What to do about the U.S. Treasury’s “Kremlin list” which names almost everyone in the Russian government? President Putin responds

From the Forum of the Presidential Candidate, 2018
January 30, 2018

Translated by Inessa S.

On January 29, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department released an unclassified list of “influential Russians” linked to the Kremlin. Dubbed the “Kremlin list,” the document was a legal requirement of a widened sanctions bill passed by Congress last year. At the Forum of the Presidential Candidate for 2018 (the upcoming elections will take place on 18 March, 2018) it was noted that the list appeared to have been put together haphazardly, using public resources including a list of Russian billionaires published by Forbes. Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, a law billed as a U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Treasury was asked to draw up a list of “oligarchs and parastatal entities” within 180 days. Russian deputy Konstantin Kosachev accused the Treasury of simply “rewriting the Kremlin phone book.” And certainly, some inclusions in the list are surprising: Anna Kuznetsova, the children’s Comissioner, as well as Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Kremlin human rights council.

President Putin responds.

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Paul Craig Roberts: “Cooperation with America” means surrender to America; Trump has surrendered; will Putin be the next to surrender?

There is no cooperation with America that is possible. Cooperation with America is an illusion, a fantasy. America simply doesn’t want it. A country that systematically demonizes Russia in every possible venue, including public education, including in its religious institutions, in its military, and non-stop in its media, cannot be an ally. There are Americans who won’t “drink the Kool-Aid” but they do not control U.S. policy nor the military machinery dropping the bombs and deploying the troops. 

Those who would represent freedom, true democracy, and human rights must do so without any attempt to involve the United States, or the UK, France or other western countries and allies. Tragic, but true.

Show us the way.

Global Research, April 07, 2017
Paul Craig Roberts

Washington has reopened the conflict with a Tomahawk missile attack on Syrian Air Force Bases. The Russian/Syrian air defense systems did not prevent the attack.

The Washington Establishment has reasserted control. First Flynn and now Bannon. All that are left in the Trump administration are the Zionists and the crazed generals who want war with Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and North Korea.  

There is no one in the White House to stop them.

Kiss goodbye to normalized relations with Russia.  

The Syrian conflict is set to be reopened. That is the point of the chemical attack blamed by Washington on Syria despite the absence of any evidence. It is completely obvious that the chemical attack is a Washington orchestrated event. According to reports US Secretary of State Tillerson has warned Russia that steps are underway to remove Syrian president Assad. Trump agrees.

Image result for assad

The removal of Assad allows Washington to impose another Washington puppet on Muslim peoples, to remove another Arab government with an independent policy from Washington, to remove another government that is opposed to Israel’s theft of Palestine, and for Exxon’s Tillerson and the neoconservative hegemonists to cut Russian natural gas off from Europe with a US controlled gas pipeline from Qater to Europe via Syria.  

By ignoring all of these US advantages, the Russian government dithered in completing the liberation of Syria from Washington-backed ISIS. The Russians dithered, because they had totally unrealistic hopes of achieving a partnership with Washington via a joint effort against terrorism.  

This was a ridiculous idea as terrorism is Washington’s weapon. If Washington can move Russia out of the way with threats or more Russian misplaced hopes of “cooperation” with Washington, terrorism will next be directed against Iran on a large scale.

When Iran falls, terrorism will start to work on the Russian Federation and on the Chinese province that borders Kazakhstan. Washington has already given Russia a taste of US-supported terrorism in  Chechnya. More is to come.

If the Russian government had not dithered in cleaning out ISIS from Syria when Russia unexpectedly took the lead from the West, Syria would not face partition or renewed US determination to overthrow Assad for the reasons given above. But the Russians, mesmerized by dreams of cooperating with Washington, have put both Syria and themselves in a difficult position. 

Image result for putinThe Russians grabbed the initiative and surprised the world by accepting the Syrian government’s invitation and entering the conflict. Washington was helpless. The Russian intervention immediately turned the tide against ISIS. Then suddenly Putin announced a Russian pullout, claiming like Bush on the aircraft carrier, “Mission Accomplished.”

But mission wasn’t accomplished, and Russia reentered, still with the initiative but set back somewhat from the irrational withdrawal. If memory serves, this in and out business happened a couple of times. Then when Russia has the war against ISIS won, they hold back on the finish in the vain belief that now Washington will finally cooperate with Russia in eliminating the last ISIS stronghold. Instead, the US sent in military forces to block the Russian/Syrian advances. The Russian Foreign Minister complained, but Russia did not use its superior power on the scene to move aside the token US forces and bring the conflict to an end.

