Personal announcement: appeal to my non-religious readers

Dear friends,

Several of you have expressed your puzzlement and even annoyance at the fact that in one of my recent posts I have quoted the Book of Genesis and I think that it is important for me to speak to this concern.

First and foremost, and this is really important to me, I want you to believe me when I say that I honestly understand your point of view.  I have lived all my life in the West and, believe me, I know from personal experience the kind of Christianity you have been exposed to.  I have seen many of my close friends struggle with huge dissonance between their attraction to the Christianity they saw in the New Testament and the kind of Christianity they could see around them on a daily basis: the money making hypocrites, the Bible-thumping screaming preachers, the pedophiles and the cover-ups, the clergy always on the side of the rich and powerful, the clergymen who preach celibacy and have their own “wives” at home, the churches who ban divorces but gladly “annul” marriages just to please a personality, those who stand for nothing, and those who only stand for hatred.  And worst of all, the clergyman and churches who are lukewarm, tepid, spineless, vapid and disgustingly subservient to the world.  Some of you said that when the read the worlds “and the LORD said…” they felt like gagging – well believe it or not, I think that this is a completely healthy reaction to the kind of religion you have been exposed to.  It’s accepting that sort of religion which I find actually un-healthy and un-natural.  

But I ask you to please hear me out with as much objectivity as you can.

First, this blog deals primarily with two regions: the Middle-East and Russia.  The reason for that is because these are the regions where, in my opinion, most of the important “action” is happening.  Recently this blog has been “wall to wall Ukrainian”, but that is only because something really important is happening there.  Before, for *years* I did not post a single thing about the Ukraine.  In the past, I posted mostly about the Middle-East and, especially, Iran and Hezbollah.  I did that because I considered that they played a crucial role.  Eventually, when I realized that Syria had become the front line, I did a huge amount of coverage of the civil war in Syria.  If tomorrow something massive happens in Australia or Iceland or Tahiti, I will try to cover that too.  But the fact is that for the foreseeable future the Middle-East and Russia are the two spots on the planet where the most important things are happening.  It so happens that these are also regions were religions play a crucial role.

Now, you do not have to believe in God to realize that there are some regions where religions are the single most important factor.  Furthermore, you simply cannot understand, say, Hassan Nasrallah unless you become acutely aware of his “system of reference” which is Shia Islam.  Finally, all religions have their own ethos, which often affects not only the pious faithful, but even those who are very superficially religious or not religious at all.  Russian Orthodoxy and Shia Islam both a very strong religious ethos inside them one which “reaches out” far beyond the narrow confines of the truly religious folks in Iran or Russia.  Why is that so important?

Because if you really want to understand Russians or Iranians, even the not very religious ones, you better get used to verses from the Bible or Suras from the Quran.  I am not saying that you have to agree, accept or endorse these texts, but you have to become conversant in the “language” and ethos they convey.  Just hating scriptural quotes is understandable, but not helpful in the Russian or Middle-Eastern context.

Second, you can easily view religion as a cultural phenomenon, something purely man-made which uses a symbolic, allegorical and metaphorical language to convey philosophical, social and moral issues.  Holy Writ can be seen as a system encoding historical, normative and legal notions.  The fact that some people “fill” these notions with a spiritual dimension does not at all force you to do likewise.  Bertrand Russel once wrote that “God created man in his image, and man returned him the favor”. So consider religions as a man-made thing which, for some reason, seems important to the more naive and simply of us.  That’s ok – no need to hate it then, no?

Third, I am confident that the majority of those who are disturbed by religion have had little – if any – exposure to traditional Orthodox Christianity (I am talking about the real thing here, not the ecumenist or “eastern rite” kind of nonsense) or truly traditional Islam (I don’t mean the Wahabi crap you can see on TV).  One is 2000 years old, the other 1400 years old.  Compare that to, say, the Latin “traditionalists” of school of Archbishop Lefebvre whose “traditions” go back as “far” as the First Vatican Council of 1864-1870, i.e. less than 200 years ago.  By Islamic or Orthodox standards, Latin traditionalists are recent hyper-modernists, a religion in its infancy.  Almost all the denominations you have seen around yourself have their roots in very recent history, even those supposedly “traditional”.  So here is what I want to submit to you: don’t lump into one category those religions who are essentially recent inventions and those who have more than 1000 years of history behind them.  That does not mean that you have to admit that the older ones are necessarily “better”, only that they are qualitatively different.  To put it most simply – it’s not our folks which made you gag on the words “the LORD said” so please do not judge us by your experience with the other ones, don’t just lump is all into one group called “religion” as religions come in a great variety of types and flavors.

Finally, you have to understand a simple thing: if this blog has any quality at all it is the fact that I never try to please anybody or to cater to any one constituency.  I get people pissed at me on a regular basis.  Many say that they don’t agree with this or that, but that they are grateful for my honesty, and I fully accept that.  I am what I am, and I call it as I see it.  For me, religion is BY FAR the single most important element of international relations, culture, history, ethics, politics, justice, etc.  And I, the former military analyst, like to say that all warfare is inherently spiritual.  Others, say Richard Dawkins, believe that religion is just about the worst thing ever produced by mankind.  Marx thought that it was the opium of the people and that it was used by the ruling classes to keep the lower classes passive, easily subjugated and oppressed.  But this blog is not Dawkin’s or Marx’s blog – its mine, and it would be emptied of its substance if I tried to use the language and system of reference of a world which I comprehensively reject.  My religion shaped me, it shaped the way I think, the way I act, how I look at things, what I try to achieve and what I try to avoid.  How could I possibly have a blog not featuring regular religious references?!

I therefore want to ask you for your understanding and patience with me.  Even if I do quote the Scripture or make religious references, please judge what I write at its face value and don’t let your past experiences obscure my message.  I am not Jerry Falwell, I am not Osama Bin Laden, I am not the Pope, I am not L. Ron Hubbard, I am not Sun Myung Moon, I am not Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, I am not Ian Paisley, I am not Jim Jones or David Koresh.  I am just a guy how happens to be very religious and whose religion is really ancient and different from anything you have seen in your life.  I am not asking you to endorse or accept that religion of mine, only to let me speak the way I normally do, without trying to look or sound like somebody else.

