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Russo-Ukrainian war: Strategic and economic theatres

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  • NATO bolstering Southern Flank

    NATO seeks to reassure Russia's neighbours fearful of instability | Reuters

    NATO seeks to reassure Russia's neighbours fearful of instability

    NATO to reassure Russia's nervous neighbors

    BUCHAREST, Nov 30 (Reuters) - NATO foreign ministers sought on Wednesday to reassure fragile countries in Russia's neighbourhood that they fear could be destabilised by Russia as the conflict in Ukraine drags on, squeezing energy supplies and pushing up prices.

    The focus of the second day of a NATO foreign ministers meeting was on the Western Balkans region, in particular Bosnia, and on two former Soviet republics, Moldova and Georgia, both of which have breakaway regions occupied by Russian troops.

    "The message is clear: that all NATO allies are aware that the beast also wants to take control of the Western Balkans, and we need - by practical, deliverable support to help these countries to survive," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told Reuters at the end of a two-day NATO meeting in Bucharest.

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    "But of course, the centre point of gravity for these nations, for Moldova, for Georgia, is of course (the) outcome of this war. This is of existential importance to their territorial integrity, their right in the future to choose their way of life."

    NATO allies on Wednesday pledged to help Moldova, Georgia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as they face pressure from Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and ministers said.

    "If there is one lesson from Ukraine it is that we need to support them now," Stoltenberg told a news conference.

    "They are affected from Russian influence in different ways, but better to support them now rather than see developments that go absolutely in the wrong direction as we saw with the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year."

    He provided little detail on what shape that support would take.

    For Bosnia, he said: "I think to be able to resist attempts of Russian interference and influence, one of the most important things to be done is to complete formation of government after elections."

    U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the "Foreign Ministers of Partners at Risk of Russian Disinformation and Destabilization" session at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest, Romania, November 30, 2022. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

    Bosnia has been going through its worst political crisis since the end of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, with Bosnian Serbs challenging state institutions as part of their longtime bid to secede, emboldened by at least tacit support from Russia.


    European leaders worry that these countries on the continent's southern and eastern fringes will lose patience waiting for membership of the European Union and NATO, leaving them open to instability and Russian and Chinese efforts to gain influence.

    Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic, invited to join the NATO meeting, said she was concerned about Russia's intentions for her country.

    "We have Russian proxies in our government and division in our country is deep," she said.

    Moldova, wedged between Ukraine and Romania, last week warned its people to brace for a harsh winter as it was facing an "acute" energy crisis that risked stoking popular discontent.

    It has also faced an unresolved separatist conflict for 30 years. A contingent of Russian peacekeepers is based in mainly Russian-speaking Transdniestria that borders southwestern Ukraine.

    In Georgia, Russian-backed separatists control two breakaway regions - Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia to protect the separatists from what it said was a threat from the Geargian government.

    Stoltenberg said there were dozens of NATO trainers in Georgia and that allies had made new commitments for further support.

    "The stability in western Balkans is important for peace," Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani said. "We need to stop the Russians in the western Balkans, we need more Europe." EU leaders will hold a summit with Western Balkans leaders in Tirana next week.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain


    • The essay title speaks for itself-

      The Long-Term Risks Of A Premature Ceasefire In Ukraine-ISW 12/2/22
      Last edited by S2; 03 Dec 22,, 04:43.
      "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
      "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs


      • Originally posted by S2 View Post
        I disagree with two conditions listed after the ceasation of hositilies

        1. Ukrainian military power will be lower than it is now
        5. General Western enthusiasm for supporting Ukraine will be lower
        The Ukrainian-Russo border will make the Maginot Line look like a bunch of sandcastles (earthworks is damned cheap) and Kiev would have made the majority, if not all, the reforms needed to join NATO.

        Even without joining NATO, one of Kiev's demands for peace is for Kiev to become a NATO protectorate.
        Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 04 Dec 22,, 20:27.


        • Macron needs to fornicate himself with an iron rod
          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


          • Back just prior to the start of the War, when the Putz was trying to play diplomat,
            (unsuccessfully, the name Putz does chosen with care, it denotes a flop, a failure, a fuck-up!)
            but Macron bit at the bait!
            Tried to peddle what have been a Munich-like settlement that would in essence have sold the Ukrainians down the river!
            Apparently he hasn’t changed!

            When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin


            • An short article dating from April 22 in The Economist on the state of the Russian economy and predictions on future trends. Useful perhaps to read and then compare to the current status quo. If anything I would say the situation is now worse for Russia than was predicted given how events have flowed.