Now Washington gives “warnings” to Russia not to get in Washington’s way. Will the Russian government ever learn that coopertion with Washington has only one meaning: sign up as a vassal?

Image result for trump

Russia’s only alternative now is to tell Washington to go to hell, that Russia will not permit Washington to remove Assad. But the Russian Fifth Column, which is allied with the West, will insist that Russia can finally gain Washington’s cooperation if only Russia will sacrifice Assad. Of course, Russia’s acquiescence will destroy the image of Russian power, and it will be used to deprive Russia of foreign exchange from natural gas sales to Europe.

Putin has said that Russia cannot trust Washington. This is a correct deduction from the facts, so why does Russia keep putting itself in a quandry by seeking cooperation with Washington?

“Cooperation with Washington” has only one meaning. It means surrender to Washington.

Putin has only part-way cleaned up Russia. The country remains full of American agents. Will Putin fall to the Washington Establishment just as Trump has?

It is extraordinary how little of the Russian media understand the peril that Russia is in.

Putin: “I am not your friend, I am the President of Russia” [Video]

From Fort Russ

July 24th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
– Rossia 1- Translated by Inessa Sinchougova

When German journalists asked the very simplistic question on whether Putin considered himself a friend or a foe to the West- he answered neither.
There is the simple concept of national interests, which may or may not be at odds with other countries. Diplomacy is the art of being able to reconcile your national interests, alongside those of other States, compromising on certain aspects along the way. 
However, the Atlanticist world view (EU/US/NATO) has shown not to allow for mutual respect, nor for cooperation. Through a number of covert means, they ask for nothing less than for Russia to no longer ascertain its national interests, which makes President Putin #1 Boogeyman in the world today.

Putin to Poroshenko, Merkel, and Hollande, “Stop shelling Donbass, now!”

From Fort Russ

Putin called on APU to stop shelling of Donbass immediately

RusVesna, May 24, 2016
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has called for an immediate end to the attacks on settlements in Donbas from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to the Kremlin press service.

A telephone conversation between the leaders of the Norman Quartet was held on Tuesday night.

“Putin has called for an immediate end to attacks by the armed Ukrainian formations on the settlements Donbass. It was emphasized that a key element of the settlement should be direct dialogue with Kiev-Donetsk-Luhansk for the full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreement of 12 February 2015,” concluded the press release.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/putin-to-poroshenko-and-merkel-and.html

To understand why Russians love Putin, you should look back to his first term — a businessman’s tale

From Fort Russ

Feb 24th
PREFACE by Tatzhit
I translated three short stories that capture very well what Russians think about Putin. To put them in context, I have included my thoughts on the subject in the small “postscriptum” section below. Read my ramblings, or draw your own conclusions.

The first story is written from a first-person perspective, and describes how Russia was before Putin, what he changed, and what people learned from it. Essentially, it explains why even profit-minded businessmen, suffering from economic problems and unimpressed with Russia’s foreign policy, continue to support the current government because of the hard lessons of the 90s.

The other two pieces are from a satirical author, one written about the time when Putin took power, and the other about him later, as the “Tsar”. These two are quite over the top, but I think there is a big grain of truth in them as well – if not about the real Putin, then about the popular view of him.

===
#1: A Businessman’s Story
I remember Perestroika well. Marlboro cigs for 1.50 appeared at our supermarket, and we smoked them enthusiastically, sitting in the gazebo at the neighboring playground. The taste of them was magical – far, far better than the Soviet “Kosmos” for 0.70. The future as adults was no longer certain, but also seemed magical through the smoke, like in an American movie. It took me many years to realize why we thought that…

And then everybody was suddenly into politics. Intellectuals all started hating on long-dead Stalin, the Communists refused to compromise, popular newspapers constantly published this or that “historic discovery”. When I returned from the army and saw people standing in lines for some crap cigs from Bulgaria, which were rationed to boot, I first found myself feeling [as a character in a bad comedy, and not Hollywood movie]. But even then, I still did not understand.

That happened later – I stepped into adult life, and understood how politics works.

At one point, watching dumb mugs on TV struggle under the weight of arrogance and inability to form coherent sentences became unbearable. How can those “democrats” run the country, if they can’t even organize their own thoughts? By the time Yeltsin’s tanks shelled their Parliament, I already wasn’t interested – politics turned into a murky sideshow which only occasionally had some effect in real life.

Meanwhile, real life went into full “rat race” mode, chasing money above all, with brief breaks to celebrate small “victories”, ridiculous by today’s standards.

