17 September 2014

The "National-Bolshevik" alliance is again at work in the European Parliament

On 16 September 2014, the European Parliament ratified the EU-Ukraine Association agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The Agreement will establish a deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Ukraine. 535 MEPs voted in favour of the ratification, 127 - against, 35 - abstained, and 54 - did not vote.

The analysis of the vote shows that the majority of the MEPs who voted against the ratification of the EU-Ukraine agreement are coming from the far right (46 MEPs), (far-)left (35 MEPs) and eurosceptic (30) political parties. This anti-European "National-Bolshevik" alliance manifested itself, in particular, during the vote on the European Parliament resolution "On Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine" that recognised "Russia’s acts of aggression as a grave violation of international law and its own international obligations".

16 September 2014

European far right politicians observe regional elections in Russia

On Sunday, 14 September 2014, Russian authorities held "regional elections" in the annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Referring to the so called "Russian laws", the authorities said that there would be no international observers as they did not invite them for regional elections.

However, "international monitors" did "observe" regional elections in St. Petersburg on the same day, and it was not at all surprising to see familiar faces.

International electoral monitors meeting with acting governor of St. Petersburg Georgiy Poltavchenko. 1 - Piotr Luczak, 2 - Milan Šarapatka, 3 - Fabrizio Bertot, 4 - Frank Creyelman, 5 - Ludovic de Danne, 6 - Johann Gudenus, 7 - Jan Penris. St. Petersburg, 15 September 2014. (I would be grateful for helping me in identifying other non-Russian people featured on this picture.)
Below is almost the full list of individuals invited by the Russian authorities to monitor the elections in St. Petersburg. The list is divided in two tables: (1) those individuals whose participation in the electoral observation mission I can confirm, and (2) those individuals who were invited to observe the elections, but I cannot confirm their participation.

15 September 2014

A rose by any other name: the World Congress of Families in Moscow

In one of my previous posts and a guest op-ed for War is Boring, I wrote that the US-based anti-LGBT hate group World Congress of Families (WCF) planned but then cancelled its annual meeting (World Congress of Families VIII) "Every Child A Gift: Large Families – The Future of Humanity". It was supposed to take place in Moscow on 10-12 September 2014. Discussing possible reasons for the cancellation of the event, I wrote:
[Following the outrageous annexation of Crimea by Putin’s Russia], the U.S. imposed sanctions on three Russian individuals — Vladimir Yakunin, Yelena Mizulina and Aleksey Pushkov — who have cooperated with WCF, among others.

Since the WCF is, above all, a U.S.-based organization, they most likely decided not to risk harming its reputation domestically by dealing with the sanctioned individuals.
One organisation that had planned to take part in WCF VIII in Moscow, Concerned Women for America, pulled out for a similar reason. As its president Penny Nance said, "We made the decision that we’re not going to Russia. I don’t want to appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin".

As it often happens with the "good Christians" from various hate groups, the cancellation story was a lie. The WCF VIII did take place in Moscow on 10-11 September 2014, but had a different - yet unsurprisingly similar - name: the International Forum "Large Family and Future of Humanity".

9 September 2014

Boris Kagarlitsky, a Kremlin's mole in the leftist movement (updated)

Deluded British leftists like to invite Russian allegedly left-wing publicist Boris Kagarlitsky of the Institute for Globalization Studies and Social Movements to take part in their events.

On 2 June this year, he joined, via Skype, the founding meeting of the "Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine" that was attended by Richard Brenner, Lindsey German (Counterfire), Andrew Murray (Communist Party of Great Britain), Alan Woods (International Marxist Tendency) and Sergei Kirichuk (Borotba).

On 27 August, he spoke at the public meeting "How to stop the spread of War". Other speakers and participants included Tariq Ali, Lindsey German, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Owen Jones, Francesca Martinez, Stafford Scott, Kate Smurthwaite, and Christian Fuchs.

31 August 2014

Please help to identify participants of the Yalta conference

I need help in identifying participants of the international conference "Russia, Ukraine, New Russia: global problems and challenges" that took place on 29-31 August 2014 in Yalta, situated in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea currently occupied by Russia.

I have already identified* a few people but many are still unknown to me. I will also be grateful for additional pictures of people taken at the conference.

* Thanks to friends, colleagues and commentators, more names are now added.

29 August 2014

The "Ukraine crisis" is a long-planned operation

This article has first appeared in Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.

What is now known as the "Ukraine crisis” in the international media is hardly a properly Ukrainian phenomenon. The first uses of this phrase go back to the pro-European protests that started in November 2013 and ended with a revolution that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. Yet even if the initial pro-European protests could be considered an internal Ukrainian development, their trigger lay beyond the country’s borders.

It was Russian foreign policy that has always been directed at preventing Ukraine from leaving Russia’s sphere of influence. Since the annexation of Crimea in March, “the Ukraine crisis” seems an increasingly misleading concept. Especially because the plans to annex Crimea and support separatists in Eastern Ukraine were designed by the Russian authorities several years ago and have little to do with the defence of ethnic Russians allegedly threatened by the new Ukrainian authorities.

28 August 2014

The “Russian World” will destroy Russia

It has been 14 years since Pyotr Shchedrovitsky wrote that “russkiy mir” (Russian world) could be a potent source of Russia’s modernization. For him, the existence of “russkiy mir” implied the availability of “Russian capital” defined as “an accumulation of cultural, intellectual, human and organizational potentials expressed in the linguistic thinking and communication (humanitarian) resources of the Russian language”. Using this Russian capital and mobilizing the Russian diaspora could be a foundation of the country’s innovation and neo-industrial development.

Yet even then, in 2000, Shchedrovitsky’s modernizing and relatively progressive interpretation of “russkiy mir” was a lone voice in the wilderness of ultranationalist, isolationist and expansionist narratives about “russkiy mir”. Already under President Boris Yeltsin, Russian and Russian-speaking minorities in former Soviet countries were used as tools of political influence and propaganda, but President Vladimir Putin effectively formalized “russkiy mir”, by the end of his second term, as one of the most important socio-political instruments of consolidation and cultural legitimization of his regime.

In foreign policy, this concept means two things. First of all, as a diaspora, “russkiy mir” is supposed to be an agent of Russian soft power in the West in general and Europe in particular. Second, as a geopolitical concept, “russkiy mir” refers to East European countries that Russia wants to keep in its orbit and where it can intervene in case they prefer a different foreign policy.

"Free society"