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Thursday, 27 November 2014

SOTT FOCUS: Nationwide protests against police brutality in AmeriKKKa: Wilson gets away with murder, Anonymous: #HoodsOff "The war is on!"

justice 4 MB

© www.wxyz.com

Protesters awaiting the grand jury decision.

Riots in Ferguson, Missouri and protests nationwide as another cop gets away with murder

The Darren Wilson grand jury announcement has rekindled the frustration and anger of protesters against police brutality, leading to a renewed wave of clashes with riot gear-clad police. The demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, erupted into violence, with businesses being set on fire and looted and law enforcement firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the angry crowds.

In addition, a side show between Anonymous and the Ku Klux Klan found its way onto the streets of Ferguson, since the grand jury verdict to not charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with murder brought protesters, activists and police out in numbers. Tensions, already on a knife-edge, were raised after Klan members threatened to shoot townsfolk protesting the August 9th slaying of teenager Michael Brown by Wilson.

In response, Anonymous launched #OpKKK and #HoodsOff, which took down - and took over - multiple Klan websites and social media accounts while exposing numerous Ku Klux Klan members, making their personal information public. In the process, Anonymous uncovered connections between the Klan and the "We Support Darren Wilson" group, which has raised money and support for the trigger-happy cop, with ties to Wilson's new wife, a Ferguson police officer.

FYI: The KKK is a century-old militant terrorist organization based on a religious ideology, whose pathological actions include: arson, beatings, cross burnings, destruction of property, lynchings, tar-and-featherings, whippings, rapes and murders. It targets African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and other social or ethnic minorities. And, they are not shy.

police riot gear

© www.ibtimes.com

Missouri State Troupers in their new riot gear, Ferguson, November 24, 2014.

With a Ferguson showdown as the pretext, the St. Louis County Police Department spent $172,669 to replenish equipment, such as shields, batons, tear gas and flex handcuffs. After weeks of unrest, in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, it was noted that the department had depleted supplies and damaged equipment. So they went shopping. Check out the following police department equipment purchases:

$25,000 for 650 teargas grenades, smoke-and-gas grenades, smoke canisters and hornets nest CS sting grenades which shoot out dozens of rubber bullets and a powdered chemical agent upon detonation.

$18,000 on 1500 "beanbag rounds" and 6,000 pepper balls, paintball-style projectiles that explode with a chemical irritant when they strike a protester. The department uses LiveX branded pepper balls which are billed as ten times hotter than standard pepper rounds.

Another $77,500 was spent on 235 riot gear helmets, 135 shields, 25 batons and 60 sets of shin guards and other uniform items.

$2,300 was used to buy 2,000 sets of handcuffs that have been used to detain dozens of demonstrators (like...maybe two or three dozen? ok, six dozen? that = 72...actually it was only 61 this time and aren't they reusable?).

$50,000 has been set aside by the department for repair work for damaged police vehicles.

I don't see any purchase of police body cameras or dash cams...do you?

Note: "the so-called 'less-lethal' ammunition shot at crowds in Ferguson - such as wooden bullets, beanbag rounds, and rubber balls - can result in serious injury and even death. Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible, escalating tensions between protesters and police." - Amnesty International report

The St. Louis metropolitan police force recently spent $325,000 on "civil disobedience equipment." (Surely they don't just use it once and throw it away... Perhaps it would be time well spent wondering what all this equipment hoard is really for!)

KKK vs. Anonymous

hanging KKK

© http://ift.tt/pqCrME

After Anonymous took over the Klan's websites, the KKK retaliated with death threats directed at the hacker collective. Anonymous responded to these threats, putting the KKK and Ferguson PD on notice that "We are the law now."

With a promise that "This is just the beginning," the international hacktivist group "unhooded" alleged Klan members online, and provided links to social media accounts which contained their photos, addresses, phone numbers, ages, workplaces, and photos of their children. While there is some concern about offering up photos of KKK members' children, the KKK make a practice of indoctrinating their children at very early ages to the ways and rituals of the Klan and often make their own children's photos public. Anonymous, hopefully, will show more discretion than the parents.

Did the hacktivist group Anonymous go too far in challenging the KKK? Most Twitter users appeared to be supportive of the hactivists. Responding to criticism about violating free speech, Anonymous released this statement:

"We are not attacking you because of what you believe in, as we fight for freedom of speech. We are attacking you because of your threats to use lethal attacks against us at the Ferguson protests... The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist group. The blood of thousands of human beings are on the hands of the Klansmen."

Enter U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. With coincidental (wink, wink) timing, coming just days before the Ferguson decision, Holder announced that law enforcement officers have been given new guidelines "to maintain public safety while safeguarding constitutional rights during First Amendment-protected events...[and]...to minimize needless confrontation...to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices." (We will address him a little later because surely some of what he just said about safeguarding our constitutional rights... Are there any left to safeguard?)

In addition, a federal judge issued court orders that prevent Missouri police from stopping media and others from recording officers. The court order followed a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union that said police tried to stop journalists from recording in Ferguson. (Why must there be a lawsuit for LAW officers to do something RIGHT?)

By way of preparation in Clayton, Missouri, location of the grand jury announcement, police placed barricades around the courthouse including locks on mailboxes. Ferguson shop owners, having faced weeks of sometimes violent protests following Brown's death, boarded up their windows. Schools were cancelled. Barricades also went up in the same shopping center parking lot (West Florissant Avenue) where police had their command center in the aftermath of Brown's death.

Around the country: Boston sent out robocalls to public school and college students to stay calm. Oakland found businesses putting steel plates on their doors. Los Angeles police chief Charles Beck said he hoped to get advance notice as to whether Darren Wilson was indicted. In Ferguson, gun sales skyrocketed with the announcement of a State of Emergency declared by the governor.

Present for the showdown in Ferguson were the National Guard, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County and Ferguson police departments. City, county and state officers, as well as the National Guard, were marshaled under a unified command, plus an influx of nearly 100 additional FBI agents to assist law enforcement. It sure looks like they knew what the grand jury decision would be, huh?

The Awaited Announcement

Darren Wilson predictably dodged his bullet with the "Get out of jail free" card from the grand jury. In possibly the longest presentation of "not guilty" in recent history, prosecutor Robert McCulloch managed to blast the media and discredit witnesses who claimed Brown was shot several times. His presentation, seemingly thorough, resembled a dumbed-down legal two-step, and he was the lead. Unfortunately, if you paid attention to what he "over-emphasized" and "under-lined," it was a snow-job for the police department and a slick confirmation of how the pathological elite manipulate black minorities, buffalo white opinions and perpetuate authoritarian 'justice'. The unusual timing of the grand jury's announcement, after darkness had fallen, was a decision by the prosecutors, begging the question: most audience or most scary time for protesters?

By the numbers, according to the prosecution:

  • Grand jury met for 25 separate days

  • They listened to 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses

  • Jurors presented with 5 indictment options, ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter

  • 3 medical examiners testified

  • 3 autopsies returned consistent results

  • 2 shots fired while Officer Wilson was in his police car

  • Brown's body lay 153 feet east of Wilson's car

  • Less than 90 seconds between the first shot and the arrival of a second police car

  • Audio of the final 10 shots was captured on video

Grand jury processes are secret, as are the identities of the jury. Could it be a slim possibility that the evidence and testimonies were helped along by the "Ghoul Squad" fronting for the KKK? Just a thought since we now know of the connection between Ferguson police and the Ku Klux Klan. FYI: A Ghoul Squad is an auxiliary group for Klansmen who have jobs that would be at risk if their membership were known.

There is also reason to think that this grand jury's finding is statistically rare. Ordinarily, almost every case that a prosecutor takes to a grand jury ends in indictment. At the federal level, of 42,140 grand jury investigations in 2012, only 56 targets escaped indictment, from the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. These jurors were offered a range of possible charges instead of the prosecutor's recommended charge with evidence supporting it. Defense attorneys are not allowed to be present in grand-jury proceedings, so defendant testimony is rarely given, which makes Wilson's testimony in front of the grand jury suspect, to say the least. It was more like a secret trial.

Perhaps there were huge segments of the Darren Wilson fan club that took the prosecutor's carefully couched explanations to heart. Protesters on the street seemed less gullible, if not bordering on shock.

Immediately following the announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri said the decision "does not negate the fact that Michael Brown's tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable." The ACLU said that while many police officers "carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement."

For many, this was clearly seen as a racial issue, no less compounded by members of the KKK making threats to use lethal force, in leaflets handed out in Ferguson on the 12th of November:

KKK flyer

© www.nydailynews.com

The KKK flyers in Ferguson, Missouri

And, here is an excerpt from the KKK's 'death threat' to Anonymous :

"...You pathetic nigger lovers are going down, we're NOT HIDING. WE'RE NOT ASHAMED OF WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE REPRESENT, THE INVISIBLE EMPIRE CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE OVERTHROWN. We held a Klan wide meeting today with the Imperial Wizard, who has decided if you want war, we will give you war, not online, but on the streets, we will hunt you down and tear those masks from your face. You'll be strung up next to the chimps. On display for the whole world to see. The Klan is to be feared, not threatened. Turn away, or face the consequences. We would like to wish Officer Darren Wilson and his family all the best in the future. To Anonymous and the people of Ferguson, we will see you on the streets." - signed by the Grand Wizard Frank Ancona, 11/19/14.

