reso pubblico il 19 di gennaio dal Russian International Affairs Council.
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«And I will never forget that, just like I will never forget the state in which this country was in the early 1990s.»
«The Constitution of the United States and the electoral legislation are structured in such a way that more electors can vote for a candidate who is backed by fewer voters. And such situations do occur in the history of the United States. …. The other thing is that I am deeply convinced that no interference from the outside, in any country, even a small one, let alone in such a vast and great power as the United States, can influence the final outcome of the elections. It is not possible. Ever.»
«It does not sound like justification. It sounds like a statement of fact»
«Listen, his boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense»
«And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect.»
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«The common view in Moscow is that Trump had been overrated, that U.S.-Russian relations did not have a chance, that the Deep State is simply too powerful for any President to turn around, and that the U.S. establishment is genetically Russo-phobic»
On the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin answered questions from NBC anchor Megyn Kelly.
Megyn Kelly: President Putin, you have repeatedly and passionately denied that Russia was behind the interference with our American presidential election, including on stage at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
But as you know, the consensus view in the United States is that you did. That’s what the 17 intelligence agencies concluded and that’s what the Republicans and the Democrats on the Congressional oversight committees who have seen the classified report have said. Are they all lying?
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: They have been misled and they are not analysing the information in its entirety. I have not once seen any direct proof of Russia’s interference in the presidential election in the USA.
We have talked about it with former president Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence.
When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that’s how I saw it.
I have already told you, and I can say it again, that today’s technology is such that the final address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.
Modern technology is very sophisticated and subtle and allows this to be done. And when we realize that we will get rid of all the illusions. That’s one thing. The other thing is that I am deeply convinced that no interference from the outside, in any country, even a small one, let alone in such a vast and great power as the United States, can influence the final outcome of the elections. It is not possible. Ever.
Megyn Kelly: But the other side says is it was only 70,000 votes that won Trump the election, and therefore influencing 70,000 people might not have been that hard.
Vladimir Putin: The Constitution of the United States and the electoral legislation are structured in such a way that more electors can vote for a candidate who is backed by fewer voters. And such situations do occur in the history of the United States. True, isn’t it?
Therefore, if we were to discuss some kind of political and social justice, then probably that electoral legislation needs to be changed and bring a situation where the head of state would be elected by direct secret ballot and so there will be direct tabulation of votes that can be easily monitored. That’s all there is to it. And there will be no need for those who have lost the elections to point fingers and blame their troubles on anybody.
Now, if we turn this page over, I will tell you something that you most likely know about. I don’t want to offend anyone, but the United States, everywhere, all over the world, is actively interfering in electoral campaigns in other countries. Is this really news to you?
Just talk to people but in such a way (to the extent it is possible for you) so as to convince them that you’re not going to make it public. Point your finger to any spot on the world’s map, everywhere you’ll hear complaints that American officials interfere in their political domestic processes.
Therefore, if someone, and I am not saying that it’s us (we did not interfere), if anybody does influence in some way or attempts to influence or somehow participates in these processes, then the United States has nothing to be offended by. Who is talking? Who is taking offense that we are interfering? You yourselves interfere all the time.
Megyn Kelly: That sounds like a justification.
Vladimir Putin: It does not sound like justification. It sounds like a statement of fact. Each action invites appropriate counteraction, but, again, we don’t need to do that because I did not tell you this without a reason, both you personally and other members of the media, recently I was in France and I said the same things.
Presidents come and go, and even parties come to and away from power. But the main policy tack does not change. So by and large we don’t care who will be at the helm in the United States. We have a rough idea of what is going to happen. And in this regard, even if we wanted to it wouldn’t make any sense for us to interfere.
Megyn Kelly: You had said for months that Russia had nothing to do with the interference of the American election, and then this week you floated the idea of patriotic hackers doing it. Why the change and why now?
Vladimir Putin: It’s just that the French journalists asked me about those hackers, and just like I told them, I can tell you, that hackers may be anywhere. They may be in Russia, in Asia, in America, in Latin America. There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can’t you imagine it happening? I can. Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy.
There is a theory that Kennedy’s assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today’s context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organise some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. Now, the candidate for the Democratic Party, is this candidate universally beloved in the United States? Was it such a popular person? That candidate, too, had political opponents and rivals.
Megyn Kelly: Let’s move on. A special counsel has been appointed to investigate contacts between your government and the Trump campaign. You have said that your ambassador Kislyak was just doing his job. Right? So, what exactly was discussed in those meetings?
Vladimir Putin: There were no sessions. You see, there were no sessions. When I saw that my jaw dropped.
Megyn Kelly: No meetings between Ambassador Kislyak and anybody from the Trump campaign?
Vladimir Putin: No clue. I am telling you honestly. I don’t know. That’s an ambassador’s every day, routine work. Do you think, an ambassador from any place in the world or from the US reports to me daily as to whom he meets with and what they discuss? It’s just absurd. Do you even understand what you are asking me?
Megyn Kelly: Well, you’re his boss.
Vladimir Putin: Listen, his boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense. Don’t you understand that this is just some kind of nonsense. I don’t even know with whom he met there. Had there been something out of the ordinary, something remarkable he of course would have advised the minister and the minister would have informed me. Nothing of that happened.
Megyn Kelly: Since it happened have you gone back to speak with the ambassador about what was in those discussions he had with Jared Kushner, with General Michael Flynn, with anybody else from the Trump campaign?
Vladimir Putin: No, I haven’t.
Megyn Kelly: Aren’t you interested?
Vladimir Putin: No. Because if there had been something meaningful he would have made a report to the minister, and the minister would have made a report to me. There weren’t even any reports. Just every day, routine work that doesn’t mean anything that may not even have any prospects.
It’s just that someone decided to find fault with it and, you know, select it as a line of attack against the current President. This isn’t for us to get into, these are your domestic political squabbles. So you deal with them. Nothing to talk about.
There was not even a specific discussion of sanctions or something else. I just find it amazing how you created a sensation where there wasn’t anything at all. And proceeded to turn that sensation into a tool for fighting the sitting president. You know, you’re just very resourceful people there, well done, probably your lives there are boring.
Megyn Kelly: I am sure you have heard by now that one of the things they are looking into is the fact that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, reportedly discussed with Ambassador Kislyak in December establishing a back channel for communications between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. And the suggestion was, by Mr Kushner, that they could do this at a Russian embassy or a Russian consulate. That they could use Russia’s communications gear to make those communications happen so that the United States intelligence service could not hear. Does that strike you as a good idea?
Vladimir Putin: Russia had no channels of communication with neither campaign, the campaigns of the US Presidential candidates. None whatsoever. Russia did not set up and did not have any channels with anyone. There may have been official contacts with the campaigns of all the candidates, which is a standard diplomatic practice.
Megyn Kelly: This is a proposal, a proposal by Mr Kushner.
Vladimir Putin: I am not aware of such a proposal. No such proposal ever reached me.
Megyn Kelly: Did you know General Michael Flynn? He came over here for a dinner a photo of which has been widely circulated in the American media. What was the nature of your relationship with him?
Vladimir Putin: You and I, we have a much closer relationship than with Mr Flynn. You and I met up yesterday evening. You and I have worked all day together. We are meeting yet again at this moment. When I came to the event at our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman, and someone else was sitting down on my other side.
I made a speech, then we talked about something else, then I got up and left. Afterwards, I was told, ”You know, that American gentleman, he used to do this before, used to work in the special services. And now he does this.“ ”Great,“ I said, ”Are you working with him somehow?“ “No, we just invited him as a guest, one of the guests.” And I replied: “Well, good for you!” And that’s it.
I almost did not talk to him. I said hello, we sat next to each other, then I said goodbye and left. This sums up my entire acquaintanceship with Mr Flynn. If Mr Flynn and I had this kind of interaction, while you and I, we have spent an entire day together, and Mr Flynn was fired from his job, you then should be arrested and put in jail.
Megyn Kelly: Many Americans hear the name, Vladimir Putin. And they think, ”He runs a country full of corruption, a country in which journalists, who are too critical, could wind up murdered, a country in which dissidents could wind up in jail or worse.“ To people who believe that, what is your message?
Vladimir Putin: I want to say that Russia is developing along a democratic path, this is without question so. No one should have any doubts about that. The fact that, amidst political rivalry and some other domestic developments, we see things happen here that are typical of other countries, I do not see anything unusual in it.
We have rallies, opposition rallies. And people here have the right to express their point of view. However, if people, while expressing their views, break the current legislation, the effective law in place, then of course, the law enforcement agencies try to restore order.
I am calling your attention to something that I discussed recently when on a trip to France and in my discussions with other European colleagues. Our police force, fortunately, so far, do not use batons, tear gas or any other extreme measures of instilling order, something that we often see in other countries, including in the United States.
Speaking of opposition, let us recall the movement Occupy Wall Street. Where is it now? The law enforcement agencies and special services in the US have taken it apart, into little pieces, and have dissolved it. I’m not asking you about how things stand in terms of democracy in the United States. Especially so that the electoral legislation is far from being perfect in the US. Why do you believe you are entitled to put such questions to us and, mind you, do it all the time, to moralize and to teach us how we should live?
We are ready to listen to our partners, ready to listen to appraisals and assessments when it is done in a friendly manner, in order to establish contacts and create a common atmosphere and dedicate ourselves to shared values. But we absolutely will not accept when such things are used as a tool of political struggle. I want everybody to know that. This is our message.
Megyn Kelly: There have been questions in America about Donald Trump’s finances. He hasn’t released his tax returns. There have been questions about this secret Russian dossier, which he says is fake, but which purports to have blackmail information in it generated by the Russians. There have been questions about the communications between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, all of which has Americans asking, ”Do you have something damage on our president?“
Vladimir Putin: Well, this is just another piece of nonsense. Where would we get any information about him? Did we have some kind of special relationship with him. There was no relationship whatsoever. Yes, he visited Moscow in his day. But, you know, I never met him.
Many Americans come here. There are representatives of 100 companies from the US, who have come to Russia. Do you think I have met each and every representative of those American companies? You probably saw me walk into the conference hall, where our colleagues were sitting. I consider them all to be our friends. They are all working in Russia and many of them have been doing it for many years. They are investors. They are the CEOs of major US companies. They are interested in joint work. And that’s great! And we will welcome each and every one of them. And we will consider each of them our friend.
And we will help them implement their plans in Russia and will try to steer things in a direction so that they can work here successfully and make a profit.
And should they all be arrested for it afterwards? Have you lost your minds there or something? What about the freedom of economy? What about human rights? Do you think we are gathering dirt on all of them now? Are you all right in the head, all of you there?
Megyn Kelly: Last question. We have been here in St Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?
Vladimir Putin: I hope not. Do you know what I feel? I feel this live, direct connection to this land, to its history, to this country. You have said that you have been in St Petersburg for several days. Yesterday, I had a conversation with Indian Prime Minister. He had visited the Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery, where almost 400,000 residents of Leningrad were buried, most of them civilians. They died during the siege of Leningrad. They starved to death. And buried in one of those graves is my older brother whom I have never seen. And I will never forget that, just like I will never forget the state in which this country was in the early 1990s.
You and I have had a debate today in the course of our conversation. However, in this country, since 2000 – and we have many problems, and recently even the poverty threshold has become a little worse than we planned – the situation will recover, I am confident of that, and yet our population’s real wages have grown manifold. And so have pensions.
Our economy has become completely different, on the whole. The size has changed. The economy has almost doubled in size. And the quality is changing, not as fast as we would like it to, but the structure is changing.
Our Armed Forces are completely different today from what they were, say 15 years ago or so.
All of this, including our great history, great culture, all of this, not just what we see today, is what makes the vast majority of Russia’s citizens feel proud for their country.
At the end of 2016, both the political and expert communities in Russia appeared to be very pessimistic about the future of the world order in general, and the about the future of the West in particular. Indeed, the year had turned out to be an annus horribilis in many ways; numerous doomsday prophets referred to various harbingers of the looming cataclysms. They mentioned the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and the victory of a non-system candidate in the U.S. presidential election. They highlighted the nearly global rise of right-wing populism and antiglobalism to a level that was unprecedented in recent decades. They talked about the wave of migration that was threatening to consume Europe. They pointed to the impotence of international organizations in the face of multiplying regional conflicts, and they noted a widespread decline in public confidence in practically all institutions of power .
These apocalyptic visions were, of course, somewhat self-serving. Notwithstanding all its problems, in 2016 Moscow demonstrated a lot of political, economic and social stability amidst this global turmoil. Inflation was put under control, devaluation of the national currency was stopped and even reversed, Western economic sanctions failed to bring Russia to its knees, and the parliamentary elections in September resulted in a predictable triumphant victory for the Kremlin’s United Russia Party. Political and economic risks in the coming year 2017 appeared to be relatively low and manageable. Technocrats in the government and in the presidential administration had reasons to be proud of their performance: the Russian system turned out to be more adaptive and flexible than its in-house and foreign critics had maintained.