In other words, let them be them and let me be me.  I am a Russian Orthodox Christian, of a very traditionalist kind of persuasion and I have nothing, really absolutely nothing at all, in common with the rest of them.  Please accept me as I am and judge me for what I do.  That, I think, would be only reasonable and fair.

Many thanks for your understanding and kind regards,

The Saker

Ukraine mini-SITREP April 13, 12:40 EST

The situation on the ground is very confused, there are a lot of rumors and few verifiable facts.  Still, a few things are becoming obvious:

1) So far the offensive of the neo-Fascists is lame, at best.  So far, no determined and sustained attack has occurred.  There was an exchange of gunfire with casualties and at least one fatality reported in Slaviansk, but that occurred on the outskirts of the city and the attacking forces withdrew.

2) The quality and determination of the anti-Fascist resistance has dramatically increased over the past 24 hours.  Many more cities have seen uprisings, including cities which in the past had been completely quiet.  From the video footage form the region, the quality of the barricades has also dramatically increased and there are now armed men protecting them.

3) The resistance appears to be much better coordinated and volunteer units are being formed to reinforce the cities under attack (such as Slaviansk).

4) The so-called “anti-terrorist operation” announced by the freaks in Kiev appears to be executed primarily by SBU forces.  There are, so far, no signs of either police or military participation in it.

It is too early to call this one and we need to wait for at least 24 hours before we can make some conclusion.  But my very preliminary impression is that if things continue down this path the east and south of the Ukraine will simply secede from Kiev and the freaks in power there.  What is becoming obvious is that with every passing day the chances of somehow keeping the Ukraine as a unitary state are becoming smaller and smaller.  I cannot say that it would break my heart to see this obscene creation finally collapse in an orgy of incompetence and hateful rhetoric, but I also believe the breakup of the Ukraine will create a lot of headaches for Russia and that that these headaches will be very hard to deal with in the midst of what I can only call “Cold War II”.  I still think that a federal unitary Ukraine is the better option, but I am beginning to seriously doubt that this is still possible.

Lastly, as a side bar: the Regnum news agency reports that Alexander Lukashenko has made some really insane statements over the Ukraine including that he is opposed to federalization and that he considers Turchinov to be an honest man how can be trusted.  Not that he makes much of a difference, but I wonder if he is trying to make friendly with the US and EU again or if he basically has gone crazy.

Let’s see what the next 24 hours bring.  The situation should become clearer by Monday evening.

Stay tuned,

The Saker

Exclusive translation of the statement of Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament

Today is a good day for me, following “FR”‘s translation of the Open Letter to Putin from German into English, I have just received the translation from Russian into English of what I consider a truly historical statement made by Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament to the press corps (which, of course, never bothered translating a word of it) following the PACE’s disgusting vote on Russia.  I want to express my deepest gratitude to “DV” for taking the time to translate this historical statement especially for this blog.
Here is the transcript in English:

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Press-Conference of A. Pushkov

PUSHKOV: We think that those people who took part in making those decisions did not have the moral right to make them. The Georgian delegation should rather explain how Georgia killed 147 people in Tskhinval in August 2008 by the orders of Saakashvilli — which you all saw on your television screens. Tskhinval was bombed by “reactive” (rocket?) systems. 147 people died during this operation. What did we hear today from the Georgian delegates? That this did not happen. They bear responsibility for those killings.  

Let us call things by their names. They will judge us for Crimea joining Russia which happened completely without the bloodshed and in accordance with the opinions and wishes of the people of Crimea. Georgia wanted to return to itself those territories on which she practiced genocide in 1991-1992 in an aggressive military way. There were people killed and this was acknowledged in OSCE(?) report which was prepared by Mr. ?. And everyone knows this.

And so…


…with the result that their representatives — including those who advanced amendments about our exclusion — with the result of aggression against Iraq in 2003. Somehow I did not notice that those 20 governments who supported that aggression in one or another way, and which was declared illegal world-wide — this is known — were sanctioned here. Somehow we did not see this. The parliamentary assembly on this crime closes its eyes, even though in Iraq, as a result of that occupation and aggression, died some several thousand people — this is known. But no sanctions are implemented against those comrades.

I think that one should think about those governments who regularly in the past 20 years violated international law — bombing Belgrade, bombing Libya, occupying Iraq — do not have any moral right to make any decisions about the Russian delegation. And we completely disagree with this.

We also want to tell you that I think this very tense crisis between Russian and the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) is tied to several things. Firstly, we see here the triumph of double standards. What we heard yesterday from the Ukrainian delegation is just comical — it causes uproarious(?) laughter. Ukraine has no problems except danger from Russia. Go to Ukraine. See how that country lives. See what is happening in the east, west, and south — look at Kiev and what the revolutionaries have turned it into. Talk to the families of those who were killed — not only on Maidan but those of the Party of Regions. How right-wing extremists came to their headquarters and killed two people just like that. One an engineer and one a soldier — who had no affiliation with the Party. Talk to them. Talk to the representative of the Southern Ukraine’s Communists, who was subjected to torture. They placed needles under his fingernails and beat him. This is all known. Talk to Simonyanka(?) who yesterday, or the day before yesterday, was beaten at the podium of the Rada by the representatives of Svoboda.

And what do we see here? We see an amendment to condemn Svoboda and “Right Sector” for racism, for ultra-nationalist views, for anti-Semitism, which the European Parliament called for in December 2012 — this did not originate from us. We see that this amendment does not get the support of even a third of the delegates. 51 or 52 people voted for this amendment. What can we discuss here? Can we discuss any unified standards of European Assembly? We are talking about the full and hideous triumph of double standards.

We also see that the supremacy of law does not concern this Assembly. The Ukrainian government was overthrown. This is very obvious. This is being discussed by the foremost lawyers not only in Russia, but also in Europe. We know very well that the Constitution was violated. How come when we discuss Crimea, our Ukrainian colleagues refer to the Constitution? How come when we try to discuss how they overthrew the President, how they took un-Constitutional decisions, there is no discussion? The Constitution holds sway in one case, but not the other. So what are we discussing here? And if someone here took it upon themselves, beside the Euro Left faction in the Parliamentary Assembly — the Euro Left faction was the only one who raised the question about the legality of what happened February 22nd in the Ukraine. At the very least, a decision should have been taken to look into this matter and then conduct discussions to understand whether those actions were or were not Constitutional. No! We are told ahead of time everything was Constitutional. Who decided this?