              Last edited by Monash; 30 Dec 22,, 03:46.
              If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.


              • Reuters investigative report of the influence of Russian sympathizers in Germany and their attempts to split German support for Ukraine.

                (Sorry for the formatting...)

                Pro-Putin operatives in Germany work to turn Berlin against Ukraine (

                Pro-Putin operatives in Germany work to turn Berlin against Ukraine
                REUTERS/Stringer. Illustration by Eve Watling
                In Germany some are clamouring for a change in course on Ukraine. Key figures in the campaign have links to the Russian state or far right, a Reuters investigation has found.
                By Polina Nikolskaya, Mari Saito, Maria Tsvetkova and Anton Zverev
                Filed Jan. 3, 2023, noon GMT
                COLOGNE, Germany
                In a square beneath the twin spires of Cologne’s gothic cathedral, around 2,000 protesters gathered in September to urge Germany’s government to break with the Western coalition backing Ukraine and make peace with Russia.
                “We must stop being vassals of the Americans,” right-wing German politician Markus Beisicht said from a makeshift stage on the back of a truck. The crowd clapped and waved Russian and German flags.
                A lean man in camouflage trousers stood at the side of the stage, obscured from the crowd by a tarpaulin. A few metres away, a burly man in dark sunglasses stood guard. The rally’s organisers did not welcome questions. Most declined to speak when approached by a Reuters reporter. One protester tried to persuade a police officer to arrest the reporter as a Ukrainian spy.
                The rally was just one of many occasions - online and on the streets - where people have clamoured that Berlin should reconsider its support for Ukraine. That message taps into deep connections between Germany and Russia, with several million Russian speakers living in Germany, a legacy of Soviet ties to Communist east Germany, and decades of German dependency on Russian gas.
                The stakes are high: if Germany, the European Union’s biggest economy, turns its back on Kyiv, European unity over the war will fracture.
                Through interviews and a review of social media posts and other publicly available information, Reuters has established the identities of key figures involved in pushing a pro-Moscow stance inside Germany since the war began, including the two men hovering near the stage in Cologne.
                The lean man is a Russian former air force officer. Originally called Rostislav Teslyuk, he changed his name to Max Schlund after settling in Germany a decade ago. In recent months, he travelled to Russian-controlled east Ukraine. More recently, a Russian government agency paid for his plane ticket to Moscow for a conference where President Vladimir Putin was the keynote speaker. The agency, Rossotrudnichestvo, is under EU sanctions for running a network of “agents of influence” spreading Kremlin narratives. Its head has branded the sanctions, imposed in July, as “insane.”
                Schlund’s burly neighbour near the stage, a man called Andrei Kharkovsky, pledges allegiance to a Cossack society that is supporting Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. Schlund and Kharkovsky didn’t answer detailed questions for this article. In a WhatsApp exchange, Schlund wrote: “Eff off!” and “Glory to Russia!”
                Reuters found that some of the loudest agitators for a change in German policy have two faces. Some use aliases, and have undisclosed ties to Russia and Russian entities under international sanctions, or to far-right organisations.
                German authorities have linked one of the people identified by Reuters to a far-right ideology. Some of its proponents were accused by police in December of plotting to overthrow the state. He runs a German-language social media channel called the “Putin Fanclub” and, in an echo of the alleged plot, called on social media early last year for the storming of the German parliament.
                Another is a Berlin construction company executive who used to be an officer in Russia’s military intelligence. He is acquainted with one of three Russian men recently convicted by a Dutch court for helping supply the missile that downed a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine in 2014.
                A third man is a motorcycle enthusiast who posts online alleging atrocities by Ukraine’s army and has raised money for a Russian biker gang that is under U.S. and EU sanctions for backing Putin’s war.
                Germany has so far earmarked more than 1 billion euros in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and neighbouring countries, plus military equipment including advanced air defence systems. The majority of Germans still support Ukraine, but after a steep rise in energy costs, polls show fewer are keen on expanding military support.
                The German government didn’t respond to detailed questions for this article but the Interior Ministry said it takes “very seriously” any attempts by foreign states or individuals to exert influence, especially “in the context of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.” The Kremlin didn’t answer questions from Reuters. Beisicht, the politician who spoke at the Cologne rally, told Reuters he has worked closely with the protest’s organisers. He didn’t address Reuters findings about their associations.
                Ties between Germany and Russia stretch back centuries. Empress Catherine the Great invited her German compatriots to emigrate to Russia in the 18th century. Between 1992 and 2002, around 1.5 million of these settlers' descendants moved back to Germany, taking advantage of laws that allowed people of German ancestry to claim citizenship. German government research shows that this community votes more heavily for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party than other groups. It wants to tighten immigration controls and limit Islam’s influence in Germany.