The notion of stability as the supreme value was back in circulation and used widely in both domestic and international propaganda. Even if Russia’s stability looked more and more like the stagnation of the late Soviet period, stagnation still appeared to be a preferable alternative to the West’s disorder and commotion. Not surprisingly, the greatest portion of gloomy and even apocalyptic prophesies of Russian pundits had to do with the fate of the European Union. In 2014-2016, the EU found itself in a perfect storm that revealed the frightening fragility and obvious obsolescence of many of its fundamental political, financial, economic, institutional and even spiritual foundations. Russia’s problems appeared much less dramatic against the background of the EU seemingly sinking into chaos, and the apparent hopelessness of the “European project.” 
Subsequent developments in Europe, however, demonstrated that the European Union had not lost its resilience and its cohesion. In this chapter, I argue that in 2017 Russian foreign policy started a painful process of reassessing its previous assumptions about the EU and its midterm prospects. This reassessment ran parallel to a growing disappointment in the ability of the Trump Administration in the United States to change the negative momentum in the U.S.-Russian relationship or to pursue a consistent foreign policy in general. One can foresee these changes in the Russian approach to the West continuing in 2018 and beyond.
Engagement Can Wait
The expectation (and, for some, the eager anticipation) of the inevitable collapse of the current world order influenced Russia’s foreign policy and relevant discussions, particularly in late 2016 and early 2017. Indeed, what sense did it make to invest effort, energy and political capital in difficult negotiations with leaders whose days were numbered anyway? Would it be reasonable to keep following rules of the game that had been accepted way back when if these same rules would be rewritten very soon? Was it worth agreeing to concessions and uncomfortable compromises if a new post-Western world was about to arrive? Would it not be wiser to wait it out and observe from a safe distance the epic demise of the old era, which had formed at the turn of the century?
Russian foreign policy at that juncture seemed to follow a wait-and-see approach, abstaining from any far-reaching proposals, not to mention potential concessions to Western partners or recondition of Russia’s past mistakes. The last visible attempt to set Russia-EU relations into motion was the occasion of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to Russia for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, 2016. President Vladimir Putin handed to his guest a list of specific proposals on restoring Moscow’s relations with Brussels. The EU, however, never reacted to the Russian list. Instead, the Kremlin had to live with the five principles of Federica Mogherini, only one of which (selective engagement with Russia on foreign policy issues vital to the EU) could be interpreted as a promise of limited cooperation in the future, but even this principle was deliberately vague and ambiguous.
A similar last-minute pitch failed in relations with the Obama Administration. On September 10th, 2016 in Geneva, after long and exhausting talks, John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov announced a tentative ceasefire deal for Syria. They also stated that this deal was to lead the way to a joint U.S.-Russian air campaign against ISIS and other extremist groups and new negotiations on the country’s political future.
This hope —to use Syria as an opportunity to limit the damage in Russian-American relations caused by the Ukrainian crisis—did not last very long. The painfully negotiated Kerry-Lavrov peace plan collapsed just a few weeks after signing. The Russian side accused the United States of failing to exercise the needed pressure on the select groups of the anti-Assad opposition to make them abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement—a task that was arguably too big for Washington to handle successfully. Russians also complained that the United States had not been able to separate the moderate Syrian opposition from more radical factions gravitating to ISIS and al-Qaeda. Again, it remains unclear whether the United States was in a position to arrange such a separation. However, the main source of the Kremlin’s frustrations was the perceived unwill-ingness of the U.S. military to work in any substantive way with its Russian counterparts. In the fall of 2016 in Moscow, it became popular to argue that the Pentagon had managed to overrule the State Department, and that the hawkish views or Ash Carter had prevailed over the more moderate positions of John Kerry.
It seems that these failures to engage Europe and the United States, as well as the perception that the West was entering a long-term period of disarray and decline, led to a serious reassessment of Russian foreign policy priorities. Syria serves as an example of this reassessment. After the unsuccessful attempt to create a Russian-U.S. alliance, the Kremlin focused its energy and diplomatic skills on building a coalition of regional players through the Astana de-escalation process. Bringing Turkey and Iran to the negotiating table was an unquestionable diplomatic victory for Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin worked hard to get major Arab countries interested in this new arrangement. The invitation was also extended to the United States, but U.S. participation was no longer considered critical for the success of Russia’s Syrian strategy.
Taking all of Russia’s internal problems and restraints into account, in 2016 Moscow appeared to have one undeniable advantage over the West: a more considerable reserve of time. Russia’s ailments, extremely serious as they are, are chronic and sometimes even dormant in nature: they have matured over years if not decades. The problems of the West, meanwhile, went from dormant to acute within a single year in 2016, and international experts started talking about the possibility of a fatal outcome. At any rate, the Kremlin had reasons to believe that in any possible confrontation scenario, Moscow would be able to outperform Western capitals, precisely because it had more time on its hands. The nature of the Russian political system, the high level of political mobilization and social consensus reached after the crisis of 2014, the marginalization of the domestic opposition and the relatively stable performance of the Russian economy—all these factors made the Russian leadership confident that it would not encounter major problems during, or following, the presidential elections of 2018.
Finally, the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States raised hopes in Moscow that Russia would be in a position to cut a deal with Washington above the heads of European capitals. Some of the election campaign statements by the new President sounded very encouraging; they apparently reflected a worldview and a set of foreign policy principles not very different from these of President Vladimir Putin. Though some Russian experts on the United States cautioned against too high expectations about possible change in U.S. foreign policy, the mood in Moscow on the eve of 2017 was largely optimistic. Only the pro-Western liberal minority was looking to the future with concerns and fear. This cohort of Russian intellectuals suspected that any further deepening of the crisis in the West would become a significant boost to authoritarian political trends inside Russia; the crisis and the growing impotence of the West could also create temptations for a more adventurist and risk-taking Kremlin foreign policy.
No Revolution This Week
Looking back to the “Trumpomania” of late 2016—early 2017, today many in Russia have turned from enthusiasm to fatalism. The common view in Moscow is that Trump had been overrated, that U.S.-Russian relations did not have a chance, that the Deep State is simply too powerful for any President to turn around, and that the U.S. establishment is genetically Russo-phobic. The logical conclusion is that in 2017, Russia could have done nothing and can do nothing today to change the momentum of the relationship. We now have to sit on our hands waiting for some shifts in U.S. politics. This is not a very optimistic view. However, was it really the case? Could we speculate about an alternative track of the relationship if Moscow had taken a different, more proactive approach, beginning in January 2017?
The inertia of negative trends in Russian-U.S. relations in early 2017 was very powerful and hard to stop. Policies toward Moscow became an important component of U.S. domestic politics and President Trump was significantly constrained in what he could offer his counterpart in the Kremlin. However, in my view, Russian policy made a few tactical mistakes that closed the door to even limited progress in the bilateral relationship during the first few months of the new Administration.
First, the political fallout of the alleged Russia’s interference into the U.S. presidential election of 2016 was grossly underestimated in Moscow. Instead of demonstrating its understanding of American concerns—no matter how grounded and justified these concerns looked from the Russian side—and offering full cooperation in investigating the hackers’ case, the Russian leadership took a very condescending and dismissive position in this matter. “This isn’t for us to get into; these are your domestic political squabbles. Therefore, you deal with them. Nothing to talk about,”  was how President Putin responded to Megyn Kelly’s question about hackers at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in early June. This dismissive attitude played a significant role in consolidating the anti-Russian consensus in America. Two month later the U.S. Congress almost unanimously approved a new far-reaching sanctions package against Russia.
Second, it its attempts to reach out to the United States, the Russian leadership targeted exclusively the new Administration, instead of sending meaningful signals to the U.S. public at large, including its representatives in the U.S. Congress. For instance, Moscow could have announced the abolition of the notorious Dima Yakovlev Law that banned adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. citizens. It could have demonstrated its good will by reconsidering the list of U.S. undesirable organizations that had been kicked out of Russia during the last years of the Obama Administration. It could have restarted a number of frozen U.S.-Russian exchange pro-grams in education and civil society (the FLEX program being one of the most evident options). Unfortunately, none of these evident steps was made—probably because the Kremlin did not consider U.S. public opinion to be an important factor in shaping the Trump Administration’s foreign policy.
Finally, to the extent we can judge the initial Russian proposals to the new U.S. Administration, which allegedly were submitted to the White house in late March-early April 2017, they were limited primarily to restoring communications in three areas. Moscow offered to resume political dialogue, contacts between top U.S. and Russian military officials and information exchange between intelligence agencies of the two countries. Nothing suggests that these proposals contained any substantive ideas or demonstrated any new flexibility in Kremlin positions on matters like Syria or Ukraine. There was nothing in the proposals that would give the Trump Administration the prospect of an early and spectacular foreign policy success.
In 2017 it became evident that not only had the Trump Administration inherited the U.S.-Russian crisis from its predecessors, this coincided with what was arguably the most profound political crisis in the United States since Watergate. What was more, America had also entered a social crisis that went way beyond the Washington, DC Beltway and had the potential to affect the whole of American society. The hope that Donald Trump could be a strong president capable of restoring the shaken unity of the American people did not pan out, while the polarization of different political and social groups increased throughout most of 2017. The White house became significantly restricted in its ability to conduct a consistent foreign policy, not to mention implement any long-term strategy.
At the same time, the developments of 2017 suggest that the decline of the old era in Europe has been postponed, if not cancelled outright. The populist Eurosceptics failed in the Dutch and French elections, and the German election reaffirmed the continuity of Berlin’s European strategy. Notwithstanding all of Brexit’s negative implications, it actually resulted in the European idea gaining more popular support within the EU’s 27 remaining member states, and it became unlikely that any would follow suit any time soon. The migration crisis was not completely resolved, but in 2017 it no longer appeared as dramatic as it did in 2016 and especially in 2015. The euro did not crash, and no eurozone nations were thrown out.
It seems that Moscow was late to accept the important change of the curve in European developments and to change its tactics, if not strategy, towards Europe. Otherwise, it is hard to understand, for example, why Vladimir Putin chose to greet personally French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin in March and why the Russian mainstream media were so critical, if not hostile, to Emmanuel Macron literally until the day of the second round of the French presidential elections. To be fair to the Kremlin, it demonstrated a much more prudent approach to the parliamentary elections in Germany in September. On the other hand, one can argue that there was a fundamental difference between the French and German election cycles of 2017: in France, three of four presidential candidate argued for a more accommodative EU policy toward Russia, including possible change to the regime of sanctions; in Germany no mainstream political party contemplated such a change.
The Resilience of the West
It would appear that the United States and Europe followed opposite courses in 2017: while Brussels was beginning to react to its systemic problems, albeit slowly and falteringly, Washington only watched its problems grow. On the other hand, these processes in Europe and North America, which might seem incompatible through the prism of global politics, essentially reflected in different ways the same fundamental meaning of 2017. The Western world as a whole demonstrated more ability to adjust, more resistance to destabilizing factors, and more resilience than anyone could have credited it with in late 2016. It would probably be an overstatement to label 2017 as annus mirabilis, but it was definitely not as bad as 2016, and it countered some of the most pessimistic views on the inevitability of Western decline.
It is true that after Trump became president, disputes intensified within NATO as to how the burden of defense expenses should be distributed within the Alliance. However, the May 2017 NATO summit in Brussels did not prove catastrophic, and any attempts to write NATO off appear to be very much premature. It is also true that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership project is no more, but this has not resulted in heated trade wars between Europe and North America, nor will such conflicts break out in the future. Washington has left the Paris climate accord, but the major part of American business and society continue to observe the letter and spirit of that agreement.
This does not mean that 2017 resolved the postmodernist crisis in international relations: the fundamental problems of the modern global political system did not disappear in 2017, and the system will still have to change one way or another. however, we can now see that postmodernism is characterized by a good share of momentum and will continue to fight against advancing traditionalist forces for years to come. Therefore, current changes will most likely be characterized by a protracted evolution rather than a swift revolution; they will take years and even decades to complete. This process will have its ups and downs, speedups and slowdowns. however, it is unlikely that historians of the future, let alone contemporaries, will be able to pinpoint the moment when global politics transitioned from one qualitative state to the next. Speaking specifically of 2017, one can conclude that this period was dominated by restorative trends rather than by revolutionary ones.
What does this all mean for Russia? First and foremost, in 2017 decision-makers in the Kremlin should have cast away all illusions that Russia’s problems with the West would disappear on the back of the radical changes taking place within the West itself. The assumption that Moscow’s main task was to wait out this period in global politics, which, although extremely unpleasant for Russia, might appear to be short-lived, turned out to be highly questionable. In 2017, it became apparent that the Kremlin had no guaranteed advantage in short- and mid-term planning over the West. The Russian leadership had to plan for a marathon, not a sprint, and it was by no means a given that Moscow was better equipped to last out this contest than its Western opponents.
The upheavals of the past few years might not have completely cut down the snobbish, overconfident and not entirely perspicacious European bureaucrats and strategists, but they may at least have forced them to come down to earth. For the sake of the future of the European project, Brussels and other European capital cities were actively looking for new EU development paths, discussing possible solutions to key issues of political and economic reforms and plans to reform the key European institutions. Can we say in earnest that in 2017 Russia was discussing the future of the Russian project with the same zealousness, breadth and intensity?
