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Transcript of podcast no. 2

Provided by the kind help of a wonderful lady “A”

 

Dear friends, welcome back to my podcast series. This is the Saker speaking. And its my second podcast. The first one was great fun to do, and thank you so much for all the kind support and encouragement I got, to continue the cycle. So, since you’re happy, so am I ! I’ll try to do better, so I hope you’ll be happy with this one too. And without any other further introduction, lets go straight to the comments. This week I got, I think 99 comments. Which is alot. I’ve selected some, and I’ll try to cover as many as I can. I selected those that I think would have most people interested in. And we’ll see what happens !

Ok, first question: AITOR or ITOR writes to me “I’m writing to you because I would like you to tell me the differences between Russian and the Ukrainian languages, and the dark origins of the modern Ukrainian standard. In fact this summer I’ve started to study Russian, and with the help of Google Translator I’ve been searching all the differences between the two languages. What I have seen is that in essence the two languages are the same, but that alot of Ukrainian words are exactly as in Polish, which I think, could have been the result of a deliberate policy of inventing a new language. Could you tell me if there are Investigational Courts about that, or if, according to your knowledge I am right ?”

And ITOR writes from Spain. From Catalonia in Spain.

Well, to answer your question first of all, a little disclaimer. I am not a linguist. I am not a historian of languages so my only qualification is that I speak Russian and understand Ukrainian and a couple of other languages, and I’ve read a little bit about languages. And I’ve read alot about the Ukraine, but not from a linguistics point of view. I will, to you I will give a simple answer.

To me, that is not that different than the situation that you probably know very well, which is the issue of Catalan versus Spanish versus Provencal in France.

In the past, before 1917 there was no one Ukrainian language. First of all there was no Ukraine, there used to be ‘Ukraines’, that is border regions, edges of territories could be a translation. Frontiers. There used to be a Siberian Ukraine. And the Ukraine, what we call today the Ukraine is the Western Ukraine. And there, there were a number of local, I mean, maybe I’m not even using the right term, but I would call it a dialect. A number of local dialects, the Russian word is ‘nyihaycha’ [?] that were spoken locally, and from what I know they were different. After the civil war, after the 1917 Bolshevik regime, after that, what happened was that there was a deliberate program of ukrainianization of the Ukraine. After all, the Ukraine as a republic was created by the Bolsheviks, by Lenin. And it’s current borders are, that’s a gift of Stalin. So that, if anything (a little ‘aside’ that I cannot ‘not say’) instead of, you know, destroying monuments to Lenin, they should actually declare him as a national hero. Because he’s the one that gave them statehood. And the borders were given by Stalin.

But anyways, the Ukrainian dialects were centralized into one Ukrainian language, which as far as I know is modeled more on what was spoken in the Western Ukraine. There’s a padanceu [?] – spoken Ukrainian – more similar to what is spoken today as official Ukrainian language, than what you would hear for instance, in the Central or Southern Ukraine. So that is about the origins, and yes, there are alot of Polish words in Ukrainian. ‘ Thank-you’ sounds very similar and ‘sir’ is the same word. But that’s normal. That doesn’t prove anything because if Ukrainian is full of Polish words, well, Russian is full of Turkic words. Serbian is full of Turkish words. In reality, there is a natural process of exchange, and secondly those countries were occupied, some for a long while by say, the Ottoman Empire in the case of Serbia. Poland, in the case of the Ukraine, and Mongols in Russia, the Tartars. And the world-state ? There’s nothing surprising about that. I was once in Indonesia and it was funny for me to see suddenly, the word ‘police station’, it says ‘polici canto’, which is a dutch word. So you see in THAT language I can’t understand a single word, and poof, suddenly you see polici canto. Does that make Indonesian a less legitimate language or a second rate language, or a dialect ? I’m not sure. Actually, I’m pretty sure its not, in the case of Indonesia. But in the Ukraine, a Ukrainian friend once told me that “you know, the difference between a language and a dialect, is that a language is a dialect with tax.” And what she was trying to say was that when you are on top and you’re powerful, you get to say that what you speak is a ‘language’, and what others speak is a ‘dialect’. I’m not qualified to dispute that. She might have a good point.

Even Russian wasn’t that centralized before the revolution. You can clearly hear the revolution. You can clearly hear differences, regional differences in Russian. If you go up to Siberia, they can be ‘not trivial’. I mean they’re not spoken any more like that, its more an element of folk lore, but you will hear funny things. So I think that yes, the entire Ukrainian, the phenomenon of Ukraine in history was politicized from day one, and yes, there is a political root to the development of modern Ukrainian language. Not unlike what’s happening in Croatia, where, or Bosnia, where they’re clearing the Serbo-Croatian language, and there is now such a thing as the Bosnian language. They’re clearing it from Serbian words, and trying to use more non-Serbian words. Or you know, that’s the same kind of games that are played with alphabet. I wouldn’t, in Moldavia they used to spell it, they used to call the local language Moldavian, now they call it Romanian and they’re spelling it with Latin alphabet. I would not be surprised if the same thing happened, if the Junta stays in power, one day they’re going to switch from the Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin alphabet. And make it look more legitimate. I think its kind of infantile, and because those political forces engage in that kind of infantile use of language, I think we shouldn’t … to me it doesn’t matter if your language is a recent one. Some people speak “Espiranto”! Your language is Sanscrit, you know with millennia of history. What difference does it make ? People should be able to speak what they like, what they want, and a small language is not less legitimate than a big one. That’s my subjective opinion. That it really doesn’t matter.

So I hope I’ve answered your question. Again, [even with] the differences between Ukrainian and Russian, I can easily understand it. I speak a little bit of Italian, I speak Spanish fluently. I don’t speak (really) Portuguese. I’ve used Spanish to Portuguese people in Brazil and they’ve answered me and we understand each other very well. I think, since you’re from Spain, you probably understand Italians. It shouldn’t be too hard. And at least if you went to spend a week, ten days in Italy you would start, be able to easily converse with them. That’s how I feel about the Ukrainian language. I can listen to a show, its not a problem. Slavic languages tend to be pretty easy to cross, from one to another, particularly if you know two. My mother was fluent in Russian and Serbian, and had absolutely no problem speaking with a Bulgarian for instance. For me its a little harder, because I don’t know the Turkish words.

So I hope that answers your question about, at least the little I know, about the history of the Ukrainian languages and if somebody knows better, please feel free to put a comment and set the record straight, if I got something wrong, which is possible, I do it very often, and let us know what you know about the Ukrainian language.

POM-TOP-TIGER asks me what my forecast is, for the next 20 or 30 years. That’s ambitious. “Will the US dramatically lose control and power ? Will the dollar collapse ? Or will it still remain in a uni- polar US controlled world ?”

Well, the only reason why I agreed to answer that question is, I shouldn’t be answering anything with a 20-30 years margin, into the future, because I’m almost certain to be wrong. But in this case I can actually go ahead and do it. I’ll say, well of course the US will lose power. The US power is based on three major pillars. One is the military security provided by the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. So the US did not suffer from world wars, the way the rest of the planet did. The second one is the ability to print dollars. As many dollars as needed. And they purchase anything for fiat money…for paper. And the third, which is crucial, is the ability to obliterate anybody who would challenge that dollar dominance, on the planet.

The problem is that the United States does not have the military means to enforce that policy anymore. That’s the key, and that’s where it starts unraveling. If you cannot bully other countries into accepting dollars, there is a certitude that as soon as the dollar stands for nothing, (well it stands for “trust in the dollar”), but that’s a circular argument. Because “trust in the dollar” comes with the fact that its imposed with a military force. So remove, out of the pyramid you know, the layer of military force and soon you realize that the dollar is backed by nothing much.

Next, logically we’ll see that people will say that, “Well, WE don’t feel like paying for YOUR spending, and its much more advantageous for us to trade without dollars”. Particularly for countries that are under sanctions. And that’s what’s happening between Russia and China. But not only. Other countries are also working on that. So what happens is that the United States absolutely has a vital need to bash any regime who would dare commit the crime, of basically, not using dollars.

But hey can’t do it. For all the propaganda about“we’re number one” and ‘invincible’ and everything else, the United States’ military, is a, how shall I put it? I couldn’t say its a bad one, but I would say its one which is not capable of providing THAT service, the service of enforcing the dollar domination, on a planetary scale. This is one, that simply, the United States military cannot provide.

Its not a criticism of the United States. I think no other military in the world could provide it. Even the Russians and the Chinese together, there is no way they could build 700 or 1000 bases worldwide and just obliterate anybody, say Peru or Bukina Fasoy[?] if he decided not to use dollars, or otherwise decided not to obey their rules. So by the mere fact of being so huge, the United States military is already dysfunctional. At least, not providing THAT service or that function for the empire.