                Dual identity
                The public face of the Cologne protest was Schlund’s romantic partner, Elena Kolbasnikova, originally from Ukraine and now living in Germany. She led the crowd in a chant of “Peace. Freedom. Self-determination!” in her slightly accented German. Using flyers and social media, she and Schlund organised the demonstration and a series of other pro-Russian events.
                Kolbasnikova acquired celebrity status in some anti-establishment circles in Germany last year after saying she was fired from her nursing job because of “Russophobia” - an account that Reuters couldn’t independently verify. When addressing supporters, she stops short of explicitly supporting Russia’s invasion and instead focuses on the conflict’s impact on Germans worried about rising heating bills.
                Schlund’s VKontakte social media profile says he studied at the Zhukovsky military academy, best known for training Russian cosmonauts. He appears in photos posted by fellow students. In pictures, including some posted by Kolbasnikova, he is shown wearing a military uniform. Kolbasnikova’s brother told Reuters that Schlund served as a senior lieutenant in the Russian Air Force. Reuters could not independently verify these details.
                From around 2007, Schlund worked for private security firms, employment records show. In 2010, a Moscow court handed a one year suspended jail sentence for assault to a person with the same name and date of birth, according to police records. Schlund moved to Germany in 2012 to live with his then wife, a Russian of German descent, according to a person who knows him.
                They have since separated. Kolbasnikova’s brother, who still lives in Ukraine, told Reuters Kolbasnikova’s pro-Russia stance on the war has hardened a family rift: “She may be my blood sister, but what she’s doing is not really right.”
                Schlund completed a transaction to buy an apartment in Moscow in early 2022, Russia’s property registry shows.
                Over the summer, Schlund and Kolbasnikova sent a message on Telegram inviting “like-minded people” to a day of music, food and sport in Duesseldorf in June. The venue, a banquet hall, was adorned with flags of Chechen leader and Putin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov, whose fighters are part of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. A minister in Kadyrov’s government, Akhmed Dudayev, posted pictures of the event on Telegram and praised Kolbasnikova and Schlund as “ambassadors of goodwill” who are “on the side of truth.” Chechnya’s Ministry of Information, headed by Dudayev, said in a statement to Reuters it had nothing to do with organising the event.
                Also in 2022, the couple travelled to Donbas, the area of eastern Ukraine largely controlled by Russia. A pro-Kremlin media outlet, Tsargrad, posted a YouTube video of the trip in October. It shows Schlund and Kolbasnikova distributing aid, including tent heaters for pro-Moscow forces. The couple credit an organisation called the People’s Front for providing some of the aid and helping to organise the trip. The People’s Front, which did not comment for this article, is a coalition of Russian civil society groups and its leader is Putin, according to the organisation’s website. It too posted a video of the trip to social media.
                The couple and their supporters marched through the streets of Cologne again one Sunday in early December, attended by police officers and a noisy counter-demonstration. Shortly after, they planned to take part in a forum for civil society activists in Moscow that was co-organised by the Russian government. In the end, Kolbasnikova told supporters, they missed their flight. In a post in an online chatroom she said the “sponsor” for the plane tickets was Russky Dom, a Russian cultural promotion body. Russky Dom is part of Rossotrudnichestvo, the government agency that is under EU sanctions. Grigory Mikhitaryants, an official at Russky Dom in Berlin, told Reuters his organisation obtained tickets for two people to travel to the Moscow event but declined to give their names. Rossotrudnichestvo said in a statement it “has no relation to the financial and organisational arrangements,” of the couple.
                Schlund and Kolbasnikova declined to answer detailed questions. In a WhatsApp exchange, Schlund wrote to a Reuters reporter: “It’s better for you, stupid cow, if you stay out of my sight.”
                Using photos on social media, Reuters identified three of the security stewards at the Cologne protest. All have taken part in multiple Cossack gatherings in Germany, this reporting showed. In imperial Russia, the Cossacks pledged allegiance to the tsars. Now the main Russian Cossack organisations are loyal to Putin, and they are fighting alongside Russia’s forces in Ukraine.
                The main Cossack body, endorsed by the Kremlin, is the Union of Cossack Warriors of Russia and Abroad, which has dozens of chapters in Russia and abroad. It does not reveal the source of its funding. In Germany, Cossacks affiliated to the Union lay wreaths on the graves of Red Army soldiers and have provided security at events run by the Russian embassy.
                The burly man by the stage at the Cologne rally, Kharkovsky, is originally from Siberia’s Tomsk region. He now lives in Troisdorf, southeast of Cologne, and has run a small trucking business, according to posts on Kharkovsky’s OK social media account. He is regularly pictured on his and other social media pages at Cossack gatherings, often wearing Cossack military uniform. Tattooed on his arm is an eight-pointed symbol that has been adopted by the far right in Russia and other countries.
                Two of Kharkovsky’s fellow stewards have also attended Cossack meetings - a martial arts enthusiast called Vladimir Felk and a man who identifies himself on social media as Sergei Schneider. Felk has worked as a security guard and has run a logistics firm, according to posts on Felk’s OK social media account.
                In pictures Kharkovsky posted from annual gatherings in recent years, the three men are joined by a security guard and nightclub bouncer called Grigory Kramer. Kramer is a representative of the Union of Cossack Warriors of Russia and Abroad. A long-time former head of the Union, Viktor Vodolatsky is under EU and U.S. sanctions for backing Russian actions in Ukraine.
                The 2022 gathering, in Hanover, welcomed Russian diplomats from the consulate in Hamburg, according to an account of the event the Russian Orthodox Church published on its website. A greeting was read out from the acting leader of the Great Don Army, a Cossack organisation involved in recruiting soldiers and fighting in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Photos shared by Kharkovsky on social media show him and other participants standing in front of a Great Don Army flag.
                Kharkovsky put down the phone when Reuters contacted him. In a subsequent exchange on a messaging app, he confirmed he provided security at protests organised by Schlund and Kolbasnikova but didn’t answer detailed questions. Kramer declined to be interviewed. Felk, Schneider, and the Great Don Army did not respond to requests for comment. The Union of Cossack Warriors declined to comment.