It is of course possible that skeptics will soon mount another attack on the European Union, and that pro-Russian leaders will come to power in one or two European countries. It is also possible that Trump will manage to win a tactical victory over the Deep State, minimizing the practical implementation of new anti-Russian sanctions. A new major armed conflict in the Middle East could distract the West from its confrontation with Russia, or global political instability could lead to a steep oil price hike. However, building a strategy on such premises is akin to planning a family budget in hope of a hefty lottery win. The unpredictability of international developments should not justify the absence of a cohesive strategy, especially when one has to deal with an opponent who is far superior in terms of overall economic, social and military attributes of power.
In addition, it is now becoming clear that Russia will not be able to engage in strategic interaction with the Trump administration while leaving the disintegrating EU by the wayside. So far, the opposite has been true.
It appears that in the foreseeable future, Russia cannot hope for much more than tactical interaction with the United States on a limited set of issues, such as Syria, North Korea, the Arctic and nuclear non-proliferation. If Moscow is particularly lucky, it might expand this list to add strategic stability, the fight against global terrorism and certain other problems. However, cooperation with the Americans on the creation of a new world order is no longer possible. The firmness of the anti-Russian consensus in Washington is indisputable; splitting this consensus will take a very long time, if it happens at all. Very few people in Moscow today believe that the decisions on anti-Russian sanctions made in Washington in 2017 are likely to be reconsidered anytime soon. What is currently happening in U.S.-Russia relations is more than a worsening of the weather; it is a fundamental climatic shift, the coming of a new Ice Age.
The EU, on the other hand, appears to be more promising for Russia. In order to overcome its numerous problems and ailments, the European Union will inevitably have to revise many of its existing mechanisms, procedures and priorities, and even, to an extent, its rules and principles. Russia could assist with the European Union’s transformation for its own benefit by supporting a stronger Europe and abstaining from patronizing anti-European parties and movements across the continent. In this case, it could hope to gradually expand cooperation with Europe, on the con-dition that at least some minimal progress is achieved on Ukraine, which is central to Russia-EU relations.
This does not imply that fundamental disagreements between Moscow and Brussels will cease to exist. The worldview of the current political leadership in the Kremlin is not going to change; an ideological revolution in the European Union is no more likely. In the observable future Russia will not become a part of the European project. Nevertheless, this division does not preclude various forms of cooperation similar to these during the 1970s or 1980s.
Back to the Cold War
Since no revolution took place in global politics in 2017, practical solutions need to be sought in the framework of the existing system of political coordinates; more grandiose plans have to wait. The old model of geopolitical confrontation between East and West, i.e., the Cold War model, should be revisited as an interim solution for the Russia-West adversarial relationship. This model is certainly far from ideal, it is expensive and to a great extent outdated. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all its shortcomings, the Cold War model used to ensure a satisfactory level of stability and predictability, both in Europe and in the world as a whole.
This model included numerous channels of political interaction, contacts among militaries, risk mitigation measures and arms control treaties. Furthermore, the Cold War model was based on mutual respect and even a degree of mutual trust. So why not fall back on this time-tested con-frontation management practice, using such mechanisms as the NATO–Russia Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, or new ad-hoc formats like the Russia-NATO Crisis Management Group, which has been repeatedly proposed?
At this stage the name of the game in Russia’s relations with the West is not mutual trust, but rather mutual predictability. Since it is very difficult to make predictions about the Trump Administration, major European counties and the European Union at large become more important for Russia than was the case earlier. For example, both Russia and the EU have strategic interests to secure the multilateral agreement of the Iranian nuclear dossier. Likewise, the Russian and the EU positions are close on the North Korean problem.
In some areas, there is actually no need to return to the old model because it is still in place. This goes for Russia’s nuclear interaction with the United States, for example. The two remaining pillars of this interaction, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and New START Treaty, while certainly offering some positive aspects, are nevertheless fully compliant with the logic of controlled confrontation and are fully within the Cold War paradigm. Retaining and reinforcing these accords would not require any historic political breakthrough, unilateral concessions, or switching to a fundamentally new format of Moscow’s relations with Washington.
The goal to preserve INF and New START is definitely worth fighting for. Nevertheless, even if this hard battle is won, this will not signal the end of the fight to secure and to strengthen strategic arms control in the 21st century. Neither INF nor New START prevents the United States from spending $1 trillion in the next 30 years on modernizing its nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines. Russia will also continue its large-scale strategic modernization program, even if the two agreements remain in place.
The crisis of strategic arms control is more complex and fundamental than the uncertain future of the two agreements, as important as they are. In the 21st century, strategic arms control is no longer about arithmetic; it requires applications of higher mathematics. These days, mobility dom-inates location, precision beats throw-weight; and the line between nuclear and conventional weapons has become almost invisible. The old arms control paradigm has entered into its own perfect storm. While preservation of its Cold War heritage is indispensable, preservation in itself is clearly not sufficient to provide for strategic stability in a completely new global environment.
One can argue that traditional distinctions between strategic, intermediate-range and tactical systems are becoming antiquated. The reality is that the United States and Russia have and will continue to have strikingly different geopolitical and geostrategic positions in the world; their threat perceptions and their respective strategic doctrines will never be identical to each other. If so, the United States and Russia could merge New START and INF into one umbrella agreement that would set overall ceilings for nuclear warheads and launchers on both sides. Within these overall ceilings both Washington and Moscow would be in a position to blend individual cocktails of strategic, intermediate range and tactical systems to their liking. For a better taste, they could even add the missile defense component to the mix. The only sub-ceiling that they might need to preserve is the sub-ceiling for deployed warheads, which are of particular concern to the other side. This sub-ceiling can amount to a half or one third of the total number.
This approach will not address all the contemporary challenges to strategic arms control. For example, the time has come move away from a bilateral U.S.-Russian format to a multilateral one, but this approach will not do that. Still, an innovative approach would be a loud and clear signal to third nuclear powers that there is political will in both the White House and in the Kremlin not only to preserve, but also to enhance and to modernize global strategic security.
Skeptics can argue that today is not the best time to experiment with new approaches to strategic arms control. U.S.-Russian relations have hit historical lows, trust between the two countries is non-existent, political opposition to any new deals will be too strong to generate domestic support for any new agreements. These are exactly the arguments used back in the 1950s against a possible U.S.—Soviet collaboration to write a set of rules for the new nuclear world. It took the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 to start moving away from this perception, and another ten years to sign the first U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Agreement (SALT 1). Are we ready to wait for another missile crisis—in North Korea or elsewhere? Can we afford another ten years for a new detente between Washington and Moscow?
The Second Layer of the Pie
Overhauling and restarting the old Cold War model is a necessary but insufficient factor for the future stabilization of Russia’s relations with the West. With all its comparative advantages, this model has at least four key structural limitations. First, the Cold War model is inherently static. It is aimed at preserving the status quo and precludes any evolution. Such a model is extremely difficult to reform; it was no accident that the Cold War ended not in an orderly transformation of the controlled confrontation model, but in a dramatic and chaotic collapse in the late 1980s. Given the dynamics of the international system today, any attempt to codify Rus-sia-West relations for an extended period of time is unlikely to be successful. There are simple too many independent variables that might affect these relations, from rising China to the fourth industrial revolution to global climate change.
Second, the Cold War was primarily fought by two vertically structured politico-military blocs, which split Europe into the Soviet and U.S. spheres of influence. It would be absolutely impossible to divide today’s Europe into distinct spheres of influence; the very idea of spheres of influence is considered to be hopelessly antiquated and unacceptable, at least in the Western world. Besides, contemporary Russia is not comparable to the former USSR at the peak of its might; a geopolitical parity between Moscow and the combined West is only possible if Russia creates a political and military alliance with China, but it is highly unlikely that Russia would be the leading partner in such an alliance.
Third, Soviet and U.S. leaders built the Cold War model in order to counter the most dangerous threats of the 20th century. Even though many of these threats still exist, the 21st century has brought up new challenges, including those posed by non-governmental actors. The Cold War model cannot offer much in terms of counteracting the new generation of threats to international security. In many ways, the Cold War model was the last incarnation of the traditional Westphalian world, which is no longer the world in which we live.
Fourth, the Cold War model was relatively effective in a situation when the two confronting systems remained virtually isolated from one another and separated by incompatible ideologies. No such economic, political or humanitarian confrontation between Russia and the West exists anymore, nor could it be reinstated, despite certain attempts being made on both sides. The current media war between Russia and the West looks like a caricature of the ideological struggle between communism and liberal democracy in the middle of the 20th century. Nor can Russia be isolated from the West in an age of unprecedented human mobility, porous borders, global information and communications technologies. Despite all of Russia’s efforts aimed at self-reliance, import substitution and higher protectionism, the country’s dependence on the outside word is likely to increase, not decrease.
The old model’s considerable limitations necessitate the introduction of a new complementary dimension to Russia-West relations. The role of such a dimension could be played out through a system of global, regional and sub-regional regimes that would preserve and expand the common space between Russia and Europe, between Eurasia and the Euro-Atlantic area.
In the initial phase, such regimes would be easier to preserve and develop in less politically sensitive fields, such as education, science and culture. However, it may be possible to apply the regimes model to nontraditional security challenges, including international terrorism, drug trafficking, cross-border crime, energy security and even cyber security. The regimes model can also work on the sub-regional level: for example, it has long been applied effectively in the Arctic.
In the current situation, the regimes model could efficiently complement the old Cold War model in Russia’s relations with the West. As distinct from the inherently rigid Cold War model, which requires strict codification of agreements reached, the regimes model is flexible, often making it possible to do without burdensome negotiations over technicalities and avoid complex and protracted ratification procedures.
While the Cold War model requires a universally recognized hierarchy of parties in international relations, the regimes model is based on horizontal interactions between the parties involved, which may include not only large and small states, but also non-governmental actors such as regions and municipalities, private companies and civil institutions, international organizations and cross-border movements. This significantly expands the range of potential stakeholders interested in the development of cooperation, creating a critical mass for subsequent breakthroughs.
Skeptics would argue that this approach has already been tried in the relations between Russia and the West, but failed to prevent the current crisis and therefore should be rejected as inefficient. I would make a counterargument: the current crisis would be much deeper and more difficult to manage if the two sides did not have a thick network of social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other contacts. Despite an ongoing and intense information war, the West still remains a point of orientation to millions and millions of Russians. It is true that Russians have not become completely immune to anti-Western propaganda, but the depth and the sustainability of anti-Western moods in the Russian society can be questioned.
Whereas the Cold War model proceeds from the premise that the parties are prepared for major deals such as the 1975 Helsinki Accords, and is mainly based on a top-down approach, the regimes model works in situations of strategic uncertainty, in the absence of major deals, and is mostly based on a bottom-up approach. Shoots of cooperation sprout up wherever there are even the most minuscule cracks in the asphalt of confrontation.
The question is whether such different models of Russia’s relations with the West can possibly be combined within a single hybrid format. That this is possible in principle follows from the peculiarities of contemporary social organization in Russia and the West, which differs radically from how things were organized in the middle of the 20th century. Thanks to the high level of social, professional and cultural fragmentation in contemporary societies, the existence of multiple group and individual identities, and the extremely intricate mechanisms of interaction within vertical, horizontal, formal, informal, basic and situational ties, both models will have their target audiences, proponents, operators and ideologists in Russia and the West.
It is easy to predict that the logic of confrontation will inevitably restrict and distort the logic of cooperation. One way or another, the two mutually complementary models affect each other, because they simply cannot be isolated. However, the art of foreign policy presupposes, among other things, the ability to play chess on several boards simultaneously, or to be more precise, to play chess, poker and even the exotic Asian game Go at the same time, not just the traditional Russian game of gorodki. The most important thing is to delimit the spheres of application of the two models and gradually shift the balance between them from the former to the latter.
Looking Beyond the Horizon
Any significant changes in the current pattern of relations between Russia and the West is likely to be a slow, gradual and long process. At this stage, there are not many compelling reasons for the Kremlin to reconsider its fundamental approaches to the West. On the one hand, the current status quo is perceived as not perfect, but generally acceptable. Potential risks associated with maintaining the status quo are regarded as relatively low compared to risks that might emerge from attempts at changing the status quo. The margin of safety of both the Russian political system and its economy is still quite significant. On the other hand, the trend towards a new consolidation of the West is still very fragile and arguably reversible. There are many political, social and economic problems, to which neither the United States, not the European Union, have found credible solutions.
The status quo-focused foreign policy does not exclude trial balloons, tactical adjustments, incremental concessions, and situational collaboration. All these are important in 2018 and in years to come. However, a more fundamental change in Russian foreign policy is not likely to come as a cumulative effect of incremental adjustments or situational collaboration. Neither will it result from a revelation of a Russian leader, no matter who this leader is likely to be a few years from now. At the end of the day, Russia’s foreign policy priorities will be defined by the economic and social development trajectory upon which the nation will embark once it has depleted the potential of the current development model.
