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Russian military ‘ready to work with US’ after Trump & Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki

RT | July 17, 2018

The Russian military is ready to work with the US colleagues on all the areas discussed by the two presidents during the Helsinki summit, namely cooperation in Syria and mutual reduction of the strategic nuclear arsenals.

“Russian Defense Ministry is ready to implement the agreements on the international security, reached by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump during the Helsinki summit yesterday,” Ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russian and the US leaders agreed to revitalize the military cooperation in several fields. During the press conference in the aftermath of the summit, Trump stated that Russian and US militaries proved to actually get along better than the politicians of the two countries over the past few years, naming deconfliction communication in Syria as an example.

Putin and Trump agreed to work together on returning the people displaced by the Syrian conflict, since several million of refugees are still living in Turkey and Lebanon. These people might take off and head for Europe, the US and other destinations, Putin warned.

“One should not wait until they start moving towards these destinations, the conditions for their return must be created,” Putin stated.

The two agreed also to step up negotiations on the prolonging of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), aimed at mutual reduction and limitation of the strategic nuclear arsenals. The existing third iteration of the START agreement expires in 2021. Putin said Moscow was ready to prolong the deal, while some “details” must be ironed out first.

Konashenkov said the military was ready “to intensify contacts with its American colleagues through the General Staff and other available channels of communication” on all of the aforementioned issues, as well as other outstanding problems of the international security.

‘Step to new multipolar world’?

The Putin-Trump meeting marked an important step toward the emerging multipolar world, where the main actors get together and negotiate, standing by their “national interests,” geopolitical expert Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann told RT.

Such a new approach would likely be more fruitful than the “ancient” US unilateral drive for the forced Westernization and multiculturalism, while the summit itself exemplified “the acceptance from the US of the new multipolar world.”

“I think this is a new process. Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have shown to the world they want to be in charge,” Thomann said. “They want to start negotiations on the real political basis, and I think this is a good start, because the utopian ideas on the international relations always fail. And they admit they are rivals, they want to identify common grounds for cooperation and try to overcome their differences.”

The Russian-US desire to cooperate on fixing the Syrian conflict will prove to be beneficial not only to the war-torn country itself, but to the whole Middle East region and, ultimately, Europe, Thomann believes.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Putin says Russia will decrease military spending

Press TV – March 19, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will reduce its military spending during his new term as the leader of the country, a day after he was re-elected in a presidential election with a landslide.

“We have plans to decrease our defense spending both this year and next. But this will not lead to any decline in the country’s defense capacity,” said Putin during a meeting with other presidential candidates in capital Moscow on Monday.

He added that “We will not allow for any sort of arms race.”

Putin’s comments come as ties between Moscow and Washington have plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War due to the two countries’ disputes over the crises in Ukraine and Syria and after US officials accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Since September 2015, Russia has been carrying out airstrikes in support of Syria’s ground troops and has helped them recapture swathes of territory from Takfiri terrorists.

In his best election performance ever, Putin, 65, secured nearly 77 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s presidential election, according to the official results released earlier today.

Putin, whose new election win will extend his total time in office to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024, said elsewhere in his remarks that he aims to focus his new term on “domestic policy issues” and strengthening the country’s “defense capabilities.”

“The main thing that we are going to do is of course, first of all the internal agenda, it is first of all ensuring the growth of the Russian Federation economy, and making it innovative, this is development in the sphere of healthcare, education, industrial output and as I’ve said before of infrastructure and other areas crucial for moving the country forward and lifting the standard of living for our citizens” the Russian leader further said.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Putin’s FULL Interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC

Vladimir Putin interviewed by NBC anchor Megyn Kelly. The interview was recorded in the Kremlin on March 1, 2018, and in Kaliningrad on March 2, 2018. NBC showed an edited version only. The following transcript is courtesy of the Kremlin office of the President of Russia.

Transcript:

Part 1. The Kremlin, Moscow, March 1, 2018

Megyn Kelly: So, thank you very much for doing this, Mr President. I thought that we’d start with some of the news you made today at your State of the Nation Address, then we will move into some facts about you in preparation for our long piece that we are putting together, and then tomorrow when we will have a longer time together, we will talk about more substantive issues together, if that is ok with you.

Vladimir Putin: Fine.

Megyn Kelly: You announced today that Russia has developed new nuclear-capable weapons systems, including an intercontinental ballistic missile that you say renders defence systems useless. Several analysts in the West have said this is a declaration of a new Cold War. Are we in a new arms race right now?

Vladimir Putin: In my opinion, the people you have mentioned are not analysts. What they do is propaganda. Why? Because everything I spoke about today was done not on our initiative, it is a response to the US ballistic missile defence programme and Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.

If we speak of the arms race, it began at that very moment, when the United States pulled out of the ABM Treaty. We wanted to prevent this. We called on our American partners to work together on these programmes.

Firstly, we asked them not to withdraw from the treaty, not to destroy it. But the US pulled out. It was not us who did this but the US.

Yet we again suggested we work together even after this. I told my colleague then, “Imagine what would happen if Russia and the US joined forces in the crucial area of strategic security. The world would change for a long period to come, and the level of global security would rise to an all-time high.” The reply was, “This is very interesting.” But they ultimately rejected all our proposals.

Then I said, “You understand that we will have to improve our offensive arms systems to maintain a balance and to have the ability to overcome your BMD systems.” They replied that they were not developing the BMD systems to counter us, that we were free to do as we pleased, and that they would not view our actions as spearheaded against the US.

Megyn Kelly: That happened right after 9/11, three months after 9/11.

Vladimir Putin: No, it was after the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, and the conversations I mentioned were in 2003–2004.

Megyn Kelly: At the time that happened, I believe you were quoted as saying that you thought it was a mistake on the part of the United States, but not a threat. Do you perceive the United States as a threat today?

Vladimir Putin: We have always said that developing the missile defence system creates a threat to us. We have always said that. Our American partners would not publicly admit it, claiming that the system was spearheaded mainly against Iran. But eventually, in conversations and during talks they admitted that, of course, the system will destroy our nuclear deterrence potential.

Imagine the situation. What was the point of signing the treaty back in 1972? The United States and the Soviet Union had only two regions that they defended from missile attacks: one in the United States and one in the Soviet Union. That created a threat for a potential aggressor who would be struck in response. In 2002, the United States said, “We do not need this anymore. We will create anything we want, globally, all over the world.”

Megyn Kelly: Again, it was in the wake of 9/11, just to make it clear. 9/11 happened on September 11, 2001, and the United States was reassessing its security posture in the world for good reason, wouldn’t you admit?

Vladimir Putin: No, not for good reason.This is complete nonsense. Because the missile defence system protects from the kind of ballistic missiles that no terrorists have in their arsenal. This is an explanation for the housewives watching your programme. But if these housewives can hear what I am saying, if you show it to them and they hear me, they will understand that 9/11 and the missile defence system are completely unrelated. To defend themselves from terrorist attacks, the major powers must join their efforts against the terrorists rather than create threats for each other.

Megyn Kelly: About the weapon that you announced today, the ICBM, have you actually tested it and it works? Because some analysts are suggesting that you have tested it, and it failed. And that is why you only showed animations of it today, and have not yet produced any actual videos.

Vladimir Putin: I spoke about several systems today. Which one are you referring to, the heavy-duty intercontinental ballistic missile?

Megyn Kelly: Yes, the one that you claimed renders defence systems useless.

Vladimir Putin: All the systems I mentioned today easily overcome missile defence. Each one of them. This is the point of all these developments.

Megyn Kelly: But you have tested it?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course.

Megyn Kelly: And it worked?

Vladimir Putin: It did, very well.

Some of these systems require additional work. Some of them are already deployed. Some are in serial production.

Getting back to the beginning of our conversation, there is a missile defence system deployed in Alaska. The distance between Russia’s Chukotka and Alaska is only 60 kilometres.

Two systems are being deployed in Eastern Europe. One is already in place in Romania. Construction of another one is almost finished in Poland. There is also the navy. US ships are based very close to Russian shores both in the south and the north.

Imagine if we placed our missile systems along the US-Mexico or the US-Canada border in their territories on both sides and brought our ships in from both sides. What would you say? Would you take action? Meanwhile we would respond that you are escalating the arms race? Ridiculous, isn’t it? This is exactly what is happening.

Megyn Kelly: Just to come back. Are you saying that we are in a new arms race?

Vladimir Putin: I want to say that the United States, when it withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, forced us to begin developing new weapon systems. We told our partners about it, and they said, “Do whatever you like.” Fine, that is what we did – so enjoy.

Megyn Kelly: You disclosed that Russia was developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that was powered by nukes that could render defence systems useless?

Vladimir Putin: Of course not. I did not know at the time how we could respond, to be honest. So it seems that our partners believed we would have nothing to respond with. Our economy was is dire straits, as well as the defence sector and the army. Therefore, I do not think anobody could have thought that in such a short period of time we would be able to make such a gigantic leap in the development of strategic weapons. I think the CIA must have told the US President that we would not do anything in response. While the Pentagon said something like, “And we will develop a powerful cutting-edge global anti-missile system.” So they did.

But I will answer your question directly. I can tell you what we told our American partners, what I said personally at the time.

Megyn Kelly: Just to clarify, do you mean George W. Bush?

Vladimir Putin: Who was President in 2002, 2003 and 2004?

Megyn Kelly: But did this happen continuously or just during that timeframe?

Vladimir Putin: Actually, we kept going on about it for 15 years. I said, almost literally, that we would not develop a system of anti-missile defence the way you are doing. Firstly, because it is too expensive, and we do not have the resources. And secondly, we do not know yet how it would work: you do not know, and we certainly do not either.

But, to preserve the strategic balance so that you would not be able to zero out our nuclear deterrence forces, we will develop strike systems that will be able to break your anti-missile systems.

We said this plainly and openly, without any aggression, I just told stated we would do. Nothing personal.

And the response was, “We are not doing this against you, but you do whatever you want and we will presume that it is not directed against us, not against the United States.”

Megyn Kelly: Let us talk about present day and going forward, because what you said today was that you would use these weapons if Russia or her allies come under attack. And the question is whether you meant any attack or only a nuclear attack on Russia or its allies?

Vladimir Putin: I heard you.

I would also like to say that in 2004 – I mentioned this today –I said at a news conference that we will be developing weapons and even mentioned a concrete missile system, Avangard as we call it.

It is called Avangard now, but then I simply spoke of how it would work. I openly said how it would work. We hoped that this would be heard and the US would discuss it with us and discuss cooperation. But no, it was as if they had not heard us. Strategic offensive arms reduction and an antimissile defence system are different things.

Megyn Kelly: So, you didn’t feel like you needed to disclose.

Vladimir Putin: We will be reducing the number of delivery vehicles and warheads under the New START Treaty. This means that the numbers will be reduced on both sides, but at the same time, one party, the United States, will be developing antimissile systems.

This will ultimately lead to a situation where all our nuclear missiles, Russia’s entire missile potential will be reduced to zero. This is why we have always linked this. This is how it was in the Soviet-American times; these are natural things, everyone understands this.

Megyn Kelly: But is it your contention that the 4,000 nukes that Russia now has cannot penetrate the existing military defence system?

Vladimir Putin: They can. Today they can. But you are developing your antimissile systems. Antimissiles’ range is increasing, and so is their accuracy. These weapons are being upgraded. This is why we need to respond to this appropriately, so that we are able to penetrate the system not only today but also tomorrow, when you acquire new weapons.

Megyn Kelly: That is why it would be a big deal if you really did have a nuclear-powered ICBM, which people are questioning, whether you have a usable one right now. When you said earlier that you have some that had tested positively and were excellent, you said others had not. So, for the record, right now, do you have a workable ICBM that is powered by nukes that you have tested successfully?

Vladimir Putin: Look, I did not say that the testing of some of these systems had been unsuccessful. All the tests were successful. It is just that each of these weapon systems is at a different stage of readiness. One is already on alert duty in line units. Another is in the same status. The work is proceeding on schedule with regard to some systems. We have no doubt that they will be in service, just as we had no doubt in 2004 that we would make a missile with the so-called cruise glide re-entry vehicle.

You have been referring all the time to intercontinental ballistic missiles, new missiles…

Megyn Kelly: You keep mentioning ICBMs.

Vladimir Putin: No. I am saying that we are developing just one brand of new heavy missile, which will replace a missile that we call Voyevoda, and you have dubbed it Satan. We will replace it with a new and more powerful missile. Here it is: a ballistic missile. All the other missiles are not ballistic.

Therein lies the entire meaning of this, because any antimissile defence system operates against ballistic missiles. But we have created a set of new strategic weapons that do not follow ballistic trajectories and the antimissile defence systems are powerless against them. This means that the US taxpayers’ money has been wasted.

Megyn Kelly: But again, you say that you are going to use these weapons, these nuclear-powered weapons if Russia or its allies come under attack. Any attack or only a nuclear one?

Vladimir Putin: There are two reasons why we would respond with our nuclear deterrence forces: a nuclear attack on the Russian Federation or a conventional attack on the Russian Federation, given that it jeopardises the state’s existence.

Megyn Kelly: That is consistent with the existing Russian doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons.

Vladimir Putin: Exactly, there are two possible reasons for a nuclear retaliation.

Megyn Kelly: Are you interested in new talks to extend the new strategic arms control treaty?

Vladimir Putin: The START-3 Treaty will expire soon. We are ready to continue this dialogue. What do we consider important? We agree to a reduction or to retaining current terms, to a reduction in delivery vehicles and warheads. However, today, when we are acquiring weapons that can easily breach all anti-ballistic missile systems, we no longer consider the reduction of ballistic missiles and warheads to be highly critical.