The Ukrainian Constitution describes how the President may be removed from power. A special commission is set up to investigate the reasons for impeachment. Then, a hearing in Constitutional Court about this question. And following, a vote for impeachment in the Rada. This is the Constitutional procedure for impeaching a President in the Ukraine. If everything happened in this manner, I can assure you, Russia would not have protested at all. Instead of this, what happened? The Constitutional Court was disbanded. Five people were ejected from the Constitutional Court including the head judge — notwithstanding their immunity. And people are trying to convince us this new power is legal and lawful?

The most unpleasant thing in this story is that the Parliamentary Assembly has betrayed its own principles. The majority in PACE have betrayed the principles of right, the supremacy of human rights, and the supremacy of law. The majority in PACE have taken care of the political interests’ of those governments who want the geopolitical assimilation of the Ukraine. I am very sad to say this because PACE was supposed to be an organization above politics. It was supposed to be an organization creating precise standards in that or another sphere(?) Russia is to blame…

UNKNOWN MAN: Sorry to stop you Mister. This is a press-conference not a political statement.

PUSHKOV: Who is saying this?

UKNOWN MAN: Me over here.



PUSHKOV: If you are not happy with my statement, [ unintelligible ]…

UNKOWN MAN: It has nothing to do with your st…

PUSHKOV: If you are not happy with my statement, please leave.

PUSHKOV: The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) …


PUSHKOV: Don’t put obstacles to what you say.

UNKOWN MAN: [ unintelligible ]

PUSHKOV: And so, the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) betrayed those principles it was supposed to defend. I should say, not all members did that. Those representatives who took a nuanced, well-thought out position; those who voted against the decision to…Russia…


GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English? Could you speak in English, please? We would like to understand what you are saying. Please.


GERMAN JOURNALIST: Please…can you speak in English?

PUSHKOV: Those people who voted for well though-out decision to leave an opportunity for Russia to work in the European Assembly — they, I think, deserve all possible support. Those who voted to have the Russian delegation stripped of most of its powers made a conscious decision. The continued presence of the Russian delegation in PACE no longer makes sense, and I want this to be understood. If the majority in PACE believe they hold the keys to history in their hands, they are mistaken. Decisions are not only made here. We also are making a decision about whether we should remain in this assembly. Our presence here is of our own free will — our presence in the European Assembly is of our own free will — but we may change our minds. Thank you.

GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English? Please? We would like to understand you. My name is Petra Klingbar(?) from the German Press Agency.


GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English, please? So we could understand you. Thank you.

PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: I would like to say a few words. We here…

GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: Can I ask a question? Please, can I ask a question? This is Georgian Television.

PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Later, later. Perhaps there will be a question time.

We here represent the large country of Russia. Everything we have heard here for the past two days, is upsetting for all of our country. That is first. Second, I would like to say that not one amendment we have tried to put forward was accepted. I even think that if I put forward an amendment that the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea, it would also not be accepted. The responsibility of the work of my colleagues…

GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: Don’t you think that perhaps Russia is mistaken and that it deserves these sanctions?

PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Please let me finish. It seems to me, I am here…

GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: What, do you think the whole world is mistaken?

ANOTHER PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Mr. Potyomka(?) is older than you, please let him finish.

GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: If I could ask a question? This is a press-conference.

PUSHKOV: Excuse me. If there will be further disturbances from the audience, we will finish this press-conference and leave. You can stay behind with your opinions and questions.

GERMAN JOURNALIST: There is no translation. We would like to understand what you are saying.


GERMAN JOURNALIST: But you speak very good English.

What is so important in the word of Pushkov?
First, this is the first time that a high ranking Russian diplomat who clearly “had it” decides to “hold up a mirror” so to speak to the EU officials and show them how ugly their faces are.  Gone is the pretense of civility and friendship – Pushkov is calling the PACE delegates unprincipled hypocrites and liars whose lack of basic decency is total.

Second, Pushkov also tells the western corporate press to go to hell, well, not quite in these terms, but that is the substance of his reply when the press corps first tries to shut him up and then leaves the room.

In other words what Pushkov does is show his absolute contempt for the *cheap prostitutes* (there is no other way to put it) who would execute any order of their bosses, repeat any lie, deny any fact, no matter how obvious.

Of course, Pushkov does not use Mrs Nuland’s colorful expression, but the message is the same.  So now both the USA and Russia have expressed their total contempt for the EU.  God knows the latter really had it coming.

In conclusion I will say that Alexei Pushkov is really a “big shot” in Russia and not just he hold the powerful position of head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament but also because he has his own weekly analytical program on the Russian TV called “post-scriptum” which is watched by a lot of people.  He is a very smart man, impeccably educated, well-read and well-traveled.  And he is a real diplomat, a man of a level of professionalism and expertise as Sergei Lavrov.  All this is to say that his word carries a lot of weight, especially in the circles of power around the Kremlin.

Speaking of Lavrov, he also spoke for a full hour on Russian TV in the show “Sunday evening with Vladimir Soloviev” (a very well-known journalist) and his message was the same one: the EU has gone mad, and if they are dead set on a confrontation with us, we are quite ready.

As for Putin, he has had a public meeting with representatives of his Russian Popular Front movement and he is preparing for a lengthy TV “townhall meeting” on TV.  All the signs are that his message will be the same one.

On March 1 of this year I warned that Russia was ready for war.  It now appears that this war will not be hot (thank God for that!), but “cold” and primarily economic. I think that the PACE vote and the Russian reaction to it mark the beginning of active hostilities.  

It shall be interesting to see what the EU muster in terms of “firepower” other than hot air and how much staying power all these EU prostitutes really have.

The Saker

Open letter to Putin (or the real face of the "other" West!)

We all know that the western corporate media lies, that western politicians lie, that a big segment of the population in the West has been zombified into terminal stupidity.  But there is another West which is very rarely mentioned, whose voice is systematically ignored, which is categorically opposed to what is being done in its name by the ruling plutocracy and which refuses to shut up and obey.  All of us who have lived in the West know this and, I believe, most people outside the West do realize that too.  The truth is that the enemy of Russia today is also the enemy of the 99% of people in Europe and in the USA.  Of course, the 1%ers try to divide us all into small groups and oppose us to each other, and when that does not work, they try to scare us.  And still, some, many, see straight through this.