Russia can definitely survive without the West generally, and without Europe in particular. It might even prosper without the West if global prices on oil and other commodities go up again and a new golden rain waters the national economy. It does not matter much to whom you sell your commodities—clients in the West or clients in the East, developed or developing nations, mature democracies or authoritarian regimes. With Russia’s rent-seeking economy in place, the West is not likely to reemerge as an indispensable partner for Moscow. Moreover, Russia can even stick to a neo-isolationist foreign policy, consistently trying to protect its citizens from the dangers and challenges of the globalizing world.
This foreign policy option will be even more probable if the overall international system evolves in the direction of more nationalism, protectionism, rigid balance of powers, continuous decay of international institutions and international law. If the name of game is survival rather than development, if the top national priority everywhere is security rather than development, then incentives to change anything will remain low.
However, let us suppose that the name of the game is not to maintain the rent-seeking economic model, but to pursue a strategy of encouraging deep structural economic reforms, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and unleashing the creative potential of the Russian people. Let us suppose that the modern liberal world order successfully overcomes the ongoing crisis and the international system move away from hard to soft power, from unilateralism to multilateralism, from closeness to openness. In this case connecting to the West, borrowing best Western practices, learning from Western mistakes is going to be a critical precondition for any successful Russian modernization. This has always been the case, ever since Italian architects supervised the erection of the red brick Kremlin walls in Moscow back in 1485.
Given all the uncertainties of future developments in Russia and in the West, it might make sense to define three time horizons for this very complex and uneasy relationship. Each of these has its own logic, priorities, goals, opportunities, and limitations. The first is about de-escalation, which involves a stable cease-fire in Donbass, moderation of inflammatory rhetoric on both sides, a truce in the information war, and resumption of political and military contacts and various levels. The second is about stabilization, including a more general political settlement in Ukraine along the lines of the Minsk Agreements, gradual removal of sanctions and countersanctions, a set of confidence-building measures in Europe, promotion of cooperation in areas of mutual concern (e.g. soft security), unilateral limitations on military deployments, and strengthening European regimes in humanitarian fields. Moving on to the third, long-term horizon, we should review and revise the idea of a Greater Europe that was unsuccessfully tried after the end of the Cold War; our second attempt should be based on lessons learned from the failure of the first attempt.
Sul pipeline Nord Stream 2 si embricano una multiforme serie di interessi non da poco.
Ma accanto ai grandi interessi, ve ne sono anche alcuni di microbica bottega, che però pesano.
L’ex-cancelliere Spd Schröder è attivo nel consiglio di amministrazione della società che gestisce il Nord Stream 1. Ma recentemente ha anche assunto un ruolo nel consiglio di amministrazione della Rosneft.
Ma si sa. C’è anche gente che si domanda perché lui due cariche ed altri nessuna.
Si pensi, tanto per fare un esempio, ad una cancelliera trombata alle elezioni ed in cerca di una tana sicura ove posare le ossa ad tre milioni l’anno. Ma servirebbe convincere prima Herr Schröder a dimettersi da un consiglio di amministrazione e quindi Mr Putin a concedere l’ambito seggio.
Ecco quindi che il Nord Stream 2 diventa immediatamente un progetto strategico per la Germania, ma anche con viva soddisfazione della Russia, tutta contenta nel constatare la dipendenza energetica della Germania.
Ma sul Nord Stream 2 vi sono anche altri appetiti.
«The German energy groups Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, the Anglo-Dutch group Shell and France’s Engie have provided financial support to the 1,225-kilometer (760-mile) pipeline»
La Russia, in poche parole, non tirerebbe fuori un centesimo bucato, ma tedeschi, austriaci, olandesi e francesi sono su di una graticola non da poco: hanno preso impegni e versato le prime tranche e non stanno vedendo nulla indietro.
In questo momento Frau Merkel è al quarto mese di colloqui preliminari per appurare se poter quindi iniziare delle trattative per formare una eventuale Große Koalition. Senza un governo in carica, il Nord Stream 2 giace impotente: langue, generando perdite giorno dopo giorno.
Ma sono anche tempi grami da altri punti di vista.
«Beyond the key parliamentary budget committee … the chairmanships of the budget, legal affairs and tourism committees».
La Commissione Parlamentare per il Bilancio, unitamente a quella per gli affari legali sdaranno però chiamate ad esprimere pareri vincolanti sul Nord Stream 2, e corrono voci che tra Frau Merkel ed AfD non corra poi troppo buon sangue.
* * *
Orbene, tanto per cacciare ancora un po’ di benzina sul fuoco, Mr Tillerson e Mr Czaputowicz si son visti ed hanno parlato del più e del meno.
«The top diplomats from both countries want to limit Russian gas — in part because it gives Moscow political influence»
«But energy sales also drive the economy, which helps the Kremlin finance foreign military ventures»
«Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline …. We share the view that it is necessary to diversify energy supplies into Europe»
* * * * * * * *
Il discorso non farebbe una piega se Mr Tillerson non avesse tenuto una famiglia di volpi sotto le ascelle.
Formalmente, nulla da eccepire.
Ma a pensar male si fa peccato anche se spesso ci si azzecca.
Fatto si è che le società petrolifere ed energetiche russe non sono mica dello stato russo: sono proprietà del Kremlin, che gestisce gli utili a piacer suo. Ed il Kremlin ha uno sguardo di tutto riguardo per gli armamenti.
Questa è anche la spiegazione di come faccia la Federazione Russa a mantenere delle forze armate quali quelle che ha con il modestissimo budget a bilancio statale: sessantasei miliardi di dollari americani.
A questo punto dovrebbe essere evidente la manovra che Mr Tillerson sta portando avanti dietro ordine del Presidente Trump.
Nulla nella vita reale è semplice né riducibile a slogan.
The top diplomats from both countries want to limit Russian gas — in part because it gives Moscow political influence. But energy sales also drive the economy, which helps the Kremlin finance foreign military ventures.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed the US’s support for Poland’s position after meeting his counterpart, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, in Warsaw.
“Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Tillerson said during a news conference with Czaputowicz. “We see it as undermining Europe’s overall energy security and stability and providing Russia yet another tool to politicize energy as a political tool.”
Tillerson added: “Our opposition is driven by our mutual strategic interests.”
The undersea pipeline would be the second to deliver Russian gas directly to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea, bypassing the traditional land route through Ukraine and Poland.
“We share the view that it is necessary to diversify energy supplies into Europe,” Czaputowicz said.
Russia still provides two-thirds of Poland’s gas supply, but Warsaw started importing liquefied natural gas from the United States last year in its own bid to diversify its fuel supplies.
Closer military ties
Tillerson encouraged other European countries to follow suit and also voiced support for a pipeline connecting Poland and Norway, which Warsaw is developing with the aim of further limiting its dependency on Russia.
Poland, which spent four decades under Soviet rule, has been an EU member since 2004. Many officials consider Russia an existential threat, particularly after Moscow seized the Crimean Peninsula from neighboring Ukraine in 2014.
Poland’s northern neighbors — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — are also alarmed by Moscow’s aggression and Europe’s dependency on Russian energy supplies. But Germany and Austria have focused on the commercial benefits of importing cheap gas from Russia.
Separately, Tillerson and Czaputowicz pledged to enhance military cooperation, including increasing the US’s military presence — which currently numbers 5,000 across two separate missions related directly to the US and to NATO — in Poland.
“The stationing of American troops on our territory gives us, the Poles, a sense of security, and we are grateful for that,” Czaputowicz said. “We want this presence to be even bigger, and we want it to be permanent.”
I detrattori cronici della religione si facciano pure venire le coliche di colecisti e le crisi epilettiche: fatti loro.
Così come quei poveracci che scambiano le religioni per ideologie, come se i termini fossero equivalenti.
Guardiamo invece con attenzione quello che sta nel mondo: la realtà che è in atto e che alla fine schiaccia sotto la evidenza dei fatti.
È in corso a livello mondiale la devoluzione dell’ideologia liberal e di quella socialista.
Uno dei loro tratti caratteristici, forse il principale da cui far discendere tutto il loro pensiero come conseguenza, è la professione di ateismo positivo, con rigetto e demonizzazione delle religioni, del trascendente.
Immortale odium et numquam sanabile vulnus.
Ateismo che impongono denominandolo libertà religiosa: si è liberi di essere atei.
Logica conseguenza deduttiva il rigetto delle radici cristiane su cui è stato eretto tutto l’Occidente.
Eppure la storia ci fa vedere come siano state proprio le radici cristiane a muovere quelle rivolta polacca che destabilizzò l’Unione Sovietica al punto tale da far implodere il regime comunista. E come il popolo russo sia riuscito a riprendersi dalle macerie comuniste proprio stringendosi alla sua millenaria tradizione cristiana. E questo Mr Putin lo sa più che bene.
Più di recente stiamo assistendo alla rivolta del Visegrad contro la dittatura liberal degli eurocrati: ma cosa mai sarebbe il Visegrad se non la rinascita dell’orgoglio cristiano? I paesi del Visegrad sono cristiani e difendono la loro religione, prima ancora di difendere la propria sovranità nazionale. Concetto questo che sfugge ai più, perché presumono che la religione sia morta. Una delle tante loro idee bislacche.
«Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Orthodox Christians and all Russians on Christmas celebrated according to the Julian calendar on January 7»
«A Kremlin press service statement quoted Putin as saying that Christmas “gives millions of believers joy and hope.”»
«Putin said the holiday accustoms Orthodox Christians to “spiritual origins and fatherly traditions, and unites them around eternal Christian values” and the “centuries-old historic and cultural heritage of our people.”»
«Putin also said the Orthodox Christian Church has “made a significant contribution to strengthening high moral ideals in society, educating the growing generation, and solving vital social problems.”»
Ma uno dei segni che i tempi stanno mutando e che la voce dei liberal si sta facendo sentire sempre meno è l’atto storico compito da Mr Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, presidente dell’Egitto.
«In Egypt, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi attended an Orthodox Christmas service at a new church in a symbolic act of solidarity with his country’s embattled Christian community, the Copts.»
«Sisi, a Muslim, told the packed cathedral outside of Cairo on the Orthodox Christmas Eve that “you are our family. We are one and no one can divide us.”»
«His appearance at the cathedral along with Coptic Pope Tawadros II came as tens of thousands of soldiers and police were deployed outside churches in Egypt to secure against attacks by Islamic militants, who have targeted Christians for the past two years in bomb attacks that have killed about 100 people»
* * * * * * *
Al Sisi ha dimostrato non solo di avere una chiara visione del retaggio religioso e storico dell’Egitto, ma anche e soprattutto un coraggio da vendere.
In Egitto fazioni estremiste islamiche hanno abbondantemente irrorato di sangue le Chiese Copte, assassinando migliaia di persone innocenti.
Non solo Mr Al Sisi ha messo a repentaglio la propria vita, ma adesso sarà anche lui nel mirino dei terroristi.
Si dica pure ciò che si voglia, ma vedere uomini coraggiosi, che hanno ideali per i quali vivere perché ne hanno per i quali morire, rincuora e non poco, sul futuro della umanità.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Orthodox Christians and all Russians on Christmas celebrated according to the Julian calendar on January 7.
A Kremlin press service statement quoted Putin as saying that Christmas “gives millions of believers joy and hope.”
Putin said the holiday accustoms Orthodox Christians to “spiritual origins and fatherly traditions, and unites them around eternal Christian values” and the “centuries-old historic and cultural heritage of our people.”
Putin also said the Orthodox Christian Church has “made a significant contribution to strengthening high moral ideals in society, educating the growing generation, and solving vital social problems.”
Putin attended Orthodox Christmas services at the Church of saints Simeon and Ann in St. Petersburg as the clock turned to January 7.
Meanwhile, Russian state television channels showed a live broadcast of the Christmas Eve midnight Mass from Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill conducted the ceremonies at the Moscow site before hundreds of worshippers, including several Russian government and parliamentary officials.
Orthodox Christians in Russia and most other Orthodox countries celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar on January 7, two weeks after most Western Christian churches that use the Gregorian calendar.
January 7 is a national holiday in Russia, as well as in Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine. The Armenian Orthodox Church celebrated on January 6.
In Bethlehem, Palestinians Christians — angry with church land sales to Israelis — scuffled with Palestinian police, as they attempted to block the arrival of the Holy Land’s Greek Orthodox patriarch for Christmas celebrations.
Demonstrators banged on the sides of police escort vehicles, but Patriarch Theophilos III managed to safely move in his limousine to the Church of the Nativity for the traditional Orthodox Christmas eve observance.
In Istanbul, the Greek Orthodox Christian community celebrated Epiphany with the blessing of the waters.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians around the world and the archbishop of Constantinople, led the liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George.
The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates Jesus’ baptism on Epiphany. Most Christian religions observe Epiphany to recall the three wise men who followed a star to find the baby Jesus.
In Egypt, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi attended an Orthodox Christmas service at a new church in a symbolic act of solidarity with his country’s embattled Christian community, the Copts.
Sisi, a Muslim, told the packed cathedral outside of Cairo on the Orthodox Christmas Eve that “you are our family. We are one and no one can divide us.”
