- Ukraine called gangrenous with corruption (L’Ukraine gangrénée par la corruption)
- Oroville Dam And Infrastructure Neglect Under Capitalism
- The photo of the murdered Russian ambassador and his killer chosen as World Press Photo of the year
- Putin’s prophecy comes true [Video]
- Russian deputy FM: « Healthy pragmatism will defeat Kiev’s Russophobic hysteria »
- Russian prankster calls US State Rep Maxine Waters about Putin’s invasion of Lvov and Gabon (Video)
- Unruhe on US airstrikes in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province
- Crimean Tatar extremists clash with Ukrainians, army intervenes
- « No more mines or ISIS here »: Aleppo school reopens after 5 years of terrorist occupation
- A Tale of Two Russia’s: Why Liberals Hate Putin’s New Duma Speaker
- Two Years since Minsk 2: Who Wins with « No Peace, No War »?
- Ukraine uses WMD’s on Donbass civilians – Russian Investigative Committee (VIDEO)
|Ukraine called gangrenous with corruption (L’Ukraine gangrénée par la corruption)
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 01:55 PM PST
February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
L’Express,* translated by Tom Winter –
Three years after the revolt of Maidan, Ukraine is sinking into crisis. Corruption is endemic, exasperating the population. How long will the people wait?
Every morning, Alesandr Grigorash joins a hundred protesters in front of the headquarters of the National Bank of Ukraine, in the center of Kiev. Together they shout slogans hostile to the government.
« I am 61 and I do not have enough to live on, » he explains. « Gas is expensive, food too. I get the equivalent of 64 euros a month for my retirement, plus food aid because for working ten years on the site of Chernobyl, eight euros … while the leak of radioactivity made me lose half of my teeth in a few months … »
Beside him, his friend, Zoya Kryshnya, 58, does housecleaning to complement her small pension. Without the help of her children, she would not be able to cope. Alesandr and Zoya, two ordinary stories, but it’s the story of millions of Ukrainians whose living conditions have been deteriorating in recent years. And who wonder what the revolution of Maidan has changed for them.
So many sacrifices, however … January 2014: the first protesters fall under the bullets of Ukrainian special forces. A month later, President Viktor Yanukovych was expelled from power after three months of bloody clashes. The population exults. This is the end of the corrupt clique. A new energy breathes through Ukraine. Three years later, hope is at half-mast. The war rumbles to the east and the Russian flag floats over the Crimea. The economic crisis is ravaging the country, and President Petro Poroshenko, at mid-term, is at the lowest in the polls.
The task, it is true, is not simple. The conflict against the separatist forces, supported by the Russian army, costs the Kiev government 3.6 million euros every day. The military budget, multiplied by 8, this year exceeds 4 billion euros. « By maintaining pressure in the eastern part of the country, Vladimir Putin is forcing the Ukrainian government to mobilize important resources for the war, » [**] asserts Mykla Davydiuk, boss of an analytical center called Politics. « Money that can’t be applied to the reforms which the country has sorely needed. »
Ukrainian society undermined by corruption
« We have created a number of secretary of state posts, which will be used to ensure continuity in the follow-up of cases, and this role is all the more necessary because, A ministerial cabinet rarely lasts more than a year in Ukraine, and we urge administrations to take action against corruption. »
High time, for this scourge undermines the very foundations of society. In Kiev, the word is on everyone’s lips, especially since the « e-declarations » case. Under pressure from international bodies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s politicians were forced to declare their assets, and the information was posted online. A first in a country which, since the Communist era, and during the Yanukovych era, has never shone through its transparency in the matter …
The leaders’ vaults are full of wealth
Petro Poroshenko holds no less than $26 million in one of his accounts. Head of Customs and General Director of Taxes, Roman Nasirov has $ 1.1 million and 450,000 euros in cash, while his monthly salary is $1500. This « state clerk » also owns five apartments and two houses in Kiev. But he has only four watches …
These revelations deeply shook the Ukrainians, most of whom only earn 5000 hryvnias (180 euros) a month. « It is scandalous that the governor of the National Bank keeps nearly $ 2 million under his pillow, while our meager savings melt like snow in the sun because of devaluations and inflation! insists Maryna Lukach. In her apartment in Kiev, this colorful woman paints paintings that she then sells in the markets. « I give the money to our soldiers who risk their lives in the Donbass, » she said in a thundering voice, « all these stories of corruption disgust me. »
Corrupt practices have a hard life
For the economist Andriy Novak, the sums diverted by the elites would represent 15% of the national budget. According to him, half of the Ukrainian economy would be underground and thus would escape any taxation. In fact, corruption is everywhere and it corrodes all strata of society. When Zhenya Mykhail Enko opened his noodle restaurant on the outskirts of the capital, he was visited by three firefighters.