Today, thanks to a good German friend (thanks “FR”!!) who agreed to translate this letter especially for this blog now I have the translation into English of an “open letter to Putin” signed by large and diverse group of Germans who were touched by Putin’s words about Germany and its reunification and who decided to reply to him in an open letter.  You can find the original of the letter here.  What follows is the full translation into English:

[I have been informed that another translation is available here.]

About the anti-Russian statements of our mass media and politicians

Open letter to Putin
By Volker Braeutigam

President Putin has turned in his speech to the reintegration of Crimea from March 18, 2014,  directly to the German people. This appeal deserves positive resonance that corresponds to the real feelings of the Germans, so how they got these days in ad hoc surveys to the expression. The unilaterally anti-Russian statements of many our mass media and politicians as well as the escalating actions of Berlin do not represent the German population and her increasing distance to the bellicose policy of the EU and NATO. Therefore, here is now an open letter to president Putin which will be handed over on Thursday to the Russian embassy in Berlin:

Dear Mister President!

In your speech in front of the state Duma you asked he German people for some understanding. We are German citizens, who experienced the post-war period by the majority in the west half of Germany.  When the cold war 1990 was ended and our country was reunited, a sigh of relief went through the world, because the always threatening danger of a nuclear military conflict seemed avoided, which would have pulled the entire globe in. Germany would have been extinguished.
The Soviet Union has played the decisive role for the liberation of Europe from Nazism under incomparable victims.  Nevertheless, it was in 1990 ready to support the German reunification in 1991 to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and community to accept NATO membership total of Germany. This was not honored by the West.

The former Ambassador of the United States in Moscow (1987-1991), Jack Matlock, a few days ago in the Washington Post confirmed that President Bush promised not to exploit the generosity of President Gorbachev.

The expansion of NATO up to the former Soviet republics, the establishment of military bases in former Warsaw signatories and the construction of an anti-ballistic missile defense screen in East Europe with concurrent withdrawal from the ABM treaty on the part of the USA are all striking breaches of promise.

These measures are understood by us only as a claim to power by the western leadership power which are directed against the state and economic consolidation pursued by you of your land after your assumption of office in 2000.
Moreover, Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press stated beyond that 2006 in „Foreign Affairs “with her article „to The Rise OF U.S. Nuclear Primacy” convincingly that the anti-missile defense screen is to make a nuclear first strike possible for the nuclear neutralization of Russia.
This background in condensed form is the background before which we assess the events in the Ukraine since November 2013. Meanwhile, it is widely documented that the United States has exploited the legitimate protests of the Ukrainian people for their own purposes. The pattern is familiar from other countries: Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine 2004, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Venezuela …
The “interference” of the European Union and OSCE was swiftly taken care within twelve hours after the deal negotiated by the foreign ministers for a peaceful transition was overturned with the help of fascist forces.

The website of the Open Ukraine Foundation of the incumbent Prime Minister shows who is behind the current coup government in Kiev.

Internal and international law questions about the secession of Crimea are differently answered. We want to evaluate them here not legally, but only  from a political point of view.
Against the background of developments in Europe since 1990, the deployment of some 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world, the control of the Straits by the U.S. and the outgoing of the perpetrators of the Maidan threat to the Russian Black Sea fleet, we see the secession of the Crimea as a defensive measure with a simultaneous message: up to here and no further!

The crucial difference with Kosovo’s independence declaration is that the latter was made possible by the illegal bombing by NATO, unfortunately with the participation of Germany , which created the conditions for independence.
Dear Mr. President, you have called for an economic community from Lisbon to Vladivostok for almost four years. It would be the economic basis for the “common European home”.

The Ukraine could take up an ideal bridge function for the future cooperation between the Eurasian Union lead by you and the European Union, not least in cultural respect. We are persuaded that the massive influencing control of the USA has as its purpose prevent the Ukraine from becoming such a bridge.
The forces which have prevailed in the European Commission are supporting the policy of the United States against Russia. The speech of the Executive Secretary-General of the European external action service, Pierre Vimont, on March 14, this year is so unique (EurActiv: “EU shunned from US-Russia meeting on Ukraine”).

Dear Mr. President, we trust that your historic speech in year 2001, will continue to form the basis for your actions against the EU and Germany in the German Bundestag. The latest polls show that the majority of Germans does not want any confrontation with the Russian Federation and are expressing understanding for Russian actions towards the Ukraine.

We do not underestimate the difficulties faced Federal Republic of Germany as a member of the EU and NATO concerning Russia, these are also known to you. However, at least we expect the Federal Government operate in the old Roman legal principle audiatur et altera pars (“hear the other side too”). This was omitted in connection with the neighborhood policy of the EU in the case of Ukraine.
Even during the Cold War Russia has not made use of the argument that 27 millions of its citizens died during WWII for political gain against Germany.  This figure alone  gives a special quality in the relations between our countries.
The people of Germany have a keen sense of to this: when  “The Group of Soviet forces in Germany” in year 1994 takes leave of  Germany with a performance of its music corps on the square before the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn , there were moving scenes between the numerous spectators and musicians.

In this context, when we see the news reporting and commentaries in the German media we can only say that we find them disgusting.

Dear Mr. President, with our modest means as a simple citizen, we will help to ensure that the intended division of Europe does not succeed, but the ideas of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz be brought back to new life.

We are convinced: only if the states and peoples of the Eurasian double continent regulate their affairs peacefully with one another, respectfully, cooperatively, on the basis of the right and without outside interference, this will radiate also into the remaining world. We see you in this sense as our ally.  For Your current, and hopefully also the next office period we wish you strength, power of endurance, intelligence and skillfulness.

With utmost respect,

Signed by 300+ people (for full list see here)

One could say that 300 people is not that much for a country of 80 million people, but that would be mistaken.  These are not “just” 300 people.  These are 300 people willing to commit social and political seppuku and who dare to openly swim against what is arguable the worst hate and propaganda campaign since the end of WWII (I for sure do not recall such anti-Soviet hysteria during the Cold War).  Furthermore, these people are showing the rest of the terminally passive Europeans that it is possible to speak up and not only refuse to participate in this hate campaign, but even to openly challenge it.  In fact, these Germans go even further: they are calling Putin (the “New Hitler” and WorstAndMostEvilEnemyOfMankindEver) an ‘ally’ while rejecting their own national leadership.  That, my friends, takes a lot of guts.  It also proves that there is no such thing as historical inevitability.  If the country which attacked Russia not once, but twice in the 20th century can produce this can of awareness then no situation is hopeless.  I sure hope that this letter will be translated into Russia and circulated by the Russian media not just to show “support for Russia”, but to show that the people of Europe are not all the enemies of the Russian people.