His appearance at the cathedral along with Coptic Pope Tawadros II came as tens of thousands of soldiers and police were deployed outside churches in Egypt to secure against attacks by Islamic militants, who have targeted Christians for the past two years in bomb attacks that have killed about 100 people.
Mentre l’Occidente si balocca con i suoi problemi di formare e gestire governi impossibili, sottraendo così tempo altrimenti prezioso per propalare la teoria del gender e tutelare la propria scala valoriale, mentre Frau Merkel, gioca a fare la desaparecida della politica tedesca, quel bel tomo del Presidente Mr Putin prosegue implacabile la sua corsa verso la Casa Bianca, ove intenderebbe porre a breve termine la sua dacia estiva. Come risultato iniziale potrebbe accontentarsi di Berlino oppure di Parigi: è una persona continente e sobria.
«Russian gas giant sees 2018 Europe exports at least at 180bcm»
«LNG imports may increase, yet not by cutting Gazprom share»
Lo scorso anno Gazprom, di cui il Governo russo è proprietario al 50.23%, aveva un total assets di 252 miliardi Usd, dando lavoro a 462,400 dipendenti.
«Alexander Ivanovich Medvedev, born 14 August 1955 in Shakhtyorsk, Sakhalin Oblast, is the current Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of Russian energy company Gazprom. Medvedev also served as Director-General of Gazprom’s export arm Gazprom Export from 2006 until 2014. He is a member of the Coordination Committee of RosUkrEnergo and a member of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG» [Fonte]
«Russia is working to keep natural gas exports to Europe near record levels in 2018»
«The state-controlled gas giant plans to ship a minimum of 180 billion cubic meters next year»
«Gazprom meets more than a third of Europe’s demand for natural gas, Russia’s biggest and most lucrative market worth some $37 billion in revenue this year»
* * * * * * *
La Russia fornisce all’Europa circa un terzo del suo fabbisogno di gas naturale e conta di aumentare la quota di mercato che già detiene.
«Officials across Europe accuse Russia of everything from meddling in elections to menacing coastlines and airspace with warships and planes. Earlier this month, the U.K.’s armed forces warned of a growing threat for the Atlantic undersea communications cables, the internet and international trade from Russia’s submarines»
Ci sarebbero le sanzioni in essere contro la Russia, ma come abbiamo imparato il secondo giorno in Accademia, i regolamenti ci sono apposta per quelli che non sanno proprio come regolarsi.
Gli Occidentali hanno raccontato di Mr Putin cose mirabolanti: avrebbe truccato le elezioni americane, ritoccando con agile mano tutte le schede, avrebbe drogato i risultati delle elezioni tedesche, che se no Frau Merkel avrebbe conseguito la maggioranza assoluta e così via.
– Russian gas giant sees 2018 Europe exports at least at 180bcm
– LNG imports may increase, yet not by cutting Gazprom share
Russia is working to keep natural gas exports to Europe near record levels in 2018 after the continent’s biggest supplier, Gazprom PJSC, said its deliveries this year signal it is achieving on its ambitions to expand.
The state-controlled gas giant plans to ship a minimum of 180 billion cubic meters next year, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said in an interview in St. Petersburg. That volume would be the second highest ever after at least 190 billion cubic meters expected this year, which is a record.
“Of course, it’s business, not sports,” Medvedev said. Yet, this is “a new stage” in the company’s history.
Gazprom meets more than a third of Europe’s demand for natural gas, Russia’s biggest and most lucrative market worth some $37 billion in revenue this year. Tighter trade links with the Kremlin-backed company contrast with increasing tensions on the military and political front.
Officials across Europe accuse Russia of everything from meddling in elections to menacing coastlines and airspace with warships and planes. Earlier this month, the U.K.’s armed forces warned of a growing threat for the Atlantic undersea communications cables, the internet and international trade from Russia’s submarines.
European Union lawmakers have had their hearts set on diversifying energy supplies away from Russia and are urging expansion of ports to handle liquefied natural gas tankers from the U.S. Production there has skyrocketed, making the U.S. a potential top producer of LNG in the mid-2020s, according to International Energy Agencyestimates.
Gazprom accuses the U.S. of politicizing its economic interests in the EU through a sanctions law earlier this year that targeted pipeline projects. Executives in Russia have so far shrugged off the threat of serious competition in Europe.
While EU gas demand depends on weather and economic growth, it’s likely to increase next year as domestic production falls and coal prices recover, making imports from Gazprom more competitive, Medvedev said. Russia has the biggest potential to meet the additional demand, he said.
Medvedev acknowledged that Europe may take more LNG imports, especially when demand exceeds the capacity of pipeline suppliers. In Britain, pipeline imports are near peak levels, and there’s little storage available to give its system flexibility. The executive said supplies drawn from pipelines will remain more competitive than LNG.
Latin America and Asia so far remain priority markets for the super-chilled gas, especially from the U.S., amid higher prices there, Medvedev said. “This applies to both traditional and new markets — China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam.”
“A global LNG market still does not exist,” he said. “There are three large regional markets — America, Europe and Asia — with a big price difference. An Asian price premium will stay in place as demand there is booming.”
«The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an economic union of states located primarily in northern Eurasia. The Treaty aiming for the establishment of the EAEU was signed on 29 May 2014 by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force on 1 January 2015. Treaties aiming for Armenia’s and Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union were signed on 9 October and 23 December 2014, respectively. Armenia’s accession treaty came into force on 2 January 2015. Kyrgyzstan’s accession treaty came into effect on 6 August 2015. ….
The countries represent a market of some 183 million people and a combined GDP of around $4 trillion. ….
Russia has the 12th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity. ….
The EAEU introduces the free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common policies in macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust regulation.» [Fonte]
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E così l’Iran aderirà all’Unione economica eurasiatica. Ma siamo solo agli inizi.
«L’Unione eurasiatica potrebbe estendersi anche ad altri paesi che sono stati storicamente o culturalmente legati alla Russia, come la Finlandia, l’Ungheria, la Repubblica Ceca, la Bulgaria, la Cina e la Mongolia, che sarebbero uniti in un’unione federale dove il russo verrebbe usato come lingua di comunicazione e cooperazione economica.» [Fonte]
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Inutile dilungarsi sui dettagli protocollari, per quanto essi siano interessanti.
Il vero risultato è quello politico, che potremmo schematicamente riassumere nei seguenti punti.
– La Russia ha fatto transitare Siria ed Iran nella sua sfera di influenza politica, economica e militare.
– L’Occidente, e soprattutto gli Stati Uniti, hanno subito un severo smacco in Medio Oriente, prolegomeno alla perdita di influenza sia nel sud – est asiatico sia in Africa.
– Il blocco russo – asiatico si dimostra autoconsistente, coeso, in grado di vivere ed espandersi indipendentemente da quanto dica o faccia l’Occidente.
E mentre gli asiatici continuano a lavorare come castori intenti a costruirsi la diga, gli europei si accapigliano sulle regole da applicare alla ripartizione dei migranti e danno soddisfatti alle stampe il tratto dell’Unione sulla coltivazione dei broccoletti di Bruxelles, sintetizzato in undici volumi venduto quasi a diecimila euro.
Gli americani invece sono tutti intenti a farsi guerra a colpi di sexual harassment, tagliando così tutte le teste che fossero incorse nell’orrendo reato di essere accusati di aver guardato dentro una scollatura. La grande conquista dei liberal è che una denuncia, ancorché fatta ai media e non alla magistratura, è una sentenza passata in giudicato.
È giusto che scompaiano dalla scena politica.
Se qualcuno incontrasse la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel, glielo dica, per cortesia.
L’Iran aderisce all’Unione economica eurasiatica (UEE). All’inizio del prossimo anno, a febbraio secondo questo resoconto, l’Iran aderirà all’Unione e aprirà le porte alla Turchia per l’adesione entro la fine del 2018. Tra questa e la fine della guerra in Siria, non è difficile dichiarare la dottrina Brzezinski del caos centroasiatico guidato dagli Stati Uniti esalare gli ultimi respiri. L’Iran che infine aderisce all’UEE risponde a una serie di fattori, il più importante, la continua bellicosità degli Stati Uniti. Le sanzioni economiche estese all’Iran e al leader dell’UEE, la Russia, ha creato la necessità di un maggiore coordinamento su obiettivi economici e di politica estera. E crea la nuova realtà regionale che rimodellerà questo concetto per i prossimi cento anni.
La scommessa nucleare
Negli ultimi giorni dell’amministrazione Obama sembrava che l’obiettivo fosse placare l’Iran per fermarne la svolta verso Russia e Cina. Credo che fosse la forza trainante del negoziato di Obama sul controverso accordo nucleare. In effetti, Obama cercò di scambiare i miliardi congelati degli iraniani detenuti nelle banche occidentali con l’Iran ignorare la disintegrazione della Siria e conseguente disastro totale. Quando si pensa quanto siamo venali? Dopo aver sanzionato l’Iran economicamente, averne congelato i conti, impeditogli la comunicazione interbancaria coi clienti (rimozione dallo SWIFT), indotto l’iperinflazione per istigare il cambio di regime, avrebbe accettato di consegnare l’alleata Siria agli animali wahhabiti. In cambio avrebbe ripudiato la Russia e sarebbe stato grato per l’opportunità di riavere i soldi firmando un accordo che gli vietava di avere armi nucleari? Questa è la “logica” dei ritardati che guidavano la nostra politica estera sotto Obama. Quindi, ora, dopo aver visto Russia ed Esercito arabo siriano sconfiggere lo SIIL, l’Iran fa la mossa intelligente d’integrare l’economia, che ha bisogno di diversificazione ed investimenti, aderendo all’Unione economica che raggrupperà tutti gli interessi dell’Asia centrale lungo un percorso simile. Non c’è altro da dire. Non solo è morto Zbigniew Brzezinski, ma anche la sua strategia. Lasciamo Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain e i bambolotti dell’amministrazione di Bush il minorato prima di loro, buffoni raggirati ogni volta da Vladimir Putin, da Xi Jinping e dal Presidente iraniano Hassan Rouhani. E il mondo sarà perciò, presto un posto migliore.
Status di meraviglia
Tutto ciò che riguarda lo status quo degli ultimi trenta anni cambi. La Siria ha chiarito a tutti che gli Stati Uniti non sono infallibili. Di fatto, sono incompetenti militarmente e diplomaticamente. L’intervento russo ha evidenziato le vere radici del conflitto e quanto la nostra leadership mente, inganna e ruba per raggiungere i suoi caotici obiettivi regionali. Il presidente Trump cambia rotta a questa nave, ma è un processo lento e combattuto a tutti i livelli da chi aderisce ai dipartimenti della burocrazia. Ciò detto, l’ingresso dell’Iran nell’UEE a pieno titolo aprirà le porte a nuovi aderenti. La Russia corteggia tutti nella regione mentre l’UEE lavora sulle regole e costruisce l’organizzazione. L’adesione dell’Iran vedrà l’unione crescere rapidamente e contribuire a completare i progetti cinesi della Nuova Via della Seta. Facendo un ulteriore passo avanti, il quadro più ampio viene messo a fuoco con l’istituzione della New Development Bank, sfidando la Banca di sviluppo asiatica guidata dagli Stati Uniti, finanziando i progetti infrastrutturali. Con la raffica di grandi progetti annunciati di recente, compresa la nuova versione dell’IPI, gasdotto Iran/Pakistan/India, questo annuncio non è solo un colpo diplomatico per Putin e la Russia, ma piuttosto un fatto compiuto. Era sempre questione di quando, e non se, l’Iran aderiva all’UEE. E con esso a bordo, Paesi come India, Pakistan e Turchia possono aderirvi, sapendo di avere parità di condizioni su cui negoziare, smorzando animosità e dispute persistenti.
Come sottolineava Federico Pieraccini su Strategic Culture Foundation, anche le tensioni tra India e Cina si sono placate quando è diventato chiaro che gli Stati Uniti sotto Trump non sono disposti né possono mantenere il dominio sull’Asia centrale. “In questo senso, la mancanza d’interesse da parte dell’amministrazione Trump su alcune aree del globo è emblematica. Mentre la chimica tra Trump e Modi sembra buona, le tensioni tra India e Cina, accresciute dalle dispute sui confini, sembrano tuttavia essersi dissolte. In seguito al fallimento dei neocon nel dividere Russia e Cina, anche le tensioni di confine tra India e Cina sembrano ora estinguersi. Inoltre, in Ucraina, anche la decisione d’inviare armi a Kiev è stata minimizzata, e il Paese ora affronta un contro-golpe di Saakashvili (sì, ancora lui). L’Ucraina è un Paese in disordine che vive in prima persona le conseguenze della pessima posizione atlantista con la sua viziata politica anti-russa”. L’argomento di Pieraccini è che Trump è un mix di inettitudine e pragmatismo in politica estera. E questo mix ha portato all’attuale situazione, dove Stati Uniti, Israele e Arabia Saudita si agitano cercando di rimanere rilevanti. Non andrò così lontano, dato che questi Paesi hanno ancora una mano potente da giocare, se non altro per stabilizzare la maggior parte di ciò che hanno attualmente. E giocheranno tali carte fino in fondo per creare qualcosa che assomigli alla pace. Ma, l’Iran traccia una nuova strada, allontanandosi dalle ferite aperte dall’occidente, verso le opportunità che riposano in ogni altra direzione. Come ho detto recentemente, il quadro per un grande accordo in Medio Oriente è possibile. E l’adesione dell’Iran all’UEE è un forte indizio che vuole aderire alla maggiore economia mondiale da attore affidabile. Putin è diventato di fatto negoziatore degli alleati contro Israele e Trump, che s’impunta anche con Israele. Una volta che l’accordo sarà in vigore e Trump accetterà di rimuovere la presenza militare degli Stati Uniti dalla maggior parte della regione, allora si vedrà come apparirebbe il mondo senza conflitti istigati.