So the next thing is that the dollar is losing its credibility. Gold and tangible resources such as gas, energy, raw materials, are becoming important again. Which is not maybe, a return to the gold standard but at least its a move away from virtual money. To money that means something. And that is what US safety is based on.

Now I don’t think the first pillar will collapse. I mean nobody is going to come across the oceans to bomb or occupy the United States. But the US military will not be very, I mean its not going to be very much needed frankly. Once that dollar support function is taken away from the US military, its kind of useless really. I mean they can show the flag and try to promote their technologies and try to impress, only unsophisticated countries, but pretty much everybody else out there knows that the United States is not nearly the hyper-power that it fancies itself to be.

And it was funny for me to see Obama, after his complete face-replanting in Asia, between the APEC summit and the G20, it was a disaster. I mean nothing that the United States wanted, that was meaningful, happened. And the guy still does speeches about US leadership. Now ask yourself a simple question. “When is the last time the United States showed leadership in anything?” I don’t mean bullied somebody to applaud or agree with the United States. I don’t mean this. I mean actual LEADERSHIP. Where you don’t force people, you actually inspire them and you make it possible for them to do something. To get something done. I can’t think of a single instance. There’s no such thing as US leadership. Its utter nonsense. What there is, is lots of money, lots of guns, lots of violence, ruthlessness, and a fantastic propaganda system. But that’s it. So Obama can mantrically go on about “Our leadership this, our leadership that” and oh yeah, “We’re stopping Ebola, Russia and ISIS”. You know its infantile, its Disneyworld level of political analysis. Its embarrassing. Its kindergarten level. And its nonsense. Everybody knows its nonsense. At least everybody outside the United States knows its nonsense.

Still, the United States is still big, is still powerful, and if it is a mentally challenged giant, its still a big one. So the entire issue for Russia, China and the rest of the planet is, how do you diffuse that ? How do you get that power to transform itself ? Because the real task in historical terms is to make the United States a country. A normal country. This is the process that others had [to go through] before. You know you go from Empire to normal country. The Japanese did that, they had to be invaded. The Russians had to have a civil war, the British lost their colonies. The Portuguese, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, you know many countries went through this process of an Imperial Collapse. Followed by the, I shouldn’t say the resurgence, but the substitution of that empire by a “normal” country, which doesn’t have imperial ambitions anymore.

That is what’s going to happen to the United States, whether the American people want it or not. I think actually most of them would. Probably. If they’re given that choice. But certainly the 1% at least don’t want that. And I understand them, because they’re making a killing with that Empire. But they’re the only ones. So besides the 1% there’s nobody really interested in having an empire. And I would say most people are pretty disgusted with it anyways.

So, yeah, I think its the end of the US. We’re witnessing the end of the US empire. And its not going to be a big event like Hiroshima for the Japanese, or the bombing of Dresden or the invasion of Berlin by the Soviets. Its just going to be going on in a gradual way. It is already happening. That is what the point is, of this Latin American attempt to establish local financial, economic structure, to replace the IMF and the World Bank. That is why Russia and China are trading, either in barter or in Rubles or in Chinese currency. I mean this is all part of one process, and its big.

And that is what the United States can’t stop anymore. In the good old days it would have been a war. War would have been the way to stop it. Right now the United States cannot have a war with either China, or Russia, or much less. Its just not militarily possible. And they know it, by the way.

So the real question is “Can something save the US empire?” My answer is no. I don’t believe that there’s anything out there that can. It lasted a long while, a remarkably long while. It is now clearly degenerating. One of the tell-test signs of an empire that’s collapsing, is that the elites become worse and worse and worse. That happened in many other empires. They become weak, confused, you know they mistake hubris for courage, simplification for intelligence. I mean its pathetic when you look at the United States diplomatic corps, the US politicians, presidents, they’re the laughing stock of the planet. I mean you know even Horswa Enom [?] looks halfway intelligent compared to the idiots in DC. Clearly, truly.

So this is another clear sign. Social tensions inside the country. Its all over the place. And the other thing that also is a clear sign of that kind of collapse, is that look at what’s going on with US allies ! They’re all in trouble. Serious trouble. First of all Europe. Economically wrecked. Socially a disaster. Economically a disaster. Much of that, due to US pressure and US forcing Europe, bullying Europe into becoming part of an empire. There was a chance for Europe to go completely differently, if they had built, in Europe you know, a small, tight European Union. If Europe would have been a Europe of ‘Fatherlands’ as de Gaulle wanted it. If Europe had agreed to see, you know, a neutral zone from the Atlantic to the Urals, open economically, it would have prospered. But of course the United States knew, that that would be the end of US power, so they bullied Europeans into going for their version of the ‘United Europe’. Make no mistake, the EU as it is today is an American plan. And as a result its a total, total mess. And its not viable, and examples of Greece, Cyprus, you know the rioting that’s taking place everywhere, in Spain, in Greece, Italy, Poland, I mean, in England, its rioting everywhere. They’re all signs of the same process. Europe is collapsing too.

So both the EU and the US are headed for what is the ‘trashbins’ of history, I think would be the translation in English. And I don’t think anybody’s going to miss them much. The problem will be really, how do we get them, how do we finish this process of collapse without too much bloodshed, violence, you know, wars? And that’s where its scary. That’s why its a good thing that its happening gradually and not catastrophically, because a catastrophic collapse would probably mean a huge military confrontation of some kind. And nobody wants that, and we can’t afford that.

The next question is from MARCO. He’s asking a really interesting thing here. He says “In the Soviet Union, the KGB was a state within a state. Now, former KGB officers are running the state. They have custody over the country’s 6000 nuclear weapons entrusted to the KGB in the 1950’s. And they also now manage the strategic oil industry, re-nationalized by Putin. The KGB successor, rechristened FSB, has the right to economically monitor the population, control the political groups, businesses, infiltrate the federal government, create its own front enterprises, instigate cases, and run its own prison system. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 420 citizens. Putin’s Russia has one FSB for every 297 citizens.” And he, [Marco] says that, I don’t want to read the full question, that’s pretty long here, but he says that “Do I think truly that Russians have to choose between Chechy-ism … that is being a KGB society … and selling out to the West ? Is the Russian society so ossified as to have rendered the alternative of activism impotent ?”

Well Marco, first of all I don’t know where you got these figures and the quote, but just look at the sentence where it says, “The KGB is infiltrating the federal government.” Well, the KGB is PART of the federal government. It can’t infiltrate itself. I don’t know where you got the figures about how many KGB officers were for what, to be honest, this is really alot of propaganda. I’m sorry to put it this way, but I just can’t put it any other way.

Now I, in the past, have actually confronted and struggled against the KGB as an emigrant [?]. Very very, in very, gosh how shall I put it, delicate operations. I can’t go into the details, but lets say that I know the KGB, As an opponent of the KGB. And after ’91 I have had alot of interactions with former KGB people. And I can tell you one thing, I mean categorically. I know what I’m talking about.

You’re completely mistaken if you think that Russia is becoming some kind of KGB empire. This is absolute propaganda. For one thing, the description you give me here, of what the KGB is allegedly doing, reminds me much more of the United States. Secondly, the KGB never was all-powerful, even in the Soviet Union. It was actually under the control of the Central Committee. Ok ? So its not that the KGB was on top. It was an important part, it was an Elite, yes, but the Central Committee was actually, it was above the KGB. And it ran it, not the other way around.

In terms of civil rights, they’re much much more respected in Russia today under Putin than they are in the United States and the proof is simple. I mean you look, look at the number of political parties that there are [in RF]. I don’t know what the particular count is, but I think its over 80. I’m not sure about that number, but its many tens of parties right now, because they’re registering and preparing for the next elections. And the Russian media is completely diverse. You can find anything you want, including media who are willing to actually repeat everything you have said here. Its said openly, even on TV, which is the more ‘controlled’ media I would say.

The notion that Chechy-ism … it is true, for a while [what] I was observing [was] pretty distressing, what I call reglorification of the Soviet past, but this is really changing too. For instance, just yesterday I was watching a member of the Duma, who’s name is Alexi Pushkov,[?] who has a show called “Postscripton” comparing Red terror and White terror during the civil war. Because a week ago he had made a report, about a movie by Nicholi Helkuvov[?], that spoke about this, that described the civil war, the horrors of the Red. And the leader of the Communist party Zuganov [?] was very upset by that. And he [Zuganov] said, “You don’t speak about White terror!!” To which Pushkov first of all replied that “We [Russians] have been discussing White terror for the entire soviet era !!” and secondly he said “ARE they comparable?” And he proved that they’re not. So actually it was a very harsh rebuttal of Zuganov on Russian TV by a senior journalist and politician.