Megyn Kelly: So will these weapons be part of those discussions?

Vladimir Putin: In the context that the number of delivery vehicles and the number of warheads they can or will carry should, of course, be included in the grand total. And we will show you from a distance what this will look like.

Our military experts know how to conduct these inspections. In this sense, there are fine-tuned mechanisms and a sufficiently high level of trust. Generally, military experts are working together professionally. Politicians talk a lot, but military experts know what they are doing.

Megyn Kelly: You are a politician

Vladimir Putin: I am also an officer, and I am the Commander-in-Chief. I also served as a military intelligence officer for 17 years.

Megyn Kelly: Are you proud of that fact? Do you like the fact that you were in the KGB? Do you like people to know that?

Vladimir Putin: I do not see it from an emotional perspective. This gave me a lot of experience in the most diverse fields. I found it useful when I moved on to the civilian sector. Of course, this positive experience helped me in this sense.

Megyn Kelly: How so? How did it help?

Vladimir Putin: You know, after I left the intelligence service, I worked as Assistant Rector at St Petersburg University. I worked with people, established contacts, motivated people to act and brought them together. This is very important in the academic environment. Later, I was Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg. I assumed even greater and broader responsibility. I dealt with St Petersburg’s international ties, and that is a metropolis with a population of five million people. While working in this capacity in St Petersburg, I first met Henry Kissinger. Of course, all this helped me in my work at that time, and my additional experience later helped me in my work in Moscow.

Megyn Kelly: Do you think it gives you an advantage over your adversaries and your allies?

Vladimir Putin: It is hard for me to say. I have no other experience. The only thing I know is that my partners, including heads of state and government, are exceptional and outstanding people. They have gone through stringent selection and elimination procedures. There are no chance people at this level. And each of them has his or her own advantages.

Megyn Kelly: What about that? You have been in power for a long time here in Russia, poised to go into another term as president. You have had four American presidents come and go during that time. I am wondering if you had a favourite, if there was one you liked more than the others?

Vladimir Putin: I am sorry, but this is not a very tactful question. Each of my partners is good in their own right. In all, we had good relations with practically all of them. With Bill Clinton, though he was leaving office, we were able to work together for several months. Then with presidents Bush, Obama, and with the current President too, but to a lesser extent, of course. All of them have something to respect them for. At the same time, we can argue and disagree with each other, and it happens often, we have diverging views on many issues, even on key ones, but we nevertheless managed to maintain normal, human relations. If it were not for that, it would have been not only harder, but much worse for everyone.

Megyn Kelly: How important do you think it is to project strength as a President?

Vladimir Putin: It is important not to project strength, but to show it. It is also important how we understand power. It does not mean banging the table with a fist or yelling. I think power has several dimensions.

Firstly, one should be confident that he is doing the right thing. Secondly, he must be ready to go all the way to achieve the goals.

Megyn Kelly: I wonder this because one of the images that we see of you in the United States is without the shirt on a horse. What is that about?

Vladimir Putin: Well, I have breaks. There are your Russian colleagues, there is the internet. But we do not do this on purpose. They take the photos they like. I have lots of photos of me in the office, working with documents, but nobody is interested in them.

Megyn Kelly: (Laughs.) You are saying they like the shirtless photos?

Vladimir Putin: You know, I have seen “photos” of me riding a bear. I have not ridden a bear yet, but there are such photos already.

Megyn Kelly: Now what about you personally? Your elections are coming up in two weeks. You are 65 years old now. Most people would be slowing down a little in their lives. Do you see that for yourself at all in the future?

Vladimir Putin: First, there are many politicians around the world who are older than I am and who are still working active.

Megyn Kelly: Including in my country.

Vladimir Putin: Not only in the United States, in other countries, too. There are many such people, in Europe and everywhere in the world. But if a person assumes the highest offices, he must work as if he is doing it for the first and last day of his life.

There is the Constitution. I have never violated it and have never changed it. Of course, if voters give me the opportunity to serve another term, I will do it to the best of my ability

Megyn Kelly: Last question for tonight, it is late. Forgive me; this may be a long one. What do you see as your greatest accomplishment as president and what do you see as your biggest mistake? And what did you learn from it?

Vladimir Putin: You know, these would be very close.

Our biggest achievement is that our economy has changed radically. It has almost doubled in scale. The number of people living below the poverty line has decreased by half.

At the same time, the number of people living below the poverty line remains large, and we must work on that. We must remove the gap between people with very high and very low incomes. In this context, we have many achievements and many unresolved issues.

Back in the early 2000s, our population shrank by nearly a million people a year. Can you imagine the scale of the disaster? Almost 900,000 people. We have reversed this trend. We have even achieved a natural population increase. We have very low infant mortality, and we have reduced maternal mortality to almost zero. We have prepared and are implementing a large-scale programme of supporting mothers and children. Our life expectancy is growing at a high rate.

Much has changed in our economy. But we have not achieved our main economic goal: we have not yet changed the economic structure as we need to. We have not yet reached the required growth of labour efficiency. But we know how to do it, and I am confident that we will do it. The thing is that we had no opportunity to do this before, because until recently we did not have the macroeconomic conditions for taking specific measures in these areas.

At the beginning of our path, inflation was about 30 percent, but now it is 2.2 percent. Our gold and currency reserves are growing, and we have achieved macroeconomic stability. This offers us an opportunity to take the next step towards enhancing labour efficiency, attracting investment, including private funds, and changing the structure of our economy.

I am talking in large blocks. There are also more specific areas, such as modern technology and artificial intelligence, digitalisation, biology, medicine, genome research, and so on.

Megyn Kelly: Much more on the economy and how Russia is doing – tomorrow, and on your re-election. Thank you so much for your time. You have had a long day. I look forward to meeting up with you in Kaliningrad.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.


Part 2, Kaliningrad, March 2, 2018

Megyn Kelly: Mr President, good to see you again.

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

Megyn Kelly: So, we are here in Kaliningrad. Why is that? This is a port that, I am told, could not be more threatening to NATO, to Europe. It is a Russian military base. It is a Russian military port. It is home to some of your nukes. Are you trying to send a message?

Vladimir Putin: Why Kaliningrad? Because I regularly visit Russian regions. This is one of these regions. This time, I came here to attend a conference of the regional media, which they decided to hold here. It was not my decision but theirs, your colleagues from the Russian regional media. I have an agreement with them that I attend such meetings once a year and meet with them, and that is why I am here today. It does not have anything to do with any external signals; it is our domestic affair.

Megyn Kelly: Understood. So, the last time we met in June, I asked you about the conclusion of our American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our presidential election. You told me that there was nothing specific in these reports, that if there is anything specific, you said, then there will be something to discuss. You told me, as they used to say in the KGB: addresses, houses, names. Since then, 13 Russians and three Russian-owned companies have been indicted by a special prosecutor named Robert Mueller in the United States for interfering in our election. The IRA agency, Yevgeny Prigozhin and others running a cyber warfare operation out of an office at 55 Savushkina Street, St Petersburg, Russia. Addresses, houses, names. So, can we have that discussion now?

Vladimir Putin: Of course. We not only can but I think we must discuss this issue if it keeps bothering you. But if you think that the question has been asked, I am ready to answer it.

Megyn Kelly: Why would you allow an attack like this on the United States?

Vladimir Putin: What makes you think that the Russian authorities and I gave our permission to anyone to do anything? You just named some people; I have heard about some of them, some of them I do not know, but they are just individuals, they do not represent the Russian government. Even if we suppose, though I am not 100 percent certain, that they did something during the US presidential election campaign (I simply do not know anything about it), it has nothing to do with the position of the Russian government. Nothing has changed since we spoke last time in St Petersburg. There are some names, so what? It could just as well be some Americans who while living here, interfered in your own political processes. It has not changed anything.

Megyn Kelly: But it was not Americans. It was Russians. And it was hundreds of people, a monthly budget of 2.5 billion dollars, all designed to attack the United States in a cyber warfare campaign. You are up for re-election right now. Should the Russians be concerned that you had no idea this was going on in your own home country, in your own hometown?

Vladimir Putin: You know, the world is very large and diverse. We have rather complicated relations between the United States and the Russian Federation. And some of our people have their own opinion on these relations and react accordingly at the level of the Russian Government and at the level of the Russian President. There has never been any interference in the internal political processes in the United States.

You have named some individuals and said that they are Russian. So what? Maybe, although they are Russian, they work for some American company. Maybe one of them worked for one of the candidates. I have no idea about this, these are not my problems. Do you know that, for example, after the presidential election in the US, some Ukrainian officials sent messages congratulating Hillary Clinton, even though Trump had won? Listen, what do we have to do with this?

Now, in my opinion, Mr Manafort, that is his name, he was initially accused of having something to do with Russia’s interference in the presidential election in the United States. It turned out that just the opposite was true: in fact, he had connections to Ukraine. And he had some issues with Ukraine. What do we have to do with this?

You know, we have no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. But if you are interested in talking about this, I would like to widen the scope of our discussion.

Megyn Kelly: I want to go through it. I do want to go through it. If we can do it step by step that would be more clear for the viewers who are following us. Let me ask you this: you say the Russian Federation did not order it. Do you condone these activities?

Vladimir Putin: We do not condone or order. But I say that there are internal political processes in the United States itself and there are people who wanted to achieve some result. They could have used some tools in other countries: such technologies exist. They could have sent relevant information from France, from Germany, from Asia, from Russia. What do we have to do with this?

Megyn Kelly: But it was not the Russians.

Vladimir Putin: Well, all right, Russians, but they were not state officials. Well, Russians, and so what? The are 146 million Russian people, so what?

Megyn Kelly: What have you done to satisfy yourself with that fact?

Vladimir Putin: What fact?

Megyn Kelly: What have you done to satisfy yourself that it was not Russians? You suggest maybe it was Americans, maybe it was the French. What have you done to satisfy yourself that the 13 Russian nationals who have just been indicted, those three Russian companies, including, as you pointed out, some of your close friends, were not behind this? This has caused an international incident.

Vladimir Putin: I know that they do not represent the Russian state or the Russian government. And I have no idea what they did and what they were guided by. Even if they did something, then our American colleagues should not just say something in interviews with the media but give us specific data, with proof. We are ready to consider it and talk about it. But you know what I would like to say…

Megyn Kelly: That would be great. Will you extradite them to the United States?

Vladimir Putin: Never. Just like the United States, Russia does not extradite its citizens anywhere. Have you ever extradited any of your citizens? This is my first point.

Second, I do not believe anything illegal was committed.

And, third, we have repeatedly suggested that the United States and Russia establish relations in this area and sign a corresponding interstate treaty on extraditing criminals. The United States has evaded this proposal and does not want to sign it with Russia. What are you hoping for? That we will extradite people to you whereas you will not? This is not a proper way to go about international affairs.

There is more to it. Please listen to me and take to your viewers and listeners what I am about to say. We are holding discussions with our American friends and partners, people who represent the government by the way, and when they claim that some Russians interfered in the US elections, we tell them (we did so fairly recently at a very high level): ”But you are constantly interfering in our political life.“ Would you believe it, they are not even denying it.

Do you know what they told us last time? They said, ”Yes, we do interfere, but we are entitled to do so, because we are spreading democracy, and you are not, and so you cannot do it.“ Do you think this is a civilised and modern approach to international affairs?

Yesterday, you and I talked about nuclear weapons, and that once the United States and the Soviet Union realised that they were moving towards possible mutual destruction, they agreed on rules of conduct in the security sphere given the availability of weapons of mass destruction. Let us now agree on how to behave in cyberspace, which never used to have such a big role and scope.

Megyn Kelly: Okay, so let me ask you: you have stated explicitly you believe that America interfered in Russian elections, right?

Vladimir Putin: We made a proposal to the United States, our partners back during President Obama’s watch: let us agree on how we build our relations, develop common rules acceptable for all, and adhere to them in cyberspace.

The first reaction of the Obama Administration was negative, but then, at the very end of his presidential term, they told us: ”Yes, it is interesting, let us talk about it.“ But again, everything disappeared and vanished in some swamp. Well, let us agree on this, we are all for it.

Megyn Kelly: Okay, so let me ask you: you have stated explicitly you believe that America interfered in Russian elections, right?

Vladimir Putin: The US does this all the time.

Megyn Kelly: But Russia did not interfere in America’s election?

Vladimir Putin: No, and there are no plans in Russia to do so. It is impossible. It is impossible for us.

Megyn Kelly: Why not? Why wouldn’t you?

Vladimir Putin: First, we have principles whereby we do not allow others to interfere in our domestic affairs and do not poke our noses into other people’s business. This is a principle we have. This is the first point I wanted to make.

My second point is that we do not have a comparable number of tools.

Megyn Kelly: Come on. Come on.

Vladimir Putin: No, we simply cannot do that.

Megyn Kelly: You told me just yesterday, because we were amping our missile defence systems, we have to respond in kind with increased nuclear technology. Now you want me to believe that we attacked your Russian elections and you say, we are going to take that road.

Vladimir Putin: This is not a matter of missiles. This is a completely different area.

In addition, we lack the necessary instruments.

Megyn Kelly: Cyber warfare.

Vladimir Putin: This is a completely different area of activity. It has nothing to do with cyber warfare. Russia does not have the kind of tools the US has. We do not have global media outlets comparable to CNN. You think we do? We have Russia Today, and nothing else. This is the only Russian media outlet, and even then, it was designated…

Megyn Kelly: Is that cyber tools?

Vladimir Putin: You keep interrupting me, this is impolite.

Megyn Kelly: Forgive me, sir.