I don’t know if that will actually happen, but I am sure there such letters are also possible outside Germany.  I am getting a lot of emails from readers in Europe who are disgusted and outraged by what is being done, supposedly in their name.  And the same goes for the USA and even central Europe.

I want to conclude this with a short except from the Book of Genesis:

And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. (Genesis 18:17-33).

We all know how it ends: God sends two angels to remove Lot from the city and then He destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.  Thus it is said that “just one man can save a city“.  

I think that the honor and dignity of 80 million Germans can be saved by the 300+ who followed the words of Stéphane Hessel and were outraged and followed the words of Yehuda Bower and refused to be bystanders.

Should any of them ever read these words – I respectfully salute them!

The Saker

Ukraine SITREP April 12, 18:06 EST (and some *very* cautious optimism)

  • No assault in eastern Ukraine after ultimatum deadline passed
  • Iatseniuk mentioned the possibility of a referendum
  • MVD and SBU offices in Donetsk seized by armed men
  • Alpha anti-terrorist team refused to attack
  • Cops (militia) also refused to attack
  • Slaviansk:  city revolts, locals takeover building and built barricades
  • Kramatorsk: gunfire reported around government buildings Police building seized
  • Police SWAT teams have refused to “fire a single shot” against the people and said so on camera.
  • Berkut officers in Donetsk put on old Uniforms and Saint George ribbons and said they would fight on the side of the people.
  • Berkut commander resigned.
  • Kiev regime fired the head of SBU in Donetsk.
  • Head of Police in Donetsk resigns.
  • Oleg Tsarev agreed to negotiate in the name of the East.
  • Krasnoarmeisk: police station seized.
  • Krasnolemansk: police station seized.
  • Kramatorsk: demonstrations.
  • In Poltava 10 buses filled with what appears to be Right Sector thugs armed with Molotov cocktails and base ball bats, explosives have been stop and everybody arrested.  They were heading for Kharkov.
  • Kharkov: 2 opposing demonstrators are taking place.

Bottom line, not only did the promised crackdown did not take place, but the Russian speakers have gone on the offensive and have seized many key buildings in major cities.  The key factor which reversed an almost inevitable bloodbath was the decision of the entire uniformed security and police forces to refuse to obey the orders of the freaks in Kiev and to open fire on their own people.  Everybody seemed to have refused: local cops, SWAT teams, SBU forces and even the anti-terrorist group “Alpha”.  This is quite amazing and extremely encouraging.  These officers have decided to follow the example of their Russian counterparts in 1991 and 1993 (in both cases the KGB Spetsnaz units “A” and “Vympel” refused to attack the people around the Parliament, as for the Spetsnaz GRU – the authorities did not even dare to ask it even though a full regiment was available on alert in Naro-Fominsk, right next to Moscow).  

When I first heard that the Ukrainian group “Alpha” had refused I was rather skeptical and did not mention it here afraid that these rumors were only wishful thinking.  Today I not only seen confirmation of that, but I have seen footage from Donetsk were the local Berkut officers have declared on camera that they would not fire a single shot against the people.

God willing the honorable behavior of these officers will inspire other and the entire “repression apparatus” planned by the freaks in Kiev will simply fail to materialize.  That could be a real game changer.

I have to admit that I did not think that events would take that kind of turn. While I did write “there is even a non-negligible possibility that the nationalist freaks will fail in their attempt to restore their rule over the east: a combination of very desperate resistance by locals and an unwillingness of enough security forces to kill civilians just might do the trick”  did not really believe that this would happen.  It appears that it has.

Now that those forces who could have rather easily suppressed the rebellion of the Russian-speakers in a bloodbath appear to have rejected that order and even switched sides, I am fairly confident that the Ukrainian military will not attack either as that would be most risky: they would face the double threat of local police and security forces fighting back combined with an always possible intervention of the Russian Polite Armed Men in Green.

On the political front – two important things have also happened.  Iatseniuk has for the first time mentioned the possibility of a referendum.  This is still a very vague offer, but it has been made.  While Oleg Tsarev, the likely political leader of the eastern Ukraine, has declared that he was convinced that a referendum of autonomy and federalization could keep the country together.  These might, and I a conditional “might”, be the first small steps towards a negotiated and halfway reasonable solution which would really be the best possible outcome for everybody.

The other positive development is that Putin’s letter to the EU leaders seemed to have finally awaken them to the fact that there were playing with fire and that if they persisted in their completely delusional policies a lot of very real pain would result.  While the White House had its usual psychopathic reaction, folks in the EU have not said much other then Merkel’s statement that Germany was taking this problem very seriously, and EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss a common response.  Hopefully the EU banking and business community will put enough pressure on these clowns to make them realize that unless they agree to some very serious negotiations the EU economy will plunge chaos.

So while by nature, training and experience I absolutely loathe to say anything sounding even remotely optimistic, I have to say that following four factors could jointly have a positive impact and avoid a catastrophe:

1) The freaks in Kiev might not have the means for a bloodbath in the East.
2) The resistance in the eastern Ukraine is definitely becoming stronger.
3) The eastern Ukrainian still appear willing to try the “federal solution”.
4) EU leaders might be coming out of their stupor.

IF no massacre happens, and IF all the local forces join the anti-Nazi rebellion in the East, and IF Iatseniuk and the other Maidan-freaks agree to a federal solution and IF the EU agrees to negotiate towards that in good faith, then Putin could use his influence with the Russian speakers in the Ukraine to convince them not to secede and accept a federative solution.  Russia will probably have to provide security guarantees to the eastern Ukrainians, but as long as the regime in Kiev does not do something crazy, then Russia will probably restore its economic support, at least in small steps.

If all of that happens, and that is a very big “IF” then the next logical step should be an international conference to save (resurrect?) the pretty much dead Ukrainian economy with not only guarantees and demands for reforms, but a lot of money in the form of long term loans.

Right now all of the above sounds like a naive dream, but I think that compared to just a few days ago this dream, while still not likely by a long shot, has at least become at least a bit less unlikely.