Strolling across flea markets, filled with brand-name clothes all of a sudden. Flashing across night-time roads on my first “beamer”. Endless ruins moving past the train windows, [the country’s factories and infrastructure – sold to murky investors for pennies on the dollar, and immediately scrapped for a quick buck] stretching all the way from Moscow to St. Pete.

It would be wrong to say that we weren’t [celebrating freedom]. After all, freedom is when rules and restrictions disappear, right? There was even a children’s book like this – “A holiday of Disobedience”, [about children who were left to do as they please by their parents, and how short-lived their euphoria was]. That’s exactly what happened – after the official dismantling of the state, it slowly disappeared from people’s heads. Nobody was left to establish order, and the rules were set by those who have managed to steal something big, or bribe their way into government positions.
The whole country played Cowboys and Indians. There was no law enforcement – except those men in blue uniforms who existed solely to collect bribes on highways, and pass almost all of their loot higher up the ladder. Everyone lied and stole. Some guys were dodging the draft, some were stealing from their jobs, nobody I knew paid any taxes.

Yes, a lot of it started back when USSR went off track. But in Soviet times, people still obeyed most laws. They went to official jobs, had apartments they legally owned, etc. Yes, even back then some people bought stuff on the black market and could pay a bribe for a driver’s license exam, but those who did that were a tiny minority. Slightly more people nicked stuff from work, but in general they took something insignificant. Most people could honestly think of themselves as good, upstanding citizens. Plus the “real men” of the WWII generation were still around.

And then, in a few years, the whole country and all its inhabitants became lawless and illegitimate. Getting a fake stamp in your Social Security or visa paperwork became a common thing. You could pay off anyone – the judge, the fire department, the EPA. Businesses completely ignored the government and produced fake financial statements with unbelievable numbers, which worked because the tax collectors knew everything, and were overlooking it for a small sum. “Business raiders” – those who made money by illegally taking over and looting businesses – were heroes on TV. Kids in kindergartens didn’t play Cops vs Robbers – just Robbers vs Robbers [1].

And I was an integral part of this lawlessness. I fudged our accounting books and didn’t think anything of it. I paid wages under the table and casually handed out bribes when I needed to register our semi trucks or buy off a tax inspector. I was kicking out contractors that used my shops to sell their own goods. I smuggled in everything, without a second thought – importing legally did not make sense, we would not be able to compete. I even drove around a car that was imported illegally, and simply bought it back for $100 each time it was impounded. I laundered money via fictional companies, and created legal entities using the identities of hobos from the street. Put forged stamps on forged invoices. I moved cash by the trash bag, and even bought an illegal handgun just in case. I was friends with the mafia guys who were protecting my business, and tagged along when they had “matters to discuss” with rivals.

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President Vladimir Putin’s New Year address to Russia

From the Kremlin.ru
December 31, 2015

New Year Address to the Nation.

New Year Address to the Nation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends,

In a few moments, we will see in the New Year of 2016. The sensation of this wonderful moment between the past and the future is familiar since childhood. We look forward to it with joy, hope and excitement, believing in the best.

Traditionally, we celebrate it with our families, with all our near and dear ones. Of course, not all manage to see the New Year in with their families.

People have to work at hospitals and production facilities, perform their service and combat duty, defend our borders, and be on regular duty ensuring our security on land, at sea and in the sky.

We are grateful to all those who are always on their post, day and night, weekdays and holidays. Today, I would like to extend special greetings to those of our service members who are fighting international terrorism, defending Russia’s national interests at distant frontiers, showing their willpower, determination and staunchness. Though, these are the qualities we need all the time, whatever we are doing.

The success of the entire nation depends on the efficient labour and achievements of each one of us. We are united by the same goals, by our common desire to benefit our Motherland and by our sense of responsibility for its future.

In the outgoing year of 2015, we marked the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our history, the experience of our parents and grandparents, their unity in times of trouble and their willpower shall always serve as an example for us. They have helped and will help us to meet all current challenges with dignity.

Friends,

On this New Year’s night, we feel especially strongly just how much our near and dear ones mean to us. It is so important for all to be healthy and everything to be fine. For our parents to be surrounded by love and care, so that all the good things they have ever taught us come back to them.

Let our children grow smart and active, while love and responsiveness, kind-heartedness and compassion support us in our everyday chores.

There are a few seconds left before the New Year. Let us wish each other success and happiness.

Let us thank each other for understanding and support, for sympathy and responsiveness we give each other.

And let us raise a toast to the prosperity and wellbeing of Russia!

Happy New year to you! Happy 2016!