Vladimir Putin: We have one media outlet, Russia Today, and even it was designated as a foreign agent so that it is unable to do its work properly. It is the only media outlet of this kind, while the US has a whole range of outlets, and immense possibilities online. The internet is yours. The United States control all the internet governance tools, all located on US territory. Do you think that a comparison can be made in any way? This is simply impossible. Let us come together and agree on the rules of conduct in cyber space. But it is the US who refuses to do so.

Megyn Kelly: David and Goliath. The Mueller indictment is very specific about what the Russians were doing. There is a specific email, a damning email that is cited therein by a female Russian who appears to have been caught red-handed. She says as follows, “We had a slight crisis here at work. The FBI busted our activity. Not a joke. So I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues. I created all these pictures and posts and the Americans believe that it was written by their people.” And now you want to sit here and say you do not have the tools to do it? That we have the market cyber interference? This is just not true.

Vladimir Putin: I do not even understand what you are talking about. You see, this is just nonsense. The US Congress analysed the information from Russian sources that appeared online. The information coming from media outlets like Russia Today was also analysed and turned out to be one hundredth of a percent of the overall information flow in the United States, just one hundredth of a percent. Do you think that this fraction had any impact on the election? This is just nonsense, don’t you see? This is the same old business when the people who lost refuse to admit it. You see, I have commented on this on a number of occasions. It has yet to be seen what the US policy toward Russia will be like under the current administration. Many things remain unclear, since we have not yet been able to start working or to establish normal contacts.

However, it is absolutely clear that the current US President adopted a specific stance in terms of domestic policy, and decided to reach out to the people who were ready to support his campaign promises. This is what led to his victory, not any kind of outside interference. To claim otherwise makes no sense. Will anyone believe that Russia, a country located thousands of kilometres away, could use two or three Russians, as you have said, and whom I do not know, to meddle in the elections and influence their outcome? Don’t you think that it sounds ridiculous?

Megyn Kelly: Now you are talking about causation. But I am still on whether you did it. And it is not true that you do not know the individuals who were accused of conducting this. One of your good friends is actually accused of helping conduct this. His name is Yevgeny Prigozhin. Do you know him?

Vladimir Putin: I know this man, but he is not a friend of mine. This is just twisting the facts. There is such a businessman; he works in the restaurant business or something. But he is not a state official; we have nothing to do with him.

Megyn Kelly: After you heard about him being indicted, did you pick up the phone and call him?

Vladimir Putin: Certainly not. I have plenty of other things to worry about.

Megyn Kelly: He is your friend. He has been indicted.

Vladimir Putin: Did you hear what I just said? He is not my friend. I know him, but he is not a friend of mine. Was I not clear? There are many people like that. There are 146 million people in Russia. That is less than in the US, but it is still a lot.

Megyn Kelly: He is a prominent businessman.

Vladimir Putin: A prominent businessman? So what? There are many prominent people in Russia. He is not a state official, he does not work for the government; he is an individual, a businessman.

Megyn Kelly: Some people say his real job is to do your dirty work.

Vladimir Putin: Who are those people? And what dirty work? I do not do any dirty work. Everything I do is in plain view. This is your prerogative; some people in your country enjoy doing dirty work. You think we do the same. That is not true.

Megyn Kelly: It is a) the fact that you know him, you admit that. He is a prominent Russian businessman. And he is specifically accused of running this operation; b) this is the same man who has been accused of sending Russian mercenaries into Syria and they attacked a compound held by American back militia. This guy gets around.

Vladimir Putin: You know, this man could have a wide range of interests, including, for example, an interest in the Syrian fuel and energy complex. But we do not support him in any way. We do not get in his way but we do not support him either. It is his own personal initiative.

Megyn Kelly: You did not know about it?

Vladimir Putin: Well, I know that there are several companies, several Russian companies there, maybe his among others, but this has nothing to do with our policy in Syria. If he does anything there, he does not coordinate it with us; he probably coordinates it with the Syrian authorities or the Syrian businesses he works with. We do not interfere in this. Does your government interfere in every step your businesses take, especially small businesses? It is essentially a medium-sized business. So, does your president interfere in the affairs of every medium-sized US business? That is just nonsense, isn’t it?

Megyn Kelly: If the 13 Russian nationals plus three Russian companies did in fact interfere in our elections, is that okay with you?

Vladimir Putin: I do not care. I do not care at all because they do not represent the government.

Megyn Kelly: You do not care?

Vladimir Putin: Not at all. They do not represent state interests. If you are worried about anything, state it officially, send us documents proving it and explain what exactly those people are accused of. We will see if they have violated Russian laws…

Megyn Kelly: I did that.

Vladimir Putin: No, this is not true. If they violated Russian law, we will prosecute them. If they did not, there is nothing to prosecute them for in Russia. But after all, you must understand that people in Russia do not live under US law but under Russian law. This is how it is. If you want to reach an agreement with us, let us negotiate, choose the subject, make an agreement and sign it. But you refuse to do this. I am telling you for the third time: we have proposed working together on cyberspace issues. But the US refuses to work like this and instead throws 13 Russians to the media. Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked: maybe they have dual citizenship or a Green Card; maybe, the US paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either.

Megyn Kelly: I will give you one piece of evidence. Andrei Krutskikh is an advisor to the Kremlin when it comes to cyber issues. In his speech to an information security forum in February 2016, he reportedly said, quote, “I am warning you. We are on the verge of having something in the information arena which will allow us to talk to the Americans as equals.” What do you think he meant? Because it certainly sounds like a threat right before an election hack.

Vladimir Putin: Sometimes I think you are joking.

Megyn Kelly: No, I am deadly serious.

Vladimir Putin: A man says something about how he sees our contacts and our work with our foreign partners, the US in this case, in a certain area. I have no idea what he said. Ask him what he meant. Do you think I control everything?

Megyn Kelly: He is an advisor to the Kremlin on cyber.

Vladimir Putin: So what? There are 2,000 people working in the administration; do you think I control everyone? Peskov is sitting in front of me, he is my press secretary and he sometimes says things that I see on television and think, what is he talking about? Who told him to say this?

I have no idea what he said. Ask him. Do you really think I can comment on everything administration or government personnel say? I have my own work to do.

Megyn Kelly: I think when it comes to our two countries you know exactly what is going on. And this is Russia’s problem now. It is. The heads of the US intelligence agencies just testified to Congress that Russia, Russia poses the greatest threat in the world to the American security, greater than ISIS. You cannot get the sanctions lifted. The relationship between our two countries is nearly non-existent right now. Did not this interference, whether you knew or you did not know about it, backfire against Russia?

Vladimir Putin: Listen, you are exaggerating. I do not know about someone saying something and I am not going to comment on it, and neither do I follow what is going on at your Congress.

I am more interested in what is going on at the State Duma, if they have approved a bill on a healthcare or utilities issue; if they delay certain discussions or not. Is a special interest lobbying against a nature conservation, or forestry, or environmental law? This is what I am interested in. You should follow what they are discussing in Congress; I have enough on my plate without that.

Megyn Kelly: You know that the sanctions have not been lifted. You know that the relationship between our two countries is at not an all-time low but is getting there. And this is in part the reason. And so, Russian interference in the American elections is important.

Vladimir Putin: Listen, sanctions have nothing to do with the myth of some Russian interference in the US election. Sanctions are about something else entirely: the desire to halt Russia’s progress, to contain Russia. This policy of containing Russia has been pursued for decades, on and off. Now it is back. It is a misguided policy, which not only affects Russian-US relations but also US businesses because it frees up space for their competitors on our market.

You and I were at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. The largest business delegation was from the US. People want to work with us, but they are not allowed to; they are contained in order to contain Russia. They have been contained and contained so that our defence industry cannot develop, among other things. We discussed this yesterday. Did they manage to achieve anything? No, they did not: they have never managed to contain Russia and never will. It is simply, you know, an attempt with tools that…

Megyn Kelly: Can we contain Russia in cyber warfare?

Vladimir Putin: I think it is impossible to contain Russia anywhere. You need to understand this. Listen, you cannot even contain North Korea. What are you talking about? Why would you do that? Why do we have to contain, attack or cast suspicion on each other? We are offering cooperation.

Megyn Kelly: That is my question to you. That is my question to you. Why, why would you interfere in our election time and time again? And why would not you, for that matter? Let me put it to you that way. You have spent a day, every time I have seen you, in St Petersburg, in Moscow and now here in Kaliningrad, telling me that America has interfered in Russia’s electoral process and that Russia has a robust cyber warfare arsenal. And yet you want us to believe that you did not deploy it. Do you understand how implausible that seems, sir?

Vladimir Putin: That does not seem implausible to me at all, because we do not have such a goal, to interfere. We do not see what we have to gain by interfering. There is no such goal. Let us suppose this was our goal. Why, just for the sake of it? What is the goal?

Megyn Kelly: Creating chaos. That is the goal.

Vladimir Putin: Listen to me. Not long ago President Trump said something absolutely correct. He said that if Russia’s goal was to sow chaos, it has succeeded. But it is not the result of Russian interference, but your political system, the internal struggle, the disorder and division. Russia has nothing to do with it whatsoever. Get your own affairs in order first. And the way the question is framed, as I mentioned – that you can interfere anywhere because you bring democracy, but we cannot – is what causes conflicts. You have to show your partners respect, and they will respect you.

Megyn Kelly: You once said, Mr President, that you believed the interference in our election was done by some patriotic Russians. An answer like that, you understand, will lead people to ask, are you the patriotic Russian?

Vladimir Putin: I am the President of the Russian Federation. It is my constitutional duty to address a host of issues concerning the protection of Russia’s interests. When I spoke of patriotic people, I meant that you can imagine that, in the face of a deteriorating Russian-US relationship, people – and people use cyberspace – will express their points of view, their opinions, including on this global network. Of course, they are free to do so. How can we really prohibit it? But we cannot control it and, most importantly, we are not directing it. Please note that this is not the position of the Russian state.

Megyn Kelly: You cannot? The Russian intelligence services cannot find out who is doing this, bring it to your attention? You are unable to stop it?

Vladimir Putin: Perhaps if we looked into it carefully we would find those people, if they exist. But we have no such goal. We propose holding official talks and you refuse. So what do you want? For us to open investigations just because Congress said so? Let us sit down, sign an agreement on working in cyberspace and comply with it. How do you want to do it? There is no other way of conducting international affairs.

Megyn Kelly: So you have no goal to stop it. So what does that mean for our elections in 2018 and 2020? We can expect more of the same?

Vladimir Putin: I did not say that stopping it is not a goal. I said we had…

Megyn Kelly: You just said that.

Vladimir Putin: No, I did not. I said we do not interfere in our people’ private lives and cannot stop them from expressing their opinion, including on the internet. But I also said that Russia’s official position is that we do not interfere in the political processes of other countries as a state. That is the most important part. I want it to be recorded in our conversation today, for people in the US to understand this.

Megyn Kelly: And forgive me, but I am trying to get to one level below that, whether you have the goal of stopping your own citizens from behaving in this manner, which has undermined relationships between our two countries?

Vladimir Putin: I want to say that we will stand in the way of everything that violates Russian law or our international agreements. For the third or fourth time, I will say that we are ready to sign a corresponding agreement with the United States. You still refuse. Let us sit down at the negotiating table, identify what we consider important, sign the document and comply with it with proper verification.

Megyn Kelly: You are the President, sir. Respectfully, I still did not hear an answer about whether you want to crack down on the Russians who committed those crimes. It sounds like the answer is no. If I am wrong, please correct me. I understand you want a negotiation with the United States directly. But internally, you could put a stop to this if you had the desire.

Vladimir Putin: I want you to listen to me. We will counter anything that violates current Russian law. If the actions of our citizens – no matter what they are and whom they target – violate current Russian laws, we will respond. If they do not violate Russian law, we cannot respond.

Megyn Kelly: With this?

Vladimir Putin: With anything. If no Russian law has been broken, no one can be held accountable.

Megyn Kelly: Will this violate Russian law?

Vladimir Putin: I must look at what they have done. Give us the materials. Nobody has given us anything.

Megyn Kelly: You know this. Hacking into the Democratic National Committee, hacking into John Podesta’s email, creating interference in our election by creating bots that spread false information on Twitter, on Facebook. Spreading this information when it comes to Black Lives Matter, when it comes to the shooting we just had in Parkland, Florida, when it comes to our presidential election. Spreading fake news in order to alter the course of the presidential race. That is what I am talking about.

Vladimir Putin: With all due respect for you personally and for the body of the people’s representatives, the US Congress – and we treat all these people with respect – I want you to really understand this. Do you have people with training in law? Of course, you do. One hundred percent. Highly educated people. We cannot even launch an investigation without cause. Our conversation today or an inquiry in the US Congress is not sufficient cause. Give us at least an official inquiry with a statement of facts, send us an official paper. After all, a conversation on air cannot be grounds for an investigation.

Megyn Kelly: The intelligence agencies in the United States, now a special prosecutor with a criminal indictment – that is not enough for you to look into it?

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely not. If you do not have legal training, I can assure you that an inquiry is required for this.

Megyn Kelly: I do.

Vladimir Putin: Then you should understand that a corresponding official inquiry should be sent to the Prosecutor-General’s Office of the Russian Federation. That said, we do not even have a treaty on how to proceed. But send us something in writing at least.

Megyn Kelly: Vladimir Putin could not order an investigation into whether this was done in a way that undermines its relations with a major partner, the United States of America?

Vladimir Putin: Give us something in writing, an official inquiry. We will look at it.

Megyn Kelly: You said that the last time and now I am back with an indictment.

Vladimir Putin: There is nothing in writing. Send an inquiry to the Prosecutor-General’s Office. It is necessary to go through official channels rather than with the help of the media and harsh words in the US Congress, levelling accusations against us that are totally unsubstantiated. Give us something in writing.

Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you this: you were President back in 2001 when the FBI arrested one of its own, Robert Hanssen, for spying for the Russian Federation. In retaliation, President George W. Bush kicked 50 illegit Russian spies out of the United States, and the Kremlin did the same, throwing 50 Americans out of the US Embassy in Moscow immediately. This is a tradition that goes back for decades. December 2016: after our intelligence agencies agreed that Russians interfered in our election President Obama expelled dozens of Russians and seized two Russian-owned properties. And yet, you did nothing, you did nothing in response. Why not?

Vladimir Putin: We believed and I still believe that there were no grounds for this whatsoever. This is the first point.

Secondly, this was done in clear violation of international law and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The totally groundless seizure of our property constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. We were strongly hoping for a response from the new Administration. But since none is forthcoming – and I have already said this and the Foreign Minister repeated this – we will turn to the appropriate courts of the United States to protect our interests.

Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you about President Trump. Any time he says anything about you it is supremely deferential. Never a harsh word for you. Although if you look at the ways he speaks about members of his own party, even members of his own staff, never mind of the other political leaders, he frequently personally insults them. Why do you think he is so nice to you?

Vladimir Putin: This is not about being nice to me personally, in my view. I think he is an experienced person, a businessman with very extensive experience and he understands that if you need to partner with someone, you must treat your future or current partner with respect, otherwise nothing will come of it. I think this is a purely pragmatic approach. This is my first point.

Second, even though this is his first term as President, he is a quick study, and he understands perfectly well that trading accusations or insults at our level is a road to nowhere. It would just mean depriving our countries of their last chance for dialogue, simply the last chance. This would be extremely unfortunate.

You may have noticed that I, for my part, show respect to him and all my other colleagues, not only in the United States, but also Europe and Asia.

Megyn Kelly: You may, but the truth is our President has referred to the leader of North Korea as “little rocket man.” So he is not quite as diplomatic depending on who he is talking about. I am sure you saw that, yes?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I did. You are aware of our position on that account. We urge everyone to show restraint.

Megyn Kelly: So what do you think of President Trump?

Vladimir Putin: The question is not entirely appropriate, because President Trump’s work should be assessed by his constituents, the American people. There is one thing I would like to say: like it or not – we may dislike certain things as well – he does his best to keep the election promises that he made to the American people. So, he is consistent in this sense. I think that, in fact, this is the only proper way to show respect for the people who voted for him.

Megyn Kelly: He has praised your leadership. Is he an effective leader?

Vladimir Putin: Well, again, this is up to the American people to decide. He has strong leadership qualities, of course, because he takes responsibility when he makes decisions. To reiterate, whether some people like his decisions or not, he still goes ahead and does it. This, of course, is a sign of leadership qualities.

Megyn Kelly: Do you ever read his tweets?

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not.

Megyn Kelly: Do you ever tweet?

Vladimir Putin: No.

Megyn Kelly: Why not?

Vladimir Putin: I have other means of expressing my point of view or making decisions. Well, Donald is a more modern person.

Megyn Kelly: Would you say he is more colourful than you are?

Vladimir Putin: Maybe.

Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you one question going back to the election interference issue. There are two theories on you at least. One is that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State you felt that she interfered with the elections here in 2011 and 2012, inciting protests here, including against you and it made you angry. Two is when the Panama Papers were leaked showing a massive money trail that led to you and some of your associates that that was the last drop for you. Do either of those things make you angry?

Vladimir Putin: This is complete nonsense. Speaking about Hillary, I know her personally, and we generally always maintained a good dialogue every time we met. I cannot understand why at some stage… Her advisers probably suggested that she focus part of her election campaign on criticising developments in Russia. Well, it was their choice. I never took it personally. It was just their policy.

As for all those files, this is complete nonsense. They mention some of my friends. So what? As you know, this has had no effect whatsoever. This is nothing but nonsense and media chatter. I have forgotten all about it. I do not remember what it was all about. Actually, nothing of this kind can make me angry. I am guided by pragmatic considerations, not emotions.

Megyn Kelly: Since you mention it, a friend of yours was mentioned in those Panama Papers. Let me ask you about him. Sergei Roldugin. Legend has it that this guy introduced you to your ex-wife, that he is the godfather to one of your daughters. He is a cellist by trade, right?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I know him very well. He is a friend and a wonderful musician. He has devoted his life to art and music. By the way, many artists here are also involved in business one way or another. Apart from me, Sergey also has other ties in the country, including business people who have involved him in this work. He has made his money legally. He has not made hundreds of billions [of dollars]. Everything he earned he has spent on the purchase of musical instruments abroad, which he has brought to Russia. He uses some of these instruments personally, for example the cello. He plays the cello.

Megyn Kelly: A $12 million Stradivarius.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, something like that. But it is a unique instrument.

Megyn Kelly: That is a lot of money.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, it is. He must be eccentric, but then, all artists are eccentric. To spend all this money on musical instruments. I think he bought two cellos and two violins. He plays one himself and has given the others to other musicians, who are playing them. He has brought all these instruments to Russia.

Megyn Kelly: According to the Panama Papers, this mass of series of leaked documents about offshore bank accounts, he has got assets, this cellist, of at least a $100 million, including a one-eighth stake in Russia’s biggest TV ad agency, a $6 million yacht, a stake in a truck manufacturer, a 3-percent interest in a Russian bank. He must be one heck of a musician.

Vladimir Putin: Well, I know nothing about his business, but I do know that he has only enough money to buy these musical instruments. All the rest is on paper. He does not have anything else apart from what he has bought. Maybe he does have something else, but you should ask him about it. I do not control his life.

Megyn Kelly: But the question is how a cellist makes that much money? People ask it because many people believe that is really your money.

Vladimir Putin: Listen, just look at many Russian art figures, and probably there are people like this in your country as well. After all, there are art personalities in the US, including Hollywood celebrities who either run restaurants or own some stock. Aren’t there many people like this in the US entertainment industry and art world? I am sure that there are many people of this kind, and more than in Russia. In Russia, there are also quite a few art figures who do business apart from their creative work. In fact, there are many such people, and he is just one of them. So what? The question is not whether he runs a business or not or whether he made a profit or not. The question is whether there were any violations. As far as I know, he did not commit any violations.

Megyn Kelly: That is right. There is no issue with making money. I am an American, we are capitalists. The question is whether that is really your money.

Vladimir Putin: This is not my money, that is for sure. I do not even know how much Mr Roldugin has, as I have already said. As far as I know, he has not committed any violations in his business and creative undertakings, he did not violate any Russian law or norm.

Megyn Kelly: Speaking of money, back in the 1980s and 1990s, in the wake of multiple bankruptcies, the Trump Organisation found it hard to secure loans in the United States and looked elsewhere. Mr Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., said that ten years ago and I quote, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Were you aware of the degree of Russian money flowing into properties?

Vladimir Putin: This is all nonsense. There were no investments in Trump properties in Russia, as far as I know. I do not even know if there were any serious plans for making these investments.

Megyn Kelly: Come on.

Vladimir Putin: Look, you keep thinking that the whole world revolves around you. That is not the way it is.

Megyn Kelly: It is not about me. It is about what Donald Trump Jr. says.

Vladimir Putin: Do you think we know everything what Donald Trump’s son has said? You see, this is not the way things are. Donald came here to Russia when he was not even nominated. I did not even know that he had been to Russia. I learned about it only afterwards, when I was told that as it turned out he had been to Russia. By the same token, I ignore what his son said on this occasion. Did Donald Trump’s son infringe on any rules or laws? If so, charge him. If he did not, why do you keep picking on every word?

Megyn Kelly: Years ago, before Donald Trump ran for president, he said he knew you and he spoke with you a lot. Is that true?

Vladimir Putin: No, I had never met him. You mean before he became President and before he decided to run for President, right?

Megyn Kelly: Before he ran.

Vladimir Putin: No, we had not met. We never talked to each other, neither by phone or otherwise.

Megyn Kelly: You are poised to be re-elected for your fourth term as president here in Russia, right?

Vladimir Putin: We will see what the Russian voters decide.

Megyn Kelly: How does somebody like Vladimir Putin, who is as popular as you are here in Russia, feel any threat from Navalny? I realise he has got in legal trouble, but could you pardon this guy and let him mount a meaningful challenge to you?

Vladimir Putin: As for the question about whom I could work together with and whom I would not want to work together with, I can tell you in all honesty that I would like to and am ready to work with people who want Russia to become a stronger, more effective, competitive and self-reliant country. But to achieve that, the people we are talking about should have a clear plan of action designed to promote national development in today’s environment. There are people like that, including …

Megyn Kelly: But Navalny is such as man and has a fair amount of popularity here in Russia.

Vladimir Putin: Any person can be pardoned if he deserves it.

Megyn Kelly: Why don’t you?

Vladimir Putin: If he deserves it. There are no exceptions for anyone. No exceptions. But we are not talking about pardon now; we are talking about certain political forces. They do not have a development programme for the country. What do they have that is positive and what I like? That they expose problems, and this is actually good, this is the right thing to do, and it needs to be done. But this is not enough for the country’s progressive development, simply not enough. Because focusing on problems is not enough; moreover, it is even dangerous, because it can lead to destruction, while we need creation.

Megyn Kelly: Our political analysts tell me you are exactly right about your chances in the upcoming election, that you have no meaningful opponents so you will likely win. What is next after that? The Chinese President just abolished term limits. Is that something you would ever do?

Vladimir Putin: I do not think that I should talk about my political plans with you now at this meeting, in this conversation, in this interview for American television. But I think I told you yesterday, I never changed the Constitution or adjusted it to my needs, and I do not have any such plans today.

As for China, before criticising decisions in a country like China, you need to think and recall that there are 1.5 billion people living there and, after thinking about it, you need to come to the conclusion that we all are interested in China being a stable and prosperous state. How it should be done best, it is probably up to the Chinese people and the Chinese leadership.

Megyn Kelly: Can you leave power? Because some of the experts that we have spoken to have said it would be near impossible for you because someone in your position would likely either be thrown in jail by your adversaries or worse. They say it is actually sad that you will have to stay in power in order to stay well.

Vladimir Putin: What your so-called experts say is their wishful thinking. I have heard a lot of nonsense like this. Why do you think that I will necessarily be succeeded by people ready to destroy everything I have done in recent years? Maybe, on the contrary, a government will come to power determined to strengthen Russia, to create a future for it, to build a platform for development for the new generations. Why have you suddenly decided that some destroyers would arrive and wipe out whatever they can? Maybe there are people who would like this, including in the United States. But I do not think they are right, because the United States, I think, should be more interested in the other option – in Russia being a stable, prosperous and developing country, I mean if you really can look at least 25–50 years ahead.

Megyn Kelly: Have you groomed a successor? Is there anyone in mind?

Vladimir Putin: I have been thinking about this since 2000. Thinking is not a crime, but in the end, the choice will still be up to the Russian people. Whether I like or hate someone, other candidates will run for president and eventually the citizens of the Russian Federation will make the final decision.

Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you a bit about Syria. Do you believe the chemical weapon attacks in Syria are fake news?

Vladimir Putin: Of course.

Firstly, the Syrian Government destroyed its chemical weapons long ago.

Secondly, we know about the militants’ plans to simulate chemical attacks by the Syrian army.

And thirdly, all the attempts that have been made repeatedly in the recent past, and all the accusations were used to consolidate the efforts against Assad. We are aware of these goings-on, and they are not interesting. One wants to say, “Boring.”

Megyn Kelly: The bodies of dead children thanks to sarin gas attacks? That is boring?

Vladimir Putin: Are you sure that these deaths are the result of chemical attacks by the Syrian Government? I, on the contrary, blame this on the criminals and radicals, on the terrorists who are staging these crimes in order to lay the blame on President Assad.

Megyn Kelly: That is not what the United Nations has concluded. They autopsied the bodies of the dead children. Your Foreign Minister suggested it was all made up. Do you believe that?

Vladimir Putin: Of course. I am absolutely sure that it was. Because there was no serious investigation.

Megyn Kelly: There were no dead bodies?

Vladimir Putin: Maybe there were dead bodies, which is to be expected in a war. Look how they liberated Mosul: it was razed to the ground. Look how they liberated Raqqa: the dead have not yet been removed from the ruins or buried. Do you want to talk about this?

Megyn Kelly: That is what we call whataboutism. That is you pointing to somebody else’s bad behaviour to justify your wrong or that of your ally. We are talking about Assad and dead children thanks to sarin gas. Sarin gas. And you are telling an international audience it never happened?

Vladimir Putin: Look here, to be sure that this was indeed how it happened, a thorough investigation must be conducted and evidence must be gathered at the site. Nothing of this has been done. Let us do this.

Megyn Kelly: Let us do it. They wanted to investigate the helicopters and the UN wanted to go and check the helicopters that were on site. And Russia said no. Russia said no. Why?

Vladimir Putin: There was nothing of the kind. Russia did not say “No.” Russia is for a full-scale investigation. If you do not know this, I am telling you this now. It is not true that we are against an objective investigation. That is a lie. It is a lie just as the vial with the white substance that allegedly proved that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which the CIA gave to the US Secretary of State. He later apologised, but the damage had been done, the country had been ruined. This is yet another piece of fake news, which has no substance behind it. An investigation should be conducted to gather the substance. We are in favour of such an investigation.

Megyn Kelly: Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least four chlorine-based chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Our Secretary of State Tillerson just said that Russia bears the responsibility for this given your earlier promises to reign in chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Your response?

Vladimir Putin: I will tell you that a) we have nothing to do with this, and that we demand a full-scale investigation.