Now, if the crazies in Kiev just continue like before, and that is far more likely, what we are likely to see is a secession of the entire eastern Ukraine without even a Russian intervention.  In theory, there is a lot more power, money and people in the eastern Ukraine then in the western one and if the bulk of the population really firmly decides to say “goodbye!” to Kiev and the Galician neo-Nazis, they can do it.

This will still be a slow process, most folks I think are still unsure and frightened.  What we have seen in the past 48 hours is most definitely an acceleration of the centrifugal forces, but they are still far short of a real “escape velocity” similar to the one in Crimea.

I think that the next week will be absolutely crucial.  Hopefully cool head on all sides will prevail and God will show us all mercy.  Next week will be “Passion Week” or “Holy Week” for Orthodox Christians and at the end of that week the biggest religious of all feast will take place: Holy Paskha (aka “Easter”).  I cannot imagine how the Orthodox Christians in the eastern Ukraine will life these days, but part of me wants to believe that by next Sunday they will have the possibility to celebrate this “Feast of Feasts” in peace and security.  I sincerely wish them that.

Stay tuned,

The Saker

Excellent footage of the "Polite Armed Men in Green" during their operation in Crimea

What had to happen did happen.  One, or more, of the “Polite Armed Men in Green” (PAMG) did use his cellphone or GoPro to shoot footage of his unit’s operations in Crimea.  According to the intro, this unit is called “detachment 0900” which could be nonsense or true, it does not matter.  What is sure is that this denomination does not conform to the Russian official/public military unit classification which normally has four or five digits (as in m/u xxxxx).  I have personally never heard of a detachment 0900 nor have I found anything about it on the Russian Internet.  This proves nothing, of course, and chances are that this number was an operational once, used just for this one time.

Everything I see in this video personally points me to the Spetsnaz GRU (the “original” or “genuine” military Spetsnaz forces), primarily because I see reasons to exclude other candidates (Airborne, AirAssault, Naval Infantry, FSB, ODON, etc.).

In purely technical terms, I have to say that this operation is another masterpiece maybe not as flashy as the storming of the Tajbeg Palace in Afghanistan during “Operation Storm-333“, but in a way at least as remarkable.  There were at least 30’000 fully armed Ukrainian troops in Crimea (a lot them from the western Ukraine) and an overall population of over 2’000’000 people, and yet not a single person was killed (a few shots were fired during the operation).  I don’t think that there is anything like it in modern history (Turkish occupation of Cyprus, Grenada, Panama, French operations in Rwanda or Mali, etc.)  From the footage you can also see two things:  a) even the local “civilians” were armed to the teeth and b) there were Right Sector activists in Crimea.  At the end of the video you see them being taken prisoner by the PAMG who then take a shoot at their computer with a screensaver which shows a Ukrainian flag and the caption “The Crimea will be Ukrainian or desolated/uninhabited“.  Charming young men for sure…

Anyway, thanks to “anonymous” for calling my attention to this unique footage taken by the Spetsnaz themselves.  Clearly they are happy to share a glimpse of their usually top secret work with the world.  I even suspect that this “leak” was allowed, off the record of course, by the equally happy higher-ups.

Here is that footage, enjoy!

The Saker

Putin "This will take more than handing out pies at the Maidan, that’s all not enough to keep the Ukrainian economy from slipping into total chaos"

Official publication of the Kremlin’s press service: (red color added to the funniest parts by me, the Saker)

Meeting with Security Council members

April 11, 2014, 17:00 
Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin held a briefing session with permanent members of the Security Council.
Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov, and permanent member of the Security Council Boris Gryzlov.
* * *
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We will discuss routine matters today. I wanted to start though with a question for the Foreign Minister. What is happening with my request to get to our European partners and gas customers the information that I set out in a letter following the meeting with Government members on the situation with our cooperation with Ukraine?

FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV: We have carried out your instruction to send the letter to the leaders of European countries that receive Russian gas via Ukrainian territory. Our ambassadors in the countries concerned delivered the letters to their intended recipients yesterday. Everyone has given the letter their serious attention and promised to promptly give it their consideration and draft their response. We hope the response will be constructive. We have received only a preliminary reaction from Europe so far, but we have already heard from Washington, where an official State Department spokesperson said that Russia should not politicise gas affairs with Ukraine, should let the market decide prices, and called the arguments that we set out for our European partners “gas blackmail.”  

VLADIMIR PUTIN: This is somewhat curious. I say this first of all because it is not the proper thing to read others’ letters. I did not write to Washington after all, but to our gas customers in Europe. We are already used to the fact that our American friends eavesdrop on everyone, but it is really not the done thing to sneak a look at others’ correspondence. 
Seriously though, I’m obviously going to have to remind everyone that the formula we use to calculate the gas price was agreed in the official contract the Russia’s Gazprom signed with Ukraine’s Naftogaz in 2009. The people currently responsible for the energy sector in today’s government in Kiev held the same office back then too and took part in signing that contract. No changes have been made to the formula since that moment.
Yes, it is true that we offered various discounts for various reasons at different times. In December 2013, as you know, we offered Ukraine a loan of $3 billion and discounted the gas price under condition that debts for 2013 be settled and that current payments be made on time. Neither of those conditions was met. What’s more, the lowest prices were in effect over the first quarter of this year, but even at this very lowest price our Ukrainian partners stopped making their payments.

The latest deadline in the gas contract’s schedule – payment for March 2014 – fell on April 7. Of a total expected payment of more than $500 million – $540 million, I think the figure comes to – we received not a single dollar or ruble. We received nothing at all. There is simply no way that we can tolerate this situation. Faced with these circumstances, Gazprom rescinded the discounts, in accordance with the earlier agreement. 

If we want to be clear about the root of these recent problems, the fact of the matter is that Russia cannot continue to bear such a burden all on its own. It was for this reason that we appealed to our partners and friends in Europe in the hope that we can organise a meeting as soon as possible to work out ways of helping and supporting Ukraine’s economy. 

Whoever really does care about Ukraine and the Ukrainian people should make their contribution to preventing the country’s economy from going bankrupt.

