## Tuesday, May 06, 2014

### An anti-German, anti-Russian rant in The New York Times

Russophobia has never been a duty of the Westerner

On Friday, dozens of pro-Russian citizens of Ukraine were burned alive in the building of the trade unions in Odessa – a previously peaceful, highly cultural city in Southwestern Ukraine founded by Catherine the Great in 1794 – where they had to hide from aggressive pro-Maidan soccer rowdies whom they previously confronted on the street. The rowdies did everything they could to burn and kill as many people as possible.

Off-topic: this is how the Maidan regime plans to negotiate with the ethnic Russians who are citizens of Ukraine, in this case with the city of Slavjansk. I am sort of terrified even though it is 1,758 km away from my home.

It's a very sad event, especially because the current de facto government of Ukraine has done virtually nothing to save these lives and it is not doing much to investigate the events. Even the EU decided to call for an independent investigation of the deaths; even the acting Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk agreed that their police failed miserably. Similar actions of governments against their citizens have been used as excuses for assorted U.S/NATO/U.N. interventions into numerous countries in recent years but these crimes are being deliberately covered or justified by those who have decided to support the Maidan regime whatever it costs. These people are so immoral.

But I want to spend some time with a new op-ed in The New York Times,
Why Germans Love Russia
by Clemens Wergin, a Russophobe from Germany's daily "Die Welt". He's whining that it's so bad that about one-half of the German population backs the Russian attitude to the hassle in Ukraine and invents various tricks to sling mud at these people.

At various points, he would say that the people who more or less share the Russian government's opinions about the crisis would belong to the extreme fringes of the political spectrum a few years ago and they're not true Westerners, and so on. These are insulting and self-evident lies.

For example, two former social democratic (SPD) chancellors, Helmut Schmidt (1974-1982) and Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005), have endorsed Putin's approach to the crisis. They're as mainstream guys as you can get.

Helmut Schmidt – who previously said very sensible things about the global warming insanity – is over 95 years old but his brain is working very well. Check the TV program with him. He looks 75, smokes his cigarettes very elegantly, and speaks very fluently and clearly. ;-) If you speak no German, check a summary of his thoughts about the Ukrainian crisis.

Gerhard Schröder – who is also famous for his Tax Song LOL – is a personal friend of Vladimir Putin. Schröder has labeled Putin a "flawless democrat" a few years ago – I wouldn't go this far but I wouldn't be too far from that statement, either – and he said many of the same things as your humble correspondent. For example, the EU has no clue about the internal cultural divisions in Ukraine, and so on. Check The Telegraph for a summary of his views on the crisis. Incidentally, Schröder got a 70th birthday gift from the German government. No, they didn't prepare a party for him. Instead, they attacked him for having had a party with his friend Putin.

It's not just the former politicians who understand the Russian attitude towards the crisis that was partly created by some unwise Western interests. The main engines of the German economy have made it clear that they oppose any "genuine" sanctions against Russia as these would hurt them – and the whole German economy (and the linked economies). The companies that agree that a trade war with Russia would be an insanity include the chemical giant BASF, electro-engineering concern Siemens, carmaker Volkswagen, Adidas, and Deutsche Bank. They're pretty much representative of the whole business world.

Angela Merkel's own party CDU has misgivings on Russia sanctions, too.

Do assorted Obamas really want to force Germany to sacrifice several percent of its GDP with the only purpose of endorsing Obamas' complete misunderstanding of the geography, culture, history, and reality of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe? Obama didn't hesitate to bully the CEOs of major U.S. companies and force them to cancel some cooperation with Russia. If Obama sometimes contributes 0.001% of what BASF or Siemens or Volkswagen of Adidas or Deutsche Bank has contributed to the mankind, he may return and I may think again whether he is something more than a counterproductive would-be dictator.

But let me return to Wergin's essay. Why does one-half of the German public including Herren Schröder and Schmidt agree that the real aggressors were the NATO interests that have expanded to Russia's legitimate sphere of interest?
There is a blatant hypocrisy here. At times the same people who had relied on international law to attack the American invasion of Iraq are now, as newborn realists, excusing Russia’s need to infringe on the sovereignty of other nations.
He just makes these things up. There is no evidence that there is any sensible, significant, or useful correlation between the people's opinions about the Iraq crisis and the Ukraine crisis. For example, I was mildly – very un-enthusiastically – supporting the U.S. operation against Saddam a decade ago.
In point of fact, despite its trumped-up charges against Iraq, the Bush administration had at least 16 United Nations Security Council resolutions to support its case. Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s president, had zero. The only common denominator of both positions seems to be an underlying anti-Americanism.
There is no general anti-Americanism among the people who back the Russian approach to the Ukraine crisis. I have always belonged among the 5% of the most pro-American people in all the environments where I have lived – both in Czechia as well as in the U.S. (!). In fact, Putin himself sort of likes America, too. Many of the EU officials are much more anti-American than Putin. Much of the "unified EU" identity is actually being built on anti-Americanism, on a European project to become a counterweight to America. I have personally always opposed these efforts because the people who oppose America as a matter of principle do so because of political values that I find totally unacceptable. So of course that I would have preferred if Czechia have been going to become the 51st state of the U.S. instead of an EU member! ;-)

And the U.N. resolutions is something that I don't really take seriously and I never have. The U.N. has generated hundreds of anti-Semitic resolutions over the decades, attacking the existential interests of the state of Israel, among other things. Some people agreed with these resolutions, some people didn't. But what's more important is that the U.N. represents neither a representative opinion of the "good people in the world" – because much of its power boils down to the power of various dictators in bad countries as well as unelected bureaucrats in prosperous, free countries – nor a representative opinion of the "powerful interests in the world" because many militarily weak ones are heavily overrepresented. So a vote in the U.N. may be treated as an interesting poll from various corners of the world but it isn't an important one. I have been saying the very same thing for many decades, even when the U.S. or Israel or others would be beaten by the U.N. votes.

Of course that Russia has a smaller support from other countries because it's really primarily defending the interests of itself and the ethnic Russians in Crimea (and the whole Ukraine) and pretty much no one else seems to care about the Russians. Forty burned-alive Russians in a building in Odessa is just fine with everyone. So there won't be any U.N. resolutions like that. It's much more likely that a U.N. resolution will encourage PM Yatsenyuk to send the remaining ethnic Russians to gas chambers.
Some of this pro-Moscow sentiment is the work of Russia-sponsored propaganda: A recent investigative report by the newspaper Welt am Sonntag revealed how a shady network of Russia supporters has shaped public discourse in Germany. Even dialogue forums with Russia, co-sponsored by the German government, are full of friends of Mr. Putin, even on the German side.
Why is the network of Russia supporters "shady"? Isn't the network of the opponents of Putin or the network of supporters of the global warming cause or any other cause at least equally "shady"? Doesn't the author of these sentences realize that this adjective is just a particular proof of his efforts to demonize a part of the population without having any actual justification for such a demonization? A demagogic trick whose purpose is to manipulate the stupider part of the readers?