And the same thing when I listen to Putin. He does not reject all of the soviet history at all, or he says that there were important and good things in the Soviet past, he even recently declared that he doesn’t know if the Russia under Tzar Nicholas 2nd, would have been able to beat Nazi Germany. He said, “You know, I can’t say but I wonder, maybe a man like Stalin was needed at that time.” And that’s not literally what he said, but the idea was that, you know, maybe there are some things, that there is a positive side effect of having [had] that strong a leader, during the war. And that was a question he asked. He didn’t say it WAS like this. So what I’m saying, is that the discussion of the Russian past, the role of the KGB, the Terror, the repressions is very very open. Nobody wants to go back to Chechy-ism, as you put it.

Now there are some people like Nicholi Starikov who for instance provide a pretty energetic defense of Stalin and Stalinism. I don’t agree with him, but some of his figures are interesting. He dug up figures of actually how many people were killed, executed during Stalin, including the members of the secret police, who, before, had been involved in purges and terror. And they’re nowhere near as high as some people thought in the past. So you would be surprised if you spoke Russian, how open the debate, how dynamic it is. How people [can] completely disagree with each other. And its going on State TV and everywhere else. So this idea of the ‘ossified’, I think you used that word didn’t you ? Did I see the word ossify somewhere in your question ? I think you did. But this “ossified Stalin, marching down on the streets, that’s all full of KGB” And its all absolute nonsense. Its propaganda of the purest kind.

Pluralism is really truly dynamic in Russia right now. And I would say almost any subject actually, I would say any subject, is open for discussion. And actually its a little too much, because it gets people, for instance the evaluation of what really happened during WW2 is getting some people very very angry. You know maybe, you heard about this theory of Victor Suvorov, who writes, his real name is Rezun, he says Stalin was, wanted to use Hitler. That he was about to attack Hitler. That Hitler pre-empted, that Stalin pre-empted an attack by Hitler. Well that is offending alot of people in Russia. Others are very much in agreement with it. That is even discussed. You know, “Which was worse ?Hitler or Stalin ?” That is discussed.! And absolutely, I know of no political party, and not a single political figure, (I mean there might be one somewhere, you know in Chukov ), but I don’t know of any person who would actually favor cracking down on democracy, you know cracking down on people’s rights, or on pluralism, on open debate. Its just not there. I don’t see it one bit. So I think you should really not worry about Russia becoming some kind of Chechy-ist-run KGB superstate. Its not there.

And you take that to the bank !! Because it comes from somebody who has spent many years fighting the soviet regime who, I’m a former enemy of the KGB. So I don’t have any, what you call ‘stake’ into trying to make them look good. Oh and while I’m at it, for those of you who might now know about it, first of all, Putin is not an ex-KGB, he is ex-Foreign Intelligence. Careful here. The part of the KGB in charge of Repression, was the fifth main directorate. It was only one part. The rest of the KGB was in charge, for instance of Financial Crimes, Economic Crimes, or Research, of Communications, of Counter Intelligence, of Foreign Intelligence. It was a big umbrella organization. So you know, even the word the “KGB” doesn’t mean much. And today, its more of a classical structure with a Foreign Intelligence Service, and Internal Intelligence Service called the FSB. And it really has nothing to do with the old KGB. I mean I think even on an organizational level, its nonsense. So I hope I have replied to that question adequately.

Now I have a question from a self-declared HURRAY-PATRIOT, from faraway. Who says, “With the whole Mistral deal being dragged out we know its very costly for France not to deliver these ships. The question is, does Russia still want them ?”

I think, that its, its not hard for the Russians to get information [about how to build Mistrals]. Russians can deal with that part of it. But that depends who you ask. The main point of the Mistral was to produce rapidly, in the spot-gap measure, a kind of ship which, at that time the Russian dockyards couldn’t produce. Its a very rich ship, by the way. The French weapon systems are fantastic. I love French weapons systems. I mean, the Mistral is beautiful. I love the Hoffau [?], I think the Lucaric [?] is a great tank, but none of them are adapted to the Russian requirements. That’s the big thing. And alot of people are correctly saying that the Mistral is not very adapted to what Russia really needs. Therefore [that’s why] they’re discussing putting one in the Black Sea. Another one possibly in the Pacific, and they’re sort of trying to find a mission for it. I think this purchase was a typical Medvedev period decision. I don’t think it would happen again, if Putin and, Ragozin is the guy in charge of military industry, [if he] had been in charge at that moment.

I think Russia’s very amused by this entire deal. Because even to get a pretty good ship, I mean a good ship, which is more or less, hopefully adaptable to Russian needs, (they want to put helicopters in there for instance). Or they can get the French to give them alot of money !! But either way, they’re winning. And it makes the French look terrible, because they’re proving at how susceptible to political pressure, they’re unreliable, they’re breaking contract under Uncle Sam’s pressure. Which is pathetic. So the Russians here … remember the Russians are competing with the French for contracts in other parts of the world. That’s in far-east Asia and Latin American and in the sub continent. So for them to see the French defaulting in such a pathetic way is actually very good PR. They’re going to remind, next time they speak to somebody and say “Want to buy French ?” Think about that. You get a bunch of hoffeyes [?] and suddenly Uncle Sam says, “Stop supplying parts.” And then what happens ? So they’re winning on that and if they get their money they can build it themselves now.

I mean the Russian oil industry has changed alot. And alot of senior military analysts are saying, “Forget it. Lets get the money and build our own stuff. We’re doing well. We have the infrastructure. Its going to be great for our economy. We can use our specialists.” And they’re even giggling saying “We can hire the unemployed French specialists and have them come to Russia and work for us!”.

So this deal is an unbelievable, unbelievable face-plant for Hollande. I mean its just absolutely mind-boggling. And I couldn’t believe it. I even wrote, when he announced that day, that they wouldn’t supply these Mistrals to Russia. I wrote that “I think its just posturing. That it wouldn’t happen. That it [France] would give them later.” You know, I started wondering. I still think these Mistrals will get to Russia, because I can’t believe the French would be that stupid. I just can’t. Maybe I’m naive, but I truly can’t believe it. We’ll see. Not the French. The French are not dumb. But Hollande ??? Yeah, I think he might just be that stupid. So I don’t know what’s going to happen. But truly now, I begin to doubt it. So I think the Russians are going to be happy either way. Whichever way it goes, its good for Russia, bad for France. That would be my comment on this.

And you also ask, “With the failure of delivering S-300 Air Defense to Syria and Iran, does it not show that Russia is an unreliable arms provider ?” Yes it does. That’s not good. The S-300, the way the Russians built their contract with Iran, was an absolute disgrace. And it sent a very bad signal. And again, it was one of those Medvedev presidency moments. With Syria, the Syrians have declared that they have them [the S-300’s]. They have recently declared that they will get them. I don’t know if the Syrians have, or will get them. Its hard for me to judge. You know that on a decision like that, to deliver these systems to Syria, at a ton of maximum pressure from the US and Israel, I would have to take a look at a full package of considerations, that brought Russia to decide, possibly, I don’t know if they did really. But if Russia did not, or will not deliver these systems, I would have to look at the full package of reasons why they did so, to have an opinion. And I don’t have access to all the information. But certainly, [looking]at Syria, does not look good. I hope that Russia will know, having laughed at the French, it would be pathetic if the Russians followed their example. So yes, this deal with Iran, and Syria, those S-300’s is an embarrassment to Russia in my opinion.

Next question comes from SHRO [?]. Changing topics again. At least sort of. “Do you think Israel will be defeated in the future ? Are they going to survive now that people have woken up around them ?”

That’s interesting you should mention that. I was listening to a very, very interesting presentation by Shalom Sands [?] in Paris recently, on youtube. Again, the short. Not unlike what I said about the United States. No I don’t think Israel will survive in the future. Yes I think it will be defeated. Just because Israel, well, what is it based on ? I mentioned the pillars of what make the US what it is today . Well, what’s Israel ? What does Israeli statehood stand on ?

