Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin

Since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in 2000, there has been a steady barrage of negative press and hostility from the West. With Putin up for reelection this year, Sharon Tennison tries to separate fact from fiction.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

By Sharon Tennison

Russian President Vladimir Putin obviously has his faults and has made his share of mistakes. Yet, my experiences with him, as well as what I have heard over the years from people I trust –– including U.S. officials who have with him worked closely –– indicate that Putin is essentially a straightforward, reliable and exceptionally inventive man.

The Russian president is clearly a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became the Russian Federation’s second president.

I’ve stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000s –– I pondered my thoughts and concerns, and included them in a book published in 2011.

Like others who have had direct experience with this little-understood figure, I’ve tried to no avail to avoid being labeled a “Putin apologist.” If one is even neutral about him, they are called “soft on Putin” by pundits and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just an NGO program developer who has lived in Russia and the Soviet Union for the past 30 years. But during this time, I have had far more direct, on-the-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington’s officials.

Understanding Differences

I’ve been in country long enough to reflect deeply on Russian history and culture, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders.

As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous U.S. officials and American businessmen who have had years of experience working with him –– I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish,” or the other slanderous terms used to describe him in Western media.

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St. Petersburg during the 1990s. Since the anti-Putin vilification started, I’ve become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I’ve read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone “talk-ins” with Russian citizens).

I’ve been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role of villain that he never anticipated –– and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances.

If the latter is the case, and I think it is, he should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. It was no accident that Forbes declared him the World’s Most Powerful person of 2013, replacing Barack Obama who held the title in 2012. The following is my one personal experience with Putin.

The year was 1992, two years after the implosion of communism. The place was St. Petersburg.

Meeting Putin

For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the U.S. and USSR, and hopefully to help Soviet people to get beyond their entrenched top-down mentalities. A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made.

Putin with Anatoly Sobchak, Mayor of St. Petersburg, early 1990s. Putin was one of Sobchak’s deputies from 1992-96.

My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit.

He inquired about my reason for coming in. After scanning the proposal I provided he began asking intelligent questions. After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question.

I became aware that this interviewer was different than other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners with hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for the Americans’ requests.

This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor. After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not. A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all. He politely showed us to the door.

Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the U.S. or something valuable!”

I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight –– it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

An Unexpected Briefing

Two years later, in 1994, U.S. Consul General Jack Gosnell put in an SOS call to me in St. Petersburg. He had 14 Congress members and the new American Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, coming to St. Petersburg in the next three days. He needed immediate help.

I scurried over to the Consulate and learned that Gosnell intended me to brief this auspicious delegation and the incoming ambassador.

I was stunned but he insisted. They were coming from Moscow and were furious about how U.S. funding was being wasted there. Gosnell wanted them to hear the “good news” about my NGO –– the Center for Citizen Initiatives –– and its programs which were showing fine results. In the next 24 hours Gosnell and I also set up “home” meetings in a dozen Russian entrepreneurs’ small apartments for the arriving dignitaries (St. Petersburg State Department people were aghast, since it had never been done before, but Gosnell overruled).

Only later in 2000, did I learn of Gosnell’s former three-year experience with Vladimir Putin in the 1990s while the latter was running the city for Mayor Sobchak. More on this further down.

December 31, 1999

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin leaves the Kremlin on the day of his resignation, December 31 1999. Prime Minister Putin (second left) became acting president.

At the turn of the millennium, with no warning, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin.

On hearing the news, I thought surely not the man I remembered –– he could never lead Russia, I thought. The next day a NYT article included a photo.

Yes, it was the same Putin I’d met years ago! I was shocked and dismayed, telling friends, “This is a disaster for Russia, I’ve spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent –– he will never be able to relate to Russia’s masses.”

Further, I lamented: “For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen: 1) The arrogant young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia’s 89 regions.”

It was clear to me that the man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia’s overriding twin challenges.

Oligarchs on Edge

Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia’s oligarchs on edge. In February 2000 a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer: What should the relationship be with the so-called oligarchs? The same as anyone else. The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop.

This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West’s capitalists nervous.

After all, these oligarchs were wealthy untouchable businessmen –– good capitalists, never mind that they got their enterprises illegally and were putting their profits in offshore banks.

Four months later Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs and proposed a deal: They could keep their illegally acquired wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they would not be nationalized if taxes were paid on their revenues and if they personally stayed out of politics.

This was the first of Putin’s “elegant solutions” to the near-impossible challenges facing the new Russia. But the deal also put Putin in crosshairs with U.S. media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The latter became highly political, didn’t pay taxes, and prior to being apprehended and jailed was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. Unfortunately, to U.S. media and governing structures, Khodorkovsky became a martyr (and remains so up to today).

Yeltsin’s Criminals

In March 2000 I arrived in St. Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit. My first question was, “Lena what do you think about your new president?” She laughed and retorted, “Volodya! I went to school with him!”

She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education).

He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted. I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said: “Sharon in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural for Volodya to choose this career.”

My next question was: “What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?”

Putting on her psychologist hat, she contemplated the question and replied that if left to his normal behaviors, Putin would watch them for a while to be sure what was going on, then he would likely throw up some flares to let them know that he was watching. If they didn’t respond, he would address them personally, and if the behaviors still didn’t change, some would probably spend time in prison.

I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to pan out in real time.

Through the 2000s

Into Putin’s first year as Russia’s president, U.S. officials seemed to suspect that he would be antithetical to America’s interests –– his every move was called into question in American media. I couldn’t understand why and was chronicling these developments on my computer and newsletters.

During the same period, St. Petersburg’s many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the Production Enhancement Program business training program was working and how we could make the U.S. experience more valuable for their new small businesses. Most believed that the program had been enormously important, even life changing. Lastly, each was asked: “So what do you think of your new president?”

None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia’s bureaucrats. Most answered similarly, “Putin registered my business a few years ago.”

Next question: “So, how much did it cost you?”

To a person they replied, “Putin didn’t charge anything.” One said that they had gone to Putin’s desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were getting “rich on their seats.” In other words, Putin had been earning a reputation for honesty and fair-dealing.

U.S.-Russian Relations

The U.S. Consul General, Jack Gosnell, had a close relationship with Putin when he was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries. Gosnell related that Putin was always straightforward, courteous and helpful.

When Putin’s wife, Ludmila, was in a severe auto accident, Gosnell took the liberty to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland. When Gosnell told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by the generous offer, but ended saying that he couldn’t accept this favor, that Ludmila would have to recover in a Russian hospital.

She did –– although medical care in Russia was notoriously bad in the 1990s.

A senior officer at the Center for Strategic and International Studies whom I was friends with in the 2000s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990s. He reported that he had no dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved dour reputation from U.S. media.

As a matter of fact, he closed the door at CSIS when we started talking about Putin. I guessed his comments wouldn’t be acceptable if others were listening.

Another former U.S. official also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.

I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin. At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered: When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why?

Without hesitation the answer came back: The “knives were drawn,” I was told, as soon as it was announced that Putin would be the next president. From what I was told, it seemed that his previous status as a KGB officer had something to do with it.

When I offered that Bush-41 had previously led the CIA, the reply was that Bush was “our guy,” so this made no difference.

The second encounter was a former State Department official with whom I had participated in a radio interview on Russia. Afterward while we were chatting, I remarked, “You might be interested to know that I’ve collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say they had no negative experiences with Putin and there was no evidence of taking bribes.”

He firmly replied: “No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin.”

Demonization and Reality

From 2001 until today, I’ve watched the U.S. media negatively portray Putin, comparing him to Hitler, and making accusations against him of ordering assassinations and poisonings. Yet no one has come up with any concrete evidence for these allegations.

During this period, I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food.

Alcohol controls were strengthened, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

Perm city, located in the Ural Mountains. Photo by Slava Stepanov

In addition to St. Petersburg and Moscow, in September 2013 I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail –– the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look much like Americans –– which makes sense considering we get the same clothing from China.

Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes, which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now commonplace –– and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two- and three-story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow.

We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge supermarkets. Streets are in good condition, highways are newly renovated and well-marked now, and service stations look like those dotting American highways. In January 2014 I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new construction was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared.

It is astounding to me how much progress Russia had made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

Understanding the Misunderstanding

So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia? To paraphrase Shakespeare, is it a case of protesting too much?

Psychologists tell us that people often project on to others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow” when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.

Could this apply to nations as well? Is this why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?

Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?

Could it be that we condemn Russia’s corruption in order to ignore the corruption within our corporate world?

Could it be that we condemn their human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven’t resolved our own?

Could it be that we accuse Russia of “reconstituting the USSR” because of what we do to remain the world’s “hegemon”?

Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don’t want to face it?

Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?

Could we be accusing Russia of election-meddling because we do this ourselves?

Whether we can answer these questions with any certainty, one thing I am quite sure of is that 99% of those who excoriate Putin in mainstream media have had no personal contact with him at all. They write articles on hearsay, rumors and fabrication, or they read scripts others have written on their tele-prompters. This is how our nation gets its “news,” such as it is.

There is a well-known code of ethics worth bearing in mind: Is it the Truth; Is it Fair; Does it build Friendship and Goodwill; and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?

It seems to me that if our nation’s leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.

Sharon Tennison ran a successful NGO in Russia funded by philanthropists, American foundations, USAID and Department of State, designing new programs and refining old ones, and evaluating Russian delegates’ U.S. experiences for over 20 years. She adapted the Marshall Plan Tours from the 40s and 50s, and created the Production Enhancement Program (PEP) for Russian entrepreneurs, the largest ever business training program between the U.S. and Russia. Running several large programs concurrently during the 90s and 2000s, funding disappeared shortly after the 2008 financial crisis set in. Tennison still runs an orphanage program in Russia, is President and Founder, Center for Citizen Initiatives, a member of Rotary Club of Palo Alto, California, and author of The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens’ Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises. The author can be contacted at [email protected].

267 comments for “Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin

  1. Kim Nguyen
    February 19, 2018 at 09:15

    Why is Putin demonised by the US government and complicit press? Simple: Because the ascendency and permanence of the US empire depends on a much weakened Russia. Putin has screwed up the US plan of total dominance.

  2. rus_programmer
    February 14, 2018 at 09:58

    Although I am from Russia, but I was interested to read. I think the author has pretty objective view. I would like to thank the author and address the American commentators.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, stop making your judgments about Russia and Putin on the basis of “Fake News” or at least dry your hair thoroughly after brainwashing. I’ve read some comments about Russia and realize that the consciousness of people is somewhere in a parallel universe. Treat critically any information, learn to read between the lines, try to look for information and not to eat what is poured into your ears. This advice from a person who still remembers the Soviet propaganda.

  3. Pavel
    February 14, 2018 at 09:37

    Exactly what you are loooking for. The most useful piece of text about Russian mindset compared to yours.. Published by “Sputnik i Pogrom” – Russian Breitbart News analogue amidst 2014 Ukrainian crisis it maybe looks a bit exagerrated, but absolutely true in the core.
    At least, back to Bad Vlad, it gives you an understanding why Mighty Poo is not a “dictator”, he is (as every Russian leader before him) a Supreme Commander of Russians – the Army-Nation or better say the “settled Horde”.
    also check thesaker.is – world-wide community of people like (maybe) you are.

  4. Pavel
    February 14, 2018 at 08:07

    About corruption in Russia (and little ode to Putin)
    1. All post-communist states ultimately goes in two ways in terms of property. Majority of them (Eastern Europe) give up to foreigners. Like “mighty” Poland (and 80% of Polish industry now belongs to Germans, just in case).
    Very few, like Russia and Ukraine, decide to grow own finance and industry groups. But this unexpierenced yesterday commies cannot compete with transcorps, obviously. Corruption works like defensive barrier of some sort. They don’t pay taxes (and sometimes salaries too), has guaranteed state contracts, despite poor quality goods they produced etc. Only difference is that Ukraine don’t have Putin (or better say – sane elites with 1000y tradition of statesmanship) and stucking in the 90s with same greedy oligarhs’ robbed country.
    2. Even more important – in 1999 Russia was completely ruined (and we remember your smiles, btw). Most discussed topic was “in how many parts Russia will break in next 10 years”. Some say 4, some 11… We were failed state. Literally. So you now a ” good tzar” and wants to fix things. How you can persuade people to work? ….
    Its not “corruption”. Lets call it “risk bonus”. Yes, these people worked for *big* money. But they are worked! And, btw all amazing rebuilding of Russia we witness under Putin rule – done by the same ” corrupted elites”. Switch up your brains, guys!! If Putin had another way to do? New Big Terror maybe? Theres many people in Russia who support neostalinism. The same people who wants to deal with US by turns you to so-called “Stalin Straight” – imaginative strait between Canada and Mexico. So corruption is best solution both for Russia and you.
    Final words: I always told my American pals: you better talk with Putin, guys. Or soon you may find nobody to talk with. Russia is revanchist, nationalist state now. Very anger and determined. I remember in 2014 “Putin, give us an order!!” graffiti everywhere. “Order” to level up Ukraine, ofc.
    “The Darkest One”, as we call him with irony (and love) not just smart and expirienced leder, he also a VERY accurate and responsible leader, masterfully balancing between ” don’t do stupid s***” policy (real one) and nationalistic fervor he try to tame all these years.

  5. Pavel
    February 14, 2018 at 07:12

    Hello from Saratov, Russia and please excuse my brkn eenglsh.
    Saratov now in much better shape than just 3-4 years ago, thanks to new governor and his crew. You must understand a couple of things, though.
    Russia always was poor and undeveloped. And often face enourmous treats. It leads to development of certain unique skills, one of them is a concentration of resources. We simply never have enough to fix everything. One of greatest issues in modern Russia is a poor quality of management. So we (Putin) decide to concentrate best of the best in key offices like defence, diplomacy, information… Distant regions literally mop out of professionals – all goes to Moscow. Now its time to pay more attention to less pressing issues than “avoid direct military conflict with US and not give an inch in the process”. About half of Russia regions change governors in past couple of years. Sadly Saratov or Perm is not in high priority there for some reasons and don’t have natural bonuses, so…

  6. Alexander, Moscow
    February 14, 2018 at 04:47

    Thank you for the article. This is the first American objective article on 100% of Russia for a long time, read by me.

  7. Peter Duveen
    February 11, 2018 at 19:34

    The reason for the negativity against Putin is not hard to figure out. He is in the way. And that is the same for negativity against Russia as a country. In the way of whom? Maybe in the way of some thuggish, ultra-corrupt nation driven by intense greed to either conquer every country or destroy it.

  8. Marek
    February 11, 2018 at 14:25

    Thank you for the posting of this very interesting article and real life memories. At first I myself was a victim of western media serving the international public the images of Putin as the crazy man riding a horse bare breasted and next sitting at the table with the oligarchs splitting in the ill gotten profits. For the first time he attracted my attention when unlike almost everybody else around the world that joined in “the coalition of the willing” he dared to criticize the Iraq war and specifically the hanging of the Saddam Hussein where he asked how come for the much worse villains the world’s community organized the Nuremberg trial but now 70 years later with the omnipresent television, cell phones and computers we just hung Saddam Hussein on the rope in some nondescript basement and then show his death proudly to the world. The question by Putin actually turned around my opinion on the West – Russia dynamics where under Putin it is always Russia that follows the letter of the international law while the West always finds exceptions to break it.

  9. Ryuuoh
    February 10, 2018 at 02:12

    Cold used to post the same drivel at Moon of Alabama. He was similarly run out of town there.

  10. Deniz
    February 9, 2018 at 14:31

    I read your article and am sorry if you felt like I bullied you. Clapper lied to Congress about warrantless wiretapping, so I dont find him credible.

    I found the article helpful in further clarify the allegations against Russia. The notion that Trump would use his Russian “business associates” to dig up dirt on Hillary is entirely plausible. It also goes further and establishes a link to the Russian Military, which would presumably involve Putin and claims that Cozy Bear provided intelligence directly to Wikileaks based upon Dutch intelligence claims.

    Assuming all of this is true, the question becomes, is it in the public interest to publish true and factual information on Clinton even if the sources and methods of obtaining that information are in question? Clinton has not refuted the truth of any of the Wikileak emails. There has been no evidence that Wikileaks has damaged national security, the FISA memo clearly illustrates that National Security issues are being exploited to cover for bureaucratic incompetence.

    Finally, the article makes the allegation that Putin is a murderous man and takes that as a given. Where is the meat in that claim?

  11. Patrick Kerrigan
    February 9, 2018 at 05:59

    the USA armaments industry decides who should be the means of enriching them.i.e who should be an enemy.Corruption rules the day.

  12. Deniz
    February 8, 2018 at 20:05

    John, I will be the first to agree that Trump is involved in Russian Mafia in money laundering operations. The question I have is who is the Russsian Mafia, why do you assume they are lo linked to Putin, what evidence is there he is the murderous sort. Along these lines, if it is true that Trump is involved in Russian Mafia, why aren’t we discussing them and not Putin? My assumption is that there are a great many politicians who would also be involved and there are far worse crimes and corruption afoot. For instance, Uranium One seems far worse and implicates the former President, yet there is a deafening silence from Maddow and her ilk.

    I am the last person you would ever have to convice of the criminality of Washington.

    • Skip Scott
      February 9, 2018 at 08:32


      I agree completely. I do not agree with the story of the Dutch spooks getting some “Cozy Bear” to fess up about being the source to wikileaks. I lost all confidence in the Dutch government over the MH-17 investigation, and I believe William Binney when he states that the NSA would have known in real time of any hacking of the DNC computers, and I believe Julian Assange and Craig Murray when they say it was a leak and not a hack. Dutch intelligence is a tool of our own Deep State. John P is mixing apples and oranges and trying to conflate Russian mafia ties (mostly duel citizens of Israel) with Putin. I am no fan of Trump and suspect him of illegal financial dealings, but in today’s political climate (and the minds of people like John P) if you’re not a Putin hater, you must be a Trump lover. I also think that John P underestimates the claws of the Deep State by having faith in people like Clapper and Mueller, and rags like “Foreign Policy in Focus”. BTW John P, I am not the member of any tribe. I think freely for myself and I highly value the memory of Robert Parry, and think Nat is doing a fine job of carrying on his father’s legacy. The articles here challenge the corporate sponsored MSM, which you seem to enjoy defending. You are the one who dishonors Robert Parry by coming to his site and spewing MSM drivel which is countered daily by the many fine articles posted here.

      • Deniz
        February 9, 2018 at 12:57

        “Russian mafia ties (mostly duel citizens of Israel)”

        And there lies the crux of the matter.

  13. John P
    February 8, 2018 at 18:20

    Well I’m sorry Robert, but in your absence Consortium News has fallen pray to a form of tribalism. There is little chance for discussion unless your ideas and views fit the tribal beliefs. If one tries to present an alternate view contrary to those beliefs one gets pelted with unintelligent crudeness. Nobody seems to be screening for this of modern day bullying. The idea of trying to present alternate views and perhaps learn from them has been lost. And so goes America being torn asunder by rants and raves of people unable to listen as they are so self assured of their position and much of it over the questions of the Russia investigation.

    If one studies human nature as one bully nation falls, another will take its place, or as one tribe gains power over others so go the others for a while (Orthodox Jewish belief in a promised land, the Boers on their exodus to South Africa, the Puritans and their exodus to America and the development of the Quakers’ ideas.

    First I will state that I think America has done much to increase tensions between it and Russia. Support of fascists in the Ukraine, expansion of NATO, the anti ballistic missile system in the area and there more examples. Weakening powers are at their worst when that power is waning, usually by over extension. Human history repeats itself.

    Putin may be a nice guy, but I’m sure he is laughing at how divided, angry, and unsure America has become and those who were or are in the spy business can be very skilful at deceit. To my way of thinking as I wrote on Tuesday, Trump is a troll of Putin. Surprisingly on Wednesday an article at Foreign Policy in Focus, states James Clapper called the American president an ‘asset’ of the Russians.

    How you might ask. Well one of Trump’s tall buildings, I can’t remember which, was occupied by Russian gambling sites and influential oligarchs often visited and was considered a mafia type situation and money laundering. Trump never tossed them out.

    I now give a reference for any one truly interested to read:


    * Page was under investigation in 2013 over 3 Russian spies trying to recruit him.

    * May 2016 Australia’s top diplomat in the UK, Mr. Downer met George Papadopoulos, Trump’s campaign manager who told him about a cache of dirt on Hillary Clinton that originated from Russian hacks. Downer informed the FBI. (Fact)

    * Dutch spooks picked up the Russian hackers activity, located their quarters and even hacked their outside security camera so they could get pictures of the group. (Fact)

    * One of the hackers was later charged with a bank cyber scam and told the court that he was one of the hackers who obtained the DNC e-mails. He stated he had been hired since 2008 to do jobs for Dokuchayev, major-general in the FSB. (Fortune magazine)

    The reason it is taking so long for the conclusions, is that Mueller is investigating “five separate investigations” 1/ 400,000 documents on money laundering, the activities of Russian social trolls, the hacking operations, and the many meeting between Russians and Trump’s team.

    The big question now is, could money laundering be the reason Trump won’t show us his tax returns, and why he could be a troll under some Russian control. All that will take time and secrecy,

    You can read the material yourself, see time lines at billmoyers.com

    It’s your choice, but if you don’t then it shows an unwillingness to be fully investigative.

    That’s it, I’m through with Consortium News comments. And, I have never had a warning of a hack attack on my computer before, but I did on Wed and just about an hour ago today, Thur. Coincidence ?

  14. Jack
    February 7, 2018 at 23:10

    It seems his integrity is working

  15. Ivan Phillips
    February 7, 2018 at 20:47


  16. Ivan Phillips
    February 7, 2018 at 20:43

    This is an assessment that I have been longing for …for a long time.
    Thank you Sharon, for publishing this article. WE NEED IT !

  17. John P
    February 7, 2018 at 18:30

    As I said yesterday:
    Putin and his cohorts know how to troll and have probably studied Trumps weaknesses to the Nth degree and how to exploit them. Since 1988 Roger Stone was pushing Trump to run for the presidency and up until the time he ran, Trump thought about it several times. They certainly put the bait out there for a narcissistic egomaniac, pretty women, the possibility of a Trump Tower in Moscow with his name on it, monetary support when he needed it amongst many other things. Trump and his clan, some very shady indeed, did a lot of dealing with Russian oligarchs in anticipation of big paybacks and I’m not surprised that the FBI and DOJ are investigating him and his buddies. That will take time. You can learn a lot from viewing the historical Trump timelines at BillMoyers.com
    No doubt there will be a lot of you who poo poo that web site but the timelines believe you me are worth a look. And I’m no Hillary Clinton supporter either. Her policies and past dealings were dreadful . But when you got a kid in the White House who doesn’t like to read and absorb material, or know history, and is always looking for the Oreo cookie handout, look out!.

    Well today a very positive note from a new article at Foraign policy in Focus which may open a few blinkered eyes. To inform Nancy and Anon and you can cut out the nastiness Nancy, act like an adult !


    Some excerpts
    “Back in May 2016, Australia’s top diplomat in the UK, former foreign minister Alexander Downer, had a late-night convo with a Trump campaign advisor about a cache of opposition research on Hillary Clinton. He relayed the info back to his colleagues, who then passed it on to the FBI.

    The Trump advisor in question was “coffee boy” George Papadopoulos, actually a foreign policy advisor with enough influence to edit Trump’s first foreign policy speech in April 2016. Papadopoulos picked up the scent of the thousands of emails that apparently contained dirt on Hillary Clinton and that, thanks to some remarkably successful hacks, were in the possession of the Russian government.
    Oh, perhaps you still believe the canard that it wasn’t the Russians who hacked the DNC and vacuumed up all those emails? Well, then you haven’t kept up with the news.

    First of all, the Dutch intelligence service actually watched the hack happen and could pinpoint the very room in Moscow where Cozy Bear was operating. The Dutch spooks even hacked into the security camera in the corridor outside the room so that they could identify the people involved.

    Don’t believe the Dutch? Okay, how about one of the Russian hackers themselves, testifying in, of all places, a Russian courtroom. Back in August, Konstantin Kozlovsky was on trial for stealing money from banks through a cyber scam. But he had more to say about some of his other activities. According to Fortune magazine:

    In May, at the White House, Trump himself met with Kislyak — and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — and proceeded to give them highly classified intelligence on an Israeli operation in Syria. The Israeli government was furious. And so was the U.S. intelligence community. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper, noting that Putin was a former KGB case officer, called the American president essentially an “asset” of the Russians.”
    By John Feffer – director of Foreign Policy – Foreign policy in Focus

    It takes time to investigate the extent, (breath and depth) of the collusion between the Trump clan and Putin clan after all it’s a swamp of intrigue and all corners must be searched before we can be told all.

    • ToivoS
      February 8, 2018 at 00:27

      egad man take this somewhere else. The readers here are fairly sophisticated, we know what is going on. You, sound like a total idiot. I am sure if you are more discerning you might find some place where the regular readers will think you have something to say. There are many liberal Democratic blogs out there who might find you have something interesting to say.

      • John P
        February 8, 2018 at 09:03

        You sound like a Russian troll used during the election and further divide Americans (I am not American). I agree that American actions have been stupid, increase in NATO membership, anti missile systems about Russia, and have a great negative effect. But I find you blinkered on the this matter. Have you read the full article I mentioned at Foreign Policy in Focus. I don’t think so,

        • Deniz
          February 8, 2018 at 12:59

          That is probably because the article cites James Clapper.

          • Skip Scott
            February 8, 2018 at 15:44

            Geez Deniz-

            Don’t you know Clapper and Brennan are true American patriots, and always tell the truth! (snark). John P thinks he’s highly intelligent and informed by reading “Foreign Policy in Focus.”

          • John P
            February 8, 2018 at 18:31

            Well Deniz and Skip Scott, I doubt you’ve read the FPIF article or understand the time lines. Also again, your comments are an abuse of the privilege of attempting to communicate on this site, an insult in the memory of Robert.
            Read the article and then draw your conclusions, you don’t draw conclusions before you see details. Any adult should know that ! Grow up you bullies.

  18. February 7, 2018 at 18:30

    Thank you Sharon,

    For your personal and clear eyed view of Vladimir Vladimirovich, and your great work trying to bridge the gulf between Russian and American cultures by urging understanding of each other’s business circumstances and parallel but radically different histories.

    Your CN column here should be required reading for anyone who thinks of themselves as an objective and independent journalist in today’s corporate multimedia world, in the strong tradition of the late Bob Parry whose passion for independent reporting sparked the Consortium News movement we are the beneficiaries of today.

    Your Center for Citizen Initiative’s PEP Program stands as one of the major accomplishments of American peoples’ outreach to a country trying to reform itself both politically and economically at the same time, all the while maintaining their sovereignty and dignity as a contributing nation worthy of respect, despite forces which would render them otherwise. Thank you for remembering what the Marshall Plan did for Germany and Douglas MacArthur did for Japan at the end of WWII. It is such a pity the US did not remember these lessons at the end of Cold War I, and look where that mistake has led us in the 28 years since. …..”Thank you” is not enough.

  19. rosemerry
    February 7, 2018 at 17:01

    So glad not to see any more of your efforts; there are unfortunately many sites that will welcome you.

  20. RandyM
    February 7, 2018 at 16:26

    I don’t know if the author’s view of Vladimir Putin is correct or not. It’s difficult to sift through the anti-Putin propaganda from the West, or the pro-Putin hagiographies from Russia to find the truth. Russia is a big, diverse country often surrounded by enemies which have attacked numerous times in Russian history. Its forms of government have always been authoritarian with weak democratic elements, so it’s not surprising that Putin is an authoritarian figure with a great deal of power. He appears to be an astute leader though who is concerned about the stability of his country. Maybe he lines his pockets in the meantime. Probably.

    At any rate, the United States does’nt care what kind of person Vladimir Putin is. They want Russia to submit which Putin refuses to do. That makes him a mortal enemy to our political class.

  21. Ted Tripp
    February 7, 2018 at 15:20

    Very excellent piece, confirming my own suspicions that Putin has been unfairly demonized by the American government and media. Thank you, Sharon.

  22. Anna
    February 7, 2018 at 14:27

    Thank you for writing a grounded assessment of Putin and Russia. I too spent time in country and was impressed by what I saw. Russia is not the failed state that we have been taught it is. I found it to be a vibrant, flourishing, modern culture.

    I also have reviewed almost all of Putin’s videos and speeches and developed my own impressions about him from that material, rather than from mainstream US media. I find Putin to be incredibly articulate, sharp, intelligent, direct, bold, and kind.

    • Gregory Herr
      February 7, 2018 at 19:32

      And he is good with children as well.

  23. Gregory Kruse
    February 7, 2018 at 12:13

    No one who has risen to leadership of a major nation has been unable to act ruthlessly. This applies particularly to American presidents and other high-level leaders, though Americans are well shielded from that knowledge. The difference between an enlightened leader and a despot, is a matter of who suffers from the ruthlessness and who benefits. Putin is not more or less ruthless than Obama, but Putin was ruthless against the enemies of the elected government of Syria, whereas Obama was ruthless against the supporters of the elected government of Syria. I say all this from my perch in the American Midwest, and have never been close to any major leaders at home or abroad, but I do read extensively and have a good imagination. I find Sharon Tennison’s analysis of Putin to be credible, and thank her for a very interesting article.

  24. February 7, 2018 at 11:23

    I think the comments on this article have taken an unfortunate turn, where one person has been allowed to bait the others to respond to his outrageous comments. . Don’t know the answer other than to move on and past such provocations, which appear to have been an attempt, possibly deliberately, to degrade the quality of the site. Have to say he was successful in this instance.. All of us, me included, should refrain from name calling and other devices other than addressing the issue. One of the reasons I have been attracted to this site is the quality of the responses. This has not happened in this instance.

    • RandM
      February 7, 2018 at 15:49

      I agree. Let’s keep it civil.

  25. Dwain Wilder
    February 7, 2018 at 11:19

    I’m sure that there are people in Russia who love him and that he is a sterling fellow. But that is not the issue. The issue is that his political rivals get roughed up and thrown in jail. Being an investigative journalist can get you beaten or killed by thugs who never get identified and brought to trial.

    My question about Putin is how and why is it that he runs a major nation in which those things, and others equally terrible, happen and he takes no steps to bring the criminals to trial? It certainly is at odds with how he deals with Chechnyans!

    There are people who adore Henry Kissinger too, even gave him a Nobel Peace Prize. But no one has explained the justice, the humanity, not to speak of actual expediency, of his conniving the bloody overthrowing of democratic governments, purposely delaying talks with North Vietnam, etc.

    Politics can be a bloody and dehumanizing business. It’s always done by people whose spouses love them. The question is not whether they are rational, sensible, affable people. It all comes down to whether they seek justice, whether they seek the destruction of democratic rule.

  26. Mark
    February 7, 2018 at 07:54

    Vlad is a true statesman and world leader. A visionary. The only one standing up against Trump and the zionists. As the USA goes down the toilet, Russia rises to cooperate in building a sane world economy. God bless him!

  27. Gregory Herr
    February 7, 2018 at 06:08
  28. Martin - Swedish citizen
    February 7, 2018 at 05:24

    Cold, you strike me as a rebellious youngish guy with lots of energy and at least somewhat resourceful, looking to find a constructive mission. There is such a lot of worth-while purposes, so dig into facts, scrutinise critically and objectively, respect people’s knowledge and good luck!
    No offence!

    • Kiza
      February 7, 2018 at 09:07

      Great comment Martin, I love it.

  29. February 7, 2018 at 04:54

    i LOVE PUTIN.. I wish he could replace Trump…

  30. ToivoS
    February 7, 2018 at 04:26

    Congratulations to the new eds here at CN. This article by Sharon is excellent and certainly addresses many questions that I have had about Putin.

    It is still a puzzle to me why Putin is so widely loathed in the West. Certainly the Russophobes on the above comments seem only capable of repeating the slander that is routine in the Western press. There is zero evidence for any of the charges of murder, massive corruption, political suppression, whatever slander. My guess it is a mixture of causes. Making Russia great again has to be hard accept for those who believe that the US is ‘the’ indispensable nation of the world. Putin’s thwarting the west’s takeover of Russia’s oil and gas reserves must have caused much distress. Also much of this propaganda originates with the British which probably reflects their historical hatred of all things Russian. In any case Sharon has certainly put together a good thought provoking essay.

    • nonsense factory
      February 7, 2018 at 06:13

      It’s unarguable that Putin has raised the standard of living for average Russian citizens, and that has been done at the expense of certain interests that viewed Russia as ripe for neoliberal looting in the 1990s. The fact that he successfully overthrew a set of plutocratic interests and cut off their wealth extraction schemes no doubt rankles their pride, but their greater fear is that Putin is setting an example that some might be tempted to try in the United States with our own leading plutocratic interests, our versions of Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Gusinsky, et. al – especially the ones who are obsessed with controlling politics (Warren Buffett, Koch Brothers, Mercer, Singer, Soros, et al). That’s what accounts for all the angst, I think.

    • Skip Scott
      February 8, 2018 at 15:41


      I think you answer your own question in your comment. “Putin’s thwarting the west’s takeover of Russia’s oil and gas reserves must have caused much distress.” That is the answer to your puzzle. Putin stopped the looting that the west was enjoying under Yeltsin. Since the looters control our government and the MSM, they have made him look like Satan himself to the average uninformed American.

  31. February 7, 2018 at 03:03

    Putin mush not be demonized.

  32. michael crockett
    February 7, 2018 at 02:28

    Thank you Sharon Tennison for your excellent article. We should not be surprised that Putin has an approval rating of about 80% among the Russian people. Where he reined in the Russian oligarchs and corrupt officials, America has gone in the opposite direction. In the 1970s we allowed US corporations to to abandon our unionized workforce and take production overseas. Flush with mountains of cash these corporations bought our politicians and our media. Here are a few grim reminders of America today: The unemployment rate is down to 4.1% but 41% of Americans live in poverty. How many millions of Americans are working for poverty wages? Homelessness is an ever growing crisis with ten cities/jurisdictions along the west coast having declared a state of emergency. Household debt is at an all time with savings at an all time low. Millions of Americans lost their homes in the Great Recession. Wall Street Banks now own 25% of the single family homes for rent across the US. The wealth and income gap is as great as it has ever been in our history. US oligarchs have got their boot firmly on our necks and are poised to snap our heads off. 1984 is not just a book, it is our reality. Where is our Vladimir Putin?

  33. ranney
    February 7, 2018 at 01:05

    Sharon, I’m grateful for your article which I am totally in agreement with. As I watch the destructive and cruel idiocy our government imposes on the world I have been impressed with Putin’s “adult” stance. I am aware that there is no evidence for the accusations we constantly pile on this man. And I loved your list of “projections”. Every one of them is right on! We are guilty of much more than anything Russia or Putin has done.
    I’d very much like to hear from others who have had personal contacts with Putin, or possibly Lavrov who I also view as a superior secretary of state to those we have had in recent decades.
    Whatever one thinks of Yeltzen, he did Russia (and, yes, the world) a good deed when he appointed Putin to lead his country. Personally I believe if Russia had a leader and Secretary of State like the recent ones WE have had, we would now be at war and very possibly a nuclear one! It’s thanks to Putin’s calm and thoughtful behavior that we have not already gone to war.

  34. blimbax
    February 6, 2018 at 22:38

    What’s interesting, and more than a bit disgusting, is that this person through insinuation purports to identify himself with Robert Parry’s legacy. Obviously there is no comparison between anything Parry ever wrote and what Cold N H. has posted, or any similarity in the thought processes those very different writing styles reflect.

  35. David G
    February 6, 2018 at 22:13

    Thanks to Sharon Tennison and CN for this valuable piece.

    The highly credible anecdotes of Putin’s personal rectitude make a wry contrast to the way MSNBC refers to him as the wealthiest man in the world, because of all his looting dontchaknow.

    One thing though: how *did* Vladimir Vladimirovich get from that drab little office in St. Petersburg city hall to the presidency of the federation in less than 8 years?

    I would say Yeltsin’s surprise elevation of Putin was a strikingly redemptive finale to his own sodden, supine administration, but there has to be some background that explains it. Has anyone written a good account?

  36. miguel
    February 6, 2018 at 21:58

    Ms. Tennison, This makes sense and is a conclusion that I have reached especially after a few years of watching the man and listening to what he says and how he interacts with others… Vladmir Putin is a world class leader as I also believe Barrack Obama and theChinese president too. Our countries’ problems should not be with each other, we have so many other challenges that we all face on this planet. If governments could stop playing “King of the Hill” us little people would be the benificiaries! World class leaders,I think, understand just that!

  37. Aurora
    February 6, 2018 at 21:50

    I have read that “the knives came out” after this speech: The 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy in 2007. Notice that John McCain is sitting in the front row. Here is both a video and a transcript of the speech:




    • Pamela
      February 7, 2018 at 19:49

      Thank you for posting this, Aurora. I’d never read or listened to one of Putin’s speeches, and this one is delightful, no punches pulled.

  38. Marcus
    February 6, 2018 at 20:59

    Is this a reblog from Off-Guardian.org? I just notice there are the same images and the same captions as on their site. They’re a relatively small site so maybe a link would be friendly?


  39. Marko
    February 6, 2018 at 18:36

    ” This will be my last post at Consortium News. ”

    Cross your heart and hope to die ?

    OK then , we have ourselves a deal.

    • geeyp
      February 7, 2018 at 01:35

      Yes! Hahahahaha ha HA!

      • geeyp
        February 7, 2018 at 01:39

        Fantastic article, Sharon. Keep ’em comin’! Someone who knows things of which they speak and clearly explains is always welcome.

  40. Martin - Swedish citizen
    February 6, 2018 at 16:58

    That is the quality to look for! :)

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      February 6, 2018 at 16:59

      In moderate quantity of course

    • MA
      February 6, 2018 at 20:23

      Only a vodka-free brain will retain the sense of quantity!

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      February 7, 2018 at 03:13

      There is some truth in that dilemma!
      And the appreciation of quality may be lost

  41. February 6, 2018 at 16:42

    And of course the government trolls descend like locusts at the mere title of this piece. How dare anyone in the West NOT criticize Putin uncritically and without factual basis?! The nerve. As always the Snowden documents offer some insight into the methods of the trolls, predictable and despicable as they are. Recommended by the troll manual are – “The 4 D’s: Deny / Disrupt / Degrade / Deceive.” When you encounter these tactics you’re either communicating with a government troll or with a simple idiot, granted it is difficult to discern which is which. However, in the end, there is nothing to be gained by engaging in communication with either. Me thinks some of these trolls “doth protest too much!”

  42. cmp
    February 6, 2018 at 16:29

    What a great article! .. It is truly a breath of good clean air to read of Sharon’s experiences and the Center for Citizen Initiatives long dedication for good will.

    Upon reading in this article that the funding had dried up after 2008, I went to the Center’s website to see if I could learn more and donate. I never did find the Center’s donation page. .. But, the website sure is a real who’s who of some truly special people that have committed their lives to helping, justice & peace.

    I also found that Sharon had posted this:
    “Robert Parry-America’s Greatest Investigative Journalist Passes Away – Read his son’s eulogy”
    January 30, 2018
    “…. ..His son, Nate, has written a touching eulogy below. He tells how he and his family got behind Robert after he was closed out of his chosen field.
    ….. ..Please consider a contribution annually to Consortium News to assure that this extremely important organization continues its vital work now that he has departed…”
    (..she routed me right back to CN…smile…)

    This conclusion of Sharon’s is so well worth the while for reading again:
    “There is a well-known code of ethics worth bearing in mind: Is it the Truth; Is it Fair; Does it build Friendship and Goodwill; and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?”

  43. Realist
    February 6, 2018 at 16:28

    It is powerful, which is most likely why it was attacked so viciously by a couple of trolls on assignment here today.

  44. Skip Scott
    February 6, 2018 at 16:22

    When words fail, resort to…. SONG!


    Sing along Cold N!!

  45. Realist
    February 6, 2018 at 16:14

    I see. Your last post at CN as “Cold N. Holefield,” having completed your assignment by whatever agency is your employer. (Did you personally, or did your employer, come up with that handle? I mean it’s such a clever riff on “Catcher in the Rye.” Why, it’s “genius!”) I do expect you back in some other incarnation, as your style has been completely congruent with at least a couple of other unrelenting haters who dominate the forum for a day or two to later disappear into the woodwork.

    I wouldn’t waste my time debating against your approach of throwing a mountain of garbage at the wall hoping desperately for something to stick, or to “score” with a single point of minutia that is not immediately and cleverly refuted (even spelling and grammar for chrissake!), and especially considering your ploy of endlessly tossing off the snide ad hominen slanders.

    Joe and/or Skip are Russians? “You,” or one of your alter egos have cast that same accusation at me, though both 23&Me and Ancestry.com assess that supposedly damning prospect at exactly 0 percent. More likely *you* are a Russian stooge in the employ of American traitor William Browder (What do you call someone who renounces his American citizenship? And, what should we call the craven Washington pols who back his every whim?) or some other disgruntled oligarch. Very likely tomorrow you will re-emerge as “Gilroy” or pass the ball off to him as part of an ongoing CN assignment (quite telling that you would refer to Joe’s history on this forum, as if you’ve made it a study). Really, you’d be very amusing if you weren’t so annoying. On to your next assignment, “Holefield,” as you strive to make the world a more awful place.

    • Realist
      February 6, 2018 at 16:20

      And thanks to Ms. Tennison for trying to make the world a better place. I hope she is not the least intimidated by your despicable attempt to baptize her with fire on her first published piece at the CN site.

      • Skip Scott
        February 6, 2018 at 21:29

        Hi Realist-

        Thanks for your valuable input. It is always welcome. I hope Ms. Tennison does return as a contributer, and maybe even comment on the subject of her being fined for a visa violation. It is a complex world we live in, and people like Ms. Tennison are working for our betterment. I pray that we all can learn to work for peace.

        • Realist
          February 7, 2018 at 06:40

          We need both Sharon Tennison and Caitlin Johnstone back as regular contributors. Johnstone’s latest piece at ICH makes clear why maniacal cold-war promoters such as “Holefield” are truly psychotic, but the warmongering leaders they serve have deliberately positioned the human race on the precipice of complete annihilation ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48730.htm ). How did they usurp this power? No one gave these monsters permission to threaten the lives of everyone presently alive and those of billions yet to be born. How can sane people take this immoral power away from the fools?

          I know the human race has lived with greed, corruption and thuggery from its origins, and the brutal usually end up taking what they want (some sociopaths in positions of influence and authority actually say this is at is should be), but the consequences in a world filled with nukes all on a hair trigger will be worse than the “mere” continent-wide genocides we’ve already inflicted upon ourselves. You can see the clock ticking inexorably to the end game as the maniacs in Washington escalate tensions with its proclaimed “enemies” every day.

          When the Russians recover the “made in USA” label on that missile that shot down their plane in Syria a couple days ago, we’d better hope that Putin can rise to the occasion again and control the passions of his people or it will be a hot war leading quickly to global nuclear annihilation. Fools like “Holefield” will think it so clever that we might actually make Putin’s countrymen turn against him by such rash acts, especially in their election year. (How do you like those moves for “meddling” in elections?) Sadly, if he is right, Putin’s hardline ultranationalist replacement (it won’t be some sell-out Atlanticist) will soon, after an exchange of further stupid moves by both sides, have a nuclear warhead screaming towards whatever city that jackass lives in. Nuclear weapons will light the sky, and the nuclear power plants will follow.

    • Virginia
      February 7, 2018 at 12:06

      Realist — I had the same thoughts.

      Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
      By any other word would smell as sweet;”

      The perverse is true in this case. Cold will be back and will be just as recognizable under any other name.

  46. ,
    February 6, 2018 at 16:03

    The explanation for the demonization of Russia, and it’s leader, whoever that might be is so simple and obvious when you understand the Empire’s insane drive for world domination, that it is really a waste of time to look for all sorts of involved reasonings about it. Russia and China stand in the way of the US drive to rule the world, and extract all the resources of it for their own use. That’s it. No other reason needed for the hate Putin propaganda offensive than that.

  47. Louise
    February 6, 2018 at 16:02

    Thank you for leaving us. Hatred has no place on CN. Most posters here are much
    more knowledgeable about issues than you seem to be. Anyone starting to correct
    grammar shows his/her inability to answer rational arguments. It is a known tactic
    for trolls to divert.

  48. ,
    February 6, 2018 at 15:56

    Trolls always end up showing their ugly, hate filled nature in the end. They can fake rationality for a short time, but eventually their irrational ugliness will out………..

  49. drspock
    February 6, 2018 at 15:54

    I think this is an excellent piece for what it does; offering a personal view of Putin and close observations of life in Russia. Would the author consider writing another piece? I would be interested in the broader political changes and players during the Putin years.

    Putin has now ruled during four US presidencies and bilateral relationships have changed during that time, as have global and regional politics. Could the author comment on these?

    • Gregory Herr
      February 6, 2018 at 20:44

      Yes, absolutely I’m with you and Mark Thomason and others in welcoming and encouraging Sharon Tennison to write more of her experience and understandings.

      • Kiza
        February 7, 2018 at 09:18

        Although I was critical about Sharon’s past NGO work in Russia, I would also love to read more of her writing. She has seen the worst of Russia, has brushed shoulders with some US biggus dickus during those tough years and has a huge work experience in the powerful new Jesuit order – the NGOs. If she would only share this with us now, FSB would probably forgive her past activity with US NGOs in Russia (LOL).

        Seriously, the lady has less professional ambition and much more inner peace now and she could do a great favor to everyone and to herself by sharing her experiences from the coal face.

  50. jo6pac
    February 6, 2018 at 15:30

    Thanks for the article and when Putin is done fixing Russia for the Russian people maybe we could us him here in my new Amerika.

  51. dahoit
    February 6, 2018 at 15:14

    I’m a Putinbot.American and my wife(brainwashed:she is a msm watcher) is.Go Putin!

    • dahoit
      February 6, 2018 at 19:19

      Kiza;The guy is a zionist.The evil they do,and world burns.

  52. JoeD
    February 6, 2018 at 15:03

    LMOL ok Potsy don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  53. Rob
    February 6, 2018 at 14:51

    Wow. Talk about a bitter, angry and naive individual..

    • Deniz
      February 6, 2018 at 15:04

      ” I give Fascist Freaks no truck.”

      Mr. Holefield could improve his writing through a better sense of irony.

      • Gregory Herr
        February 6, 2018 at 20:28

        Might need to develop a more perceptive set of sensibilities as well.

  54. Deniz
    February 6, 2018 at 13:29

    Unfortuately for Putin, he lives with the ghost of Stalin. What I have observed is the most visceral hatred of Putin, comes from decendendents of.Eastern European background. I find it no.coincidence that a chief architect of anti Russian policy is Berzinski. They live in fear of another Eastern block and Putin is the recipient of that animous.

    • Kiza
      February 7, 2018 at 09:03

      Hello Deniz, your observation is correct – the most dedicated haters of Putin’s and Russia are some East European nationals. However, there are many variations to this theme. I come from South Eastern Europe but my nation always loved the Russians as big brothers and sisters (not it Orwellian sense). The hate of Russia comes from two main and related sources:
      1) the history of always fighting each other, which is the case of the Poles and their Brezinsky and
      2) the religious differences between peoples of the same race, the Slavs, mostly Catholics against Orthodox Christians.

      The Balts, the Poles, the Ukrainian Galicians, even the Croatians hate the Russians and they should have never been accepted into NATO, which should have been dissolved once Soviet Union and Warshaw Pact dissolved. But apart from becoming a global imperial tool, NATO also has to finish the job of knocking Russia back to its knees.

      • Deniz
        February 7, 2018 at 16:06

        Thanks Kiza,

        It does seem like the real war is between Catholic and the Russian Orthodox Churches. The Catholic Church lost a vast amount of property and money in Russia when the Bolsheviks took over and expropriated Catholic Church property. I believe this is also why the Croats fed the Serbs into Hitler’s Jasenovac concentration camp.

        Similar to discussions on the British Crown, or the US Military, the most underreported evils seem to come most frequently from those groups who have been branded as the Angels. Personally, I am far more frightened of the Angels than I am of the Demons.

  55. Paolo
    February 6, 2018 at 13:18

    This is a very interesting article, congrats.
    I would add one important details. During the 1990’s a lot of the looting by the oligarchs was done under American supervision and some Americans made huge profits. Putin put an end to that. Could that be part of the reason for the Putin hate cult? It would be interesting to understand how many of the USA plutocrats who control msm were looting Russia in the 1990’s

    • backwardsevolution
      February 6, 2018 at 21:14

      Paolo – good post. I think it has everything to do with that.

    • David G
      February 6, 2018 at 21:56

      I believe Sharon Tennison’s article does include that important context.

      • nonsense factory
        February 7, 2018 at 06:05

        It does, but a few more details wouldn’t have hurt. For example, the role that Berezovsky& Gusinsky played in tilting the 1996 election in Boris Yeltsin’s favor. Also, U.S. media coverage of Putin was often quite favorable and conciliatory right up to when Putin rejected Exxon’s bid for majority control of Yukos and put Khodorkovsky behind bars – that’s when things soured, and it ties directly back to the American plutocracy of that era.

        What the US plutocracy really fears is if someone like Putin rises up in the US and cuts them out of the political influence game; no, not Trump, he’s more of a Boris Yeltsin figure – and the Soviet collapse scenario has yet to play out in the U.S., who can say what will happen as the American Empire continues to unravel

  56. Mark Thomason
    February 6, 2018 at 13:15

    “I’ve been in country long enough to reflect deeply on Russian history and culture, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations”

    I enjoyed this article for its original thinking about Putin. I’d like to see a follow up article by this author expanding on her promised understanding of the differences in psychology and conditioning of Russians and Americans. It is a huge and important topic, perhaps more so than Putin.

    • irina
      February 6, 2018 at 19:06

      The Slavic mentality is neither Western Caucasian nor Eastern Asiatic. It incorporates aspects of both,
      but is nonetheless distinctly and differently Slavic. We tend to not understand that in the West because
      most of the Russians we identify with look Caucasian and speak an Indo-European language. But their
      history (which, unlike Americans, they actually do remember) is much longer and more complex.

      Also, as Americans, we have always enjoyed the protection of Very Large Oceans on both our Eastern
      and Western shores, a very different geographical situation than that of Russia, most of which is protected
      only by its famous winters (which of course are a challenge for the locals as well as for any invaders).

      Recently, as part of the observance of the lifting of the Nazi’s Siege of Leningrad (St Petersburg before and after the Soviet Era), Putin visited the grave of his older brother, who died as a result of the deprivations
      endured during that time. His parents survived. Putin himself was raised in postwar poverty. How many
      Americans who compare him to Hitler, Stalin, or both, know anything of his personal history ? Can we even
      begin to imagine what those times were like ?

  57. Mr. Pechorin
    February 6, 2018 at 12:56

    Good case made here for Putin’s strong moral and ethical character. Let’s not forget, however, that people can do detriment to society citing moral or ethical reasons for doing so (consolidation of media, demonization of dissenting voices, promotion of nationalist ideals). McCarthy thought he was doing the moral thing by persecuting people with socialist/communist leanings. American neocons think it’s a moral/ethical obligation for the U.S. to interfere in the affairs of sovereign nations.

    Perhaps a follow-up covering 2001-present would be useful. I’d like the author, who I think has some excellent insights, to use those insights to inform her opinions on why Putin has taken certain “big” decisions between 2001 and the present.

    I’d like to see fewer Whataboutisms in the comments field. We can play that game all day and get nowhere.

    Oh, and because I know people will ask…I lived in Russia for 7 years, speak Russian and have a Russian wife.

    • Virginia
      February 7, 2018 at 11:47

      Mr. Pechorin, If you’d like a follow-up covering 2001-present from Ms. Tennison, try her site https://ccisf.org. Center for Citizen Initiatives.

  58. Danielle
    February 6, 2018 at 12:37

    The arrogance of Western countries has no limits. Are we so proud of our Heads of Government? I am French and speak of France. I wouldn’t allow myself to criticize the president of the United States. I consider that the presidency of Mr Putin is a Russian affair and that we have nothing to do with it. Moreover, he has a broad support from the population (more than 80 percent), which is not the case in France by far.
    Concerning aggressiveness, I think that Western countries are much more aggressive than Russia and specialists in wars and massacres by proxy.
    I would add that these sanctions are of the lowest morality, if they can reach anyone, it is the population that they can make unhappy. What are we hoping for? People would organise a rebellion to remove Mr Putin from power if they were brought back to poverty? It just shows how poorly our governments know Russia and the Russian mentality. And to come back to sanctions, do you know that the Soyuz launcher in French Guiana (I work on this launch pad) is used to send American satellites and that some American launchers are equipped with Russian engines? So, the sanctions……! I apologise for the mistakes in English

    • Virginia
      February 7, 2018 at 11:44

      Danielle, Thanks for your comments. I’m American and it never ceases to amaze me how almost all the NATO countries continue to do the bidding of the U.S., and sometimes to their own detriment. Is there no protest movement in France to demand it be more independent? And I so agree with you about the inhumane sanctions.

      Hope to hear more from you, Danielle. Keep us apprised.

  59. Virginia
    February 6, 2018 at 12:27

    Thank you, Sharon Tennison.

    You see the way the hard nosed Putin haters came out immediately, and it seems they are people who do not regularly post here! Your article is greatly appreciated. Your personal experiences and knowledge are of inestimable value, and are so needed to counterbalance all the foul stuff of today’s Deep State, Elite, MSM, etc. propaganda. Post more, post often! By CNs regular readers you will always be welcomed.

    • irina
      February 6, 2018 at 13:02

      I second your entire post. Thank you !

    • David G
      February 6, 2018 at 21:51


  60. Bart Hansen
    February 6, 2018 at 11:56

    Well, there is at least one of Sharon’s questions that can be answered with certainty and that is:

    “Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?”

    One MSM narrative is that Russia “invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea”. Readers here know what happened in both cases, and that narrative completely ignores the fact that it is the U.S. that has invaded, bombed and occupied many countries over the past several administrations.

    And we hear that Russia is “acting aggressively” when NATO expands right up to Russian borders. The aggression seems to be evidenced by Russian army exercises that match those of NATO. Where are the Russian military exercises in Chihuahua or Ontario?

    • February 6, 2018 at 12:02

      Considering Trump’s relationship with Mexico, maybe they’ll be there sooner than you think. Wouldn’t that be something?

  61. Kelli
    February 6, 2018 at 11:48

    Excellent article, Sharon!

    I try to personalize Putin and the people of Russia. What a beautiful country too.

    This is what’s missing in American discourse: humanizing others, rather than the prevalent demonization to justify war.

    I hope you’ll write more here in the future about Russia and its people.

  62. February 6, 2018 at 11:18

    Cold has some good hot takes back. But, the commentariat at Consortium News is falling ever more into its blinkered “two sides” mindset when there are really, per Idries Shah, more than two sides on an issue like this.

    Ray McGovern on the Nunes Memo and Caitlin Johnstone being added as a commenter here (multiple eyerolls while wondering if Bob Parry is turning in his grave) are reflective of that.

    Oh, for everybody like Sharon wanting to normalize Putin? How about a Po-210 pellet, courtesy of the dead body of Mr. Litvinenko? Also, the piece is kind of schizo — “Russian culture” is not “Vladimir Putin.”


    • Skip Scott
      February 6, 2018 at 11:51

      Litvinenko’s murder has not been proven to have been ordered by Putin, and there are plausible competing theories. The alt- right has accused the Clinton’s of connections to multiple murders (38 is a number I’ve read); but as with Putin, proof is lacking. If one has any respect for the rule of law, skepticism should apply in both cases.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 6, 2018 at 12:30

        Skip I think when it comes to attacking Putin, that when all else fails bring up the Litvinenko murder. The Litvinenko murder is so convoluted with intrigue it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact culprits. Joe

      • Kiza
        February 6, 2018 at 20:09

        If Putin killed 38 he is still an amateur compared with the Clinton Crime Syndicate, which is accused of directly ordering hits on some 132 US people by the last count (not to mention millions of foreigners killed by US military under the Clintons and the Bushes). What is it in the US collective psyche which forces them to look over the fence at “Putin’s Murders”, when they have so many of their own unresolved? Let us start from Seth Rich. Has any US media called Billypantsdown a stone cold killer?

        • Skip Scott
          February 6, 2018 at 21:17

          Wow. Thanks for the update and support. It is always enlightening to see the trolls come out whenever we push their buttons. It let’s us know we’re really on to something they want to remain hidden. Today’s article was like a tsunami. The evil Putin must be demonized at all costs! As soon as they abandon rational argument for vindictive, you know you’ve won.
          Chalk one up for Consortium News and their community of thoughtful commenters.

          • robjira
            February 6, 2018 at 21:27

            “It let’s us know we’re really on to something they want to remain hidden.”
            You nailed it, Skip.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 6, 2018 at 22:32

            That’s right Skip, if you can hang in there with a troll on a comment board, well then just imagine what a hit you will be at the Thanksgiving Table.

            I really enjoy when we all get a long, and yes it’s nice when people agree with you, but with a little protocol to politeness we could also disagree. I just wish I could write better, for there isn’t one comment I’ve ever written where I wish I could not redo it, but a comment is a quick draft of a spontaneous response often, as a comment is forever what it is…but at least consider being polite. Joe

          • Kiza
            February 7, 2018 at 00:45

            Hello Skip, you misunderstood my irony. But we are all touchy these days.

            Even if the 38 people were killed by Putin, the people who accuse him of such crimes are much, much worse, thus they have no moral right to point fingers. Naturally, framing others is a standard MO for the team and the murders such as Navalny’s really look like a case study false flag.

        • Skip Scott
          February 7, 2018 at 09:22

          Hi Kiza-

          Actually my “Wow!” was referring to the “132” purported Clinton victims. I hadn’t heard a number that high before. Like Robert Parry said before he died, if even one could be proven it would be earth shattering (paraphrase). I see it like the deaths associated with Kennedy’s assassination, as too many mysterious deaths at convenient times to be mere happenstance. And I too would like to see a real investigation into Seth Rich’s murder. Sy Hersh’s secretly recorded conversation is a real bombshell that has been buried by the MSM. Rich’s story, along with the Aswan brothers story, has been flushed down the memory hole.

    • Rob
      February 6, 2018 at 12:18

      And I assume you have proof that Putin murdered Litvinenko? Please sir make it available..I hope its as strong as the WMD Iraq evidence

      • rosemerry
        February 7, 2018 at 16:55

        What about the large rise in the birth rate in Russia that has happened in the last few years and is documented? Does that not cancel out the alleged 38 killed??!!!!

        • Skip Scott
          February 8, 2018 at 15:34

          Hi rosemerry-

          If you read my original comment, the 38 murders was the number I heard in relation to the Clintons, not Putin. I never have heard a number in regards to Putin. I can think of around 4 or 5 individual cases where he has been accused, but I’ve never seriously researched the topic.

  63. February 6, 2018 at 11:04

    Wow. Mr. Parry, the quality of the article since your father’s passing should make you and him proud. Maybe some views through rose colored glasses, but Ms. Tennison’s views are mine as well. The projection on others what we are doing ourselves is right on the mark.

  64. February 6, 2018 at 10:21

    Wow!…trying to understand Putin…isn’t that an act of treason! My own observations of Putin on RT interviews would seem to confirm the author’s impression. Straightforward and restrained in reacting to a hysterical Western media seem to be inherent characteristics(so I must be brainwashed).

    • Robert Schwartz
      February 6, 2018 at 17:59

      LOL…. Recognizing your sarcasm, I remember one of William Safire’s old column routines was to try to examine the thoughts of various world figures. And yeah, the same Safire that penned,”Nattering nabobs of negativity” for Spiro Agnew.

  65. JohnA
    February 6, 2018 at 09:48

    If this was Reddit and I had a downvote, you, Cold N, would get it.

    What you don’t ‘get’ and will never accept is Sharon’s personal experience as you are obviously consumed by demons.

    • blimbax
      February 6, 2018 at 22:20

      But John A., you don’t understand, according to his blog (if it really is his blog), Cold N. is this type of person:

      “I provoke. I’m not brushed off easily. I’m tenacious and determined like a dog with a bone. I’m kind & caring & compassionate and empathetic. I’m brash & bold & provocative. I am not a soldier, although I am fiercely loyal to my loved ones and to those I care deeply for and to topics that profoundly interest me. As you can see, there isn’t much room for me in this World we’ve crafted — in this World that demands uniformity & homogeneity & conformity, I am one of the odd men and/or women out, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      “But most of all, what I am is a Thinker. Have you seen Rodin’s bronze sculpture, The Thinker? That’s me, in case you didn’t know.”

      See? The man is a “Thinker.” And in case no one can understand that, he says so. He says it right on his “blog.” And how could it not all be true? After all, he says it himself. And he should know. Right? The guy who posed for Rodin’s sculpture, or would have had he had the opportunity. (Putting aside that the bronze statue probably engages in more rational discourse than its ;putative human avatar.)

  66. Sally Snyder
    February 6, 2018 at 09:41

    Here is an interesting look back in time when a Democratic president and a Russian president colluded to keep each other in power:


    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • evelync
      February 6, 2018 at 14:00

      Thanks, Sally Snyder for that link!

      I’m not a fan of President Bill Clinton because on his watch he helped break apart Glass Steagall which had controlled, since the 1930’s, how Commercial Banks were allowed to use their U.S. Government guaranteed, tax payer insured deposits. He saw how Reagan did the lopsided deregulation of the lending side of government guaranteed deposits of the S&L’s in the 1980’s, ( costing taxpayers 1/2 a trillion) and he doubled down on the theft doing the same for Commercial Banks which helped bring our financial system to its knees in 2008 on behalf of creating a gambling casino for his Wall Street Banking cronies. The bad bets were picked up by the taxpayers.

      But it was a shock and very scary to read that quote about what Bill Clinton said in 1993.
      And it was indeed outrageous, at the time, for this country’s elite, on Bill Clinton’s watch, to somehow help push Yeltsin onto the Russian people. (I wonder how that worked?)
      But I have to admit that Clinton’s quote published in your link, following Yeltsin’s brutal tank killing rampage on the Russian legislature, was so shocking to read that I had to google it before accepting that Clinton really said that.

      Here’s the quote from your link that I needed to check before believing Clinton really said that:

      “The United States continues to stand firm in its support of President Yeltsin because he is Russia’s democratically elected leader. We very much regret the loss of life in Moscow, but it is clear that the opposition forces started a conflict and that President Yeltsin had no other alternative than to try to restore order . . . . I don’t see that he had any choice . . . . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it . . . . As long as he goes forward with the new constitution, genuinely democratic elections for the Parliament, genuinely democratic elections for the president, then he is doing what he said he would do.”

      I found this quote from his speech to the AFL-CIO in SF in 1993:

      “The United States continues to stand firm in its support of President Yeltsin because he is Russia’s democratically elected leader. We very much regret the loss of life in Moscow, but it is clear that the opposition forces started the conflict and that President Yeltsin had no other alternative than to try to restore order. It appears as of this moment that that has been done. I have as of this moment absolutely no reason to doubt the personal commitment that Boris Yeltsin made to let the Russian people decide their own future, to secure a new Constitution with democratic values and democratic processes, to have a new legislative branch elected with democratic elections, and to subject himself, yet again, to a democratic vote of the people. That is all that we can ask.”


      This LA Times article adds what Clinton later told supporters which included the part about Clinton saying he’d be expected to what he called “take tough action” too:

      “The United States continues to stand firm in its support of President Yeltsin because he is Russia’s democratically elected leader,” Clinton told the AFL-CIO annual convention here. “We very much regret the loss of life in Moscow, but it is clear that the opposition forces started a conflict and that President Yeltsin had no other alternative than to try to restore order.”

      Clinton later told reporters: “I don’t see that he had any choice. . . . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it.”

      For some reason this has all recently surfaced, but who cares whether or not this is being used as propaganda or not – if its true!
      Which it seems to be!
      For a president of the United States to condone this tank assault on the Russian Congress is a very bad reflection on all of us who voted for him. We have chosen presidents who represent who we are.They can be violent and selfish and immoral. And that’s sadly, therefore, something we accept and even condone.

      I suspect the reason that this is now being brought up from the past is push back against the hysteria over Russia having swung the election away from our own weak Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. She is unwilling to acknowledge the many flaws she had as a candidate, including calling the people who voted for Trump “the deplorables” (some voted that way, I suspect, in desperation).
      Barack Obama, her undying supporter and enabler, said it all during his last WHCD, when he joked that her campaign slogan should be: “trudge UP HILL with Hil”. Well some people were unwilling to trudge and bought Trump’s lies (which I might say he observed to appeal, understandably, to Bernie’s followers).

      Our endless regime change wars and our mindless financial deregulation have proven to many, I think, that we’re headed in the wrong direction.

      It’s very insulting for TPTB to insist that American voters are all led around by the nose – most recently by Russia – the propaganda is endless and people are, I think/hope becoming somewhat immune to it…….

      So, bottom line, I found Clinton’s quote being dragged in 2018 from the past to remind us of our election-meddling promoting Yeltsin not surprising.
      But after the courageous Gorbachev and his lovely Raisa were followed in Russia by the not-fit-for-office, oligarch promoting, “U.S. puppet”, Yeltsin, it seems that indeed, once again our hands are not clean on the meddling score card.

      We can do better.

      • Kiza
        February 6, 2018 at 19:56

        “…And it was indeed outrageous, at the time, for this country’s elite, on Bill Clinton’s watch, to somehow help push Yeltsin onto the Russian people. (I wonder how that worked?)…“

        It works on the micro-level, evelync. In all regime change operations, the US brings its chosen leader into power with copious amounts of freshly printed dollars (you may have read about this in the case of Iraq, but it is the same for US organised coups as much as for direct military interventions). After the new “leader” takes levers of power, he orders all government departments to host US staff, from CIA, FBI and officers from Pentagon. In all government buildings the best offices are allocated to the overseers of the democratisation, in other situations a whole floor with restricted access is allocated to the “helpers”. Thus, the employees of local government machine can get decisions made quickly and efficiently – by the “helpers”. There is always a formal department boss, but he keeps quiet and out of the way if he wants to keep his job.

        I believe that this is how they operated in Russia as well during Yeltsin, but they lost control and got kicked out by Putin and his backers. KGB/FSB is viewed in the West as a sinister organisation, but it was the quiet counter-coup by a small group of Russian nationalists in KGB/FSB which restored the Russian control over Russia (where the Russian Parliament group failed earlier when Yeltsin sent tanks on them). In essence, when the whole Russan society was falling apart, this group of sane and sober professionals saved it, by forcing Yeltsin to appoint Putin as his successor (some promises about the impunity of Yeltsin’s family appear to have been made too). Imagine if US agencies had inside a group of such true patriots to counter the US Deep State and restore democracy in US.

        • backwardsevolution
          February 6, 2018 at 21:05

          Kiza – good posts, all of them. “Imagine if US agencies had inside a group of such true patriots to counter the US Deep State and restore democracy in US.”

          That would be wonderful, Kiza.

          • Virginia
            February 7, 2018 at 11:24

            DITTO, Back and Kiza!

            That would be wonderful!

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 7, 2018 at 00:32

          Kiza I think somewhere inside America’s National Security apparatuses that there are these patriots you speak of. They often appear as ‘whistleblowers’, and they pay a very heavy price for their honesty. It would be a great thing to see America gain it’s very own Putin, and to further see the good inside of our nations bureaus of intelligence agencies chase out the bad, and to start steering our nation in the right direction. That’s it, just thought I’d jump in here. Take care. Joe

          • Virginia
            February 7, 2018 at 11:33

            Nicely said, Joe: “…there are these patriots you speak of. They often appear as ‘whistleblowers’, and they pay a very heavy price for their honesty. It would be a great thing to see America gain it’s very own Putin, and to further see the good inside of our nations bureaus of intelligence agencies chase out the bad, and to start steering our nation in the right direction.”

            Right now there is an unsung hero and that is Paul Manafort. If this pans out (as I have heard/read), he is resisting the Investigator’s efforts to get him to lie about Trump and say there was collusion. He says (as I have heard/read), that he isn’t going to lie. May he remain this heroic! May others!

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 7, 2018 at 13:01

            Manafort is guilty of nothing more than any other NGO or Think Tank diplomat would be found guilty of. Only today in America by saying the word ‘Russia’ without any demonization around it will get you labeled a Putin Apologist.

            Virginia on the Putin thing yes, and I hope I live long enough to see America get it’s own Putin. Putin certainly knew how to drain the swamp in Moscow, so will our American version of him be so determined, and efficient? I don’t know, but I will back this person if even for the lack of success, but for the satisfaction of trying. Joe

        • Kiza
          February 7, 2018 at 08:48

          Hello backwardsevolution and Joe, yes whistle blowers are an individualistic form of resistance against the power hungry of the corrupted system. It is impressive but it’s results are always limited, a group action and mass action have a much better chance.

          I wish the country I originate from had its Putin and also Australia where I live had one. Instead of trying to learn Putin’s management tricks they envy and hate him for his success and demonise him.

          When I went through a management school I remember the cult following of GM’s Jack Welch and his management style. But Putin manages a much bigger organisation than Jack ever did and even more successfully. Jack only had to fight smaller-size competition, whilst Putin has to resist very aggressive self-projecting Western killers. And so on. Because he was born in Russia, Putin is a Hilter-like demon, whilst Jack is close to God on Earth. It really makes no sense if one tries to look at it objectively. But World politics is a zero sum game, thus Putin’s success in propping the Russian society back up is a loss for those who wanted to rule Russia.

      • Steve
        February 7, 2018 at 04:00

        Clinton: “We very much regret the loss of life in Moscow, but it is clear that the opposition forces started a conflict and that President Yeltsin had no other alternative than to try to restore order.”

        “started a conflict”? Parliament voted to repeal special powers granted to Yeltsin in order to expedite “economic reform.” (Economic sadism would be a more apt description.) They gave him his grace period and the results were an utter disaster, putting it mildly. So, they voted to restore the Constitutional process that required all laws to go through parliament. You know, sort of standard procedure in a liberal democracy. Yeltsin and his Western backers, naturally didn’t like this since allowing for democratic input might put the brakes on their crash course in neoliberal shock therapy. So Yeltsin, being drunk on something more than just Vodka, responds by declaring a state of emergency so he can continue to ram “economic reform” down the throats of the defenseless Russian public. The Constitutional Court ruled against this. It was after this that Yeltsin, inspired in part by the IMF revealing publicly through a leak that a promised $1.5 billion loan was being rescinded because the IMF was “unhappy with “Russia’s backtracking on reforms,” proceeded to exercise what some at the time were calling the “Pinochet option”… abolishing the Constitution and dissolving Parliament. Parliament naturally voted to impeach and the Constitutional Court once again ruled against him. The impasse was finally resolved when, emboldened by Clinton and the U.S. Congress who voted at this crucial juncture to extend $2.5 billion in aid, Yeltsin surrounded parliament and carried out a military assault resulting in approx. 500 deaths and almost a thousand wounded. This is to say nothing about the hundreds of demonstrators shot down in the streets and the close to couple thousand who were rounded up and interned in a sports stadium, ala Pinochet.

        So, I guess you could say “opposition forces started a conflict,” if by that you mean having the temerity to attempt to establish democratic control could be considered some sort of unjustified provocation. And that President Yeltsin had “no other alternative” if by that you mean the only way to suppress democratic action is through violence.

        But what I think this example exposes so well is American propaganda — just how the public is, and has been, manipulated in regards to Russia. (And actually could be used as a template generalized to other situations.) Throughout that whole ordeal they still supported Yeltsin and still considered him to be a democratic reformer. In the media here you never heard anything negative unless it was also tempered by some sort of justification for his actions… as Clinton did in his statements quoted in the above post by eveync. But the general impression here in the U.S. was favorable. This is, of course, because he was carrying water for the West.

        But try to imagine what the West’s reaction would be if Putin were to carry out the same actions. I don’t think I even have to tell you. As it is, they already call him a “thug, a “murderer,” ” a “dictator,” even “Hitler,” etc., etc.. But when you look at what Yeltsin did, most of those adjectives wouldn’t be too much of a stretch, and you wouldn’t even have to do any extensive research or wade through a bunch of controversial, contradictory information in order to untangle whatever the truth may be. He committed his crimes “in broad daylight,” so to speak, for all the world to see. No controversy here. Yet he gets a pass and Putin gets the bad rap. It’s all self-serving — a good example of how they can turn you against anybody when it’s in their interests to do so, and make a hero out of anybody no matter what they’ve done. It’s all a matter of perception management.

        • backwardsevolution
          February 7, 2018 at 21:30

          Steve – thanks for that excellent post. I didn’t know that.

          • Steve
            February 8, 2018 at 07:46

            Thanks for the comment. I think it’s a useful comparison to make.

            And I think this is a bit of history that doesn’t get too widely circulated since it contradicts the preferred narrative.

            But the propaganda here against Putin is so ridiculously over the top. Just goes to show they have him their crosshairs.. which means he must be doing something right.

          • Steve
            February 8, 2018 at 08:01

            One thing, my comment: “President Yeltsin had “no other alternative” if by that you mean the only way to suppress democratic action is through violence.” … was kind of awkward. What I think I was getting at was more like — “if by that you mean he had no choice but to resort to violence in reaction to lawful actions taken by parliament,” – or something along those lines anyway.

            Also, in that comment about “you wouldn’t even have to do any extensive research or wade through a bunch of controversial, contradictory information in order to untangle whatever the truth may be.” I wasn’t implying anything about Putin.Just trying to point out how flagrant what Yeltsin did was.

  67. Skip Scott
    February 6, 2018 at 09:36

    I read this article yesterday over at Information Clearing House. I think it is a great piece, and confirms my suspicions regarding our MSM’s demonization of Putin. Although I haven’t read all his speeches and interviews, I have read many. I have never read anything to justify our MSM’s depiction of him. I think it is telling that Putin reined in the oligarchs that were looting Russia under Yeltsin and taking their profits offshore. This is the standard model that is described in John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” and Putin’s putting a stop to it is the reason he is our demon d’jour.

    I am hopeful that articles like this can reach an ever-wider audience. I urge everyone to forward this one to family and friends. We must counter the MSM propaganda machine if we are to have an electorate informed enough to demand the big changes needed in our government if we are to survive as a species. Our oligarchs are out to loot the entire planet, and their greed is such that they’d rather kill the entire human race than have to share.

    Yesterday when I forwarded this article to a group of friends one of the emails bounced back, saying that my email contained spam, and had been filtered. This is what we are up against. Big Brother is here. I urge everyone to support this site, and others like it. And thank you Nat, for doing such a good job of taking over your Dad’s mission to bring truth to journalism. May he rest in peace.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 6, 2018 at 10:52

      I’m with you Skip. This constant demonization of Putin, is a disgrace, especially when one considers of how badly our own American government is broken. I mean Skip, until roads and bridges, and hospitals, and the like are either fixed or made affordable we Americans have a lot of work to do right here in America, and with that observation we should all just shut up about Putin.

      This U.S. thing about Putin, has nothing to do with making life better for any Russian, or anyone else for that matter. This attack against a sovereign nations leader, is a maneuver to engulf Russia with our American/NATO military, and to make Russia adhere to our Western demands. What I see Putin doing is protecting the better interest of his Russian people. If that is a crime, then good leaders don’t stand a chance.

      In the end, I worry about our leaders, and at best I’ll pray for our Russian fellow human beings that they too will be able to enjoy life under their own government, while we fix ours. Joe

      • February 6, 2018 at 11:10

        This U.S. thing about Putin, has nothing to do with making life better for any Russian, or anyone else for that matter.

        Agreed, but the following is also true.

        This U.S. thing about Trump & Make America Great Again, has nothing to do with making life better for any American, or anyone else for that matter unless they’re an Oligarch.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 6, 2018 at 11:30

          I wasn’t talking about Trump, I was speaking to Putin’s demonization. In fact bringing up Trump only makes my comment about worrying about our own American made glass house that much more important, as Putin is the least of our American worries.

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:44

            You’re a Trump supporter from what I can tell and you spoke fixing our government so Trump is relevant to what you said. Now, the question for you is, do you agree with my statement? I agreed with your statement now I want to see if you agree with mine?

            I don’t support the American Deep State’s approach to Russia. I’m critical of Russia and Putin independent of the Deep State and as POTUS I would manage Russia very differently and differently doesn’t mean cowardly appeasement & capitulation to a Commie KGB Agent.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 6, 2018 at 12:21

            Cold I’m not a Trump supporter, in fact overlooking your blog, I may lean towards your take on America’s most bombastic ever president.

            On the other hand, I’m focusing on American made problems, and I will until these American problems show signs of improvement not throw stones at glass houses. I don’t see Vladimir Putin as being this big terrible threat, that you seem to be promoting.

            If the U.S. were governed rightly, then what would it matter to who Putin may be? I just don’t see Russia as his being an imposing threat to the National Security of the USA. Joe

          • February 6, 2018 at 12:40

            Joe, the MSM and The Deep State are certainly overplaying their hand in regards to Putin and for reasons contrary to their stated intent but he is a threat to Freedom & Egalitarianism just as The American Deep State is. They belong to the same Tyrannical Octopus.

            I don’t agree with NATO expansion either. Especially not to Russia’s borders. The commentator from Bulgaria — I want nothing to do with him or his back asswards country and I have no problem with Putin spreading Russia thin and taking Bulgaria back as a Satellite Narco-State. He and his fellow Fascists deserve it. I wouldn’t waste American taxpayer dollars and lives on asses like that when there is so much to fix here at home.

            By that same token, shouldn’t Ms. Tennison be spending her time improving the American Healthcare System rather than traveling Russia according to your logic?

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 7, 2018 at 00:25

            You know Cold, if you and your Right Sector friends along with your Democratic Party operatives weren’t so invested in going after Trump over your half cocked Russia-Gate scheme to bring him down, you would be here debating awful Trump’s position on Venezuela.


            Cold what part of the Baltic do you hail from? Seriously dude we can talk, but leave the silly Putin and Russian people bashing out of this debate…let’s talk Trump, but real issues of his that plaque our brains everyday with frustration…how’s my spelling & grammar. If it’s a little bad, then forgive me for I was that back of the class clown who made you laugh, and yes I have lived long enough to regret it. Joe

    • mike
      February 6, 2018 at 13:01

      “This is the standard model that is described in John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” and Putin’s putting a stop to it is the reason he is our demon d’jour.”

      Yes, and implemented by one Jeffrey Sachs, Harvard affiliate of U of Chi and the rest of the Chicago School gangstas. Privatize everything, lard on the debt, impose “austerity policies. The only real vodka problem was Yeltzin’s. He handed the major state owned industries over to the “oligarchs,” some of whom were running them in the public sector.


    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      February 6, 2018 at 16:37

      I agree. This is one of the real messages and issues in this very interesting article.

      I am a little surprised and saddened by the backbone reactions of some here on alcohol and Putin a murderer and the line. Rather confirms the author’s proposal of mirroring one’s own problems. It also brings up the important point about differences in mentality, with the US, and I might add my country as well, displaying a very limited interest and ability to understand how the other might think.

    • Dave P.
      February 7, 2018 at 03:52

      Skip Scott –

      I read ” “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” by John Perkins many years ago when it came out. I think, trained in Economics, John Perkins was recruited by CIA to be in Peace Corps. It is a very good book to read to find out how these NGO, and other outfits from the “The West” work in those countries to undermine, and to plunder those countries. Yes, there are many good people who work in some of those outfits who are sincere in helping those countries.

      • Virginia
        February 7, 2018 at 11:19

        Yes, Dave, and a young Sharon Tennison was one of the “many good people who work[ed] in some of those outfits who are sincere in helping those countries.” Sharon doesn’t live in Russia now, as some seem to imply in their comments, but in the US; and she has dedicated her life to trying to bring about greater understanding between our two countries. She started an organization called Center for Citizens Initiatives (https://ccisf.org). A visit to that site will show all that she is involved in including taking group trips to Russia. Several people who have contributed articles here have been guests on these trips and have much good to say about Sharon and her work. I subscribed to her site as a result of an article posted here on CN and have kept abreast of her work since then. She deserves only praise. She is doing all she can to prevent WWIII, and who here would argue with that position! And may I add …

        Kiza, I admire your logic, knowledge and appreciate your many contributions; but in this particular case, I believe you’ve come to a wrong characterization of Sharon Tennison. I hope you’ll investigate her history a bit further.

    • rosemerry
      February 7, 2018 at 16:48

      I too read this on ICH yesterday, and was heartened by the responses, which were positive and polite. I read “First Person”, Putin’s interviews with two journalists in 2000, written to tell Russians about this new President they knew little about. In English I found it interesting, informative and found no reason to think it false. I have also read a book by a German journalist who spent several recent years with Putin working, besides seeing/hearing many interviews and the Oliver Stone films.
      Most of the world leaders eg at the G20 seem to be able to work/cooperate with Pres. Putin, and he avoids personal disagreements (and rudeness!) even to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel, all of whom have been extremely rude and offensive to and about him and Russia.

  68. February 6, 2018 at 09:32

    The way I look at it is, I will own my own criticism of Putin and Russia thank you very much. My criticism of Putin and Russia is not influenced by the Deep State in any way, not as an agreement with its narrative nor a contrary reaction to it.

    I suggest everyone do the same.

    Many who oppose the Deep State do a 180 on anything the Deep State proffers and that’s a mistake. The Deep State mixes truths, half truths and outright lies in order to socially engineer you to draw erroneous conclusions. They have factored in your zealously negative reaction to their obvious propaganda, so the more vehement you are to their narrative, the more you play into their hands.

    Putin and Russia, as much as the American Deep State, are deserved of scrutiny & criticism. They both represent Undemocratic Tyranny. And let’s not pretend that Russian Trolls don’t haunt these comments sections. They do. I know this for a FACT.

    Don’t forget, Putin was the Soviet Deep State. He is now THEE Russian State. The Soviet Deep State, like the mafia, has now gone legit Michael Corleone style. Maybe that’s what the American Deep State wants too. Either way, they’re Birds of a Feather and they both equally deserve our opprobrium.

    Think of how many people Putin persecuted in the name of Communism. Too many to count. He gained their confidence and then screwed them. Why? Because they wanted to be free of tyranny, that’s why. He did this as a Soviet KGB Officer in East Germany working hand-in-hand with The Stasi. He could criticize Capitalism like no other. He loathed Capitalism and Capitalists. To him and his ilk, the Capitalists were pigs to be annihilated. We’re suppose to now believe he’s the Consummate Capitalist he once so zealously decried? Yeah, no, I don’t think so. I’m not buying it. He’s a snake like any Deep State Actor and I will not defend him when it comes to MY COUNTRY. I don’t want his help in opposing & resisting the American Deep State because his help is no help at all. He’s using you as a Chump so don’t get his back and don’t accept Russian gratuity of any sort (for example, I would never work for RT or any Russian Propaganda outlet let alone the American MSM). Duginism is IN PLAY IN FULL FORCE to capture the disillusioned and turn them into unwitting CHUMPS doing Putin’s bidding.

    • Skip Scott
      February 6, 2018 at 09:44

      I do not have a knee jerk reaction to our MSM’s demonization of Putin. I judge the man by his own words, by what he has done for his people, and by his 80+ pct. approval rating inside Russia. I think you are drinking too much of the MSM Kool-aid. BTW, I am not Russian, nor am I a troll.

      • February 6, 2018 at 10:00

        I never judge a man by his words. Ever. By what he’s done, yes. Putin is a Murderer. A Stone Cold Killer. And he has cheated & lied & murdered his way to the top. That is who he is.

        Does he want to take over the world? I don’t know. Probably not and he couldn’t anyway because Russia is a Rentier Economy and lacks the ability to diversify & innovate. Does he want to restore Russia to its former glory? No doubt about it. Does he want to transform America? Most definitely. He was raised to HATE America and his goal as a Communist KGB Officer was to defeat America. He’s a man who achieves his goals and doesn’t give up until he does.

        • Skip Scott
          February 6, 2018 at 10:56

          Please provide evidence of Putin’s murders.

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:00

            Just as soon as you provide me with evidence of Santo Trafficante Jr’s murders.

          • Skip Scott
            February 6, 2018 at 11:31

            Cold N-

            Please provide evidence that you’ve stopped having sex with your mother. Since it is impossible to prove a negative, your accusations of Putin’s murderous ways carry no weight without evidence. You are just repeating MSM drivel.

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:53

            The sex with your mother comment is a very nasty Russian thing to say. Straight out of the FSB Handbook.

          • JanJ
            February 6, 2018 at 13:56

            Notice that Cold never answered the question. Inquiring minds want to know.

          • Skip Scott
            February 6, 2018 at 14:06

            Cold N-

            The purpose of my baseless accusation regarding your mother was to make you viscerally comprehend the injustice in making unfounded accusations of despicable behavior, be it murder or incest.

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 15:51

            Hello Skip, better go back to your FSB Handbook that Cold knows so well. My guess, from my FSB Handbook, is that Cold is one of those Ukrainian Nazis (of such origin) who call Putin a Jew, a killer and all the rest. But I like his original touch – when it is not enough to keep mentioning the KGB then reinforce it with Stasi, hand-in-hand.

            The more successful Russia is, the more they hate it. So much hate spills out of Cold’s comments.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 6, 2018 at 16:56

            Cold I think the information you are looking for regarding Santo Trafficante Jr’s hit list, is under lock and key at the CIA HQ’s in Langley…would you like me to transfer your call? Seriously dude, if you are a dude, what are you going on about? I guess next Putin will be blamed for the traffic jam backed up in the Holland Tunnel. Get a grip Cold, you are losing it. This isn’t a debate, this comment board because of you, has turned into a gossip post for what everything you think is wrong with Putin, except for what should matter. Joe

          • eole
            February 7, 2018 at 11:38

            I think it is a total waste of time to 1/read Cold N. Holefield comments and 2/to reply to same comments. Obviously he knows nothing about Russia or about Putin.

        • Anna
          February 6, 2018 at 13:48

          “Putin is a Murderer. A Stone Cold Killer.”
          — You seem to be disappointed by the development in Syria. And you certainly love – love! — the “development” in Libya and Iraq. Four million people died in the Middle East since 1999, courtesy the US/UK neo/ziocons.
          Ziocons hate Russia viscerally. What was their plan for the Middle East – seven countries on five years? All according to PNAC/Yinon Plnan. How is the nazification of Ukraine (Nulandistan) is going on – all according to the Kagans’ clan plans? https://www.therussophile.org/israel-announces-ukraine-as-the-most-anti-semitic-country.html/

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 6, 2018 at 16:45

          I heard Vladimir sing “Blueberry Hill’, and I got the impression he wants to take over the Grammy’s? Whata think, Cold?

        • Virginia
          February 7, 2018 at 11:01

          Cold, Is there any there there in your head?: “…Russia is a Rentier Economy and lacks the ability to diversify & innovate.” You can’t be serious! What happened after the severe sanctions on Russia several years ago? They (Putin) diversified into grain shipments. The sanctions that are designed to cripple, Putin uses as a stepping stone to more progress in new areas.

      • February 6, 2018 at 10:22

        Approval ratings are meaningless.

        • Skip Scott
          February 6, 2018 at 11:39

          Really! What does have meaning, if not how Russia’s citizens regard their president?

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:52

            Perhaps you’re right. The Approval Ratings are significant in that they reveal just how frightened Russian Citizens are to be truthful. Approval Ratings that high tell me the Citizens are frightened and therefore lie to protect themselves from The Cossacks.

            FYI, several years ago I proposed to the American Deep State to do the following and what do you know, they did. You’re welcome for your massive tax cut that I proposed. Think how much money you saved that otherwise would have gone into Putin’s pockets.

            The Igor Sanction

          • Skip Scott
            February 6, 2018 at 13:28

            Cold N-

            As soon as you run out of logic, you accuse Joe and I of being Russians. It is laughable. Joe and I have been around this site for a while, and know a bit of each other’s personal history. You are a new-comer, and by your posts I would suspect that you’ve been sent on assignment by one of our so-called Intelligence Agencies to attempt to counter the stories here. You will find yourself extremely challenged. Of course I have no proof of your being a CIA plant, but by your rules I don’t need any.

            Gilbert Doctorow has spent a lot of time in Russia, and has reported here on the diversity of opinion in Russia expressed in the Russia Media, and the improving lifestyle of the average Russian. Stephen Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian Studies at Princeton and NYU. If you want to get a more realistic perspective of life in Russia, I suggest you read both.

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 16:00

            Yes Skip, you are spot-on, the most objective US experts about Russia are Doctorow and Cohen. Even the author of this article is a bit murky, although her conclusion is good. Most of Western narrative about Russia is self-projection, this is so terribly obvious.

            Why so much Western focus on Russia, do not we in the West have other things to worry about?

    • February 6, 2018 at 10:17

      Irony of ironies, Putin isn’t returning the love. The Media in Russia is pretty much entirely devoted to Putin’s Strategy & Narrative. Any opposition & resistance has all but been eliminated one way or another. Therefore, the following quote from the linked article underscores that Putin does not trust the author of this article. How do the Putin Supporters reconcile their Cognitive Dissonance? They attack the messenger, me, that’s how.

      Defender of Putin, Detained in Russia: American Activist Deemed U.S. ‘Agent’

      For a person who has dedicated her life to improving ties between Moscow and the West — and who has passionately denounced what she calls the “demonization” of President Vladimir Putin by Western media and officials — Sharon Tennison has gotten a strange reception in Russia.

      Tennison, an American activist whose bridge-building efforts date back to the Cold War, and her colleague were detained this week in the southern city of Volgograd for violating the terms of their tourist visas and fined 2,000 rubles ($26) apiece.

      A Volgograd court ruled on February 16 that Tennison and fellow activist Theodore McIntire were not acting as tourists when they held a meeting about relaunching programs run by the Center For Citizen Initiatives, a San Francisco-based NGO that Tennison launched in 1983 to “bring about a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union.”

      That they were dinged for their visa status is not necessarily surprising: anecdotal evidence suggests that authorities in various Russian regions in recent years have clamped down on Western academics and NGO workers conducting research and other work on tourist or business visas.

      What is surprising is how Tennison, a staunch opponent of current U.S. policy toward Russia, and her organization have been portrayed in Kremlin-loyal and state-owned media: namely as nefarious agents of American influence.

      The sensationalistic LifeNews website, which is widely believed to have ties to Russia’s security services, reported that Tennison and McIntire “met with businessmen, conducted seminars, invited [people] to the United States for internships, and in every possible way tried to impose American values.”

      The local Volgograd web portal V1.ru called the activists “U.S. State Department agents,” while the local edition of the national broadsheet Moskovsky Komsomolets called them “propagandists from the U.S.”

      • February 6, 2018 at 11:11

        Damn, thanks for posting this.

        Sharon, care to comment?

      • Skip Scott
        February 6, 2018 at 11:11

        The Russians are right that many of our NGO’s are tools of the US Intelligence agencies. It is my guess that Tennison has gotten caught up with Russia’s response to that reality. To expect Russia to not retaliate to our increasingly aggressive behavior and unjust sanctions is naive. It is a shame that Tennison’s efforts, which are most likely sincere, could be easily misconstrued in the current political climate.

        • February 6, 2018 at 11:19

          So The Russians & Putin are stupid and don’t even know about Ms. Tennison’s 30 years of tireless activism on their behalf where they can’t make an exception fro her and ensure she doesn’t get caught up in the Dragnet?

          Come on!!!

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            February 6, 2018 at 16:28

            Russia has 150 million inhabitants and is about twice the size of the US. How can you ask that authorities in relatively remote Volgograd should know this US lady who is not well known, and make an exception for her from the law that she violates by not abiding to the terms of her tourist visa? That is suspect behaviour.
            I would not be surprised, however, if this story had a happy ending, once it was sorted out.

        • Branko
          February 6, 2018 at 12:05

          Unfortunately the same applies to my country-Bulgaria. The Western NGOs lost credibility and now people don’t believe/trust anyone who works for/with them. There are a lot of volunteers who really want to help.

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 19:00

            From speaking with people related to Western NGOs and some ex-employees my estimate is as follows. Disregarding the local “Volodyas” that they employ, the Western NGOs and charities in Easterm Europe consist of three types of people:
            1) the largest group are ordinary previously unemployed Western people, from the usual grey and quiet majority; they do not understand the locals and are not interested to understand; they want work experience and the next job in the home country,
            2) the next group are the agents of Western “intelligence” agencies, whose real task is to spy and destabilise/regime-change the targeted countries,
            3) the smallest but always present are the true idealists, people who sincerely want to help and are thus a useful cover for the agents and the whole nefarious foreign NGO business.

            A significant raison d’être of the NGO business is also money laundering for the privileged 1%-ers.

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            February 7, 2018 at 05:13

            This is interesting.
            It would be interesting to know the reasons they loose trust.
            And what are NGOs doing there in the first place?
            It comes to mind that it may be an aspect of a struggle for influence between the West, Russia and perhaps Turkey over the Balkans? Anything in this? Similar to Ukraine and with deep historical roots. If so, perhaps a subject for this site? Being torn apart is not healthy. Maybe I am wron though!

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 6, 2018 at 12:14

          Skip, to weight heavily on the Russians for their treatment of Ms Tennison overlooks America’s own police state. Has your debaters tried boarding a plane at an American airport, or attempted to enjoy a game at a major league sport venue in the U.S., and what about trigger happy cops who kill people to only get a pass from an American judge? Worry about Russia? Your debaters Skip should aim our worry at all of our own problems, and leave the Russians alone. This American made demonization of Putin is just another way of beating the drums for more war. Joe

          • February 6, 2018 at 12:30

            It’s “have your debaters” not “has your debaters”.

            I have tried boarding a plane at American airports as the following indicates.


            Unlike you, I’m able to criticize both my country, America, and your country, Russia. You cannot do the same and therefore you aren’t nearly as free. That’s tragic, really.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 6, 2018 at 17:29

            Thanks for correcting my grammar. If I’m in Russia well then it looks a lot like Pittsburgh. Us Russian Steeler Fans are thrilled to be here in Amerika. Thanks again for helping me with my English. So good of you Cold. Joe

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 7, 2018 at 10:28

            Cold your comments certainly make it clear that you qualify on this comment board as your being a ‘master-debater’. Can’t go any higher up the totem pole than that Cold. Joe

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          February 6, 2018 at 16:22

          Yes, it is consequential that Russian authorities monitor the activities of NGO’s, given how many of them have been employed by the US and the West for subversion in Russia and Ukraine. It seems too much to ask that authorities in Volgograd should make exceptions for this group, which abviously misused their visas. It would be interesting to hear Sharon’s comment on this, I agree.

      • blimbax
        February 6, 2018 at 22:07

        If a Russian visiting the U.S. gets a speeding ticket, is that proof that the U.S. doesn’t “trust” him?

      • Marcus
        February 7, 2018 at 15:35

        That’s very skewed and sensationalist reporting. Sharon just ran foul of a bit of bureaucracy. She continues to travel back and forth to Russia regularly. And she is welcome there. Ask her yourself, she’s not hard to find. A few silly tabloids don’t mean any more in Russia than they do here.

        There is a great deal of free media in Russia. The liberal media has a pretty powerful voice, maybe disproportionate to it audience, which is very small, and it continually attacks both Putin and the government.

        The reason the opposition makes so little headway in Russia is because the Putin government has fulfilled its promises and made people’s live better. If our government did that we’d support it too.

      • February 8, 2018 at 21:58

        to Cold N Holdfield’s and Socratic Gadfly’s remarks:

        Delighted to respond to the Volgograd “arrest”.
        It was the best thing that could have ever happened.
        I enjoyed every minute of it. Got a lot of positive coverage out of it,

        It was hyperactive local FSB people who were trying to carry out the latest orders to crack down on foreigners who were speaking out in public places and were using Tourist Visas to do this. I got caught up in their net and sensationalist LifeNews went after me. I found it interesting and amusing from the beginning on. McIntire, accustomed to the military, didn’t share my patience with the process. I’ve dealt with Russians long enough to know several things: one that men will defer to women (any age or type of women) if the latter are kindly and honest. Fortunately I had a copy of my book with me (a history of my last 20 years in USSR/Russia).

        It was interesting how they began to soften when they looked at the text, 140 photos and read the captions. Then they had to quickly backtrack and try to figure out how to get me out of this situation. It was worrisome to them, I had to be seen by a judge and pay a fine and some other technicalities. This they hurriedly rigged it all up to get me out of there as soon as possible, found a Judge who would come in after work, he arrived with his white collar backward and black drape hanging around his neck, he signed papers quickly. The fine, of course, was minimal — and these dear original jailers were with us every minute of the way until we were released about 9:30 pm in the evening. It had to be done speedily. By this time NewLife had made a spectacle out of it. Vladimir Pozner got involved when he heard about it and was quite verbal with the station. I was allowed equal time on cameras at NewLife to explain the situation but by this time I was back in the US. All I know is that soon the NewLife manager was replaced.

      • TS
        February 10, 2018 at 16:12

        But note that this news article comes from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, so is official Washington propaganda.

    • Rob
      February 6, 2018 at 10:54

      ” I will own my own criticism of Putin and Russia thank you very much. My criticism of Putin and Russia is not influenced by the Deep State in any way”

      I think you should practice what you preach.Copying and pasting nonsense from MSM isn’t exactly what independent thinking is all about

      • February 6, 2018 at 11:03

        You forgot the “the” in front of MSM. Be more careful next time. It’s a giveaway.

        • Rob
          February 6, 2018 at 11:08

          Ok.. so you’re just a troll.. .Have a nice day

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:11

            And you’re still a jackass. Don’t have a nice day.

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:16

            Where is your blog, Rob? If you don’t have one, you are the troll. Trolls don’t have blogs. Instead, they have innumerable sock puppets.

            Dispute what the article says, not who said it and not who presented it. Where is Russia’s Love for Ms. Tennison who has worked tirelessly to improve relations between Russia & America for 30 years now?

            I find it more than ironic that Putin & Russia don’t trust her considering her messaging and yet you do trust her. Don’t you believe Vladimir knows what’s best? If he’s such a Great Man, you should be following his lead.

        • Anna
          February 6, 2018 at 13:51

          A purist from the Lobby came to lecture the Consortium readers. Cute.

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 19:10


        • JanJ
          February 6, 2018 at 14:11

          Picking at grammar, when there is no ambiguity in the original meaning, looks like troll behavior to me. It is an annoying waste of time for this reader. It tells me that the grammar authority wants to disrupt a discussion, not add to it. In other words, you’ve just lost me.

          • Nancy
            February 7, 2018 at 15:08

            Lost me quite some time ago. He’s a master red-baiter.
            Pun intended.

    • Broompilot
      February 6, 2018 at 17:24

      Anybody with half a brain critisizes Capitalism. It may be the worst system out there, except for all the others you may think, but still needs a constant eye out for its excesses and downsides.

      • robjira
        February 6, 2018 at 21:20

        One of the more clever comments I’ve heard about capitalism came from Henry Rollins; to paraphrase, “Capitalism’s fine if you keep it tied down in a chair so it can only move its left pinky, and nothing else.”

    • February 7, 2018 at 11:38

      If I may remind everyone – Every member of ” That Russian Mafia” has another passport in Israel, or Britain, or United States, Switzerland, France, Germany , Netherlands etc. And if you can’t understand that the Deep State took over/ merged with the US Mafias,international drug cartels, ME proxy armies, and a host of others, You haven’t been paying attention.

    • Ted Tripp
      February 7, 2018 at 15:59

      Well, I surely would like to see some documentation, some evidence of Putin screwing. On the contrary, there is rich evidence of Putin helping. As the author notes, Putin turned the Western-driven Yeltsin neoliberal disaster around. It seems you have bitten too deeply into the poisoned apple of Western propaganda.

    • rosemerry
      February 7, 2018 at 16:39

      I suppose you have some sort of reason or even evidence for these claims? Have you read any real history of Putin’s life and actions? He is well-known now to many leaders and others all over the globe, and he has spoken out on many issue ans does not claim perfection. However, his competence and incorruptibility are attested to by those with real experience of his behavior.

  69. February 6, 2018 at 09:29

    I’ll give Putin credit for some things. But not every thing that the author of this piece does.

    One obvious counterexample is that vodka remains a huge problem.

    • Mercutio
      February 6, 2018 at 09:33

      Could you, please, elaborate about what do you mean by “vodka problem”?

    • Rob
      February 6, 2018 at 10:46

      So how much time did you spend in Russia?

        • Rob
          February 6, 2018 at 11:06

          So I asked you how much time you spent in Russia and with Putin personally and you send me a CNN link..A CNN Link..A MSM link. I hope you are being sacastic

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:22

            I gave you a link to a former KGB Agent (now free to tell the truth) telling you about the Russian Deep State because he was a former member of it and KNOWS IT WELL — certainly much better than you do, or, on second thought, maybe you do know it as well as he does. Hmmmm……

          • February 6, 2018 at 11:31

            Here’s what Barsky, the former KGB Agent, for those who distrust CNN (for good reason).

            American Presidents historically have underestimated the cleverness of The Russians. And they are very clever. That is what I know. We are somewhat naive when it comes to dealing with The Russians. They’re not playing by the same rules. They’re not playing by any rules at this point.

          • Marko
            February 6, 2018 at 18:04

            “…..The Russians. They’re not playing by the same rules. They’re not playing by any rules at this point. ”

            When has the U.S. ever given a flying freak about “the rules” ?

            Oops , sorry , that’s whataboutism. Never mind.

          • Gregory Herr
            February 6, 2018 at 19:38

            your whataboutism is great Marko!

        • Rob
          February 6, 2018 at 12:07

          Yeah.. Because a KGB agent who has become a western stooge has no reason to exaggerate and lie.A you that simple minded?

          • February 6, 2018 at 12:14

            I didn’t realize Barsky was running for POTUS in 2020 or that he had aspirations to be the leader of Russia.

        • John P
          February 6, 2018 at 21:20

          I think your comments further down are spot on Cold N. Putin and his cohorts know how to troll and have probably studied Trumps weaknesses to the Nth degree and how to exploit them. Since 1988 Roger Stone was pushing Trump to run for the presidency and up until the time he ran, Trump thought about it several times. They certainly put the bait out there for a narcissistic egomaniac, pretty women, the possibility of a Trump Tower in Moscow with his name on it, monetary support when he needed it amongst many other things. Trump and his clan, some very shady indeed, did a lot of dealing with Russian oligarchs in anticipation of big paybacks and I’m not surprised that the FBI and DOJ are investigating him and his buddies. That will take time. You can learn a lot from viewing the historical Trump timelines at BillMoyers.com
          No doubt there will be a lot of you who poo poo that web site but the timelines believe you me are worth a look. And I’m no Hillary Clinton supporter either. Her policies and past dealings were dreadful . But when you got a kid in the White House who doesn’t like to read and absorb material, or know history, and is always looking for the Oreo cookie handout, look out!.

          • Anon
            February 7, 2018 at 10:55

            Years of investigation and not even any evidence, although the FBI prosecutes hundreds of US officials every year for corruption? Who do you think you are talking to?

          • Nancy
            February 7, 2018 at 14:33

            You’re not very smart if you equate Trump with Putin. They are worlds apart politically, intellectually and ethically.
            And by the way, even with all the disinformation and BS from the corporate media, there’s NO evidence of COLLUSION!

        • Anon
          February 7, 2018 at 10:52

          The troll Gadfly disrupts with the absurdity that alcoholism is an all-purpose indictment of Russia.
          And you defend that with a defector’s generalization that Russia is not playing by any rules.
          These statements are are indefensible and irrelevant, and would be ignored in a high school debate.

      • February 6, 2018 at 11:09

        I don’t have to have lived in Russia to read a demographic table showing the ongoing decline in average lifespan of Russian men.

        How much time did you spend to become a jackass, or was it natural?

        • Skip Scott
          February 6, 2018 at 11:26

          Please provide a link for this. I’ve browsed for it, and can find nothing recent. That said, I think alcoholism is a long term reality in Russia, but I think it’s a stretch to blame it on Putin. Average life expectancy in general has increased under Putin, at least according to the links I’ve found. And Putin has made it a goal to increase it further.


          • GM
            February 6, 2018 at 12:39

            Meanwhile, as US life expectancy declines for the 2nd consecutive year, the US now ranks 148th out of 175 countries in infant mortality rates globally (2017). By contrast, Cuba ranks 156th and Belarus 163rd.


          • John A
            February 6, 2018 at 13:49

            There is an imaginary line running across Europe, north of which, the countries have alcohol problems with spirits such as Vodka. This runs from Scotland, across Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, the Baltic States, Russia etc. South of the line, people are more likely to drink beer or wine.
            Singling Russia out for vodka consumption is idiotic propaganda. And certainly there were real problems in the past, Gorbachev tried to hike up the price and under Yeltsin when the Chicago boys arrived, alcohol consumption rocketed. But not so much now, with Putin bringing living standards and life expectancy up for most Russians.

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 15:14

            It is sad to read some US moron pointing a finger at the “Russian Vodka Problem” when the US is being totally wracked by a illicit and legit drug problem.

            When people feel stuck in a rut without an apparent chance to make their lives better, then people turn to the latent vices, and in Russia of 1990s this was vodka, but also smoking and many other unhealthy habits. With a previously good health system in disarray from US driven “liberal reforms”, the life expectancy plummeted. But since 2000 everything has been in recovery. But what does the US Drug Problem and the decline in life expectancy say about the perspectives of the US people? Will US find its Putin to save its people?

            I am not Russian, but I always find it highly ironic that US individuals are pointing fingers at Russia’s now out-of-date declining life expectancy (of the 90s) when this occurred at the time when Russia was controlled by a nexus of US-Russian Olygarchy and ravaged by US NGOs.

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            February 6, 2018 at 15:56

            Alcohol is a problem in Russia. Consumption has declined the past few years.
            This issue is serious but quite beside the point of this article.
            Doesn’t the main point seem to be why the US and the West immediately determined he was an adversary? And could the reason be that he introduced control over the oligarchs, and probably Western interests linked to them or their perceived previous excesses? That may have been a priority of Russian state power structures?

        • Rob
          February 6, 2018 at 12:08

          When out of answers resort to insults..great

        • Gregory Herr
          February 6, 2018 at 19:49

          “Vodka remains a huge problem”. For chrissakes, as if problems with alcohol are not part of the human condition in all of Christiandom. What a comment to come up with in response to an article of testimonials concerning Putin!

        • February 7, 2018 at 13:17

          Russia’s health minister has said that Russians consume 80 percent less alcohol than they did five years ago, amid a decrease in smoking levels and an increase in the number of people who do sports.


          P.S. I have spent time in Russia over the past couple of years and have studied the country pretty closely over the same period. Life expectancy has gradually increased under Putin and alcoholism does appear to be decreasing.

        • Ted Tripp
          February 7, 2018 at 15:27

          I just checked Wikipedia’s tables. Russian lifespan reached its nadir in 1994 and has been steadily rising ever since.

    • February 6, 2018 at 11:08

      Male lifespan continues to decline under Putin, primarily for this one reason.

      • Rob
        February 6, 2018 at 12:09

        wow.. talk about grasping at straws…

        • February 6, 2018 at 12:22

          Rob, at least in America, despite its many failings, you can still advocate for a Goon like Putin on public forums without recourse. Not so in Russia. Show me where Russians are advocating for, or have ever advocated for, “The Red Queen” in Russia or where they advocated for the likes of Obama. You can’t because it is tacitly forbidden. Boris Netmsov came closest and look what happened to him. Just steps from the Kremlin. But there’s no proof it was at Putin’s behest, you & Scott say. Yeah, sure. Alrighty then. Any detective worth their salt would tell you it was at Putin’s behest.

          • Rob
            February 6, 2018 at 14:41

            Firstly I am not American nor Russian. There are plenty of anti Putin media outlets operating freely in Russia. CNN and VOA operates there for goodness sakes. So if someone is murdered close to my house I am automatically guilty of murder.
            Cold N are you sure you are ok?

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 15:36

            This character has no idea what he is pecking the keyboard about, please leave him alone because it is a lost cause.

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            February 6, 2018 at 16:06

            I sincerely propose you read or listen to Russian media like Ekho Moskvy, gazeta.ru, kp.ru and others, not to speak of blogs. You will be pleasantly surprised and left with a wide open mouth.
            Western Msm are much more propagandistic.
            You will need to know Russian for these, but you can check out Moscow Times which is in English to get some feeling.
            Hope you will enjoy being curious and open to new realisations!

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 6, 2018 at 16:14

            God come on man, I mean Cold who ever killed Boris Netmsov may have well planted his dead body in Putin’s kitchen, while Vlad baked up a patch of Pryaniki. You wouldn’t happen to believe that Oswald was the lone gunman, would you? Netmsov’s death so close to the Kremlin, was not a message send by Putin, in as much as it was a threat from Putin’s enemies making a statement, and trying to make it look as though Putin had ordered Netmsov’s murder. Putin wouldn’t be that stupid to have Netmsov killed right in front of the Kremlin for everyone to see. If Putin had decided to be so up front with Netmsov’s assassination, then Putin may has well personally invaded the Ukraine. Sorry, but your comment goes to far, and I’m starting to wonder if you should lay off watching Rachel and Joy Ann. Joe

          • Dave P.
            February 6, 2018 at 17:55

            Rob –

            You are right about this opposition media outlets operating in Russia. Since this whole commotion about Russia began some years ago, I started looking into this Russia related information on internet sites, written and Youtube video presentations. Watching some of their debates and speeches of opposition party members in the parliament, like communist party chief Gennady Zyuganov and Nationalist Party’s Zhirinovsky,, I thought to myself, that these Russians have not been tamed by the Corporate System as yet, as the people and leaders have been tamed in U.S. and the elsewhere in The West, for a very long time now. Modern America never really had a truly opposition party.

            Yes, there were real debates in the Senate and in House of Representatives , and in the small and big towns in the U.S., during the times of Lincoln and before that when the society was largely agrarian. But it all changed with the advent of Industrial Society and development of the Corporate System where the livelihood of workers depends upon those who own the Corporations. Under debt to pay for their homes, autos, and to raise families under the constant threat of losing the job, there is no time for political dissent. There can be no true freedom in this modern Industrial/Corporate System.

            Just go look and see in the third world countries which are still largely agrarian or small businesses or vendors. The case is India democracy, where there is always some demonstration going on in New Delhi and in other cities, people with their flags talking about whatever they want to talk. And people always talking about politics at work place, in homes, and are parties. They have nothing to fear or lose. A very large majority of them don’t have corporate jobs. But we can not have that kind of behavior here. We have decent comfortable life; we have to sacrifice something for that – and we think that it is worth it. So, why criticize Russians!

            We just have to wait, Russians will be tamed soon as their standard of living rises and Corporate System completely takes hold. They are much behind in that.

            Why this putting down of Russia all the time in U.S., always measuring ourselves against the Russians, when the Russians don’t waste much time thinking about the U.S. ? It may be our own insecurities in this Corporation dominated Capitalistic System.

          • Dave P.
            February 6, 2018 at 22:25

            Joe, Kiza – I completely agree. Moscow Times is very anti-Putin, and there are TV channels in Russia, which present programs which are very critical of Putin. We do not have this kind of opposition Newspapers or TV channels presentations here in U.S. . Regarding the murder of Nemstov, and that Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, I do not believe in anything what the Western media has put out regarding these murders. As you said Joe, Putin is not that stupid. It seems like that there is some hidden motive behind it.

            Some people in the West are just full of hatred for Russia and the Russians. The Ruling Establishment in the West is angry because after their looting of Russia during the 1990’s, they were convinced that Russia, if it stays as a one country at all, will not recover in a century. I read many articles in the newspapers in U.S. and U.K. those days which declared Russia as finished. But Putin turned to be such a capable, intelligent, shrewd, and strong leader that to the dismay of Western Leaders, he resurrected Russia again in a short time.

            I wish that U.S. can work together with Russia and China to build a better, and peaceful World.

          • February 7, 2018 at 11:25

            If you watch Russian TV CnH, you will see some real debates on everything from politics to war. To think that Putin won’t allow another politician to speak is quite ” Westernly” of you. I have watched him speak to the opposition and after he asks the main question ” what can your party bring to the table to help Russia in foreign and domestic matters” ? The opposition has no solutions – only negative phrases. Navalny showed his colors when he attended a well known University in the US that has a policy of CIA recruiting. Would any one in the US even make it to a TV debate if he attended school in Russia ? Esp. where the FSB recruits.Yet Americans and their MSM think the guy is being shut out of a Presidential run- LOL. I lived in Ukraine and Russia as a US citizen – no one has ever demonized me or mocked me because of my citizenship but I wish I could say the same for last time I was in the States. spacibo

      • Annie
        February 6, 2018 at 14:21

        The life expectancy of Russians significantly increased after the Yeltsin years. I think the average life expectancy of men in Russia is the mid 60’s and for women mid 70’s. Women have a longer life expectancy in the US as well, but in both males and females in the US life expectancy is higher. I’m sure alcoholism has a significant bearing on longevity in Russia as it does here. Alcoholism does have a strong genetic base, and blaming Putin for the high use of vodka has no validity.
        “The decision to take a first drink is not dictated by one’s genes. Rather, it is influenced by environment, social situations, friends and peers, family members and availability and access to alcohol. Once a person has imbibed for the first time, whether this develops into problem drinking is tied to a greater extent on genetics and family history. If you have a family history of alcoholism, you can choose to never try alcohol, reducing the risk of becoming an alcoholic to zero.”

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 6, 2018 at 16:19

          Annie good remark. Although there are some here who would rather Putin and his fellow Russians sit down and roll up a bag of pot, and then wash it down with a six pack of Bud Light, and by doing so Putin and his countrymen and women could be Americanized to our hearts content. This whole conversation took a turn for the bad when this whole argument over Russian use of alcohol became the subject…wow, how far have we fallen here. Annie again good that you provide some depth to this stupid conversation. Joe

          • Kiza
            February 6, 2018 at 18:22

            Hello Joe, I hope you, Skip and other smart US commenters here understand that I do not mean you when I say US people because you are total outliers. If even 10% of US population was like you, US would not be the problem for the World that it is.

            Let me ask everyone a simple question – what are US NGOs doing in Russia? Have US resolved all of its social ills and disadvantage problems to now have access capacity and too much excess money to help fix the World’s problems?

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 6, 2018 at 22:15

            Thank you Kiza, but people need to be reminded that people are but merely people, it’s a people thing I guess.

            I cannot for the life of me remember ever coming across a Russian NGO here on Main St in America. Could you picture the MSNBC, CNN, filmcrews falling over each other to put the NGO on trail on the 11 o’clock news…. riots would ensue.

            The U.S. is that prankster at the party who likes to dish it out, but turns into a rage because he can’t take it, when the jokes on him. It would seem so much more intelligent to if the U.S. would accept the geopolitical world’s changing dynamics, and adjust along with it. This stubborn insistence at the hegemony project, is a losing proposition in it’s long range conclusion with it’s too quick self gratification to enrich itself as it wastes money on war, as it also destroys potential friends and allies….oh, and recruits new terrorist.

            The U.S. outspending of defense budgets over the Soviets of the late 80’s will have been a one time thing in the on again Cold War history books. Case in point, while the U.S. increases it’s defense spending by more than 10% Russia cuts their defense spending by a third to actually in total be less than the U.S. increase…hey DC this isn’t 1987.

            This exceptionalism thing is a big mistake Kiza, and not needed at a time where the world is awaking to it’s smallness in size. Joe

        • Dave P.
          February 6, 2018 at 21:10

          Good post Annie. I may add it is that Russian Weather too – it is easy to get used to have a drink of Vodka and feel warm.

      • Ted Tripp
        February 7, 2018 at 15:29

        Why do you repeat this bit of misinformation?

    • Virginia
      February 6, 2018 at 12:19

      Socratic…, I seriously doubt that. Did you know that Putin does not allow hard liquor to be advertised in Russia? only beer and local wines! (Remember when the US didn’t allow certain ads?)

      • February 6, 2018 at 12:25

        The thing I would say about vodka consumption in Russia is that it transcends Putin. It’s been a problem in Russia forever and regardless of the statistics, it’s not Putin’s fault the Russian People have a proclivity for vodka — so much so they pour it on their cereal versus milk.

        • Rob
          February 6, 2018 at 14:43

          They may be drinking vodka but at least I dont hear of mass shootings in Russia every day…

        • Maxim
          February 6, 2018 at 17:51

          Haven’t they heard of Kahlua? How about Russians worry about Russia and Americans worry about America.

        • February 7, 2018 at 13:23

          On both of my visits to Russia in which I visited many people in their homes, I never saw anyone drinking vodka. Tea is the most popular beverage in Russia and was always on offer. Occasionally wine would be available as well.

        • R Thomas
          February 8, 2018 at 14:33

          Complete and utter BS, in all my time in Russia since 2001 I have never seen vodka on cereals instead of milk. They enjoy the traditional ‘shots’ with meals but this is no worse than say a French family drinking wine surely. I have seldom seen a drunk on the streets unlike the situation on the streets of many if not most English towns and cities on a daily basis, drunkenness, fighting (including many females), vomiting, urinating in public places and random abuse of passers-by being the norm, generally categorized as Binge Drinking. There is a policy of zero tolerance where drinking and driving is concerned and I found absolutely no instances where that was disregarded.

      • Alex
        February 14, 2018 at 05:19

        Fake news alert! All alcohol-related advertising is completely prohibited in Russia. The last trick is to place ads abroad, e.g. upon guest sport events, so the ads are shown by TV (when national soccer team plays in countries like Ireland the stadiums are always full of vodka). The other one is to advertise non-alchogol versions of beer. That is it.

    • Anna
      February 6, 2018 at 13:41

      Understanding the US: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/ “Afghanistan under US military occupation produces approximately 90% of the World’s illegal supply of opium which is used to produce heroin. The production of opium in Afghanistan registered a 49 fold increase since Washington’s invasion. In 2017, the production of opium in Afghanistan under US military occupation reached 9000 metric tons. Who owns the aiplanes and ships that transport heroin from Afghanistan to the US? Not the Taliban.
      Who gets the profits? Are the multi-hundreds of billions in illegal drug profits what finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies? Why are they called “intelligence agencies” when in fact they are destabilization and assassination agencies that apparently dominate the illegal drug business”.
      As compared to:
      “Barely acknowledged by the mainstream media, in 2000-2001 the Taliban government –with the support of the United Nations (UNODC) – implemented a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production which is used to produce grade 4 heroin and its derivatives declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. The production of opium in 2001 was of the order of a meagre 185 tons. It is worth noting that the UNODC congratulated the Taliban Government for its successful opium eradication program: “This year’s production [2001] is around 185 tons. This is down from the 3300 tons last year [2000], a decrease of over 94 per cent. Compared to the record harvest of 4700 tons two years ago, the decrease is well over 97 per cent.”

      • Traitor, Traitor
        February 6, 2018 at 14:48

        That is why I refer to it as “The intelligence business,” not “intelligence community”.

    • Annie
      February 6, 2018 at 14:27

      America has a drinking problem, and it’s getting worse. A new study shows that 32 million Americans, nearly one in seven adults, have struggled with a serious alcohol problem in the last year alone. It gets worse if you look at numbers across people’s entire lives: In that case, nearly one-third have suffered an “alcohol-use disorder.”


      • Joe Tedesky
        February 6, 2018 at 16:37

        “Hi my name is Bill and I have been coming to these AA meetings for the last 25 years, and I quit drinking two weeks ago.”

        Years ago when I was struggling with my own drinking problem on Thursday nights on my way to the bar, I would stop over at a church hall to attend an AA meeting. That is where I discovered Bill. Bill who was a spiting image of Steve Allen would sit there week after week right next to the guy who ran this AA meeting. Bill never spoke a word, but his face looked friendly, and he seemed to be a nice quiet man by his apparent nature. Then one night Bill addressed the AA members by stating, ‘Hi my name is Bill and I have been coming to these AA meetings for the last 25 years, and I’m proud to say I quit drinking 2 weeks ago.” I wanted to laugh, in fact I was holding the laughter back so much so that I would have been rolling on the floor if it were to not be so ignorant to do so, but just as Bill had made this statement the leader of the AA meeting made a point. His point was, that Bill was persistent to reach his goals with his sobriety, and that Bill always got up from his falling back to brush himself off only for him to trudge forward and stay clean another day. Actually, as I continued with my own drinking problem, Bill in an odd way served as a good example, for never quitting with the battle to stay sober.

        Not sure why I told this story, but with all the talk about alcoholism I thought it may help to hear about persistently sober Bill. Joe

        PS alcoholism has no borders, it’s a universal disease, so quit with the Russian bad mouthing people. It only shows how stupid we are to pick on the Russians, for a problem that America surely has within itself.

      • Virginia
        February 7, 2018 at 10:56

        Annie, And remember the Iran-Contra deal — our government trading weapons for dope when supposedly our teens were to “Just Say No.” Still this addicting is going on here in the US. Intentionally!

    • rosemerry
      February 7, 2018 at 16:35

      He can hardly change everything about the people and the country-at least he is trying his best. Look at the USA this century with 200,000 drug deaths, caused in part by Big Pharma profiting from oxycontin and other drugs, then allowing the addicts to find their own replacements on the streets.

  70. ,
    February 6, 2018 at 08:43

    The one idea about the US seeking to rule the world is adequate to explain all the demonization of Putin and Russia. No other reason is remotely as important as that simple fact.

    • Kiza
      February 6, 2018 at 15:29

      Sorry, I have to disagree, US wanting to rule the World is only one half of it. The fact that Putin is so highly successful in managing Russia is the other half. Putin the leader is being criticised by the Western failed would-be-leaders, who can never get their house in order. The Western prostitute media are part of the same problem, supporting the lack of leadership with incessant false narratives. The crux of the Western decline is in the omni-focus on power rather than the results, which is the reverse of Russia’s. It is not about who rules (the Democrats, the Republicans, the same garbage) then are the things getting better and in the long term (not by printing even more money is Trump does).

      It has become purely comic how the Western failures keep blaming the Russian success (under Putin’s leadership), even for their own failures: dog Putin ate my homework. When a Western politician calls Putin a thug, a bully, a Hitler, I say – here comes another frustrated failure.

      • Crazyczar
        February 7, 2018 at 23:12


        I have to disagree that Putin is highly successful in managing Russia. Yes, Putin’s international policy is accurate, however, his domestic policies are a disgrace. Moscow and St. Petersburg aside, the rest of Russia is decaying. Infrastructure of most provincial cities is crumbling. Business environment is corrupt and highly susceptible to embezzlement, graft, and bribery.

        The regions are still governed by apparatchiks that pay kickbacks to Kremlin so that Moscow looks the other way when these so called governors skim tax revenue for their own benefit.

        Take a trip to cities like Saratov, Voronezh, Perm, Omsk, and many others, and you will see what I am talking about.

        Pensioners are mostly destitute due to measly pensions. Most have to make a decision between food and medicine to survive.

        For a country that is rich in natural resources as well as highly educated human resources, it is a sad reflection on Putin’s Russia.

        • Skip Scott
          February 8, 2018 at 09:17


          From the article:

          “During this period, I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food.”


          “In addition to St. Petersburg and Moscow, in September 2013 I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail –– the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look much like Americans –– which makes sense considering we get the same clothing from China.”

          Your accusations run counter to this article and others I’ve read by Gilbert Doctorow. Since I don’t have the time or resources to travel to Russia myself, I think I’ll take the word of these two authors over an anonymous poster. If you have some supporting evidence to share regarding your charges, please provide it.

          • Crazyczar
            February 8, 2018 at 13:00

            I personally traveled to the said cities. Yes there are buildings that have new paint and stores have abundance of product. What Gilbert Doctorow fails to cover is these improvements are superficial. The core problem with the Russian economy is lack of buying power of majority of the population. Most can’t afford the items in the stores.

            The middle class is growing but very slowly for a country with such rich resources. The elderly are struggling to get by. Corruption is rampant on every level. Paid grades in schools, purchased diplomas, pay for entry exams and many other issues most Russians have to put up with just on the municipal level. The list of everyday problems Russian public has to deal with is too long for this rebuttal.

            Instead of relying on someones articles, hop on a plane and go visit and talk with people. Most Russians will tell you like it is and not sugar coat it.



          • Skip Scott
            February 8, 2018 at 14:37


            Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It is ironic that all of your criticisms of Russia equally apply in the USA today.
            I doubt very much that life would be any better for the average Russian if the plunderers from the Yeltsin years had continued their looting unabated. I also wonder what your take is on Putin’s involvement or lack thereof with any continuing corruption. It seems to me that Putin is a true patriot and is trying to improve the life of the average Russian citizen, and I can’t imagine that his approval rating would be so high if the reality was otherwise. Tennison’s impression of Putin is that he is fundamentally honest. The task for improving such a large and diverse country must be monumental. I have read many speeches and interviews of Putin, and I must say that I am impressed. I can’t say the same for any of our recent presidents in the USA.

            I wish I had the time and resources to travel to Russia and see for myself. My current family obligations have me quite tied down.

          • Ginger
            February 10, 2018 at 07:53

            I also thought that Russia has a single payer healthcare program so wouldn’t it cover medicines also?

      • Zachary Smith
        February 8, 2018 at 02:56

        The fact that Putin is so highly successful in managing Russia is the other half.

        I believe what you say is the reason I find Putin admirable – at least to the tiny degree I can know anything about the man. I neither read nor speak Russian, and must therefore rely on second-hand sources in all things. This article portrays Putin as a “straight arrow” type who didn’t dabble in bribery. Perhaps the man really is a “Christian” in the sense that so many in the US Congress are not.

        So long as Russia and the Russians are playing defense, they’ve got my sympathies. I was born and raised as a rabid US-Firster who was taught this nation really was “exceptional”. I’ve outgrown that last, but I continue to want my nation to prosper and not become a thing of shame. In past decades that desire has become something of a forlorn hope.

    • Kiza
      February 6, 2018 at 17:07

      One more thing: “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the U.S. or something valuable!”

      This lady author is a director of a US NGO in Russia during the dissolution of the Soviet and Russian system, the worst anarchy in Russia since the October 1917 “Revolution”. She may have as well tattooed “US Corruption” on her forehead and then she wondered why she was being asked for bribes all the time at that time? As to her NGO being a charity in Russia, this is like a mafia don claiming that his prostitution business is to fight for women’s rights.

      Excuse my scepticism but what is a vulture US NGO doing in Russia during the worst time for Russia? I like how Putin patiently listened and learned about what they wanted and then told them that it was illegal (soft landing – “at present time”). If it was illegal then, it is even more illegal now when Putin tightened the foreign NGO operations. The lady author probably helped Putin understand how the US was corrupting the Russian institutions at that time, therefore the hour he spent with her and Volodya were most useful later.

      And the presumptiosness of the US ambassador to arrange Ludmila’s treatment in Finland? What would happen say to Trump if the Russian ambassador arranged medical treatment for Melania in Belorussia? Do not you see how US only brings palletloads of freshly printed US dollars to Russia and how such attitude can never build trust? For the Russians and most other nations of the World, US=Corruption + lack of consideration for anything different.

      • irina
        February 7, 2018 at 19:15

        While I understand Putin’s reasons for wanting / needing Ludmila to be treated in Russia,
        if she was cognizant at the time it seems to me the decision should have been hers.

        • Kiza
          February 7, 2018 at 19:56

          Irina, yours is an honest and positive statement. Unfortunately, this is not how things work: noblesse oblige. Being a wife of the leader she could only chose what her family could arrange and pay for, not what a US ambassador arranged and paid for. Regardless, this was not my point – my point was the omni-corrupting effect of US flashing around of its endless supply of US$. Once Russia and China replace the petro-dollar, such behavior will disappear, but US are abusing petro-dollar to the max as long as it lasts. All US military interventions and regime change operations have been financed by either or by a combination of:
          1) boundless petro/reserve dollar printing, or
          2) Saudi Arabia.

          I regret that this loss of petro-dollar will also hurt the families of our US friends here, but this is the price of stopping the US bullying of the World. US people will have to learn to live in a totally different way, but a sudden drop in already challenged living standard (due to jobs going overseas and unlimited immigration) could cause additional social frictions. The 1%-ers who are doing all the bullying in the US name will not pay the price of the petro-dollar demise, it will be the 99% paying for it as usual.

          • Kiza
            February 7, 2018 at 20:05

            For example, by doing financial transactions in obligatory US$ I have personally contributed to paying for the 10, soon 12, US carrier fleets roaming the World’s oceans.

            Finance is the hammer that US has been using to hammer the World, but Russia and China are waking up because they are also paying for the US troops and missile systems on their borders.

        • Kiza
          February 7, 2018 at 20:09

          There is one other aspect of the Ludmila-affair Irina. You see, the US has been arranging and paying for Yeltsin’s medical treatment earlier (in Texas I believe). So the US ambassador in Russia tried the same corruption with Putin. Old habits die hard.

          Here is a very good link regarding the US$ shenanigans: http://johnhelmer.net/the-mnuchin-racket-us-treasury-bluff-on-sanctions-against-russian-sovereign-debt/
          In essence, the US treasury is trying to speed up the loss of US$ reserve currency status by playing nasty with US debt to Russia and Russian debt to US.

    • Kiza
      February 6, 2018 at 17:46

      It would be unfair to equate the author and the core business of US NGOs in Russia. This article is too adjusted to US perceptions of Russia and reinforces some typical misconceptions but the author does have positive intentions and in the country gone totally off its rocker regarding Russia her words are an attempt to soften the US madness and initiate the sorely needed reproachment. Otherwise, US will continue on its path of destruction and self-destruction. The first time we were all very, very lucky, but the second time the US tries to regime-change or challenge Russia, a global nuclear war could happen.

      • Nancy
        February 7, 2018 at 14:26

        Good points, Kiza.

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