There is absolutely nothing wrong about the support for Russia and many people do so very openly because it's boiling down to some principal values that they hold dear or to economic or other interests that are understandably important for them. Many Germans – much like many Europeans and many members of other nations – are friends with many Russians. Or they do lots of business with Russians. And they want to expand this business. And so on. They just can't possibly support a fascist-like witch hunt against everything that is Russian because they realize it is either unjustifiable or harmless for ourselves or both.
But there is also a disturbing undercurrent among ordinary Germans that harks back to old and unfortunate German traditions. We have come to think of Germany as a Western European country, but that is largely a product of Cold War alliances. Before then it occupied a precarious middle between east and west.
This is just complete bullshit. One might redefine all the words, including the word "West", but as long as one keeps the definitions that have been used by the sane people in the whole world for many centuries, Germany is a member of the Western civilization – a defining nation, in fact. Germany has been a driver of the West in the religious, cultural, and political affairs in Europe of the recent 10 centuries. Nazism and the era of the DDR in a small part of Germany may be called "deviations from the West" but because of the key role of Germany for the shape of the Western civilization, they should better be understood as important chapters in the history of the West. And nowadays, it's people in nations such as Germany and not self-appointed apparatchiks in Brussels who define the Western European civilization space.

You just can't "redefine" Germany away from the Western civilization, especially if it has done nothing recently to separate itself from the values that have defined the West for 1,000 years or so.

If there is some border between the West and the East, it's somewhere in Czechia or Slovakia or Western Ukraine but not further. Countries and regions that are strictly West of those "candidate borderland places" are clearly Western Europe while those that are further to the East are parts of the East (Eastern Europe plus Asian cultures). The details may differ depending on the criteria, focus (religion vs economics vs something else) but redefining Germany as the "boundary between the West and the East" is just ludicrous.

It's very clear why Mr Wergin is doing such a thing. He wants to suggest that the people who disagree with him on the Ukraine crisis don't belong to our part of the world at all. Perhaps, they should be burned alive. Or sent to concentration camps. Or to gulags. Or to Siberia. Sorry, that won't work. If something doesn't belong to the Western civilization, it's the efforts similar to Mr Wergin's to only allow one possible opinion, one choice of the universal friends and universal enemies.
This anti-Westernism is coming from both sides of the political spectrum. There is the part of the left that is instinctively anti-American and takes the side of whatever international actor happens to challenge the status quo and the leading Western power.

Then there is Europe’s populist right, which agrees with Russia’s propaganda that Europe has become too gay, too tolerant, too permissive in its morals and too un-Christian, and which welcomes an authoritarian leader challenging Europe’s fuzzy multilateralism.
Well, I obviously belong to the category tendentiously described in the second paragraph. The only "detail" that Mr Wergin gets completely incorrectly is that there is anything extreme about this group of people. They have defined the "mainstream Europe" for centuries. It's really the gay, un-Christian, multilateral, group-think and global-warming worshiping, multi-culti Euronaivists (and, in this case, knee-jerk Russophobes) that are the neoplasm in the West. While we realize that they represent attitudes that disagree with the values on which the Western civilization is based upon, we are generally not trying to ostracize people like Mr Wergin. We are used to the life in a society with diverse opinions. That's a part of our being the cornerstone of the Western civilization.
In Germany, you can find this current best represented by the new anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland Party. They take up a conservative strain of German thinking dating back to the 19th century, which harbors a resentment toward Western civilization and romanticizes a Russia seemingly uncorrupted by Western values and free-market capitalism.
AfD is being targeted because it could become successful in the European Parliament elections in 2 weeks and Mr Wergin feels uncomfortable with that. But the very words he says support my point, namely that AfD and similar political factions are highly representative of some opinions that have shaped the traditions of Germany – and other Western nations – for centuries. The comments about the anti-free-market-capitalism attitudes of AfD are misleading but it would be a topic for a separate blog post.

Incidentally, AfD is not even anti-EU. It's just anti-euro-the-currency. And it is no populist party.
Both versions of anti-Westernism have been around for decades; until now, though, they have been confined to the political fringes.
They have never been confined into any fringes. On the contrary, both our – right-wing – and the previously mentioned left-wing attitudes represent the standard political paradigms of the Western civilization that have been competing for several centuries. On the contrary, it's the global-warming homosexual-worshiping global-warming-frightened new group think that is new and that was visible at the EU level. Of course that if one focuses his sight on some unelected Maoist EU apparatchiks and wet rags, he may think that they're the new normal. But they have never been normal and the idea that these individuals will start a new era of an apolitical, post-democratic Europe where the political contest is no longer necessary because everyone holds the same "centrist" (i.e. new extremist totalitarian) opinions is hopefully turning into a fantasy. The European countries will hopefully return to the conditions in which the opinions that Mr Wergin tries to demonize are the "normal alternatives" that compete with each other.

Mr Wergin also says something about the "points shared by the left-wing and right-wing fringes":
What unites the apologists on the left and right is a striking disregard for the fate of the people who inhabit the lands between Germany and Russia, and a truncated notion of German history.
I happen to inhabit a land between Germany and Russia and I consider the interests of this homeland of mine, Czechia, to be much more important than the fate of Crimea, Ukraine, or even Russia, Germany, and the EU. Sorry for that, my overlords, former overlords, potential overlords, and irrelevant foreigners. ;-)

But this patriotism of mine doesn't prevent me from seeing that Czechia is probably unable to beat Germany in a war and it is unable to beat Russia in a war, too. Even in the finals of the Continental Ice-Hockey League (the Gagarin Cup), HC Lev Prague ultimately lost to Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the last possible, seventh match. Our guys lost a big deal even though they had been playing so well up to the moment. The Gagarin cup could have traveled outside Russia – to the first country that Gagarin visited after he returned from outer space, too. But it stayed in Russia this time because of one annoying match.

But let me return to the topic before ice-hockey. Our military just can't beat Russia. We can't beat Germany, either. NATO is telling us that our army is next to worthless and they're probably right. But even if we tried hard, we couldn't beat the larger powers. The same is true for the armies of Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, and other countries between Germany and Russia.

It follows that our planning has to take these facts into account. So as a "strategic territory", we either team up with Germany, or with Russia, or with some larger blocks involving these two powers. Or we try to carefully balance in between them. Or we avoid both and bet on the alliances with some more distant powers. But in all cases, we must simply take the larger powers into account in one way or another because they have mattered for the evolution of our homeland, they still matter, and they will always matter. We would do the latter – we would team up with an ally that isn't a neighbor – in the happy years of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia, 1918-1938. But the alliance with France – and the indirectly implied alliance with Great Britain – turned out to be worthless. They just didn't care about us. It's sort of natural. People don't care about unknown, abstract, faraway countries. We don't really care about Angola, either, so an alliance with Angola would probably be worthless for our African allies, too. It's completely normal – it's a law of physics – that people prefer to care about things and countries that are closer to them. It's why the self-government or the home rule is often a good idea.

What I want to say is that at the end, it is completely possible, likely, if not unavoidable that a sustainable security setup for a country that isn't a real power has to depend on the alliances with sufficiently close (geographically or otherwise) foreign powers. This is not a sign of my "disregard for the fate of Czechia and other countries". It's a sign that I realize that the fate – whatever it will be – will have to agree with the laws of physics. A small country just shouldn't pretend that it may always promote its opinions that a much stronger neighboring power severely dislikes – unless it has some other compensating power that backs it. Of course that when it comes to global strategic interests, the sovereignty of smaller countries is limited. I didn't write this proposition in order to downgrade anyone – such as my nation – to second-class citizens or worse human beings. I wrote it because it's self-evidently true. It's a law of physics. It's how politics works. Power matters, it has always mattered, and it will always matter. As long as people organize themselves into groups such as nations, larger or stronger groups are able to win over smaller or weaker ones. The idea that smaller/weaker and stronger/larger countries are "equal" in all respects isn't just a utopia; it is an utter stupidity. A world order built upon this stupidity is (or would be) unsustainable.

Some people in Eastern Europe may "deliberately" misunderstand these laws of physics. Energized by irrational, uncontrolled, and uncontrollable anti-Russian sentiments, they may be dreaming about the life in a world where Russia behaves just like if it didn't exist at all. They want to live in the vacuum, not appreciating that the air is pretty useful for breathing. But just because someone in the Eastern Europe wants "not to believe" self-evident laws of physics doesn't invalidate these laws. Instead, these opinions only stress the fact that many people (or nations, at least majorities in them) in Eastern Europe haven't reached their political maturity (yet?). But they're not the only ones; people in Germany like Mr Wergin haven't reached it, either.
Some apologists will explain their sympathy as a matter of debt to Russia for German atrocities during World War II. But it is important to remember that the war started with Germany invading Poland from the West — and a few days later the Soviet Union invading Poland from the East, after both sides had secretly agreed to split Eastern Europe between them.
I surely don't think that even if the war is reduced to a conflict between Germany and Russia, they were equally guilty. It was really Hitler's war. And Mr Wergin's comment is actually a sign of his disregard for the fate of my country because the war was bound to start at least since March 1939 when the rest of the Czech lands were occupied. Not by Stalin or by Stalin and Hitler. Just by Hitler. He clearly doesn't care about this event, either, because he would be able to figure out that his claims about Hitler's and Stalin's "equal contributions" to the evils of the Second World War are indefensible.

Germans have much more reasons to feel guilty because of the Second World War. At the same moment, I do think that many of them exaggerate their guilt for the events they have nothing personally to do with. In some sense, I still appreciate it, but I also feel that they are gradually becoming more realist. For example, we in Czechia no longer feel any strong negative emotions because of the tough shared events during the war and the generation that remembers is dying away quickly. It doesn't mean that the younger generations have forgotten or should have forgotten all the lessons. It just means that we're no longer burdened by the emotional baggage that would prevent us from thinking and behaving constructively, fairly, and impartially. We have just no trouble with the thick line behind the history that has been drawn to the sand, and that's true for the bulk of the German nation, too (for most of them, Czechia is much less important than Germany is for most of us, for obvious reasons). It's very healthy and of course that business we do with each other is a part of this "miracle of reconciliation". It's a good thing. The free markets heal the scars.
And so when German public figures, parroting Russian propaganda, dismiss Ukraine as “not a real country anyway,” or treat countries at the fault line between the West and Russia as second-class nations with somewhat lesser sovereignty, they are evoking memories in Eastern Europe of the bad old days, when the Nazis and Soviets turned the region into the “Bloodlands” of their respective dictatorships.
Countries are created, evolved, and dissolved. Some of them survive for longer times, some of them are short-lived. In most cases, we may estimate the lifetime by looking at certain things. Like Czechoslovakia, Ukraine was an artificial construct. Artificial constructs may still work. Many other (if not all) countries have been artificial constructs, too – like the United States of America, you know. But the survival of a country in the long run does require a certain degree of uniformity. The uniformity in Ukraine was far weaker than it was in Czechoslovakia. And unfortunately, in the recent two decades, it didn't enjoy enough time and peace to become more uniform. The internal divisions in Ukraine are much stronger than anything we would remember in (post-war) Czechoslovakia. Even though the Czechoslovak nation was nearly uniform, we still decided to part our ways. It seems obvious that Ukraine as a unitary country on the current territory just can't survive.

This is a realist appraisal that takes into account some facts – as well as the interests of the people, companies, and groups that prefer a separation of a sort (Mr Wergin doesn't care about these people's opinions or values or interests at all). His comments about "somewhat lesser sovereignty" are one-sided. There are people in Ukraine who prefer the sovereignty of the current Maidan regime over the whole territory and there are people who would prefer to divide the power and/or the country differently. Perhaps a federation. Perhaps annexation of a part of Ukraine by Russia. It's the people who finally matter. By his demagogic trick, he wants to suggest that the "whole Ukraine" wants a unity and the reign of the Maidan regime except that it isn't true. He ignores the existence of tens of millions of people whose opinions and interests are very different. Mr Wergin looks at people in a very non-Western way – he treats whole nations as monolithic blocks that are obliged to think the same. The genuine Western attitude looks at the individuals. It's the attitude that our pro-Russian side is taking which is why we're able to see both the ethnic Ukrainians as well as the ethnic Russians and their differing values and interests. We see the situation (more or less) in its full complexity. We are the true Westerners who care about the individual rights and opinions rather than self-appointed governments' will imposed on whole nations.
For decades Germany has tried to come to terms with its fascist past and to learn important lessons from it. And now, in another country, there comes an authoritarian leader who is trying to stabilize his regime by pursuing aggression abroad on the grounds of ethnic nationalism.
These Putin-Hitler comparisons (and the decoration of Vladimir Putin by various "authoritarian" adjectives) are sleights-of-hand designed to impress the stupidest readers. What Putin is doing is the standard politics as Europe – and the world – has known it for millennia. He was hired to defend the interests of the Russian nation. His approval rate and re-election chances have always primarily depended on the Russian people's evaluations of how well he is performing this basic task. And yes, he's doing pretty well. That's exactly how it should be in a democracy. If someone in some Western countries isn't doing the analogous thing, it's a mistake and it shows that something has become pathological in the nation where he or she was appointed. Indeed, something is wrong e.g. with many Czech politicians who are climbing into various random foreigners' [buttocks] but I don't want to drown you in irrelevant details of the Czech politics.

(I just mention another related story. There have been about 20,000 Czechs in Volhynia, Russian Empire – now Ukraine – since 1868-1880. Their ancestors came there when the Russian Empire promised them free land and pleasant farming. Now they are afraid of the nationalist terror in Ukraine so they asked the Czech government to help them return to their ancestors' homeland. They were surprised to find out that it's more important for the current Czech government to lick the asses of the Maidan fascists – and their puppet masters somewhere in the West – than to protect the lives of ethnic Czechs. For some reason, I wasn't shocked anymore. As a politician and as a human, the current foreign minister Zaorálek is a piece of trash and he is not the only one.)
But that still means that nearly half of all Germans do not feel a deep connection with the West and its values — which is precisely what Mr. Putin wants.
No, it just means that half of all Germans haven't been brainwashed by a new wave of mindless Russophobia, a new type of a totalitarian hateful nationalism designed to create some characteristically non-Western "unity" across the whole continent, and it is this mindless Russophobia that is the closest current counterpart of the Nazi ideology. The people who realize that Russians are also people – people who live in a mostly democratic country these days – are citizens of Germany (and other nations), members of the Western family of nations even if Mr Wergin would prefer to transfer them to Siberia. In fact, we are the "classic" Western citizens and it's people like Mr Wergin who are the neoplasm.

1. I read all the nonsense in the MSM in light of the electoral map you showed a while ago and the coup d'etat. The map highlights the extreme differences between the Ukrainian east and west. And the coup proves the illegitimacy of the junta squatting in Kiev.

By now the violence has escalated the to point that partition is necessary for there to be peace. The only question is the placement of the border.

2. "were burned alive in the building" US military advisors? Vlad the Hammer knows that though history does not repeat, it does rhyme.

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/waco-85-innocent-men-women-and-children-murdered/6443
Waco, Texas

http://www.ushistory.org/us/44b.asp
US annexation of Hawaii

3. "Germany is a member of the Western civilization – a defining nation, in fact."

Yes.

And yes to the rest.

Good post, Luboš.

4. I would suspect the CIA and FBI to be giving their expertise to Kiev (John Brennan was visiting Kiev recently so...). However since the West doesn't seem too interested in a full military intervention they might only send private militaries, like mercenaries, like in Irak. That's what they do generally, isn't it ? Probably Russia does the same. Hey, the war goes private! :-)

5. I wonder if there is an invariant that makes spacetime and membrane dimensions relative. It seems like you have one form of M-theory with 9 dimensions and a 1 dimension string, while in another you have 5d membrane in a 5d space and so on. It seems like the total of the membrane and spacetime dimensions are constant, but the dimensions of the membrane and space can vary.

6. "dozens of pro-Russian citizens of Ukraine"

Not true. You forgot to mention about people from Transnistria and Russia. You also forgot to mention that the first victim of this riots was an ukrainian man shot on the Hretska street by russian aggressors.

"The rowdies did everything they could to burn and kill as many people as possible."

Wow. This is a big lie. Here one can see (7:00) Ukrainians bringing a metal construction and saving Russians:

Russia Today didnt show this material? That's strange... they are so objective...

7. Good post ... :-)

BTW has anybody looked at the issue concerning the lifetime of countries from a (nonequilibrium) thermodynamics point of view ...?
To me, it seems a country can only be relavively stable if there a not too strong internal gradients of any kind. And "unnatural" structures, that are not in agreement with the opinions and feelings of the people who live in that region, can only be maintained in some kind of steady state by external forcings ...

As Lumo describes it in this article, it might well be that the Ukraine in its current form is not in thermodynamic equilibrium and same rearrangements of borders due to dissipative processes might have to happen first before the region can find stability and peace ...?

And yes, near(est) neighbor interactions are naturally often more important in lowest order, than far reaching nonlocal correlations ;-)
If not a mature (phase transition is about to happen) ...

8. Perhaps the best course of action for Main Street America at this point is to sit back and let the crony-capitalists and their political minions have their WW III.

The Beltway Bandits are promoting global fascism, corruption, cronyism, and theft. The BRICS have to stop them to survive.

Every thug that dies fighting for the the Too-Big-to-Fail and Too-Big-to-Jail crowd is one less thug that will beat up a defenseless grandma for jaywalking at home, one less thug available to murder an unarmed homeless citizen, and one less thug available to the alphabet soup of agencies who prefer classification, fear and intimidation to an open, fair and equitable legal system.

The enemy of our enemy is our friend.

9. Former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry points out how bad New York Times coverage of the Odessa attack has been:

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/05/03/will-ukraine-be-nyts-waterloo/

The NYT is now the Goebbels Division of the Oval Office. This wasn't bad coverage--it is precisely what Obama ordered. The demise of the NYT into fishwrap is identical to the death of CNN, which used to be a national treasure also.

Hilariously, there is actually a federal law prohibiting the government from engaging in propaganda.

10. This discussion on N=2 SUSY reminds me of this article by Albert Schwarz:
http://www.mathunion.org/ICM/ICM1990.2/Main/icm1990.2.1377.1386.ocr.pdf

11. Here is George Kennan on whether expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe would be a good idea, from back during the Clinton administration:

"here is George Kennan on whether the expansion of NATO was a good idea:

"His voice is a bit frail now, but the mind, even at age 94, is as sharp as ever. So when I reached George Kennan by phone to get his reaction to the Senate's ratification of NATO expansion it was no surprise to find that the man who was the architect of America's successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century was ready with an answer.

''I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,'' said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ''I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.''

''What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,'' added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ''X,'' defined America's cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ''I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don't people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.

''And Russia's democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we've just signed up to defend from Russia,'' said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952. ''It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong.""

12. The NATO/MIC owned propaganda outlets seem to be confused. The product is up to its usual standard of wholeness and goodness. Why aren't the masses buying it?

13. Well written. The russophobia is reaching extreme levels here in Sweden with the MSM presenting, as always I should add, a completely one sided point of view. For example, when reporting about the people who got burned alive and killed in Odessa they "forgot" to mention which side was the victim. This fact was hidden in an article published much later but it was still "unclear" who the victims were. So put in context with all the other anti-russian crap they were writing an ignorant reader would be likely to assume the victims were the poor Ukranians. And believe me, many in this country are ignorant and believe everything they read.

And to top it off, our prime-debil and foreign minister Carl Bildt managed to blame the entire event on the pro-russians on twitter: https://twitter.com/carlbildt/status/462307447882121216

O/T: Lubos, here's something else for you to analyze if you are bored: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/

14. We in Greece saw this the first day, and then yesterday we saw "the rowdies" attacking and killing people who fell out of the windows to save themselves. Of course there are good Ukranians, but also there is a bad mob out for blood, and it happens to be Ukranian too.

15. An extra link: Spiegel wrote somewhat less hysterically about the German sympathies for Russia

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/prominent-germans-have-understanding-for-russian-annexation-of-crimea-a-961711.html

but the sympaties are still called a "problem".

16. On the other hand we have a greek proverb that says "the wolf is happy with the confusion". You must not realize that in warIII it is the wolves whom you label up there who will be on top . The lambs will be slaughter as usual.

17. sorry to interrupt interesting political rant - isn't this a great and ambitious project ?
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/focus-fusion-empowertheworld--3

18. It is surely an ambitious one! It would be great if it worked - I would still bet that it won't.

19. >>"Obamas' complete misunderstanding of the geography, >>culture, history, and reality of Russia, Eastern Europe, and >>Western Europe"

I'm sure Obama and US' people in power clearly understand everything, they just follow classical "divide et empera" - destroy everyone who gets stronger. Destroy no matter what cost, even if millions die - who cares about 3rd world "untermensch"?
Few years ago they kicked China's ass by so called "arab springs" by overthrowing governments in (suprise - suprise) countries where China had significant economical interests.
Now they started barking at Russia and at the same time breaking trade and political ties between EU and Russia, tightening lead on EU and forcing EU to become even more dollar junkie

20. To understand this phenomenon, I think you have to take a hard look at the ethnic dimension; do you see any patterns in those who are most militantly spreading this anti-Russia propaganda in the U.S.? Well I certainly do. Here's a hint: they have names like "Zubrin", and have an old tribal grudge against Russia (among many other civilizations). Putin evokes memories of the Czars who treated their forefathers badly, and now they are using their leverage in the West to seek revenge. We see this pattern everywhere in the foregin policy of the United States since 1945.

This is another example of the defining political problem of the modern West: a radical elite with little in common with the citizenry has gained vast power over our institutions, and will apparently engage in any war or cultural jihad they please, anywhere in the world, until there is some kind of massive housecleaning and they are driven out of power. I say it's time to clean house -- what do you say?

21. What is the counterpart of the tensionless limit in the spacetime worldsheet?

22. I don't know. The target space dynamics of the N=2 strings is scale-invariant, so at the naive level, the tension doesn't matter. It must matter if the dynamics is studied more carefuly, however.

23. Maybe this means that the tensionless limit is indeed more fundamental and the tension is a derived concept.

24. Right, a totally plausible interpretation!

25. In zeroth order Putin is a dictator and does this at home and abroad:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2014/05/05/putins-human-rights-council-accidentally-posts-real-crimean-election-results-only-15-voted-for-annexation/

26. Odessa massacre of pro-federalization supporters (extremely disturbing imagery):

Now tell me that Putin is the bad guy.

27. OK, this makes me laugh. I would be 10-to-1 that this report doesn't exist or is fake. It's just bullshit. It's implausible that in an atmosphere that is as polarized as it was in Ukraine or Crimea, the turnout for *any* important poll like that would be mere 30%. It's equally implausible that they would be unable to compute what the turnout actually was - so that it would only be reported as 30-50 percent. Given the videos from Crimea I have seen, it is implausible that the pro-vote would only be 50%, and so on, and so on.

28. Oleg, it's terrible. Condolences to the families etc.

My sympathies for one or another side aside, something like that clearly doesn't belong anywhere close to the European Union of 2014.

29. To me it looks credible (using google translate)

http://www.president-sovet.ru/structure/gruppa_po_migratsionnoy_politike/materialy/problemy_zhiteley_kryma.php

30. I'm a Czech...escaped to the West before the Berlin Wall and with all due respect, I think you are a little naive here Lubos.

This land grab by Russia was likely planned and executed when the opportunity presented itself. The incitement of the eastern regions makes a good excuse for Russian intervention and annexation. The thing is, its not the first time. You happily forget what horrors that happened in Grozny. The amount of butchery there is what Putin is. Do you think a poll amongst Chechen's would result in them wanting to be a part of Russia? Hell no! So why can't they have independence? Oh wait they are Russians! So its ok for Russians to butcher not tens but thousands of other Russian.....damn that inconvenient hypocrisy!

Stick to physics (and yes, I'm a physicist, enjoy your blog but disagree sometimes).

31. I agree that the Kremlin has used the opportunity to annex Crimea; I just think that it's a rational, justifiable, and fully understandable step.

It's plausible that I am applying different standards to Chechens and Russians. Russia is a cultural nation; nowadays, Chechens are nations of bloody destructive terrorists.

32. I was equally surprised by these numbers - believing genuinely that Crimea really is the stronghold of russia.

On contrary, the 30% turnout is easily explained by fear.

33. Dear Rami, the explanation of that page is very simple and easy to see for someone who actually speaks Russian instead of believing conspiracy theory nuts who translate 2-3 sentences on a page by Google Translate.

The page says that it describes the report of Eugeny Bobrov from his April 16th-18th visit to Crimea which means that the numerical "results" reported in those sentences are the preliminary estimates all of has heard before the final results were announced.

Simple, isn't it?

34. Arguing on such topics is pointless. Obviously half of the EU population doesn't feel a deep connection with the West and its values. Lets take for example one of the founding fathers of modern western philosophy - Nietzsche. He would have spit on the average russians because they perfectly resemble the slave morality with their orthodox religious hive mentality. It would be pretty logical if Europe splits in two and everyone goes where he/she belongs. The term Russophobia would become meaningless then because many smart russians would choose the west, like they already did to a large extent. Alas, the arrow of immigration is always pointed in the direction of the west. Which is strange considering what a great leader Putin is. And look at the Ukrainian tragedies and massacres. And remember the american Charles Manson! And you call Putin bad? (a lol logic, Oleg).

No, Putin is not bad. He's just a sad little dwarf. And he's leading a band of crony capitalists and deluded cultists who have sacrificed their individuality and degrees of freedom only to have a share of the (feeling of) great power of a dead empire. Speaking about the laws of physics and the power, Russia is not their representative at this version of the space-time continuum. On the contrary, it's their victim. Just like the economic competition bled the communism to death, predictably this will be the fate of yet another attempt of denying and modifying the natural laws of free movement of matter by governmental interventions and institutionalized faith (Pussy Riot were sentenced for offending God himself, i.e. Putin; not hooliganism) directed at keeping the peasants low and ascending a select few of the "elite" to heavens. Putin pretends to defend the interests of the Russian nation. I wonder what these interests might actually be. Lets see some numbers as well as if Russians are going to sink in happiness anytime soon.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/04/12/no-putin-is-not-acting-rationally/

Power and the laws indeed.

35. People are starting to wake up to the fact that they have been systematically lied to by western politicians and their allies in the corporate media. Their cynical narrative of exalting the self-appointed government in Kiev and their mantra of demonizing anyone who opposes this illegal junta are starting to unravel.

Friday’s tragic events in Odessa, where more than 40 people were burned alive are a case in point. According to hundreds of witnesses, the forces of Ukraine’s radical Right Sector chased a group of people, who were demonstrating in support of a referendum to federalize Ukraine, into Odessa’s trade union building. Mind you, the Right Sector had been given legitimacy by Kiev when they were deputized into the Ukrainian National Guard in April. The extremists then sealed the building and began torching it with a volley of Molotov cocktails, setting the structure ablaze. However, this atrocity did not end there.

The local police, apparently under orders from Kiev, did absolutely nothing to counteract this violence. The city fire department, which is manned around the clock and located a mere 150 meters from the burning building showed no signs of response for an entire 20 minutes. Moreover, when the fire engines finally began moving, the Right Sector extremists blocked their access to the building, and as people were desperately trying to climb out of the windows to reach safety, these same radicals began shooting at them, killing many who would have otherwise escaped the flames. Those who reached the ground without being shot were viciously beaten. I will emphasize once again that earlier, the self-appointed government in Kiev absorbed the Right Sector into the ranks of its National Guard.

In the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, representatives of this same “government” cynically hailed Friday’s massacre as a victory for Ukraine over the separatists. Among those who cheered, are outspoken member of parliament, Irina Farion; chief of Oleksandr Turchinov’s presidential administration, Sergei Pashinsky and western media darling, Yulia Timoshenko.

It is this “government” that the West has helped bring to power and that much of the world so avidly now supports. On top of their constitutional illegitimacy, they have now conclusively proven themselves to be a gang of blatant killers and such support is unthinkable.

Meanwhile, the western media have largely ignored what has happened in Odessa and on those rare occasions when it is mentioned, a description of these events appears as a passing footnote against the backdrop of the standard narrative. For example, CNN gave these events the following lip-service: “31 people died after a fire was started at a trade union building amid clashes in the largely Russian-speaking Odessa.” The New York Times (as can be seen in this article) and Fox News have done much the same. No mention of direct involvement from the Right Sector/National Guard, not a word about the highly questionable passivity of the local police, not even a hint concerning the shootings of those trying to escape the burning building. And of course, not a word of accusation was given against the criminal actions of the illegitimate government in Kiev. It seems they can do no wrong.

I will remind you, there were hundreds of people who witnessed this mass execution, but western media are perfectly content with feeding their audience a diet of half-truths and innuendo.

Even more shocking was the total absence of direct condemnation from western governments against those actually guilty of this atrocity. People were burned alive with the active support of Kiev’s self-appointed leadership, yet our “21st century” world chooses to remain silent. This deafening silence will be heard throughout the globe.

36. Of course, we all know the United States would view things
differently if Russia were sending "advisors" halfway around the world
to help orchestrate a coup in Mexico. Right? I mean, it's not even a
question.

The US has outsourced much of its manufacturing, but it's still the world's leading producer of bullshit and hypocrisy.

37. Everyone needs to understand that America's ruling oligarchs are desperately searching for excuses to increase the US military budget, which now faces light cuts in Congress. Even those proposed light cuts have generated squeals of outrage from many lawmakers who spend most of their time doing the bidding of large weapons manufacturers and other big corporations. These pathetic individuals frantically seize upon any excuse to propose sending weapons and other war materials to troubled areas. Sometimes the US government even goes out of its way to create wars, as it did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and other places, because war is now America's main export. Because of our corrupt elections process, ordinary Americans are helpless to change any of this, and we can only sit by helplessly as this evil is committed in our name.

38. Germany may indeed be the real pivot point in this. Putin speaks German nearly as well as he speaks Russian. His kids are/were schooled in Germany. Merkel hails from East Germany. With all of its natural gas, the Nordstream and other pipelines to Germany are pretty darn important.

Germany/German regulators have put a little distance between them and the rest of the western finance cartel. In spite of the Gold Fix, bank investigations, etc., the Germans still don’t have their gold back from the US.

Siemens, Daimler, BASF and Bayer are more important to them than Chevron, Monsanto, Cargill and CAT.

Obama is likely in a bigger trick bag than Putin is in this travesty of US policy.

39. I didn't know! ;-)

It sounds pretty good. I think that there are some errors in pronunciation but with my superficial knowledge, I can't be certain.

40. Dear Rami, I am pretty certain that the numbers are accurate. Those who disagreed knew that they would lose and they boycotted the referendum.

97% out of 83% is 80% of the population which includes almost all the ethnic Russians, 60% of the population, and 1/2 of the rest. It makes perfect sense.

41. In the 90s a lot of Russians and Chechens came to Poland. Russians came from economical reasons, and Chechens came a bit later because of the war in their homeland. Russians worked mainly on the street markets, and as for Chechens I saw them working on constructions and as street workers. As for me their "level of savageness" was rather equal but Russians were much more frequently involved in organised crime. They were doing racketing on markets, in nightclubs etc. Both groups moved on to the West as soon as they had an occasion. They disliked themselves then, but now they have understood that they are very similar in their savageness and that's why they decided to unite. Chechens now cooperate with Kuban Cossacks in the eastern Ukraine, and all resentments have gone:

42. This is BS again and I hope Luboš

How did you know which people from the former SU were Russian actually? Did you know how to differentiate them from Ukrainians, Belarussians, etc.?

http://www.czasbialegostoku.pl/artykul/czeczenscy-uchodzcy-przez-skypea-polecaja-sobie-bialystok-jako-miasto-swietne-do-zycia

http://www.tvp.pl/bialystok/aktualnosci/kryminalne/atak-na-czeczenow-w-bialymstoku/929015

http://polska.newsweek.pl/czeczeni-w-polsce--ruski--muslim--terrorysta,103847,1,1.html

43. Ukraine will go the way of Greece to become more miserable than they were before the EU and US corporations come in to loot and plunder. There is a huge mountain of cash robbed from the American public over the last 30 years, which are the spoils of immense fraud and blatant criminal activities such as falsification of financial reporting and other "creative" schemes by the oil and gas, Wall Street banking and investment firms. Now the stolen money is put to use to rob the people of Ukraine, the question is: will the they accept the unnecessary and harsh austerity measures imposed by the IMF to clean house in Ukraine or will that cause greater unrest? It's too early to tell what course they'll take. The IMF is nothing other than a front organization for the US elite MAFIA who stand to rake in 100 fold back in interest and loan servicing fees carried on the backs of the low wage working classes of Ukraine.

44. thejollygreenmanMay 7, 2014, 10:40:00 PM

Hi Lubos,

So the Germans aren't Westerners?

IMHO there are three definitions of Westerners.
1. The lot in Europe that was made subjects of the Roman Empire at one stage or another. This excludes the Scots, Irish and Germans to the East of Cologne. As one British officer replied to his German counterpart when he said that the Romans never rule German: Yes, it shows!
2. The parts of Europe that fell under the ambit of the Catholic church, this formed the Western part of Europe. Note that in this instance the Teutonic Knights played a very strong part in pushing the boundaries of the Catholic controlled west to the east, and that the line of Teutonic forts, monasteries, abbeys, churches, etc. established can be traced to this day as the line separating the European west from the European East. If my memory serves me correctly, your country also fell to the Teutonic knights, and that you are therefor living in the west accordinging to this definition.
3. The parts of Europe that formed part of Christendom. By that definition, Russia and even Greece, is part of the West.

I think Herr Wergin is talking through his hat. But, then the left just make up of things and facts as they go along and want to command the public discourse. He is a Herr Tosser.

45. Teutonic order was based near Svodin, W. SK, but close.

46. Predictable -- lots of emotions, no substance.

(1) The migration flow from Russia (permanent) has decreased by a factor of 20 since the 90's and is still decreasing. The EU source :

http://www.migrationpolicycentre.eu/docs/migration_profiles/Russia.pdf

The number of work permits issued to foreign nationals in Russia has increased tenfold in the same time span (same source).

(2) Pussy Riot were arrested for 'igniting religious hatred'. They had slandered Putin many times before with no consequences. They even did it on the Red Square and were fined 25 Euros for public disorder. The Guardian article:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/02/pussy-riot-protest-russia

(3) The only comment on the Forbes article I have is 'wishful thinking'.

47. A new simulation of the entire Universe after the Big Bang is delightful to watch, but we are all waiting your comment about how string theory may or may not alter its claim to legitimately produce actual galaxies:

http://phys.org/news/2014-05-astronomers-realistic-virtual-universe.html

48. But that's nothing compared to the third author who is a conservative in the Academia gambar payudara ...

49. Wow Lumo, thanks for explaining these worldsheet (yes I am always confused who I should write that word :-P) or woldsheed ideas so well that even I can feel that it is really cool :-)

Hopefully some of your colleagues get inspired to help nailing down your ideas, such that they can be rigorously established if true in this form.

Cheers

50. Darn there is a typo and I can not correct it from work :-/: worldsheet of worldsheet ideas I wanted to say ...

51. Great, maybe they also distributed cookies? After this:

(the Nazis trying to finish off the survivors)

52. 1)I got my elementary education when Russian was taught in schools, not English. I'm not a good Russian speaker but I'm able to distinguish it from Ukrainian or Belarussian.

2)Some Russians lived in the same block in which I used to live. Even now in my home region, people talk about rebirth of Russian mafia:

http://olsztyn.gazeta.pl/olsztyn/1,48726,14616787,Biznesmeni_boja_sie_rosyjskiej_mafii__A_policja_na.html

20 years ago, Russian thugs were rather a common sight in northern-east part of Poland.
Only a man too young to remember it or someone who didnt live there then could deny it.
If russian mafia is still there, they must hide themselves quite well, but 20 years ago they acted very openly, they were very loud and they were very noticable.,

53. He speaks German pretty well. With an accent.

What he says can however be understood more easily than the garbage spewed by too many of the German political class.

54. Thanks for the report, Bernd.

Didn't he pronounce "Europe" as e-u-rope? Vaclav Klaus likes the German "oyrop" that he is using it even in English. ;-)

55. Yes, yes, Putin is not that stupid to put an insignificant person in jail just because of some silly words against him; this would automatically turn him into an accomplished dictator. This, of course, does not apply to very rich people like Hodorkovsky, who actually had the power to change something (I hope you'll spare me the knee-jerk reaction, that he was charged for fraud). Also, it does not apply to any of the threats to the fundamental supporting pillars of the current regime - like the Church. If I remember correctly, the pussies in their lyrics were praying to god to save them from Putin. How this qualifies as "'igniting religious hatred" is beyond me. I strongly advice you to reread The Brothers Karamazov's chapter with the Grand Inquisitor and his hapless victim fighting for freedom. Maybe you'll have an enlightenment, though i doubt it.

Certainly the number of foreign nationals wishing to work in Russia has increased, and foreign in this case means citizens of the nearby post-soviet countries, mainly those outside Europe. As long as the oil pipe runs abroad everything is fine and Russia is a rich country with something that even resembles a middle class. What you fail to understand is that such an economic model, relying only on huge energy projects is an artificial construct and inevitably doomed in the long run. It's very close to a planned economy and today it's pretty clear that such thing isn't working.

About the wishful thinking... You know, nobody wants to put down the good thing. People enjoy it. I've never heard of Britishophobia, or Germanophobia... And I know that there are a lot of good things about Russia. But something surely is not right. Maybe it's the left? Maybe it's left somewhere in the past?

56. With all those tanks going south to help with the fair and square negotiations the strategy is clear.

Make more rus noise in south the attack the north.
Cut supply and rail lines. Cut diesel gas send in skunks and bees and scare the soldiers back and take tanks.

57. There is only about 400m people that support the 100 colleges that study this stuff. So that is at most 400 profs + their students.
With at least 100 topics in st that means 4 are working on this N=2 case.

You should get the mathies interested by new field to generate and anslyze theories defines by know physics laws. Then. Automate with algorithm program to search for your toes.

Cheers
Sv

58. 97% outcome almost always means that the election is rigged. Whether it is ballot box rigged or pointing gun at you rigged does not make any difference

59. A video from Foreign Relations Committee
shows how some ignorant morons do US foreign politics:

60. It's just bullshit. There were no rigged ballot boxes or guns pointed at the voters. You must know very well that you just spread lies.

If there were rigged ballot boxes, tens of thousands of people around the commissions that were adding the votes would know that the numbers don't match.

If there were guns or other violent tools directed against the voters, there would be thousands of videos that show that.

None of these things existed. Your desire to believe an arbitrarily insane conspiracy theory just in order to confirm your hateful prejudices only shows your unlimited dishonesty.

61. (1) Pussy Riot staged their 'show' in one the most sacred Russian churches, Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The cathedral was blown up by Stalin and much later rebuilt with donations of ordinary people. Needless to say, the act caused outrage among most people, religious or not (for many, the blatant stupidity of this was offensive). So, the reaction of the authorities was completely resonable and widely supported. It has _absolutely_ nothing to do with Putin and Pussy Riot are still being despised in Russia.

(2) The number of permits for non-CIS citizens (former USSR) has increased by a factor of 3-4.

(3) If you are telling me that natural resources are just a quick fix, talk to Norwegians among others. Even the US started with natural resources. The point is to use these to invest into industry/technology/science which is exactly what Russia is doing.

(4) Your final point has no point and I have nothing to add.

62. You said your self that those who disagreed boycotted the election. Maybe just maybe the russian military presence had something to do with it.

In your view, have all elections lately in Russia have gone by the book?

63. Pretty much all elections in Russia in the last 25 years proceeded in agreement with the standards expected in any other democratic country. At most, the existing leaders could have "leverage" their power to become even more popular in the polls, but that's something that every Western leader is trying to do in one way or another, too.

People claiming otherwise - like your humble existence - are conspiracy nuts.

64. Dear god, you expect someone to read this wall of text?? And if you hate an article so much, why also use it as the basis for your own argument against what it says? You seem it like many of it's conclusions, very odd!

65. Stirring up historical tragedies, real reasons, the motivations are economic. BRICS, including Russia, are gathering strength, resources, pipeline routes -- even Germany to China Railway.

66. (1) May I safely assume that if I rush into the sacred Cathedral of Christ the Savior and I start to sing "God, please save us from America" I will be prosecuted for igniting religious hatred? It sounds much more logical to be so. After all both nations are christians. Or are they a wrong version of christianity? Sinners, and fallen ones, all of them? Don't answer to me. Answer to yourself. It's certainly not the cathedral of Christ. He would have vomited by such actions. It's the cathedral of Putin the Savior.

(3) No, I was not telling you this, but the direction of your thoughts made my point clear. You simply imagine all the processes concerning the oil - producing, distributing, and investing the income in whatever, as parts of a single homogenous entity. And in Russia's case you're right. This entity is the state. It's not the individuals and their competition that create the emergent dynamic of a successful society, it's the invisible hand of Putin which set the course of the economy (no discord between the fingers, everything deviating from the main line is cut off and sometimes thrown in jail).

The economic model of the state-controlled economy (on the high level) with private property is the model of the national-socialism. Do we have different options with the prices when we buy resources from Russia? Certainly not. This is a zero-degree of freedom system - it's what Putin commands. He does not understand the benefits of freedom. He's simply a geopolitical ideologue - projecting a mouldy vision onto the modern reality. You may have some base for economic prosperity, now that you're semi-democratic country but combined with the great corruption it will end bad, and all the data outside of Russian confirmation bias support it.

67. Brilliant, the level of your factual argumentation has reached the absolute pinnacle. You may make good use of the app that replaces 'Putin' with 'motherf3456r' in any text :)

68. Dear Mr Critic, Oleg gave a short reply, let me give you a longer one. ;-)

You are clearly adopting double standards. When an irrelevant oppressed North Korean worker says - in Korean language and purely for local audiences - that Obama is a wicked black monkey who belongs to zoo,

the White House which is 10,000 miles away is completely upset and threatens the whole country. You don't find anything wrong with the bullying reaction by the White House. But when someone is screaming hateful things in Russia's most revered church against those whose organization really built the church and suffered similar humiliation in the past, you are surprised that people are upset and sue you for offense driven by bigotry?

As Oleg told you, this has nothing to do with Putin. The bulk of the Russian nation dislikes it and has laws to counter such obscenities. Whether it would arrest someone else depends on many things. Your other example has some similarities and some differences. Pussy Riot are godless sluts so this puts them in a different situation than the situation of a critical Christian who would scream something. But of course that even a Christian from Russia or from another country could do offensive things in the church that he could be arrested for. That's true for Russia and that's clearly true for pretty much any country in the world, perhaps except for Czechia ;-), but surely including your own country.

Making Putin responsible for all opinions of the Russian people and verdicts of the courts only shows that you are an obsessed bias imbecile.

3) The main oil/energy companies in Russia are mostly or fully state-funded. Russia is surely far from being the only country for which it holds. Oleg knows the ownership status of these companies. Nothing spectacular here. Your insanely high degree of excitement about these matters doesn't show anything about Russia or Putin, just about a defect in your brain.

There are tons of private companies in Russia - current Russia isn't really too different when it comes to the ownership from many countries in the West.

69. Thanks for the answer. I don't care about Obama. I don't like neither him nor his internal policies. I know that many people in the world would like a state-controlled economy. The one thing I dont understand is why a man, who views himself as belonging to the right, even libertarian (?!), supports such thing implicitly. When both are put on a pair of scales Russia clearly outweight the libertarian part of the mind. So if we had to label you with one word only, it will be "Russia". I've never seen a single critic against this country here.

Oleg knows the ownership; he has remembered some names. The connection between them and the random string which always starts with P and ends with -utin though, is something that obviously gives his brain a hard time... Also, I understand that the fault in logic, about the Pussies case, possibly is not his, but the Russian's nation mentality, which somehow still prevails in parts of the eastern bloc.

I'm not writing here to convert some Russophiles (a lost cause, just like North Korea), so I'm not wasting too much time with facts. Purely psychologically it was interesting. I'm here because I've never seen intelligent persons who belongs to this group in my country. Here, we are divided in two groups - the dumb Russophiles which never have anything intelligible to say, and the others - the people of business, science and culture. I wanted to study this madness in details... Spending a notable amount of time here though made me think that there's some probability I have a brain defect.

Mr. Motl, if you're not taking money from Kremlin, you should immediately call them. They pay a lot for a good propaganda. The things you write with such passion are anything but a natural product of reason and most of the people in the world have enough sense to deny them. So, if you're not benefiting somehow from all of this you're wasting your time. Time is money, you should know this.

70. Putin bans opposition and free media and get 50% and "leverage" that into 80%. Obama and Bush not being able to do the same tells something about america and russia. However, one has to admire Putin for spotting the chance to take Crimea and to establish it by threatening east Ukraine.

71. I am sorry, sometimes, I just read titles ;) I remember you did not have faith i that particular experiment - do you have any scientific support, why this one will not work ? And why others (?) might ?

72. I agree with almost every argument. Wergin is really a moron who got about everything upside down.
.
However, dear Lubos, there is one point that you should critically revise and it is an important one.
Indeed you wrote :
I surely don't think that even if the war is reduced to a conflict between Germany and Russia, they were equally guilty. It was really Hitler's war.
.
Well despite the intense propaganda since 1945 (and not only in USSR but also in Western Europe) they were equally guilty.
But one has to read some important facts that the official communication rarely mentions.
.
- Hitler and Stalin followed exactly the same agressive power policy aiming at dominating their spheres of interest.
- the defining difference is that Hitler didn't control the army in 1939 while Stalin has established his total control. During the purges 1937-1939 Stalin had exterminated 35 000 senior officers starting by having armed forces chief Tukatchevski and 11/13 army commanders shot. This massive purge was the cause of an almost lost war where the result was suspended on a thread with Germans 30 km from Kreml end 1941.
- The Wehrmacht opposed the war because it rightly analysed that Germany cannot win a 2 front war like it could not win WWI in the same situation.
- As Hitler could not (yet) force them , he had to convince them. And he spectacularly did so by signing the non agression pact with Stalin.
.
Without the Germany-USSR non agression pact there would have been no WWII.
.
- Stalin did so and this is clearly documented because he planned to attack Germany himself. His intention was to provoke a war between Germany and France&UK what would give hime time to rearm and to attack the weakened Germany later. He badly miscalculated because he never imagined that Germany would beat France&UK on the continent in only 2 weeks.
-With the opening of the archives it is now known that Stalin had an attack on Germany planned.
http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/articles/stalwarplans.html

Unfortunately not everything was released and it is doubtful that Russia is interested to release more.
.
So it should clearly be apparent to everybody that Stalin is as guilty of the WWII as Hitler was and that the only difference is that Hitler was ready sooner and attacked first.

73. Your source is Barnes Review ("one of the most virulent anti-Semitic organizations around", Holocaust deniers):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnes_Review

The author is Richard Tedor, a former Chicago Nazi Party deputy leader:

http://www.jta.org/1978/06/14/archive/jewish-groups-plan-demonstration-in-skokie-nazi-march-uncertain-despite-supreme-court-ruling

His book 'Hitler's Revolution' is advertized on websites of this type:

http://www.pzg.biz/book_hitlers_revolution.html

In the book, he claims among other things that the 2d WW was started by Polish hostility to Germans. Should I continue?

By the way, the theory that Stalin planned to attack Germany is due to the GRU defector Viktor Suvorov, true name Vladimir Rezun. This theory has been torn to pieces by professional historians.

74. 1)
This is a typical ad hominem. It doesn't matter who says the truth provided it is the truth. Tedor is obviously not the only source and I picked this reference only because it is a very good summary. If you had a shred of intelligence you would comment on the facts and not on the author. You are a Stalin admirer ? Gulag forever ?
2)
What has Poland to do with the matter ? Where did I mention Poland ?
3)
What you call "theory" is an ensemble of observations, documents and witnesses. The day Russia decides (will they ever ?) to open all their archives, nobody will discuss these obvious facts anymore. Perhaps some deniers like you but that's about it.
4)
Historians, professional or otherwise, can not "tear to pieces" facts not more than you can. But yes a few professional russian deniers and/or communists have tried very hard to hide, obfuscate and otherwise manipulate the facts.
5)
Every military expert has ALREADY said long ago that if the intent of Stalin was defence, he would not have prepositionned the bulk of the Red Army in the Bialystok salient where it was at risk. However it is a correct positionning for an offensive. The Germans have shown already in 41 how idiotic the "defence theory" was because in 3 series of pockets (Bialystok, Minsk, Smolensk) they wiped out the bulk of the Red Army in only 5 weeks who lost millions dead, wounded and prisoners against negligible German losses .
So either Stalin was an idiot or it was not defence he intended. Should I continue ?

6)
Stalin said so himself that he "Intended to attack Germany" and the plans from 5 mai 41 were done on his orders.
7)
It is more than obvious that Without the German-Soviet non agression pact the WWII would not have taken place."

75. wow... that's a good argument with plenty of factual evidence and scanned letters of Stalin.

PS: I dislike Stalin as much as you do, but BS remains BS

76. Eric Lerner is going to speak at Oxford University Scientific Society's Trinity Speaker Series today. Wed. May 14th. So is there any scientific support his focus fusion work has to fail ?

77. It seems to me that "stick to physics" was merely a friendly nudge, a long way far from "freedom of speech matters". Very unlike the reply "do it again and you are instantly banned from my blog"...

But after all, this is Sheldon's blog so he may do as he wishes and "use his power to win more than he was to loose" just like Putin does. Well, threatening to ban someone from expressing his views while having a full mouth of freedom of speech, that is so much like Putin!!! :-) :-) :-) Very amusing, this blog!

Now, this poses a very interesting question to which, I think, I have equally amusing answer. Is that a right thing to "use your sovereign power to win more than there was to loose"? --That I don't know. What I do know about it is that I do not wish to live in a country, whose political representation does not hesitate to use its power this way. That (non-)hesitation is actually a very good indicator of a dignity and of a civilization level. Of the country. And of the blog. :-) :-) :-)
Good day...

78. Freundlicher NachbarJul 21, 2014, 11:08:00 PM

Germans has accepted that it guilty and Germans are pretty well aware that they will stay outlaws for the next centuries.
So Germans are doing very well by getting closer to Russia by leaving politically the Western part of Europe.
This way can only work if Germany will leave NATO as soon as possible and withdraw itself into a complete neutral position.
So it was one of the biggest faults of German politics since 1945 getting involved into any foreign conflict.
And the same way I see the case of the Ukraine, Afghanistan or Jugoslavia.
Germany should keep off from any foreign engagement whatever may happen somewhere because foreign affairs never can be again in history any kind of a German business.
Germans are aware that they will get blamed for anything whatever they will do and so the best solution is doing nothing at all by staying a neutral spectator.
In regard of a real peaceful nation Germany should disarm much more until now because nobody was missing them for the last 75 years and so nobody will miss them for the next 75 years.