First it stands on a religious text. Some would call it a myth. Interpreted as a land deed. [The term] religious text is ridiculous, particularly for a country that has so many non-religious people. I mean you can’t go around, the way the bible said, you know, “I have the right to that land, because that’s my interpretation of the Bible!! Even Shalom Sand [who] by the way, was a secular Israeli says that he even, even he, he’s not a rabbi, but even he by the way, understands the way that the Promise, of the land for the Jews was always contingent upon their behaviour, and their piety and faithfulness to God. So even in pure religious terms it was never a land deed that sort of gave them additarnum [the right] with no conditions attached, to that land.

But secondly you cannot interpret a religious text like that. As a, how shall I say it, a document to make maps. That is built on what ?! On brute force !! Violence, terror, deception, and the support of the West. Europe and the United States. Achieved by means of, again deception!! Via the Israeli lobby, and all the ridiculous Zionist ideology that has been shoved down the throats of Americans and Europeans for all these decades. INCLUDING the instrumentalization of the Nazi persecution of the Jews in WW2. As a license to kill who-knows-what ?!

The other tool that they always use is, you know anybody who’s critical of Israel is an anti-Semite. It actually went [so] far, I think, that last year one of the worse offenders in France, Benali Unifi [?] declared that anti-Americanism is a metaphor of anti-Semitism ! How do you like this ?? You criticize the US, you are an anti-Semite !! That’s the kind of nonsense which has helped Israel for all these years.

And finally, just pure, I wouldn’t say good old, but bad old, or really viciously nasty medieval kind of racism, is what Israeli society is based on. That notion … the entire Israeli and Judaic ideology of the ‘chosen people’, and the qualitative difference that there is, between a Jew and a non-Jew, just offensive to anybody who’s truly religious, or truly a humanist. And none of that has any prospects of holding for the future. I mean the ideas are getting completely … the ideology is discredited. The historical narrative is challenged by, in the past it was Jose Garradian [?] and they called him an anti-Semite. Now its Shalom Sand, a professor from Israel who challenges the narrative, and they also call him an anti-Semite. But that’s infantile.

Hezbollah proved brilliantly that the so-called ‘invincible’ Israeli Army is very very very much vincible. The US … well yeah, its supporting the United States. Well yeah, I think it is really semi- … the US in political terms, is a colony of Israel. Not in economic terms, but in political terms it really is. When you look at what Congress says or does not say??? You look at the power of APAIC over the media, and Congress ?? Its pathetic. So yeah, it gives them alot of power, but its all crumbling. All these sources of, all these tools of policy are crumbling. And inside the country [Israel], well, they have partly ‘occupied’ territories. They have … they want to keep it a Jewish state, but they don’t recognize, they can’t define what a Jew is. They have medieval laws about marriage, about land purchase, its just nonsense. It makes apartheid look rational.

So none of that is viable. None of that is viable at all. And again, the Israeli people are not told about it. Just like the American people are not told that their empire is not viable. The Israeli people, I mean Netanyahoo, all of them, are not telling the Israeli people that they’re full speed towards the wall. So I think they will very much be defeated. My hope is that there would be a country there, call it whatever you want, of its people. That is, I am personally, I don’t find a justification, not even a pragmatic one, for a Two State Solution. On moral and pragmatic grounds. I think the only possible and morally correct one would be a One State Solution. Israel, Palestine, call it whatever you want, it will end up that the people of that state will have a republic. That is a state of its people. Regardless of religion or race. Its that simple, its that obvious, and therefore all that the long complicated, you know, rants, about history and God knows what, is just designed to obfuscate. Its a very simple thing. Violence will end there, when there will be a state of its people. What’s the US slogan ? “No justice no peace”. Well that’s exactly what’s happening there. And of course it will be defeated. Completely.

Ok, changing subjects. ANONYMOUS is asking “President Obama referred to Russia as a ‘regional power’. Does the West underestimate Russia’s military capabilities to fight a war ? Is it hubris on their part, or are they correct in their assessment ?”

Probably not. Well, ok, the first thing is, you have to understand, there’s no such thing as ‘fighting a war’. Where is the key question …? When and How ?! I mean these are all crucial things. Its like saying, you know “Who’s more powerful, Russia or the United States ?” Well, lets say, for conversation, (I don’t think there is), “There’s no military option in the Ukraine for NATO, for the West”, but does that mean that Russia’s more powerful than the US ? No. If Russia tried to defeat US military somewhere,say in Canada what is the scenario you’re looking at ? And you have to look at it closer. There’s no such thing as absolute power in military terms. Always, always look at what exactly is the scenario.

And to answer your question, because I’m not trying to duck it, yes, the United States, the West does underestimate grossly, Russian military power. But the needs ?! Russia needs its military to basically do ‘do-able’ missions. Which is, well, strategic defense on a nuclear level, strategic … to protect Russia from a US nuclear attack. Which it can do. No problem. Then, defending its borders, which, you do not need the same resources to protect your borders, as you need to have 700-1000 bases worldwide. You can do with much less, and do much better. And support its allies. That’s what Russia’s doing, in Tajikistan for instance. And a certain degree of ‘power projection’ maybe, but not towards the ports of Sweden !!! But to the Syrian coast, to provide radar coverage for Assad when he’s threatened by the United States.

I think Russia will have an important role in developing military cooperation, specifically with China. Again, something which THAT mission is commensurate-to-the-ability, to the needs, and means, that Russia has. The United States? The biggest mistake of the United States is not, that the military isn’t big enough. Its that the military is given a task which it cannot fulfill. That is really typical American. What they did in Vietnam for instance. The US military was given a mission that it could not win. And it didn’t win, because of that. Just like the Soviets in Afghanistan. Some missions just don’t make sense at face value. Just don’t make sense. And that is the problem.

The United States cannot use its military against Russia. Any scenario that you look at where it might, there, truly Russia is stronger. A real one. But of course, if Russia sends a naval force to the Caribbean or tries to fight AFRICOM in Africa, well of course US will easily defeat Russia. And the example I gave on my blog, is that some uniformed commentator was saying, “Well, Putin should send the Russian air force to Syria. Well, that’s a perfect example. The Russian Air force couldn’t get to Syria. If CENTCOM – the United States – wanted, [they could] stop it. Ok ? So in that case the US would absolutely defeat Russia. CRUSH the Russian Air force if they tried to do that. But could the same United States maybe successfully attack Crimea ? Absolutely not. That’s Russia, would defeat them. Completely in a crushing way.

So if you’re still interested in this question, if I haven’t answered properly, give me a scenario, and then I’ll tell you what the co-relation of forces and capabilities are. In that specific scenario.

Next is, one, two, a three part question. Well, I think I’ll take it one by one. “How do you interpret the function role of the dispute territories like Transnestria and Nepasia[?] from the point of view of Russia’s interest ?”

I think they’re more of a headache for Russia frankly, than a prize. I know the theory says the following: since under Putin, Russia has said it will protect Russian minorities outside Russia. Russia is accused now, of wanting to agitate minorities outside Russia, then, saying “They’re threatened !!” And then rebuilding the old Soviet Union by means of local Russian minorities. I think its absolute nonsense. Russia has absolutely no need for that. Remember, the plan that Russia has, is an economic integration of a Eurasian Union. The tools to do that are economic. Oh yes, Russia would love to have good relationship with the Baltics, or with Moldavia,or Moldova, and the Ukraine and Nepasia or Georgia and all the countries. And it would like to get them to provide two things. Stability in economic, and geostrategic/military terms – political terms. – And a partner to trade, to develop.

You don’t achieve much, I mean Russia is very reluctant to move in. Transnistria,? First of all, it was a long time ago. And it was literally the decision, in that case of the 14th army commander there, to protect the Russians, because they would have been butchered. And in the case of South Ossetia, Nepasia, Russia was really attacked. I mean not Nepasia, but South Ossetia, they were really attacked. They had no choice. Crimea ? Again, that truly is a special case and Russia …? Now that is, I would say, the only location on the map of the former Soviet Union that Russia really wanted. So I will agree that the Russian move to Crimea was a mixture of considerations, including “We want it, we need it and we can’t give it to NATO and the US”. Now that is the one case I agree. I would say, yes Russia had a quote unquote, a ‘need’ of Crimea. Certainly not, of Novorussia, not of Nepasia, not of Moldova, none of these. But there’s a headache, a political one. There are Russians living there. That’s what you get when you break up a country [USSR] and then declare, put in power on the periphery, minorities who are hostile to the local majority, and local majorities that are hostile to the local minorities, which are linked to the central power. That is not unlike what happened in Yugoslavia. And for Putin that is a problem. I assure you that if he could, if everything was just perfect in all these countries, Russia would have no interest, no ‘need’ at all to create a crisis. All that these crisis-es do, is, they cost Russia money, energy, [and] political capital. Its very, very time consuming. And the only entity which really benefits from these tensions, is of course the United States. Because as long as Russia is busy struggling for stability at her borders, its wasting resources and energy on that. Instead of re-building itself.

