Thursday, July 17, 2014

Current conflict can be setting a stage for millions to perish

Several postings below I issued a vague warning, in which I promised to unveil the real danger behind unhinged Russian TV propaganda.

Today, a number of recognized thinkers arrived to the same conclusion, explaining the menace in details. One of leading American and former USSR experts on things post-Soviet, Paul Goble, translated large excerpts from a solid Russian source on ethnic relations, prof. V. Solovey (see The Interpreter). The professor is warning about the grave dangers of ethnic unrest, which the former USSR could now be facing.

In a nutshell, the good professor is saying that Russians and Ukrainians are getting more and more "angry" at each other, up to the point when they would become as vengeful as it had been happening time and again in this part of the World. When a nation was pitted against another nation. In professor's view, a parallel to watch out for would be Serbs and Croats during the Yugoslav war 20 years ago. If you haven’t done so, I suggest you re-read wiki pages on this particular conflict. The overview of this bizarre, chaotic and bloody war could provide a useful insight into who we, the Eastern Europeans are, and what are we capable of.  To summarize, in that war, the self-appointed anti-fascists of Yugoslavia - Serbs - had gone bigot. They brought upon themselves an eternal and painful shame by staging a mindless massacre of their fellow neighbours, Bosniaks, in a unimaginative Nazi-style death-camp of Srebrenica. This was a Red-Wedding style bloodbath, which no one believed possible beforehand, despite the signs. In the good professor's analogy, Ukraine and Russia are on the verge. And can slip at any moment.

In comparing today’s crisis with former Yugoslavia's, another thing to remember is the size of the countries and territories involved. Russia and Ukraine are large. They more or less dwarf any of the Eastern European countries having times and times larger populations than those of all of the former Yugoslavia. If things go really sideways between those two, it would be on the same shelf with the WW2.

Despite what experts, far smarter and credible than myself, are saying, I don’t believe we are there. All of the destruction and casualties so far have yet been modest, comparing the scale of the conflict. If we consider that the area in question, where the current predicament takes place, is by far larger that any of the hotspots of the former Yugoslavia or even of the hotspots of the former USSR - with sprawling, million-strong cities, minig and manufacturing areas, it is clear enough that the region has escaped the extinction. From what I read in Russian-language Social Media of Donbass things go on largely almost as normal with many offices, as well as schools and hospitals at the cities in question still open and working daily, with kids and strollers filling the parks and recreation zones during some of the calmer days of the conflict. The reason for that could be that Ukrainian authorities or, for that matter, the rebels, show restraint in their military operations. Or, it could as well be plain lack of genuine hatred between the loyalist and separatists soldiers and populations.

But this could change. Russian TV propaganda machine is relentlessly at work, painting a hellish picture of fake-and-false atrocities and calling for a Holy War to “defend Russians”. Unlike country’s abroad-looking news outlets, these domestic ones don’t have to be smart and subtle. The recent Lie-Grandios about child-crucifixion by Ukrainian government troops is just the top of the iceberg of loathing. For some time now the hot steam has been infuriating scores of obscure far-right and far-left movements across vast territory of Russia, where national broadcasts are the only true mass source of information. War veterans, Cossacks, RNE-shniks, Oplotniks as well as countless of firearm-fanatics, “historical re-enactors” and hard-core Ortodox faithfuls are being whipped up into frenzy by the anti-Western teachings and conspiracy theories, lining up at semi-official recruitment offices to be sent into this fake battle. The fighting they are preparing for can well go on oversightlessly, militia-style. How much of their nationalist fever will settle once they arrive to their destination and discover the absence of the infamous “crucified child”, is unclear.  

Funeral of an Ortodox fighter killed in Ukraine, in Russian region of North Ossetia.
photo URL-d from

When you take a country 6 times bigger and 10 times angrier than Texas, with even larger amount of firearms and under little control, you can get armies of fanatics. In Ukraine, those people and their hatred can easily spell disaster last seen in the Yugoslav war and in Checnya, but in the scale of a Holocaust.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Steven Seagal should not come

Out of blue, criticism - verging on, and perhaps boiling over the limits - exploded at around Noon today, in the Estonian-language social media, against an American. The American in question is the US action-film star of the 90s, Steven Seagal. 