« They came to make sure that the premises were in order, » he says. « They managed to find a flaw, of course, and I had to make a little effort to get my certificate of compliance. » In this case, offer them a lunch every day. Then it was the turn of the administrative services. They too wanted their little contribution. Zhenya, who has worked for six years in the United States, then changed his method: « I took on a good lawyer and threatened to file a complaint, » he said. So I do not pay any more bribes. »
Yulia Mendel, though, could not escape. In 2012, this young woman, now a journalist, defended her thesis in Ukrainian literature. « The commonly accepted practice is to offer a good dinner to the jury, » she explains. « It’s not a trivial expense: there are twenty of them and sometimes come from across the country! And hotel and trips expenses are added on. »
A few days before the defense, her thesis supervisor remarked to her that her thesis is incomplete, because it lacks the introduction. « It was there, that I understood the message. With a 200-dollar envelope slipped into the first pages, my work was considered excellent. »
And Yulia Mendel is now being prosecuted for having denounced, in a press gallery, corruption within the universities of Ukraine.
Customs codes trafficked
In the business world, it’s worse. « I import flat screens from China, » says an anonymous, « I have two solutions: to pay 30% of taxes, what nobody does, or to contact an import-export company of the sort that exist by the dozen on the web. If I pay $650 per cubic meter of merchandise, I can import anything I want, including weapons or cocaine – nobody ever opens the containers. To skip paying the taxes, the intermediary companies traffic in the customs codes, the best is still to go through Poland or Russia. There is no control.
Journalist and deputy, Sergii Leshchenko embodies this new generation which wants to put an end to the impunity of the oligarchs. But he is accused of having taken advantage of the system.
To say that the government does nothing would be unfair. « We are computerizing all administrative procedures, » says Mikhail Titarchuk, « so that civil servants can no longer demand baksheesh. » We also introduce an electronic prescription system to prevent doctors from issuing medical certificates of convenience as they currently do « This measure alone will save us 70 million euros. »
Deputy Minister of Economy, Max Nefyodov also attacked a major project: rigged tenders. « It costs us nearly $2 billion a year, » said the former business banker. « When it becomes operational in 2018, our electronic platform will allow us to earn a half point of GDP! » Demonstration on his computer, placed on stacks of files: « In a few clicks, one can see for example how many public tenders have been in the city of Lviv and, above all, the number of bids. If here is only one, cheating is obvious … «
Only civil society could make a difference
Are these efforts backed up by the Head of State? Igor Bychkov has his doubts. A public works contractor based in Odessa on the Black Sea, he set up an NGO, the Open Society of Ukraine, which is lobbying the authorities when they are reluctant to take legal action. In the case of cronyism, for example. Their latest deal: a 15 million euro elevator renovation contract, largely attributed to a screen company.
« All government projects are gangrenous, » says Igor Bychkov. « When Mikhail Saakashvili arrived as governor of Odessa in mid-2015, I hoped things would work out, but the president tied his hands. Has not been able to do anything. « Since his departure, the situation has worsened, and I am bitter. Poroshenko could have changed a lot, but he is mainly trying to grasp at money. »
This is also the opinion of Sergii Leshchenko. This former investigative journalist, now a deputy, went on a crusade against the head of state and his clique of oligarchs. « If he wanted to, he could put an end to these practices, » he said, « is he not concentrating all the powers? But he is too close to all those businessmen who for years have been using their political connections to get rich. «
Will the Ukrainians long endure this? Indeed it is not the doubling of the minimum wage, up at January1 to 115 euros, that will suffice to appease their dissatisfaction. Are they going to a new Maidan? No one here seems to believe it. « We are exasperated, » says the painter Maryna Lukach. « This time, if people go out into the street, they will have weapons in their hands. They are everywhere … «
Head of a group of NGOs, the Center for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Matviychuk thinks that the salvation will come from civil society: « It is increasingly strong, thanks in particular to the rise of social networks. It can push the government.