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/51128

Putin gives Kerry a chance to pull back from the brink

Global Research, December 16, 2015
CounterPunch 15 December 2015

Would you be willing to defend your country against a foreign invasion?

That’s all Putin is doing in Syria. He’s just preempting the tidal wave of jihadis that’ll be coming his way once the current fracas is over.  He figures it’s better to exterminate these US-backed maniacs in Syria now than face them in Chechnya, St Petersburg and Moscow sometime in the future.  Can you blame him? After all, if Washington’s strategy works in Syria, then you can bet they’ll try the same thing in Beirut, Tehran and Moscow.

So what choice does Putin have?

None. He has no choice.  His back is against the wall. He has to fight.  No one in Washington seems to get this. They think Putin can throw in the towel and call it “quits” at the first sign of getting bogged down. But he can’t throw in the towel because Russia’s facing an existential crisis.  If he loses, then Russia’s going to wind up on the same scrap heap as Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. You can bet on it. So the only thing he can do is win. Period. Victory isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.

Do you think that Putin and his advisors have had their heads in the sand for the last 15 years, that they haven’t noticed the US rampaging around the globe bumping off one country after the other leaving behind nothing but anarchy and ruin? Do you think they don’t know that Russia is on the top of Washington’s hit-list? Do you think they haven’t noticed NATO inching closer to Russia’s borders while foam-at-the-mouth politicians in Washington wave their fists and growl about Hitler Putin and evil Russia?

Of course they’ve noticed. Everyone’s noticed. Everyone knows Washington is on the warpath and its leaders have gone stark raving mad. How could they not notice?

But all that’s done is focus the mind on the task at hand, and the task at hand is to whoop the tar out of the terrorists, put an end to Washington’s sick little jihadi game, and go home. That’s Russia’s plan in a nutshell.  No one is trying to cobble together the long-lost Soviet empire. That’s pure bunkum.  Russia just wants to clean up this nest of vipers and call it a day. There’s nothing more to it than that.

But what if the going gets tough and Syria becomes a quagmire?

That doesn’t change anything, because Russia still has to win. If that means sending ground troops to Syria, then that’s what Putin will do. If that means asymmetrical warfare, like arming the Kurds or the Yemenis, or the Taliban or even disparate anti-regime Shiites in Saudi Arabia, then he’ll do that too. Whatever it takes. This isn’t a game, it’s a fight for survival; Russia’s survival as a sovereign country. That’s what the stakes are. That’s not something Putin takes lightly.

Keep in mind, that Russia’s situation is entirely different than that of the US. The US is engaged in a vast “pivot” project to remove secular regimes that are hostile towards Washington, control vital resources from North Africa through the Middle East and across Central Asia, establish military bases wherever necessary, maintain the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and redraw the map of the ME in a way that best suits the commercial and strategic interests of its core constituents; the banks, the multinational corporations and the big weapons manufacturers.

Russia doesn’t have any grandiose plans like that. Putin just wants to sell oil, make money, raise living standards in Russia, and get on with life. He figured that if he played by the rules– Washington’s rules– joined the WTO, then he’d be okay. But that’s not the way it works. The WTO’s rules, like the IMF’s rules are only upheld as long as they suit Washington’s strategic objectives. And when they don’t, well, then they’re dumped like a hot potato just like they were when the US implemented its economic sanctions on Russia or when the IMF allowed Ukraine to stiff Moscow for $3 billion in loans.  The point is, it’s a free market when Washington says it’s a free market, otherwise all bets are off.

The same rule applies to terrorism. For example, On Saturday, a group of terrorists detonated a car bomb near a hospital in the Syrian city of Homs. 22 people were killed and more than 70 were injured. So the Syrian government asked the UN Security Council to condemn the attack. Naturally, the Security Council said “Yes”, right?

Wrong. In fact, the UNSC refused to make any statement at all about the attack because, to do so, would be seen as supportive of the Syrian government that the US wants to topple. The bottom line: Blowing up civilians with car bombs is hunky-dory as long as the US benefits from it.

By the way, the Security Council is currently chaired by the US who made sure the draft was never even put to a vote.

Does that sound like a country that’s seriously committed to fighting terrorism or a country that is run by hypocrites?

The reason I ask this now is because, on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to attend an emergency meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss issues that are too sensitive to reveal to the public. There’s a lot of speculation about what the two men will talk about, but the urgency and the secrecy of the meeting suggests that the topic will be one of great importance. So allow me to make a guess about what the topic will be.