3 Klan

© biafransatellite.blogspot.com

Show of hands please. Any police officers?

The capital letters are in the original document, by the way. It leaves little to the imagination as to why the Ferguson Police Department is not all over the KKK for its threats and actions to date. (If there was ever a good cause for all that military-grade hardware, here it is, guys!)

If the KKK is so "hidden" within communities, how many other police departments across the U.S. are similarly connected with, or infiltrated by, this terrorist organization? What makes a community bow to the dictates of such a group that hides its face from the public and rules from the shadows through coercion and terror, if not the leaders themselves? How many communities in the U.S. have such terror cells? And how far up the social, religious, government ladders do KKK tentacles reach? Who knows, maybe Anonymous will find out.

Protests spread nationwide following Ferguson grand jury announcement

NEW YORK - Hundreds of protesters marched through Union Square Monday night holding signs saying "Jail Killing Cops" and "Resistance Is Justified."

In Sanford, Fla., protesters were expected to march at the local county courthouse. Sanford is the site of the Feb. 12, 2012, shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

In Topeka, Kansas, protest organizers posted instructions on the Tumblr page of an informal group known as the Ferguson National Response Network, telling attendees to "Dress warmly - Bring signs."

Elsewhere, protesters gathered across the country from New Haven, Conn., to Bellevue, Wash. In many cities, such as Seattle, Durham, Detroit, Tempe, Harlem, Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville, Toronto, Richmond, Allentown, Knoxville, Tampa, and others, thousands rallied with shows of support for Ferguson and the black community.

Darren Wilson remains on administrative leave, Mayor Knowles said at his news conference. Wilson's legal problems may not be over yet. The Justice Department and the FBI are investigating possible civil rights violations regarding Brown's civil rights and the civil rights record of the Ferguson Police Department. Brown's family could file a wrongful-death suit.

An Indictment of America

In 1968, the literary critic Hoyt Fuller wrote, "Black people are being called 'violent' these days, as if violence is a new invention out of the ghetto. But violence against the black minority is in-built in the established American society."

Apparently Attorney Crump agrees. "The problem is far more pervasive than Ferguson. All across America, young people of color are being killed by police officers. And local prosecutors are putting together these 'unbiased' grand juries that continue to yield the same results." He's right. A few weeks ago USA Today reported that nearly two black people a week were killed by police in a seven-year span ending in 2012. While one in five black people killed by police are under 21, only one in 11 white people killed by police are so young.

And, here's an interesting fact:
Many criminologists say we are not given the full truth that only 750 of 17,000 police departments around the nation file killings by police with the FBI. (We can only wonder why not.) 461 deaths by police were reported in 2013 (an upward trend), but the number is suspect due to "spotty" reporting.

It is a pattern that African Americans receive rougher treatment from police and biased treatment from the justice system. Could anything change as the result of Brown's death that offers hope for improvement regarding polarization of issues, events and outcomes? Will mistrust and deeply unresolved biases again resurface when confronted with the next tragic victim of a society struggling for equality and identity? Most likely, faster and stronger than the last. Locked into roles and protocol, manipulation and response...the aggressor becomes the victim, the victim becomes the aggressor and it goes on. There is no winner when emotions are so rawly triggered, blinding reason and truth. Is this what the PTB are banking on? Are they setting up the weeding of American society? Do you have your riot gear? Should you be afraid?

Outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said recently, though he served as the nation's top law-enforcement official, and as an African-American man who has been searched unnecessarily by police, "I also carry with me the mistrust that some citizens harbor for those who wear the badge." Well, Eric, what have you really done about that? Why aren't police departments being deprogrammed for unsubstantiated stereotypes and, likewise, held accountable for despicable and unlawful actions? And, by the way, what are you doing about the KKK?

Just another word about them: For as long as the KKK has been in operation, we should suspect it, or something like it, to be everywhere in one form or another. In its modern incarnation, the KKK might only be degenerate remnants of a once larger organization, but institutionalized racism is still clearly a major issue in the U.S. Looking a little deeper though, it's not just "hatred of blacks" that is at root here. It is what allows pathological and amoral individuals to come into power, whether locally or nationally, drawing others with a similar ideology and mindset to its ranks. This is the reality. It encompasses all the other issues that have been discussed, debated and fought over in the past months (and years): race, police militarization, the absurdity of legal procedures and precedents.

The Anonymous-KKK stand-off is a relative food-fight compared to what has happened since the grand jury result was announced. Even if this event blows over without more chaos, at the rate cops are killing the innocent, violating the law and devaluing human life, it's surely only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose across the U.S.

Ferguson is a tinderbox. It is also a trial run and the game maker is watching. Which side will you choose? At the end of the day, if we do nothing, we are all victims.

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SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Dancing around the question of Ukraine's federalization

© Reuters / Eric Vidal

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) welcomes Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L).

More calls are coming in to federalize Ukraine. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy jumped on the bandwagon with his 5-year political anniversary speech in Paris this week. As reported by RT:

Quoting "1,000 deaths" in the country since the cease-fire agreement was reached in Minsk on September 5, Van Rompuy said he could no longer call the situation a cease-fire. And a new cessation of conflict, if controlled by the same players, would have the identical outcome, the politician said in his speech, marking his five years presidency of the European Council.

Urging a "global solution," the EU chief said a way for Ukraine to become a "decentralized (or federalized) country" must be found. He called for the country's closer ties with the EU. However, he also said, "Europe has become unpopular among Europeans" in the past five to six years.

Kiev should "establish a correct relationship with Russia, its neighbor, with which it shares history, culture and language," Van Rompuy said, adding that the interests of minorities in Ukraine should be respected.

Sharing his EU "experiences and perspectives" with students at the Sciences Po institute of political studies in Paris, he pointed out that the current crisis in Ukraine is "the most grave geopolitical crisis we've experienced in Europe since the end of the Cold war." What makes it even worse, according to the Rompuy, is the fact that the "war" is happening on European soil.

Van Rompuy is not the first European politician to suggest Ukraine's federalization. Earlier in August, Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also the country's economy minister, spoke out for federalization to be introduced in Ukraine once the conflict in the east of the country is resolved.

The same measures to help settle the crisis in eastern Ukraine have been voiced by Moscow. However, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko keeps ruling out such political changes, saying the country's federalization is out of question.

But back in February, the BBC reported on Van Rompuy's statement at the Munich Security Conference:

"The future of Ukraine belongs with the EU".

© Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk (R) welcomes former Prime Minister and newly elected parliamentary deputy Yulia Tymoshenko during the first session of a new Ukrainian parliament, elected in October, in Kiev, November 27, 2014.

Meanwhile back in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko is certainly against federalization and decided to make a grand show that his government is fully behind him as reported by Reuters:

Ukraine's parliament approved Arseny Yatseniuk for a new term as prime minister on Thursday in a ceremony that countered reports of high-level disunity in a message to Russia over its backing of separatists in the country's east.

Pomp and emotion characterized the opening of Ukraine's first parliament since the February fall of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich as his successor, Petro Poronshenko, declared in a keynote speech that there could be no future formula for Ukraine other than that of a single, unified state.

More than two thirds of the deputies in the 450-seat parliament voted for Yatseniuk to stay as head of government, a post he has held since protests toppled Yanukovich, prompting Russia to annex Ukraine's Crimea region and back pro-Russian rebels in the east.

In a gesture aimed at deflecting impressions of damaging rivalry between him and Poroshenko which have also alarmed Western governments, Yatseniuk raised his hand to the president and declared to cheers: "Here is my hand for carrying out all that you have just said from this tribune.

"This is our joint responsibility," he added before striding over to Poroshenko and warmly embracing the president.

The display of unity was scripted in part for the eyes of Russia, which is backing Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine's industrial heartland in a conflagration that has killed more than 4,300 people.

Political parties in favor of closer links to the European Union scored a resounding victory in a Oct. 26 election, handing Poroshenko a mandate to end the conflict and steer the ex-Soviet republic further out of Russia's orbit toward Europe.

But there have been reports of disputes between Poroshenko and Yatseniuk over the share-out of portfolios in the new government which may emerge next Tuesday.

Poroshenko said 100 percent of Ukrainians favored a unitary state without federalization, a political model that has been pushed by Russia but is seen by Kiev as a recipe for the country's dismemberment.

"These are our warm wishes to those in the East or West who advise federalization," Poroshenko said sarcastically.

But he said the reality was that Ukraine would always have "to sleep with a revolver under the pillow", an allusion to the perceived threat from Russia, which in turn sees Kiev's tilt toward the EU and NATO fold as menacing.

Poroshenko said support among Ukrainians for joining NATO had grown 3-4 fold this year and Ukraine's current non-aligned status no longer worked.

Oh really, Poroshenko? 100% of Ukrainians? Not according to this poll from the that claims:

Forty percent of Ukrainians stand for negotiations with the federalization supporters and 35 percent support the military crackdown, according to a poll conducted by the Rating sociological group and presented at a Wednesday press conference at Interfax-Ukraine.