Apparently the endless repetition of the paraphrase that the war in Ukraine changed everything bears a lot of truth at least in Eastern Europe. Amazingly, just in an instant, with a lash of the media whip, it managed to turn this good, though forgotten, blue screen kung-fu fighter from the politic-less, ethnic-less and religious-less, entertaining figure, into “a KGB co-worker”. The local media just informed us of coming of a foreign TV star and posted pictures of him, endorsing Vladimir Vladimirovich’s annexation of Crimea. It has Steven Seagal of the 90s destroyed, and reborn, evil. Perhaps like any proper media should have.

Tensions remain high everywhere in the Europe's parts of the former USSR, perhaps even further than that. Smaller clashes and fights are breaking out over Ukraine here and there, numerous examples abound. With everything exceptional that we have, that we have built in our country over the last 25 years, in Estonia, where it is now sometimes hard to recognize the signs of the former sovietness anymore, we are not as exceptional as we would like to think. We are not coming out of this gargantuan crisis unscathed.

It does not matter how much the organizers of a public entertaining event of sorts, in Haapsalu, an Estonian city, try to portrait Steven Seagal’s coming as just that. Both Ukrainian-sympathizers and Russian-sympathizers are mobilizing. I follow, in the social media how Russian-sympathizers gear up to show up at the show-entertainment, many of them the only time in their lifetime, to get to this Western-Estonian city, to show support to the man, who their media just introduced as a staunch supporter of the Kremlin.
Ethnic non-Russians discuss options how to stand up to what they consider a Russian stooge, an enemy, in their home soil.

Although somewhat surprised by this development, still, I unite with my compatriots asking the film star to turn back. Mr Seagal, spare us some broken glass.
This is not the time for you to come. This is not the time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ukrainians eat salo, Russian broadcater says. And they killed Jesus.

Nation-covering TV stations in Russia are government-controlled. The news they broadcast about Ukrainians are not only fake, but also stupendous. Unlike Russia Today, the news outlets, which are intended to the proper Russians, do not have to resolve to “little lies”. There, everywhere is thick red blood and bodies. There are massacres, mass-executions. There are horror-film-like gut-cuttings. There is even Jesus-style child-crucifixion on the main plaza of a city witnessed by crowds of people, fainting and crying in sheer desperation. The picture you get from Russian TV is an Apocalypse-like, where servants of evil are Ukrainians, and the innocent sheep slaughtered in the thousands are the ethnic Russians.

Yes, really. The main TV channel has indeed crowned itself by broadcasting a bizarre story about Ukrainian troops monstrously torturing and crucifying a Russian child before a crowd of terrifying locals, rounded up and forced to watch by the sadistic junta soldiers. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes“.

The story was told to the TV channel’s camera by a refugee from the now infamous city of Slavyansk, where this heinous mass-terrorization of the residents allegedly took place. This is the city, which used to be the separatist stronghold, but which recently fell from the hands of the pro-Russian rebels into the hands of the loyalist troops.

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In case there is any need to disproof this bogus journalism, one can follow what the real Slavyansk residents, now safe and sound, even having electricity, are saying, in Russian:

In short, the slightly shocked by this level of lying locals are dismissing the story, as completely bogus and plainly impossibly.
(link subject to archiving:

This is from tightly-controlled forum, intended exclusively for the Russian-speaking residents of Donbass region, the region where cities such as Slavyansk and Kramatorsk are situated. The forum has been in operation for a decade. It is dedicated to issues of children and family, such as purchases, day-care and schooling. Almost all of the users are females. In today’s over-politicised situation where tensions are tight, non-locals, as well as new, bogus users and trolls, are not allowed. In addition to the places where cheap strollers can be purchased, today in that forum you can find countless disproofs of the Russian news-stream, which is fake more or less in its entirety.