                A Cossack gathering in Hanover in 2021. Kharkovsky (2nd from left), Felk (4th from left), Kramer (6th from left), Schneider, (far right). Picture from Kharkovsky’s account
                Russian military intelligence
                When the German Communist Party held a “peace and solidarity” festival in Berlin at the end of August, it included a panel discussion titled “Peace with Russia.” Among the panellists was Oleg Eremenko, a Russian-German businessman who argued that Ukrainian youths are being taught to hate Russia. Eremenko has long been active in the Russian German community. He runs a construction business in Berlin. Clients listed on its website include the Russian Orthodox Church in Berlin. The Church said it had no record of its contractors.
                “Too much information will do no favours for the pro-Russian side … The more names there are, the more information about our activities here, it will be very unhelpful for our reputation here, especially with the German authorities.”
                Oleg Eremenko
                The grandson of a Soviet war hero who was a member of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party until 1981, Eremenko is on the board of an organisation called “Desant”, which is made up of former Russian servicemen. He has appeared at events alongside Russian diplomats to commemorate the Soviet war dead buried in Germany and has been pictured with German politicians such as Manuela Schwesig, a member of the Social Democrats and state premier of the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In 2020, Eremenko was among a small group of people given citations for service to Russia by the country’s ambassador to Germany. Schwesig did not respond to a request for comment.
                His past is less public.
                In a photograph dated 2016, Eremenko poses next to Igor Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer recently convicted in absentia by a Dutch court of involvement in the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 over Ukraine. The photo appears on a VKontakte account run by Girkin’s organisation. Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, has denied any role in the shooting down of the plane. Contacted by Reuters for this story, Girkin said: “I don’t give interviews to enemy media.”
                Six years ago, Eremenko took part in a Russian TV dating series called “Let's get married.” A close associate of Girkin, appeared on stage as one of Eremenko’s friends. Sitting at a table decorated with colourful flowers, Eremenko said that he was looking to marry a nice “Slavic girl” and have children.
                Eremenko confirmed to Reuters that he worked for Russian military intelligence, the GRU. He said he served inside Russia but declined to give details. “I served, and that’s it,” he said. “I’m now in Germany in, let’s say, a civilian status,” promoting Russian culture and memorialising World War Two dead in conjunction with Russian officials.
                Eremenko said he got to know Girkin when delivering humanitarian supplies to people in the Donbas region in 2014 and 2015. Declining to speak in detail, he said he and other Russian activists are under heightened scrutiny from German authorities. “Too much information will do no favours for the pro-Russian side,” he said. “The more names there are, the more information about our activities here, it will be very unhelpful for our reputation here, especially with the German authorities.” He said he had made no political statements backing either side in the war in Ukraine.
                Putin fan club
                Some pro-Russian activists are spreading the Kremlin's message to the German-speaking public online.
                A Reuters analysis of German language Telegram channels found at least 27 channels that consistently reshare and boost pro-Kremlin messages to a combined audience of about 1.5 million subscribers.
                One such account is “Putin Fanclub.” It regularly posts to its 36,000 subscribers photos of Putin, items about his public appearances and German translations of his speeches. A mocked-up video posted there shows Putin beating Joe Biden in an arm wrestle. Another post from Oct. 26 exhorts Germans to take seriously Putin’s warnings of a nuclear conflict.
                The Telegram account provides no information about who owns or administers it. But a Reuters analysis of its posts and reposts led to a man named Wjatscheslaw Seewald living in Bavaria. Seewald acknowledged to Reuters that he is behind the channel, though he said he was one of several people.
                Seewald maintains an active presence on YouTube. In 2011 he posted a photo of himself with Aleksandr Khinyevich, founder of a faith based on the “Slavic-Aryan race.” In a 2013 YouTube video, Seewald argued not all Swastikas should be covered by Germany’s ban on Nazi symbols, saying the original symbol predates Nazism by centuries and has nothing to do with the Third Reich.
                Seewald has written online about his affinity for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland party. In 2017, he posted a selfie with Bjoern Hoecke, an AfD politician and co-leader of The Wing, a far-right faction within the party that has since been disbanded. A German court ruled in March that The Wing’s aims were at odds with the country’s constitution. The group’s goals included protecting the ethnic integrity of the German people and keeping out "foreigners." Hoecke told Reuters he does not know Seewald and it is impossible to vet the views of everyone he is photographed alongside.
                In a post on his Telegram social media platform three days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Seewald wrote: “The Reichstag needs to be taken again” in a reference to the German parliament building. Seewald has caught the attention of German authorities. A 2021 report by Bavaria’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which is tasked with monitoring extremists, said Seewald publicly espouses anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and is influencing extremists who threaten democracy. German officials declined to comment about Seewald or any measures that resulted from the report.
                The report also cited Seewald as an example of how members of the far-right Reichsbuerger movement moved their activity online during the pandemic. The movement does not recognize modern day Germany as a legitimate state; some followers believe it is under military occupation, and some espouse Nazi ideas. In December, German authorities detained dozens of individuals, including a Russian national, for allegedly plotting to overthrow the state. Investigators say they suspect some of the individuals had concrete plans to storm parliament. The investigation is ongoing.
                Seewald confirmed his role in the Putin Fanclub but declined an interview request, saying he is not talking to the media because of “Russophobia” in Europe. He declined to respond to detailed written questions, except one, about the Swastika. “How can a Russian person support Hitler? Are you in your right mind?” he said.
                Germany’s Interior Ministry, which oversees the police and the federal agency monitoring extremism, said it does not comment on the activities of specific individuals or groups.
                Night Wolves
                Some groups inside Germany have focused attention on a humanitarian crisis in Donbas caused, they say, by Ukrainian forces deliberately shelling civilian targets. That stance – which Kyiv and its allies say is untrue – echoes a narrative pushed by the Kremlin.