Even Kiev's admits:

Only 11 percent of Ukrainians favor country's federalization, less than 6 percent wish their region gain independence.

An amount of 46.7 percent of Ukrainian citizens polled by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation spoke in favor of Ukraine as a unitary state, but only if decentralization of the power is carried and rights of the regions are enlarged.

How can Poroshenko be taken seriously? How can anyone be taken seriously when the people themselves have decided?


William Barbe (Profile)

William joined the SOTT news team in 2014. A 30-year veteran of the semiconductor industry, in 2007 he began being interested and paying more attention to world events and living a healthier lifestyle. Hobbies and interests include hiking, photography and reading non-fiction books on history, economics, psychology, science, unexplained anomalies and politics.

UN agency declares state of emergency after heavy rains, flooding in Gaza - thousands homeless

© AFP/Mahmud Hams

Palestinian men in the back of a pickup truck make their way through a flooded street during heavy rains in Gaza City on November 27, 2014.

A United Nations agency has declared a state of emergency in the besieged Gaza Strip after two days of heavy rains and flooding in the war-ravaged Palestinian enclave.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in a Thursday statement that hundreds of residents in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City had been evacuated due to the rise of a "storm water lagoon" in the area.

It further said that the flooding has caused the closure of 63 schools across Gaza City and 43 schools across the northern Gaza Strip.

"The flooding is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by blockade and the unprecedented destruction from the latest Israeli offensive," the UN agency said.

The agency further noted that it was "providing emergency fuel to supply back-up generators for pumping stations, portable pumps, municipalities, water, sanitation and health facilities."

Israel launched its latest onslaught on the blockaded area on July 8. The war killed over 2,140 Palestinians and left more than 11,000 others injured. The war ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered truce.

The Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian territory also caused widespread devastation across Gaza. Over 15,600 housing units were damaged in the onslaught. More than 2,200 houses were totally destroyed, according to official figures released by Palestinian sources.

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Zip your lips. It's never a good idea to talk to the police

police t-shirt

In my recent interview, Serfdom is the New Normal -Talkin' Oligarch Blues with Perpetual Assets, I mentioned the dangers of talking to the police in light of the recent epidemic of shady civil asset forfeitures . What many people fail to realize, is that you aren't obligated to have casual conversations with police when you have been pulled over. In fact, such conversations are often used solely to manufacture an excuse for further action against you. For example, take this excerpt from the recent Washington Post article, Highway Seizure in Iowa Fuels Debate about Asset-Forfeiture Laws:

After handing over the paperwork, he said the stop was over. Then he asked the driver, Newmerzhycky, if he had "time for just a couple quick questions."

Police who specialize in highway interdiction use casual conversations to avoid triggering legal questions about the length of stops. If the conversations are consensual, courts consider the added delay to be legal.

During a routine highway stop for a minor traffic violation, I can't think of a good reason why it would ever be in your interest to continue chatting with a cop.

It's really sad that it has come to this. It would be much better to live in a society where people could have enough trust in police to chat casually with them. The more police engage in bad behavior, the less the public will want to engage.

Traffic Stop

© Shutterstock

The trickier part about all of this, is that it isn't clear what a reasonable length for a stop is. Here's the Washington Post on the issue, from the article, Waiting for the Dogs During Police Traffic Stops:

the Supreme Court has held that the use of the dog is not a search, the length of a warrantless stop must be reasonable. The officer can't delay the driver forever.

de minimis doctrine. Officers can extend the stop and wait for the dogs for ade minimis amount of time. But exactly how long is that?

Just yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held in United States v. Rodriguez that seven to eight minutes is de minimis. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of Nevada held a few months ago in State v. Beckman that nine minutes is too long.

With all that in mind, I strongly suggest watching the following video with almost 5 million views of Law Professor James Duane, simply titled: Don't Talk to Police.

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Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and obviously none of this should be taken as legal advice. It is meant to provide you with some information and you should do your own research (laws vary by state).

In Liberty,

Michael Krieger

The 'crazy-making' aspects of fundamentalist Christianity

Pat Robertson
© Jeff Wells

Pat Robertson

I am thirty years old and I am struggling to find sanity. Between the Christian schools, homeschooling, the Christian group home (indoctrinating work camp), and different churches in different cities, I am a psychological, emotional, and spiritual mess.

- A former evangelical Christian
If a former believer says that Christianity made him depressed, obsessive, or post-traumatic, he is likely to be dismissed as an exaggerator. He might describe panic attacks about the rapture, moods that swing from ecstasy about God's overwhelming love to suicidal self-loathing about repeated sins, or an obsession with sexual purity. A symptom like one of these clearly has a religious component, yet many people instinctively blame the victim. They will say that the wounded former believer was prone to anxiety or depression or obsession in the first place - that his Christianity somehow got corrupted by his predisposition to psychological problems. Or they will say that he wasn't a real Christian. If only he had prayed in faith or loved God with all his heart, soul and mind, if only he had really been saved - then he would have experi­enced the peace that passes all understanding.

But the reality is far more complex. It is true that symptoms like depres­sion or panic attacks most often strike those of us who are vulnerable, perhaps because of genetics or perhaps because situational stressors have worn us down. But the reality is that Christian beliefs and Christian living can create those stressors, even setting up multigenerational patterns of abuse, trauma, and self-abuse. Also, over time some religious beliefs can create habitual thought patterns that actually alter brain function, making it difficult for people to heal or grow.

Christians like to talk about the benefits of faith. Testimonies are filled with miraculous transforma­tions: drug abusers go sober, compulsive gamblers break their addictions, guilty and lonely people feel flooded with forgiveness and love. So it is hard for many Christians to imagine that the opposite might also be true - that Christianity sometimes traps people in a cycle of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-punishment that can drive vulnerable children and adults to mental illness or suicide. There are "crazy-making" aspects of this thought system that are quite serious.

The best research available, taken together, shows a modest positive corre­lation between religious involvement and mental health. That said, this research is correlational, with some studies showing positive associations, some showing negative associations, and some showing none at all. This is likely due to the wide variety of ways in which religious involvement and mental health are measured, but also to the enormous variations in religion itself.

While the born-again experience can provide dramatic and sometimes instantaneous relief from psychological symptoms or addiction, a similar transformation occurs in many religions and secular self-help intensives. Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman explore this process in their now classic book "Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change." In fact, people leaving a restrictive religion have described their experience in similar terms - a sudden flood of freedom, joy, and purpose. Some call their decon-version being "born again again." Here is one of them:

Add me to the list of people whose depression and self-doubt and self-loathing and etc. etc. etc. all got better after the huge weight of religious oppression was lifted. I am now beginning to feel that "peace that passes all understanding" that Christians are always talking about (but never seem to find). Ironic - Xphish

It is common to consider religion a private affair. Yet beliefs are not merely personal when they motivate action that affects other individuals or public policy. Religious beliefs can compel good people to behave horribly - to shun friends, beat their children, or kill gays because in the mental universe created by belief those bad things are lesser evils. Most often though, the harm is psychological and the victims are the believers themselves.
The purveyors of religion insist that their product is so powerful it can transform a life, but somehow, magically, it has no risks. In reality, when a medicine is powerful, it usually has the potential to be toxic, especially in the wrong combination or at the wrong dose. And religion is powerful medicine!

In this chapter we will discuss why Christianity is so powerful and how it causes psychological harm - how it can stunt child development, why females are particularly at risk, what religious trauma looks like, and how former believers can reclaim their lives and health. For the purpose of this discussion we will focus on the variants of Christianity that are based on a literal interpre­tation of the Bible. These include evangelical and fundamentalist churches, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and other conservative sects. These groups share the characteristics of requiring conformity for membership, a view that humans need salvation, and a focus on the spiritual world as superior to the natural world. These views are in contrast to liberal, progressive Christian churches with a humanistic viewpoint, a focus on the present, and an interest in social justice.

It is important to understand that Christianity is not just a religion. It is a broad, encompassing lens through which believers experience the world. It also permeates Western civilization. As such, it can be as difficult to examine as the air we breathe, and it's just as important. Christian assumptions based on symbols, laws, and nomenclature are so ubiquitous in our culture as to blind even many nonbelievers to the harm done in the name of God.

Religion Exploits Normal Human Mental Processes

To understand the power of religion, it is helpful to understand a bit about the structure of the human mind. Rationalism, a 350-year-old theory of mind, sees humans as rational beings, guided by conscious thought and intention. Find­ings in cognitive science say otherwise.

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for his pio­neering work on decision making. At the time Kahneman began, scholars believed that human beings were "rational actors," especially in the economic sphere, and that most of our own motives and beliefs were available to our conscious minds. Kahneman and his colleague Amos Tversky showed that this is far from true. Instead, as it turns out, much of our mental activity has little to do with rationality and is utterly inaccessible to the conscious mind.

The preferences, intentions, and decisions that shape our lives are in turn shaped by memories and associations that can be laid down before we even develop the capacity for rational analysis. Daniel Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA who researches and writes about trauma. He explains that we have both "explicit" and "implicit" memories stored in our brains, regardless of conscious awareness. The implicit memories go back to birth and include our attachment experience, which has a lifelong impact.