This will take more than handing out pies at the Maidan. That’s all not enough to keep the Ukrainian economy from slipping into total chaos. Our American partners have responded so negatively to our proposal, which is very strange to see. We know that they have declared their willingness to make a $1-billion loan available, not in the form of credits and assistance, but in the form of guarantees. What does this mean? It means guarantees for banks that would be ready to lend to Ukraine, but there are no such banks and thus this amounts to no assistance at all. This really is a very strange situation and we have every reason to be concerned about it. 

Let me say once again too that we have no plans or intention to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine. But in accordance with the contract that was signed and has been in effect since 2009, and which no one has cancelled, Gazprom has the right to ask for advance payment, and this is what the Russian Government is proposing. What this means is that next month, Ukraine will receive only as much gas as it pays for this month. 

The contract gives us this right. I ask the Russian Government and Gazprom to show our European partners the relevant terms in the contract. Incidentally, in my letter I made reference to these same terms. You could take the relevant sections from the contract and send them to the European capitals as an appendix to my letter, all the more so as the contract long ago got ‘leaked’ anyway onto the Internet during all the political battles in Ukraine.

I ask the Foreign Ministry to deliver this additional information to our partners and remind them that Gazprom is not just a Russian commercial company but is a joint-stock company with almost 50 percent of shares in it being held by private companies, including foreign ones. Even as big a company as Gazprom cannot bear the entire burden of subsidising Ukraine’s economy. This is simply not possible and everyone needs to understand this.

Russia is being very careful in its action and is taking a very balanced and respectful line towards all of our partners. We most certainly guarantee that we will fulfill in full our obligations to our European gas customers. It is not Russia that is the issue. The problem is one of ensuring gas transit via Ukraine. I ask the Foreign Ministry to carry out this instruction as rapidly as possible.

Personal announcement: update on donations and new PO Box in the USA

Dear friends,

I have a found a few minutes to sit down and update you about donations.

So far, 80 people have made donations through PayPal.  Even though many of you have had problems due to all sorts of bugs and quirks of PayPal, the money always ended up getting to me.  I now also have as a policy to immediately transfer any money I get to my bank account, “just in case”.

Flattr has been most disappointing.  So far I have received only two donations through this service, and not even enough to get a single dollar.

For those of you outside the USA, the address in Switzerland I indicated in my previous post and which is also shown in the right column of this page is still valid, but so far not a single donation has been sent there, except one from the USA which has not made it to Switzerland so far (I still hope that it will).

Now the good news.  By “popular demand” as the expression goes, and thanks to the generous and kind help of “S”, I now have a PO BOX in the USA which you can use to send donations.  Here is that address:

The Saker
PO Box 711
Edgewater, FL 32132-0711

If you do send me donations by snail mail (to Switzerland or the USA), please include your email address so I can confirm to you that I received it.  Of course, if you prefer to donate anonymously, that is fine too (though in that case you could use some anonymous email address like or something equally nonsensical).

I would like to add that your donations have already helped a lot.  For example, I have recently been able to get repairs made on my car and that helps me a great deal on my other, day & full-time job.

One last thing, since this, after all, a personal announcement, I am looking for a not too expensive but good quality digital photo camera.  If you have one you do not need and can donate, or a used one you want to sell, please email and let me know its specs and how much you want for it.

That’s it for now.  An immense and heartfelt “thank you!!!” to all those who have helped out for their generosity and kind regards to all,

The Saker

Absolutely *fantastic* statement by Alexei Pushkov about the PACE

This statement is nothing short of *fantastic*.

If anybody has a transcript in English, please send it to me, I would love to post it here.  A subtitled video would even be better.

I think that what Pushkov said was nothing short of history: he fully unmasked the phenomenal hypocrisy of the EU.

For those who understand Russian – please see for yourself.

The Saker

Reply to a really important question

Today one person, Nora, posted a question which I think is so important that it deserves its separate post.  Here is what she wrote:

Nora said:

Saker, I get where you’re coming from. I’m truly scared to ask this but you know I’ve got to: what recourse do we have here in the US? What can we do to stop what’s going on in our name and with our tax dollars, both here and everywhere else? I used to think I knew the answer(s). I don’t anymore.

My reply will be stunningly unoriginal and boring: “think globally act locally“. For one thing, there is really nothing you can do for the people in the Ukraine, at least not directly.  And you have already done something crucial: you have identified with their struggle.  That is extremely important because the 1%ers are trying to divide us and separate us along national, ethnic, racial, religious, educational, social, political and any other line they can think of.  Our response should be, to paraphrase Marx, “99%ers of the world, unite!”.

The big mistake of the Marxists (well, one of them) was to think in big terms – stuff like “proletarians of the world”.  What we need to do is think *small*.   Here is the key thing: the struggle against evil happens one soul at a time, especially in the West, and especially in the USA where any organized struggle immediately gets discredited, infiltrated and eventually shut down (or even shot down).  Stay small, take little steps.

The first thing that you need to see is whom to talk to.  Christ gave us the perfect methodology.  One one hand He said “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt 7:6), but on the other hand He also said “what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” (Matt 7:9). In other words, do not waste your time on those who are not asking anything from you, but don’t deny your attention to those who are seeking the truth.  Or even more basically – don’t waste your breath on zombified morons, but spare no effort towards those who seek to understand.  For one thing, the zombies don’t doubt – they already know it all.  But others do doubt, all they need is help to connect the dots.  A holy man, a true saint, which I once met, told me “one human soul is more precious than the entire universe”, and that is quite true.  So if all you do in your entire life is help to guide one single soul to the truth, you have had a great life!  Just one.  And it does not matter where this soul lives, in the USA, the Ukraine, Palau or Timbuktu.  All souls, all humans, have the same value – its infinite.

Second, there is only one way to lead people – by example, by inspiration and not by instruction or by polemic. One of the greatest Russian saints, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, said “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved“.  This thought if often paraphrased as “save yourself and thousands around you shall be saved”, which is a pretty good, if simplified, interpretation of his thought.  Forget about acting on others, act on yourself.  And then you will be able to act on others.  This is paradoxical, I know, but most patristic thought is subtle and externally paradoxical.  By the way, Christianity is not the only tradition which teaches that, this also what, I think, Mahatma Gandhi meant when he said “We must become the change we want to see in the world“.