This is what happened in Mariupol, in the east of the country, a city nevertheless held by a powerful oligarch. In the last municipal elections, at the end of 2015, the citizen party « Strength of the People » managed to get into the municipal council. It can now make its voice heard. The movement is on, it will not stop anymore. «
** Absurdly upside down, of course, and twice over: 1. The war they are waging remains the excuse, not the cause, of the nation’s nternal neglect. 2. As if the people of Donbass would give up if VVP asked them to!!
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February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News
JPGazeta – Translated by Kristina Kharlova
The unfolding catastrophe at the Oroville dam in Northern California was not a surprise.
About eight or nine years ago, I did an extensive analytical report based on review of publications in American media and other open data on the subject of the general deterioration of American infrastructure. And even then, it was all very sad.
Since then the situation has only deteriorated. However, let’s begin from the start.
A large part of American infrastructure was built during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt – dams, bridges, power plants and power lines, a substantial part of the railways and almost all of the interstate highway system.
Then, during the Great Depression and chronic unemployment, several million semi-slaves working in « labor armies » just for food (most of them did not receive any money for their work, only meager soup), created the basis of modern prosperity of the United States. Hard labor. The death toll on these construction sites in the US is still classified (perhaps, Trump will finally reveal this mystery), but a number of researchers based on the available statistical data believe that this figure significantly exceeds half a million people.
Dams, bridges and roads created by the state, which attracted nearly free labor of people desperate to find work. And then transferred to the ownership of private companies.
It was anticipated that the use of roads and bridges will be paid by the public, and the operating company will use the money to carry out repairs and upgrades. But this is capitalism! What capitalist wants to invest, if you can just extract profits?
Therefore, the vast majority of US infrastructure did not have a major overhaul since its creation – that is, many objects since the thirties, that is – 70-80 years. Cosmetic repair, that is, to plaster, paint and hang beautiful banners – of course. But there is a huge backlog of major upgrades, requiring significant investments.
Don’t forget about the « high American quality standards ». In the USSR, dams and bridges were build with a margin of durability of hundreds percent. But in the capitalist United States, the margin of durability was expected in the best case to be at 30-40%, and often even lower. After all, the more reliable the structure the more material (and often more expensive), more labor, and that means expenses. A capitalist tries to save on everything. Even on safety.
The Oroville Dam was built after Roosevelt. Construction began in 1961 and was completed in 1968. But for almost fifty years no one thought to repair it. As a result, in the words of one of Ukrainian president: « We have what we have ».
Moreover, to help you understand the engineering thought of its creators, a few years after construction, in 1975, the dam experienced an induced earthquake of the magnitude of 5.7, caused by the miscalculations of the team of architects and developers who were unable to calculate the load on the ground from such a huge construction (the highest dam in the United States, 230 meters in height).
And, to finally complete the picture, in 2005, three different independent expert groups have submitted reports to the state and Federal government on the need for urgent (emergency) replacement of the ground drainage by a concrete one, as well as strengthening of some parts of the dam with additional masonry. Nobody cares.
The US government for twelve years was too busy trashing other countries, starting with Libya and ending with Russia, and they could care less about internal affairs. As a result the poor Californians were almost burned several times with forest fires, and now, as you see, could be drowned.
And now, as is absolutely natural and predictable, the old, never repaired in 50 years, dam threatens to wash away homes of more than 200 thousand people. If they are lucky and they have time to evacuate – without inhabitants.
But most importantly, it is not an isolated case and not the exception. The infrastructure is in poor condition throughout the United States (you should just look at the pictures of their railroads and rolling stock, it’s really the nineteenth century!). And what is happening today in California, tomorrow could happen anywhere.
|The photo of the murdered Russian ambassador and his killer chosen as World Press Photo of the year
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 11:31 AM PST
February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News
Russian senator Alexey Pushkov questioned the World Press Photo choice of the photo of the murdered Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov.