Cognitive linguist George Lakoff is known for the concept of frames, popularized through a small book called Don't Think of an Elephant. "People use frames - deep-seated mental structures about how the world works - to understand facts. Frames are in our brains and define our common sense. It is impossible to think or communicate without activating frames, and which frame is activated is of crucial importance."

Frames are acquired unconsciously and operate unconsciously, but they determine the shape of conscious thought. According to cognitive linguistics, words link to images, memories, and related concepts that are tangled together via neural networks. As a consequence we make sense of the world through metaphors that let us evaluate unfamiliar situations based on those that are more familiar. For example, when political conservatives and liberals envi­sion a healthy society they both use the family as a model for how govern­ment should work. But where conservatives try to replicate a "strict father" or authoritarian model, liberals incline toward a "nurturing parent" model. These "deep frames" lead to very different social priorities. An understanding of frames helps us understand why religious thinking can seem so alien to outsiders, for people with different deep frames think differently and reach different conclusions with the same facts.

Aspects of cognition like these determine how we go through life, what causes us distress, which goals we pursue and which we abandon, how we respond to failure, how we respond when other people hurt us - and how we respond when we hurt them. Religion derives its power in large part because it shapes these unconscious processes: the frames, metaphors, intuitions, and emotions that operate before we even have a chance at conscious thought.

Some Religious Beliefs and Practices Are More Harmful Than Others

The social sciences offer insight into universal cognitive and social processes that underpin religion broadly, but when it comes to questions of benefit and harm, huge differences emerge. More rigorous research is needed, but mounting case-study data suggest that, when it comes to psychological damage, certain religious beliefs and practices are reliably more toxic than others.

Janet Heimlich is an investigative journalist who has explored religious child maltreatment, which describes abuse and neglect in the service of reli­gious belief. In her book Breaking Their Will, Heimlich identifies three char­acteristics of religious groups that are particularly prone to harming children. Clinical work with reclaimers, that is, people who are reclaiming their lives and in recovery from toxic religion, suggests that these same qualities put adults at risk, along with a particular set of manipulations found in fundamen­talist Christian churches and biblical literalism.

Religion blind
© Unknown

1.) Authoritarianism, creates a rigid power hierarchy and demands unquestioning obedience. In major theistic religions, this hierarchy has a god or gods at the top, represented by powerful church leaders who have power over male believers, who in turn have power over females and children. Authoritarian Christian sects often teach that "male headship" is God's will. Parents may go so far as beating or starving their children on the authority of godly leaders. A book titled "To Train Up a Child" by minister Michael Pearl and his wife Debi, has been found in the homes of three Christian adoptive families who have punished their children to death.
2.) Isolation or separatism, is promoted as a means of maintaining spir­itual purity. Evangelical Christians warn against being "unequally yoked" with nonbelievers in marriages and even friendships. New converts often are encouraged to pull away from extended family members and old friends, except when there may be opportunities to convert them. Some churches encourage older members to take in young single adults and house them within a godly context until they find spiritually compatible partners, a process known by cult analysts as "shepherding." Home schoolers and the Christian equivalent of madrassas cut off chil­dren from outside sources of information, often teaching rote learning and unquestioning obedience rather than broad curiosity.

3.) Fear of sin, hell, a looming "end-times" apocalypse, or amoral hea­thens binds people to the group, which then provides the only safe escape from the horrifying dangers on the outside. In evangelical "hell houses," Halloween is used as an occasion to terrify children and teens about the tortures that await the damned. In the Left Behind book series, the world degenerates into a bloodbath without the stabi­lizing presence of believers. Since the religious group is the only alter­native to these horrors, anything that threatens the group itself - like criticism, taxation, scientific findings, or civil rights regulations - also becomes a target of fear.

Psychologist Margaret Thaler Singer, author of the now classic Cults in Our Midst, spent years analyzing the dynamics of groups that systematically manipulate social and psychological influence, including religious sects and some self-help groups. Any former evangelical will readily see their church in her analysis. Like Heimlich, Singer identified authoritarianism and separatism as core dynamics of groups that cause the most harm. Such groups often claim simply to attract "seekers." In reality, they engage in sophisticated recruiting activities, and by doing so they are able to draw in people who are often intel­ligent, educated, and otherwise psychologically healthy.

While in the group, members may take on what Singer calls a "pseudo-personality." Upon breaking free, former members may experience dis­orientation, guilt, anxiety, depression, and even panic. But gradually their individuality and their capacity for curiosity and delight re-emerge. Hundreds of testimonials at websites like ExChristian.net bear witness to this process, making it clear that it is not just "cults" or fringe groups that use powerful tactics of mind control. In fact, of the thousands of believers currently leaving mainstream Christian churches, many who seek help with recovery wrestle with the same issues as former "cult" members.

Half a century ago, psychiatrist Robert Lifton studied totalistic political regimes that were engaged in the process of thought reform, in particular the communist regimes of China and North Korea. He identified eight psycholog­ical themes associated with destructive mind control. As subsequent scholars have pointed out, many are used by controlling religious sects:

1. Milieu control scripts communications among insiders and discour­ages communication with outsiders.

2. Loaded language creates a form of "group-speak" and constricts thinking. It provides soothing mantras and labels for dismissing criti­cism or doubt.

3. Demands for purity mean that thoughts and behavior get measured against an ideological ideal, the One Right Way.

4. Confession rituals elicit moral emotions like shame and guilt and create a heightened sense that someone is always watching.

5. Mystical manipulation makes people think that new feelings and thoughts have arisen spontaneously. It creates the illusion that members are there by their own choice.

6. Doctrine over person means that people see their own personal history through the lens of ideology. Over time, they may become convinced that they were bad, addicted, or mentally ill prior to joining the group despite evidence to the contrary.

7. Sacred science is the mechanism by which groups seek to justify and rationalize their belief system by tying it loosely to what is known about the natural world, philosophy, or social science.

8. Dispensing existence gives the group the power of life and death - or eternal life. Members typically believe that they are a part of a chosen elite while outsiders are lesser beings.

Each of these psychological mechanisms can be applied for either secular or religious purposes. When coupled with a charismatic authority figure, the legitimizing stamp of an ancient text, and socially sanctioned religious struc­ture, their power cannot be overstated.

Bible Belief Creates an Authoritarian, Isolative, Threat-Based Model of Reality

In Bible-believing Christianity, psychological mind-control mechanisms are coupled with beliefs from the Iron Age, including the belief that women and children are possessions of men, that children who are not hit become spoiled, that each of us is born "utterly depraved," and that God demands unquestioning obedience. In this view, the salvation and righteousness of believers is constantly under threat from outsiders and dark spiritual forces. Consequently, Christians need to separate themselves emotionally, spiritually, and socially from the world. These beliefs are fundamental to the model of reality or "deep frame," as Lakoff would call it. Small wonder then that many Christians emerge wounded.

It is important to remember that this mindset permeates to a deep subcon­scious level. This is a realm of imagery, symbols, metaphor, emotion, instinct, and primary needs. Nature and nurture merge into a template for viewing the world that then filters every experience. The template selectively allows only the information that confirms the Christian model of reality, creating a subjec­tive sense of its veracity.

On the societal scale, humanity has been going through a massive shift for centuries, transitioning from a supernatural view of a world dominated by forces of good and evil to a natural understanding of the universe. The Bible-based Christian population, however, might be considered a subset of the general population that is still within the old framework, that is, supernaturalism.

Here are some basic assumptions of the supernatural Christian model of reality:

* Humans live in a world of sin and danger dominated by Satan since the Fall of Man.

* Earthly life is taking part in "spiritual warfare," along with real spiritual entities of good and evil.

* There is a timeline for all existence set by God, starting with Creation and ending with the earth's destruction and Final Judgment.

* Values, morals, and all things important are eternal and unchanging, authored by God, who answers to no one.

* Humans are sinful by nature, guilty and needing salvation, but lacking any ability to save themselves except to repent and subject their will to God.

* Human life on earth is unimportant in the cosmic scheme. Pleasure is for the afterlife, and the "flesh" is sinful. Life's purpose is to serve God.

* Ultimately God is in control and will have justice. Humans do not need to understand His mysterious ways, only have faith and not question. Attempts to control are sinful.

This Christian model of reality has built within it mechanisms for its own survival: fear and dependence, circular reasoning, threats for leaving, social supports for staying, and obstructions that prevent outside information from reaching insiders, especially children. Thus, believers not only get hurt, they get stuck.

Stepfather accused of raping, beating 3-year-old Florida girl to death


A 3-year-old Florida girl was reportedly raped and beaten by her new stepfather, who had married the child's mother just one week before she died.

Charlie Brame died Monday at an Orlando hospital and investigators say her body showed signs of recent severe sexual and physical abuse and "aggravated child abuse with severe brain trauma," reports the . Her stepfather, Pascal Kaufmann, 19, allegedly told police the girl stopped moving on Saturday when he was babysitting for her alone while her mother was at work.

Police say it "was unlikely that (Brame) could receive such severe head trauma from falling out of the bed" and that her injuries were "more consistent with blunt trauma to the back of the skull."

Kaufmann moved to the United States from Germany in August and married Charlie's mother Emma Paige Liggett last week, reports WFTV. He was charged with child neglect and rape and has been denied bail. Depending on the results of an autopsy report, he could face additional charges.

