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Request for comments about my moderation policy

Dear friends, I have decided to take the opportunity of a lull in my Sunday afternoon to seek your advice as to what to do about my comments policy.After quite a few years of relative obscurity, this blog has seen a sudden and massive explosion in readership.  For years I was getting about 1000 visitors per week, now it regularly gets over 20’000 visitors per day from literally all over

Full text of the Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014 and a short commentary

The Guardian published the full text of the Geneva Statement. This is what eight hours of negotiations produced: The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens. All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism. All illegal armed

*Very* interesting reply of Putin during yesterday’s Q&A

Yesterday Putin had a four hour long Q&A on Russian TV.  I will not post it here, but one reply by Putin is really interesting.  See for yourself:Q: MARIA SITTEL: More from anxious pensioners. “If the West refuses to purchase gas from Russia, how will that affect people’s well-being, especially that of pensioners?” – Lyudmila Budarina, Tambov Region. A: VLADIMIR PUTIN: I have to say that oil and gas revenues

Making sense of the latest Kerry Lavrov deal

Ok, first the necessary caveats:1) Kerry and Lavrov already had a deal on Syria, also made in Geneva, but then the USA reneged.2) The EU also had a deal on the Ukraine with Yanukovich, who was overthrown literally the next day.3) The USA, NATO and the EU have lied, cheated, mis-represented, twisted and simply betrayed pretty much every promise which they made to Russia ever since Russia freed itself from

Lavrov press conference in Geneva after agreement with USA (with link to Kerry’s press conference)

Important:make sure to also listen to the press conference by John Kerry gave in another room (to signal that the US and Russia are really enemies I suppose) at the same time.  Click here to listen to it.  The video is choppy and “jumps”, blame the US State Department or YouTube, not me.  If I get a clean one I will post a link to it here below.

Personal announcement: blog switching to universal time

Dear friends,With almost 20’000 readers literally spread all over the world, I have decided to follow a very good suggestion posted by ‘anonymous’ and switch this blog’s timestamps to universal time aka Zulu time aka GMT.  Sticking to the one I previously used (EST) is really inadequate and parochial.  Also, since most of the world does not use the stupid AM/PM convention, I will be using the so-called “military time”

Ukraine SITREP April 16, 10:50 EST (Ukrainian civil war day 2)

It is still a little early to call this day over, especially considering the time it takes for the information to seep out of the eastern Ukraine and make it to the Internet.  Furthermore, we have to be extremely cautious with the news not only because truth is the first casualty of war or because all the information sources have a vested interest in getting out the “right” information “correctly”

Ukraine SITREP April 15, 18:30 EST update 1 (Ukrainian civil war day 1)

The first day of what will become the Ukrainian Civil war has finished and since by tomorrow morning a lot can happen, I have decided to provide this intermediate SITREP update tonight rather than to wait for tomorrow.The short summary of the day is: absolute chaos and local violence.A couple of things stand out: The same source who reported that the CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev on Sunday or

Personal announcement: there is good news, and there is bad news (and one idea)

Dear friends, Today, as people often say, I have some good news and some not so good news.The good news is that a number of kind people have reach out to me in different ways to help me assure the survivability of this blog.  The idea is to make the blog available in sufficient number of duplicates located in different places of the planet to prevent the “Axis of Kindness”

Ukraine SITREP April 15, 10:54 EST (a sharp turn for the worse)

The situation in the Ukraine has taken a very sharp turn for the worse. Two Presidential candidates from the eastern part of the country were assaulted yesterday by Ukie brownshirts.  Mikhail Dobkin got away with only paint and flour thrown at him, but reports say that his bodyguard were hurt.  Oleg Tsarev got severely beaten, however, and barely escaped the Right Sector lynch mob.  No doubt, this will not prevent

A chance for you to say “no, not in my name!”

After reading the open letter to President Putin signed by over 300 Germans, one of the readers of this blog decided to emulate their example and write his own open letter to President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.  Unlike the German letter, this letter is much more simple and very much to the point.  This is its full text: Many citizens of western countries greatly respect your measured responses to

Ukraine SITREP April 14, 13:00 EST

It appears that the next 24 hours will be absolutely crucial for the future of the Ukraine.  So far, these are the most important developments:The following cities have seen uprisings taking place over the week-end: Kharkov, Slaviansk, Krasnyi Liman, Kramatorsk, Lugansk, Enakievo, Gorlovka, Donetsk, Khartsyzk, Ilovaisk, Mariupol.  To get a feel for the spread, check out this map: Rebel cities in the eastern Ukraine The second big development is the

Excellent statement of Russia’s rep at the UNSC (dubbed in English) (UPDATED with transcript)

TRANSCRIPT: (thanks to “OP”!!) (After Ukrainian representative’s statement) Thank you, Ms. Chairman. Today many words, many statements were sounded but the first impression I would like to share with my colleagues is that they do not look at the watch. Now it is a half past nine p.m. and it means that it is about a half to four a.m. now in Ukraine. In a couple of hours, the morning

Personal announcement: I am backing up this blog on WordPress

Dear friends,After being urged to do so by a lot of you (thanks!), I have backed up this blog on WordPress.  You can now find the backup blog here: For the time being, this is only a backup option so PLEASE continue to post your comments here and not on the backup blog. Also, I am, alas, limited to 13MB of blogger import on WordPress.  At least the newest

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

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

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

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