RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.

In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration:  “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”

By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”

 To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.

A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”

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BRAIN POISONING BY RUSSIAN NERVE AGENT – ALEXEI NAVALNY INFECTS GERMAN CHANCELLERY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

There is only one certainty (zweifelsfreie Nachweis) in the case of Alexei Navalny and the traces (Spuren) which have been found in his skin, urine and blood, and in a water bottle, by the German Army’s chemical warfare laboratory in Munich.

This certainty is that, in order to believe the German and other government interpretations which have been given of the evidence to date, you have to be suffering from a severe case of brain washing. The lighter the spectrometric mass or weight of the reported Novichok spuren, the heavier the measurable wash on the brain required to believe they are evidence of a Russian state crime.

In political weight, however, Navalny in his present condition is now more valuable outside Russia than he was, or ever could have been, inside Russia when he was in full health. In the politics of next year’s German election, when Chancellor Angela Merkel will not be running, the Navalny case weighs more heavily than the Litvinenko, Magnitsky, MH17, and Skripal cases all rolled into one.  

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CYPRUS PRESIDENT NICOS ANASTASIADES ANNOUNCES TREASON AS STATE POLICY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Nothing like this has been said before by a leader of the Hellenes, Greek or Cypriot.

“If we consider a solution through militarisation,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, right) announced last week. “This will be the end of Cypriot Hellenism, which I do not want.”  What Anastasiades meant was that he does not want Cyprus to defend itself, its land, airspace, territorial waters, and sea lanes,  by military means.

A Cypriot president who swears off military defence “of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus” is violating his oath of office; he is betraying the Cyprus Constitution.  A veteran of Cypriot presidential politics comments that Anastasiades is making the calculation that his best chance for winning a third term of office is submission to Turkey first, and submission to the US, the European Union, and Israel to limit Turkish military expansion in and around the island.   

This is a strategy of buying time for himself, the source said, and riches for his associates. “He will be very happy to see Cyprus as a satrapy of Turkey provided he and his associates become the sultan’s satraps.” 

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SERVILITY OR SELF-DEFENCE: CYPRUS CAN DEFEND AGAINST THE TURKS WITHOUT AMERICAN PROTECTORATE OR RUSSIAN ADVICE

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Russia has been warning Cyprus (lead image, left) for months to beware the risks and consequences of offering its offshore oil and gas to US companies in exchange for promises of a US military protectorate against Turkish invasion. So far the American response (lead image, centre – Secretary of State Michael Pompeo) has been to require Cyprus to block Russian Navy access to its ports; expel Russian capital from its banks; and put a stop to what Washington calls pro-Russian journalism in the Greek-language press. For details of this scheme, read this

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced the Washington plan as an “artificial choice” and also a “gross violation” of Cyprus’s internal affairs. But so far the Russians have joined the Americans in accepting that what the Turks believe to be theirs is theirs, and that what the Cypriots (and Greeks) regard as theirs is negotiable.

For the first time, however, Cypriot and Greek military officers and experts have joined to plan  Cypriot military tactics against Turkey’s attempt at taking over the Cyprus offshore seabed and at fresh Turkish troop landings on the island. Not since the Cypriots fought a successful guerrilla war against the British for independence in the 1950s, and then in 1974 fought the Turkish invasion of the northern part of the island has a Cypriot military approach appeared.  Self-defence by the Cypriots – without alignment with Americans or Russians, and without backing from Athens — is unprecedented. (more…)

TURKISH DELIGHT AND THE SULTAN’S FINGER – IS THERE A TURKISH LOBBY IN MOSCOW? WHO DOES IT FEED IN THE KREMLIN?

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

If Russian money talks,  there can be no doubt it is telling President Vladimir Putin to give Russia’s relationship with Turkey a priority comparable, almost, with China and India. The  message eliminates Greece from the Kremlin’s consideration; it also diminishes Cyprus.