"In all likelihood, what we're going to see is a charge of first-degree murder for the death of this child," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said.

Charlie's biological father had reportedly begged her mother not to leave Kaufmann alone with the little girl after he found out he had spanked her. He reportedly told her that "(Kaufmann) is to never touch his daughter again or he would kill him," according to a police report. The father reportedly had no comment after the horrific incident.

Fracking: Irving, Texas reports 5 earthquakes in 4 days

© NBC Dallas-For Worth

A map of this week's earthquakes.

The city of Irving, Texas has experienced five earthquakes in four days, leading some critics to blame increased seismic activity on nearby fracking operations.

The first earthquake, Saturday night, was a magnitude 3.3 quake that was felt by hundreds of North Texans. A 2.5-magnitude quake hit on Sunday, followed by two more on Monday, magnitudes 2.2 and 2.3. And a fifth 2.7-magnitude earthquake was reported Tuesday evening just east of the University of Dallas campus.

Residents and city leaders point to area oil and gas disposal wells, where fracking wastewater is injected deep underground, as likely culprits. There is a wastewater disposal well near the epicenter of Saturday's quake.

"We are guinea pigs in the middle of this fracking experiment. Texas homes are built to withstand wind, not earthquakes," Sharon Wilson, an organizer for the advocacy group Earthworks, told Reuters. "Who will pay for the damage to private property?"

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, agreed: "People are scared," he told Newsradio 1200 WOAI. "They are not used to waking up to find their homes shaking. The connection between fracking and earthquakes is obvious."

A study published last month backs up such claims. Looking at data from National Science Foundation seismographs located near fracking sites, scientists in Ohio were able to make direct connections between at least 400 small "micro-earthquakes" and nearby fracking operations in that state.

Earlier this year, U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey stated that wastewater injection was "a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes" in Oklahoma. "This phenomenon is known as injection-induced seismicity, which has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases identified recently in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas and Colorado."

WOAI reports that "[t]he Texas Oil and Gas Association says it is open to an investigation into the connection between hydraulic fracking and earthquakes which have become more common in Texas since the widespread practice of shale fracking began in 2009."

"The oil and natural gas industry agrees that recent seismic activity warrants robust investigation to determine the precise location, impact, and cause or causes of seismic events," Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, told the station.

Irving is located just 35 miles from Denton, Texas, where residents recently voted to ban fracking within city limits. In the days after the vote, the Texas Oil and Gas Association filed an injunction to prevent the ban from being instated; the Texas General Land Office filed a separate lawsuit to block the new rule; and a local regulator said she would not enforce the ban.

Surprise! Submarine drone finds Antarctic ice thicker than previously thought

© Still from YouTube video/AntarcticSurvey

A new type of 3D mapping revealed Antarctic sea ice could be much thicker than previously estimated, shows a study done with the help of a yellow robotic submarine named .

The new study, published in , showed that average ice thickness in Antarctica is between 1.4 meters and 5.5 meters. The maximum thickness recorded was 17 meters.

Also, 76 percent of the mapped ice has been tagged as 'deformed,' the study stated, which means that ice crashed together, forming a thicker layers of ice.

"Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice," states the study. "We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought."

SeaBed robot has been involved in two expeditions in Antarctica with scientists from the UK, the US and Australia. The yellow robot is an autonomous underwater vehicle (or AUV) equipped with upward-looking sonar to measure and map the underwater sea ice.

The two-meter robot moved in a "lawnmower" pattern so as not to miss any areas and bounced sound waves off the under-surface of the ice to make its estimates.

Two expeditions took place in 2010 and 2012 and included regions of Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land.

Overall, an area of 500,000 meters squared was analyzed by members of the British Antarctic Survey, the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) in Tasmania and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US.

Before the discovery, ice thickness in Antartica could only be measured through the ice breaking ships, which usually stay around the thinner ice regions.

The revelations represent a breakthrough in the field, The quoted co-author of the study and a member of IMAS, Dr. Guy Williams, as saying.

"Sea ice is an important indicator of the polar climate but measuring its thickness has been tricky," said Williams. "Along with the satellite data, it was a bit like taking an X-ray of the ice, although we haven't X-rayed much of it, just a postage stamp."

"The key thing is that this is a game changer because it was previously very challenging to measure ice depth. We were limited to visual observation from the decks of ships or ice cores and take measures."

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SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Russian economist Mikhail Khazin: On gold, the imminent collapse of Western neo-liberalism, and Eurasianism

Mikhail Khazin.

Mikhail Khazin is a mathematician and economist in Russia (graduated from Moscow State University in 1984). After working in various government and banking positions, he was discharged from his position as Deputy Chief of the Economic Directorate for attempting to fight corruption during Russia's failed experiment at privatization in 1997. Since 2000, he has worked as a consultant. He's an acquaintance of President Putin and is well informed of Kremlin politics, including the behind-the-scenes power struggles.

Besides being an expert economist, he seems to have a knack for predicting major world events. In 2000 he predicted the 2008 economic collapse (having previously predicted Russia's 1998 default). Then, on 10 September 2001, he predicted large-scale, U.S.-organized terror attacks as a cover for the States' economic deterioration. Now, in August of this year he predicted the end of a period of consumption stimulated by credit and a fresh round of bankruptcies and unemployment in the last quarter of 2014.

Back in September he had this to say about the current 'dollar economy': "There is nothing we will gain anymore from the dollar model. It's run dry." In October, he appeared on Russian TV with Putin advisor Sergey Glazyev to discuss the economy, sanctions, and Russia's central bank. (For more on Glazyev's views, in his own words, see: Putin advisor examines the threat of war and the Russian response.)

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The following interview was conducted, translated, and edited by members of the Saker blog community. (See the original for credits.)

Central Bank, Banking


Pertaining to the Russian Central Bank. Who owns it and who controls it and who profits from it? Do foreign interests have a role to play within it and the bank's ability to inject liquidity into the Russian economy? Can the Russian government instruct the Russian central bank in policy decisions? Can they create an alternative to western based financial institutions like SWIFT, Visa etc. to a system based on rubles?

How is Russia's national money supply structured presently and Why is the Russian Central Bank still depending on accumulation of US dollars before issuing Rubles and if this policy will change in the future, how will that affect financing of the Russian national economy from domestic sources like from Sberbank instead of relying on foreign investment?


There is a law that states that the Central Bank is independent of the government. Theoretically, the Central Bank has the right to set its own monetary and money creation policy. However, there are two limitations. The first is the IMF policy. Since the Russian Federation signed an agreement with this organization, the Central Bank sees itself as the main instrument for the implementation of the agreement. Of course, it is largely determined by personalities - while the head of the Central Bank, Gerashchenko, was indeed a distinguished banker and statesman, the Central Bank's policy was relatively independent of external sources; with Ignatiev and Nabiullina the situation has changed and the latter leaders try not to argue with the IMF.

The second limitation is the National Banking Council, which includes several representatives from the President Office, government and Parliament. A longstanding Russian Finance Minister, Alexei Kudrin, who is not only a personal friend of President Putin but is also close to the IMF Russian expert, played a key role on the Council until recently.

Today, the situation is gradually beginning to change. It is already clear that the old policy of the Central Bank (that reflects the vision of the IMF in its most orthodox form) does not produce the desired effect and there is a growing criticism in the country of the policy of the Central Bank and the government. However, so far, the leadership of the Central Bank is withstanding this public criticism and does not intend to change its policy. At the same time, the government keeps pressure on the Central Bank to achieve specific results for itself. In particular, the devaluation of the ruble in the last two months is largely due to the fact that the government has too optimistically promised economic growth, which is clearly not there. An attempt was made to stimulate it with the Central Bank agreeing to go against its core mandate, which requires ensuring stability of the national currency.

The Central Bank's investment policy is similarly pulled by the opposing forces of IMF rules and the country's economic needs. During Gerashchenko's tenure, the Central Bank was actively increasing domestic capital (from late 1998 until 2003, the money stock M2 increased approximately 10-fold relative to GDP, from 4% to 40%, and about 15 times in absolute terms). The post-Gerashchenko Central Bank has been pursuing a strict policy of keeping the ruble from becoming an independent investment vehicle (in compliance with the principles of the Bretton Woods system, in which the dollar should be the only investment source). It has become clear today that there won't be foreign investment in Russia at a significant scale and therefore it is necessary to stimulate the ruble investment process. However, the current leadership of the Central Bank refuses to take any steps in this direction. Thus there is a reason to believe that the management of the Central Bank will change in the medium term.

Gold, Gold currency


Distinguished Western economists have pointed out that for years naked gold short selling through manipulation of paper contracts have been used to prop up the United States Dollar and Western allied-currencies against the threat of greater depreciation versus gold. Can Russia and China break the West's gold shorting scam?

Would this be an effective way for Russia to retaliate against the Western-Saudi economic warfare that is driving down the ruble and oil price?

In particular, is there any serious likelihood Russia and China could coordinate to take delivery of large quantities of physical gold at the newly opened Shanghai Gold Exchange in order to create an arbitrage between the fake, naked short created paper gold price on the COMEX London market and in Shanghai, resulting in the end of the COMEX as a serious vehicle for gold price discovery that the central bankers can manipulate? (In other words, breaking the West's quasi-monopoly on 'price discovery' in the precious metals market, of which Russia and China are the world-leading producers).