As for crimes, go back to Raqqa and at least bury the dead bodies, which are still lying amid the ruins after the air strikes at residential neighbourhoods there. And investigate these attacks. This will give you something to do.

Megyn Kelly: One of the questions that our audiences have is how do we walk this back? How do we get to the place where these two great nations are less adversaries and something closer to allies, which we clearly are not right now. Do you agree we are not?

Vladimir Putin: Unfortunately, we are not. But we were not the ones who made the US our adversary. It was the US, the US Congress, who called Russia its adversary. Why did you do that? Did Russia impose sanctions on the United States? No, it was the US that imposed sanctions on us.

Megyn Kelly: You know why.

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not. Can I ask you a different question? Why did you encourage the government coup in Ukraine? Why did you do that? The US directly acknowledged spending billions of dollars to this end. This was openly acknowledged by US officials. Why do they support government coups and armed fighting in other countries? Why has the US deployed missile systems along our borders?

Listen, Russia and the US should sit down and talk it over in order to get things straight. I have the impression that this is what the current President wants, but he is prevented from doing it by some forces. But we are ready to discuss any matter, be it missile-related issues, cyberspace or counterterrorism efforts. We are ready to do it any moment. But the US should also be ready. The time will come when the political elite in the US will be pushed by public opinion to move in this direction. We will be ready the instant our partners are ready.

Megyn Kelly: Before I leave you, what do you hope your legacy will be?

Vladimir Putin:I strongly believe that my legacy would be to create a powerful development momentum for Russia, and make the country a resilient and balanced democracy that is able to benefit from the latest advances of the technology revolution. We will keep up our efforts to improve our political system and the judiciary. And I am certain that all this, taken together, would strengthen the unity of the Russian Federation and the unity of our people, and enable us to move forward with confidence for years to come.

Megyn Kelly: Mr President, thank you very much for having us here.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Is Putin profoundly corrupt or “incorruptible?”

By Sharon Tennison | CCI | April 2017

As the Ukraine situation has worsened, unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin. Journalists and pundits must scour the Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new epithets to describe both. Wherever I make presentations across America, the first question ominously asked during Q&A is always, “What about Putin?” It’s time to share my thoughts which follow:

Putin obviously has his faults and makes mistakes. Based on my earlier experience with him, and the experiences of trusted people, including U.S. officials who have worked closely with him over a period of years, Putin most likely is a straight, reliable and exceptionally inventive man.

He is obviously a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became Russia’s second president.

I’ve stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000s –– I pondered on computer my thoughts and concerns, hoping eventually to include them in a book (which was published in 2011). The book explains my observations more thoroughly than this article.

Like others who have had direct experience with this little known man, I’ve tried to no avail to avoid being labeled a “Putin apologist”. If one is even neutral about him, they are considered “soft on Putin” by pundits, news hounds and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just a program developer in the USSR and Russia for the past 30 years. But during this time, I’ve have had far more direct, on-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington’s officials.

I’ve been in country long enough to ponder on Russian history and culture deeply, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders.

As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous American officials and U.S. businessmen who have had years of experience working with him––I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish”, or the other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St.Petersburg during the 1990s. Since all of the slander started, I’ve become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I’ve read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone “talk-ins” with Russian citizens).

I’ve been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role he never anticipated––and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances.

If the latter is the case, and I think it is, he should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. It’s not by accident that Forbes declared him the most Powerful Leader of 2013, replacing Obama who was given the title for 2012. The following is my one personal experience with Putin.

The year was 1992

Putin with Anatoly Sobchak, Mayor of St. Petersburg, early 1990s. Putin was one of Sobchak’s deputies from 1992-96

It was two years after the implosion of communism; the place was St.Petersburg.

For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the two countries and hopefully to help Soviet people to get beyond their entrenched top-down mentalities. A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made.

My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit.

He inquired about my reason for coming in. After scanning the proposal I provided he began asking intelligent questions. After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question.

I became aware that this interviewer was different from other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners with hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for the Americans’ requests. CCI stood on the principle that we would never, never give bribes.

This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor. After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not. A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all. He simply and kindly showed us to the door.

Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the US or something valuable!

I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight––it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

1994

U.S. Consul General Jack Gosnell put in an SOS call to me in St.Petersburg. He had 14 Congress members and the new American Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, coming to St.Petersburg in the next three days. He needed immediate help.

I scurried over to the Consulate and learned that Jack intended me to brief this auspicious delegation and the incoming ambassador.

I was stunned but he insisted. They were coming from Moscow and were furious about how U.S. funding was being wasted there. Jack wanted them to hear the”good news” about CCI’s programs that were showing fine results. In the next 24 hours Jack and I also set up “home” meetings in a dozen Russian entrepreneurs’ small apartments for the arriving dignitaries (St.Petersburg State Department people were aghast, since it had never been done before––but Jack overruled).

Only later in 2000, did I learn of Jack’s former three-year experience with Vladimir Putin in the 1990s while the latter was running the city for Mayor Sobchak. More on this further down.

December 31, 1999

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin leaves the Kremlin on the day of his resignation, December 31 1999. Prime Minister Putin (second left) became acting president.

With no warning, at the turn of the year, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin.

On hearing the news, I thought surely not the Putin I remembered––he could never lead Russia. The next day a NYT article included a photo.

Yes, it was the same Putin I’d met years ago! I was shocked and dismayed, telling friends, “This is a disaster for Russia, I’ve spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent––he will never be able to relate to Russia’s masses.”

Further, I lamented: “For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen: 1) The arrogant young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia’s 89 regions”.

It was clear to me that the man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia’s overriding twin challenges.

February 2000

Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia’s oligarchs on edge. In February a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer:

What should be the relationship with the so-called oligarchs? The same as anyone else. The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop.

This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West’s capitalists nervous.

After all, these oligarchs were wealthy untouchable businessmen––good capitalists, never mind that they got their enterprises illegally and were putting their profits in offshore banks.

Four months later Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs and gave them his deal:

They could keep their illegally-gained wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they would not be nationalized …. IF taxes were paid on their revenues and if they personally stayed out of politics.

This was the first of Putin’s “elegant solutions” to the near impossible challenges facing the new Russia. But the deal also put Putin in crosshairs with US media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The latter became highly political, didn’t pay taxes, and prior to being apprehended and jailed was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. Unfortunately, to U.S. media and governing structures, Khodorkovsky became a martyr (and remains so up to today).

March 2000

I arrived in St.Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit. My first question was, “Lena what do you think about your new president?” She laughed and retorted, “Volodya! I went to school with him!

She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education).

He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted. I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said:

Sharon in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural for Volodya to choose this career.

My next question was:

What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?

Putting on her psychologist hat, she pondered and replied:

If left to his normal behaviors, he will watch them for a while to be sure what is going on, then he will throw up some flares to let them know that he is watching. If they don’t respond, he will address them personally, then if the behaviors don’t change–– some will be in prison in a couple of years.

I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to show up in real time.

Throughout the 2000s

St.Petersburg’s many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the PEP business training program was working and how we could make the U.S. experience more valuable for their new small businesses. Most believed that the program had been enormously important, even life changing. Last, each was asked:

So what do you think of your new president?

None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia’s bureaucrats. Most answered similarly, “Putin registered my business a few years ago”.

Next question:

So, how much did it cost you?

To a person they replied, “Putin didn’t charge anything”. One said:

We went to Putin’s desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were getting ‘rich on their seats.’

Late 2000

Into Putin’s first year as Russia’s president, US officials seemed to me to be suspect that he would be antithetical to America’s interests––his every move was called into question in American media. I couldn’t understand why and was chronicling these happenings in my computer and newsletters.

Year 2001

Jack Gosnell (former USCG mentioned earlier) explained his relationship with Putin when the latter was deputy mayor of St.Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries. Jack related that Putin was always straight up, courteous and helpful.

When Putin’s wife, Ludmila, was in a severe auto accident, Jack took the liberty (before informing Putin) to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland. When Jack told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by the generous offer, but ended saying that he couldn’t accept this favor, that Ludmila would have to recover in a Russian hospital.

She did––although medical care in Russia was abominably bad in the 1990s.

A senior CSIS officer I was friends with in the 2000s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990s. He reported that he had no dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved dour reputation from U.S. media.

Matter of fact, he closed the door at CSIS when we started talking about Putin. I guessed his comments wouldn’t be acceptable if others were listening.

Another former U.S. official who will go unidentified, also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.

I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin:

At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered:

When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why??

Without hesitating the answer came back:

The knives were drawn’ when it was announced that Putin would be the next president.”

I questioned WHY? The answer:

I could never find out why––maybe because he was KGB.”

I offered that Bush #I, was head of the CIA. The reply was

That would have made no difference, he was our guy.

The second was a former State Department official with whom I recently shared a radio interview on Russia. Afterward when we were chatting, I remarked, “You might be interested to know that I’ve collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say they had no negative experiences with Putin and there was no evidence of taking bribes”. He firmly replied:

No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin.”

From 2001 up to today, I’ve watched the negative U.S. media mounting against Putin …. even accusations of assassinations, poisonings, and comparing him to Hitler.

No one yet has come up with any concrete evidence for these allegations. During this time, I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food.

Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

My 2013/14 Trips to Russia:

In addition to St.Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China).

Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow.

We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets. Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations look like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared.

It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia???

Like Lady MacBeth, do they protest too much?

Psychologists tell us that people (and countries?) project off on others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow” when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.

Could this be why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?

Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?

Could it be that we condemn Russia’s corruption, acting like the corruption within our corporate world doesn’t exist?

Could it be that we condemn their human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven’t solved our own?

Could it be that we accuse Russia of “reconstituting the USSR”––because of what we do to remain the world’s “hegemon”?

Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don’t want to face it?

Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?

Some of you were around Putin in the earlier years. Please share your opinions, pro and con …. confidentiality will be assured. It’s important to develop a composite picture of this demonized leader and get the record straight. I’m quite sure that 99% of those who excoriate him in mainstream media have had no personal contact with him at all. They write articles on hearsay, rumors and fabrication, or they read scripts others have written on their tele-prompters. This is how our nation gets its “news”, such as it is.

There is a well known code of ethics among us: Is it the Truth, Is it Fair, Does it build Friendship and Goodwill, and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?

It seems to me that if our nation’s leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.

As always your comments will be appreciated. Please resend this report to as many friends and colleagues as possible.

Sharon Tennison ran a successful NGO funded by philanthropists, American foundations, USAID and Department of State, designing new programs and refining old ones, and evaluating Russian delegates’ U.S. experiences for over 20 years. Tennison adapted the Marshall Plan Tours from the 40s/50s, and created the Production Enhancement Program (PEP) for Russian entrepreneurs, the largest ever business training program between the U.S. and Russia. Running several large programs concurrently during the 90s and 2000s, funding disappeared shortly after the 2008 financial crisis set in. Tennison still runs an orphanage program in Russia, is President and Founder, Center for Citizen Initiatives, a member of Rotary Club of Palo Alto, California, and author of The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens’ Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises. The author can be contacted at sharon@ccisf.org

January 28, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 48 Comments

11 quotes that show how Vladimir Putin sees world

RT | November 23, 2017

Populist, pragmatist, authoritarian, cunning tactician – years after he rose to the top of Russian politics Western observers still wonder about Vladimir Putin’s true motivations. In fact, behind the Kremlin’s decision-making is a set of consistently expressed beliefs.

On the United States

“The USA is a great power. Probably the only superpower in existence today. We accept that and we are ready to work together with them.

What we don’t need is for them to get involved in our affairs, tell us how to live our lives, and prevent Europe from building a relationship with us.”

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 2016

On allegations of Russia’s foreign meddling

“There is constant US propaganda, and direct funding of US NGOs… Is that not interference, which continues year in, year out? Take a globe, spin it, and randomly put your finger on any spot – I can guarantee that there are American interests and meddling there.

What do the Americans want? For everyone to just bow their heads in deference? We have our own opinion and we express it openly. It is not some form of undercover sabotage.”

Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, June 2017

On Europe

“Does it benefit European states to simply service Washington’s foreign and even domestic policy aims? I am not sure. Is this the purpose of serious politics, and is this the role countries take on if they desire to call themselves great powers?”

Russia Calling! Investment Forum, October 2016

On Catalonia’s independence crisis

“At one time, the EU welcomed the collapse of a whole range of states in Europe, not bothering to hide their glee. Why did they need to so thoughtlessly – for the sake of short-term interests and to please ‘Big Brother’ in Washington – unconditionally support the secession of Kosovo, provoking similar processes on the continent and beyond?”

Valdai Discussion Club, October 2017

On NATO

“There is no more Soviet Union, no Eastern Bloc. In my view, NATO needs an external enemy to justify its existence, so there is a constant search for one, and provocations to create adversaries where there are none.

…Today it is an instrument of American foreign policy. There are no partners in it, only vassals.”

Oliver Stone interview, June 2017

On the Middle East

“There has been an attempt to reformat the region, to impose an outside model on it, either through regime change, or outright use of force. Instead of fighting extremism, instead of imitating such a fight, some of our peers want chaos to become a permanent state of affairs.”

Valdai Discussion Club, October 2017

On North Korea

“Of course we condemn North Korea’s nuclear tests and comply with all UN Security Council resolutions without exception.

But to solve this problem you must use dialog, not by trying to corner North Korea with military threats, and not resort to name-calling and public exchanges of insults. Whether you like the regime in Pyongyang or hate it, you have to recognize that DPRK is a sovereign state.”

Valdai Discussion Club, October 2017

On the toppling of Viktor Yanukovich in Ukraine

“What happened in Kiev is an armed and unconstitutional seizure of power – a coup. No one is arguing with that.

The question is – why did it need to be done like that? Viktor Yanukovich had already given up his power, and had no chance of re-election. Why plunge the country into chaos? As a demonstration of power? This was a stupid decision and had the reverse effect. I believe it was these actions that destabilized the situation in the east of the country.”

Media briefing in Novo Ogarevo, March 2014

On the government in Kiev

“The interests of the Russian and the Ukrainian peoples are the same. What isn’t the same is the aims of the Ukrainian government and elites.

… They have only one good left to export for international consumption – Russophobia. And the politics of division between the two countries. Some in the West believe that these two states should never be allies, and so Ukraine has been successful exporting that idea.”

Hamburg G20 Summit, June 2017

On Russia’s political system

“Monarchy was a legacy passed down from the Empire to Soviet times, even though the plaque on the building changed. Only at the beginning of the 1990s, events came to pass which laid the foundation for a new stage of Russian development.

Certainly, you cannot imagine that we can instantaneously get the same government model, the same structures, as in the United States, in Germany, in France. Society, just as every living organism, has to develop stage-by-stage, organically. That’s the normal development process.”

Oliver Stone interview, June 2017

On Russia’s role in the world

“Russia is a country with a thousand-year history and has almost always enjoyed the privilege of a sovereign foreign policy.

We are not going to betray this tradition today. At the same time, we are well aware of how the world has changed and we have a realistic understanding of our own opportunities and potential. We would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.”

Munich speech, February 2007

December 3, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

Vladimir Putin and Russia versus Zionist Fairytales

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 16.09.2017

Did you read the latest news that Vladimir Putin is rich and evil? Oh, you don’t read anymore, more power to you. Fake news has it that the Russian president has a new “secret” holiday mansion worth untold millions. Furthermore, some of the stories tell of Putin being the world’s richest and most evil man. For those of you who do not believe in fairytales, here’s a candid look at what Russians are really up against.

My initial reaction to reading “Drone footage shows Putin’s secret island mansion” at 9 News Australia was, “So what if the leader of Russia is rich?” I would have skimmed the article and moved on but for a familiar name popping up. I’ll get to the ousted industrialist shark Bill Browder in a minute, but first it’s important for readers to understand that Putin actually has little need of money in the traditional sense. Every financial magazine, every expert, and hordes of guessing investigators have tried for years to count Vladimir Putin’s gold, and to no avail. Some say he is worth more than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos combined, but nobody can trace down this immense wealth. Amid all the speculation as to “why” the Panama Papers could not convict Putin, the pointedly obvious shines through. Nobody can trace Putin’s fortune because there isn’t one. But this is fodder for another story, let me move on to the latest Alexei Navalny fairytale and to this Browder character cited in the Australian piece.

I needn’t outline the role and the character of Alexei Navalny again here. The blogger who would be kind of Russian was last seen fueling up his drones for another flyby of Sergey Shoygu’s super secret space station home. Having attempted to label Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a criminal for the places he’s vacationed at, Navalny seems unable to stop himself proving the insignificant. I think the best reason for Russians to ignore Putin’s biggest detractor is the simple fact he knows nothing of Russian people. Hey Navalny, heads up, Russians don’t care if Putin is rich, they only care if he does his job. Sorry, this western poster boy of change in Russia, he just sets me off. What an idiot. But let’s move on to another famous profiteer who Putin banished from Russia, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, Bill Browder.

It’s amazing how western mainstream media and the politicians always turn to Putin haters to be experts or to get “proof” on the Russian leader. Haven’t you noticed yet how Russian mafia types like Yukos Oil oligarch Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and before him the now deceased Boris Berezovsky always pop up as “experts” on Putin? Isn’t it a bit strange that news media in the west never seem to cite people with a positive or moderate stance on Russia’s president? I am sure this coincidence is not because of the scarcity of pro-Putin experts. Whatever the reasoning, the Australian article fueled by Navalny’s drone footage dredges up another ousted financial crook who hates Putin’s guts. Most readers will identify Bill Broder with Hermitage Capital, but few will recall that the investment firm was also funded by one Beny Steimetz, the Israeli oligarch and financier just arrested (August 14) by Israeli and Swiss anti-corruption officials for wide scale fraud and money laundering. The Russian privatization shark who was once Israel’s richest man is a subject for another report. I only bring him up here to point at two facets of this war on Putin. First, the Jewish connection in all this is something that just needs to come out. Secondly, the ring of profiteers bent on Putin’s demise all have gigantic skeletons in their wardrobes. A story citing one Putin hater, when investigated, always leads to ten more. This is no coincidence.

Back to Browder, his Hermitage was at one time the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. That was before Vladimir Putin put a stop to the rape of Russia’s legacy and the theft of her assets. This is undeniable fact, and even the lowliest of Russian peasants know it by now. Browder, a Chicago Jew, set out to profit from Russian privatization after Yeltsin, but was thwarted like other sharks when Putin’s hammer fell on other mafiosos. RICO suits, libel cases, tax evasion charges, and ties to some of the seediest characters in world finance highlight the man who pushed the now famous Magnitsky Act into US foreign policy play. It’s no coincidence that Browder has emerged as a central player in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The privateer who made billions off Russian privatization turned into a human rights activist, and now he’s bent on seeing Donald Trump impeached!

The reader might be surprise to discover the source of the statement “Russia is more dangerous than ISIS” was actually Bill Browder, rather than rabid Arizona Senator John McCain. Or was McCain first? Both Russia haters told reporters of the grave danger to the US at the same time actually, back in May of 2017. Perhaps the narrative of US war hawk politicians and ousted financial henchmen has become just that convergent, but I somehow doubt the coincidence. Both Browder and McCain contend that Russian President Vladimir Putin used the country’s primary security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, but neither has shown any proof of their claims. I mention this “coincidental” melding of message for obvious reasons. Or maybe McCain and Browder are now pals as this Browder Tweet on McCain returning to the Senate to do battle against Russia after his hospital stint suggests. What’s most amazing to me is the way FOX and other networks readily use Browder and other suspected criminals without searching out counter arguments for their stories. Maybe Rupert Murdoch can answer that one. And so on, and so on, and so on…

Every time I start researching for one of these stories I end up in a deep and dark rabbit hole of collusion and confusion. In each and every case I end up with Vladimir Putin stoically defending a position against wild assertions with no proof whatsoever. The big picture of the “game” by now is like watching a schoolyard name calling and finger pointing contest. The iconic bullies and thugs are on one end of the yard, while their target stands virtually alone looking as innocent as a lamb for a variety of reasons. It’s become ridiculous, but there’s always more.

A story by Kevin Alfred Strom at the National Vanguard, which was originally published back in 2004, adds light to a facet of the Russia privatization profiteering, and ties into some recent stories of my own here on NEO. “The Silent Coup: Putin vs. the Oligarchs” deals with these ousted oligarchs and the western investors intent on carving up Russia after the wall came down. But more importantly, the piece cites Putin on the case of Jewish mafiosos always seeming to play a role. The story of influence by Israel, AIPAC, and a cadre of Jewish billionaires converge when Strom cites Vladimir Putin in his story. Notable Jewish figures like Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Friedman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexander Smolensky are highlighted in the story alongside Putin’s lesser publicized views on Zionists in Russia at the time of privatization. The piece also points out the Russian people’s utter hatred for most of these Jewish oligarchs, a hatred that has absolutely nothing to do with anti-Semitism by the way. Since Putin seized the Rothschild/Khodorkovsky share of Yukos Oil, Russia has been divesting herself of the only Zionist plot that matters, the ending of Jewish mafia/oligarch control of the country. Not many readers will realize that Russia’s Central Bank (CBR) is a member of Rothschild BIS.

An article by Alexander Azadgan at KATEHON expands on the Jewish money component, and reiterates the possibility of Putin nationalizing the CBR. Given new sanctions by the US and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev describing them as “full scale economic war” waged on Russia, it’s important to observe Putin’s moves east and especially the new BRICS dealings. For Russians, it matters little if Vladimir Putin has 100 yachts and fifty mansions, as long as Russia is not raped and destroyed by the unscrupulous of the world. Putin’s job is clear, defend Russia – period. His compensation is of little consequence to his people. All we hear, read, and see about Putin’s Russia is from a London, Brussels, or Washington standpoint – never a Moscow one. The influence of Zionist bankers is well known to Russians, and almost unheard of by Americans. The enemy Russia really consists of Zionists and technocrats who do know the name of the game, and the public they use to do their bidding. In the same way the Jewish religion and Jewish people are used for the Zionist bankers’ purposes, the waiting public is leveraged through blind ignorance and propaganda against Russia. For those who believe alternative fairytales I can only say…

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Putin and Netanyahu: The World’s Most Powerful President Meets the World’s Most Powerful Liar

By Adam Garrie | Global Research | August 28, 2017

There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin is the world’s most powerful President. By comparison, while China’s Xi Jinping is highly powerful and intelligent, China’s leadership retains a collective element while in Russia, Vladimir Putin maintains an unwritten but obvious veto power over all major decisions. In the United States, the very idea that Donald Trump is an all-powerful President is now laughable even to most Americans, including those who support Donald Trump.

By the same extrapolation it is abundantly clear that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader is the world’s most powerful liar. His power comes from the fact that he is in charge of the highest portion of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, including nuclear weapons.

His dishonesty is immediately revealed by his statements about Iran. When speaking in front of the Russian President, Netanyahu said, “… where the defeated Islamic State (Daesh) group vanishes, Iran is stepping in”.

This statement is disingenuous on many levels. First of all, Netanyahu stated to Putin that he felt that Iran is a danger and secondly, that this danger is tantamount to that of Daesh.

Iran has not invaded a country in its modern history and there is no evidence to indicate that this will change. By contrast, Israel occupies Syria and Palestine and formerly occupied Lebanon and Egypt. During the course of Syria’s struggle against Takfiri terrorism, Israel repeatedly bombed Syria illegally. Inversely, Iran’s presence in Syria, like that of Russia, is legal according to international law as it is at the behest of the Syrian government.

Secondly, to equate a state like Iran with Daesh is preposterous. Iran is first of all far more powerful than Daesh has ever been. Daesh is a terrorist group which is quickly crumbling in both Syria and Iraq. Iran is a large state with a professional and highly trained armed forces.

Iran however, uses its military and political influence to fight Takfiri terrorism whose methods, and sinister ideology is anathema to the Iranian Constitution and to the values of the Islamic Revolution.

If one is even slightly interested in fighting Daesh, it logical to thank Iran for its valiant efforts against the wicked group which along with Russia are the only two major non-Arab countries which are combatting a group which has set up base across the Arab world.

During his meeting with Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu also said, “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon”.

This again is a lie. Iran controls Iran and no one else. Iran does not have puppet states in the region in the way that America has had and continues to have puppet states and client states throughout the world. What Iran does have and what it has increasingly, is respect in the Arab world. Iranian forces are in Syria because the Syrian government asked for their assistance in fighting Takfiri terrorism and Iran agreed. Russia finds itself in the same position.

Iran has many supporters and admirers in Baghdad and Iran has helped train Iraqi volunteer units which are fighting and winning the battle against Daesh in Iraq. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is of course a pro-Iranian political party, one which holds two Cabinet level ministers in the Lebanese government. Hezbollah’s military aims are defensive. Their primary goal is to prevent further occupations of Lebanon by Israel. Hezbollah also has worked with the Syrian government to fight Daesh and al-Qaeda.

Israel is a country that has fought wars with all of its neighbours and has occupied most of them. Iran by contrast has occupied none of its neighbours but in the 1980s was the victim of a war that Iraq started with western support. The two situations are objectively incomparable.

One does not have to be ‘pro-Iranian’ to realise this fact. It is a fact that the world acknowledges, including elements of the Arab world which are hostile to Iran.

Vladimir Putin wisely refrained from responding to Netanyahu’s anti-Iranian tirade. The nature of modern Russian diplomacy is to quietly execute its objectives without needlessly entering into arguments with extremists.

Previously, when Netanyahu told historical untruths about Iran, Vladimir Putin did intervene, telling Netanyahu that it is best to focus on modern events rather than ancient history.

Israel’s anti-Iranian rhetoric is increasingly unpopular in the wider world. Even in Europe, most companies and many countries would rather do business with Iran rather than enter into an ideological struggle on Israel’s terms.

Only the United States, Saudi Arabia and Saudi’s client states share Israel’s stance about Iran and none of the Arab countries have the ability or in reality the nerve to start a war with Iran that they would clearly not win.

The great pity is not that Netanyahu continues to tell provocative lies about Iran and the wider region, the pity and the danger is that anyone could still believe him. Iran does not threaten any nation with aggressive war, but if Netanyahu’s impassioned rhetoric foments a war, Iran will defend itself. Those interested in peace ought to ignore Netanyahu and work instead for the important cause of greater peace, cooperation and dialogue, not just in the Middle East but in the wider world.

Copyright © Adam Garrie, Global Research, 2017

August 28, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump plans to hold summit with Putin in Reykjavik – report

RT | January 15, 2017

US President-Elect Donald Trump has told British officials that he wants to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Sunday Times reported.

The meeting with Vladimir Putin is set to become Donald Trump’s first foreign trip, and the US leader will start working on an agreement limiting nuclear arms within a “reset” in US-Russian relations, according to the newspaper.

Sources close to the Russian Embassy in London said to The Sunday Times that Moscow would agree to a summit between Putin and Trump.

The meeting would come just over 30 years since the historic summit on October 11-12, 1986, between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the second in a series of meetings that relaunched the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The latest report comes just a day after Trump expressed openness to lifting the sanctions against Russia “under certain conditions.”

In an hour-long interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Trump said he wants to keep the sanctions that the Obama administration recently imposed on Russia “at least for a period of time.”