                Motorcycle enthusiast Jan Riedel in Donetsk. Photo from the Facebook channel of Riedel’s group “German-Russian Souls”
                Jan Riedel, a motorcycle enthusiast from east Germany, is president of a group called “German-Russian Souls.” It takes part in pro-Russia events in Germany, sometimes alongside Russian diplomats, laying wreaths on the graves of Red Army soldiers killed in World War Two. Riedel and his group post images on their social media channels almost daily showing what they say is the aftermath of Ukrainian artillery attacks on apartment buildings and civilian infrastructure in the Donbas region. Riedel didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article.
                Riedel’s group partners with an organisation called “Patriots of Novorossiya.” Novorossiya – which literally translates as New Russia – is the name that Russian nationalists give to the area of southern and eastern Ukraine that the Kremlin and its supporters say is rightfully Russian. Representatives of “Patriots of Novorossiya” declined to comment.
                At public events, Riedel is usually dressed in a heavy-duty leather motorcycle jacket adorned with the Novorossiya flag and the number 1423. The number denotes the Night Wolves, a Russian biker club that is under U.S. sanctions for helping Russian forces seize Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and recruiting separatist fighters in Donbas.
                One of several visits Riedel made to Donbas was in 2019. A post on his group’s social media page announced a 10,000 rouble ($165) donation to the Donbas chapter of Night Wolves. It said the money came from a fund-raising event in Germany. Vitaly Kishkinov, head of the Donbas Night Wolves chapter, told Reuters his group received the donation. He said it was a one-off donation and that the chapter and Riedel’s organisation were not working together.