So you ask, the second part “Do you think Russia deliberately makes the strategy of creating such territories in order to paralyze an ‘adversarial state’? And retain an influence in their policies ?” Now I think I’ve just answered that. The answer is absolutely not. Russia’s been absolutely bizarrely passive, I would argue. Russia should have dealt much more energetically with both the Ukraine and Georgia! And not [to have] let it come to such a degree of chaos. I would say its actually a failure of Russian policies. For instance, the United States have been pouring billions of dollars, feeding local NGO’s. You know, US diplomats were busy constantly, constantly prepping up the Ukraine and Georgia for anti-Russian policies. Rhetorical Russophobia. Militarization. And Russia in all these years did nothing. So if anything, its the opposite. Russia has been reckless in NOT looking right across its border, or her border, and [then] taking political means to prevent the situation ending up in a full scale crisis.

Again, the rule of thumb is, Russia needs stability and United States needs chaos and crises.

On the last part of the question, “Do you see a similar development as realistic, in the case of Novorussia versus the Ukraine ?” Well, I think the Ukraine will collapse. I think its finished. Novorussia is gone forever. We can come back to that question later. So yes, there was a crisis and I think just like Zakoceny [?] failed, I think the Nazis in Kiev will fail. Not so much because of some devilishly clever Russian plan. But because, just to come back again, what I said about what could possibly happen or not happen with the US and Israel. I don’t think the Ukrainian state, as you know, a kind of Banderastan, run by Nazis, that Russophobic is viable. Its just not viable. So it will collapse, and there will be the fall of the Junta, replaced by something else, like what happened in Georgia. The circumstances will be different, so I’m not saying its going to be copy, cut and paste from very different countries, for one thing, one is tiny, the other one huge. But basically its not viable. So I hope that Russia will show good competence in how to deal with that issue. So far I would say that Russia did very well [with] both. Once the crisis exploded, Russia did very well. But Russia failed to pre-empt and neutralize the threat, before the crisis really exploded, in both Georgia and the Ukraine.

Ok, next question is by LEXX, with two x’s at the end. “What is the nature of the religious factor, in west/east divisions in the Ukraine ?” Wow. Now that’s one I could go on for for many hours, and everybody, take a deep breath, its not happening, and I’m not going to do it because I know that alot of you get very upset when I go down that road !!

Actually I will say the following thing. Just like in the former Yugoslavia, and the former Soviet Union, there is a minority of people who are truly religious. I think the majority are not hostile, but not deeply religious. There is a strong, big presence of non-believers, and the real role of religion, in its purest form is actually tiny. What is still relevant, and its very different, its not religion as an actor, but religion in history. As a culture. Russia is a product of the Byzantine Empire, just as much as the Ukraine is a product of the Papacy. And here, yes religions do play a crucial role. DID, I should say. Nowadays, you know, its not priests and popes and bishops running after each other, gutting (and their faithful), piously gutting each other down. Its more similar to what happened in Yugoslavia, or in Ulster in Ireland, where the identity ‘Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’ is used. More of a political, national ethos level, than a religious one.

On that level, yeah, its absolutely crucial, that’s what defines what is ‘a Ukraine’ versus ‘a Russian’. Well, the guy who speaks Ukrainian, ok, but it goes beyond that, because alot of them speak Russian. So then what’s the big difference? And its a difference, in values, difference in an interpretation of history, difference in civilizational goals. The big slogan in the Ukraine, as you probably all know, is “Ukraine uitsa Europe” Which is “the Ukraine is Europe”. Well, that would not be a very successful slogan in Russia. If somebody starts saying “Rossyia uitsa Europe’”!? … I mean they did actually, the Russian liberals, that’s exactly their slogan, and you see their lack of success. Putin comes with a Eurasian project and that gets people really, really supportive. That idea of Europe, doesn’t inspire Russians one bit.

So there’s a cultural difference here. And religions did shape these cultures. But I don’t believe that religions right now, directly, in terms of the dogmatics, the administration, the clergy, do they play a direct role ? No. No, no no no. That WAS the case. Long gone are the times when the Jesuits from Poland were running around trying to put somebody in power in Moscow. That’s just not happening right now.

Well, actually I think I’ve pr-empted the second part of your question, “You have been saying that the Vatican created Ukraine, and also contributed to the current crisis.” Well that’s, historically yes, I mean absolutely there’s no doubt about it. The Ukraine is a purely Latin project. Its a variation really of the crusades against other infidels. I don’t want to go into all that now, but its not, that right now, the Pope is sitting in the Vatican and planning those very sophisticated anti-Russian moves. No. Neither by the way, is the Patriarch of Moscow playing any kind of significant role. He makes known his general pious statements on one hand, (they all do the same thing). They say they ‘want peace, we want brotherhood, we want to live in peace, stop the war, stop the bloodshed’ and you know, ‘schismatics are bad.’ Its empty really, they have nothing to say on either side, I think, in terms of organized religious, you know, the Moscow Patriarchate on the Orthodox side, on one hand, and the Curian, the Vatican in Rome [on the other]. They don’t participate directly at all.

And even I would say on an individual level, what percentage of Ukrainian fighters are truly pious ? You know, what’s called the Greek Catholic Uni-ate ? And how many of those Russians fighting in Novorussia are truly, you know, religious Orthodox Christians, with a good grasp of what that means ? I think actually a minority. I don’t think so, in a direct role, no I don’t think at all, that these two, that the religious factor is important. And by the way, there are Chechens!! Mostly on the Russian side. But there are a couple of them, the Wahhabi, on the Ukrainian side. So even Muslims are not quite united on that.

VYETCHKA which means VERA, asks me, again one of those big questions, which would deserve a long answer, which I try to keep short “Why do you consider Peter The Great to be so evil ?” Well, first of all, I don’t call him great. And yes, I do consider him to be pretty bad. Well, that’s based on my view of history. I see Russia as the product of three things: You know, a certain pre-Christian basis, the roots are definitely pre-Christian [even] in the territory of what today is Ukraine. So shall we say, Slavic people as a base. Some Slavic. [But] not only, by the way. But the two big things which are, I think, the ROOTS of the Russian culture are, first of all, the Roman Empire, in its form of Byzantium, because when people say that ‘Rome fell’ … Well, yeah, West Rome fell, but the Roman Empire continued, until the fall of Constantinople. And those so-called Greeks … they identify themselves as Romans. And that’s where Russia got its religion. And its view of the state.

The other thing that shaped Russia very powerfully, was the Mongol-Tartar occupation of Russia, which also shaped the State and alot of its practices and its culture. So Peter the Great, or so-called great, he was, if you want, his position was … “Russia should be like Europe.” That’s I think why so many Russians including myself, dislike him. He thought that Russia is part of the European civilization, or should be part, or would be better if it became, part of the European civilization. Which I categorically disagree with. But I’d rather not go into a long discussion of, that’s a philosophical topic which Russian historians have been fighting over for many many years. Unless you’re really interested, try for maybe the next podcast, but right now I don’t want to go into it. Into that long discussion of, you know ‘Westerners’ versus ‘Asianists’ or whatever you want to call them, in Russia. I certainly don’t think Russia was ever part of the West. The European civilization is one that was built by the Franks and by the Papacy, [and] I think Russia is the continuation of, really, ancient Greece, via Rome and Byzantium, and it has its roots in the East. I think every time people forget that big difference, it ends up in a big disaster, of one kind or another. It would be much better if people would just give up this entire notion of “Rossyia uitsa Europea” that’s in the Ukraine.

One more thing about Peter, he’s also the one that made Russia an empire. Which I also oppose very much. I don’t think Russia should be, or did the right thing, by being an empire. I don’t believe in the imperial mission of Russia. I think Russia should be a country like any other. And the best way for a country to grow, is spiritually. And then socially and economically, but not territorially or you know, become a super power. I think its a disaster for any country. And very much including for Russia.

Another one asks me “What was the point of the war against Serbia ? Does the Kosovo location of Camp Bondsteel [US army base] have any military value ?” Oh yeah. Big time. There were a couple of things that the US wanted to achieve with that war. First, was to beat up a country which was Orthodox. Again, not coming back to the previous question, but yeah, there is a tension between Western culture and Orthodox culture.

Secondly, Serbia had already been, or Yugoslavia should I say, had been very different, sort of you know, a ‘non-aligned’ country, under Tito. It was just a country that did not obey, and needed to be taught a lesson. Third … that was the perfect occasion to try to court the Muslim world and show that, you know “We’re on your side.” Which is of course a lie.