In practical terms, this means that for your the highest priority must be pursue the truth in all its forms with passion and determination, just as Christ taught us when He said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6) and “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).  Now, I have to apologize for brining up all these Scriptural quotes, especially if you are not religious and even more so if you live in the USA.  I realize what a mockery the Bible-thumping crazies you can see on US TV or hear on the radio have made of Christianity and how sick and tired most people are of all kinds of preachers.  I ask you to set aside any unpleasant and outright sickening associations you might have with anything coming from the Scripture, and just realize that before the crazies began interpreting it in any way they wanted, the Scripture was actually an immense source of true spirituality and, what is so important for all of us today, a practical survival manual for anybody living in a world gone crazy.

For example, what the quotes I gave you mean, among other things, is that you cannot be “sort of” “interested” in finding out the truth.  “Hunger” and “thirst” are visceral, gut-level, feelings.  When you really hunger and thirst you can think of nothing else but food or water.  Same here, in order to find out the truth about the world you live in, you cannot just take a red pill like Neo in the Matrix – you have to be obsessed – full time 24/7 kind of obsessed – with finding out the truth.  If you can do that – then there is good news: you will end up finding it (you will be “filled” and the truth shall “make you free”).  That goes not only for religion, but also for all the other matters which those who rule over us are trying to hide from us.

Lastly, I would recommend you stick to the two following rules (which I developed for myself):

1) never go against your conscience
2) always do the right thing and don’t worry about outcomes or consequences

That’s it.  That is my personal version of “survival in a crazy world 101”.  And just to answer your question, don’t worry about what your tax dollars do in the Ukraine, worry about what they do were you live.  Pay your taxes, don’t break the law, but stand up for justice and righteousness every time you can.  Most importantly, show compassion and love to each suffering person near you.  Modern liberals are so mistaken when they send money to the hungering kids in Africa yet have a total “compassion deficit disorder” towards their fellow Americans!  Again, think globally – act locally.  If God (or “destiny” if you prefer) wanted you to help in Africa or the Ukraine, He (it) would have put you there.  But you are “here” (wherever that “here” is for you) so act “here”, just as Ukrainians and Africans will act in their own “here”, in the Ukraine and Africa.

In conclusion, let me refer to one of my favorite pieces from one of my favorite authors: Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “Live not by lies” which I posted on this blog in 2007.  Here is the introduction I wrote then:

“What can we do?”. This is an old question indeed. When a nation becomes enslaved by a government of thugs and terrorists one of the main goals of the rulers is to make their subjects believe that there is nothing they can do about it. Failing that, they want to push all the opposition into some activity which would justify the use of violence against them. So what are the options for those who oppose the rule of the current Empire?
Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote an essay in 1974 which, I believe, still fully applies to today’s USA. Soon thereafter he was expelled from the USSR. From his exile he declared that he would live to see the Soviet rule collapse and would return to his country before his death. For these words he was ridiculed – at the time the Soviet Empire, protected as it was – not unlike Dubya’s Empire – by a huge military and secret police, looked invincible. Twenty years later, Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia were he still lives today.

Alexander Isaevich Solzhenitsyn has passed away since (in 3 August 2008).  He, the man who survived the three worst calamities of the 20th century – the war, the concentration camps and cancer – lived to the age of 89 and before his death he even met Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB officer, who expressed immense admiration for him.  Look at this historical photo and see for yourself the immense personal victory of the man who said “live not by the lie!” (you can find the full text of his essay right under my intro and here).  

Take a look at this short text and look at the examples Solzhenitsyn gives.  You can do the same in your own daily life.  Simple, doable and very effective!

All this is probably not the kind of reply you expected.  There is a reason for that.  I do not believe in the, shall we say, “resistance methodology” typically promoted by most organizations and people.  And what brought me to that conclusion is that military analysis eventually made me look at the roots, rather then the effects, of evil, and I realized that all warfare is really spiritual warfare at its core.  You cannot beat your opponent by playing by his rules, and you cannot outwit the devil.  So to resist effectively, we need to struggle by a different set of rules, imposing your tactics on the enemy.  And even though I had studied modern warfare, with a strong emphasis on, believe it or not, nuclear force planning, I ended up realizing that the most powerful weapon on the planet is a simple, basic, prayer rope.

Solzhenitsyn, him again, once made an amazing speech in the UK, when he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983 (you can find the full text of this speech here and here and, if you don’t know it, I urge you to read the full text).  These are his concluding words:

With such global events looming over us like mountains, nay, like entire mountain ranges, it may seem incongruous and inappropriate to recall that the primary key to our being or non-being resides in each individual human heart, in the heart’s preference for specific good or evil. Yet this remains true even today, and it is, in fact, the most reliable key we have. The social theories that promised so much have demonstrated their bankruptcy, leaving us at a dead end. The free people of the West could reasonably have been expected to realize that they are beset · by numerous freely nurtured falsehoods, and not to allow lies to be foisted upon them so easily. All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today’s world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain. The resources we have set aside for ourselves are too impoverished for the task. We must first recognize the horror perpetrated not by some outside force, not by class or national enemies, but within each of us individually, and within every society. This is especially true of a free and highly developed society, for here in particular we have surely brought everything upon ourselves, of our own free will. We ourselves, in our daily unthinking selfishness, are pulling tight that noose…

Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, and we must not stumble and fall, nor must we linger fruitlessly on one rung of the ladder. Material laws alone do not explain our life or give it direction. The laws of physics and physiology will never reveal the indisputable manner in which the Creator constantly, day in and day out, participates in the life of each of us, unfailingly granting us the energy of existence; when this assistance leaves us, we die. And in the life of our entire planet, the Divine Spirit surely moves with no less force: this we must grasp in our dark and terrible hour.

To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our bands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.

Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone. 

Everything he said in 1983 is still true today, probably even more so.

I apologize for this weird answer and I realize that it looks like I did not answer your question at all.  But I did.  I gave you *my* best honest answer and I am sure that there are plenty who will think that this is all rubbish.  Maybe they will even offer you their own answer.  I would welcome and encourage that.  I just stuck to my rule of “calling it as I see it” and doing what I believe was the right thing without worrying about the consequences.  But, of course, another person would have answered differently and probably much better than I did.

All I have to offer on this blog is sincerity, even if it comes wrapped in a lot of errors and misguided beliefs.  Oh, and I am an incurable idealist – no doubt about that.

Anyway, I hope that you will find something useful in the above.  If not, I am really sorry for not being able to give a more satisfactory reply.

Kind regards,

The Saker