However, Trump added that he would consider lifting the restrictions, depending on how helpful the Russians are in the fight against terrorism, as well as assisting with other goals that he feels are key to the US.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

False Prophets and False News: Time for New Beginnings

By James Petras :: December 30, 2016

Introduction: There are deep flaws in the blogs, media reports, and official statements, which purport to describe world historic events and changes.

These so-called ‘up-to-date’ reports of major world events undergo repeated revisions in hours, days or weeks as the story is being ‘played out’. What might start out as a ’scoop’ for the upwardly mobile journalist is transformed into a by-word for a ‘critical blogger’ rewriting mainstream reports by simply substituting negatives for pluses (or vice versa).

‘Immediacy’ trumps historical context and structural understanding. Protagonist or antagonists of the moment are demonized, slandered and scandalized, or lauded, praised and iconized.

The practice of deep falsification involves magnifying transient trivia and glossing over world-historic change. The false prophets substitute superficiality for deep understanding.

Soon after proclaiming a ‘major systemic transformation’, which fails to occur, a series of modifications or reversals take over, and the initial ‘great prophesy’ is forgotten – as if the readers of news were afflicted with an epidemic of dementia.

Most political parties, left, right and center, have their own unchanging warped world view to frame everyday minutiae.

For example, on the Left, it is the ‘imminent collapse of capitalism’ or the ‘perpetual stagnation of the capitalist state’, ‘the collapse of democracy’ or ‘the emergence of fascism’. In the absence of any real empirical or historical findings to support their hypotheses, they add escape clauses about ‘tendencies’.

The Center has its own historic narrative, which includes ‘threats from the Left and Right’, and the ‘dangers posed by populists to democratic values’. They cite the overwhelming responsibility to ‘defend Western values’ everywhere, from threats, past, present and future… and especially from independent nations, like Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran and other ‘emerging’ powers, as a pretext to escalate militarism and to bolster support for vassal states.

The Center repeatedly point to the ‘resilience of Western liberal democratic institutions’ even as police state edicts are dictated to counter dissenting voices, while false prophets predict that China’s robust economy is on the verge of collapse; that democratic Russia is an unstable autocracy; and that the Ukraine is an emerging democracy – while its ‘Right Sector’ and ‘Azov Battalions’ runs amok amidst a kleptocratic, neo-fascist regime.

The Right frames its world-historic ideology by stressing the need to (1) revive the Cold War to counter the US global decline; (2) confront the world-wide wave of ‘populism’ threatening ‘liberal’ democracies; (3) portray Brexit as a sign of the European Union’s collapse; (4) equate Trump’s victory with the rise of fascism in the US; (5) emphasize the ascent of bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism, based on the result of a single election ; (6) denounce Leftist ‘conspiracy’ writers who ‘falsely’ blame rising class inequalities to free-market monopolies; and (7) explain that cuts in social expenditures, tax cuts to big capital, increased work hours and decreased pensions are ultimately rewarding the masses.

These mega- narratives lead ‘prophetic academics’ to insist on their infallible insight into the future direction of the world economy, global politics and class relations.

False prophets maintain a veneer of authenticity, by presenting the future in unspecified, ambiguous, general and distant terms, to allow for any or all outcomes – like professional fortune tellers.

Academic and media prophets are enveloped in a mystique of expertise, which allows them to rehash yesterday’s news as deep strategic insights.

False Prophets: Trump

Contrary to the wailings of the Right, Center and Left, Donald Trump is not a fascist, or a nationalist or a populist. An objective assessment of his most recent policies and cabinet appointments show that he is a free-market politician with a propensity to appoint militarists to security positions.

Trump’s populist demagogy most closely resembles President Obama – although the appeal is to a different audience. Trump speaks to impoverished, displaced, skilled workers in the rust belt with campaign promises of a renaissance in manufacturing, upscale suburbanites, and downwardly mobile working women, while appointing billionaire bankers and global business executives to run the economy and set policy. Obama appealed to poor minorities, middle class urbanites and the same business elite.

Like Obama, Trump is an imperialist committed to protecting and projecting US global power. He differs from Obama in emphasis. Obama and his predecessors pursued a primarily military-driven imperialism while Trump will shift the emphasis to economic imperialism.

Trump’s ‘double discourse’, of talking to the masses during the campaign while working for the elite once in office, reflects a long-standing American Presidential tradition.

Editorial writers’ descriptions of Donald Trump lack historical and empirical depth.

Powerful systemic constraints define the rate and scope of any long-term, large-scale changes that Trump might propose. Trump can only introduce minor incremental changes in the behavior of the biggest banks and five hundred most powerful global multi-nationals. Trump might re-negotiate around the edges of some bilateral trade agreements, but he cannot convert the US into a closed self-sufficient economy.

Contrary to the ‘end of the world’ hysteria, promoted by the mass media, Trump has never made any pact with white racists and anti-Semites. There are no major Jewish organizations currently engaged in a struggle against Trump’s ‘fascist hordes’. The KKK is not preparing to burn Goldman Sachs. Since Trump’s election the stock market has jump over a thousand points. Like all of his predecessors from both parties, Trump appointed prominent Jews to key economic and policy positions, including Treasury Secretary. Many editorialists, who rely on selected excerpts of campaign rhetoric and gossip, have presented an unrealistic picture of the trajectory of the US state and economy.

False Prophets: China

The US prophets and self-described ‘experts’ describe China in inflated terms of either its impending doom or its relentless drive toward world supremacy. They rely on the minutiae of the moment or distorted extrapolations, uncertainties and contingent systemic changes. Rigorous analytical accounts are in short supply.

China, according to the free-market financial prophets of doom, suffers from a declining growth rate, shrinking work force, massive capital flight, deep-seated corruption and an impending intra-elite war. According to the prophets of doom, this sets the stage for an economic collapse and a military confrontation with the US empire.

Many of these pronouncements are easily dismissed. For the last 30 years, China’s economy has exceeded 6% and it is steadily developing its high technological work force and scientific innovations. China’s emphasis is on diversifying its production and consumption to domestic and overseas markets. The challenge of its aging work force is met by the increasing development of robotics and computerized productive systems.

China has applied capital controls and limits on capital flight. The national campaign against corruption and speculation in real estate has led to the arrest of over 200,000 officials and executives for fraud, bribery and money laundering via overseas banks.

In other words, the false prophets, parading about as ‘China experts’, have consistently made nonsensical predictions of doom and collapse. Faced with factual refutations, they merely repeat and recycle their prophecies by projecting longer time frames, up to infinity, for the coming of the inevitable catastrophe.

On the other hand, some progressive writers peddle prophesies of China’s endless progress predicting its inevitable emergence as a supreme global power. They convert China’s 30-year pattern of economic growth into a formula guaranteeing ‘harmonious development’, which they claim is based on China’s correct handling of emerging challenges and contradictions. Their predictions of stable future growth assume ever-expanding markets while ignoring the threat of military confrontations with rival imperial powers.

China’s prophets of global power ignore contingencies: Skilled and innovative workers, who are necessary for economic growth, have their own vision of the social structure in which they play a leading role in advancing society.

While robots can substitute for human labor power, it is worker knowledge and initiative that design, produce and adjust the robotic manufacturing system.

Harmony, free markets and mutually beneficial trade alliances are relations that are always changing; only interests remain constant. As China moves from investing in commodities to manufacturing and technology, customers can turn into competitors.

As China emerges as a global power, the outflow of capital and arms and technology increases, and the risks of global rivalry and domestic instability, challenging the Chinese ruling class likewise increase.

Prophecies or predictions depend on (1) the stability of incremental changes in the structure of power; (2) the uncertainty of elite outcomes in world markets and (3) the volatility of domestic class relations.

False Prophets: Latin America

Latin America is almost universally regarded as unstable – a region, where revolutions and counter-revolutions alternate, and electoral regimes rise and fall among neo-liberal, populist and nationalist leaders.

The long-term reality is actually quite different. Latin America has been one of global capitalism’s most stable regions. With few exceptions, property-ownership has remained stable for decades, with entrenched oligarchical elite families enjoying wealth, multiple-luxury properties throughout the world and their own perpetuation.

Electoral regimes may frequently change but the underlying state structures endure for decades. Bureaucratic, military and financial institutions set the margins of change. Neo-liberal, post-neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal policies come and go, but large-scale mining, export agricultural and banking structures ultimately set the conditions for the growth of economies and demise of governments.

There is a tendency for some academic prophets and writers to use metaphors from astronomy and geology to divide the world. They describe a ‘world-system’ composed of ‘a core, a semi-periphery and a periphery’. Adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing quantities of productive resources, the false prophets solemnly predict how the entire world system will function ‘ad infinitum’.

While data, derived from observations in space, provide scientists with insights into the movements of distant galaxies and the fate of planets, extrapolation to socio-economic and political ‘bodies’ is risky.

On the real planet Earth, the so-called ‘periphery’ of the ‘world system’ subsumes countries, economies, social structures, states and inter-state relations with entirely distinct composition, behavior and histories. Cuba, a ‘peripheral state’, differs in every respect from Haiti, Guatemala and scores of other likewise categorized nations. And among the ‘core’ countries, the US invades, occupies and plunders dozens of countries every decade, while China engages in ‘trade’. Iran, among the ’semi-peripherals’, has not invaded any neighbor for two centuries, while Israel, a fellow ‘semi-peripheral’, has ravaged a dozen countries in the past 50 years.

False Prophets: Russia

Western prophets on the right and left predicted that the break-up of the USSR would augur a period of harmony, democracy and widespread prosperity. The true believers claimed ‘anything was better than Stalinism’ while ignoring the fact that Stalin was dead for a half-century.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev oversaw the transformation of the USSR’s allied nations into pillaged satellites of the Western imperial powers. He blindly accepted US Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan’s promises that the US would not expand NATO and would not transform the newly emerging post-Soviet nations into military bases. What emerged was a crippled and encircled Russia, which had been converted into a Beggar-State of oligarchs and swindlers who seized over a trillion dollars of public property, wealth, land and resources in less than ten years. Gangsters murdered their way into public office through US-manipulated sham elections, celebrated by the Western press. Living standards for millions of post-Soviet citizens collapsed, resulting in the greatest decline of life expectancy, health, culture, science and education in peacetime history.

Contrary to the predictions of Western prophets Russia rebuilt its state and economy. The new political leadership, headed by Vladimir Putin, replaced the dipsomaniac puppet President and mobsters favored by Washington. Living and health standards have vastly improved; production, agriculture, exports, national security, science and culture have recovered.

The angry false prophets, then promoted a new pseudo-scientific assertion that the re-emergence of the Russian state and its recovering economy led inexorably to autocratic rule by a former KGB official, who violated ‘Western values’ by…. jailing swindler billionaires and self-made oil mobsters and re-appropriating vital national assets.

Western editorialists ceaselessly denounce the popularly elected President Putin for his crime… of refuting the bankruptcy of their prophecies.

Despite reams of reports by the ‘experts’, despite their wide circulation in the mass media and their citations by top Western officials, the Russian state and economy, just like the Chinese, are not on the verge of collapse nor are they declining or facing popular revolts.

False Prophets: The Left

The shallow, self-serving Left prophets of progressive governments in Latin America, as well as admirers of Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China, fail to recognize the structural, historical and class constraints that determine and limit policies.

First and foremost, they fail to recognize the socio-economic continuities within these states. In all three regions, elites and oligarchs continue to control the commanding heights of the economies, despite occasional expropriations and sporadic reforms.

Secondly, even the most ‘progressive’ regimes rely on Western markets and investors limiting their long-term growth.

Thirdly, the long-term dependence on extractive exports, global demand and fragile mono-culture economies weakens the long-term stability of Russia and Latin America.

The absence of a socialist democratic alternative to the brutal capitalist restoration in China undermines the optimistic perspective of progressive prophets.

Conclusion

The debate among experts, regarding the rise or decline of the Imperial West or the progressive forces in China, Russia and Latin America, fails to consider their ‘hidden resources and liabilities’. These include the untapped scientific discoveries, the failure to develop alternative resources and innovations, as well as the ongoing repression of skilled workers. The Western prophets underestimate how the reliance on the paper economy has squandered immense social and productive value.

The ongoing cultural deformations, perversions and falsifications of information and analysis at the behest of established power centers, has clouded any real understanding of everyday life and greatly reduced our chances for a future without barbaric wars and social exploitation.

Culture is an everyday phenomenon determining how economies and states, rulers and ruled see the world, exercise power or are forced to submit.

We have witnessed the spread of cultural squalor into language and life, with only an occasional respite, when people overcome their everyday stupor and create a momentary burst of creative political, economic, social and cultural energy, which can lead to transformations.

Humdrum incremental changes, left and right, and the reality of continuities, limit and ultimately reverse social reforms and corrupt language to serve the ruling powers. We must move forward against the flatulence of everyday life by rejecting the false prophets and by writing, speaking and acting against crackpot sages. Our progress toward a new order must be firmly rooted in our everyday struggles writ large.

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

Putin: Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions

RT | December 30, 2016

The Russian president has rejected a suggestion of the foreign ministry to expel 35 American diplomats in response to a similar move by the US. He said Obama’s act was designed to provoke a reaction, but Russia would not take the bait.

“We reserve the right to retaliate, but we will not sink to the level of this irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy. We will take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement published by the Kremlin website.

Putin said that, unlike the Obama administration, Russia will not target foreign diplomats and their families days before New Year’s celebrations.

“We will not forbid families and children from spending the New Year’s holidays at the places they are used to. Moreover, I invite the children of all American diplomats with accreditation in Russia to New Year’s and Christmas festivities in the Kremlin,” the Russian president said.

