Showing posts with label Putin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Putin. Show all posts

August 24, 2023

Moscow murders make Milwaukee murders look lame: Putinym Вот что будет, если трахаться с Путиным


If you don't read Russian you'll have to read the blog to get the translation 
of my title above.

By Hal Brown

By the time I finished watching the season two finale of "Only Murder  in the Building" (see yesterday's blog: Murders in Milwaukee vs. Murders In The Building: What I'll Be Watching Tonight) and turned on the news I learned that when it came to making the news with a dramatic story Putin had won the night.

As you can see from the screen grab of the BBC website above the presumed Putin Prigozhin assassination bumped the GOP debate and Trump's legal troubles off as the top story. I think this is indicatve of the international perspective of what is the most improtant news to cover.

Fox News, in contrast, relegated the story to a minor spot:

The New York Times prioritized the debate story online...
... but dropped it to the very bottom of the print edition front page:
Click above to enlarge image

The Washington did the same with their online and their print editions:

I undertand why local media puts American news on as the top story but I think the Russia story is equally important, an opinion reflected by the editors of the print edtion of The NY Times.

Anyway you look at it, there were two major stories last night.

The plane being shot down came with an amazing video which makes it a compelling story for television.

Click above to view with real life commentary

The caught on video amazing assassination - although one is foolish to be amazed by it - came before the debate and was referred to when Nikki Haley accused Ramaswarmy of "choosing a murderer" for saying supporting Ukraine is not a "priority for the United States."

From the debate:

“Look what Putin did today, he killed Prigozhin,” Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s former governor said Wednesday night during the first Republican party presidential candidate for the 2024 election after being asked how she would respond to the war in Ukraine if she were elected. 

She continued, “When I was at the U.N., the Russian ambassador suddenly died. This guy is a murderer. And you are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country.” Reference.


 U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley landed perhaps the biggest blow against Ramaswamy during a heated exchange over aid to Ukraine. Ramaswamy argued that U.S. support for Ukraine against Russian aggression should be used for defending the U.S. border instead.

“You are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country. ... You would make America less safe. You have no foreign policy experience and it shows. It shows,” Haley said, drawing an eruption of applause from the debate audience. 

The broadside is the closest Haley has come to a breakout moment during the race so far. The former South Carolina governor has struggled to gain traction in early nominating states.

In terms of sheer drama a group of GOP president wannabes shouting over each other watching a plane carrying 10 people presumably including the leader of the Wagner Group and his chief deputy being blown out of the sky and crashing and burning (see more video and photos on Newsweek here) was literally a murder in Moscow (literally somewhere 30 minutes north of Moscow on its way to St. Petersburg).

Not only is this being reported as a murder in Moscow but there is also a possible mystery in Moscow because there are some questions being asked whether Prigozhin himself staged this assassination so he could disappear and live out his life in some safe haven. 

If he managed to do this Putin could probably find him and get rid of him for sheer vengeance but he wouldn't be able to make it public. Although the psychopath would like to look Prigozhin in the eyes telling him that vot chto sluchilos', kogda ty trakhalsya Putinym as he shot or poisoned him he'd have to settle for a live video.

Either way it's a win for Putin. He shows that anyone who dares staging a coup against him is signing their own death warrant and will be subject to a public execution. In fact, this is what it was called on MSNBC's Morning Joe just after I typed these words. They added that it seems more than a coincidence that someone was their to take a video of it as if it was staged for television.

The candidates merely metaphorically murdered, or attempted to murder each other. There was, or might have been, a real murder which demonstrates why President Biden's firm support of Ukraine is vital to democracy.

Ironically, while none of the GOP candidates in the debate won the night it is fair to say that both Biden (thanks to Putin) and Putin himself, albeit in very different ways, can claim to have come out victorious.


I am hearing comments on MSNBC saying that the timing of the crash might be relevant in that it came exactly two months after Prigozhin moved his troops towards the Kremlin. I would suggest that while Putin wanted to "celebrate" the two month anniversary he also might have wanted to provide must-see American counter programming to the GOP debate. If Trump thought his own Tucker interview would be good counter-programming, Putin certainly outdid him.

Afternoon update: 

As far as news: on The Washington Post website the Russia story is on the top of the page, the pending Trump arrest second, and the debate third:

August 22, 2023

Could Trump avoid legal peril and go live in Russia, Russia, Russia as Vlad's roomie?


I superimposed Trump's plane over a photo of Moscow Airport Terminal C.

"The failed District Attorney of Fulton County (Atlanta), Fani Willis, insisted on a $200,000 Bond from me. I assume, therefore, that she thought I was a 'flight' risk – I’d fly far away, maybe to Russia, Russia, Russia, share a gold domed suite with Vladimir, never to be seen or heard from again. Would I be able to take my very 'understated' airplane with the gold TRUMP affixed for all to see. Probably not, I’d be much better off flying commercial – I’m sure nobody would recognize me!"

By Hal Brown 

The above Truth Social post is Trump's attempt at showing how unseriously he takes his legal situation and what a great comedy writer he is and is about as close as he ever comes to self-depricating humor and an awareness of his grandiose narcisism.

What Trump doesn't "get" about the bond is that it doesn't prevent him from leaving, or fleeing, the country to live in Russia, Russia, Russia. He can blow off the $200,000 and leave the country to live with Vladimir.

Where he'd actually live would have to be determined as Putin has eight official residences (read article).

 He might live in his suite (pictured below) where the ceilings have their share of gold.
One of the bedrooms in the Black Sea mansion known as Putin's Palace

Putin's $1.4 billion Black Sea compound is non-too-shabby (Link):

Putin apparently spends much of his time in a mansion in Valdai which is 240 miles from Moscow and has no airport so I assume he'd travel to and from the Kremlin by helicopter.

Putin's bedroom in his residence in Valdai on Lake Valdayskoye

Putin does not actually live in the actual Kremlin the way US presidents live in the White House so Trump could end up living at another of his residences. Putin reportedly spends much of his time in the Novo-Ogaryovo estate in Moscow which has been unofficially termed his de facto residence.

If he wants to end up a Putin's most famous houseguest he'll first have to convince the murderous dictator, who might have to convince his girlfriend gymnast Alina Kabaeva, to have him as a permanent roomie. 

Of course the judge could order him not to leave the country, and order his passport (or passports, he has said he has three) seized.  I don't know exactly how he could fly out of the country in his own plane illegally, but if he managed to sneak onto his plane and it took off on the way to Russia I doubt the Air Force would shoot it down even if it had a fleeing felon onboard.

What the bond does do is described here:

The bond agreement, known as a consent bond order, sets strict rules for Trump’s release. The former president is not allowed to communicate with witnesses or co-defendants about the case, except through his lawyers, and he is barred from intimidating witnesses or co-defendants. He is also forbidden from making any “direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community or to any property in the community,” including in “posts on social media or reposts of posts” by others on social media.

“The defendant shall perform no act to intimidate any person known to him … to be a co-defendant or witness in this case or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” the agreement says. (Washington Post)

If he violates the conditions of the bond agreement as by now everyone who has been following this case knows there are actions that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee can take to punish him from levying fines up to putting him in jail.

Most people, probably including Trump himself, don't think Judge McAfee would take such a final step. 

As noted in Raw Story "former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen doesn't think the ex-president will be capable of complying with the bail conditions set in Fulton County, Georgia. Still, he anticipates that Trump will only get a slap on the wrist."

This doesn't mean that there's no way Trump can be certain he won't eventually end up incarcerated. He could end up in a Georgia prison and the only way he can be certain he won't be imprisoned for a federal crime is if a Republican is elected president and decides to drop the cases against him or pardon him.

If he does end up doing time at a Club Fed and Biden is president there's always the chance Biden would pardon him but then he'd have to admit guilt and accept the ultimate favor from the man he despises.

Let's say that Trump makes it to Russia and takes up residence there. As long as Putin is in power I don't see him allowing him to be extradited. If Putin is replaced a new leader might send him back to the United States to face charges.

What the United States might be able to do is freeze as many of his assets as possible. This might make a large dent in the money available to him depending on how much has has in foreign accounts in countries that won't cooperate with the US justice system. 

Trump might have tried to take actual cash or valuables like Melania's jewelry with him to sell since the government now has the documents he stole so he couldn't sell them. He'd somehow have to get ahold of as many suitcases full of $100 bills as he could if he wanted cash.

Although he won't get that much, he could sell a kidney. The most recent report I could find on this says he could get between one and five million rubles ($14,300 - $73,000).

The easy way for Trump to make it to Russia, Russia, Russia is to board his plane on a flight meant to go to Atlanta or between Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago for example and have it fly to one of his Russkie pal's pads instead.

For those who suggest that there's no pilot who would agree to fly Trump out of the country illegally consider that he wanted his personal pilot John Duncan  (bleow) to be made the head of the FAA. If he wouldn't do it I think he could find another pilot sufficiently loyal to do this for the right price.

One last thought: there is something the judge, any ot the jduges in his cases, can do that that might bother Trump short of throwing him in the hoosecow. They could confiscate his plane.

Of course he could ask Harlan Crow to have him flown out of the coutnry on his  Bombardier Global 5000 jet (below). 

Crow himself might like living in a mansion on the Black Sea, and while I am in a flight of fancy, perhaps Clarence and Ginni Thomas might also move there.

June 25, 2023

Too soon to tell if Russian revolt was a nothing burger, an everything burger, or something in between


Photo of his delicious everything burger by author who is always seeking restaurants and pubs with mouthwatering burgers like the one above.

By Hal Brown

This is a follow-up to yesterday's blog where I took off my shrink's hat and delved into an area where if I actually had degree in foreign policy it would be from Trump University. I titled that blog "Is the Wagner group waging an armed mutiny, a civil war in the making, uprising, a coup, the bringing of the self-destruction of Russia, or a a spurious threat, basically a nothing-burger" which really isn't worth reading today if you missed it.

I was struck by how the media jumped all over the missing Titanic sub with near constant coverage of four rich men and the unfortunate son (who didn't really want to go) facing death. I compared this to how the Baby Jessica in the well story and the Thai soccer team trapped in the cave stories captured worldwide attention.

This Russia story was both riveting and of major international significance. It received well-deserved extensive media coverage... except on Fox News online.

This morning pundits who actually have expertise in the subject are trying to explain what this all means. The chyron under the stories about this on MSNBC reads "Aftermath of Armed Revolt Inside Russia."

On that channel John Brennan, former CIA director, and retired admiral James Stavidis, and former ambassadors to Russia Michael McFaul and Jane Harmon, among others are explaining what this all may mean for the fate of Putin and Ukraine.

As someone whose expertise lies elsewhere I am ill equipped to pontificate on this, or predict what it may portend. I am fascinated by way two characters, both ruthless warlords who could be in a novel or TV series can hold sway over the outcome of a war. Game of Thrones, which I never watched has been mentioned, with a pundit saying that the
moral of this story is that if you try to kill the king you'd best succeed, or else.


So you don't have to look at Fox News online, this is what they think is important today:

Even Breitbart leads with the Russia story:

Here's the MSNBC website...

and The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN:

Adendum: By chance this was the ad that was on HUFFPOST when I looked at it (ON LOWER RIGHT)

I just had to do a little photo-manipulation:

Updates: It is worth noting a few points David Ignatius made in his Washington Post column (subscription): 

Putin looked into the abyss Saturday — and blinked

"This was a real coup, until it wasn’t."

  • President Vladimir Putin looked into the abyss Saturday and blinked. After vowing revenge for what he called an “armed mutiny,” he settled for a compromise.
  • The speed with which Putin backed down suggests that his sense of vulnerability might be higher even than analysts believed. Putin might have saved his regime Saturday, but this day will be remembered as part of the unraveling of Russia as a great power — which will be Putin’s true legacy.
  • This was a real coup, until it wasn’t...
  • Only madmen jump into the abyss in situations like this, and neither Putin nor Prigozhin is crazy. This was like a game of chicken where both cars swerve in the end, or a duel where both fighters shoot in the air, to fight another day.  
  • It was a close shave, not a decapitation.

  • What comes next, surely, is more trouble for Putin in Ukraine. Prigozhin told the truth flat out in the days before his march on Moscow. Ukraine didn’t threaten Russia, and Russia’s invasion was unnecessary — a mistake of epic proportions. Even Putin, the ice man, can’t freeze the burning truth of his Ukraine disaster.

MSNBC is covering the Russia story exclusively. I did what I hardly ever do and tuned into Fox News to see what they were broadcasting. They are covering a variety of other news:

If you don't see Disquis (the preferred comment feature) below, click here and scroll down.

June 24, 2023

Is the Wagner group waging an armed mutiny, a civil war in the making, uprising, a coup, the bringing of the self-destruction of Russia, or a a spurious threat, basically a nothing-burger?



With the invasion apparently stopped and the convoy which was headed towards Moscow turned around, and some unknown resolution reached between Prighozin and Putin, we still don't know whether this will turn out to have been a nothing burger, all roll and no burger.

By Hal Brown

Is this the most credible threat to Putin since the start of his regime?

Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin says that Ukraine never was a threat to Russia.
Scroll down for updates - compared to last night we know much more than we did then.

The following paragraph (with strike-throughs) has been updated from when I wrote this early this morning. 

We don't  didn't know much more about what's was happening in Russia this morning than we did last night even though the stories are were all over the news, for example on MSNBC and in HUFFPOST...

... and in the two newspapers of record in the United States which only occasionally have the same top of the page stories:

The words being used to try to make sense of this include whether this represents a civil war in the making, an uprising, a coup, the bringing of the self-destruction of Russia, or on the other hand a spurious threat which would make it basically a newsworthy nothing-burger, albeit a dramatic one.

One thing is for certain, not only is this making the news internationally, but it led Vladimir Putin to address the nation, and hence the world, in a 5 ½ minute speech.

Here's a time I wish could understand Russian and listen to him without the halting English dubbing in the video shared on Sky TV. You can see his facial expressions along with the words which he seems to be carefully reading off a teleprompter. 

I expect members of our and other intelligence agencies who are fluent in Russian have been intensively analyzing this video to attempt to discern just how worried Putin is behind the bravado of his words as he tries to convey confident seriousness as he says Russia is fighting for the life and security of its citizens and its territorial integrity, and for the millennial  history of the country.

A retired general on MSNBC, by far more of an expert than I am, is none-the-less trying to discern whether this is a coup in the making which could bring major changes to Russia. He noted that much would depend whether a significant number of the regular Russian military units remain loyal to Putin.

Of grave concern is what would happen to Russian's nuclear threat if the instability led to the nuclear unthinkable. Putin has been all bluster when it came to threatening to use tactical nukes against Ukraine. If his hold on power is tenuous, while I haven't heard experts express this concern, I wonder if he would take, or attempt to take, this drastic and highly risky step. I wonder whether if he attempted to do this his own generals would mount a coup of their own to stop him.

On MSNBC, Evelyn Farkas, American national security advisor, author, and foreign policy analyst, just said the Wagner situation was incredibly serious. She called it the biggest threat Putin has ever faced.

Also on MSNBC, Congressman Gerry Connelly (a Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) said it could be the beginning of the unraveling of the Putin regime, that it could be a really serious threat to Putin's remaining in power. He did say there are no good guys in this, that Prigozhin is a  brutal murderous thug. He justified the killing of a recaptured deserter with a sledge hammer.

This is a "stay tuned and wait" story where the outcome will be decided in a matter of weeks if not days. In its significance it is about as far removed from the story which just played out about the Titanic OceanGate disaster which I wrote about on June 21st as any news story could be.

It may not be too soon to imagine Russia without Putin. Nobody knows whether Prigozhin has designs on becoming the new Russian leader. He began his adult life as a run-of-the-mill criminal, ended up in prison for nine years, but bounced back and ran a very successful catering business, became close to Putin, ran a troll farm to influence the US 2016 election, and finally developed a mercenary army which by all reports is better than the Russian army. (Read more about him on Wikipedia.)

Down the road is it possible to have major, or even minimal, positive changes in relations between Russia under new leadership with Putin out of the picture and democratic countries with another sociopathic leader running the country?

Prigozhin could end up as a more pragmatic Russian leader to deal with than Putin who seems to have descended into the realm of delusions. Perhaps in Prigozhin Russia could have a leader not obsessed with restoring the nationalist  glory of the former Soviet Union and make the country more like China with its dictator deciding to compete with the West economically.


Click above to read


Prigozhin said his fighters would not surrender, as “we do not want the country to live on in corruption, deceit and bureaucracy.”

“Regarding the betrayal of the motherland, the president was deeply mistaken. We are patriots of our homeland,” he said in an audio message on his Telegram channel.

June 13, 2023

Remember Ukraine today and that whatever Trump was and is, Putin is an active war criminal


Photo modified by author from Creative Commons color picture here.

By Hal Brown

I was listening to BBC on the radio last night and they reported on Putin's latest attack on civilian targets, in this instance an attack killing at least 11 people in Zelenskyy's hometown. They also described how the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, which Putin shamelessly and nonsensically blames on Ukraine, has flooded thousands of acres of prime farmland and will create a major food crisis. Flood waters are polluting acres of rich farmland and moving landmines into new areas where they will have to be found and removed.

Americans who follow the news will be focused on Trump's court appearance, but while this is going on Ukrainian civilians will be waiting for the next attack by Putin's forces. 

Trump is called all kinds of names by his detractors. He's been likened to Hitler but this misses the fact that the world  has in Putin a Hitler, albeit minus the systematic attempt to exterminate Germany's Jewish population (and others).

Trump is often accused of blaming others for his worst misdeeds as he professes his own innocence. Compared to Putin's claiming that Zelenskyy was a NAZI Trump's turning the truth inside-out is small potatoes. 

I was looking for a non-copyrighted picture (like the one I modified above) to use for this blog and came across one used to illustrate this recent editorial in The Guardian which is worth reading:

The Guardian view on Vladimir Putin’s war: terror without purpose

The subtitle is "The fog of war is thick in Ukraine, but certain strategic and moral truths remain crystal clear" and the caption under the picture reads "Mr Putin’s war is sustained by his monstrous pride."

Take a look at the photo by Mikhail Klimentyev of the A.P. which illustrates The Guardian editorial. Of the many pictures of Putin which you can find with an image search this one (in the seventh row of the image search) seems to  best convey both the monstrous pride noted in the caption and the evil within this 21st century war criminal.

While many of us will be watching coverage of the unprecedented historic event in Miami today on TV, it would be good to give pause to be thankful that we are even able to have electricity to turn on our televisions, let alone not have to be hunkering down in a bomb shelter worrying about our lives and the lives of our loved ones who are in combat against Putin's invaders.

If you don't see the Disquis comment section it is on the bottom of this page.

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