No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘President Vladimir Putin


I see the nice Mr Putin has described ex President Trump as a ‘extraordinary talented individual’. That should have all the ‘trumpists’ cheering in the aisles and the Democrats saying ‘told you so … they’re birds of a feather’.

At the same time he characterised President Biden as ‘a career (read hack) politician’. More cheering in the aisles from Republicans. On that observation I can but agree.

One suspects the Putin-Biden one-on-one at the G7 will be a little tense with a certain ritualistic posturing and not much more. .

Written by The Veteran

June 13, 2021 at 11:13 am

Acceptable Conspiracy Theories and Loyalty Oaths

One of the pushbacks against the claims of Trump supporters about the stolen 2020 election is that it’s reached the conspiracy theory stage.

Which would be a more effective tactic if it were not for the fact that some of the senior Democrats in the USA have got their own problems with ongoing conspiracy theories:

Clinton began: “I hope historically we will find out who [Trump is] beholden to, who pulls his strings. I would love to see his phone records to see whether he was talking to Putin the day that the insurgents invaded our Capitol. But we now know that not just him, but his enablers, his accomplices, his cult members, have the same disregard for democracy.”

Poor old Hillary just can’t let go of her theory that she lost the 2016 election because of Putin, which is why she so eagerly swallowed her own bullshit with the Steele Dossier that she paid for. But this is even fucking crazier.

And it gets worse because she had a very special guest on her podcast:

I do,” Pelosi responded. “To your point of who is he beholden to, as I’ve said over and over, as I said to him in that picture with my blue suit as I was leaving, what I was saying to him as I was pointing, rudely, at him: ‘With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin.’ I don’t know what Putin has on him politically, financially, or personally, but what happened last week was a gift to Putin, because Putin wants to undermine democracy in our country and throughout the world.”

This is just sad. Clearly Hillary is in need of some very deep mental therapy, but now it seems that the third most powerful politician in the USA is as well.

During the whole Mueller farce I often made the point to TDSr’s that given Russia’s long history of using dezinformatsiya to destabilise her enemies and Putin’s KGB background, why could they not consider the possibility that he had fed bullshit to the idiot ex-British spy Steele for his Dossier, knowing that it would be seized on by the Democrats and spun up by them into something destabilising to the USA?

Admittedly Putin could not know exactly what it would be spun up to, but a two-year long shit-fest investigation that threw sand in the gears of a new Administration, as well as convincing a substantial chunk of US voters that their democracy is screwed, would be regarded as a success, especially with such great plausible deniability in place.

Of course when you do start plunging down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory all things become possible, like convincing yourself that you are under a great threat, although in this case it’s also aided by the cynicism of politics:

For comparison, Lyndon Johnson sent a total of 13,600 federal troops and D.C. Army National Guardsmen to quell the race riots in Washington that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Those riots injured hundreds of people and killed at least 13. In 1864, as the Civil War raged on the other side of the Potomac and Americans died every day in large numbers on the battlefield, there were fewer federal troops protecting Washington, D.C., than there are right now.

But according to our leaders, the so-called “insurrection” of Jan. 6 was much worse than any of that. So in response, they have assembled the largest military presence in Washington in all of American history during peacetime.

But even then the conspiracy theory won’t let go, because it feeds itself, which leads to further insanity: FBI vetting Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack:

“U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.”

This is what happens when you define half the population as enemies of the state as Nancy Pelosi did, along with this crazy bastard, Steve Cohen (D, Tennessee):

Jesus! Once you start evaluating soldiers for political loyalty, you’re on your way to creating the sort of Revolutionary Guard that protects one party or leader in your average Banana Republic. If Trump had demanded something like this from the National Guard or the rest of the US military the screams from the Left would have been beyond anything yet seen.

Ashli Babbitt

And in another example of the feedback mechanism, the thinking here is rationalised by the actions and fate of this Military Veteran, with four tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan.