For many years gold analysts like Dr. Jim Willie and 'King World News' have suggested Russia and China have been willing to tolerate the Western manipulation of gold because this has created a fantastic buying opportunity for Russia and China to stockpile the strategic metals at a huge discount. But with the COMEX price being below the Russian if not Chinese mining cost of production at what point do Moscow and Beijing defend their long term gold mining interests (e.g., Magadan miners in Russian Far East) and corporations from predatory undercutting?

Does the Moscow economic elite see the gold price as an Anglo-American weak spot, to hit back at the West for trying to drag down the ruble and the oil price?

What chances are there of the BRICS nations using a debt-free or gold-backed money system?

Will gold replace the USD as the world reserve asset and unit of settlement for international trade?


It had been clear to many economists for a long time that the role of gold in the world will grow and, most likely, will return to its position as a single measure of value. In particular, we wrote about the current crisis back in 2004 in our book The decline of the dollar Empire and the end of the 'Pax Americana'. There's a whole Chapter devoted to the role of gold and its manipulation. However, Russian economic leaders close to the IMF ignored this position at the time. This only began to change in the last couple of years. China has been serious about gold for almost the entire last decade and is now actively preparing for a potential transition to a "gold standard," at least in economic relations between the so-called "currency zones," which, in our opinion, will emerge after the single world dollar system falls apart.

But Russia and China cannot stop these manipulations, because the price of paper gold is determined on the speculative dollar markets. They can't provide "leverage" that would be comparable to that of major U.S. banks that have access to an unlimited issuing resource. The only thing they can do is increase the gap between the price of "paper" and "physical" gold by constantly buying the latter on the world markets. Of course, this increases the instability in the global gold market and creates potential losses for the main "gold dealers" who work with the Federal Reserve on leasing programs, but the degree of imbalances has not reached a critical value yet. It seems to me that the sharp rise in gold prices will start after the burst of the next "bubble" in the US stock market.

Russia isn't the only country doing this:

With regard to the potential price of gold, as I wrote back in the early 2000's, it is determined by a "fork," the lower limit of which is the gold price in 1980, when it had its local peak after the dollar was decoupled from gold (USA default) in August 1971, and the upper limit of which is the purchasing power of the dollar in the early twentieth century, when gold was actual money. Today this "fork" (in current dollars) is seen somewhere at the level of $ 4,500 - $ 15,000 per Troy ounce.



American industry is currently oriented chiefly towards weapons production. What danger do you see for Russian industrialization to take the same precipitous path?

It will be interesting to see if Russia can solve this modern riddle of the Sphinx: how to fold the economic surplus back into the economy, while the oligarchs are doing everything in their power to prevent such a thing. What safeguards Russia may have against the aggrandizement of power corporate entities, especially militarily oriented ones, as has been achieved in the USA?

Who are the groups participating in the discussions to promote the development of Russia industrially and culturally, is it the RAS, Valdai Club, think-tanks, etc? What are the main elements being considered for the proposal? Are foreigners somewhat allowed to participate at some point in the proposal?

Canada shares important features of Russia's new economy such as growing dependence on resource extraction. Both countries are becoming petro-states, more or less rapidly. My question concerns the extent of de-industrialization in Russia. Is it fair to say that industrial development is now geared to servicing the extraction industries and to what extent is this a trend or not?

After the savage destruction of Novorossiya by the ATO an investment in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, will be required just to get the region back to where they were before they were attacked. On top of the money required for infrastructure, when separation occurs, Novorossiya will be billed, with some justification, their portion of the national debt. Where will the money come from? What role do you think Russia should play in the financing of the rebuild?


The situation with industry in the US in the past couple of years has somewhat improved. There are two reasons: changing energy prices in the US (and here we must say good words for the Obama administration), and the rising cost of production in China. However, the main factor for long-term growth - private demand - is in decline. This suggests that growth in the US does not even have a medium-term prospect. The drop in private demand is the main impact of the economic crisis, which has continued since 2008. Nothing can be done here, because the main mechanism of its stimulation - the refinancing of private debt in an environment of a decline in the cost of credit - is no longer working. Recall that the discount rate of the US Federal Reserve, which was 19% at the beginning of the "Reaganomics" policy (the main tool of which was increasing lending to households), declined almost to zero by December 2008. It's impossible to raise the rate now, because it will bring down the whole pyramid of debt around the world.

Today US households consume every year about $3 trillion more than they earn. The situation in the EU is not much better. This means that aggregate demand in the world will be sharply decreasing. In other words, continuing to keep the trading and financial infrastructure of a global system of division of labor won't be cost-effective. The world will most likely return to regional systems of division of labor. Each such system will have to provide domestic production of basic consumer and investment goods. The territory of their self-sufficiency will be regional, with high enough inter-zonal trade barriers. In this scenario the WTO has no prospects.

An investment source for creating (or restoring) the relevant industry will be the issue of regional currencies (in our 2004 book these regional systems of division of labour are called "currency zones"). In this sense, Canada is very different from Russia. Russia, most likely, will be one of the leaders of the "Eurasian" currency zone and will actively participate in the development strategy of the division of labor and emissions in the zone. Canada will be a part of the "dollar" zone with its strategy prescribed by Washington. So if our description of the development strategy in the short-term is true, then Russia and the US will restore their industrial production. In the US, due to a significant fall in demand and the loss of many foreign markets, it will be much easier to do this. Canada, however, will remain a "resource extraction" economy.

In general, how the "currency zones" will be configured after a sharp reduction in the global aggregate demand is a very interesting question. In particular, I did not believe the independence referendum in Scotland would result in separation from the UK. However, if the elite of Britain decided to enter the dollar currency zone, then Scotland would almost certainly separate because it is obviously attracted to continental Europe. Canada can see the intrigue with the separation of Quebec revived and its subsequent accession to the renewed EU. But I repeat, all these issues will become relevant only after the sharp fall in aggregate demand.

It seems to me that Novorossiya (and Ukraine, like many other countries in Eastern Europe, after the configuration change of the European Union), will be restored using the ruble as the issuing resource. The ruble may remain the national currency of Russia or become, perhaps under a slightly different name, the Eurasian Economic Union currency, which theoretically can include (out of major countries) Turkey, Japan, and United Korea. The last two countries, which are highly oriented towards external markets, will have no other options for regional economic cooperation after the U.S. returns to a policy of isolationism, without which they will not be able to recover their economies.

The Russian expert institutions are divided into three large groups. The first comprises the fragments of the ex-Soviet system of the Academy of Sciences. They partly have lost their quality, but until recently were able to maintain a relative independence. It is this independence, especially in the economic sphere that has infuriated the liberal crowd, which tried to completely destroy the Academy of Sciences as an independent public and expert institute. It is possible to work effectively with some institutions within the group; in particular, some of its representatives were among the Russian participants at the recent XVIII Dartmouth Russian-American conference in Dayton.

The second group is created and funded, either directly or indirectly, by Western grants (the most famous in the economic sphere is the Higher School of Economics, in Russia known as the "Russian Economic School"). Organizations within this group represent the interests of the grantors, and their authority has lately fallen rapidly.

The third group comprises people who try to address the real problems with the money that they can find, bypassing the State. I, for example, am among these people. Among the members of this group are independent (from the international heavyweights) consulting companies and research institutes that were created by real producers, and so on. They have done quite a lot in recent years (in the early 2000s we, for example, created a theory that describes the current crisis), but their "weight" within the framework of the State is quite limited. These institutions or individuals can be very interesting from the point of view of purely informational and even non-monetary interaction. Their influence in Russia will grow strongly.

Ruble, Currency


In contrast to the US Dollar, how is the Russian Ruble supported by the Russian economy? and its flexibility in working together with the basket of other currencies forming the next world trade mechanism outside of the US Dollar.

There has been some talk about giving the Russian state the right to issue currency to fund public infrastructure development and to give low interest loans for business in the productive sectors. What are the chances of such a thing happening and in a timely manner in the near future?

Why don't Russia revise contracts from countries that sanctioned Russia - so that all future transactions for Russian Gas & Oil have to be made in either Gold Bullion and/or Russian Ruble's?


As I have written elsewhere, today's economic leadership of Russia - the Government and the Central Bank - consider the ruble exclusively within the framework of the Bretton Woods system; as secondary to the US dollar. Accordingly, they hold the economy of Russia open to the world financial system, constrain investment opportunities for the ruble (by overstating the value of dollar-denominated loans) and rely on foreign investment.

In this situation, the stability of the ruble is determined by purely speculative factors of global markets: a price of crude oil, capital outflows, foreign investments, and a foreign capitalization of major Russian exporters. However, the situation can change if we establish a domestic ruble investment system, create development institutions that will provide cheap ruble credit to the real sector of the economy, change the tax system from pure raw materials (with high value-added tax) to industrial, and begin to stimulate small and medium businesses engaged in innovation and production.