What are those ethnic Ukrainians really like, if not the monsters as painted in Vladimir Vladimirovich’s pet-media? You have probably seen dozens, or hundreds of them. As their language, as well as their look and habit, are very similar to Russian, you probably thought they are. In short, they are sweet, harmless people, not known in history for being especially murderous or sadistic. Although their dancing is really wierd. As it turns out those supposed war-mongers haven’t even had a real army, as demonstrated by a bloodless disarmament and seizure of Crimea by Russia.

Unfortunately you and me knowing the lies of Kremlin propaganda does not make a useful difference. It may well be doing its intended job. But why and how it works, this is a story for another time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Confusing: Estonia is "USA", Finland is "Russia". Advanced case of Finlandization

photo url-d from

When Estonia’s president Ilves chastised “empire savers, pillagers and terrorists” in his Victory Day Defence League Parade speech he meant Russians.

So, in accordance to what I wrote in a posting below such rhetorics would spur corrupt politicians and businessmen, people in Western countries on Russia’s payroll, to come out in defence of their oil rich “Motherland”. One would rightfully expect they would not miss a chance to take a swing at president Ilves. What was not quite expected and therefore came as a surprise, that it was Finland’s foreign affairs minister Erkki Tuomioja, perhaps more properly named Эрик Туомиёвич. A cabinet minister from a neighbouring European country who on behalf of our other neighbour, Russia, interfered with Estonia's president's second most important public address. And this is sad, because so far the man wasn’t on the list of well-known Russian stooges like Germany’s Gerhard Schröder.

Of course, comparing Finland's cabinet member to a known FSB/GRU informant is no small deal. But there's simply no other explanation one can think about, surprising as it is. At least I cannot think of no legitimate reason requiring Finland’s foreign minister to step in by  throwing himself in front of Russia (against Estonia!). It should normally be a paying job.
Despite so far flying under the Russia watchers’ radar comrade Туомиёвич is no small man. He is Foreign Affairs Commissary of something that in those circumstances can only be called Finnish People’s Republic and therefore member of bunch of influential EU bodies where foreign policy is formed. So if on the basis of president Ilves’ speech he produced pro-Russian (or anti-Estonian) foreign policy comment, surely it was at least somehow sophisticated? Sadly, no. According to EER our Finnish comrade’s message was surprisingly simple. He just does not like Ilves, because – wait for it – America!

“Ilves's worldview was formed in Munich and the United States, while others have lived and survived here,” the minister said, alluding to Ilves spending his childhood in the US and later working for Radio Free Europe.

Finnish language Wikipedia tells us that comrade Туомиёвич’s father was prime minister. His mother was country’s Member of Parliament (although she was briefly arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia USSR before she became MP and Editor-in-Chief of Government Broadcasting Corporation). It all makes sense if one remembers that it is usually incredibly rich and influential people in the West who today play for Vladimir Vladimirovich’s team. Their post-communist hypocrisy, on the other hand, can be deafening: in the quote above prime-minister’s son, raised in luxury, blames war-refugee Ilves  whose parents fled GULAG with nothing and who had to toil for themselves, for “not living and surviving with the people”! What would comrade Туомиёвич most frequently survive, caviar overdose?

How Туомиёвич’s criticism compares to what Kremlin is saying? Expectedly, it happens to be exactly, almost word-to-word the same:

“Ilves is former USA citizen born in Sweden, but he was raised and worked in the US in anti-Soviet propagandist radio station “Free Europe” (Estonian-language edition).”

Unfortunately, comrade Туомиёвич, despite being a whole foreign affairs commissary which even in people's republics sometimes comes with some level of finesse, appears to be no different than even our favourite Kremlin mouthpiece in an average quote.

The question here, rhetorically, with such foreign affair’s minister does Finland need to be an independent Republic or Oblast would suffice?