It was also important to show Russia, “See, if you don’t behave, we’re going to smack you down, and this is what we’re going to do to your ally, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Which was true, under Nixon. And finally you know, the purpose of NATO is, to be sure that Europe doesn’t go anywhere. And remains obedient. Camp Bondsteel is a great symbol of “Don’t you dare touch Kosovo”. That is a message not only to the Serbs and the Macedonians, and even maybe potentially Albanians, but also to Russians. You know, “We’re there. We’re there to stay, give it up.” Its sort of like the huge US embassy in Baghdad. Its a sign of power. And remember alot of the US military operations, most of them in fact have a huge political component. There’s alot of body language and political imagery to what’s happening, which doesn’t necessarily have to be purely military.

I mean the US has already had bases in Greece, has them in Italy, and the Mediterranean is more or less a NATO/US leg. So I don’t think that Camp Bondsteel had a crucial mission … to attack southern Russia or something like this, or to become a point to ‘power project’ to the Middle East. If you look at the gigantic, huge US military deployment in the Middle East and Europe and Northern Africa, but particularly the Middle East, I don’t think Camp Bondsteel made a qualitative difference. I think it made a huge huge symbolic difference. A political one.

Ok, switching topics again. I hope you don’t mind if I jump from one to another completely, like this. If its a problem, let me know in the commentaries and I’ll try to organize these questions better. “Saker please tell us how the other Saker sites are doing and how you co-operate ?” That’s actually a very interesting question because I think its very neat the way we co-operate. From the outset, first of all the idea of having other Saker sites came from one French, wonderful French lady who said, “I like what you write, why don’t you have it translated into French ?” And my answer to that was “Well, I don’t have the time for it, but if you want to do it, do it.” And that’s more or less how the other Saker sites began. And I knew, that because they’re far away, they need to have complete autonomy. And including, crucially, editorial autonomy. I do not want to micromanage, you know, Saker sites all over the place and sort of be the dictator that tells everybody what to do.

I was, my hope, and I think it materialized, was to give other people a platform, a context in which to start taking upon themselves to resist the empire. And that’s how I see those local Saker sites. We don’t have a common political program, a common ideology, we don’t even discuss our differences, our ideology. I’ve never had a question coming, “Well, what do you think about this or that ?” or “Are we going to take a stance in favor of this or that ?” we don’t even talk to each other about that.

What we do share is a friendly mailing list. We discuss practical issues. A big one is “who will translate what ?” That’s a big one, that’s a huge amount of work. So everybody’s trying to have interpreters, should I say translators, ready to interpret. That’s one big thing. Video production is another one. Sometimes, there have been some issues about how this, how actually the teams are organized locally. It went well with some teams, it was tougher with others. I did a little bit of interviewing with one case and then basically said “Don’t ask me, organize yourselves in any way you want.” And then they said, “Well, we have a hard time.” So I try to mediate there. And I think it was ok.

But basically I don’t want … they have complete autonomy. I don’t want to be the boss. And I think of them more of a franchise, really, than of a translating service, of what I write or post. And speaking of which, its taking longer than I hoped for, but I still would like to assure everybody that Latin American/Spanish Saker Site is being finalized and so is the Italian one with a very very good team. So its going to happen, and again its going to be very different and really, I would recommend, if you speak the language, or understand the language, visit the other sites. Because they’re not carbon copies or translator copies, of what I do or what that other one does. Its a very diverse community that we have. And I think that’s what’s so fantastic about it. The diversity. Because I am a proponent of pluralism. One of my big beefs with democracy or what’s called nowadays Democracy, is that it is a single thought system. Everybody’s supposed to think the ‘right thing’. But even in theory, that’s not the case. But God forbid, you would actually have a different opinion !!!?? Then typical democrats go crazy, start going ad-homines, and insult you.

I don’t share that, I’m disgusted by that attitude towards pluralism. I think that its good to have very different views confronted. That’s why I brought in, and I’m very happy to say, that there were Shi’a-Muslims writing for me, there was at least one Salafi -Imam that did that. Some people, that I’m very very good friends with, are communists, others are monarchists, others are anarchists. I get support from Ron Paulians and US libertarians. We don’t have the same ideology. I think what unites us, is a desire to change the world we live in. Its a rejection of the, yeah, its a rejection, of the established official thought in the empire, that’s for sure. A quest for truth. And a respect for the other. We can disagree. Vehemently, on values and ideas, but it doesn’t mean we have to, you know, we don’t have to have a bad relationship with somebody we disagree with. We can work together and so far its worked well. I’m very very happy with the Saker community and I love the diversity and to all of you guys who are listening to this poor part of that Saker community…thank you so much. I mean thank you so much, for doing something wonderful that I never could have done by myself, or if I had kept control over you guys. I’m happy, that you’re all flying with your own wings, and with your own complete freedom.

BLONDECHKA, Florida, or pronounced in Russian [?] is asking “Will Novorussia be absorbed into the Russian Federation ?” Of course I don’t know. I really believe strongly that Russia still wants the Unitary. I think the end goal of Russia is a unitary, non-Nazi, neutral or friendly state. In all of the Ukraine. I do not believe that there is a Novo [Russia] / Russian solution. To say simply absorbing Novorussia into Russia solves nothing. Not even for the Novorussians. But that’s a long-term goal. The short term goal is, I think probably, it will not be absorbed into Russian Federation, but it will be heavily supported and dependent on the Russian Federation.

On the Junta side it is very clear. They’re bombing, they’re terrorizing. There was a speech, I don’t know if you’ve seen that, a speech of Poroshenko, I was watching it today, where he said “We will have schools, they will be sitting in their basements. We will have pensions, they’ll have nothing. We will have salaries, they will have nothing. And that’s how we’re going to win. We’re going to win by being so wealthy and living well, and the guys in Donbass they will just live in this horrible bombed out no-mans-land.”

That’s almost the polar opposite of what’s going to happen. But what is clear, is that the Ukrainians have no interest for the people of Novorussia whatsoever. They’re calling them all sorts of derogatory names, viatnik [?] is one. They’re [wearing] a cotton jacket with, I guess you could say, Colaradie, which is like a bug. I mean they have all sorts of nasty names for them. They call them all ‘terrorists’! I mean there’s no effort to convince, or see them as all one people. There’s absolutely no doubt, that what they want is to ethnically cleanse all of Novorussia. Its that simple. They’ve given up on them. And that’s why they’ve even said they’re not going to pay pensions, they’re not going to provide financial services, banking, everything is shut down.

They’ve basically, they’ve cut themselves off, and they’re even discussing to put border control check- points and some kind of a border. But it seems that they’re also discussing a new defensive. So its unclear who will prevail, because its complete chaos in Kiev. But the basic, what you hear from Kiev is those who say, “We’ll cut them off forever and they will die”, and those who say, “No, no, we’ll go there and kill them all”. That’s the two options the Ukrainians are offering the people in Novorussia. “Die on your own or we’ll come and kill you.”

They’re never getting that territory [Donbass] back. The people there all know it by now. They began by asking “Excuse me, can we please have a little autonomy and the right for our language ?” And now they’re done. And they will never live under Kiev. At least, I should say, for a long time, they will not live under Kiev anymore. For a very very long time.

Now the real solution obviously would be to have a civilized, normal, mentally sane regime in Kiev. If that happened, and after passage of time, maybe some form of Ukraine can survive. I mean we’ve seen it elsewhere. I mean there was this Good Friday Agreement signed in Ulster, you know. I don’t think we should ever say ‘never’. Maybe some kind, certainly that would be the first that Russia would want. A unitary Ukraine, friendly to Russia, stable, not part of any alliance. The Russians don’t need to put their tanks and guns and rockets in the Ukraine. So they don’t need to be part of any alliance. I think they would like them to be economically part, but frankly even that sort of is a, is a question of yesterday because, what’s left of the Ukrainian economy ? It doesn’t exist. The richest part was the Donbass anyways, and its bombed out. The rest is a no-mans-land with dying everything. Dying industry, economy, finance, everything is going down the tubes.

Yeah, the Ukraine as it was 18 months ago would have been a definite important asset for the Eurasian Union. The Ukraine of today, or much less-so of the Ukraine in a year ? I doubt it. Its sort of like, you know “Does the European Union really want to have an economic union with Somalia ?” I mean, because that’s where Ukraine is headed. Its heading for a Somalia kind of economy.