You want more Ashli Babbitt’s? Because this is how you get them.

Or perhaps people noticed the very frosty reception that Mike Pence got from the 10th Mountain Division a couple of days ago.

Democrats are becoming what they think Trump is. Cohen’s crazy is the logical end-point of the Identity and Woke Politics, Critical Race Theory and Cancel Kulture that the Democrats have embraced. This is the ugly, dangerous, real-world result.

Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas responded bluntly and quickly:

This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard.No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard.

I authorized more than 1000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they’re disrespected like this.

And naturally the Democrats have the gaul to claim that they’re not the ones destabilising the US government and its institutions, which they can get away with because their MSM arm won’t confront them on it, even as OrangeManBad departs.

Putin must be laughing his ass off at all this as the Democrats do his work for him, as they have done for four years now.

You thought the crazy was ending with Trump’s departure? This crap indicates that it’s only just cranking up.

Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full
flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself
spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men
and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map
cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their
flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath
for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to
ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time
they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They
signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to
obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers.

To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty
Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty
four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to
none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his
urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one
better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence
tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced
the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,”
one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time
Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them
scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they
followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain
for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them
scornfully again.


On a projected turnout of 64% and with 87% of ballots counted it appears 77% of voters have approved amendments to the Russian Constitution designed to keep Putin in power until 2036 … yep, you read it right, 2036.

Andrei will be breaking out the vodka.

Written by The Veteran

July 1, 2020 at 10:41 pm

Больше юмора с Родины

Between endless cries about Russian Troll Armies and their fearsome bots being present on No Minister it’s obvious that we’ve got some real conspiracy theorist commentators who had too much time on their hands even before now.

So in the spirit of having fun with them – and other people – here is a YouTube video that’s been floating around for a while now about a Russian prankster who installed in an elevator a huge portrait of Vlad The Impaler on the back wall, plus a camera in an upper corner to record people’s reactions.

Judging from the results I think its obvious that despite claims made about the hero worship of Vlad in Russia and how super popular he is, the Russian people – at least some of them – retain their good sense of skepticism towards their great leader.

It’s also bloody funny

Somebody should try this here in New Zealand with Jacinda’s portrait.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 3, 2020 at 8:15 pm

The Littlest Czar

Just because the world’s chattering classes are having a meltdown over a disease is no reason to ignore news on other fronts.

I am the one who knocks


To that end my attention to Russia was tuned up a bit in January when news came out that the Russian Prime Minister and the entire Government had resigned. Such things happen every week in places like Italy, which has had over one hundred governments since the end of WWII.

But Russia prizes stability. What the hell had happened?

Russia’s government resigned Wednesday to make way for major new constitutional changes, according to the Tass state news agency, citing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. 

Without giving much detail, the news agency said President Vladimir Putin thanked Medvedev’s government for its work. The move was reportedly made so Putin can carry out sweeping constitutional changes he spoke about at his annual address just hours earlier.

No wonder nobody pays any attention to the rest of the “government” of Russia. As in olden times you need only hang on every word from The Great Leader.

I can’t say this was unexpected. After winning two successive terms as President between 2000 and 2008, Putin left office in obedience to the constitution limiting him to just two terms, like the US President. Left unsaid was the fact that it was only more than two successive terms! Vlad could run for President again if he chose.

“President” Demitry Medvedev

Meanwhile he immediately became Prime Minister, while his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev (you’ll hear about him again) was miraculously voted in as President, while Putin served as PM from 2008 to 2012.

During this time Putin engineered constitutional changes that stretched the President’s term from four years to six years, like that of a French President. Clearly this meant that if Vlad ran for President again – and nobody seriously doubted he would – he’d be in office until 2024.


And so it came to pass. In 2012 Medvedev even switched back to being Prime Minister – just so Russians would not get confused as to who really runs things.

But as 2024 steadily approached people began to wonder what Putin’s next stunt would be. A repeat of the 2008-12 switcheroo with his favourite muppet, Medvedev? But that would mean not being President again until 2030, which would be pushing it for the 68-year old Putin. The obvious solution was just to change the constitution to allow for unlimited Presidential terms. Putin said he had no great objection to this {insert laugh track here}, but presumably did not want to come off looking like the usual Banana Republic thug who pulls that stunt (e.g. Venezuela’s Chavez a few years ago).

Putin’s answer in that annual address was the usual mix of political smarts, brazeness and low cunning:

“I propose … entrusting the State Duma with the power to approve the candidacy of the prime minister, and then, per the prime minister’s proposal, [appoint] all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers,”

“In this case, the president will be obliged to appoint them, that is, he will not have the right to reject parliament-approved candidacies.”

A national vote on constitutional changes that would push power toward the prime minister and the parliament, and away from the presidency. just as Putin steps down in 2024. There was talk that it would also allow him to sell an image of a “new” government that would start addressing the growing complaints of the public.

Clever boy!

The leading alternative solution to his 2024 problem was for Russia to unite with Belarus. Then he could reset the term limit clock as President of a new nation. However merger talks with Belarus went nowhere, probably because their post-communist leaders like having a bit of authoritarianism to themselves.
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t beleve.
However, things seem to have changed recently and it seems Putin has tired of the games and decided to go Full Banana:

The Kremlin’s carefully choreographed operation to install Mr Putin as president-for-life unfolded at breathtaking speed. 

It began at about 1.45pm Moscow time when Valentina Tereshkova, 83, the first woman to fly in space [pictured left], who is now an MP with the ruling United Russia party, suggested that Mr Putin be allowed to run for two more six-year terms as part of a package of constitutional reforms. 

Ms Tereshkova said that allowing Mr Putin to stand for president again would be “a stabilising factor for our society”…

There you go. State stability! The great Russian God. You’d think after 24 years of continuous power things would already be stable.
You really do have to like Black Comedy to follow things in Russia:


Mr Putin said that he would support the proposal to allow him to seek an extension to his presidency as long as the constitutional court ruled that it was legal. Analysts said there was almost no chance that the Kremlin-controlled court would rule against the proposal. 

Within three hours of Ms Tereshkova’s initial comments, the State Duma had approved the move. MPs had been given only 20 minutes to study the text of the amendment.

If Russia suffers from the same silly runs on toilet paper as we have then they’ll always have their Constitution as an alternative.
Putin would finally leave office in 2036 at the age of 83, assuming he lives that long. Perhaps that’s what inspired this little bit of philosophy from him:

“I’m sure the time will come when the highest, presidential authority in Russia will not be, as they say, so personified — not so bound up in a single person,”

“But that is how all of our past history came together and we cannot, of course, disregard this.”

Well Vlad, you’ve already had more than a small opportunity to break your nation free from such Great Leader history and you’ve ignored it, so when will the time come for such a thing? Leaders who actually change the course of their nation’s history are the ones who deserve the label “Great”.
Bah! Who are we kidding here? This is what is meant by the cultures of nations and societies. Like the Chinese technocracy craving the Mandate From Heaven, Russia’s national soul will always look for a Putin and prize the stability of a powerful central state over all else.
Perhaps the best answer is the one given to Putin in 2015 by an Egyptian Army band during his visit to Egypt. Watch his face as they attempt the Russian National Anthem.
That look you have when you really want some Polonium.

I have to admit that he was staunch through the whole thing and it’s one of the few times I’ve ever felt sorry for him. Nobody should be forced to endure such agony and that look on his face probably comes from diplomacy fighting with his inner desire to have the muscians sent to the Gulag.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 17, 2020 at 9:32 pm

Other things to worry about?

Not NZ specifically since we’re so far away, but it seems the whole Turkey-Syria fight has flared up a little more than before:

Airstrikes and artillery attacks by Syria killed 33 Turkish troops on Thursday as Ankara edged closer to all-out war with the Syrian regime. Turkey hit back, targeting Syrian positions up and down the line, bringing the two sides closer to a major escalation that’s bound to involve Russia.

Worse is that there is some motion afoot in the Turkish parliament to make an actual declaration of war against Syria, which would be novel in our modern world where wars are fought without such traditions, but which would not be a smart move, given that Russia is backing Syria and has troops in-country. Iran is now reportedly also threatening Turkey, saying its troops must leave Syria or face a missile barrage.

And of course Turkey is still part of NATO.

Barely, it’s true, given the increased tensions between Europe and Turkey over the last twenty years as Erdogan has strengthened his control of Turkey. Similarly with the USA being part of NATO: after several years when Bush and Obama tried being friendly with Erdogan the Trump administration finally saw the light and has stopped the sale of the F-35 fighters to Turkey after it purchased advanced S-400 AA missile systems from Russia. Still, that’s has not stopped Erdogan from trying it on:

“We call on NATO to (start) consultations. This is not (an attack) on Turkey only, it is an attack on the international community. A common reaction is needed. The attack was also against NATO,” one of Erdogan’s spokesmen told media outlets.

It’s hard to see the rest of NATO being willing to exercise their commitments to come to the defence of a member when that member has effectively declared war of Russia as well as Syria. Erdogan is not so stupid as to think the request will be honoured, but it has to be made formally, and then some stick added by giving his fellow NATO nations a heads-up as to what may happen if he doesn’t feel their love:

A Turkish official declared that the borders would be opened, allowing tens of thousands of refugees access to central Europe. While not official, Greece and Bulgaria are reinforcing their borders, determined to keep the newcomers out.

Turkey is home to about 3.6 million Syrian refugees already! The thought of even a good portion of them heading for Europe must be keeping the EU leaders awake at night. Germany would probably keep its borders open, but others would likely follow the path of Greece.

And there are likely more on the way into Turkey itself. Between 700-800,000 are on the move in the Syrian province of Idlib on Turkey’s border. It’s this area where most of the fighting is now as Iranian, Russian and Assad’s Syrian forces try to take back control. They’re doing it via the tactic that has proved successful elsewhere: bomb the crap out of the area until all the civilians have left and the rebel and terrorist groups are the only ones remaining or leave with the civilians.

The new Turkish offensive in Syria and the aggressive moves by the pro-Assad coalition which is trying to re-conquer the last major rebel hub in Idlib have created an unprecedented humanitarian disaster even by Syrian standards.

Basically a scorched earth campaign straight out the pages of history books. Erdogan could not give a damn about the Syrian lives lost, but he does not want any more refugees:

Erdogan’s nationalist ally, Devlet Bahceli, on February 11, said Turkey should prepare to march on Damascus to stop the Syrian offensive in Idlib that is threatening to send hundreds of thousands of refugees into Turkey,

While the Turkish concerns over massive refugee inflows is a legtimate, rational concern, the fact is that Erdogan is cut from the same cloth as Assad, Ayatollah Khamenei and Putin. While a Syria-Turkey scrap would once have been considered part of the Cold War those days are long past. Erdogan has imperial dreams and desires that Turkey to be the one with power, influence and control in the region. That contest between Russia, Iran and Turkey is really what’s at the heart of this latest increase in fighting and tensions. Syria is merely a puppet.

“The fight for freedom of the Syrian people is a fight for survival for Turkey’s 82 million people,” Erdogan said. 

Uh Huh. Here’s an example of his idea of “freedom”, as I pointed out last year:

Erdogan is not someone that the West should be eager to assist. While the burdern of responsibilty falls on Syria, Russia and Iran, Turkey has not helped itself here, and they’ve certainly got themselves off-side with their Western allies. It’s questionable whether the US, and Europe in particular even wants to help Erdogan out of this jam: they might prefer him to be weakened by it.

Even before the rise of Erdogan, NATO spent decades dealing with the internal strains of members Turkey and Greece going at eachother, sometimes with shots fired, so it might be interesting to see how Putin deals with balancing Syria, Iran and Turkey.

However, for similar reasons to that of NATO, Putin is probably content to let Syria, Iran and Turkey bleed themsleves for a while longer. He’s threatened some minor sanctions on Turkey but there are those missile sales to think about, possibly to be followed by more Russian military equipment and the prospect of prying Turkey away from NATO as part of his long-term plan to weaken the alliance and Europe further.

The question that Europe and the US must ask itself is whether they care about losing Turkey. Aside from the threat of those three million Syrian refugees I can’t think why they would.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 2, 2020 at 8:08 pm

Politics vs. Commerce – Russia edition

One of the most extraordinarly stupid comments on Russia that you run into on a regular basis is the claim that there is a separation between politics and commerce in Putin’s state.

It has been obvious for over a decade now that there is no difference or separation between the two.

Going back to the immediate post GFC world, in 2010 Putin unloaded on the oligarchs of Russia and their failure to insulate the Russian people from the GFC.

It was obvious that firms – and their billionaire owners – were now as much targets as any group in the days of the USSR:

The financial crisis of 2008-2009 was one of the last gasps of the oligarchs (as we knew them), with the state commandeering their wealth to help the state. Some of the oligarchs gave money directly to the state. Others were coached on how to invest their funds in failing sectors or in the stock market. Oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska, Alexei Mordoshov or Mikhail Fridman saw their worth of roughly $20-30 billion fall to just a few billion within a span of a few months.

It became obvious that to remain a billionaire oligarch one would have to toady to Putin, and the lists of those who did and did not, rapidly became the easiest way of figuring out out how was going to remain flithy rich and who would be reduced to penury – and perhaps prison. The extent of this was listed by the US in 2018 as The Putin List.

That Russia is corrupt is hardly a surprise. 

The post Soviet collapse saw the USA and NATO simply shrug their shoulders throughout the 1990’s in an orgy of faith in neo-liberal economics, idly watching as former Communist Party apparatchiks levered their intimate knowledge of Soviet industries into privatised billions that trashed not just jobs but the connected aspects of education, housing and healthcare – all of which had often been directly linked to the local industry.

For all of his bravery in 1991/92 Boris Yeltsin simply did not have the knowledge to stop all of this. Given his Communist education and upbringing he may even have assumed that this was how free markets and free enterprise worked.

It was therefore not much of a surprise that around 1999/2000, Russia reached back into its past to find a new czar: a man with smarts and ruthlessness who would once again impose the power of Russia’s traditional central state apparat.

And as Putin gained power in the 2000’s there was no doubt that he was headed for a clash with the billionaire oligarchs. But given that Communism was discredited, along with the NKVD and Lubyanka, Putin would not be able to simply crush all of them. The trick was to crush some and co-opt others. And in the process Putin has made himself wealthy too.

“We’ve seen him enriching his friends, his close allies and marginalizing those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets. Whether that’s Russia’s energy wealth, whether it’s other state contracts, he directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don’t. To me, that is a picture of corruption,”

But it’s a mistake to see this as simple corruption, as if Putin is like some moronic dictator of the Developing World. Putin is doing all this to make sure he is plugged into a network of power and wealth that he can use to further the cause of Great Russia, the Motherland of Europe. His driver is the recovery of lost glory, not mere wealth.

Still, the real question is why the EU – especially the Germans who know all this – would be stupid enough to further strengthen their teathers to Russia? 

This map shows the path of Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion project to build a second pipeline that will double the systems capacity, carrying 110 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Eastern Russia to Northern Germany.

The Bush II administration opposed the original Nordstream I, while the Obama adminstration opposed Nordstream 2. Trump merely follows in their footsteps, and it’s no surprise why.

Germany is heavily reliant on Russia for natural gas. Russia provided between 50 percent and 75 percent of Germany’s gas imports in 2017, according to Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics arm. Germany turned to Russia for roughly half of its oil imports last year.

Where Germany goes, so goes the EU, which is why objections to this dependency from other EU and NATO members, such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have simply been ignored by the EU technocrats.

Why it’s almost as if all the invective they aim at Trump, Putin and Russia is just hypocritical garbage.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 16, 2019 at 7:55 am


In the UK Gatwick Airport has been shut down following repeated incursions by ‘industrial’ drone aircraft over the airport perimeter.
The incursions have resulted in disruptions to some 760 flights and has affected the travel plans of some 110,000 passengers.   As I write this the airport remains closed and will not reopen until it is safe to do so.    The Army has been called in presumably to help track the drones and/or shoot them down.

Meanwhile the nice Mr Corbyn is facing criticism from within his own party for bottling out on his plan to table a vote of ‘No Confidence’ on Theresa May’s Government.    I guess he was distracted from the task by having to deal with Fiona Onasanya MP (and former Labour Party Whip) who yesterday was found guilty of three counts of perverting the course of justice by lying to to Police.    It is possible she will face jail.    She has been suspended from the Labour Party amid calls for her to resign her seat.

And Putin has called on Americans and Britons to respect the will of the people who voted for President Trump and for Brexit … I guess he thought he was trying to be helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Updated 1430 NZDT  … Gatwick remains closed.   2.9m passengers are booked to transit through Gatwick over the Christmas/New Year period.

Written by The Veteran

December 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm


with 76.7% of the vote on a 67.4% turnout.   His nearest rival, Pavel Grudinun, standing as a Communist, garnered just 13%.

Was the election fair and free … hardly.   Putin’s real rival, Alexei Navalny, the Leader of the Progress Party, was barred from standing in the election by Russia’s Central Election Commission.

That aside and apart from some reports of ballot box stuffing by Putin supporters (why they thought they needed to do that fair escapes me) it is clear that Putin enjoys a clear electoral mandate.   The Russian people have traditionally welcomed ‘strong’ leaders (with a ‘touch’ of ruthlessness for good measure) and Putin certainly fits that category. 

The 67.4% turnout compares favourably with the 55.5% turnout in the US Presidential election where, while they had a real choice, many Americans voted with their feet and called it a plague on both the major parties.

Here is little ole NZL we managed a respectable 80% turnout but nothing is ever going to rival North Korea where in the 2014 elections they recorded a 99.97% turnout (albeit there was only one name on the ballot paper for each constituency which is shown to you for you to drop untouched into the ballot box.   Should you want to cross out the name you have to ask for if to be given to you … suffice to say there ain’t too many requests). 

Written by The Veteran

March 19, 2018 at 10:34 pm


Both appear to be excelling themselves in recent days.    Trump with his Luddite approach to free trade evidenced by his decision to impose punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and Putin ramping up the cold war rhetoric backed by a new range of stars wars weaponry that can only lead to an intensification of the arms race.

Trump has managed, in one sentence, to wipe billions off the NYSE and piss off the EU, Canada, Australia and China and that’s just for starters with the French warning there will be retaliation and that in trade-wars there are only losers.

To be fair (and I don’t need to be) and while the US is the second largest export economy in the world (behind China) and it currently runs a negative trade balance of US783B.    All this to feed a domestic market anxious for the best possible deals at the best possible price.  

Meanwhile in Putin land and with the Presidential elections looming Putin seems determined to portray himself as Mr tough guy taking on the world … you mess with the rodina (translated ‘me’) at your peril.   No matter that the election is a forgone conclusion and a farce.   Any candidate coming close to toppling Putin from power is likely to be involved in a serious and life threatening accident.

Russia is clearly flexing its muscles and in doing so is courting pariah state status.    And this is the country that Winston First wants to do business with!!!!!!!!!

Interesting times, dangerous times.   

Written by The Veteran

March 2, 2018 at 9:12 pm