin five years after they came to light.

Huawei is pushing back against the accusations. The company’s rotating chairman warned this week that blacklisting the Chinese company without proof will hurt the industry and disrupt the emergence of new wireless technology globally. Ken Hu, speaking at a Huawei manufacturing base in Dongguan, cited “groundless speculation,” in some of the first public comments since the shock arrest of the company’s chief financial officer.

This news will likely not go over well in Beijing, which is still struggling with the US and Canada over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. In an editorial published Sunday, the Global Times, an English-language mouthpiece for the Communist Party, warned that China should retaliate against any country that – like Australia – takes a hard line against Huawei. So, if you’re a German citizen in Beijing, you might want to consider getting the hell out of Dodge.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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