Wednesday, May 18, 2022

North Korea - Corona Outbreak - Latest News


(平壤17日综合电)朝鲜冠病疫情延烧,朝中社周三报道,当地过去一天新增23万2800宗发烧个案,再多6人死亡,累计个案增至超过171万宗,62人死亡,仍约69万人正接受治疗。 ..... 官方报道又指,近3000名军人进驻平壤数百间药房,启动24小时报务,协助寿措医疗物资和供应。近500个机动防疫组和治疗组,亦在全国展开诊断和治疗工作。

On [May] 17, a comprehensive report from Pyongyang informed that North Korea's coronavirus epidemic continues to spread. On Wednesday [May 18], the North Korean Central News Agency reported 232,800 new cases of 'fever' having emerged the day before. Six more people died, bringing the total to more than 1.71 million cases [of infections], with 62 deaths and about 690,000 people still receiving treatment.
.....
Official reports also stated that nearly 3,000 soldiers are stationed in hundreds of pharmacies in Pyongyang, reporting every 24-hours, in order to assist life saving measures with medical supplies and [direct] response. Nearly 500 mobile epidemic prevention teams and treatment teams are carrying out diagnosis and treatment work as well across the country.

[星洲网 A Chinese language news center from Malaysia on May 18]

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter Bonfire in Times of War

This year the Easter Bonfire is no longer a sign of revival but a reminder of destruction.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Chinese Obituary for a Russian Battleship

Here is an unusual obituary for battleship 'Moscow', flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Even though modernized, it should have served the Russian navy during the last 40 years. Now it sank due to an 'explosion of ammunition', probably incited by Ukrainian forces using cutting edge anti-ship missiles.


As to the destruction of the Ukrainian Antonov AN-225, the biggest aircraft ever built, here is a video footage showing the damage inflicted by Russian military and which is mentioned in the above 'obituary':



Thursday, April 14, 2022

Evacuation of Russia's Flagship in the Black Sea

UPDATE on April 15, 2020:
Russia's flagship 'Moscow' sank within hours after
having suffered from a detonation of ammunition.




China's Global Journal - Global Network 环球时报环球网, quoted by other media from Mainland China, reported the following news:

乌克兰敖德萨军政管理局负责人13日表示,乌军使用“海王星”导弹重创了俄黑海舰队旗舰“莫斯科号”导弹巡洋舰。乌克兰总统办公室主任顾问阿列斯托维奇也对乌克兰媒体表示“莫斯科号”导弹巡洋舰中弹起火。

[An official Ukrainian source stated on April 13:] The Ukrainian army used the 'Neptun' missile to seriously damage missile cruiser 'Moscow', the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.


The R-360 Neptun missile system is the latest Ukrainian version of a Russian system. It was pre-produced in small series in 2021 and planned to enter military service by 2022.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Poland - Russia Behind Polish Leader's Plane Crash ?

Yesterday, April 11, the news agency American Press AP quoted the Polish Press Agency PAP as follows:

The latest of the commission’s reports, released Monday, alleges that an intentional detonation of planted explosives caused the April 10, 2010 crash of Soviet-made Tu-154M plane that killed [Poland's president Lech] Kaczynski, the first lady and 94 other government and armed forces figures as well as many prominent Poles.

Their deaths were the result of an “act of unlawful interference by the Russian side,” the commission's head Antoni Macierewicz told a news conference.

"The main and indisputable proof of the interference was an explosion in the left wing ... followed by an explosion in the plane's center," said Macierewicz, who in 2015-2018 served as defense minister in Poland's right-wing government.

He denied that any mistakes were made by the Polish pilots or crew members, despite bad weather at the time of the crash.
[The crash took place on a military airfield near Smolensk, Russia.]




Editor's Note:
The above quoted Polish sub-committee report has an official status, and PAP is a government financed press agency. However, political development in EU member state Poland has become complicated in recent years. As American Press AP put it: The latest report once again drums up hostility toward Russia among some Poles, chiefly supporters of the nationalist government, in what seems to be an effort to consolidate the voter base of the Law and Justice party, which was founded by the Kaczynski twins in 2001.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Ukraine - Beijing Blaming the West

Important UPDATE
added on April 8

Yesterday, April 6, semi-official People's Network published a statement given by the spokesman for the Chinese Mission to the European Union. That statement rejects EU accusations of China spreading unacceptable Russian conspiracy theories on the issue of the Ukrainian war, blaming the United States and NATO.

The Chinese statement indirectly hints at America's foreign policy under former US presidents like George W. Bush and which had led to the destabilization of Afghanistan and Iraq, yet without directly naming anybody. Published by China's semi-official online voice, that statement revives the idea of what the Chinese people got to know as 'US imperialism', allegedly representing a hegemonial attitude based on wrong accusations and tactical lies and which doesn't even refrain from the use of military force.

The statement, however, doesn't show any shift of position on the Chinese side. It only reiterates what is already known about China's verbal intention to recognize basic norms of international relations while acting in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and its commitment to promote peace talks and efforts to cool down the situation.

发言人重申,中方在乌克兰问题上的立场是一贯的、明确的,也是客观的、公允的。有关文章刻意歪曲中国立场主张,中方对此表示强烈不满、坚决反对。我们提醒有关人士不要选择性失明。这几十年来,是谁散布虚假信息发动战争侵犯别国的主权和领土完整?是谁不断扩大地域领域影响扰乱了地区稳定?是谁挑起冲突造成了大规模人道主义灾难?这样的责任,还需要“归咎”吗?双重标准欺骗不了世人的眼睛,旧冷战时代的盟友阵营绝不能代表公平正义。

The spokesperson
[for the Chinese Mission to the European Union] reiterated that China's position on the Ukraine issue is consistent, clear, objective and fair. The relevant article deliberately distorts China's position and proposition. China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this. We remind those concerned not to be selectively blind. In the past few decades, who has spread false information and launched wars to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries? Who is constantly expanding regional influence and disrupting regional stability? Who provoked the conflict and caused the massive humanitarian disaster? Does such responsibility still need to be "blamed"? Double standards cannot deceive the eyes of the world, and the alliance of the old Cold War era can never represent fairness and justice.


AFP [on a regular press conference]: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell said that Chinese officials were reluctant to talk about Ukraine during the China-EU leaders' meeting last week. How do you respond to this?

Zhao Lijian
[spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs]: A few days ago, the leaders of China and the EU held a very successful meeting. The remarks of the relevant European officials you just mentioned are not in line with the facts. What the relevant EU officials should do is to advance the bilateral relations between China and the EU in accordance with the consensus and spirit reached at the China-EU leaders' meeting, instead of making irresponsible remarks.

Only one day after the official statement was made by China's EU Mission, immediately confirmed by a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a more popular and less diplomatic version of China's stance appeared as 'personal view' in China's Defense Journal.

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Ukraine - Why China Won't Openly Oppose Russia


Last Update: April 05, 2022

China's Policy of "Saying One Thing, Doing Another"


Eurasianet, a news center specialized on the Caucasus region and Central Asia, came to the following conclusion:

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has said all the right things in support of Russia, its professed strategic partner. Chinese officials have faithfully repeated Russian propaganda, refusing to describe the unprovoked attack on Ukraine as a “war” or “invasion,” while echoing the Kremlin claim that NATO’s expansionist desires are the root cause of the conflict.

But Beijing’s actions are telling a different story, underscored by the March 9 Foreign Ministry announcement that the Chinese Red Cross is supplying almost $800,000 in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The amount is small, but the gesture is significant in the current context: Chinese leaders are hedging their geopolitical bets.

It was just over a month ago that Russian leader Vladimir Putin met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The two issued a joint statement describing bilateral relations as “superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era,” and cooperation as having “no limits.”

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, however, China’s behavior toward Russia has been circumspect and restrained, its officials proclaiming solidarity with Russia without following up in substance. Before Russian troops attacked, Chinese officials spoke against Western sanctions. But once the United States and European Union started imposing sanctions and disconnecting Russian banks from the SWIFT financial network, leading Chinese financial institutions began quietly adhering to the restrictions, according to Bloomberg news service.


Related Article: Chinese fleeing Ukraine - Official Support



Strategic Benefits for China


A personal view published in the Chinese Financial Times Network put it that way:

There is now a popular view at home and abroad that China will be an important beneficiary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The reason is that the Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights the contradiction between Russia and the West, especially the United States, and leads the United States' strategic focus from Asia to Europe, which will reduce the international pressure on China. In other words, China will be the winner of this geopolitical conflict. To demonstrate this point, the claim often cites the US war in Afghanistan as an example. After President George W. Bush took office in 2001, he planned to exert more pressure on China, but the "9·11" terrorist attack in 2001 completely changed this situation. In the following 20 years, the United States has devoted itself to combating international terrorism, thus easing the pressure on China. China has therefore won 20 years of golden development opportunities and made great strides in economic construction. Now, at a time when the United States regained focus on deploying a geopolitical strategy of "back to Asia" and treating China as a strategic competitor, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out again, which prompted the United States to reconsider its global strategy and allocate more power to Europe.

It is therefore that China will not be inclined to join ranks with a global majority of nations to oppose Putin's war on Ukraine. China's priority would rather be a silent reconstruction of global alliances and delivery chains to compensate for the damage inflicted by Putin's war on China's 'One Road One Belt' strategy in Central Asia.

Furthermore, showing public disagreement with Putin's macciavellian strategy for eastern Europe could reshift the focus of international criticism to China's own domestic and global strategies.


China Still Follows its Global Economic Strategy

On April 2, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong published an article titled "Why the War in Ukraine Won't Derail China's "One Belt, One Road" Initiative's ambitious goals". The author is Hong Kong - APEC Trade David Dodwell, executive director of the Policy Research Group.


欧亚铁路是个惊人的成功。去年,大约有150万个集装箱往来于中国与23个欧洲国家的130个城市之间,在疫情扰乱了海运和空运之际,占中欧贸易的5%至8%。

俄乌冲突无疑扰乱了运输,但长期来看,认为这将产生重大影响是不准确的。

对北京而言,欧亚铁路只是中国争取世界贸易市场准入多样化、减少对马六甲海峡和苏伊士运河的依赖、确保能够长期获得国内长期供应不足的大宗商品渠道的众多项目之一。根据路孚特公司“一带一路”倡议数据库统计,它已包括全球2631个项目,总价值达3.7万亿美元。

从这个角度看,“一带一路”为一个不稳定的世界提供了极其重要的防御。欧亚铁路短期损失部分集装运输业务,不会让中国人夜不能寐。

The Eurasian Railway was an astonishing success. About 1.5 million containers travelled between China and 130 cities in 23 European countries last year, accounting for 5-8% of trade between China and Europe at a time when the pandemic has disrupted sea and air freight.

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has undoubtedly disrupted transportation, but it would be inaccurate to think that this will have a significant impact in the long run.

For Beijing, the Eurasian railway is just one of many projects China is seeking to diversify market access to world trade, reduce its reliance on the Straits of Malacca and the Suez Canal, and ensure long-term access to commodities that are chronically undersupplied at home. According to Refinitiv's Belt and Road Initiative database, it already includes 2,631 projects around the world with a total value of US$3.7 trillion.

From this perspective, the Belt and Road Initiative provides an extremely important defense against an unstable world. The Eurasian Railway will lose some container transportation business in the short term, which will not keep the Chinese up at night.



Related Article: Putin's War - China's Perception

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Putin - The Psychology of His Species

U.S. President Biden, notorious for his unexpected and open-hearted remarks that usually require immediate correction from his advisors, once put it that way: 'Putin is a man without a soul'.

Biden seen as an empathic personality might be right about that, at least in the clerical sense he defines a 'human soul'. But what else did we expect from a Russian leader who emerged from the dark empire of the Soviet Union as a shrewd member of his country's intelligence.

Biden, like most politicians raised in what we call the 'free world', has undergone a public development that excluded the secret formation of a 'dark triad personality'. As a result, people belonging to the three groups of dark triad personalities (psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism) would find it difficult to hide their inclination from the public when striving for the highest-ranking positions of their country. In fact, we find it easy to detect such persons in public life, starting from Senator McCarthy up to President Donald Trump, not to mention McCarthy's right hand Roy Cohn who should have played, as well, a role in the personal formation of young Donald Trump. Sometimes it is just their special inclination which makes up for their public attraction, - or public rejection on the contrary.

A dark triad personality is usually connected with a lack of empathy, however, there are some of them who are unexpectedly gifted with a fully developed empathy they could use to follow their dark inclination.

"A dark empath may actually be more dangerous than a more cold and unfeeling dark triad type, because the so-called dark empath can draw you in closer—and do more harm as a result," says Ramani Durvasula, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of "Don't You Know Who I Am?": How To Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. "The closer you are to someone, the more you can hurt them."



Basic information on the subject is given in the linked article. As to the characteristics of dark empaths scientists found out:

Though the aggression reported by the dark empaths was not as high as the traditional dark triad group, the danger of this personality profile is that their empathy, and likely resulting social skills, make their darkness harder to spot. We believe that dark empaths have the capacity to be callous and ruthless, but are able to limit such aggression. [Nadja Heym, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, and Alexander Sumich, Associate Professor of Psychology, both Nottingham Trent University]

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin had been raised in the post-Stalinist era, flooded with an aggressive propaganda which was directed against real and imagined enemies of the Soviet Union. Like many other youths of his age he was attracted by the adventurous and heroic world of state security, a world of deception, lies and sometimes bloody terror that must have deeply influenced a young personality in his development. So he became familiar with the 'dark triad' aspect of some kind of secret brotherhood which existed apart from daily life.

What made him so successful inside KGB and boostered his career, that was his strong empathic ability to evaluate people and manipulate them. This was confirmed by one of his former superiors in a video.


German ex-chancellor Schröder and 'best friend' Putin


Putin can therefore be seen as a typical 'dark empath' as defined by modern psychology.

As long as he remained in the shadow of a secret organisation, his personal inclination remained in the dark as well. But when his efficiency in solving problems for the Jelzin administration finally brought him into the office of a prime-minister of Russia, things changed dramatically. In a video interview after his inauguration, he obviously felt unwell facing the necessity to lead a public life.

In the end, however, he came to terms with his newly won popularity. Successful suppression of the Russian media and of opposition groups and activists reduced the slightest risk for him to lose his face in the public. There is simply nobody left in an influential position who might get in his way. And the Russian people are so much indoctrinated by the official media that they have come to believe anything or fear to show the slightest sign of disagreement.


A history of Vladimir Putin by Dr. Mark Felton
produced for his non-political history channel.


Putin on Russian 'traitors'
within the oligarch class.


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Putin's War - China's Perception

- Update added below on March 27 -

The following text about Putin's war on Ukraine has been quoted from a Chinese source considered as semi-official:



西方民众通过一边倒的网络了解这场战争,自然只能形成一边倒的民意。据美联社报道,2月23日的民调显示,26%的美国人认为美国应该在这场冲突中发挥重要作用。而28日,已有83%的美国人支持加大对俄制裁。而这正是美国政府需要的民意。

Western people understand this war through one-sided networks, and naturally they can only form one-sided public opinion. According to the Associated Press, a Feb. 23 poll found that 26% of Americans believe the United States should play a major role in the conflict. On the 28th, 83% of Americans supported increasing sanctions against Russia. And that's exactly what the U.S. government needs.

德国历史学家特奥多尔·蒙森曾经说过:“战争重要的是求取政治上的成果,而不是军事上的成功。”今天的战争,可能还要加上一条,求取舆论场上的胜利。因为这方面的成功不仅会影响战争的走势,还可能影响战争后时期国家的长期发展。普京要想取得军事和舆论两条战线上的胜利,不容易。

The German historian Theodor Mommsen (*) once said: "The important thing in war is to seek political results, not military success." Today's war may have to add another one, seeking victory in the field of public opinion. Because success in this area will not only affect the course of the war, but may also affect the long-term development of the country in the post-war period. It is not easy for Putin to achieve victory on both the military and public opinion fronts.


(*) Theodor Mommsen 特奥多尔·蒙森 [1817-1903] was a German scholar who became known for historical research on antiquity.

And here is what another editor marked as 'personal opinion':


The three points Putin did not expect are listed in the article as follows:

1. Putin did not expect the Ukrainian army to be so tenacious. ......
2. Unexpectedly, the reaction from the US and Europe was so intense. ......
3. The combat mode of the Russian army is so clumsy.
A large number of tanks have been destroyed, many armored vehicles have been abandoned, and supply lines have been cut off, all of which have been experienced by the Russian army in the past month. Whether it is the siege of Kiev, Kharkov, or the fierce battle for Mariupol, the Russian army's way of advancing is still the same. Tank cannons play the leading role.
..........

2022年,黑天鹅多,灰犀牛多,令人意想不到的闹剧更多,只期待俄乌早日握手言和,让这场残酷的战争走向结尾,接着打下去,只能是让美国坐收渔利。

In 2022, there will be more black swans, more gray rhinos, and more unexpected farces. We only hope that Russia and Ukraine will shake hands and make peace as soon as possible, so that this cruel war will come to an end. If we continue to fight it, we can only let the United States earn the benefits.


......................


UPDATE March 27:

On March 27 semi-official SINA quoted Russia's presidential spokesman Peskov as saying, Biden's evaluation of Putin as a 'butcher' and who 'should not rule Russia' surprised him, given that Biden once supported the 'bombing of Yugoslavia' in 1999. It might not have been NATO's brightest hour to bomb the capital of Serbia, considered as a rogue state at that time. But two Serbian nationalist leaders, Milosevic and Karasic, were behind a bloody war that destabilized multinational Yugoslavia. Both of them were tried much later for genocide before the International Court of Justice in Den Haag. Milosevic died in his prison cell before the court reached a decision on him while Karasic and military leader Mladic were finally sentenced as war criminals. I still remember the news of the Chinese embassy being accidentally hit in the Belgrade bombing.



About Russia's Losses in War .....



Official Data from the Ukrainian Military:

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Who's Afraid of Hypersonic Vladimir ?

Lets talk about hypersonic missiles:
Well, the Russians have them. The Chinese have them. The US as well. Not to forget the North Koreans.

Only difference so far: Russia showed off its Kinzhal missiles in a battlefield environment and destroyed two enemy targets in the frame of Putin's 'specially operated war' on Ukraine.

We understand that such weapons are constructed to outwit enemy missile defense systems, especially when hypersonic gliders change their direction during flight. But if that's really successful under war conditions, nobody knows up to know.

中新网3月22日电 - 在乌克兰展开军事行动22天后,俄军首次祭出“匕首”高超音速导弹。

不过,美西方官员和媒体对这一强大武器的评论,有点“酸”。有西方专家称,俄罗斯这是在“炫技”,还有媒体称,俄罗斯只想获得一种“吓唬所有人”的心理优势。

China News Service, March 22 - Twenty-two days after the launch of military operations in Ukraine, the Russian military launched the "Dagger" hypersonic missile for the first time.

However, American and Western officials and media's comments on this powerful weapon are a bit "sour". Some Western experts said that Russia is "showing off its skills", and some media said that Russia just wants to gain a psychological advantage to "scare everyone".


The photo included in the above quoted article is showing a Russian MIG-31 able to carry hypersonic weapons.

Link to a Chinese video about Russia's hypersonic missiles
based on the 3M22 Zircon system that should reach Mach 7.


San Diego Times on March 21, 2022



Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Chinese Fleeing Ukraine - Great things to happen ?

Today, 中国侨网, a Network for Chinese abroad, issued an official warning for Chinese expats not to return to Ukraine. The article is providing emergency telephone numbers in case of need.


From China's TV station CCTV we learn that an evacuation flight has saved further Chinese expats from Ukraine this morning. By the way, it should have been the fourteenth flight so far. And there is some ambiguity in a Chinese media report about another delivery of Chinese aid to Ukraine that should have arrived in Warshaw, Poland. The Shanghai media report included some kind of statement that could be intended to question the reliability of such information, rather unusual for media from China Mainland. Maybe, that aid delivery has been combined with a repatriation flight for Chinese refugees from Ukraine, and that statement was used to point at another possibility to leave the region.




Sunday, March 13, 2022

Ukraine - Humanitarian Aid from China

The 2nd batch of humanitarian supplies from China departed to Ukraine from Budapest, Hungary. Assisted by the Red Cross Society of China, the supplies for people in need arrived on a special flight of Air China in the Hungarian capital yesterday. They will be transported into Ukraine where the Ukrainian Red Cross can take them over this afternoon local time. [Chinese media, March 13]

A first batch of humanitarian aid materials provided by China already arrived at the warehouse in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, on March 11 local time.

关注乌克兰局势中国首批援乌人道主义物资分发给当地民众
Regarding the situation in Ukraine, China's first batch of
humanitarian supplies to help Ukraine was distributed to
the local people.



Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Ukraine - Horrific Days to Come


The 'thermobaric bomb' or 'vacuum bomb' is being used in Russian grenade launcher systems to generate huge flame balls that suck oxygen from the environment. It can kill groups of people on the spot who either burn, melt in the heat and/or suffocate. Such weapons use fuel jelly like the notorious napalm bombs once deployed by the US in Vietnam. They disperse an aerosol of fuel in the sky which is then ignited. Russia is known for having deployed that weapon in all of the regional wars it conducted during the last decades.



Sunday, February 27, 2022

Independent Chinese Voices from Ukraine

UPDATE added below on February 28

The following quotations have been taken from Chinese sources reporting what Chinese residents in Ukraine experienced these days. Both reports quoted seem to be published on China mainland channels while official voices from Beijing are reluctant to take sides in the conflict.


面对突如其来恶化的局势,乔丽娅表示很无奈,正如她此前在视频中所言,“很多年的兄弟,今天闹到这一步是为了什么?”而2014年开始,俄乌关系就开始走向下坡路。

Faced with the sudden deterioration of the situation, Qiao Liya expressed her helplessness. As she said in the video before, "Brothers for many years, why are you making trouble today?" Since 2014, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine has begun to decline.

乔丽娅表示,俄乌两国其实大部分人并不希望有战争。

Julia said that in fact, most people in Russia and Ukraine do not want war.



直到2月24日,王旭觉得在乌克兰的一切都在正常进行,尽管与俄罗斯矛盾已经持续了若干年。

Until February 24, Wang Xu felt that everything in Ukraine was going on normally, even though the conflict with Russia had been going on for several years.

2022年1月14日,新华社刚刚刊发了一篇题为《2021年中乌务实合作取得丰硕成果——访中国驻乌克兰大使范先荣》的文章,范先荣在接受采访时表示,“2021年中乌务实合作在双边贸易、生产投资、交通往来等多方面亮点纷呈。面对新冠肺炎疫情冲击,双边务实合作展现出强劲韧性和巨大潜力”。

On January 14, 2022, Xinhua News Agency just published an article entitled "China-Ukraine Practical Cooperation Achieves Fruitful Results in 2021 - Interview with Fan Xianrong, Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine", Fan Xianrong said in an interview, "In mid-2021, Ukraine's pragmatic cooperation has many bright spots in bilateral trade, production investment, transportation exchanges, etc. In the face of the impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, bilateral pragmatic cooperation has shown strong resilience and great potential."


This morning, it became clear to the world that Western allies in the US and EU are standing together against Russia [The Guardian - Timeline of War]:


The United Nations Security Council held a meeting on the 27th and voted to pass Resolution 2623, which was requested by the United States and others to hold an emergency special UN General Assembly on the situation in Ukraine. Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, attended the meeting, abstained from voting in the relevant voting, and made an explanation of China's voting position.

The resolution didn't pass as was expected from the beginning. China, however, did not openly take sides in favor of Russia which is its strategic partner in many aspects. On February 28, China's news agency XINHUA confirms Beijing's unchanged position in the matter.

..........................................................


Friday, February 25, 2022

How Russia Can Foil Sanctions on Payment Transactions

Here are some quotations from a Chinese article on how Russia may foil the US policy of using payment networks to sanction Russia.



俄罗斯国家杜马金融市场委员会成员鲍里斯·卡申曾公开表示,中国是俄罗斯的战略伙伴,俄罗斯在创建本国独立支付系统方面的主要伙伴是中国银联。中国银联的发展对俄罗斯有借鉴作用。 在这样的背景下,俄罗斯成立了俄罗斯国家支付卡公司(NSPK)和Mir支付系统。 俄罗斯是Visa与万事达卡的第三大市场,两巨头并不愿意退出俄罗斯市场,为了持续在俄罗斯经营业务,两巨头也接入了俄罗斯国家支付卡公司(NSPK)。

Boris Kashin, a member of the Russian State Duma Financial Market Committee, has publicly stated that China is Russia's strategic partner, and Russia's main partner in creating its own independent payment system is China UnionPay. The development of China UnionPay can serve as a reference for Russia. In this context, Russia established the Russian National Payment Card Company (NSPK) and the Mir payment system. Russia is the third largest market for Visa and Mastercard. The two giants are reluctant to withdraw from the Russian market. In order to continue their business in Russia, the two giants have also joined the Russian National Payment Card Company (NSPK).

即将满20岁的中国银联现在也已经是国际三大卡组织之一了,也成为了一个覆盖全球180个国家和地区的国际头部银行卡清算组织。 美好生活离不开支付服务,我们感叹的同时也要致敬老一辈政治家的远见卓识,拥有独立自主的支付网络,避免了国际政治的波及影响、保障了我们民生发展的长期稳定。

China UnionPay, which is about to turn 20 years old, is now one of the three major international card organizations, and it has also become an international leading bank card clearing organization covering 180 countries and regions around the world. A good life is inseparable from payment services. While we lament [about daily business], we also pay tribute to the foresight and prudence of the older generation of [China's] politicians. Having an independent payment network avoids the influence of international politics and ensures the long-term stability of our people’s livelihood development.

Visa和万事达卡已被纳入美国国会批准的《通过制裁法案》(CAATSA),以对抗美国的对手。该法案允许华盛顿对那些被视为敌视美国或忠于敌视美国的政权的企业和个人实施惩罚。 虽然当下乌克兰局势越演越烈,但当下再使用支付网络来制裁已经准备充分的俄罗斯或许会“失灵”。 一是俄罗斯官方加强了对俄境外国际卡组织的支付系统工作的严管。要求境外支付系统每季度向俄罗斯中央银行特别账户缴纳日平均交易利润25%的保证费。 二是所有的卡组织包括Visa、万事达卡均要接入俄罗斯国家支付卡公司(NSPK),这是一个集中式的本地数据处理中心,俄罗斯当地的信用卡交易都是转接NSPK处理,美国单方面无法进行干预。

Visa and Mastercard have been included in the Passing Sanctions Act (CAATSA) approved by the U.S. Congress to counter U.S. adversaries. The bill allows Washington to impose penalties on businesses and individuals deemed hostile to the United States or loyal to a regime hostile to the United States. Although the situation in Ukraine is getting worse and worse, the use of payment networks to sanction Russia, which is already well-prepared, may fail. First, Russian officials have strengthened strict control over the payment systems of international card organizations outside Russia. The foreign payment system is required to pay a guarantee fee of 25% of the average daily trading profit to the special account of the Russian Central Bank on a quarterly basis. Second, all card organizations, including Visa and MasterCard, must be connected to the Russian National Payment Card Company (NSPK), which is a centralized local data processing center. Local credit card transactions in Russia are processed by NSPK, and the United States' unilateral intervention is not possible.

- News of the Day -

More EU countries – including France, Italy and Greece – have said they would back a ban on Russia using the Swift global payments network in an attempt to pile further pressure on the country after its invasion of Ukraine.

Cyprus and Hungary also said they would support such a measure.

The move, which it is hoped would hit Russian trade by making it harder for companies in the country to do business, is being considered to escalate sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Germany seems to be reluctant on this matter because a Swift ban could damage western economies as well, according to Germany's liberal finance minister Lindner.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Putin Blew the Fuse on Ukraine

Video Update on February 25: Putin addresses the Ukrainian people in a bizarre speech:


........................................................


This morning, Russia's Putin blew the fuse with what appears to be an extensive war on Ukraine.

As reported in a war timeline, only recently provided by "The Guardian", the Russian paper "Novaya Gazeta" dared to oppose the Kremlin's official justification for the attack on Ukraine. Punctual regional protests are being reported from Russia by other western media.



Quotations taken from an article published by Forbes:
" After months of troop buildups, attempted blackmail by Russian President Vladimir Putin to get policy concessions, failed diplomacy, and Russian lies about their peaceful intentions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began early Thursday morning. Russia has massed some 150,000 troops along Ukraine's borders, according to US estimates based on satellite imagery. Ukraine does not have the military might to stop the invasion."

"There are diverse ways this conflict could impact global supply chains."
=> link to the Forbes article


The pro-Republican US TV station "Fox News" had to make it clear to Yankee Doodle Donald Trump who attacked whom: It's not the US that attacked Ukraine.



Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Putin « let the cat out of the bag »

Путин « выпустил кота из мешка »


Update included: «The World of Thoughts of a Young Chekist»

Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine in what Russia calls a "peace-keeping mission", shortly after recognising these regions as independent. He thereby accelerated a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. [US media some minutes ago]

《风暴眼》被激活
« Eye of the Storm » now activated
[SINA Finance 新浪财经 22-02-2022]

On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Luhansk People's Republic", as well as the treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Russia and these two "republics".

The Donbass is covering an area of about 60,000 square kilometers. It was subsumed into Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region is the largest coal base in Ukraine and was one of the most important heavy industry centers in the former Soviet Union. It has deep ties with Russia in terms of history, language, culture, ethnicity and economy.



Complete speech of Vladimir Putin in English, streamed and live translated by the Russian TV station RT:




The World of Thoughts of a Young Chekist


I lately rediscovered some brilliant novel from Russia which happened to make part of my favorite reading stuff in the days of my youth. It is about mysterious incidents in one of the mining regions of Ural in the years of reconstruction that followed World War II. It might, as well, intrigue young Russians in their dreams to become valuable members of the Soviet society and defend their country as a "Chekist", a member of state intelligence NKWD which later became KGB.

On the basis of a gripping plot, the novel comes up with the convincing description of some controversial figures who are running a rather small Siberian mining community. This community unexpectedly becomes the scene of unexplainable accidents and rising mistrust against one of its community members, a once well-reputed activist and convinced Communist. The plot under the main plot, however, is an intrusion by Western agents who are trying to explore the potential of industrial and mining facilities in the Ural region and in view of business interests that might offer big future wins, as soon as private business could be restored to replace failing Soviet economy. Then, pre-revolutionary owner rights should be renewed.



A fictive enquiry protocol at the end of the book is referring to real proceedings that I found quoted elsewhere. That protocol could give an idea of dangers targeting Russia from politically connected Western capitalists.

Therefore, only some years after World War II, a new adage of mistrust against Russia's former allies entered the political scene and became the basis of thoughts for highly motivated Soviet youths who dreamed of a career in the intelligence branch, as was the case with young Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.





Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Russia De-Escalates - Really ?

This morning a worried world woke up and met with Russia's claim having reduced its troops near the Ukrainian border. While some western voices looked upon that declaration as a first sign of de-escalation, others suspected a measure of deception. NATO secretary general Stoltenberg, for example, mentioned the fact that a withdrawal of troops is less important if their material still remains near the assumed battle-field.

What Stoltenberg means might be illustrated by the following view on detected military air traffic on February 5, dicussed as an alleged manning of heavy military units near the border to Ukraine with troops from eastern Russia. Such operation could be carried out within hours and in both directions.





Not yet on the retreat, if already present on the battle field: Armata T-14 upgrade !



Friday, January 28, 2022

Ukraine - An Astonishing Coincidence


Gerhard Schröder served as a Federal Chancellor between 1998 and 2005. During his early years as a member of parliament he met with East German leader Erich Honecker in East-Berlin (1985).

Shortly after Schröder had lost the German federal elections in 2005, he accepted a director's post at Gazprom, Russia's top provider of Siberian natural gas. He is connected with the disputed "Nord Stream 2" gas pipeline which he promoted from the beginning of the project. Schröder became as well a close friend to President Putin and, together with his then-wife, adopted two Russian children. His former social-democratic friends turned their backs on him because he was already known as " the comrade of shareholders " (German: "Der Genosse der Bosse").

Both, Schröder and Putin could already have met between 1985 and 1990 in Germany, at the time Putin served as a KGB and liaison officer to the East German state security. His task being related to "foreign intelligence outside East-Germany" as he told journalists on request, he could have been expected to maintain frequent contact with Russian headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst and with the Ministry of State Security in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen for which he owned a special identity card, even though he was officially stationed in Dresden. Visits to Westberlin, in the frame of interallied regulations or with a diplomatic passport, should have been easy to manage for him.

Quoted Source

As to Vladimir Putin, it was during the last years of the East-German Republic that I heard his name for the first time on one of those trains which connected Westberlin with the Federal Republic. Between both frontier stations, such trains passed without further stop in the so-called German Democratic Republic. They were reserved for Western transit passengers and surveyed by East German state security ("Stasi"). On each train a group of three East German agents could be found, one of them usually being a middle-aged woman with a conspicuous and impudent appearance that she produced to get the attention of interesting passengers who should hold her for a shameless bitch, easy to approach. According to what I heard, she was responsible for some arrests and punishment of credulous but rather harmless people. In the 1980ies I happened to take the transit connection frequently. So I came to know what people I was travelling with. Once, while I was sitting in the dining car, they were sitting behind my back and had their lunch-break. Their conversation became more private and turned around a party the woman had attended. "Did you really get an invitation for that ?" "Yes I did, and there was someone pouring his vodka discreetly into a flower pot." Muffled laughter. "That was Putin." "Hello, if there is somebody such loyal to the party line." Louder laughter.

At the very moment I didn't get the meaning of that performance, but much later I understood. It was the time of General Secretary Gorbatchev's campaign against alcoholism in the Soviet Union (1985-88) which had led to considerable economic losses. Therefore, a Russian liaison officer and special guest at that Stasi party had to find a way to keep the political line without openly insulting his German colleagues. He might even have suspected the treacherous aspect of these lackeys.


Long after the German reunification, somebody else retold the same story and its background independently on the internet. So I decided to accept this as a confirmation. As to me, I never spoke to anybody about my experience up to now. And, by the way, Vladimir Putin wouldn't have enjoyed such incredible career, if he hadn't proven his unshaking loyalty towards his former masters, Gorbatchev and Boris Jelzin.


Russian video including an interview with Putin
where he describes the character of his work.


Accepting the fact that Vladimir Putin appeared in Dresden in 1985 and became an important figure in the foreign intelligence business targeting the "main enemy" (which was the West), we can as well imagine that he wasn't entirely new in his business. Starting as a major and entitled with special privileges (access to Stasi facilities, German car plate) and with a certain knowledge of the German language, one might suppose that he had already acquired some professional experience in the spy business. From there, it should not be excluded that he had already completed this or that job to the satisfaction of his superiors. I remember two western press reports referring to the recruitment of students who had almost finished their formation in the late 1970ies or early 1980ies. Unless most spy activity of those years in the Federal Republic and Westberlin, this was specifically assigned to KGB. As to the reported cases, they should not have been too successful, but who knows about those other guys deliberately giving a hand in the establishing of global peace and socialism with a little well-paid post in it for themselves.

Much of the kind was happening in those years, sometimes directly under the eyes of uninvolved witnesses who happened to be on the spot at the wrong moment, or who got to know some shady figure who was not what he tried to impersonate. From there, I came to think that western counter-intelligence knew more than expected, even though they kept silent for their own reasons.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ukraine Conflict - A Chess Game

Last Update on January 28, 2022

The Paper, 澎湃新闻, is a Chinese digital newspaper run by the Shanghai United Media Group and said to be ideologically connected with the Communist Party of China.

On January 27, 2022, they came with an interesting comment on the Ukrainian conflict seen as a chess game. The comment is based on a perception of Ukraine being isolated in its controversy with Russia, with no western partner willing to send troops or really effective weapons. It comes to the conclusion that Ukraine has to decide with what side to negotiate.



俄乌冲突不可能调解成功,关键之处在于俄乌怎么应对问题,比如避免战斗打响。

原因很简单,从普京拿下克里米亚的那一刻开始,就意味着乌克兰不可能亲俄,泽连斯基如果替俄罗斯说好话,结果只能是被迫下台。

在大部分乌克兰人看来,俄罗斯“吞并”了克里米亚,现在还试图控制顿巴斯,无疑是不可接受的。

泽连斯基主动喊话普京和谈,还请来了马克龙、朔尔茨等帮手,无疑是好消息,至于普京是否搭理泽连斯基,就是另外一回事了。

普京的选择是直接找美国对话,因为俄罗斯认为乌克兰是美国的棋子。

开弓没有回头箭,俄乌冲突仍然充满了变数,爆发战争的可能不是没有,是继续当美国的桥头堡,还是真心实意地与俄罗斯坐下来谈,乌克兰的确得好好想想了。

It is impossible to successfully mediate the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and the key lies in how Russia and Ukraine deal with problems, such as avoiding the start of fighting.

The reason is simple: from the moment Putin took Crimea, it meant that Ukraine could not be pro-Russian, and if Zelenskiy said good things for Russia, he would only be forced to step down.

In the eyes of most Ukrainians, Russia's "annexation" of Crimea and its current attempt to control Donbass is undoubtedly unacceptable.

Zelenskiy took the initiative to call out Putin for peace talks, and also invited Macron, Scholz and other helpers, which is undoubtedly good news, as to whether Putin takes care of Zelenskiy, it is another matter.

Putin's choice is to talk directly to the United States, because Russia believes that Ukraine is a pawn of the United States.

There is no turning back from the bow, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is still full of variables, and the outbreak of war may not be nothing, whether to continue to be the bridgehead of the United States, or to sit down with Russia sincerely, Ukraine really has to think about it.


..........



[腾讯网2022年01月26日]


俄乌局势真到了一触即发的边缘吗?讲真,俄罗斯真的不想打仗,而且俄罗斯在经济上并不足以支持对乌克兰发动全面战争。就在昨天,俄罗斯股市暴跌了8.32%。

但俄罗斯没有退路,他们从地缘上必须要有一个缓冲区,不能接受让北约直接靠近边境,不能接受北约东扩。但俄罗斯也明白,如果俄乌真的爆发了战争,不但对乌克兰没什么好处,对俄罗斯也没什么好处,只能是两败俱伤,让西方火中取栗。

Is the situation in Russia and Ukraine really on the verge of erupting? To be honest, Russia really doesn't want to go to war, and Russia is not economically strong enough to support an all-out war against Ukraine. Just yesterday, the Russian stock market plunged 8.32 percent.

But Russia has no way back, they must have a buffer zone from the geopolitical point of view, can not accept NATO directly close to the border, can not accept NATO eastward expansion. But Russia also understands that if war really breaks out between Russia and Ukraine, it will not only be of no benefit to Ukraine, but also of little benefit to Russia, but it can only be a lose-lose situation and let the West take advantage of the fire.


美国每天都说狼来了,万一哪天狼真的来了呢?

Every day the US keep saying the wolf is coming.
What if the wolf really comes ?


The next day, January 27, the above quoted source reported about direct talks between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine without the presence of a US representative:


After having temporarily excluded the US from the proceedings in Russia's direct negotiations with Ukraine and representatives from France and Germany, Russia came to terms with Ukraine on the lowest possible level of a mutual ceasefire. Soon afterwards, Russia stepped forward in the controversy about a hypothetic NATO membership of Ukraine. As Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev put it: After the ceasefire even the idea of war between Russia and Ukraine should be considered as 'unacceptable'. In order to ease tensions in the conflict, a withdrawal of NATO troops from all of Eastern Europe should therefore be the logical consequence. [Reuters news agency, Chinese edition on January 28, 2022]


Zaitsev称:“如果北约从东欧国家撤军,军事紧张局势显然会得到缓解。这正是我们所呼吁的。”

Zaitsev said: "If NATO withdraws its troops from Eastern European countries, military tensions will obviously ease." That is exactly what we are calling for. "