But does this mean there is a powerful Turkish lobby working inside the Kremlin? Does it mean that Russia’s shift on the economic front towards Turkey is causing a strategic switch, reversing the three-hundred year history of tsarist, imperial and Soviet military and security strategy?  Can the Turkish Air Force ambush of a Russian Su-24 fighter and murder of one of its pilots in November 2015; the assassination by a Turkish policeman of Ambassador Andrei Karlov in December 2016; eighteen months of embargo  on Turkish imports to Russia, December 2015 to June 2017; and the failure of the Idlib pact of September 2018 have all been erased from Russian memory, to be replaced by the trust Russian officials now insist they have towards their Turkish counterparts?

As the Turkish military begin deploying their newly delivered Russian S-400 missile batteries, first around the capital Ankara, and then in southwestern Turkey covering the airspace and territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece, Greek sources believe Russian strategy has broken with Russian memory, and will now side with Turkey in the expansion of its claims to the seabed oil and gas of Cyprus and around the Greek islands of the Aegean.

Eight Russian experts on Turkey, the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, employed by Moscow think-tanks, government consultancies, and the press were asked to assess this view, and also to say if they believe there is a Turkish lobby influencing Putin and the Security Council. The questions are so sensitive, however, not one agreed to respond either on or off the record.

“I find it hard to believe that the Russian ‘deep state’ relies on Turkey as a long-term ally”, a  retired Russian official and veteran of many years of policymaking with Greece, Turkey and other Black Sea states, says. “Historical memory is also there — we have many reminders.”

The Russian source adds that the Greek prime ministers have only themselves to blame for Russia’s re-calculation. “In the case of [former prime minister Alexis] Tsipras, it was easy — he was a fake, and many people suspected that from the outset. So why should Russia have tried to strike a deal with a fake that would yield nothing. With or without Russian interaction with Turkey, Tsipras would have acted in exactly same way on practically all issues: Russian-Turkish relations were just his excuse.  Nea Demokratia and the families in the Greek hereditary political establishment, such as Karamanlis or Mitsotakis, might be slightly more reliable partners than the Syriza clowns.”

“I think that Greeks are making a mistake. Early or later, Turks will come for their throat – for example, to reclaim the islands adjacent to Turkey, paying no mind to the American bases in Souda, Larissa, etc., because they know that the Americans will not intervene militarily, just as  they didn’t in the past.  It is just a matter of time. A country like Turkey can afford waiting a century or two. The Albanian expansion which the Americans endorse and EU stupidly disregards will improve Turkey’s strategic standing in the Balkans.” (more…)

THE SECOND CYPRUS PARTITION – AMERICAN PROMISES VERSUS TURKISH ARMS VERSUS RUSSIAN MONEY AND MISSILES

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

This week a group of US senators has proposed to leave Turkey in control of the northern part of Cyprus, and force the Greek Cypriots to choose between the US and Russia for the economic and political future  of the south of the island.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed by a large bipartisan majority on June 25 to put into law a new Eastern Mediterranean strategy. If the bill is enacted, Cyprus will be required to decide that in exchange for American protection from Turkish military threats, including Russian-made S-400 missiles to be based in southwestern Turkey,  the Cyprus  Government must not allow Russian naval vessels to dock at Cypriot ports,  and should block all Russian money and investments on the island.  At the same time, Greece has been told the US military intends to expand its occupation of Crete around the Souda Bay base; at Larissa Air Force Base, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki; and at other Greek locations.

The proposed new law is the most comprehensive plan for American military occupation of Cyprus and Greece since the Greek civil war of the 1950s.  The US plan also establishes State Department censorship of the Greek-language media in Cyprus and Greece, and threatens US sanctions against the Orthodox Church bishops of the two countries. (more…)

A NEW HISTORY OF MODERN GREECE REVEALS MISTAKES THE RUSSIANS AND GREEKS HAVE KEPT REPEATING FOR TWO HUNDRED YEARS

By John Helmer, Moscow

By the European standard of destructiveness in war — civil war and invasion — only one country exceeds Russia in the frequency of violence over the past two centuries and in casualties per head of population: this  is Greece. In Europe of today, no country has been as damaged by the serial attacks of the Turks, Germans, British, Americans, and also by the Greeks themselves, as Greece. No European suffers today from more impoverished future prospects than the Greek.

This is the dismal lesson of a new history, just published by a British academic and philhellene, as foreign lovers of Greece have been called since Lord Byron and Victor Hugo.   The history is also a valuable record of the dozens of times   Greeks appealed for Russian aid, and when Russians, having promised to help, turned out to be double-crossers. Indeed, starting from Catherine II in 1770 until Vladimir Putin today, this mistake Greeks (including Cypriots) and Russians make towards each other has been repeated. Re-reading the history may help stop the vicious cycle. So may the extended range of Russian air and sea missiles. (more…)

FOUR NAILS IN THE COFFIN MEAN VICTORY FOR CYPRIOT SOVEREIGNTY, BACKED BY GREEK PRINCIPLE AND RUSSIAN ARMS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the dark of Monday night before light broke on Tuesday, Cyprus, the small Mediterranean island invaded and occupied for 42 years  by Turkish troops with US and UK backing,  began a revolution its president, Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, 4),  doesn’t want.

The collapse of negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, arranged by United Nations (UN) officials at the Swiss resort of Mont Pèlerin, was confirmed by a UN communique issued at 1:30 in the morning. “They have not been able to achieve the necessary further convergences on criteria for territorial adjustment that would have paved the way for the last phase of the talks,” the bulletin announced.  “The two sides have decided to return to Cyprus and reflect on the way forward.”

“The Americans, the Turks, the European Union, and the British were sure there’s no deal  Anastasiades could not be persuaded to accept,” said a senior Cyprus official,  now retired,  “so long as there’s  a large enough percentage in it for himself. Anastasiades’s weakness is his personal corruption. This time, though, the Turks raised their bid too high. The Americans lost their cards in their election on November 8. The British aren’t players in Europe now. And for the first time there was a display of Greek and Russian power which has changed the game entirely. Greece first, then Russia have cut the legs off the negotiating table – Anastasiades’s legs too.” (more…)

OBITUARY FOR A HOLIDAY

By John Helmer, Moscow

It’s impossible to celebrate independence of oneself. It is possible to take leave of your senses.

День России, Russia Day, for which Russians take off today, is one of those cynical inventions for which Boris Yeltsin was responsible. It was on June 12, 1990, when, manipulating his control of the Russian republic parliament, Yeltsin declared Russia’s sovereignty from the Soviet Union, i.e, the start of his destruction of Mikhail Gorbachev, and almost everything else. A triumph of meretriciousness over sanctimony. In time, the insecurity from which the one seemed to be offering liberation from the other will deserve a different quality of relief – and apter memorial.
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IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE GREEKS – TWO OPTIONS FOR REPAYING THE GERMANS

The Koukidis Option

On April 27, 1941, Konstantinos Koukidis was the Greek Evzone on flag-guard duty at the Acropolis, when the German invaders arrived. When a German officer ordered Koukidis to surrender, give up the Greek flag, and raise the German flag in its place, Koukidis took the Greek flag down, wrapped it around his body, and jumped from the Acropolis rock to his death.

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PUTIN TELLS PAPANDREOU THE BOTTLE IS HALF-FULL — AND THE ALEXANDROUPOLI PIPELINE HALF-EMPTY

By John Helmer in Moscow

Embattled Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (left image) met in Moscow on Tuesday with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (right image) in hope of reviving Russian plans to deliver a new crude oil pipeline from Burgas, on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, to the Greek terminal of Alexandroupoli, on the Aegean; as well as confirm Gazprom’s future gas delivery plans across Greece.
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WHAT THE LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD NOAH IS A COMMERCIAL SECRET – A NEW BLACK SEA DELUGE WASHES AWAY POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY, AND MORE, MUCH MORE

By John Helmer in Moscow

There is no evidence currently available that Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has anything like the hot-line to God which enabled Noah of biblical fame to master the surge of the Black Sea, and with the help of the birdie — the first spy satellite on record – to make it safely to land.

What is known about Noah’s Black Sea strategy has been the subject of controversy among believers for several thousand years. More interestingly, since 1997, academics have speculated that during the glacial meltdown between about 15,000 BC and 5,000 BC, the Black Sea level dropped below the level of the Aegean and Mediterranean, causing a surge northward through the Bosphorus. The surge, according to one geological report, was a big one – 200 times the volume over Niagara Falls, each day for 300 days.
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PUTIN’S SURPRISE REWARD FOR GREECE, AND OTHER FRIENDS

By John Helmer in Moscow

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Athens this week – his second in six months, a Russian presidential record – is so unusual, its meaning may not be fully understood. Moreover, few Russians accompanying Putin are able to put into clear perspective the relationship which the president himself is trying to create.

For one thing, by choosing to meet his Greek and Bulgarian counterparts for a second signing ceremony that he could have delegated to a lower level, Putin is putting an end to false hopes that have bedevilled the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project for the decade that preceded Putin’s direct intervention last year.

The new pipeline is being built because the project supports strategic interests of the Russian state in seeing one of its natural resources safely to market, across friendly territory.

Commercial payoffs there will be. But these are the crumbs that will be divided after the majority shareholders of the project – Russia’s state pipeline company Transneft, and the state oil and gas companies, Rosneft and Gazprom – fix the lion’s share.
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THE MODERN ART OF SAYING ‘OHI-THAT’S GREEK FOR NO GO

Francois, the Duc de la Rochfoucauld, came to his famous book of maxims after a career in regular soldiering, and then in warfare between factions of the French court in the mid-17th century. He lost his home, his health, his love, and his fortune, but not his courage or wits. It is for those that he is remembered. Warring is different from posturing, the duke warned: “We are never so ridiculous through qualities we have, as through those we pretend to have.”

When the Turks kill Greek airmen and spy on Greece’s defences, Greek politicians pretend to peace-making with Turkey, deploying their paper missiles as if Greece’s voters cannot tell the difference between the ones that draw blood, and the ones that draw ridicule. This posturing invites the Turkish general staff to dispatch ever more aircraft to challenge and demoralize Greece’s defenders, in the confidence that the latter, and ) their superiors, have lost the will to fight; or will soon enough.

There was a time, almost twenty years ago, when the Turks learned differently, and stayed out of the Aegean for a long time afterwards.

For George Papandreou, the Pasok (Greek socialist party) leader whose idea it was in 1999 to pursue rapprochement with the enemy, his ‘forgetfulness of the lesson his father taught Ankara is even more ridiculous than his call following the May 23 clash near Karpathos.

In that incident, a Turkish spy plane and its escorts were intercepted by a Greek fighter. In circumstances that are not clear, there was an aerial collision, which downed Turkish and Greek fighter planes, and killed the Greek pilot. Papandreou said afterwards that “Turkey must operate “within the framework of good neighbourly relations”. George is not the man his father was, and so his ‘must’ has all the battle force of a drum-boy, compared to an artilleryman. In recent years, there have been dozens of Turkish incursions each year, and more than a dozen Greek pilots have been killed trying to intercept them. And yet it was in 1987 that George’s father, Andreas Papandreou, demonstrated how to win a war with the Turks without sounding either a drum or a cannon, without firing a single shot, or losing a single life. His victory in the Aegean War of that year ought to be a lesson for Greeks today.

What happened was that then, as now, the Turkish military and government in Ankara made all sorts of claims to the Aegean that defied international pacts, air, maritime, and territorial rules, navigation protocols, and the like. In their challenges to Greek sovereignty, it was understood in Athens that the Turks were encouraged by the Reagan Administration in Washington, with one special objective: the Americans had been trying for years to topple Prime Minister Papandreou. They thought that if he were humiliated by a show of Turkish power in the Aegean, and didn’t dare to fight it, he would discredit himself in front of the Greek electorate, and be voted out of office.

Andreas believed that Turkish incursions in the Aegean could be repelled, but only by a show of such force as to demonstrate to Ankara and Washington that, outnumbered and outgunned though the Greeks might be, they would exact such a price in blood that the outcome of the conflict could not be predicted confidently by Greece’s enemies. Accordingly, in secret, Andreas devised his plan of preemptive war. When the Turks dispatched a geological survey vessel into the Aegean to survey the seabed, the Greek seabed, for oil – despite dozens of prior warnings – Andreas moved swiftly. Fighter-bombers were rolled out of their revetments to takeoff position, fully armed, on three-minute warning. Greek tanks started to roll towards the Turkish border. The electricity supply to American intelligence posts in Greece was cut off. And, the biggest surprise of all, Todor Zhivkov, then the ruler of Communist Bulgaria, and member of the Warsaw Pact, started moving his armour and troops towards his frontier with Turkey, according to a personal agreement with Andreas. Never in the short, discreditable history of confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact had two armies of each allied themselves in a common military enterprise. It was a show that multiplied more force than the Turks or the Americans had imagined possible on four fronts. The survey vessel was ordered to turn about, and the Turkish prime minister was flown to Houston for emergency cardiological care.

It was Andreas’s strategy that won that war, and for the two years in which he remained in power, the Turks did not dare to challenge him militarily. The strategy was simple – Andreas believed that the only method that would persuade the Turks to stop their military adventuring against Greece is fear of force. To make that fear palpable, he thought it was also necessary to persuade their masters in Washington that Greeks can say “ohi”, and will kill and die, again, if they must. The last and most famous time a Greek prime minister said “ohi” was when Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, demanded that Athens allow his troops to occupy the country. In the alpine war which followed, the Italians were defeated, and had to call Hitler for rescue; the Germans then occupied Greece for the remainder of World War II.

Today Andreas’s son pretends that the Turks can be dissuaded from attacking Greece if they are offered the reward of accession to the European Union. President Karolos Papoulias, for whom the lesson of 1987 ought to be equally familiar, pontificated after the May 23 fight that “good neighbourly relations are not just a rhetorical turn of phrase or declaration of intent, but concrete acts.” He too imagines that Greece holds the key to accession. In fact, it has been the voters of France and the Netherlands who said “ohi”, before the Greeks dared by rejecting ratification of the proposed amendments to the EU Constitution. If Turkey is to listen seriously to the President of Greece or the Pasok leader, let them learn that after saying “ohi”, Greeks are ready to kill and to die.

Grim though that prescription is, Greeks don’t have the soft choices which the current government in Athens or its Pasok predecessor have offered them. But perhaps a strategic shift is coming, which may once again enable Greece and Cyprus to regain leverage against the Turkish alliance.

Russia has begun to signal that it may soon be ready to deploy a fleet at a new naval base to be constructed at Tartus, on the Mediterranean shore in Syria. Dredging at the port has already commenced, along with a range of dual-purpose developments along the coast to Latakia. Naturally, the return of a powerful Russian naval squadron to the o Mediterranean is intended for cooperative anti-terrorism operations with the NATO powers. Should the naval base eventuate, it would cast a protective shadow, though no longer a red shadow, over Syria, and possibly even Lebanon. On June 7, the Defence Ministry denied it intends to build up Tartus as a naval base. It did not deny that the Russian Navy will return to the Mediterranean, or that Tartus will serve as a supply point.

The return of Russian military power to the Mediterranean is also a return to the balance of power conditions in the region which, not only in the 20th century but earlier, have deterred Turkish expansionism, and sustained Greek freedom. Of course, Greece cannot make the mistake of counting on Russia to defend her from Turkish tactics; the Cretans learned that lesson almost three centuries ago. But the Greeks can count on the Russians to deter the Turks, and also the Americans. It is new world beckoning, but it is also an old one – one which the brief alliance between Andreas Papandreou and Todor Zhivkov foreshadowed in 1987.

* John Helmer, The Russia Journal columnist, was an advisor to Prime Minister Papandreou between 1982 and 1989, and participated in the planning for the Aegean events of 1987.