Fedor, Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, è un robot androide da utilizzarsi nelle missioni spaziali oppure in operazioni di soccorso.
È stato progettato e realizzato dalla Advanced Research Fund, agenzia militare russa per le ricerche.
«Для этого нужно было научить его самостоятельно работать в городской среде, перемещаться по пересеченной местности, управлять автомобилем, обращаться со специальными инструментами, оказывать первую медицинскую помощь и другим действиям. »
“Per fare questo, è stato necessario insegnargli come lavorare in modo indipendente nell’ambiente urbano, navigare attraverso terreni accidentati, guidare una macchina, gestire strumenti speciali, fornire il primo soccorso e altre azioni.”
Quel gran filantropo di Mr Putin ha investito un sacco di denari per costruire un robot androide da utilizzare per ricerche spaziali oppure per azioni di soccorso.
Non sapendo né leggere né scrivere, come prima cosa gli è stato insegnato a guidare carri armati, a sparare con pistole ed armi varie, e con ottima mira: solo ed esclusivamente per verificare sul campo le sue reali possibilità.
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Riproponiamo una domanda già fatta.
Come fa Mr Putin con quattro scudi a progettare e costruire così tanti sistemi d’arma? Eppure il suo budsget militare è un sesto di quello della Unione Europea.
La risposta la ha data un simpaticissimo generale russo: imbecilli, debosciati e corrotti li spediamo in Occidente a fare i dissidenti.
Dai cyborg da utilizzare nelle nuove crisi internazionali al Kalashnikov intelligente. La Russia di Putin sta spingendo forte sulle nuove tecnologie. Il programma spaziale russo Roscosmos sta infatti testando per le sue future missioni spaziali un cyborg umanoide. Si chiama Fedor. E’ capace di centrare bersagli con una semplice coppia di pistole automatiche Glock. Progettato dalla Android Technics Research and Production Association, divisione per la ricerca finanziata dal MChS: il Ministero per le Emergenze, МЧС России, viene descritto, dagli analisti occidentali, come il ‘Terminator’ russo.
Nei video diffusi dall’agenzia russa Tass, infatti, Fedor fa immediatamente pensare al celebre cyborg-killer ‘Terminator’ ma il vice ministro russo Dimitry Rogozin ha prontamente precisato che non si tratta di una piattaforma offensiva, ma di un robot che i russi intendono usare nel loro programma spaziale. Come verrà utilizzato in verità non lo sappiamo. Sappiamo però che fa impressione vedere un robot che spara e centra perfettamente bersagli in un poligono di tiro. Ma questo non è tutto perchè Sofiya Ivanovasta, portavoce di Kalashnikov JSC ha rivelato che la fabbrica del fucile d’assalto più famoso del mondo l’AK-47 sta progettando un nuovo armamento sperimentale dotato di intelligenza artificiale.
In poche parole, sarebbe in grado di identificare ‘autonomamente’ il suo bersaglio e fare fuoco. In pratica si tratta di un “modulo di combattimento” all’avanguardia prodotto da Kalashnikov. Modulo formato da un fucile d’assalto collegato ad una consolle che attraverso puntatori ottici elabora costantemente dati dalle immagini catturare ‘per identificare, selezionare obiettivi e prendere decisioni autonomamente sul come e quando aprire il fuoco. E non e’ ancora finita perché durante l’ultima imponente esercitazione militare russa, nome in codice, Zapad-2017, l’esercito ha sperimentato un nuovo mezzo cingolato, di piccole dimensioni con una torretta telecomandata capace di sparare granate e munizioni 7,62 mm.
FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) is a bipedal robot designed by Russia’s Android Technics and Russian military research agency Advanced Research Fund. Its capable of performing a number complex human tasks including firing guns and driving cars.
A Russian technology company and military research agency have teamed up to create a firearm-wielding robot that they plan on sending to space.
The futuristic sharpshooter named FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) was initially designed by Russian firm Android Technics and the government’s Advanced Research Fund for search and rescue missions. The project was commissioned by the Russian government as its first domestically produced anthropomorphic robot.
“FEDOR was designed as an android able to replace humans in high-risk areas, such as rescue operations. For this purpose, it was necessary to teach him to work independently in an urban environment, navigate the terrain, drive a car, to handle special tools, first aid and other actions,” Andrey Grigoriev, director of Russia’s Advanced Research Fund, told Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti last week.
FEDOR garnered praise from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who lauded the robot’s “decision-making and motor skills” in a tweet Thursday in which he also declared that Russia was “not creating a Terminator, but artificial intelligence that will be of great practical significance in various fields.” A day later, he shared a video of FEDOR firing two pistols akimbo-style at targets.
Not only can FEDOR dual-wield handguns, its advanced programming also allows it to perform other complex tasks such as driving and steering vehicles, as well as various fitness exercises. The Russian government plans to send the robot to space, where it would be the sole passenger on Russian space freighter Federatsiya’s first flight in 2021, Australia’s Nine News reported.
FEDOR still reportedly needs work, however, and Russia’s Advanced Rearch Fund announced last week an open contest in conjunction with Russia’s Ministry of Education to find programmers capable of developing high-tech software for the robot, according to Grigoriev. The competition will reportedly begin in May and run through February 28, 2018. It is open to Russian undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, professors and creative teams.
Первый полет нового российского космического корабля “Федерация” состоится в 2021 году под управлением космонавта будущего — человекоподобного робота Федора, разработанного в рамках проекта Фонда перспективных исследований (ФПИ). В День космонавтики генеральный директор фонда Андрей Григорьев рассказал РИА Новости о задачах роботов-космонавтов и о своем видении развития космических технологий.
— Андрей Иванович, прежде всего, расскажите об истории создания робота Федора.
– Исследовательские работы по созданию первого отечественного антропоморфного робота начались в 2014 году, исполнителем проекта выступила компания НПО “Андроидная техника”. Федор (FEDOR — Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) задумывался как робот-андроид, способный заменить человека в местах повышенного риска, например при проведении спасательных операций. Для этого нужно было научить его самостоятельно работать в городской среде, перемещаться по пересеченной местности, управлять автомобилем, обращаться со специальными инструментами, оказывать первую медицинскую помощь и другим действиям.
«The Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill which allows foreign organisations to be banned from operating in the country.
The law allows the authorities to prosecute foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or firms designated as “undesirable” on national security grounds.
Individuals working for NGOs could face fines or up to six years in prison. ….
The definition of “undesirable” is open to interpretation, but the Interfax news agency said it would apply to organisations deemed to pose a threat to the “foundations of Russia’s constitutional order, defensive capacity and security”.
NGOs linked to politics in Russia already face restrictions under a 2012 law requiring them to register as “foreign agents”. »
Così la Russia rafforza la legge che regolamenta le attività delle ngo (ong) straniere in Russia.
«The bill is based on the 2012 law that forced NGOs to adopt a “foreign agent” label if they receive funding from abroad»
Tutti si affannano a dire che questo sarebbe l’ennesima dimostrazione del fatto che Mr Putin sia un dittatore, per cui gli aggettivi crudele e spietato dovrebbero essere gli allegati di obbligo.
Mr Soros ha pianto calde lacrime. Da perfetto filantropo aveva speso cifre da capogiro per mettere in Russia le sue ngo, in parte come testate giornalistiche che, essendo autonome e non di parte, riportavano quanto a lui confacente, d’altra parte le altre propagavano la fede liberal delle unioni lgbt cercando di convincere i russi a diventare perfetti pervertiti, ed infine una buona quota di ngo dedite a screditare il Governo Russo, aizzando alla rivolta. Quella brava gente vorrebbe che Mr Putin desse le dimissioni o, meglio, se ne andasse, nominando Mr Soros presidente della Federazione Russa. Non gli vogliono mica male, ci mancherebbe!
Ci si domanda per quale motivo Mr Putin non abbia accettato riconoscente tanta manna dal Cielo.
Abbiamo solo un dubbio.
Le ngo che si registrassero negli Stati Uniti sono tenute a denunciare la provenienza dei loro fondi, mentre in Francia e Germania non è permesso usufruire di fondi esteri, bensì solo di finanziamenti produttivi.
Orbene. La nuova legge russa ricalca quanto già deliberato nei paesi occidentali: non si vedrebbe quindi il motivo dello scandalo.
Nella foto sono ritratte delle Pussy Riot intente a meditare sul loro passato, messe in luogo confacente.
Russia’s president has approved a controversial bill to label internationally funded media outlets as “foreign agents,” signing the measure into law. Outlets such as US-backed Voice of America are likely to be affected.
Under the law, Russia’s Ministry of Justice will decide on assigning the controversial label to international media outlets on a case-by-case basis.
Last week, it published a list of several outlets that would likely be affected by the new law, including the US-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.
Russian officials repeatedly stated that the measure was a tit-for-tat response after the United States made a similar move targeting Russia’s foreign broadcaster RT, formerly Russia Today, and the Sputnik news agency.
In September, the US Justice Department ordered the outlets to register as agents of foreign governments over the perceived spread of propaganda and alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.
Russia slammed the move as hypocrisy and an attack on media freedom.
Ramping up pressure for ‘foreign agents’?
It was not immediately clear which steps would be taken towards foreign media outlets in Russia.
The bill is based on the 2012 law that forced NGOs to adopt a “foreign agent” label if they receive funding from abroad. Since then, they are requested to feature the label on their paperwork, statements and other material. They are also subject to surprise raids and intensive checks, and they must report where they get their money from and how they spend it. The increased government pressure prompted many of them to close their doors.
Lo Cazr Imperatore Alessandro I entra a Parigi il 30 marzo 1814.
«Il testo della canzone fa discutere».
Tradotto in un linguaggio come si mangia, il testo della canzone fa discutere i liberal democratici ed i socialisti ideologici, mica la gente comune che tanto se ne guarda bene dal continuare a votarli. Liberal e socialisti incominciano a vedersi in Siberia, sopra il circolo polare artico, a coltivar prezzemolo.
«There is no opinion of its own in the European Union
And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore The Samurais will never get this line of islands,
We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,
We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,
We’ll bring Alaska back home.»
«Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin»
«l’Ue è descritta come insignificante»
«il presidente americano è senza potere»
«tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa»
«Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te»
«The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU»
La storia ci insegna fino a qual punto i russi se la leghino al dito quando si cerca di calpestarli.
Quando Napoleone si era illuso di piegare la Russia nel 1812 imparò la lezione sulla Beresina, poi fece il ripasso a Leipzig, ed infine i russi vinsero la battaglia di Parigi del 31 marzo 1814, e se ne entrarono nella capitale francese, mentre Napoleone se ne andava a Sant’Elena. Ebbero 18,000 tra morti e feriti in quella sola battaglia, ma alla fine vinsero, e vinsero in modo completo. Ed usarono una mano ben pesante.
Centotrenta anni dopo ci riprovarono i tedeschi. Alla fine i russi parcheggiarono i loro carri armati sulla verticale della cancelleria tedesca: subirono quasi venti milioni di morti, ma chiusero la partita.
I russi sono pazienti, ma quando si mettono in moto finiscono il loro compito in modo definitivo. Non hanno mezze misure.
Negli anni novanta, dopo la implosione dell’Unione sovietica l’Occidente impose severe condizioni alla Russia. Fece quello che mai un Richelieu oppure un Bismarck si sarebbe mai sognato di fare: li umiliarono.
La storia insegna che o si annienta oppure si tratta.
Chi si illudesse che i russi se ne siano dimenticati sarebbe davvero galatticamente ingenuo.
Ora l’Unione Europea sta disgregandosi, non ha nessun esercito degno di quel nome, è debosciata nel cuore e nella mente. Rigurgita di islamici infidi e le sue donne sono in gran parte depravate.
È forse questa l’Europa per cui andare a morire?
È forse questa la donna che dovrei difendere in battaglia?
Nella sala attivazione e lancio dei missili ad armamento atomico i nove addetti erano ebbri di cocaina e si scopavano le colleghe femmine, o facenti funzioni, sbalzandole/i sulla plancia dei comandi di lancio. Ed i russi dovettero avvisare gli inglese che avevano un bordello a bordo del loro sommergile nucleare: di bloccare quegli incoscienti.
La crisi tedesca innesca inevitabilmente quella dell’Unione Europea.