                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                Mark Twain


                • A.R.,

                  You're on some kind of roll here, hoss. This and the WAPO article is smokin' stuff. Funny to think about the level of success achieved by Russia in staking out a chunk of the German perspective. Whoda thunk it, eh? Just goes to show how thoroughly flipped the German community in the east became post WWII. Clearly to your benefit to jump on board in those days. We see how the Russians attempt manipulation of those Ukrainians in occupied lands. We can't imagine the coercive and, ultimately, corrosive nature of the Soviet re-education process among the east Germans.

                  The penetration was considerable and we're perhaps seeing one of the unpredicted downstream permutations w/ your posted Reuters expose.

                  I agree w/ Putin that Russia and the west are at war. Wonder where seditious acts kick in when you see the malign foreign influence exhibited in this article? Or the political penetration of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchy might play in any of our countries?

                  Anyway, nice job...again.
                  "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                  "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs


                  • Thanks

                    I have been going further afield as of late in my sources...I have found Reuters to be one of the best and levelheaded. Honestly, I was steered this way because of a Twitter post about 2 months ago. Plus, as things bog down thanks to the mud, the usual great sources (OSINT/Mick Ryan/Mark Hertling, et al) have grown fairly silent at the moment. My wife (finally) shared her log info for her Washington Post & New York Times online accounts and I am back to reading the detriment often times of my reading of history. Also, I am a loyal NPR listener and get a start there...and as Brother Shek used to Google-Fu has been sharpened over the recent months!
                    Last edited by Albany Rifles; 04 Jan 23,, 14:43.
                    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                    Mark Twain


                    • Originally posted by S2 View Post
                      Funny to think about the level of success achieved by Russia in staking out a chunk of the German perspective. Whoda thunk it, eh? Just goes to show how thoroughly flipped the German community in the east became post WWII.
                      While there's of course some increased preference for Russia in the East, the problem described in the article is more of a nation-wide one.

                      It primarily has to do with the millions of "Russians of German descent" that Germany took in and naturalized in the 90s. I've yet to meet any of them under 50 that aren't Putin fans.

                      This isn't a recent thing either. Over 20 years ago one of my roommates in the Army was a Kazakh-German who had been drafted 2 years after he had arrived in Germany, didn't speak a single word of German by that time (we had another roommate who'd translate for him) ... and had a poster of half-naked Putin hanging over his bed.


                      • Originally posted by kato View Post
                        ... This isn't a recent thing either. Over 20 years ago one of my roommates in the Army was a Kazakh-German who had been drafted 2 years after he had arrived in Germany, didn't speak a single word of German by that time (we had another roommate who'd translate for him) ... and had a poster of half-naked Putin hanging over his bed.
                        How in God's name did you get any sleep with that staring down at you all night?
                        If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.


                        • Originally posted by Monash View Post
                          How in God's name did you get any sleep with that staring down at you all night?
                          Do you really want an answer?



                          • Reuters article on the prospects of the Russian economy in 2023. I summery a continued slow decline in the size of the economy (3.5% last year, 2.5% this year), inflation at 12% (the official target is 4%). The consensus, using Iran as a template is that sanctions are effective but they are slow and take time to become really effective. In effect (IMO anyway) the report more or less seems to indicate that as long as the sanctions stay in place the Russian economy will continue to contract for years to come.

                            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.


                            • Unfortunately, the Ukrainian economy is contracting exponentially relative to Russia-

                              How Ukraine Is Managing A War Economy- IMF Dec. 22, 2022

                              "... According to our estimates, Ukraine will lose at least one-third of its GDP in 2022." Andriy Pyshnyy, Governor Nat'l Bank Of Ukraine

                              Some thoughts from Niall Ferguson (to include the economy) and Michael Kofman on the war-

                              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs