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The future belongs to those who do not surrender

Compared to our ancestors, we are really distinguished by cowardice, fatalistic passivity and laziness. All this, however, can change quickly.

Milos Kovic

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An interview with Milos Kovic, historian, Assistant professor at the Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Serbia, who published a book about a difficult moment when only one path remained for Serbia, and not a promising one – “The only path: Entente Powers and the defense of Serbia in 1915.”

How accurate is the theory that there are tragic events of exceptional strength that really shape the identity of a nation? How is this happening and what if we do not learn a lesson out of those experiences?

– The prominent French writer Renan wrote in his lecture “What is a Nation?” that people are often connected by memories of shared suffering, and Serbs are no exception. Today, when Yugoslavia is no more, there is no reason why Jasenovac should not be brought back to the center of the Serbian identity, just like the Jews did with Auschwitz.

 During the Balkan wars and the First World War, we had a great victory, but also a lot of suffering. We were always criticized for building our identity on suffering, defeat, and therefore, for hardly looking towards the future.

– When Americans ask you a question like that, then they should be reminded of the Hollywood spectacle “300” about Leonidas, that they filmed and earned a great amount of money. What are the ethics taught in this film? It’s not about celebrating only defeats. Battles are fought to be won. Nobody wants to die. War ethics require courage, wisdom and victory. And defeats teach us lessons and they should make us wiser.

If we draw a parallel between the behavior of the Allies in the First World War and what happened in the nineties, we can see that in both cases the Serbian interests were crushed and betrayed, but despite all harmful decisions for us, we still walk persistently toward the European integration.

– In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had a stick in one hand, and in another it had a bag, and they offered Serbia integration, better roads, better health care, better schools. The only condition was to give up independence. The EU today is having the same behavior, even worse. The stick is thicker and the carrots are thinner. It is interesting that, after all, at present a large percentage of Serbs are ready to plunge the country into the EU and to give up sovereignty and freedom, and in 1914 it was unthinkable.

Why was it unthinkable?

– The answers are within ourselves. We are subject to special treatment by the great powers who applied similar methods in Hawaii, the Philippines, the Wild West, in India. But we cannot always blame someone else. The Serbian honor was famed by Serbs from the Republika Srpska and the former Republic of Krajina (in Croatia). Just look at the unfortunate Montenegro, the former Serbian Sparta. Or our desolate Belgrade, which is still acting as if it was the capital of Yugoslavia. Compared to our ancestors, we are really distinguished by cowardice, fatalistic passivity and laziness. All this, however, can change quickly. Vladislav Petković Dis (Serbian poet) lamented in the same way over the Serbian vices, on the eve of the big victories 1912-1918. We only need determination, intelligence and courage.

Nowadays many people believe that our defeats from the end of the 20th century are somehow rooted in victories from the Balkan wars and the First World War, because at that time we got a new State?

– I would say that this kind of debate relates only to the nineties. The generations fleeing the military mobilization and protesting against their own country, at a time when the Serbs across the Drina river were fighting for survival, are now running from their own weakness and are accusing their grandfathers and great-grandfather. Those fathers plunged a mighty sword into the hard stone, and their sons, not being able to pull out that sword, are accusing their fathers for of it. Our grandfathers left us a great Yugoslav State. We, our generation, we were not able to preserve it. It is easy to blame the dead for our own weakness. Let’s look in the mirror and answer the question about where we were and what we did in the nineties when Yugoslavia was broken down and what we are doing today when they are trying to break down our Serbia.

What actually happened to the Albanians in 1912, 1913, 1914, and after 1941?

– It was offered to the Muslim Albanians, who were a privileged class in the Ottoman Empire, to live in a relatively well-ordered and modern Yugoslav State instead of the Ottoman Empire. As equal citizens with their former serfs. Unfortunately, most of them refused. The hostility of Albanians towards the new State was based on class and religious grounds. That is why in the forthcoming World War, the majority sided with the occupiers and enemies of the Serbian people and they again committed genocide against the Serbian people in Kosovo and Macedonia, but also against the Macedonians.

To what extent is the issue explored in the Serbian historiography? Were there any punishment and reprisals in the Serbian army?

– Yes, there were. There are preserved commands from officers during the retreat across Albania stating that any robbery of Albanian civilians would be severely punished. In the short story “Resimić the drummer” Dragisa Vasic describes one such case, when the starving Serbian recruits, while crossing Albania, steal fowl in an Albanian village, and at the request of peasants, the Serbian officer shoots dead those kids. It was a real historical event.

Simon Sebag Montefiore in his “Jerusalem”, considers the Albanians very seriously and notes that they have grown as a strong ethnical group since the beginning of the 19th century. By what means did we underestimate them as a group and a political power?

– It must be said that Belgrade really underestimated the Albanian nationalism and that it was generally despised. We were unable to encourage professionals for Albanian studies. There were some, but not enough. It is still difficult to find one who would deal with this important question. Unlike Albanians who, at least in Kosovo and Metohija, were learning Serbian, we were not learning Albanian. So, there has been some underestimation, especially of the Albanian nationalism, and we paid the price. Nevertheless, we must not waste time on blaming ourselves, we must not lose faith in our own strength and we should not forget that the future belongs to those who do not surrender.

Translated from Serbian by Svetlana MAKSOVIC

Source: ZURNALIST.RS 31.05.2017.

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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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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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