While the ruble is seen as secondary to the US dollar, all the above-mentioned suggestions are highly controversial. As long as a main objective of any business in Russia is to increase its dollar capitalization, get a large dollar loan, place shares on the New York or London stock exchanges or sell something for export, the idea of selling oil for rubles will not be greeted with enthusiasm. First, it is necessary to create a ruble-denominated financial infrastructure, then build a business that is oriented on this infrastructure, and only then start a strict policy for its separation from the dollar system. This in any case will require a major change of personnel of the Russian political elite.



Will the oil-price war currently being waged seriously damage the Russian economy, or is the Russian economy sufficiently diverse to "weather the storm"? Do the falling price of oil AND the falling value of the Ruble effectively offset each other? Is Russia able and/or willing to take retaliatory measures and what might they be? Is the Russian oil industry dependent on Western technology for its operation?


The oil topic is always very complex. There is a huge number of factors, comprising the short-term (increasing the oil production from Libya and partial lifting of sanctions against Iran), medium-term (development of new, more expensive oilfields, and shale "revolution", etc.) and long-term (change in economic structure and in energy technology). No concurrent view about this problem exists, so it is needless to talk about long-term trends, which, undoubtedly are present, but barely known. The short-term trends, including the recent downturn in prices, will cost the "organizers" quite a lot if they develop against medium- and long-term trends.

From the macroeconomic prognosis (it has been revised many times within the past 10 years, but the core components were set at the beginning of 2000s, that is why we trust it) the main macroeconomic trend of the next decade will be the division of the world into currency zones. Each zone will have its own price formation mechanism (as was the case in the 70-80s in "Western" and Soviet economic zones). Therefore the drop in oil prices prepares Russia's economy for different day-to-day realities rather than merely damaging it.

I'd like to point out that Russia invested surplus profit from the sale of oil into assets in the West. Therefore the decrease in profits will rather bring problems to the US, in whose treasuries the oil money was being allocated. Our budget, even accounting for capital outflow, is in surplus. There are problems with investment resources, but they could be overcome if the economic policies are changed. Retaliatory measures are rather political. By the counter sanctions Russia shows that this is not the way to treat allies. And if they are not allies, then are they enemies? In other words, does the US push Russia into an anti-American union with China? Certainly, the union with China is a disputable matter, but if there is nobody to talk to in the European Union (where the situation can change, just look at Marine le Pen in France and Viktor Orbán in Hungary), if the political elites of the EU are subservient to Washington, and if the U.S. behaves inappropriately, then what are the options?

Sanctions have shown that the US these days is impossible to negotiate with. It means that the matter is not whether Russia can do without American technologies or not; in fact, it is about how it needs to proceed without them. If the economy were healthy, then while Russia would resolve all her current problems, the US would go forward, but amid sagging demand... The US will likely go backwards; this is a standard expectation amid long crises. Sure, the problems of Russia won't be resolved on their own, it is necessary to update the economic policy. On the whole, sanctions do not constitute a critical matter for the time being. They even can be increased, but there is no guarantee that it will not precipitate a crisis in the US.

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What effect will sanctions have on the Russian economy over the next few years? Will they lead to better integration with the BRICS economies and other non-Western countries and how could this help Russia to deal with the sanctions regime? Will the sanctions ultimately provide the catalyst for the development of an alternative reserve currency?


I've already addressed part of this question so I'll take the opportunity to refine what I've said before. Regarding the use of a different currency, this is already decided - There will be one, probably more than one. There is no other way to support investment, apart from by issuing regional currency and it should go without saying that 'Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.' To put it another way, If and when these regional currency issuing centres appear it will quickly become clear who are 'patriots' and who are 'collborators'. It's all quite straightforward: If you export capital, the destination country will receive the investment. It will become clear quite quickly.

It's a completely different matter why the United States chops off the branch on which it is sitting (ie. stimulating the creation of alternative reserve currencies). The answer is similarly straightforward. They simply can't conceive of their own collapse. However this belief is not simply a matter of idealistic 'American Exceptionalism' (We are the dominant, thus we shape history, not the other way round), but it is also a belief held by the elite, as it forms a critical tool of social governance. Furthermore, if we admit that the official economic doctrine simply doesn't acknowledge the crisis (To be more exact, it is impossible for the theory to recognise the crisis as the theory lacks the terms of reference to describe the cause) then the crisis actually becomes inevitable, if not inescapable: The economics are themselves founded on axioms which themselves are impelling the economy to catastrophe. There is nothing more to say here. 'Those whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad.'

The BRICS, moreover is a pretty artificial phenomemon, dreamt up by Goldman Sachs, the famous investment bank for purely commercial reasons. (In fact to issue new securities onto the market). From our side the BRICS countries look like the leaders of regional economic zones (Brazil and South Africa in one ('Southern'). Russia ('Eurasian'), China with its own Chinese and India with its own national zone, given its huge population. It looks likely that the Indian zone will most closely follow the Eurasian Zone. In these zones co-oporation will increase as will the attempts of the United States to solve their internal problems by forcing other countries to pay their debts, using the institutions and frameworks set up under the Bretton Woods which established the dollar as the sole reserve currency. These efforts of the United States are only likely to speed up the process of regional integration.


In the absence of exchange controls, has consideration been given to creating a split domestic-foreign ruble to support the currency and minimise the impact of sanctions and of commodity and currency speculators?


Russia has a whole collection of legislation to regulate its currency which are simply not active at the moment because their activation would contradict the ideology which drives the financial elites. There is the mechanism of enforced conversion of foreign revenues (Set at zero percent at the moment). There are limits on declared FX positions and other FX regulations which are similarly not active. I am not at all sure that new legislation is required, those which exist are wholly sufficient should the will be there to activate them.

I have a suspicion that the government and the Central Bank (and this refers a united ideological, commercial and political 'team' which are labelled by the media as 'Liberals', although the term potentially misleading), who promised the national political leadership economic growth although were unable to maintain it, have decided to resolve the situation by devaluation. However they simply don't understand economics, rather they do not understand that devaluation will only benefit GDP in two specific cases: Either there is a large amount of idle capacity (like in 1998), or there is a large amount of freely available credit. At the moment there is neither. FX investments are not profitable and no one will invest. As for the ruble the central bank has simply refused to open up the credit market. This means that there can be no positive consequences from devaluation only negative ones. The most obvious will be a collapse in living standards amongst the normal population as the majority of consumer goods are imported. This brings us to the hypothesis that the governance of the central bank is in cahoots with Washington with the shared aim of subverting Putin. The hypothesis is already mainstream in the Russian Media.


Is there enough political will and influence inside the Kremlin and the Russian Government to launch agricultural modernisation and improvement projects given that sanctions have been imposed on agricultural imports?


At the moment the Kremlin is making demands regarding the state-led modernisation of agriculture which contradict the Governments ideology. Naturally this leads to open sabotage. This is absolutely clear both in the investment environment (the government directly is responsible for the flow of investment but actually plays the opposite role at the moment) and in the implementation of the Russian payments system as just one example of many. If the Kremlin has the political will to change the government then the situation will improve and with that, agriculture. If not the situation will continue to deteriorate.


In your recent appearance on TV with Sergei Glazyev, you suggested that the use of sanctions by the US was a sign that the current system was breaking down. Can you elaborate on what you mean?

See above (first video) for the appearance mentioned here.


I have shown above that the current political situation in the United States will lead to the intensification of problems for the United States itself, most obviously in the destruction of the dollar as the global currency. If you see that in order to sustain one of the 'rules of the game' that this can only be done at the expense of other rules then it is abundantly clear that the rules are no longer relevant and that they need to be changed.


It appears that the economies of some countries that have followed the US lead in sanctions are being affected. Do you believe the US has promised to subsidize the losses of its allies? Why do you believe these countries have been willing to risk their economies?


No, the US will be giving money to no-one. Those countries that have acted against their own interests have done so as their elites have been effectively captured by the US. It's no secret and in fact many write in the independent European media that it is impossible to make a career in politics with support from the US. The only ones therefore who can have a career are those firmly 'on the hook'. Often the United States will create that hook themselves (profitable contracts, grants, sometimes bribes and even blackmail). It's not surprising that they control the entire extent of the EU, eavesdrop on all telephone calls etc etc. It just needs the exposure of an affair, a few hundred euros of income hidden from the tax authorities or a recording of an indiscreet telephone call (maybe criticising the Gay Parade) - they would all be enough to, when exposed to the national press, to deprive an individual of his social status or a significant part of his income. Who would go against that?

There were a lot of scare stories in the 90s about the 'Stasi', who allegedly held records of every citizen of the German Democratic Republic. We now understand that, in comparison with the practices of the United States now that this period was actually an unexpected utopia of personal freedom. To give examples, the Stasi may have known who slept with whom, but it did not have recordings of discussions held during these intimate rendezvous. Ask yourself: Is it pleasant to think that there are people who can, without oversight, scrutinise recordings directly relating to your personal life? Furthermore are there many people on this earth who would not be vulnerable to blackmail in their personal life? And how many people are there really who would refuse to the the bidding of the United States knowing that such information is not only in their hands but ready to be used against them?


What could be the response of Russia if the situation with the oil prices, sanctions, economic warfare and military pressure becomes critical? How will it mobilize its allies and how could it strengthen its economy and military, especially the air force and missile defense?


