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  1. Well, I think regular readers will know how little I think of that man. It was a good speech, to be fair. Maybe he actually did write the Churchill book himself, or maybe he just read it?
  2. Woolley, you posted as I was writing. I agree with your 'with hindsight' comments. I spent almost a month in Vladivostok in 1995. At that time it was very dangerous, as in, you really had to carry a gun, especially if you went anywhere at night. Hospitals and schools had no heating in below freezing temps and nurses and patients wore thick coats. The local bureaucrats and politicians where unashamedly corrupt and in cahoots with violent gangs. The police, marines and navy were demoralised and frequently unpaid. Foreign currency was extremely powerful - you could buy any public asset for buttons, but you couldn't hold on to it without paying large bribes and hiring serous protection. Most Westerners I knew left even quicker than I did, because setting up a serious and useful business there seemed impossible. I will say as well, that although most people were very friendly, none of them wanted foreigners telling them how to run things. They were simultaneously afraid of a Chinese military takeover of the Russian Far East, or a humiliating capitalist takeover.
  3. Putin invaded Ukraine to distract from his domestic troubles. He needs people to believe that his Tsarist / nationalist rule is superior to and stronger than democracy. Without people believing this he cannot keep stuffing his pockets with state funds. Recently, he has been challenged at home and abroad. The corruption of Putin and his cronies and his investments in foreign football clubs, politicians, media and tax-haven bank accounts and private palaces and estates in Russia were being questioned. The Paradise Papers, the Navalny campaign, the reports into voting collusion, etc., were feeding into his paranoia. Putin's campaign against democracy was also going off the rails. He was able to curtail democracy at home and harming democracy abroad (by bank-rolling morons and sociopaths) quite well until recently. He's been able to push Russian nationalism (from wars to running a national athlete doping programme) at home, and he's been sponsoring racists, nationalists and crooks abroad. When Trump lost it was a bitter blow, despite winning brexit. Democratic Ukraine was looking increasingly better off, as were the Baltic and other East European states. Putin needs to show to his own people that democracies are inherently soft, self-doubting, dysfunctional and weak. Pushing the bizarre notion that this war is somehow partly our fault for welcoming functioning democratic states into the fold is not just ludicrous, it is music to his ears, because it shows how weak we are. Likewise, the half-hearted response when he chooses to have opponents and bystanders poisoned slow and, until a couple of days ago, our can't-be-arsed response to his war. We really should be doing all we can to crush this dangerous madman. And afterwards, we have to help Ukraine rebuild, and help Russia de-Putinise - by which I mean - rebuild with stict protection of individual liberty, democracy and rule of law.
  4. I've heard a couple of intelligent, well intentioned but uninformed people over the last couple of days repeating the nonsense that people like Farage have been pushing (its all NATO or the EU's fault for 'poking the Russian bear'). So, I'm sharing the link below to Alexei Navalny's 'Putin's Palace'. It's a long watch - but important if you want to know about Putin. After it came out and people started protesting, Navalny was poisoned with novichok nerve agent. He survived, after two months in a Berlin hospital. Incredibly, he returned to Russia, where he was arrested and sentenced to 30 months of 'corrective labour' in a notorious prison - a very slow and painful way of killing a recovering novichok victim. Putin is not our fault. https://palace.navalny.com/?fbclid=IwAR3m1QHI3KAnkiGrwPd_3-fNHRwDDgWaXD9SrKZKNQXhWNW3nm-NPChb9mo
  5. The protests in Russia are growing too - & looks like the police are getting the message and backing off a bit.
  6. We all thought China had its eyes on Taiwan. How about if what they were really planning for was what they've always wanted - the Russian Far East?
  7. Amazon Prime EU just bought up all the MiGs & other aircraft in the EU that Ukrainian pilots know how to fly - donated them to the EU & they've been donated straight to Ukraine. Should be in the air now, or very soon. Edited to say: Not sure about the Amazon donation - seems like the money maybe coming from the EU itself.
  8. Fighter Jets from the EU are fighting Putin's invasion over skies of Ukraine tonight. 🇪🇺🇺🇦
  9. I feel desperately sorry for the poor cannon fodder being sent to war by Putin and his cronies to defend the super yacht lifestyles of the kleptocrats.
  10. Putin sits on a golden throne dishing out cash to stooges and quislings at home and abroad. He runs a country that covers 10% of the earth and is massively rich in resources - yet thanks to autocratic kleptomaniac governance has an economy the size of Italy and horrific poverty outside St. Petersburg & Moscow. Putin is a paranoid lunatic running a failed state by fear. Look what he has done to his critics and political opponents. He doesn't check on your EU or NATO credentials before he slips you a polonium sandwich - anymore than he checks for collateral damage. He is a narcissistic psychopath. He couldn't stand to have a free, slavic democracy on his doorstep that he couldn't intimidate and control - so he started a war there in 2014, kicking off with shooting down civilian aircraft MH17. Of course Ukraine has been wanting closer ties to Europe and NATO. I have friends in both Russia and Ukraine by the way - they all agree with this assessment, it is almost unbelievable to them that this Kissenger style realpolitik / balance-of-power / great game view that La Dolce Vita has is being put forth and digested by intelligent people in the West. Sorry to say it, but Putin is a bad man, with no shades of grey, he despises us and everything decent we stand for and we are not to blame for doing everything we can to protect ourselves and others from him.
  11. You can only achieve that by giving three of your best natural harbours to the US Navy, and having multiple large-scale US airbases. And paying a couple of USD billion towards it. And having your own (albeit comparatively small) well equipped defense forces.
  12. Oh yes - many more of them. I think we'll find it isn't just tories and fellow travellers though - probably less so because; 1. they already support Putin and don't need paying. 2. they have other sources of cash.
  13. If we just look at the instances we know about, because they are in the open, such as appearances on RT News - Russian state-funded broadcaster 'Russia Today', that pays politicians up to £1,000 per hour in appearance fees (no wonder they hate the BBC!) then it clearly isn't just Brexiter Tories and Nigel Farage that take Putin's cash. George Galloway and Alex Salmond have had their own shows. I'm pretty sure RT News represents only a tiny fraction of Russia's total investment in propaganda and political influencing, and it isn't just brexiters, anti-vaxxers and separitists who benefit. My conspiracy theory is that Russia has been undermining democracy by promoting the most idiotic, corrupt and destructive politicians and journalists they can find.
  14. I see those 'teething problems' haven't just wiped out the car industry, but steel too. F*ckwits.
  15. Who put this in their manifesto then? I don't remember it being discussed in the very recent election. Haven't you lot got election promises to attend to first?
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