A car with closed curtains

In the totalitarian state which the Russian Federation is nowadays, the propaganda machine is able to produce and broadcast the most absurd inventions. But from time to time it starts to slip, as if exhausted and losing enthusiasm, turning into a self-parody more often. The routine production of lie is an unpleasant and exhausting business, even if it is generously funded and attracts special attention of bosses, and there is career growth.

Once, seemingly powerful system of Soviet propaganda rapidly degraded this way, and it finally ceased to be taken seriously at the turn of that historical period. The role of propaganda of ‘the stagnation era’ was nicely illustrated by an old joke about the car in which they closed the curtains and just rocked it in place so that the passengers had an illusion of movement forward.

The modern Russian propaganda is solving about the same problem. But when it runs dry falling into creative impotence, then customers themselves, either Putin or his authorized representatives, come to help their intellectual servants and personally broadcast messages which give a new impulse to the ‘army of propagandists’ in all its ‘divisions’, from Kiselevs and Solovievs to the unknown authors of marginal jingoistic newspapers.

In January, there were two keynote speeches — Putin’s interview to German newspaper Bild (part 1 and part 2) and interview of Nikolay Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. They, in fact, reflected those semantic accents at which propaganda producers had to orientate in their adaptations of different genres. It’s not as if there were some revelations. Sometimes, as we noticed before, it seems that Russia’s rulers themselves become the victims of the propaganda machine launched by them. It is difficult to assume that all these stereotypes of the Cold War they are now operating so actively have lived for decades and strengthened in the minds of all these Russian officials.

Incidentally, Bild, a tabloid designed for a mass and easily impressed audience, was chosen for an exclusive interview probably not accidentally. In any case, journalists of the daily created a sufficiently comfortable environment for their companion, at least to allow the Russian President to articulate his controversial (to put it mildly) statements without qualified comments (incidentally, the recording took place in Sochi on January 5). But even that did not prevent Kremlin technologists from ‘retouching’ the interview, so to speak, in their favour.

Putin’s theses were as follows:

  • NATO’s eastward expansion is a deception of Russia by the West despite some promises allegedly given to the Russian leaders in the past;
  • the current aggravation of relations with the West is due to the fact that Russia is trying to defend its national interests. But at the same time — attention! — Putin strongly emphasizes his commitment to ‘the partnership’;
  • thesis about 50% decrease in the Russian-German trade turnover is an argument for advocates of the cancellation of anti-Russian sanctions in Germany;
  • the issue of the Crimea annexation is traditionally interpreted by Putin as a legitimate decision of the referendum designated by as legitimate Ukrainian Parliament of the Crimea. The actions of the occupational Russian troops are again interpreted as a kind of almost a ‘humanitarian mission’ to rescue from the alleged threat posed by ‘extremist nationalists’. These theses seem especially ‘strong’ after the infamous documentary “The Crimea. Way back home” with the detailed description of the large-scale military operation to seize the territory of a neighbouring sovereign state, where Putin did not hesitate to emphasize his special role in that act of aggression. However, the film was intended for the internal audience, and the interview was for the German one, and not the most informed;
  • Putin once again tried to shift the responsibility for compliance with the Minsk Agreements to Ukraine, traditionally avoiding themes of Russian military involvement in warfare and insisting that it is the condition of adoption of the constitutional reform that Kiev does not comply with.

Here is an interview of Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev to MK newspaper (January 26, 2016), though by meaning he practically duplicates Putin’s messages, but it looks even more revealing.

“Nikolay Platonovich, does modern Russia, with only part of resources of the former Soviet Union, try to pursue foreign policy that only superpower like the USSR could manage with?”

“Of course, we understand that Russia is only a part of the former Soviet Union, and Russia does not claim to be the superpower. Unlike the USA, we do not seek to dominate the world. But this does not mean that Russia does not have its own national interests. We are obliged to defend them, including through effective foreign policy.

“How long, from your point of view, may an active phase of the current confrontation between Russia and the West take?”

“The Russian Federation is not interested in the confrontation with the West. Moreover, the basis of Russia’s foreign policy is intention not only to defend its own interests, but also to consider interests of other partners. The current conflict was initiated by the USA. Europe is subject to their will. Therefore, the decision to stop confrontation depends not on Russia. We are always ready for the resumption of equal cooperation.”

“You are saying that we did not start confrontation. I suspect that any westerner may object to it: wasn’t it you who had taken away the Crimea from Ukraine and incorporated it into Russia? You were quite able not to do that!”

“Actually, the Crimea is also not our initiative. Here we have to ‘thank’ the United States. This is Washington who initiated the process of unconstitutional coup in Ukraine. The Crimea joined Russia not because Russia wanted it but because the population of the peninsula held a referendum and an absolute majority decided that they wanted to live in Russia and not in Ukraine.

The only real alternative to the Crimea’s becoming part of the Russian Federation was massive bloodshed on the peninsula. So, I am convinced that the international community should thank us for the Crimea. To thank for the fact that in this region, on the contrary to the Donbas, there were no massive deaths of people.”

“And what, in your opinion, are the chances that the international community will thank us for the Crimea, for example, in the form of recognition that it was incorporated into Russia legally?”

“The international community recognizes the Crimea as a Russian territory, because they should respect the decision of the Crimea’s people. And the referendum on the status of the Crimea complied with the international law and the UN Charter and took into account the Kosovo precedent as well.”

“And do you believe in the possibility of the Donbas’s returning into Ukraine both in words and in fact?”

TheDonbashasnotcomeoutofUkraine. We are interested in Ukraine remaining a single state, and not interested in its disintegration at all. We think that the Minsk Agreements must be fulfilled completely. The question is whether Kiev authorities are ready for it.

“Is not it Russia’s strategic loss that Ukraine has turned into a state whose ‘national ideology’ is de facto extreme forms of hatred of our country? Were there, in your opinion, possibilities to prevent such developments?”

“Russian analytics, including those in government agencies, warned of a high probability of deterioration of the situation in Ukraine. However, they did not predict that it would come to a coup with an anti-Russian subtext. And we had been providing large-scale material and financial assistance until the last moment. At present Ukraine’s leaders are the US’s protégés who perform someone else’s will to further separate their country from Russia. Such political course has no future. If they do not give up it in time, it will lead to a complete collapse of the Ukrainian economy and disintegration of Ukraine.

At the same time, both in the Russian Federation and Ukraine there is a single nation which is separated so far. In Ukraine, it will inevitable come to the rethinking of what is now being done. Eventually, a normal relationship between our countries will certainly recover.”

“Are the contradictions between Russia and NATO solvable in principle? What is, in your opinion, the NATO’s specific strategic goal in respect of our country?”

In order to realize the NATO’s goals, first you need to accept the following: NATO’s leadership goes clearly in the mainstream of American policy. To neutralize ‘too independent’ members of the alliance (France, Germany and Italy), Washington skillfully uses anti-Russian orientation of the countries of the eastern flank of the North Atlantic block. The US leadership has defined a goal for itself — to dominate in the world. With this regard they do not need powerful Russia. Onthecontrary, theyneedtoweakenourcountrytotheutmost. Achievement of this goal by the way of disintegration of the Russian Federation is not excluded. This will grant the US access to a wealth of resources now owned by Russia, in their opinion, unjustly.

We cannot help but worry about NATO’s buildup of its military potential and the empowering of the organization by global functions in the violation of international law. Intensification of military activities of the block countries, further expansion of the alliance, and approach of its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders threaten our security.

“The US do not exclude or want the disintegration of Russia to pieces?”

“Washington believes that, if desired, it can play the role catalyst of this process.”

“How realistic was assessment by Russia of the situation when it decided to start its military operation in Syria? Don’t we pull chestnuts out of the fire for the others, for example, for Asad or Iran?”

“International terroristic organizations such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Jabhat al-Nusra have recently become more active in the countries of North Africa and Middle East. Expansion of their activities threatens security of many states, including the Russian Federation. Military loss of the Syrian Arab Republic and its possible disintegration would inevitably lead to the strengthening of these terroristic organizations, and in future to refocus of the extremists on the Russian territory.

We have previously faced the actions of international terrorists in Russia. But we must not let it happen again. In this regard, we are fighting against international terrorism out of our country. On the Syrian territory, first of all we are defending our own interests and security of other countries from international terrorism.

As you can see, the theses in both interviews enable us to realistically determine possible directions of the Russian propaganda activity in the nearest months and possibly for a longer period.

For the internal audience:

  • the forcing of the theme of external threat, actualization of mobilization moods, simultaneously solving two tasks, namely channeling protest potential due to the deterioration of the social and economic situation in the country, and consolidating pro-government electorate in view of impending elections;
  • charges of Ukraine in the reluctance to achieve peace in the Donbas under influence of the USA, ‘war crimes of the Ukrainian Army’, the topic of the so called foreign management of Ukraine, the topic of state inferiority of Ukraine, all these topics will be used both for the Russian audience and for distribution in Ukraine and at the international level in various forms;
  • the flow of negative messages, both from Ukraine (war, legal chaos, inflation, economic catastrophe, corruption, etc.) and Europe (refugees, criminality, economic recession, unemployment as a consequence of anti-Russian sanctions), represents the contrary to the stability in the Russian Federation;
  • the topic of the soon cancellation of sanctions against Russia, optimistic messages about the situation in the oil market, topic of the state’s social assistance in case the Stability Fund is used in the pre-election period.

For the foreign audience:

  • updating the topic of the threat of a world war, local military conflicts, terrorism, positioning Russia as dangerous, strong, aggressive and unpredictable state, whose leaders, however, are supposedly ready for partnership, and whose interests should be taken into account by the way of compromises (for example, in the “Ukrainian issue”), consideration of interests (read as cancellation of sanctions) are important to ensure the customary for the Europeans way of life, to return a sense of security.

In principle, these expectations started to find confirmation on federal channels and in the pages of publications almost immediately after Putin’s interview. And it is almost undoubted that there will be few changes in the thematic collection of the coming months.

We are traditionally giving a few examples from the Russian media of different level and influence that illustrate our findings. Although, quite often such examples can be easily found in one issue. Thus, in ‘Vesti nedeli’ with Dmitriy Kiselev dated 17.01.2016 we can find a big story about how Ukraine’s European ambitions are collapsing (according to the authors of the programme, of course):

‘Vesti nedeli’ (Russia 1)

17.01.2016 

«Pro-Ukrainian propaganda has not worked on the Dutch

Author: Dmitriy Kiselev

Europe is changing its face under the pressure of the influx of refugees. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann announced that his country suspended the Schengen Agreement and introduced the enhanced checking of all entering the country on the border.

And when, at such background, the Europeans are explained about the necessity to introduce a visa-free regime with Ukraine too, then it is clear not for everyone. For example, the Dutch even decided to hold a referendum on the advisability of Ukraine-EU association. The voting is scheduled for April 6. A lot of will depend on the results, because according to the rules, all EU countries must ratify the Association Agreement before it enters into force. What are the Dutch afraid of?