Well Russian has practically no allies, if we think of them in the sense like there were in 1939. Belarus, Kazakhstan and maybe a couple of other small countries. However there a lot of countries that understand that the United States is single handedly destroying the world order and with it global security (this is exactly what Putin said in his 'Valdai' speech in Sochi). There are also people in the United States who understand this. Moreover the recent mid-term election results, a week ago, in the United States clearly showed that there are people, especially in the older generation, who without having a deep knowledge of the particulars feel that the current elites in the US are leading the world to catastrophe. We would simply hope that the world will not be led to catastrophe.


Question: Eurasian Union

What do you foresee in terms of the evolution of the Eurasian Union, both in terms of internal economic/political dynamics and its relations with other states (and in particular the US/NATO/EU bloc)? Does it have the possibility to expand outside of the former Soviet Union? Are other regional cooperation organizations such as the CIS and CSTO still relevant?


As I have already said, according to our theory the world could split into several monetary zones - more or less independent systems of divisions of labor. The Eurasian Union is one such zone. In a long-term outlook it may include such prominent countries as Turkey, Japan and United Korea. The last two have no choice: the U.S. and the EU won't purchase their produce, and they don't want to be friends with China. So, the Eurasian Economic Union has a promising future, but it also means that we need to work hard to achieve positive results.

Questions: European Trade

In the past much has been made of a "Lisbon to Vladivostok" trade zone. What do the parameters of such a zone look like, and given the current hostility of the EU towards Russia, is there any realistic prospect of making it a reality in the near- to mid-term? What circumstances could make this more viable in the future?


I think there is no such prospect as of today. The situation in Ukraine has shown that the current EU leadership will not take Russia's interests into consideration. Any attempt to discuss these interests causes a torrent of statements blaming Russia for "imperial politics", "restoration of the USSR" and so on. We can argue about Germany and France being outright blackmailed by the Baltic states and Poland, the role of Washington etc., but the fact is that in its current configuration the EU and Russia cannot be "friends" (in the broad sense of the word). We can resume such discussions if a reconfiguration of the EU takes place and the Eastern European countries leave the EU.

Question: Payments/SWIFT

One of the purportedly heaviest weapons in the US/EU sanctions arsenal would be to cut Russia off from the SWIFT payments settlement system. Much has been made of efforts to create an internal system or to link with China's system. What are the challenges facing Russia as it seeks to end its reliance on this particular Western system, and what is a realistic timeline for implementation?


This could have been implemented promptly, but the Central Bank has sabotaged all the efforts. As of today, nothing has been done, so we will have to return to this topic when the Central Bank has new leadership. The current leadership won't do anything in this direction.

Geopolitics & Foreign Relations

Question: Russia and relations with BRICs/Emerging Markets

Russia has been very clear that in light of the West's aggression that it would redouble its efforts to form an alternative geopolitical grouping, both among emerging markets generally and China specifically. Can you comment on:

Which countries (particularly among the BRICs) are likely to support Russia going forward?

China is probably the most critical relationship for Russia going forward - however given the often strained relationship between the two, many are skeptical of the ability to form a true partnership. Why is today different?

Russia has been actively seeking to expand its trade links with Emerging Markets generally and the BRIC nations specifically. Where do you see the best opportunities for Russia in terms of expanding trade links with these nations or even creating more formal/multinational trade structures? Along these lines, do other EM nations share Russia's interest in potentially de-dollarizing global trade? Is there any chance Russia and/or others actually de-dollarize and, if so, what are the potential benefits and risks to Russia?


I've already said something about it. All the questions above imply the preservation of the present Bretton Woods system and describe possible (or hardly possible, if not impossible) scenarios for developments in the world. However, according to our concept Russia and China won't form a single alliance, they will be leaders of two different regional alliances - one is the more centralized (China) while the other more democratic. Today's convergence between China and Russia is not due to the fact that they foresee their common future, but for the reason that they consider existing model unsustainable. The U.S. tries to describe the Russian and Chinese policies from the perspective of sustaining of the current order. This results in a fairly contradictory picture. Once seen from the right point of view, the picture becomes clear. By the way, according to this worldview the U.S. becomes a regional leader just like Russia and China or, let's say, Brazil.

Question: Europe

Even if Russia turns towards Asia and the Emerging Markets, Europe will remain a critical part of Russian geopolitical strategy. In light of Europe's current stance, is there anything Russia can do to improve relations (short of unacceptable concessions)? How does Russia manage around the virulently anti-Russian bloc led by Poland, the Baltics and (Western) Ukraine?


I've already explained that friendship between Russia and today's European Union is impossible as long as the U.S. likes it, but this is just for a while, because as soon as safety considerations become the forefront concerns, the U.S. will most likely change its position. What happens to the current elites of the main anti-Russian countries seems to be interest to no one; they [elites] will have to go away, because they won't be able to change their rhetoric, which will make it impossible for Russia to deal with them. For the time being Russia has nothing to talk about with the European Union for various reasons. The first one is rather obvious: trying to find a consensus within the framework of the European Union, the general position of this organization will always be strongly anti-Russian. The second one is that Brussels doesn't have an independent position; it pursues the Washington's policy. The third reason is that the current European Union has no future. We need to discuss this issue in detail.

If we place the current European Union on the USSR's timescale, it can be compared with the period of 1989-1990. The problems are the same. Certain rules were adopted in the context of certain historical, financial and economic situation, and then later codified. Today economic and historic conditions have changed, but it's nearly impossible to amend legislative policies. Each specific issue might be settled, although it's unclear when, but there are tens of thousands of those issues and the time is extremely limited. The only chance to accomplish something is to abolish all them at once or, in other words, to dissolve the European Union. It can be assembled again, but the re-assembling will be done according to new regulations.

In particular, it can be said that Eastern Europe won't be part of the "new" European Union. That's for sure. It has no industry and thus presents no value. There was a political need to "tear them off" from the USSR/Russia and then feed them (to smooth the negative effect from renouncing socialism). Today's youth doesn't remember socialism, it means that it is okay to just dump those people and let them survive on their own. They are not of any interest. As we know from the European history of the nineteenth century, they will sink into extreme poverty. But, I repeat, those are their problems.

Coming back to the original question... It's foolish to make arrangements with the European Union in such environment. That's why it's necessary to build our own system of labour division without taking into account the interests of the European Union. If Russia has decided to start building import substitutions, it is simply needs to introduce counter sanctions to a relevant commodity group, since the EU and the U.S., by pursuing sanctions policy, have buried all the norms of the World Trade Organization.

Question: Russia

Given the lack of popular support domestically for the liberal/Atlantacist agenda, how do they continue to retain a power bloc within Russian politics? On the other hand, how do the Eurasian Sovereigntists envision ensuring economic growth, with so many autarkist/state capitalist models having shown severe weakness in recent years? What factor are Great Russian nationalists likely to play going forward, in particular the more radical/national socialist types?


First of all, these people ("liberals") control a considerable part of Russia's property; second, they are under the protection of the USA; and third, from the point of view of the political elite, they undertook important tasks such as making agreements with the world's financial system, investments, and economic growth. Today it has become clear that there is no economic growth, there will be no investments, and the USA are not treating us as partners. It means that the "liberals" have lost the political support and will be forced out of the political arena. The main question is: how fast this process is going to be?

As for the USA, they have already realized that they did something wrong. The problem is that the Russian "liberal" team has emerged from the privatization that was a grand theft. Today in Russia the words "liberal" and a "thief" are synonyms. In this sense, for instance, a European court ruling on "Yukos" to exact $50 bln is a grave political mistake on the part of the West because everyone in Russia knows beyond doubt that "Yukos" was stolen. The people, who bought it, were fully aware that it was a stolen property and thus no one owes them anything. In other words, for the vast majority of the Russian public the court decision is the clear evidence that the only interest of the West in relation to Russia is to take away (to loot) the assets that belong to the people (the government). That is, the western elite, including its legal system, deliberately make decisions that favor "their own", even though those people are professed thieves. This is a hard blow to the trust towards the USA and EU; the blow is even harder than the sanctions.

As far as the nationalists are concerned, there is a colossal difference among them. There are three large nationalist groups in Russia: Russian nationalists (in a way, they are similar to Ukrainian Galician nationalists, although, of course, they are more decent so far as methods and slogans are concerned); the national and religious nationalists (including Muslim nationalists in the ISIS style), and imperial nationalists (the ones who want to revive the great state and who don't care about national differences among its citizens). The latter are divided into monarchists, communists and "neoliberal" capitalists who want to build a "true" capitalism that is independent of the west.

It is impossible to understand who will win considering the complex processes that are going on in the country. Some of them can form local alliances, but they all have different objectives. That means that a separate set of relationships need to be build with each of these groups. At the same time, there is no point in counting on liberals, in spite of their current power - they have no electoral potential, they will at most receive 3-5 % of votes. They had illusions that a new generation would grow up not remembering the privatization. But the new generation faced the situation when all the "upward paths of vertical growth" are chock-full of children of those liberals and of "siloviki" (national security) they have raised. This is why it is inevitable that new political powers in Russia will be anti-liberal, or anti-West. "Navalnys" have no chance - they defend wrong positions. The West, if they want to have relations with Russia, has to become aware of this situation and correct it. Right now they don't want to do that, which means that there are no positive prospects.

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