« I have a feeling that there is a moral wormhole in the main award of World Press Photo of the murder of Andrey Karlov, no matter how this prize is explained, » — wrote Pushkov on his Twitter account.
AP correspondent won the World Press Photo-2017 with a photo of the murdered Karlov and his murderer, guns blazing. The head of the jury Stuart Franklin called the photo by Burhan Ozbilici « an incredibly harsh news photo ».
Andrey Karlov was shot dead on December 19 during his speech at the opening of a photo exhibition in Ankara. The killer, a police officer Mevlut Mert Altıntaş was eliminated by the Turkish security forces. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the incident a terrorist attack.
Kristina Kharlova: I am sure that the terrorist-killer and his supporters would be delighted by such honor and media exposure
|Putin’s prophecy comes true [Video]
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 11:21 AM PST
February 13th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
The Munich Security Conference of 2007 is often pinpointed as the period in time, in which President Putin of Russia became the big, bad wolf in the eyes of Western elites and media. He delivered a bluntly unexpected speech on his perception of world affairs. Putin had predicted the unrestrained use of force in a unipolar world, where the hegemon remains unbalanced by other powers and acts entirely in their own self interest. Putin called for a multipolar word, based on principles of international law and mutual respect.
Moreover, he had warned of the divisions that America’s imperialist foreign policy would create within its own society, precipitating a split of US national unity.
The official transcript of the speech can be found on Kremlin.ru: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24034
|Russian deputy FM: « Healthy pragmatism will defeat Kiev’s Russophobic hysteria »
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 09:57 AM PST
February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia G. B. Karasin responded to a media question in connection with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Ukraine
Question: February 14th marks 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Ukraine. How would you characterize this period when today our relations are going through quite a difficult stage?
Karasin: Indeed, on February 14, 1992, 25 years ago we established diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. However, under current circumstances, we don’t expect a celebration and joint events on this occasion.
Over this period our relationship went through a lot, but in general, it developed progressively, and until recently there was very positive dynamics. The legal base had more than 250 bilateral interstate and intergovernmental agreements in almost all areas of cooperation. At the top level there was cooperation between border regions. Trade and economic ties were actively developing. Numerous joint projects in various sectors of economy, in education, culture, science, high technologies were developed and successfully implemented. In the sphere of military and military-technical cooperation the Russian-Ukrainian political dialogue at the highest level was characterized by frankness and trust. [Another reason why Ukraine was a big prize for the US, as an integral part of the Russian military-industrial complex – FR]
However, after the so-called Euromaidan protests and the subsequent military coup in Kiev in the spring of 2014 the new Ukrainian government, often incited from the outside, went haywire with their rabid Russophobia. Everything positive that was painstakingly created by our peoples not only in previous years, but for centuries was systematically destroyed. The current regime in Kiev without regard to the opinion of its own citizens, without the slightest reverence to common history, cultural and spiritual values simply cut the « living », chopping off all the threads, firmly binding our two countries and peoples.
« Under the knife » goes everything that somehow reminds of Russia: language, education, culture, the joint history, trade, industry. Bilateral agreements are denounced, sister-city relationships between cities and regions are severed, there are bans on the use of Russian language, on the distribution of Russian films, books, media, any joint projects are folded to the detriment of their own interests. In such conditions we cannot expect a fruitful cooperation.
However, Russia believes that Kiev, in the end, will recover from the « orange virus » and the Russophobic hysteria will give way to healthy pragmatism and a commitment to constructive cooperation. We believe that Ukraine will eventually turn into a thriving, predictable and stable state living in peace and harmony with their neighbors. Moscow is open for dialogue and cooperation with adequate Ukrainian politicians who are ready to restore the close and mutually beneficial relations among the brotherly people.
|Russian prankster calls US State Rep Maxine Waters about Putin’s invasion of Lvov and Gabon (Video)
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 09:13 AM PST
February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News
Vovan222Prank Youtube channel
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|Unruhe on US airstrikes in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 04:47 AM PST
February 13th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– J. Flores, feat. Jason Unruhe for Press TV-
« The United Nations has concluded that US-led forces are responsible for last week’s airstrikes in Afghanistan that resulted in 18 civilian deaths-nearly all women and children. »
The United States carries on with its war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ongoing destruction in Afghanistan has left most in the war torn country with little hope. Stability in Afghanistan is beyond reach while the US continues to destabilize it.