Sarà un periodo di chaos ove tutto potrebbe accadere.
Il video canoro iniziativa di una deputata putiniana “di ferro”.
Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin: la canzone ‘Zio Vova” – dove Vova è un affettuoso diminutivo per Vladimir – è una iniziativa della devota deputata putiniana Anna Kuvychko, eseguita da un coro di ragazzi che studiano nella scuola di polizia della regione di Volgograd, ovvero di quella che fu Stalingrado, città eroe che ancora oggi per i russi simboleggia la resistenza, il sacrificio e infine la vittoria sull’esercito nazista.
Il testo della canzone fa discutere – l’Ue è descritta come insignificante, il presidente americano è senza potere e tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa – ma per il Cremlino è una semplice “dimostrazione di simpatia” nei confronti di Putin. Il messaggio dei giovanissimi cadetti è certamente gradito all’uomo forte che ha fatto del patriottismo il suo manifesto: “Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te”.
The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU.
This is the moment Russian Police cadets sang a “chilling propaganda anthem” vowing to grab back the US state of Alaska – and never surrender Crimea.
The content of the song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin ‘s bid for another six years in the Kremlin.
Sung by cadets from a military-style college against a background of World War Two monuments in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, it oozes patriotism and depicts a weak, divided West.
It also cheekily borrowing a clip from a Brexit rally in the UK to justify the strongman’s bid to restore Russian might.
“We want our country back”, trumpet the Vote to Leave posters, mixed here with a message that the Russian young are ready to die for “Uncle Vova”, aka Vladimir Putin – Vova being a fond version of his first name.
Putin, aged 65, has not yet declared if he will run or not for a six year term in the March 2018 presidential election, but meanwhile videos like this show the path being cleared for him to notch up another landslide 18 years after he first took the Kremlin helm.
One of his ultra-loyal MPs Anna Kuvychko sings along with the uniformed cadets with lyrics which seem to predict Donald Trump’s impeachment and write off the European Union as of no consequence.
The song – redolent of Soviet-style propaganda – makes clear there will be no concessions to Japan in the disputed Kuril Islands, several of which Tokyo claims, nor 11 time zones away to NATO over the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, an amber-rich region bristling with Russian military firepower.
The first verse takes a swipe at America’s perceived role as a superpower seeking global hegemony with the EU painted as its supplicant:
The 21st century is here – the Earth has got weary of wars,
The population of the planet is sick and tired with hegemony.
There is no opinion of its own in the European Union,
The Middle East is groaning from troubles,
Across the ocean the president was stripped of his power.
Then comes a refrain, making clear the obedience of these cadets to Putin if he orders them into action in the ‘final battle’:
And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore,
We wish for peace in this land, but if the main commander calls us up for the last battle –
Uncle Vova, we are with you!
The anthem goes on:
And what will be left for my generation? If we are weak, we will lose the whole country.
And our devoted friends – these are the army and navy,
And a red star of a grandfather as a memory of friendship.
Then comes the Uncle Vova refrain once more before the next verse vows:
The Samurais will never get this line of islands,
We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,
We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,
We’ll bring Alaska back home.
As the cadets dream of grabbing America’s largest state — sold by the Romanov tsars for $7.2 million in 1867 — they give a final stirring rendering of the refrain.
Major newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets noted it showed “kids ready to die for Putin” and said the song – supposedly the initiative of the woman MP, an ultra-loyalist in his United Russia party – has gone viral.
The young singers are reported to be from Volgograd Police Cadet school 44, and the song comes at a time when observers note a return to pride in the military and law enforcement agencies in Russia.
Volgograd is a “hero city” for its role in pushing back the Nazis, with some two million killed in the Battle of Stalingrad as Hitler’s thrust into the USSR was reversed.
Kuvychko, who represents Volgograd, said on Facebook: “The growing generation of hero city Volgograd, who are they?
“They are thinking people, and very much loving our country – the great Russia!
“They were brought up with the help of an example given by our defenders, they clearly understand that their great-grandfathers were fighting here, on Stalingrad’s land, long ago for this blue peaceful sky.
“They are facing different challenges these days no less serious than before.
“But they will manage and they will win!”
Other comments are not so positive, with critics claiming it is “a chilling propaganda anthem” aimed at backing Putin’s bid to keep his grip on Russia.
“Don’t mix up your Motherland and Uncle Vova. Love to the big boss is not about patriotism,” said one.
“We’re right on the way to a new North Korea,” complained another.
A critic added: “It is a pure political propaganda, dragging children into politics and teaching them from early years that war is a good thing.
“And those words about taking Alaska are hardcore.
Il retaggio religioso, storico, culturale, sociale ed artistico di una nazione ne forma il carattere, le ambizioni, la paziente sopportazione dell’alterna sorte.
Poi, nei momenti bui, diventa il motivo per cui combattere con tutta la forza possibile.
Non ha motivo per cui vivere chi non abbia un motivo per cui morire.
Certo, ogni nazione ha la sua storia: alcuni momenti ed alcuni episodi toccanti, altri disperatamente cupi. Ogni popolo ha passato i momenti di paura, terrore, dolori. Ma la libertà, quella libertà della quale tanto si parla, la si conquista con il sangue e con il sangue la si preserva.
L’idea che altri si prendano a cuore della propria libertà sarebbe invero pellegrina.
Mr Putin ha ricompattato la Russia proprio nel suo retaggio, a volte anche nella sua fierezza ed orgoglio nazionale. È nelle difficoltà più severe che il popolo russo ha dimostrato la sua tempra. Le guerre napoleoniche ne sono testimonianza, così come la Grande Guerra Patriottica.
Da statista e profondo conoscitore dell’animo umano, Mr Putin ha posto una gran cura a edificare statue ai grandi ed ai momenti cardine della sua Patria. Sono i simboli di pietra o di bronzo che ricordano a tutti il proprio passato, il perché stanno vivendo, ora ed in quel luogo.
Oggi la Russia ha inaugurato un monumento sobrio, mesto. Un monumento che ricorda il peggiore dei periodi passati dalla Russia: il terrore staliniano.
Ne ricorda le vittime.
«Aleksandr Solzhenytsin, il cui libro “Arcipelago Gulag” divenne molto popolare durante la perestrojka, fu tra le voci più influenti in materia. Nel suo libro parla di 66,7 milioni di vittime del regime sovietico tra il 1917 e il 1959.
Nel 1991, poi, il giornale sovietica Komsomolskaya Pravda pubblicò un’intervista a Solzhenytsin nella quale egli aggiungeva altri 44 milioni di vittime, arrivando così a 110 milioni di morti.»
«В начале 1989 года по решению Президиума Академии наук СССР была создана комиссия Отделения истории АН СССР во главе с членом-корреспондентом Академии наук Ю.А.Поляковым по определению потерь населения. ….
Будучи в составе этой комиссии, мы в числе первых историков получили доступ к ранее не выдававшейся исследователям статистической отчётности ОГПУ-НКВД-МВД-МГБ, высших органов государственной власти и органов государственного управления СССР, находившейся на специальном хранении в Центральном государственном архиве Октябрьской революции (ЦГАОР СССР), переименованном ныне в Государственный архив Российской Федерации (ГАРФ). ….
В документе говорилось, что, по имеющимся в МВД СССР данным, за период с 1921 года по настоящее время, то есть до начала 1954 года, за контрреволюционные преступления было осуждено Коллегией ОГПУ, тройками НКВД, Особым совещанием, Военной коллегией, судами и военными трибуналами 3 777 380 чел., в том числе к высшей мере наказания — 642 980 (см.: Государственный архив Российской Федерации (ГАРФ). Ф. 9401. Оп. 2. Д. 450)»
* * * * * * *
Quanto accaduto dovrebbe dare da pensare.
Se è vero che l’ideologia fa impazzire le menti deprivandole della percezione del reale e della revisione critica, è altrettanto vero che nulla o nessuno può rinnegare quanto avvenuto.
Mr Putin ha trovato a nostro personale avviso il migliore dei modi per celebrare il centenario della rivoluzione di ottobre, ricordandone le vittime.
Sia le persone sia i popoli devono avere l’onestà ed il coraggio di assumersi le proprie responsabilità.
Abbattere le statue non ne cancella certo il ricordo.
A memorial to Stalin-era repressions has been unveiled in the central Russian city of Yekaterinburg, 27 years after the local government first commissioned it.
The monument, Ernst Neizvestny’s follow-up to his “Mask of Sorrow” erected in 1996, is titled “Masks of Sorrow.” Its two weeping faces — one facing Europe, the other Asia — symbolizes repentance and respect for the victims of the Stalin era, the state-run TASS news agency reports.
“This is a landmark event in the life of the region and Russia,” the governor of the Sverdlovsk region Yevgeny Kuyvashev said during the opening ceremony on Monday. “Hundreds of thousands of people from the Urals suffered during the years of mass repression.”
“We would like to see the memorial visited by residents and visitors of the city regularly to preserve the memory and prevent the recurrence of similar events,” the deputy head of the administration of Yekaterinburg Sergei Tushin was cited as saying by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
The second statue, erected in Neizvestny’s native city, almost never materialized: The model gathered dust in a basement for 15 years, Rossiskaya Gazeta reports.
Neizvestny sued the city, but a court ruled that the model be transported to the Southern Urals, where it was stored for another 10 years.
The sculptor died in New York last summer before his project was realized.
During the ceremony, the former human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin called the monument as much a memorial to the victims of the Stalin era as to the statue’s sculptor himself.
“In fact, it is a monument to Ernst Neizvestny,” Lukin said.
«Non c’è pace senza giustizia, non c’è giustizia senza perdono».
Sant’Agostino, Sermones 211, PL 38.
Handelsblatt è il giornale della confindustria tedesca. I suoi articoli sono coperti da copyright, che gli editori fanno puntigliosamente osservare. Tuttavia esiste un metro per valutare gli interventi da loro ritenuti essere di grande importanza: sono pubblicati come quello in calce riportato. Articolo da leggersi con cura.
Premettiamo come noi non lo si condivida nella sua estensione, tranne che nella constatazione che il passato deve essere dimenticato per lasciar posto ad una Realpolitik che consideri l’essere umano nella sua globalità, non nella sua limitata dimensione economica.
Questo che stiamo vivendo è un momento di transizione, ove il vecchio sta scomparendo ma è ancora forte al punto di poter generare grandi tensioni, ed il nuovo non ha ancora acquisito forza a sufficienza per imporsi.
La confusione è somma.
Da una parte stiamo assistendo al declino economico del sistema occidentale.
– Da un punto di vista meramente economico, se si considera il pil per potere di acquisto, il mondo genera 108,036,500 milioni Usd, la Cina 17,617,300 (16.31%) e gli Stati Uniti 17,418,00 (16.12%). L’Eurozona rende conto di 11,249,482 (10.41%) ed il Gruppo dei G7 di 31.825,293 (29.46%). Però i Brics conteggiano un pil ppa di 32,379,625 Usd, ossia il 29.97% del pil ppa mondiale. I Brics valgono come i paesi del G7.
Di conseguenza, la voce dell’Occidente vale nel mondo al massimo per il 29.46%, ma quella degli Stati Uniti vale solo il 16.12% e quella dell’Eurozona uno scarno 10.41%.
In altri termini, chi comandasse l’Occidente non sarebbe più il padrone economico del mondo: avrebbe sicuramente un grande peso, ma non quello determinante.
– D’altra parte stiamo assistendo in Occidente ad una grandiosa mutazione politica. Nel breve volgere di poco più di un anno i liberals democratici americani hanno perso le elezioni presidenziali, il controllo del Congresso e quello del Senato. Il Regno Unito ha abbandonato l’Unione Europea, che ne risulta grandemente indebolita. In Francia il partito socialista è precipitato dal 62% all’8%, ed in Germania l’Spd è crollata da un vertice del 37% all’attuale 20.5%. I socialisti sono stati estromessi dai governi dei principali paesi occidentali, e tale mutazione sembrerebbe essere definitiva. In Europa inoltre si sta evidenziando una drammatica incapacità di formare governi sufficientemente coesi. In Spagna Mr Rajoy guida un governo minoritario, In Olanda è stato formato 208 giorni dopo le elezioni un governo che avrebbe un solo voto di maggioranza, in Austria ed in Italia si delinea un tripolarismo di forze apparentemente incapaci di poter formare coalizioni degne di quel nome.
– Il crollo elettorale dei partiti tradizionali – Cdu, Csu ed Spd – ha fatto variare repentinamente tutti gli equilibri. Forse Frau Merkel riuscirà a mantenere la cancelleria, ma a prezzo di dover rinnegare sé stessa, tutta la sua Weltanschauung.
– Senza la possibilità di gestire i governi nazionali, tutta l’ideologia liberal e socialista, umana, politica ed economica, è destinata alla uscita di scena in un rancoroso oblio.
– Il modo di pesare, i valori portati avanti da tali ideologie non solo escono storicamente battuti, ma anche largamente non condivisi a livello mondiale. Mr Putin e Mr Xi governano i loro rispettivi paesi nell’unico modo al momento possibile: piaccia o non piaccia.