When Kerry arrives in Moscow tomorrow he’ll be rushed to meeting room at the Kremlin where he’ll be joined by Lavrov, Putin, Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu and high-ranking members from military intelligence. Then, following the initial introductions, Kerry will be shown the evidence Russian intelligence has gathered on last Sunday’s attack on a Syrian military base east of Raqqa that killed three Syrian soldiers and wounded thirteen others. The Syrian government immediately condemned the attack and accused US warplanes of conducting the operation. Later in the day,  Putin delivered an uncharacteristically-harsh and threatening statement that left no doubt that he thought the attack was a grave violation of the accepted rules of engagement and, perhaps, a declaration of war. Here’s what he said:

“Any targets threatening the Russian groups of forces or land infrastructure must be immediately destroyed.”  This was followed shortly after by an equally disturbing statement by Putin to the Russian Defense Ministry Board:

Special attention must be paid to strengthening the combat potential of the strategic nuclear forces and implementing defense space programs. It is necessary, as outlined in our plans, to equip all components of the nuclear triad with new arms.

Why would an incident in the village of Ayyash in far-flung Deir Ezzor Province be so important that it would bring the two nuclear-armed adversaries to the brink of war?

I’ll tell you why: It’s because there were other incidents prior to the bombing in Ayyash that laid the groundwork for the current clash. There was the ISIS downing of the Russian airliner that killed 224 Russian civilians. Two weeks after that tragedy, Putin announced at the G-20 meetings that he had gathered intelligence proving that 40 countries –including some in the G-20 itself–were involved in the funding and supporting of ISIS. This story was completely blacked out in the western media and, so far, Russia has not revealed the names of any of the countries involved.

So, I ask you, dear reader, do you think the United States is on that list of ISIS supporters?

Then there was the downing of the Russian Su-24, a Russian bomber that was shot down by Turkish F-16s while it was carrying out its mission to exterminate terrorists in Syria. Many analysts do not believe that the   Su-24 could have been destroyed without surveillance and logistical support provided by US AWACs or US satellites. Many others scoff at the idea that Turkey would engage in such a risky plan without the go-ahead from Washington. Either way, the belief that Washington was directly involved in the downing of a Russian warplane is widespread.

So, I ask you, dear reader, do you think Washington gave Turkey the greenlight?

Finally, we have the aerial attack on the Syrian military base in Deir Ezzor, an attack that was either executed by US warplanes or US-coalition warplanes. Not only does the attack constitute a direct assault on the Russian-led coalition (an act of war) but the bombing raid was also carried out in tandem  with a “a full-scale ISIS offensive on the villages of Ayyash and Bgelia.”  The coordination suggests that either the US or US allies were providing  air-cover for ISIS terrorists to carry out their ground operations.  Author Alexander Mercouris– who is certainly no conspiracy nut–expands on this idea in a recent piece at Russia Insider which provides more detail on the incident. The article begins like this:

Did Members of the US-Led Coalition Carry Out an Air Strike to Help ISIS? Russia Implies They Did. Russian statement appears to implicate aircraft from two member states of the US led coalition in the air strike on the Syrian military base in Deir az-Zor….This information – if it is true – begs a host of questions.

Firstly, the Syrian military base that was hit by the air strike was apparently the scene of a bitter battle between the Syrian military and the Islamic State.  It seems that shortly after the air strike – and most probably as a result of it – the Islamic State’s fighters were able to storm it.

Inevitably, that begs the question of whether the aircraft that carried out the air strike were providing air support to the fighters of the Islamic State.

On the face of it, it looks like they were. After all, if what happened was simply a mistake, it might have been expected that the US and its allies would say as much.  If so, it is an extremely serious and worrying development, suggesting that some members of the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition are actually in league with the Islamic State.  (“Did Members of the US-Led Coalition Carry Out an Air Strike to Help ISIS?” Alexander Mercouris, Russia Insider)

So there it is in black and white. The Russians think someone in the US-led coalition is teaming up with ISIS. That should make for some interesting conversation when Kerry sashays into the Kremlin today.

Does Kerry have any clue that Putin and his lieutenants are probably going to produce evidence that coalition warplanes were involved in the bombing of the Syrian military base?  How do you think he’ll respond to that news? Will he apologize or just stand there dumbstruck? And how will he react when Putin tells him that if a similar incident takes place in the future, Russian warplanes and anti-aircraft units are going to shoot the perpetrator down?

If I am not mistaken, Kerry is in for a big surprise on Tuesday. He’s about to learn that Putin takes war very seriously and is not going to let Washington sabotage his plans for success. If Kerry’s smart, he’ll pass along that message to Obama and tell him he needs to dial it down a notch if he wants to avoid a war with Russia.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.