The US formally ended its war in Afghanistan in 2014, but nevertheless continues with certain ongoing military activities. Illegal drug production has increased since the US’s activities began.
|Crimean Tatar extremists clash with Ukrainians, army intervenes
Posted: 13 Feb 2017 04:42 AM PST
February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ –
Militants of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, an organization banned in Russia for extremism, provoked a firefight in Ukraine’s Kherson region on the border with Crimea. As a result, the Ukrainian army has disarmed them and destroyed their camp.
Ex-Verkhovna Rada deputy Aleksey Zhuravko reported on his blog: “Information is coming in from the Chongar Genichesk district of the Kherson region. A conflict broke out between residents and Islyamov’s Tatar battalion that runs rampant in the region. As residents have reported, a firefight broke out. One person was killed and one was wounded. The head of Ukraine’s regional internal affairs department has left the scene.”
Zhuravko continued: “Witnesses say that the Tatar battalion began holding up passers-by. One of them was beaten. As a result, the victim called the National Guard, which stood up for those attacked. Someone from the Islyamov battalion pulled out a rifle and opened fire.”
“Now,” Zhuravko’s account went on, “people say that reinforcements are coming from Dnepropetrovsk. Rumor has it that they’re from Right Sector. Now the road is being blocked by unidentified armed men, and shooting can be heard. People are freaked out. There is the feeling that fighting has begun again.”
“Earlier I passed on information that Right Sector and Islyamov battalions had joined forces at block posts to continue the blockade of Crimea. Here are the results of this so-called blockade: civilians continue to suffer,” Zhurakvo concluded.
Reports have since come in that the Mejlis militants’ base in Kherson region has been completely destroyed by an operation conducted by the 57th brigade of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
The infamous Ukrainian nationalist and ex-leader of the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-Defense, Dmitry Korchinsky, despite having earlier said that Crimean Tatars are temporary allies of Ukrainian nationalists, praised the operation: “The Islyamov grouping that was located in the Kherson region is dangerous. It’s good that the Ukrainian Armed Forces disarmed it.”
Korchinsky further justified his appraisal by asserting that Crimean Tatar leader Islyamov is a traitor to the “Muscovites” who “in the case of an escalation on the border with occupied Crimea could be utilized by his former Muscovite bosses.”
Korchinsky qualified: “We are allies only as long as [the Mejlis] do not threaten our national and territorial integrity.”
Gennady Sivak, a Ukrainian celebrity and Crimea native who is known for his harsh criticism of the Mejlis as “ISIS terrorists,” offered PolitNavigator his assessment of the events:
“The operation was carried out by a battalion stationed in Genichesk. An armored personnel carrier and Ural came. Witnesses on the spot this morning said everything [of the Mejlis camp] was raised to the ground and the whole tent city was crushed. The military seized a large amount of unregistered firearms including mortars, grenade launchers, rifles, and machine guns. All the data is being processed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.”
“There are several version of what happened,” Savik continued, “The first and main one is that the official Kiev authorities quarreled badly with the Mejlis. The battalion had not been allowed to register for a long time. And a new trend has begun in Ukraine: everyone who is not registered is disarmed.”
“The second theory is that the Mejlis battalion simply became a threat. They had accumulated so many weapons that at any moment the militants could have provoked some kind of trick. Most of them are not normal and use drugs. Complaints are frequently received from local residents that the battalion is constantly unintentionally shooting off firearms,” according to Savik.
Savik voiced another rumor: “And there’s another theory. They say that the registration of all volunteer battalions in Ukraine proceeded in such a way that everyone had to bring large bribes to Avakov. But these [Mejlis] didn’t bring anything.”
“No one has confirmed the rumor that a Ukrainian soldier was killed, but it is unofficially said that a Tatar suffered, who was allegedly ran over by an armored personnel carrier while the Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out the operation without losses,” Savik concluded.
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