THE MODERN MILITARY ART OF SAYING ‘OCHI’

By John Helmer in Moscow

Francois, the Duc de la Rochfoucauld, came to his famous book of maxims after a career in regular soldiering, and then in warfare between factions of the French court in the mid-17th century. He lost his home, his health, his love, and his fortune, but not his courage or wits. It is for those that he is remembered. Warring is different from posturing, the duke warned: “We are never so ridiculous through qualities we have, as through those we pretend to have.”

When the Turks kill Greek airmen and spy on Greece’s defences, Greek politicians pretend to peace-making with Turkey, deploying their paper missiles as if Greece’s voters cannot tell the difference between the ones that draw blood, and the ones that draw ridicule. This posturing invites the Turkish general staff to dispatch ever more aircraft to challenge and demoralize Greece’s defenders, in the confidence that the latter, and their superiors, have lost the will to fight; or will soon enough.
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THE FAUCET AND THE BIG BANG IN GREEK BID TO BOOST RUSSIA TIES

When Russia’s leadership thinks seriously, strategically, about Greece, not very much comes to mind, except a faucet. To the Russians, Greece is the tap at the Mediterranean end of a Russian oil pipeline. For President Vladimir Putin and his Security Council, it is far better for Russian economic and regional security, if that tap is turned by Greek hands, not Turkish ones.

This is the big difference between Putin and his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin; and between the current Russian prime minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, and former prime minister Victor Chernomyrdin.

Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin were silently persuaded and (according to some evidence) bribed to support the Turkish oil pipeline, and drag their feet on implementing the Greek alternative. During President Costis Stephanopoulos’ recent visit to Moscow, the Russians made clear they think differently. They are now impatient to make the technical decisions, build the pipeline and open the tap. (more…)

CROSS & DOUBLE-CROSS

Until the thunder strikes, the Russian saying goes, the peasant won’t cross himself.

Neither cross nor double-cross is what the Russian government claims it did when the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, most recently flew from Athens to Russia, then back to Athens, and then towards Minsk, only to be turned back.

According to the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service Vladimir Putin, the question of admitting Ocalan to Russia, or refusing him, was never directly considered by the President nor the Prime Minister of Russia. They, Putin seemed to be saying, have no responsibility for what has happened to Ocalan. (more…)

RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.

In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration:  “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”

By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”

 To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.

A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”

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IF IT SMELLS ALLURING, IT’S RUSSIAN – IN WARTIME L’ORÉAL (FRANCE) AND ESTÉE LAUDER (US) MAKE A BAD SMELL



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour  of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.

Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.”    Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the  6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.    

Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected,   Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.  

The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.

Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the  Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving  grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world.  Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.  

The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery  now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.

Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.”  Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.  

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.

Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”

The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire,  the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.  

In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010.  The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”

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IN THE FOG OF WAR THERE’S THE GUTERRES CERTAINTY AND THE CADIEU CERTAINTY – GORILLA RADIO SEES THROUGH THE COVER-UP



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month  to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders,  knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.   

Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.

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DID UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES COMMIT A WAR CRIME AT AZOVSTAL?

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.

In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”  

This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.  In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.  

Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials,  to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.

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THE LAST DITCH IS POLAND – RUSSIA’S PHASE-3 PLAN FOR WESTERN UKRAINE



By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO  hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.

“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”.  He means the Ukraine border is the red line.

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THE MATLIN PLOT, THE BROWDER PLOT AND THE NEW YORK TIMES PLOT



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.

US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11   highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.

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YELLOW COAL, THE FUEL MADE OUT OF RACE HATRED — MAY DAY MESSAGE FROM SIGIZMUND KRZHIZHANOVSKY, 1939



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.

Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.

The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other.  Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilification of society.

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IS CAESARISM THE PROBLEM, THE SOLUTION, A FANCY DRESS COSTUME, OR A PROPAGANDA CARTOON?



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them.  It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.

When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.

While his wife and the Navy officer  who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion,  or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.  

The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.

What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States,  is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken;  and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase.  But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.  

Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”

In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.

With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”,  is just the ticket from now to then.

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