Author: Anton Liadov

There are one or two notes in the Dutch pro-government newspapers every day. On the picture, Petro Poroshenko and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte are smiling and looking in the same direction. Theylaunchedthewholepropagandisticcampaign. But everything they have achieved so far is that almost half million Dutch citizens said that they would come to the referendum and say “no” to the association with Ukraine.

Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague — the activists opposing to the association of Ukraine and the EU gather on central squares several times a week. “The most annoying is that money of the Dutch taxpayers will flow away to Ukraine, a country with completely ruined economy,” they say.

Programmes on TV, forums in Internet. Activists have built an entire video studio. They edit agitation videos, from which most of the Dutch only now get to know what is going on in Ukraine.

Ultranationalists have swarmed the Ukrainian Parliament. Concluding the agreement with Ukraine, the European Union just slowly creeps up to the Russian borders. The same thing was with Georgia and Moldova. These countries are corrupt oligarchic societies with ruined economies, who will need a huge amount of money injections.

To estimate the scale of injections, Harry van Bommel, a deputy of the Dutch Parliament for almost 20 years, went to Ukraine personally.

“We will have to invest billions which will end up in the pockets of oligarchs. Almost nobody in the Netherlands wants Ukraine move closer to the EU. Look at the excerpts from the agreement they ask us to approve. Article 379 says that the European Union, including the Netherlands, must support the development of Ukrainian industry and economy. Just a second, but we ourselves have got big problems with it! In other words, we will pay for what helps the appearance of our new competitors who will come to us and ruin our internal market?!” fumes Harry van Bommel.

Harlingen. NorthernpartoftheNetherlands. The income of local farmers from selling wheat here have fallen by half for the last 5 years. But the situation will radically change if the EU finally approves association with Ukraine, a country from the ‘top ten’ of the world leaders in the production of grain. If economic borders fall, then dozens and hundreds of Dutch farmers will eventually go bankrupt.

“36 hectaresoflandcost 70 thousandEurosinourcountry. In Ukraine, the price is much lower. If they have cheap goods, we may lose a great number of our contracts. Besides, there is an incredible level of corruption in Ukraine. We know how they used to work. Take one hundred US Dollars and write to me that everything is fine. It will not be like that with us,” say the Dutch farmers.

This is the scheme they used in Kiev to make money on the Dutch pictures stolen from a museum in the Netherlands. 24 pieces of art with a total value of over a million Euros are now illegally held in Ukraine, and they tried to sell them ten times more expensive than their actual price is.

“The people we met in Ukraine hoped that the collection would bring them 50 million Euros. We have not received the pictures yet, and the Ukrainians tried to sell them to someone else. Our expert found out that Ukrainian top officials, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko and Oleh Tiahnybok, are connected with the crime. Of course, Ukraine has got big problems with an image in the Dutch’s eyes because of this story,” said Ad Geerdink, Director of the Westfries Museum.

Apparently, realizing that the image must be restored, the Ukrainian journalists urgently came to the museum. “We are sure that Ukraine will enter the EU,” they said. And they do not care that the most of the Dutch are against it. And it seems that this is official position of Kiev with regard to the Dutch voting to accept Ukraine in the association or not.

“This referendum will not stop the association. We have to understand it both in the EU and in Ukraine,” said Petro Poroshenko.

“In fact, Poroshenko tells us: I do not care whether you vote for or against, we will force this association in any way. This is a kind of Ukraine-style democracy. Leave it for yourself,” stated Thierry Baudet, the initiator of the referendum.

In the famous Red Light District, they were anxious about the news of Ukraine and the Netherlands getting closer. “There are more and more Ukrainian women day by day. They gradually seize the business. They have already got their own place at the end of the street,” say pimps “It is hard for them so far, because Ukraine is not Europe yet, but the situation will change.”

And indeed, article 16 of the Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The parties will closely cooperate in the issues of providing refuges. Besides, they must solve migrants’ problems together. This is another painful spot of the Netherlands.

Town of Geldermalsen. The centre of the country. There are stickers everywhere on posts saying “Say ‘no’ to a refugee centre!” This is about a pension which the Dutch government suggested to build here for one and a half thousand migrants. When locals realized that that way the population of the town of ten thousand people would increase by 10% in one day, their answer was immediate.

The fence around the building of town council was demolished in seconds. It was supposed to decide how much to spend on the newcomers. Stones, firecrackers, fence pieces were thrown at policemen.

Local resident Raymond barely dodged a policeman’s baton then. “I am absolutely against other people coming to make money on us. What Ukraine?! People from the Middle East are enough for us. Look, a Syrian has got a free house! Thewholemansion! 150 thousandEuros, notless. For example, I have to take a mortgage for 20-25 years to get money for such house. They received everything free of charge, and we can’t get anything from our authorities!” fumes Raymond.

For 9 years of negotiations with the Dutch government, broken furniture maker Paul van der Sluis has achieved that in a social centre of food distribution, he is allowed to choose by himself what to get for a week, a jar of paste or canned meat.

“When the banking crisis started in Europe, they immediately began to demand from us to pay all debts. As a result, I lost my business. The only one who worked in my family was my wife. Her salary was 1750 Euros per month. And we received bills for 1700. It turned out that we had only 50 Euros for living. EverydayIhadtoseekatemporaryjob. I want to ask our government very much why they spend a lot of money to solve the problems of foreign nationals and do not help their own citizens?” asked Paul.

Activists, enraged by the fact that the government refuses to listen to them, now go to protests almost every week and actively gather their advocates. On April 6, the day of the referendum on Ukraine, they promise to bring at least 5 million people with them, and that is a third of the Netherlands’ population.”

A propagandist from Komsomolskaya Pravda boldly treats an elementary reply to an application to the international criminal court in the Hague of some Donetsk lawyers about ‘the atrocities of the Ukrainian military’, which says, according to bureaucratic laws, that the letter is accepted, almost as a finished sentence. By the way, this is a standard approach for the most of those who call themselves journalists. Note the headline.

Komsomolskaya Pravda, 19.01.2016

“The court in the Hague has finally seen: Kiev committed crimes in the Donbas.

Author: Dmitriy Steshin

Donetsk lawyers, who collected the evidences of ‘feats’ of the Ukrainian military, received the first positive response from European lawyers.

A short letter on the official letterhead of the International Criminal Court (the Hague) reports:

“The office has analyzed the situation with the assistance of other sources and other available information. According to article 53 of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor will consider whether there is reason to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed, and assess the severity of crimes…”

Article 53 of the Rome Statute says that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court may start his own investigation, what he informed in his letter to Donetsk lawyer Aleksey Zhigulin. Last summer KP wrote in details about the work of his commission in the material “Donetsk lawyers are preparing the second Nuremberg”. We were at Aleksey’s office, saw thousands of applications from people who were deprived of pensions by Kiev authorities, racks with evidences collected on the sites of the shelling of residential areas. Alexey quoted testimonies of victims to us:

“We were all put on the ground, hands tied behind our backs with tape, the tape was around our faces… I was at the base of the 25th Brigade for 3 days. We were kept in a dug pit, without food and water…”

And if in summer Zhigulin just hoped that sooner or later law would prevail, now he does not hide his joy:

“This is the first such reply on our situation. It means a real opportunity to bring the guilty to international justice.”

“And what are the facts?” I clarify.

“There are facts on the captives there. 21 episodes are tortures and violence. I gave 9 more episodes through French lawyers who came to the Donbas. This is the first answer of the Prosecutor of the ICC; earlier he wrote that there were no reasons to start investigating because Ukraine had not ratified the Rome Statute…”

It seems that something has moved in the conscience of the Europeans. As Zhigulin said: “I have fought with it for two years, and nobody believed it would come off.”

Apparently, the International Criminal Court may have a view, different from Kiev, on the actions of the Ukrainian military in the Donbas. And the vision of who is really a victim and who is an aggressor.”

And here is a story of another issue of Kiselev’s programme. Here, in the centre of attention are the problems with refugees, faced by the Europeans. Propagandists of the country, whose air force is extremely ‘successful’ in striking at civil sites and houses of peaceful citizens, forcing them to flee aimlessly, take care of the Europeans… At the same time, pay attention to the phrase of a refugee in the end of the story, which goes like this: “We had everything when there were dictators.” Such invisible vaccination for the brains of the Russians, saying: value your dictatorial stability or else it will be worse.

‘Vesti nedeli’ (Russia 1, 31.01.2016 9:00 p.m.)

“Take a club and simply hit”: the English are taught treatment with migrants

Author: Dmitriy Kiselev

On January 30, another vessel with refugees drowned near the Turkish shoreline on its way to Europe. The exact number of victims is still unknown, but they are not less than forty, including several children. Turks rescued some desperate passengers.

Despite the danger of winter storms and cold water, the flow of those who flee from terrorists of a barbarian pseudo caliphate does not reduce. Terrorists use it for transferring their men to the European Union.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates the number of refugees through the Aegean Sea to Greece only to be 847 thousand. The drowned on their way are near one thousand. However, those who reached the land in the EU also face danger.

Author: AntonLiadov

NorthofFrance. Ten p.m. Here starts the way of refugees to Great Britain. Police has noticed them; they have seen they are filmed. They are fleeing toward the port hoping they still can get aboard. Theyarejumpingovertheroad.

Thisisthefirstgroup. Their task is to distract attention of the police, so that the bulk of those who decided to flee could escape from the camp. Its perimeter is in the barbed wire, flashing lights, sirens. As soon as they’ve got through, they whistle loudly, which is a sign to run.

Walking distance to the port is 5-6 hours, and the police with flash lights and spotlights is in every three hundred meters. Theygobybus. ‘Aline. Itisfreeonweekends.

MiranisfromIraq. He, as everybody else here, tells that his family is waiting for him in England. “I took nothing with me; it seems to me they will give us everything in England. I’ll try to cut the tent and get into the truck,” says the refugee.

Should a wagon stop at traffic lights, two men crawl in, sit on the beam and try to keep their balance. They break down at the next turn.

There are about ten fences on the way to the port. They patch holes in them round the clock. Migrants have their tactic: tunnel below, the first comes out followed by the rest. Then the most difficult is customs.

Scanners catch most migrants. They scan what is in bodies. It is here that they usually catch the most of refugees. They hide somewhere in the pallets, under logs and even smear themselves with pepper or coffee so that dogs could not smell them.

A ferry has got under way, it is time to catch refugees who illegally got into trucks, but there is no control! All holds are crammed to the eyeballs. Here are tens and hundreds of wagons. According to French journalists, there are two refugees in every second truck. It is forbidden to be here not only for journalists but for anybody else.

For the time of crossing, the drivers go 2 or 3 decks higher, away from trucks. Itisdangeroustolookintoabody. “Ireallyfearformylife. I have driven trucks to England for 15 years, but I see such madness for the first time. The situation is totally out of control. We believe no more that our authorities can protect us. Refugees rush to England hoping for better life, but in fact, the government does almost nothing for them as well,” said one of the truckers.

The place of destination of hundreds of migrants who broke in the UK in the hope that European authorities would help them: everywhere there are guard dogs, a fence energized at 132 thousand volts, barbed wire, and only fields around. The refugees move here only under the supervision. This place is like a prison.

Yarl’s Wood is a biggest in Britain centre for illegal migrants. One minute, and a guard is already near the camera. “You have no right to be here, I’m calling the police,” says he.

The centre personnel are trained to deal with the newcomers: “They are all the same. Take the baton finally and just hit them!”

Angered newcomers are ready to sleep in the street not to appear behind another fence. They spread all over the country by a national criterion. Derby. Despite all the efforts of local authorities to disperse the newcomers across the whole county, they are concentrated in one area. When activists appear in the city with posters ‘Let’s return our country!’, the streets break out instantly.

Luton. Half an hour away from London. The newcomers have flocked in here for years. Migrants have their schools, streets, trade unions. This is what happens when a native Englishwoman comes to the area. Youseemtobenaked! Go and put on something,” they tell her.

The mosque where they knew terrorist Al Abdali well. He lived in the next street, and in 2010 he blew himself up in Stockholm. The mosque is still open. “The newcomers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey pray here. We are many. Maybe, half the population of the city,” admits imam of the mosque.

There had been the building of an old church on this site by 2005. It was purchased by a Muslim community and demolished. There are about 30 mosques in this region.

“I’ve got a feeling that they are gradually conquering our country by small steps. The number of the newcomers has long exceeded the limits of normality. They bring their families, relatives and force us, Englishmen, to leave the area. There are 90% of the newcomers in some areas. They feel absolute masters in their areas, and our government closes their eyes at it,” says one of the locals.

TownofGillingham. The south of the UK. After the Town Council had allocated places for accommodation to five migrants here, they appeared to be under one roof with the locals. On November 1, 2015 the police got the application: an 18 years old girl was raped by five men, “the abuse lasted for five hours”.

“She will live in fear that this will happen again to the end of her life. Nobody greets these newcomers here. This is absolute shame for our country, our government! The must think of their citizens!” the locals are sure, “We are truly sorry for what is happening in their countries, but Europe has a great number of its own problems. Wehavetosolvethemfirst.”

Brittany. The northern west of France. Angered farmers block roads all over the region. They dump manure, tires and trash on the roads. They’ve rolled out trucks and trailers. There is still not enough money for machinery maintenance. The farmers are in despair. According to recent data, thousands of enterprises in France are on the brink of ruin, and there is crisis in the field of animal husbandry, which has not been seen for more than one hundred years.

“Why does the French government help the newcomers more than the French, those who works every day, in this situation? Everything should be the other way around,” farmers are puzzled.

After the introduction of sanctions and Russian food embargo, the income of French farmers from export has reduced by 25-30%.

“We’ve suffered hard from the financial crisis. That and the Russian embargo. Our president has strongly screwed up, we have been getting poorer because of it for a year already. Much of pork and vegetables went to Russia. Now there is nobody to whom we can sell it all. The government left us with nothing,” say farmers.

And such protests are all over France. Civil servants, dissatisfied that the government saves on their salaries, teachers, air traffic controllers, taxi drivers, students… Unemployment in France is now higher than average in Europe. 3.6 million people are without job.

“I have studied law for five years. Andwhatsintheend? I could not get a job and work as a barman. A snack bar in the afternoon, a restaurant in the evening. Our system is not adapted to real life, nobody does anything with that,” fumes barman Pierre Emmanuel.

At the same time they do not stop spending hundreds of thousands of Euros for migration centers, maintenance, and teaching of the newcomers. There are costs for strengthening the police squads, which we’ve not got for many years. In Calais, for example, there are police officers stationed from all over the country. With the purpose to show journalists and the whole world that they are solving the problem of migrants, they construct new fences and report on the illegals caught in the port, in the streets, at the station.

Bulldozers, by which they have promised to demolish the migrants’ camp for months already, did not dare to go farther than first rows. At the same time, the refugees are more actively building a new camp in Dunkirk, 30 kilometers away from Calais.

Should we make several steps and the landscape of the provincial France changes rapidly. A new camp ‘Jungles-2’ appeared. The dirt is at least to the ankles. Everywhere are campfires, tents. Here are about 3 thousand people.

In the camps, there are not only those who want to England. Haji from Afghanistan has long been granted asylum in France, and now he is in charge of the Afghan grouping in Calais.

“Here we have restaurants, shops, hairdressers. We have our own suppliers who bring food here, and we sell it. One shop earns around 150 Euros a day, 5 thousand Euros a month. This is business and all survive how the can,” told Haji.

Roland came from Iraq with 7-month Oscar on his hands. He had fought with the ISIS thugs for several months until they learnt where he lived and started threatening his family.

“I want to ask the EU and America leaders. You came to the Middle East and displaced almost all leaders saying that they were dictators. ButactuallywehadeverythingwhenHusseinwas. Maybe we lack some freedoms but we always had food, resources, money, order. Andwhatdowehavenow?! Nohouses, nomoney! Theygiveelectricityfor 2 hoursaday. If you ruined my house then give me a new one!” says Roland.

All we managed to have are a tent with a stove, a chupa chups from volunteers, lessons of rotating plates on sticks for children by Fridays.”

Well, a few more examples of how in January Russian media tried to cheer up the Russians with the illusions of sanctions cancellation or refuse of Europe and the US from the support of Ukraine.

Since the current situation is well known to our readers, the more curious are the considerations of the Russian propagandists around, as they supposed, some ‘separate agreements with the West’. Beside the content, it makes sense to pay attention to the headings and subheadings of some ‘news’.

The personal composition of commentators in Russian publications is not less curious. If, let’s say, the position of the forgotten Medvedchuk’s technologist Mykhailo Pohrebynskyi cannot surprise anyone, then the valid Ukrainian political analyst Kost Bondarenko gives, to put it mildly, ambiguous assessment, who knows why…

By the way, the following texts contain a fairly complete set of the arguments which the Kremlin uses to promote its interests in the situation around the occupied regions of the Donbas.

Russia tries to whiten its international reputation by all means, feeling the burden of international sanctions more obviously and preparing to go to the eating away of the Stabilization Fund in the nearest future. However, these efforts do not bring tangible results; the hypocrisy of the Kremlin’s approach to the observance of the Minsk Agreements is too obvious in the world. And the rhetoric of the Russian leader or someone of his ‘associates’, built on outright lies, is able to exert at least some influence at the part of domestic audience that still believes the TV more than the refrigerator. As you can see, the fate of the Minsk Agreements, but rather the promotion of their Kremlin’s interpretation, came to the fore in the propagandist plans of the Russian media.

Moskovskij Komsomolets (07.01.2016)

“Surkov won over Nuland in Pionersk

Author: Arthur Avakov

Moscow and Washington will leave Kiev alone with the Donbas

On Friday, Assistant to the President of Russia Vladislav Surkov met with Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in the state residence of the Russian President in Pionersk of Kaliningrad Oblast. Experts believe that Moscow and Washington have reached a compromise on Ukraine.

As Surkov said, those were “detailed, constructive and useful consultations” regarding the compromise in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. He stressed that the ideas discussed with Nuland could be developed within the framework of ‘Norman group’. In turn, The State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the meeting was productive and aimed at the support of international efforts on the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Donbas.

It is noteworthy that almost immediately after the negotiations, State Department coordinator on sanctions Daniel Fried spoke in Washington. The US representative said that in 2016, they could cancel almost all economic restrictions imposed on Russia because of the war in the east of Ukraine. He noted that, to achieve that, the elections should be held in the Donbas, hostilities should be ceased and Kiev should gain control over the Ukrainian border in the region. But the official is confident that Moscow is moving in the right direction under the pressure of sanctions.

Russian politicians welcomed the news without much enthusiasm. As said deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Franz Klintsevich, apparently, Surkov and Nuland had decided how to give a new impulse to the Minsk process. And we will see soon if they succeeded. Perhaps, the first results will be known on January 20, when Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry, heads of foreign offices of Russia and the USA, meet in Swiss Zurich.

But a wave of conspiracy theories has risen in Kiev. In particular, Ukrainian journalist Vitaliy Portnikov believes that Surkov suggested Nuland to overthrow President of Russia Vladimir Putin, since, while he is the head of the state, they can’t improve relations with the US.

Neonazi Dmitriy Korchynskyi turned out a bigger realist. In his opinion, in Kaliningrad Oblast, they discussed the process of Moscow’s way out from under sanctions, since it is not beneficial to anyone to ruin Russia in the conditions of a deep economic crisis. And to keep Kiev quiet, Ukraine will be promised the next billion-dollar loan, for which they will need to change the Constitution, hold elections in the Donbas, and amnesty militia of the DPR and LPR, believes Korchynskyi.

MK experts shared their vision of the content of conversation between Surkov and Nuland.

Denis Denisov, Director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute of the CIS Countries:

“One shouldn’t think that, having heard of the possible cancellation of sanctions, some ‘Kremlin towers’ would start demanding the immediate release of the Donbas, to solve their economic problems. In the DPR and LPR, there are tens of thousands of armed men, who will be ready for unexpected actions when left unattended. In addition, if Moscow recedes from a position this way, it will lead to irrecoverable loss of its reputation. Reference to the cancellation of sanctions rather suggests that there is an understanding between Russia and the US: there are the Minsk Agreements, and they need to be implemented.”

Mykhaylo Pohrebynskyi, Director of Kiev Center of Politic Studies and Conflictology: “The meeting of Surkov and Nuland became the element of a joint offensive of Moscow and Washington to Kiev to localize the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow will not be able to make Kiev implement the Minsk Agreements without the participation of Washington, and Americans need this, because their President Barack Obama wants to convey his position to a member of the Democratic Party, and this requires some success in Ukraine. If the USA presses on Kiev, the elections will be held in the Donbas, which will be recognized by the world community. As a result, a subject will appear, with whom it will be possible to negotiate on the details of the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and further coexistence. This process may take a long time, but this is a whole new level, without war, with respect to the parties’ positions, etc. To achieve that, Washington has enough levers of influence on the Ukrainian authorities. The only question is whether the US will insist and what compromise they made with Russia. Nobody knows it so far.”

Moskovskij Komsomolets (18.01.16)

“Washington is getting rid of Kiev

Author: Oleg Bondarenko

Forcing Ukraine to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements has finally become beneficial to all guarantor states of the agreements

The meeting last Friday in Kaliningrad between Assistant to the President of Russia Vladislav Surkov and Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State, can have the most serious consequences for the future of Ukraine. Notwithstanding idle speculations of ‘the sofa patriots’ about ‘the draining of the Donbas’, the result of the meeting may be exactly ‘the draining of Kiev’ by its elder brother, Washington. Forcing Kiev to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements has finally become beneficial to all guarantor states of the agreements.

The matter is that, in less than 10 months, there will be presidential elections in the USA. Donald Trump, the representative of the republicans, can win. He made a name sharply criticizing the administration of the democrats, especially in the field of foreign policy and relations with Russia. With this regard, the outgoing President Obama needs to resolve the most problematic issues as soon as possible, not to expose his party colleague Hillary Clinton, who still hopes for a coveted seat. This is the reason why the tone in the dialogue between the US and Russia has changed, and not alone. The cancellation of sanctions against our country, promised by a ‘hawk’ of the State Department and clinical Russophobe Daniel Fried, demonstrates the willingness of the democrats to present their defeat as victory. And they can spare Ukraine for this.

Do they realize it in Kiev? On January 18, Poroshenko was to meet with the envoys of Berlin and Paris, Christopher Heusgen and Jacques Audibert, who were authorized by their governments to push on the intractable Ukrainian leader in terms of the transition from words to business in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. According to unofficial data, still in late December, there was rather unpleasant for the President of Ukraine conversation with the chancellor of Germany, during which Angela Merkel once again ‘scolded’ Poroshenko for intransigence. But it could be worse, because in the beginning of the year, the US changed their supervisor on the resolution of the conflict in the Donbas. And instead of bored Sheila Gwaltney, there came much more serious diplomat John Ordway who at once joined the process. According to the informed sources, in contrast to his predecessor, withdrawn to work in Kyrgyzstan, Ordway is much more critical toward the implementation by Kiev of its obligations under the Minsk Agreements.

Prior to the opening of the spring session on February 2, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is going to make it to vote for the amendments in the Basic Law in the second reading by a constitutional majority, otherwise they will need to start the whole procedure again from the beginning. In the last week, the backstage work on this issue with deputies has increased significantly. However, regardless of whether Poroshenko picks up the necessary 300 votes, this voting, as well as the previous ones, will be naught in terms of the letter of the Minsk Agreements. Article 11 of the Minsk Agreements says: “Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with the new Constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts)…” Of course, no one in Kiev did even intend to agree a constitutional reform with the DPR and LPR. They just put us before the fact and said that it was a real implementation of the Minsk Agreement. Not to mention the fact that the cunning Poroshenko decided to make these amendments not in the body of the Basic Law, but in the transitional provisions to it, which are temporary by nature and end as early as in 2017. That is, Kiev seeks to present the voting for unclear and questionable concessions to the Donbas valid for only 11 months as the implementation of the signed agreements to the West! And how much it would be desirable to anyone to recognize this fake a reality, it will be difficult to do so.

What could Nuland and Surkov discuss at the secret meeting during six-hour (!) negotiations? What did ‘the grey cardinal’ of the Ukrainian direction of Russian policy regale the American guest with? I quite suppose that they baked various cakes with traditional toppings in advance in the state residence Pionerskoe of the President Administration. DidVictoriatastethem?

Local elections in the Donbas, agreed in Minsk, are the same cake instead of Ukrainian dumplings, atypical for this region. Its topping can become the international legitimating of democratic will of Donetsk and Luhansk people, expressed in a referendum on self-determination on May 11 and elections of people’s councils on November 2, 2014. How will they achieve that? Apparently, by the limitation of access to the Ukrainian parties and media who called for a ‘crusade to the Donbas’, by the fixation of the majority character of the voting. To define an equal number of polling stations on the territory of ‘continental’ Ukraine and Russia for the voting by the internally displaced people, refugees from the Donbas. For example, 10 polling stations per Mariupol and Rostov, Krasnoarmiysk and Belgorod, Slaviansk and Voronezh each, proportionally to the distribution of refugees, approximately equal in Russia and Ukraine. To ensure security of voting by creating ‘temporary electoral police’ for the elections period from the locals but with a certain participation of the opposite side and mediation of the OSCE. In other words, to put into practice the so-called ‘contractual autonomy’ of the Donbas mentioned by President Putin. In this case, the contractual nature of the autonomy can be bilateral, both with Kiev and Moscow, which is stipulated in the addendum to the Minsk Agreement.

These and other moments should be put into the base of the ‘roadmap’ of the Minsk Agreement implementation, which is very necessary today for all interested parties. For all, except Kiev, who continues, by inertia, to insist on the implementation of any scenario, not favorable to it completely. Alas, perseverance never helped Ukrainian politicians, because should they had agreed to give the Russian language the status of the second state language 10 years ago, following the example of two-language Finland with its 7-percent Swedish population, or even India who preserved the ‘occupier’s language’ as official, perhaps, there would have been no ‘Russian spring’. But history does not tolerate subjunctive mood. The Cossacks obstinacy was always suppressed by systematic players from the East and West. Why would it suddenly change?

RBK daily, No. 13, January 27, 2016, page(s): 1

“Sanctions are not cancelled

Author: Aleksandr Artemiev, Aleksandr Ratnikov

The negotiations on the Donbas will resume on Wednesday amid new signals of the West to the Kremlin that they are ready to cancel sanctions if the Minsk Agreements are implemented. But still Moscow and Kiev cannot agree on the actions order.

On Wednesday, Minsk will host the meeting of the trilateral contact group on the settlement in the Donbas. The Belorussian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the parties (the OSCE, Russia and Ukraine including the representatives of the Donbas separatists) were ready to the negotiations.

A sanctions decoy

In the last few months, leading Western politicians have repeatedly stressed in their public speeches that the sanctions imposed by the US and EU against Russia can be cancelled in the near future.

This can happen provided the Minsk Agreements, concluded in February last year, are implemented.

On Sunday, at the meeting with Russian and French businessmen in the French Embassy in Moscow, Emmanuel Macron, the French Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, assumed that the sanctions could be cancelled in summer this year. “Our goal is to have the opportunity to cancel sanctions against Russia this year, if the Minsk Agreement will be implemented,” said he.

Macron made his statement immediately after the World Economic Forum in Davos. The US State Secretary John Kerry told about the possibility of the sanctions cancellation at it. He took several months on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. According to him, Washington’s rejection of the sanctions will follow after the fulfillment of this condition. Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger said in Davos that German business would welcome the warming of relations between Russia and the West, and he himself also advocated a return to “the days of normality”.

“The West is getting tired of the sanctions, they are tired of this topic,” said Aleksey Chesnakov, General Director of the Center for Current Politics, to RBK. France shows that it is ready to play a role of a negotiator between Russia and the West. In December 2004, President Francois Hollande was the first of the Western leaders to meet Vladimir Putin on the Russian territory. And in February of last year, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he acted as a mediator at the negotiations in Minsk.

…We cannot say about the breakthrough on the Minsk direction. Head of the Ukrainian delegation at the negotiations, ex-President Leonid Kuchma, stated last week that Kiev believed that the necessary conditions for further process were widespread ceasefire, confirmed by the OSCE removal by the DPR and LPR rebels of heavy weapons, and transfer of a part of the Russian-Ukrainian border, which is now not under the control of Kiev. Without that “it is impossible to talk about the elections, changes of the Ukrainian Constitution, not to mention the dealing with humanitarian and economic problems, and the issues of demining,” said Kuchma.

Director of the Institute of Foreign Policy of the Diplomatic Academy of the MFA of Ukraine Hryhoriy Perepelytsia blamed Russia for non-fulfillment of these clauses in his conversation with RBK. “Russia does not intend to implement the Minsk Agreements. It intends to finally force Ukraine and realize the presence of its military in the Donbas”, realizing the “South Osetia scenario,” says the Ukrainian expert.

Moscow believes that the demands of Kiev violate the order of actions on the settlement, prescribed in Minsk. According to article 9 of the Agreements, the transfer of the border under the control of Ukraine is to be made on the next day after the local elections on the territories of the self-proclaimed republics according to the Ukrainian legislation and subject to the constitutional reform in Ukraine. “Kiev would like to have the border first, and then to hold the elections. This directly contradicts the Minsk Agreements,” says Aleksey Chesnakov.”

VechernyayaMoskva, 22.01.2016

“Until the passions are not extinguished and resentments are forgotten, Kiev party of war is blocking the peace agreements

Author: Zakhar Artemiev

One of the brightest political events of this week was the negotiations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US State Secretary John Kerry. One of the main topics was the discussion of the smoldering conflict in the Donbas. Earlier, the same topic was discussed by Assistant to the Russian President Vladislav Surkov and Deputy State Secretary of the US Victoria Nuland. The negotiations were held in Kaliningrad; Surkov called them “substantial”, but the results of these agreements were not disclosed to the public. Ukrainian politician and political analyst Kost Bondarenko told VM why the Minsk Agreements could not enter into force. “There is a serious problem in the promotion of the peace agreements. It is important to understand that, despite all the talks between the top officials of the US and Russia, there is an urgent need to establish direct contacts between Kiev and authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk. We need to work out certain agreements, which should be stipulated in the Ukrainian Constitution. Kiev suggests to amend it by too vague and mild formulations which cause sharp criticism of Moscow, Donetsk and Luhansk. And Verkhovna Rada lacks voices to make amendments in the Constitution even in such truncated form. We remember how hardly the changes were made in the Constitution by a simple majority. Then it turned into a tragedy, the death of a man in the clashes near the Verkhovna Rada. What can we say now, when it is necessary to have three hundred voices, i.e. two thirds of the Rada, to make amendments about the status of the regions. And this is today, when the positions of radical nationalist groups are very strong. There is a serious criticism of the Minsk Agreements in Ukraine. It should be understood that the main source of countering the peace agreements, achieved in Minsk, is located in Kiev.

Kost Bondarenko is assured that the war is not finished until the passions are extinguished and resentments are forgotten. Both on the part of Kiev and on the part of Donetsk. It is clear that as soon as they begin to think about peace, there is a huge amount of those who say: “We must not forgive, allow compromises and go to direct talks.”

“One of the sides calls the other one ‘bandits’, and the other calls that ‘junta’,” notes Bondarenko, “President Poroshenko has already said that he is ready to negotiate with anyone only to stop the confrontation. But he is in the minority in today’s ruling coalition. The majority is populists who speculate on the issues of war and peace. It can be stated that Kiev and Ukraine are not ready for agreements. And, unfortunately, we can hear the same rhetoric from the leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk. Bravadoandfacileoptimismdominateovercommonsense. Ukraine remains a hot spot. In spite of peace successes in Minsk and concluded agreements at high level, official Kiev is just unable to make a step toward peace. The recent Congress of the Council of Europe showed the growing discontent of Poroshenko’s inaction. It seems that the European cup of patience will overflow soon.

Monitoring is made by NGO Telekritika with the support of Internews Network.

 

 

 

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