No I don’t think the Russians have any interest in it, anymore. I mean they lost alot on it, they know it. But the real question is; the more the Russians will be implicated in the Ukraine, the more they’ll have to pay. That is really how it stands right now. Not how much Russia will benefit, but how much of the burden of A) keeping it alive and B) rebuilding it, will be put upon Russia ? That’s the real question. And the only one who mentions that is Putin. The West, they’re super cunning-like, and say “Get the Russians out and everything will be fine.”

The Russians? Well they’re not in, but if Putin would give the order to clear all of Novorussia from the entire population, [and] everybody goes and lives in Russia … ok ? … So Russia hands the Ukraine the completely empty Donbass, “Please do with it whatever you want.” Ok, that’s sort of what Psaki and Obama, and the rest of them are suggesting, then what ? Then you’ve got a totally ruined big country with a big population, which has nothing. Nothing nothing nothing works. And its social chaos, military chaos, cultural chaos, corruption, violence, and armed Nazis. You know its a complete disaster. Who’s going to pay for it ? If anybody thinks that the EU or the US has the money to rebuild the Ukraine they’re out of their mind. They don’t.

And I don’t think Russia has, to be honest. Even Crimea is a financial burden. Its not that easy to re-unify two territories together. And look at Novorussia. I mean this is going to be alot of money. Hopefully the smart way to do it is not to pour money into humanitarian aid. That’s for a while. But to really start to redevelop the local industry by contracts with Russia. I mean that’s the midterm goal right now I think. Now, the short term goal is keep them alive, literally. So its humanitarian aid. Money is what Novorussia needs now. If there is no massive war, the next step will be to rebuild the economy. That’s the second thing that Russia would have to do. But really even, unfortunately Russia cannot be as blind as the EU and pretend, like the rest of the Ukraine doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately for Russia, I think that even though the US and Europe are completely responsible and guilty for what happened, Russia will even have to go, and pay to rebuild the rest of the Ukraine further down the line. Much further down the line, maybe a decade. But it will take alot of resources. I mean an international conference of donors will be the very minimal condition to begin a rebuilding process for the rest of the Ukraine.

Now if by, somehow, by some kind of totally imaginable miracle, Kiev and the rest of what’s currently controlled by the Junta, what I call Banderastan, remains a fairly hostile country to Russia, eventually, could the Novorussia be absorbed into Russia ? Yeah, I think they would. Certainly Russia would be reluctant about it, particularly the Kremlin. Not the people of Russia. The people of Russia wouldn’t be happiest I suppose, but the Kremlin will always look at the bottom line, the facts. They’re gonna go [say], “This is going to cost us alot.” So I don’t see that as likely. For the time being, its going to be de facto what’s going to happen … Novorussia will survive, thanks to Russia. Just as Berlin survived thanks to the American air-bridge during the blockade.

Next question, HUDYAH is asking me about incidents involving NATO intercepts, of Russian Aviations, and in one instance a civilian research ship, and he’s asking “What are the Russian, what is the purpose of the Russian presence further outside Russia, and is it true that these are serving to demonstrate Russia’s use of force and coercion, particularly against its immediate neighbors ? etc etc.” Basically the question is “Are Russians flying around Sweden ? Sending ships to Australia ? Flying bombers to Venezuela ? And cruising around the Mediterranean and the North Pole ? To send a message and to threaten its neighbors ?”

The answer is, No. The neighbors of Russia are already trying, I mean if they want to feel threatened by the Russian capabilities, they can already be threatened !!

I mean a threat is what ? Its a combination of Intention and Capabilities. Russia has no Intention of fighting anybody, including none of its neighbors. But if the Japanese wanted to start thinking “Ok, the Russians are about to attack us!!” Can Russia do it ? Yeah, Russia can do it right now. They don’t need to fly around Okinawa or to do anything to send a message.

I think the message is much more directed towards the United States. And that message is more a general one, its not specific to Sweden !! Or to, oh, by the way, there were no Russian submarines. But I’m pretending like there were. But there were flights of Russian bombers I believe, there over the north Atlantic, I think that’s factual. There were certainly some in the Pacific also. So the point is, to show them, “We can do it. Technically.” Its a demonstration and a check, of a level of proficiency. That’s true.

So if you choose to interpret that as a threat, you can construe that as a threat. But I think its more of a general statement, “Look we are back. On a capability level.” I don’t think there’s a political message for any one country, a threat for anybody, in those kind of Russian flights or ship movements.

MATTI DONACH, I hope I pronounced that correctly, is asking me, “I have a question of ‘not connect’ with the current situation in Novorussia. What about the 1999 apartment bombing ? I know that it was during the war in Chechnya when Russia “… basically, “Do I believe Putin or somebody was behind those bombings ? What do I think about those bombings ?” is basically the question.

To tell you the truth, I am unsure about it. If you look at ‘Who Benefits?’ The cui bono argument, these bombings certainly did play a role in getting Russia involved in Chechnya again. But there were PLENTY of reasons for Russia to that, before. One was that the Chechens were attacking the XXXGe stand [?] for one thing. Secondly, there was crazy stuff happening inside Chechnya. I mean Yeltsin tried to give Wahhabi Chechnya, I shouldn’t say ‘the Chechens’ … the Wahhabis IN Chechnya, semi – independence, and he surely made a mess out of it. I do not have a reason to believe that Putin himself or anybody that I know of, would have ordered such bombings. Could somebody in the FSB have been involved in something like that ? I cannot prove a negative. So to be honest, your question makes me feel uncomfortable, because I don’t have a clear answer. I cannot exclude that it was a Russian false flag. Just because you have to intellectually open it … and generally I’m obviously pro-Russian, but truth is more important. And it DID play a role, certainly in mobilizing the Russian public opinion. So unfortunately my answer to you is “I don’t know” and I’m sorry that I don’t have any better one, but I think its important too, on the record, saying “I don’t know”.

MK GORU is asking a question, first of all, “Putin’s succession … Is there any political figure now, that can succeed Putin, unite Russians and carry on the resistance, if in the event, God forbid, if an ‘accident’ or a random cancer befell Putin. ?”

Well, first of all, No. I think truly, I have come to the conclusion, and (oh my God) I’m going to be attacked for saying this, but I have come to the conclusion that Putin is a person of absolutely phenomenal stature. One of the greatest leaders in Russian history. That’s how I personally see him. And that was not at all my opinion, when he came to power in 1999. I won’t bore you with my prejudices about him, but it took me a long time to come around, on this one. But again, the truth matters more than my prejudices, and I have to say that I deeply admire the man. I think he’s of huge stature. There’s two guys out there that are just irreplaceable to me. And they are Vladimir Putin and Hassan Nasrulla, [Hezbollah], who are just giants. I feel privileged to live in the time when these two guys are out there, and I can listen to them, and it just fantastic. Two people like that simultaneously on our planet. That’s how I think of them, both of them. So if you want to call me a Putin groupy after that ? Please. Fan-boy ? Whatever. That’s fine with me. I call it as I see it, and that’s how I see it.

Now does that mean that if something happened to him ? Or to Nasrulla, for that matter ? You know really, nothing WOULD happen. Nobody would be able to succeed him. Well somebody would have to succeed him. Russia has a very, very bad tradition, or lack of, tradition of succession. This is one thing Russians are catastrophically bad at. What reassures me is that I heard Putin discuss that kind of discussion. He thinks about these issues. He went, I think it was when he was speaking with the Historical Society in Moscow recently, where he discussed the problem of succession in Russian history. Not about himself, but the problem generally. The Russians are very bad at succession.

And I hope he’ll prepare the ground. That’s what I hope. Its really important to. There we have to learn alot from the Chinese, who are a heck of alot smarter than the Russians are, on smooth transitions. I would say the implied question is “Who do I see as second best ?” Well, I have a favorite, I’ve never been shy about that. I think very highly of Dimitri Rogozin. I like the guy, particularly, with time. He wasn’t always as good as he is now. I think he’s a fantastic politician. I think he’s a really nice person. He comes across as a really good guy. I think he’s sharp, he understands the West extremely well, and the work he does with the Russian military-industrial complex, right now, is also excellent. He’s kicking butts in the Space industry. He was a great ambassador to NATO. I think Ragozin is, if I had my way, I mean I would want to have Putin in power as long as possible, but if he had to go or something happened to him, Rogozin would be my candidate to succeed to him.

Next question from the same MK GORU, is “How do you assess Russia’s political role, to see the resistance through ? Both at a political level and a popular level ?”

