Photo via Maximonline.ru
Putin Gets His Wish: Moscow Now Talking with US Alone about Fate of Ukraine
Staunton, VA, January 19, 2016 — One of the aspects of the latest upsurge in US-Russian diplomatic exchanges about Ukraine that has not attracted much attention as it should but that may prove to be the most important at least as far as Vladimir Putin is concerned is this: Moscow is now talking about the Ukraine’s fate not in a format where Ukraine is a part but in one where it is not.
From Putin’s perspective, Minsk was always a problem. Putin was never been pleased to be treated as the head of a regional European power rather than as a counterpart to the United States. And he never really welcomed Ukraine’s participation in those talks. In his view, oft expressed, the two great powers should decide and then impose their views on Kyiv.
Consequently, whatever comes of the expanded contacts between Moscow and Washington on Ukraine, Putin will see this burst of activity not as the defeat some are suggesting, a reflection of the weakened condition of his country given sanctions, but rather as a victory, because he has succeeded in getting the US to accept his vision of how the world works.
And that has consequences not only for what Putin will do in the future but also for the future of Ukraine, for US-European relations, and last but far from least Ukraine, especially if as some have suggested there is now “Ukraine fatigue” in both Washington and other Western capitals and the West may be increasingly willing to make concessions it shouldn’t.
It has long been a principle of the countries in between the core of the European Union and the Russian Federation that there should be “nothing about us without us,” that is, there should be no negotiations about them without their participation. And that is a principle Putin clearly does not like or accept.
Now, for the time being, the Kremlin leader has gotten his way. Minsk for all that was and is wrong with it at least maintained the principle that if Ukraine’s fate was going to be discussed, it should be present at the table. But now, Putin has found a way to change that, counting on the desire of the US for a breakthrough it can claim credit to help him out.
Ten Books Putin Loyalists Should Burn – According to ‘Maxim’
Staunton, VA, January 19, 2016 — If Russians are going to go in for book burning, the editors of Maxim say, there are some books they as Putin loyalists should consider setting fire to first. In the current issue of the magazine, they offer a list of ten which either because of their subjects or their authors make them appropriate targets.
Herewith the Moscow magazine’s list, compiled by its regular author, Oleg ‘Orange’ Bocharov, that will allow his readers to catch up with the latest fashion in Putin’s Russia today:
1. Nikolay Gogol’s Dead Souls. A harmful book written by “a psychologically unhealthy” person from Ukraine. “In every Russian fire, there should be something Ukrainian!”
2. Astrid Lindgren’s Carlson on the Roof. A candidate for burning because it tells of the unnatural interest of a pedophile in a child of the same sex. Still worse, its author is “an activist of the [Swedish] social-democratic party” and that can’t be good.
3. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It isn’t important what this huge book is about. Its size alone will help the fire burn brightly. Moreover, its author was “an aging hippy” who was alienated from the Church.
4. Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. A satanist distortion of Jesus’s life written by a drug addict and native of Kyiv.
5. George Orwell’s 1984. Not only does this book reflect a lack of understanding of “that key role which its wise power plays in the life of the individual … it contains a false interpretation of the tested and reliable methods of popular enlightenment.” And in addition, it “was written in London by the son of an opium producer.”
6. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. “A cheap and long-winded invention in which the place of gays and emigres in Europe are occupied by gnomes and elves, and the entire territory of Russia is covered by volcanoes and its population by Orcs. The author is a commander of the Order of the British Empire and this says it all.”
7. Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. This story, written by “a British spiritualist and charlatan,” not only promotes murder but “awakens hatred to a social group,” in this case, “dogs.”
8. Mikhail Lermontov’s Hero of Our Time. A book intended to spark international tension between Russians and persons of Caucasus nationality, written by an adventurist whose death Nicholas I cleverly predicted: ‘to a dog, a dog’s death.’”
9. Vladimir Sorokin’s The Norm. A novel that “propagandizes a negative attitude toward the honored by every Russian practice of eating sh.t,” whose author earlier refused to join the Komsomol.
10. Korney Chukovsky’s Fly Tsokotukha. The author grew up in Odessa and associated with Soviet dissidents so one can expect nothing more than a tale of immorality directed at children.