Saturday, 13 December 2014

Anna Netrebko - A loyal member of the Putin fan club

The highly overrated Russian soprano Anna Netrebko has again confirmed her credentials as a loyal member of the Putin fan club:

The Russian-Austrian opera soprano Anna Netrebko has given support to east Ukrainian separatists, posing with one of their top political leaders and holding up the flag of Novorossia, a self-declared amalgamation of territory that is seeking independence from Kiev.
Netrebko, who holds dual citizenship, was pictured with the flag during a press conference in St Petersburg over the weekend, where she announced she was donating 1m roubles (£12,000) to the Donetsk Opera Theatre.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Anne Applebaum on Putin and his KGB cronies: "theft on a grand scale"

 "European politicians as high-ranking as Schröder and Silvio Berlusconi—all have been well compensated, directly or indirectly, for offering their support."

If you only read one article about the mafia state that Vladimir Putin has created, this is the one to read:

In place of a genuine media and a real civil society, Putin and his inner circle slowly put into place a system for manufacturing disinformation and mobilizing support on a new and spectacular scale. Once the KGB had retaken the country, in other words, it began once again to act like the KGB—only now it was better funded and more sophisticated. Today’s Russian “political technologists” make use of their state-owned media, including English-language outlets such as the TV news channel Russia Today; armies of paid social media “trolls” who post on newspaper comment pages, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites; fake “experts” whose quotes can be presented with fake authority; and real experts to whom Putin’s officials have granted special access, or have simply paid. Former Western ambassadors to Moscow, businessmen who have been recruited to Russian company boards, European politicians as high-ranking as Schröder and Silvio Berlusconi—all have been well compensated, directly or indirectly, for offering their support. --

Indeed, in the months since Putin’s invasion of Crimea, it has become fashionable to suggest that the harder-line face that Putin has more recently shown to the world is somehow, once again, the West’s “fault,” that we have provoked Russia into autocratic behavior through our talk of democracy in Ukraine or that—once again—the “reform process” was somehow brought to a halt because the Russians felt threatened by the expansion of NATO or by Western policy in the Balkans.
But after reading Dawisha’s book, and after absorbing the implications of the stories she has so carefully pulled together from so many sources, it is simply not possible to take this argument seriously. Since 2000, Russia has been ruled by a revanchist, revisionist elite with origins in the old KGB. This elite had been working its way back to power since the late 1980s, using theft on a grand scale, taking advantage of the secrecy provided by Western offshore havens, and cooperating with organized crime.
Once in power, the new elite sought to maintain control using the same methods that the KGB always used to maintain control: through the manipulation of public emotion, and by undermining the institutions of the West, and the ideals of the West, in any way that it can. Based on its record so far, it has every reason to expect continued success.

Monday, 8 December 2014

(Former) socialite Bianca Jagger adds some glamour to the Lima climate jamboree: "Time is running out"!

Bianca Jagger, the former socialite, now appearing as a global warming promoter, has told the Lima climate jamboree participants that time is running out:

“Climate change will affect everyone, everywhere, in every nation, in every echelon of society, in the developing world and the developed world,” Jagger said. “We will all suffer the catastrophic consequences of rising sea levels, ocean acidification, food scarcity and political unrest. But some of the most vulnerable communities in the world are bearing a disproportionate burden of the harm without having significantly contributed to the cost. This is a terrible injustice.”
Noting that climate experts predict that 2014 will become the hottest year on record, Jagger warned: “Time is running out. Inaction will lead to severe and irreversible damage

Time may be running out, but fortunately the former socialite still has time for some serious shopping. Here is a recent example:

On Bianca (left): Dolce & Gabbana gold-tone Swarovski crystal coin headband, $2,485;; Valentino silk-crepe split-back jumpsuit, $3,690;; Tamara Mellon fringed jersey halterneck dress, $1,695;; Jimmy Choo charm disco mirror box clutch, $1,050;; Charlotte Olympia Octavia sandal, $1,020;

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Esa-Pekka Salonen again defends his friend Valery Gergiev

Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen again defends Russian dictator Putin´s admirer Valery Gergiev:

“I’ve spent the morning defending my friend Valery before the Swedish media,” says Salonen.
Gergiev is a committed supporter of the Putin regime, and his appearance at the festival provoked some outrage in Stockholm at a time of strained diplomacy. Salonen describes his opinions as “diametrically opposite” to his colleague’s on the subject of Ukraine but, “as long as London is making money for the oligarchs, as long as the Austrians are lobbying for a gas pipe to make sure they get an uninterrupted supply, regardless of what’s happening to Ukraine,” he says, “why should I, as the artistic director of this festival, not say that Gergiev is allowed to come here?”

One wonders, why on the earth should Salonen "defend" somebody like Gergiev? I never imagined that Salonen would be that stupid.