Well, on the political level, on the level of elites, there is still this huge struggle between the, what I call the Eurasian Sovereignists and the Atlantic Integrationists. And its not over. Its far from over. They’re there !! They’re very hard to remove because, understand, they are bureaucratically connected. Supported by the West, and the finance-backing-industry is largely behind them. There’s alot of big money behind these guys. So Putin’s chipping at their power, he’s been doing it for a long while. I wish him well and I hope he’s going to do good, but politically, for instance, if something happened to Putin, then I’m quite sure the pro-western circles would immediately try to seize the Kremlin. They would try really hard. They would smell “this is an opportunity” and that’s why you would need a guy like Rogozin, who actually, if need be, would put soldiers around the Kremlin and not let them do it. So you need somebody capable of fighting that internal fight.

And so generally I would say the Eurasians Sovereignists are prevailing, have been prevailing for a long while. Particularly since the latest election of Putin the events have been accelerating. I see they broke their cover. They’re coming out in the open. Putin’s speaks on the Fifth Column !! So, by the way, is that struggle also discussed openly in the media. So the fact that its out there, weakens the ‘hiding side’ which are the pro-Westerners. So they’re kind of keeping a low profile and keeping careful. Every time one of the ‘reps’ goes on TV and starts defending the US policy in the Ukraine and that kind of nonsense, they get absolutely murdered by the rest of the guests. Even the reporters! So right now they’re … and you look at the popularity figures of Putin! I mean they’re at their highest. I saw a headline today, and I mean even higher than before!! So to answer your question, I would say, “I don’t have any reason to disagree with that [Putin’s popularity].” Eighty percent of the people are behind the resistance and are behind Putin and are behind the Eurasian Sovereignists.

I guess another 15% aren’t, but I don’t know where they are. The core of really pro-Westerners, pro-Obama and the NWO, and the European ‘democracy’ … “Russia is Europe”… I see them at about 5%. So, very little. In the elites, that changes, depending on where you go. There I cannot put a figure on it.

I would say roughly: Security Services on Putin’s side; big money on the Medvedev/Nabulina and the rest of them’s side. So there, its much more complex and I would be much less categorical. I hope that answers your question on that.

The other question by you is “How do you assess Russia’s capability to weather the economic warfare being waged against it, especially with oil prices under attack ?”

Well, the main problem(s) of Russia are: the structure of the Russian economy, which is a very bad and very susceptible to sanctions. You know that kind of nonsense. Its dependence on the exchange rate; on energy; the Russian interests rates are insane; I mean I would refer you to what Glazyev and Khazin say. I don’t want to repeat it all here, its been long on our podcast already, but I would say that the problems of Russia are internal. And those have been inherited from the Yeltsin and Gorbachev years.
Russia needs to finally break that system and built a new one. The Russian economy needs to be diversified. For that, the small and medium companies need to get incentives. The tax system is bad. I mean the Russian economy is a mess, without the West making it worse. And yeah, it has been doing well, mainly because of energy and weapons and stuff like that. That criticism is absolutely fair. Putin’s trying to change that. I want to be optimistic, I hope that Western sanctions will actually give a financial incentive to the Russia oligarchy, or shall I say, ‘wealthy class’, ‘entrepreneurial class’, to agree to these changes. Because its one thing to, you know, not to be a loyal Russian, if you are a multi-millionaire, but if you’re losing your own base, then you suddenly want to re-think your loyalty, and be more patriotic. So big business needs an incentive to help Putin along the way of reforming Russia. That I think is the way to go.

The worst offenders have been exiled. They’re gone. And the sanctions of the West give Russia no other hope. And if Russia doesn’t change, doesn’t do real reforms ? Ah it will hurt, hurt badly. So I see no other way for Russia than to reform herself, from an internal point of view. And that in turn will make it … in terms of potential ? Oh Russia has a fantastic potential. Look at all the tangible resources Russia has in terms of resources. Natural resources, human resources, geography, partnership with China, you know, great trade. The potential is huge and untapped. So a Western economic warfare against Russia SHOULD be unthinkable, if the Russian economy was rational and intelligent. And not the left-over from years of disastrous policies.

So that’s my answer. I don’t know which way it will go. I believe its going to go the right way, but only time will show.

Z or ZEE, like in the film Kostcosmos, is asking me “Would you like to explain to me how Russia’s democratic? As far as demonstration is banned, and the private media kept on a very tight leash?”

That’s absolute nonsense. The media does whatever it wants (laugh). Demonstrations are authorized. What’s not authorized is riots. I don’t think that’s surprising, and there are rules for demonstrations, but its not true that you can’t demonstrate in Russia. People have been demonstrating, including with Nazi slogans in defense of Bandera in downtown Moscow recently. So that’s just factually wrong.

Just try to get information on what’s happening in Russia and realize that this is complete nonsense.

Ok, coming to an end here. Two more questions.

ELSIE is asking me, “I’ve never read the Gulag Archipelago, but I’m about to do so. I found the first volume available online for free. They say its a version of a French translation. Do you think it would be a good translation Saker ?”

Yes. I don’t remember if its Nivat or Androikov who translated the Gulag by Solzhenitsyn, but either way they’re very good translators. Both Andronikov and Nivat, who are usually the best Russian-French translators, who, I think, were involved in his books. And I’m confident that a translation’s very good. If French is your language, go for it.

Ok, last question. ANONYMOUS. “In this post you give some of your disillusioning experience in Bosnia. And from your first podcast I have the impression that you do not support the present situation of independence of Albanians in Kosovo. Is my impression wrong ? For me the fight for independent Novorussia and the fight for independent Kosovo have the same moral justification.”

Well actually, believe it or not, and I know there are alot of people would be surprised, your impression is wrong. My big beef with the Kosovo–Albanians, is the fact that they were allied with the United States. And that they used terrorism and drug trafficking. And I know that for a fact ! To finance themselves. The Kali [?] was a terrorist organization and they are drug dealers and Mafia-dons. They clearly persecuted and viciously murdered Serbs and Orthodox priests. I mean the way of the Kosovo Albanians is despicable. I have a big problem with Wahhabi Islam which has also been part of that equation, in the continuation of the wars in Bosnia and, not Croatians so much as Bosnia.

But in and of itself, to be really honest, I am kind of, also again, having similar to Shalom Sand [?] when he says “You know the historical argument is really not a good one. People should have the right to live where they live.” If it is a fact, and it was a fact, that the Albanians were somewhat of a majority in Kosovo, then in and of itself that would not be reason for me … then again I’m not Serbian, so they decide what their point of view, what they do, but I think you can have a holy site in a different country.

I mean for the Orthodox, you know the Russians can visit Jerusalem and so can the Greeks and there is the Sepulcher there. We don’t demand that it be Russian or Greek, to go there. I think that if the Albanians had been able to behave in a civilized way, the Serbs would have gone on pilgrimage to the holy sites in Kosovo, and maybe some kind of confederation would have been possible with local rights, as had been given by the way, by the Yugoslav government to the local Albanians.

I guess what I’m saying is that its not for me, its for the Serbian people and the Albanians of Kosovo to settle that problem of “What do you do when you have a minority which wants separation ?”and “Why do they want separation?” The point for me is “HOW is it done ?” To be really honest, coming back to the Ukraine, if the Ukrainians had said, “You know, we speak differently, we have a different view of history, we want to be separate, we want to go our own way.” Well like Russia and Bela-Russia for instance, or I don’t know what other … the Czechoslovak Republic. I am not, I don’t have a belief in the sanctity of borders. Honestly. Maybe I will offend some people. Borders have changed many times and they will in the future. I don’t believe in their sanctity. I believe in the “How”. I believe in the rights of people, who live somewhere. And I believe that people have the same rights. To me, I’m culturally closer to a Serb than I would to an Albanian, but to me a Serb is not more precious than an Albanian. Should have the same rights. And if an Albanian, for whatever process of history, that you can even regret and blame on Tito, or other policies of the axis-powers in WW2, but if today the Albanians are the majority in Kosovo, who am I to oppose their independence ? I don’t necessarily mean that I would favor it, but I certainly wouldn’t oppose it.

So no, I think you’re mistaken. I do not oppose independence. I oppose a gangster-state, run by terrorists and allied with imperial power and Wahhabis, right on the southern border of Serbia. That’s what I oppose, first and foremost. Other than that, for me, its none of my business to decide. The local people should decide and whatever their decision is, if its done in a way respectful of others, I would support it.

Ok, that’s it. I hope I haven’t been too long. That’s the end for today. Just as last time, please let me know what I did wrong, what I should change, how I could improve. Let me know what you think of youtube, sound cloud. And I wish you all a wonderful week, and I hope I “see you” in two weeks for the next podcast. All the best. Bye-bye.

The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world