Questo quadro mondiale è mutato troppo di recente ed in modo così rapido che la maggior parte delle persone sembrerebbe non averne ancora preso atto. Assieme ad uno sparuto manipolo di persone formate alla Realpolik, continuano a sussistere larghe porzioni di persone visceralmente condizionate da idee preconcette vetuste, irreali, ma da loro vissute come se esistessero ancora per davvero.
Su tutto l’Occidente poi incombe il Convitato di Pietra. La crisi demografica scatenata dalla contrazione delle nascite degli autoctoni inizia a far sentire il suo peso. Per il momento la sua portata è stata razionalizzata quasi soltanto dai grandi imprenditori, che oramai da anni non effettuano investimenti strategici in Occidente, ma nei prossimi tempi essa sarà percepita nella sua devastante portata. Troppo tardi per porvi rimedio. Da questo punto di vista l’Occidente è condannato: è come un paziente con un cancro al polmone, ancora vivo, ma solo per poco.
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«German attitudes toward Russia can be summed up in two very different ways: freeze or forgive. Given Europe’s energy needs and Russian military interventions, which is best?»
«[Mr Putin] He’s been called “a mercenary for the Kremlin” who is taking “blood money” from the Russians. But those accusations leave senior German politicians cold, including ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder.»
«for Mr. Schröder, Germany’s relationship with Russia has always been about more than money.»
«the “beauty of forgiveness.”»
«“Peace in Europe will be stable and assured when these two countries [Germany and Russia] take care of their relationship,” he argues. For Mr. Schröder, stronger economic ties can lay the groundwork for a geopolitical friendship, he says, that will allow Germans to warm to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, a man he once infamously called “an impeccable democrat.”»
«The real goal is peace: Overcoming Germany’s own history by making real peace with the country it invaded and brutalized just decades ago»
«the commission investigating the crimes of the East Germany’s secret police»
«we must ask ourselves whether we really want to be advocates for those who are enemies of our own values»
«Germany needs to give up on its illusions of Russia, the senior politician says, because it’s a wishful picture of a country that never existed»
«A few short years later, Adolf Hitler’s war would cost nearly 30 million Soviet lives. Then in, 1945, the tide of occupation turned, with Cold War divisions cutting through the heart of Germany.»
«All this laid the foundations for Mr. Putin’s rise and probably his motivations, as well as the popularity of his promises for a resurgent Russia, back on the world stage»
«Preoccupied with reunification and later on with European integration, German policy toward Russia was based mostly on energy and economics.»
«By 2014, Russia had also interfered in Ukraine, using shocking tactics at times. The German government, led by Angela Merkel, had little choice but to confront such Russian expansionism»
«But in a way, Berlin had miscalculated too. German politicians had underestimated Mr. Putin’s resolve and ability to turn his back on Europe. His new direction came at a time when America was reconsidering its role as the world’s policeman, sealed by Donald Trump’s arrival as US president»
«“Kiss my Russian ass.” In Mr. Putin’s view, Russia is returning to the winning side, in both moral and military terms. “Russia is learning to be itself again,” is the Russian media slogan, as an integral, and some would say manipulative, part of the “global, non-West.”»
«Germany’s large and active eastern neighbor cannot be ignored by central Europeans, but nor should the historic Russian connection be romanticized.»
* * * * * * * * * * * *
«Non c’è pace senza giustizia, non c’è giustizia senza perdono». Parole di Sant’Agostino, Sermones 211, PL 38.
«the “beauty of forgiveness.”» [Schröder]
Mr Schröder è encomiabile per questa sua visione di Realpolitik, ancorché non condivisa appieno.
Ma ciò che emerge è la sconfitta totale della Weltanschauung della Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel.
Perché la riunificazione tedesca sì, bene, benissimo, e la riunificazione russa cattiva, pessima, antidemocratica?
German attitudes toward Russia can be summed up in two very different ways: freeze or forgive. Given Europe’s energy needs and Russian military interventions, which is best?
He’s been called “a mercenary for the Kremlin” who is taking “blood money” from the Russians. But those accusations leave senior German politicians cold, including ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
The accusations, made in Germany’s mainstream media, are understandable. Mr. Schröder is a long-time supporter of the Nord Stream pipeline consortium that pumps gas from Russia to Europe and recently, amid much controversy, he became the chairman of the Russian state-controlled oil producer, Rosneft.
But he can shrug those accusations off because, for Mr. Schröder, Germany’s relationship with Russia has always been about more than money.
Talking to Handelsblatt about the country’s Russian connection for a solid two hours in his Hamburg office, Mr. Schröder keeps referring back to the Second World War, his meetings with Russian veterans and the “beauty of forgiveness.”
Mr. Gauck believes he has “an understanding of power” and no time for those who grow “misty-eyed” at the sight of the Russian strong man.
“Peace in Europe will be stable and assured when these two countries [Germany and Russia] take care of their relationship,” he argues. For Mr. Schröder, stronger economic ties can lay the groundwork for a geopolitical friendship, he says, that will allow Germans to warm to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, a man he once infamously called “an impeccable democrat.”
The real goal is peace: Overcoming Germany’s own history by making real peace with the country it invaded and brutalized just decades ago. A “historical reconciliatio,” says Mr. Schröder, would allow a “spiritual kinship” to flourish. And if that means Germany distancing itself from the US, then so be it.
More concretely, Mr. Schröder wants an end to sanctions and, in effect, German recognition of the occupation of Crimea and of Russian influence in Ukraine. Mr. Putin – with whom the former chancellor enjoys a rather macho friendship – should above all be seen as a reformer, he says.
And then there is Mr. Schröder’s opposite in this particular cold war, Joachim Gauck. Mr. Gauck stepped down as the federal president earlier this year; he was once a well-known East German dissident, and chaired the commission investigating the crimes of the East Germany’s secret police.
During a meeting on a rainy Berlin afternoon in his office – this is one of the first interviews Mr. Gauck has given since he left the presidency – the little ironies are hard to miss. Such as the fact that his tidy rooms are inside the former East German ministry of justice. Mr. Gauck tends to spare his words but he does want to make his opinions on Germany’s relationship with Russia known.
Mr. Gauck has only ever met with Mr. Putin once. A short handshake and a press release that told of “a very frank discussion” were cover for what insiders later said was fairly cold encounter.
Since then Mr. Gauck appears to have managed to avoid the Russian leader and even any trips to Russia. But he’s had plenty of experience with Russian leaders. His father spent four years in a Stalinist-era gulag in Siberia and he himself lived under Soviet-trained Communist rulers in East Germany. One of his first jobs after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was opening the files collected by the East German secret police, the Stasi – the paperwork related to their victims was almost endless because almost every citizen in East Germany, one of the most-surveilled states in the world, had their own file. So Mr. Gauck, who believes he has “an understanding of power,” has no time for German admirers of Putin, who grow “misty-eyed” at the sight of the Russian strong man.
The fact that some in Germany sympathize with Mr. Putin is verging on a “grotesque twisting of reality,” Mr. Gauck says. “Putin was an agent of the oppressors. He is a leading figure among an international cadre that turns up over and over again, at different times: The international figureheads opposed to progress.”
Mr. Gauck understands why Germans want to understand, and even empathize with, Russia, and it has a lot to do with historical guilt from the world wars. But, as he notes, “we must ask ourselves whether we really want to be advocates for those who are enemies of our own values. Our guilt should actually make us advocate for those to whom injustice is done,” he argues.
Germany needs to give up on its illusions of Russia, the senior politician says, because it’s a wishful picture of a country that never existed. If that means a new cold freeze in relations with Russia, even a new confrontation, then Germany and Europe must pay that price, says Germany’s former president.
More than any other Western country, Germany has a vexed relationship with Russia. It is a history marked with prejudice, hatred and bloody war. But it has also been suffused with fascination: The poet Rainer Maria Rilke saw “German and Russian souls” seeking each other out in a mystic communion and he was not alone in this thinking.
More practical connections have indelibly shaped the German-Russian relationship. For centuries, Russian czars looked to Germany for modernity. Peter the Great brought in German experts to help set up a new capital: St. Petersburg, facing west toward Germany and Europe. In that new city, German scholars reformed Russian science, and German soldiers and administrators changed the face of Russian government.
n spite of such ties, the two countries were frequently at war, and never more so than in the twentieth century. When the Russian aristocracy fell in 1917, Germany gave Lenin and his comrades free passage across Germany, hoping they would foment a revolution back home. They did. A few short years later, Adolf Hitler’s war would cost nearly 30 million Soviet lives. Then in, 1945, the tide of occupation turned, with Cold War divisions cutting through the heart of Germany.
But it was the sudden end of that Cold War that most obviously shapes today’s German-Russian relations. In the late 1980s, Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev decided to allow Russia’s satellite states to go their own way, meaning the Berlin Wall could fall without bloodshed.
But Mr. Gorbachev’s hopes for a “common European home,” one that included Russia, came to nothing. Instead the Russian economy collapsed and the nation’s global power dwindled, while the western defense alliance, NATO, expanded right up to its borders. In the decades since, as a unified Germany prospered, Russia began to look more and more like history’s loser, its population falling, its oligarchs triumphant, its politics corrupt and its brutality on show for all to see.
All this laid the foundations for Mr. Putin’s rise and probably his motivations, as well as the popularity of his promises for a resurgent Russia, back on the world stage. Those promises have been fulfilled to some extent. But one great victim of those past years was Russia’s fledgling democracy, battered by authoritarianism and public despair.
During the 1990s, Russia somehow belonged to the west but stood outside of it. During those years Germany lacked the will or the expertise to come up with a new policy to deal with the former Soviet states and a new Russia. Too much of the new post-Soviet relationship was based on the “boys club” friendship between then-chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Mr. Putin. Preoccupied with reunification and later on with European integration, German policy toward Russia was based mostly on energy and economics. Indeed Mr. Schröder’s government strengthened energy cooperation and began the infamous Nord Stream pipeline project.
It could well have gone on like this – but geopolitics got in the way. About a decade ago, Mr. Putin shifted his foreign policy: It was less intimidated by Europe, more opportunistic and more willing to use force and take risks, most tellingly by invading Georgia in 2008.
By 2014, Russia had also interfered in Ukraine, using shocking tactics at times. The German government, led by Angela Merkel, had little choice but to confront such Russian expansionism.
Perhaps Mr. Putin had hoped for more understanding in Berlin. In his speech announcing the annexation of the Crimea in 2014, Mr. Putin explicitly referred to German reunification. Moscow had supported Germany then, he said, so surely the Germans, of all people, should understand that “Russia is now the biggest divided nation on the planet.” Very simply, Germany must now “support Russian unification.”
But the Russian president had miscalculated, or perhaps he was only paying lip service to the idea anyway. Angela Merkel refused to make any kind of deal with Moscow and she wouldn’t contemplate the idea of Russian “zones of influence” or any sentimental history. In fact, Ms. Merkel felt she had been lied to and Mr. Putin was seen as dangerous. Instead Germany sought to deepen European ties, and carried on to impose further sanctions directly on Mr. Putin’s regime and his associates.
But in a way, Berlin had miscalculated too. German politicians had underestimated Mr. Putin’s resolve and ability to turn his back on Europe. His new direction came at a time when America was reconsidering its role as the world’s policeman, sealed by Donald Trump’s arrival as US president.
The new Russian attitude was embodied by Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, at the Munich Security Conference this February, when he spoke about the new “post-west” world order. Former elites need to make room for a multipolar collection of sovereign states that all acted in their own interests, Mr. Lavrov said. Looking at Russian moves in places like Syria and most recently Iraqi Kurdistan – where the Russians just became the small region’s biggest financial backers, after a controversial independence referendum – one can see that cunning Russian pivot in play
Mr. Putin’s attitude to the West, says a prominent German who has known him for many years, is basically: “Kiss my Russian ass.” In Mr. Putin’s view, Russia is returning to the winning side, in both moral and military terms. “Russia is learning to be itself again,” is the Russian media slogan, as an integral, and some would say manipulative, part of the “global, non-West.”
There’s hardly any doubt that Germany won’t be following Russia to the “non-West.” That would entail leaving Europe and this is impossible: Europe is the cornerstone of German foreign and economic policy. Indeed for many, Germany embodies “the West.”
So how does all this end? The oppositional positions taken by the two senior German politicians, Mr. Gauck and Mr. Schröder, clearly symbolize the tense, current relationship between Germany and Russia. While nowhere near the bloody conflict of the past, today the two countries view each other through a lens clouded with mistrust, conflicts of interest, mutual recriminations, economic sanctions and even the occasional threat of military confrontation.
Perhaps both attitudes are wrong for this time, and a combination of the two is the most pragmatic. Germany’s large and active eastern neighbor cannot be ignored by central Europeans, but nor should the historic Russian connection be romanticized.
As Karsten Voigt, a veteran Berlin foreign policy observer and member of the Social Democratic Party, puts it: “Anyone that wants to achieve peace in Europe long term, a peace that involves Russia, should not stop measuring the Russian leadership against the crucial [European] principles and norms of such a peace.”