Putin said he regretted that US President Barack Obama is ending his term “in such a way,” but that he extended his New Year’s congratulations to the outgoing US president and his family nevertheless.

“I congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and the entire American people!” he concluded.

The Kremlin said it will send a government plane to the US to evacuate the expelled diplomats and their family members. Earlier, there were reports that the diplomats were having problems buying tickets on such short notice, with airlines already booked by New Year’s travelers.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that Russia respond to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US by expelling 35 American diplomats from Russia. Similarly, the eviction of a Russian diplomatic staff from two vacation houses in the US would be mirrored by a similar eviction of Americans in Russia.

President Obama targeted Russian diplomats as a part of wider sanctions against Russian, which he justified by the alleged interference by the Russian government in the November presidential election in the US. Moscow denies the allegations.

The US claimed that the vacation houses had been used for espionage. Russia insists that they were used by the diplomatic staff to spend holidays with their families.

Read more:

Russian FM proposes expulsion of 35 US diplomats in sanctions tit-for-tat

December 30, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

Obama rips open the cauterised Russian wound

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 18, 2016

In the entire chronicle of Russian-American relations since Joseph Stalin, it is difficult to recollect an instance when a US President held a Kremlin leader personally responsible for an outrageous criminal act. But then, the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the formal governing body of the Democratic Party in the US has no precedent.

The alleged Russian hacking was the main topic of President Barack Obama’s press conference held in the White House in Washington on Friday. Obama accused that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking:

  • I’d make a larger point, which is, not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin. This is a pretty hierarchical operation… I’ll confirm that this (hacking) was at the highest levels of the Russian government. And I will let you make that determination as to whether there are high-level Russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the U.S. election process without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.

Obama’s lengthy remarks at the hour-long press conference hinted strongly that the US intelligence is in possession of hard evidence to back up the accusation. Elsewhere, Obama said or signalled:

  • In a conversation on the sidelines of the G-20 in Hangzhou in September, he did plain-speaking with Putin and bluntly demanded an end to the hacking. Obama threatened that otherwise there’d be “some serious consequences.” Putin got the message; Russian hackers backed off.
  • However, the damage was done because Moscow had by then already passed on the stuff to WikiLeaks to stir up controversies in the US election campaign.
  • Washington will retaliate at a time and manner of choosing, not all of which may show up in public domain but the Kremlin will be made to understand that there is a price to pay.
  • Obama defended the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election victory as such – although “I (Obama) don’t think she (Hillary Clinton) was treated fairly during the election. I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling.”

What are the implications? One, the US intelligence possesses explosive materials on the Kremlin leadership. Two, Obama thoroughly disapproves of Trump’s intention to accommodate Russia (and Putin). He just stopped short of inciting the Republicans to mutiny. (“Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave.”) The intention is to create a bipartisan resistance to Trump’s plans to improve relations with Russia.

However, the intriguing part will be Obama’s personal attack on Putin. It’s well-known that Obama detests Putin. But then, there is more to it. Obama seems to believe Putin did plot Trump’s victory.

To my mind, Obama aims to hit back by fatally wounding Putin in the Byzantine world of Kremlin power-play. The thesis of mainstream American pundits is that the Kremlin power cliques see Putin as their best frontman and so long as he is useful, he retains his position, but the moment he becomes a liability, the matrix can change and he becomes expendable. This is one thing.

In the US assessment, again, Russian elites hanker for normal ties with the western world where they own expensive properties, keep fat bank accounts, educate their children, go for shopping or enjoy holidays. They are restive that Russia is being kept under quarantine by the West. They count on Putin to get sanctions removed. Now, when the US president names Putin in a criminal act, his image gets damaged irreparably.

Obama’s calculation could be that a) under immense psychological pressure, Putin himself may not seek another six-year term in the election in early 2018, or, b) if Putin becomes a ‘burnt-out case’, Russian elites in their quest to improve relations with the West, may have no more use for him.

Either way, something sinister has begun. Obama fired the salvo to take out Putin just before he himself walks into the sunset. But there is much more to come in this epic story. The 32 days before Trump is sworn in, will be a season for media leaks in America. Read the transcript of Obama’s remarks here.

December 18, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Russia Destroys The Greater Israel Dream

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Plato’s Guns | October 19, 2015

The grand plan was going swimmingly. The concept of endless wars for Greater Israel was working and producing impressive results. Opportunistically, through aggravation of war after war, chunk by chunk of Arab land was usurped and the map of Greater Israel was slowly materializing. No matter the unstable chaos surrounding the State of Israel for the past seven decades, and no matter the undying Palestinian resistance and the violent Intifadas that erupted internally, the Zionist dream of Greater Israel remained consistently intact and was progressing unabated and unchallenged by anyone.

But dreams, by their diaphanous nature are easily interruptible – can easily turn into sudden nightmares. Indeed, dreams do, in the blink of an eye, simply end.

Nobody expected the Zionist dream to come to a sudden halt like this. Nobody. Nobody expected Russia, literally in the blink of an eye, to suddenly assert itself militarily in the Levant and in the process turn the Zionist dream into a geopolitical and existential nightmare. No further territorial expansions are even remotely possible now with Russia’s military presence in the Levant. The Russian army is in the Levant to stay and the Israelis know it. In the Zionist universe, it’s as if a mighty big-footed contender had suddenly appeared in the dream and instantly stepped on the Greater Israel map like it was a castle made of sand.

Russia is not a declared enemy of Israel. Russia did not squelch The Greater Israel dream on purpose. The destruction of the Zionist dream is the result of an unintended consequence that purely serves the regional and global interests of Russia. Happenstance that the Zionist dream was in the way of Russian ambitions, that’s all. Dog eat dog world.

But what are Russia’s interests in lassoing the Levant?

Well, first, Putin intends to re-fulfill the old Russian dream of establishing sizable military foundations and bases in the ‘warm waters’ of the world, in the Mediterranean, to be more precise, in order to pivot and project power westwards with practical ease. And also, to use Mediterranean naval bases as a first line of defense against a Western creep towards its own territory. Russia’s growing military presence in Syria is a matter of “national security”, Putin has declared several times over. Establishing multiple bases in the Mediterranean has not been possible for Russia to do since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war when it lost the Middle East chess game to America, symbolized by Egypt, a major Soviet client at the time having its Soviet military hardware devastated by Israeli-operated, made-in-USA weaponry. Russia today considers its growing presence in Syria to be a most vital geopolitical maneuver for re-establishing a seat of power again in the Middle East, in tandem with its progress into future Superpowerdom. In the current uncontrollable chaos of the Levant, this is an ambition that Russia must begin implementing immediately, lest the region falls dangerously under ISIS and Zioconism, making it thus harder for Russia’s old dream to be realized.

Secondly, Putin sees the cloth of American Empire as fast fading, especially in the Middle East, and he’s taking advantage of this: putting forth a challenging proposition to the American Emperor. Yes, Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, a man considered to be a cold-blooded realist, is aware of America’s weaknesses, but he’s also aware of its current strengths and he is in Syria as a power salesman – he’s in Syria to make a deal with Empire Americana. Respectfully, but firmly, he is pitching to Empire: ‘Look, you remain supremely powerful, but you are hemorrhaging in the Middle East and the situation is now critical. You cannot afford a new large-scale war in the Middle East that may or may not reassert your hold on the region; and you have lost all your proxy wars there as well – there are no more black-clad joker cards in your deck. You cannot continue on this disadvantageous path, you cannot stand still either and you also cannot withdraw from the region. All these are strategically inferior options and will not stop the bleeding of your powers. The only way out is through pragmatism. The only remedy is to share control of the Middle East with us, Russians. We have together shared power in the Middle East under the shadow of the Cold War and yes it created dangers and complexities for both our countries in the past. But today is different: there is no official Cold War between us and so our new partnership can only serve to strengthen us both’. This, dear reader is Russia’s diplomatic speak, received with quiet relief by the White House and cussed and scorned by the Ziocons in DC. Simplified, Putin is in Syria and his realist message to America is: ‘Share the Middle East with us now or we both fall in the future’. And it looks like Obama has quietly taken heed, in the interest of Empire and realism and not out of cowardice or submission to Putin. Obama’s problem is that although he begrudgingly agrees with Putin’s analysis and remedy, he cannot be seen to be supporting it in public because the Neocons would immediately set the dogs of treason on him, bogging him down with political obtrusion and smear campaigns in his last 15 months of power – possibly damaging his party’s winning chances at the next elections.

Thirdly, in my opinion, Russia is in Syria also for the purpose of redressing Russian military image and history. After the devastating defeat of the Soviet Union at the hands of the American-backed Afghani Mujahedeen, and considering the profound nationalism that Russian society feels especially towards its military institutions, it behooves any modern Russian leader thus to conceive and create a military victory against a modern version of the same old enemy who had previously defeated them – a military morale-booster both for the Russian populations and for the history books. A utilization of the sentiments of the ‘comeback kid’ for mass consumption so as to boost levels of nation devotion. Russia, being the largest nation in the world, landmass-wise, it has to regularly make grand spectacles and gestures in the name of national unity enhancement. Killing Takfiri terrorists in Syria, nay smashing them to smithereens with Russian Air Power is an opportune event to balance out and positively update Russian history books.

Yes, the Russian military buildup in Syria, especially in marine and air power, now looks to be, relatively speaking, permanent. And this is what is causing Israel and its Ziocon friends in Washington sleepless nights and hectic, nefarious group-brainstorming sessions. They know that the dream of a Greater Israel cannot be realized with Russia dominating the skies and waters of the Levant. This is the current and silent inescapable reality. This is the wall that suddenly sprung up and instantly separated Zionists from their beloved Greater Israel dream. Because of a ‘wall’, the dream is now impossible.

Some would call this, poetic justice.

The ‘dream destroyed’ being the current unspoken reality, Israel is left with no expedient and transforming choices. It cannot go to direct war with a more powerful Russia and win back domination over Levant skies and waters. It couldn’t even defeat Hezbollah who lack any form of Air Power back in 2006. And more frustratingly for Israel, it cannot blackmail, coerce or buy President Putin either. Moreover, presently under the leadership of Obama, it is clear that America is not prepared to go to direct war with any nation, let alone Russia, on behalf of Israel. The current architects of expansionist Zionism are at a complete and utter loss to recognize all these chokehold factors – blood is draining from their faces. No more meetings over what Arab country to genocide next so as to steal more land and resources, the issue now is not when and how the Zionist dream can be finally fulfilled, but how to safely bring the corpse-dream back from the dead without anyone noticing.

Alas, there are no clever Zionist ideas on the architects’ table. They are truly and absolutely in utter speechless shock.

And what compounds this hectic catatonia that the Zionist Sensei are currently experiencing is the fact that they know that Israel’s global credibility is at its lowest ever, and that sooner or later, the international community – seeing Israel’s geopolitical weakness – will start pressing hard, even imposing the 2-State solution on Israel, based on the 1967 borders. This is the double nail in the Greater Israel dream coffin. Not only will Israel be unable to expand territory, but it will also be forced into giving up territory currently under its (illegal) control. Something that the Israeli public are psychologically not prepared for, nor is there any political will in the Israeli halls of power to do so either.

Observations of the behaviorism of Zionists tell us that what they cannot change, they usually endeavor to spoil. And the only thing they are still capable of doing is spoiling it for Arabs. They will undoubtedly attempt to expand the current regional conflicts into another one hundred years of Arab on Arab wars. This is a given – they breathe to spoil life for their Arab neighbors. And we also observe that when Zionists are not willing or able to go to war, they usually endeavor to send other capable and willing nations to war on their behalf. But as noted a few passages above, this is currently impossible under the Obama administration. The dream of Greater Israel remains smashed.

What to do then? What is the ultimate solution? Would Israel prefer that America directly and militarily confront Russia in the Levant? I call it a yes. Even at the cost of causing World War Three? Yes. Even at the risk of igniting a nuclear war? Yes.

Yes, yes, and a triple yes. The global Zionist congress pathology shows every indication of this. ‘The tribe above all’ is their core belief. They are Masadian-ISISians in suits with basements full of nukes. Their narcissistic intentions are always clear – their motives and maneuvers are never to be trusted.

We are currently at a very serious and sobering point in the fast-evolving dramas taking place in the Levant and the Middle East at large. Everyone concerned is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the unknown. This alignment of overwhelming unknowns is rare in history. The geopolitical stress and distress levels – despite the equalizing Russian presence in the Levant – remain excruciatingly high for all parties concerned. All actors have so much to lose with a single wrong move. A cluster of unknowns is forcing everyone into extreme caution. Hesitant steps are made then quickly unmade. If you were to privately ask Obama or Putin what would happen to the world the day after a war between their two nations ignites, they would both be likely to look you somberly in the eye and say, ‘I don’t know’.

The unknown is upon us and we are upon the unknown.

For now, Zionist masterminds plan on keeping the death of the dream of Greater Israel a secret, in the hope that the next American president would be more malleable and more reactionary than Obama. They will be quietly biding their time and hoping that the next President of America would be more Zionist that Theodore Herzl. More ideologically violent than ISIS and Tarantino. Hoping against all hope that the tiny state of Israel would survive a Word War Three catastrophe with little damage inside its boundaries. Hoping against all hope that the Arab world surrounding Israel, all of it would literally be bombed back into the stone ages, while Israel continues to be the hi-tech bride of the Middle East. Hoping against all hope that Russia would again be defeated by America in the Middle East – just so that Israel can again dominate the skies and waters of the Levant, allowing it thus to revive the corpse of the Greater Israel project. Hoping against all hope that igniting World War Three would actually solve all of Israel’s problems.

A touch fantastical? Maybe not.

This is what happens when tribal madmen dream.

October 20, 2015 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments