We wanted to share a little story from the recent past of Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who features in this week’s news about Donald Trump Jr. That story, we think, says a lot about Russian power, how it works and when it doesn’t.
I have very little to say, except to recommend the UK Buzzfeed investigation series into murders of people involved with Russia, anchored in the UK. Poison in the System From Russia with Blood The Man Who Knew Too Much The Secrets of the Spy in the Bag All of this may read like a tension-ratcheting... Continue Reading →
Short one today: It is awful to hear that St Petersburg was struck by an act of violence, as a bomb exploded in the Metro with a current death-toll of 14 people and a second bomb was disarmed before it could take more lives. The question of who is responsible for the St Petersburg Metro bombing seems quickly resolved: Akbarzhon Jalilov, an ethnic Uzbek born in Osh in 1995, is the prime suspect. Undoubtedly the perpetrator acted in the belief he was standing up for a cause. Russia has long since been a target for terrorist attacks, in part because of its heavy military advances against ISIS' occupation of the Middle East. But it would be short-sighted to believe that this wasn't a situation open to exploitation by the Government.
It's a chant that children use to intimidate each other into keeping secrets: snitches get stitches. If you reveal the truth to any authorities, you must face the consequences. But children aren't known for suspiciously falling out of windows (even in Game of Thrones). The scale of secrets doesn't quite compare to international relations interference. The news that Mike Flynn was available to be interviewed by the authorities about his connections to Russia prior to Trump's election reached the UK over night. Flynn offers this with the caveat of requesting immunity against unfair prosecution, according to a statement by his lawyer.
Newspapers don't have the luxury of writing profiles so much as magazines, which proliferate on the internet. A favourite topic of pursuit: Who is the real right hand man to Vladimir Putin? They love looking at the power behind the throne, they can't believe that without a "grey cardinal" he could get to where he is, and stay there.
Science fiction tells many tales of machines that overtake humanity, take on their own will and act in their own interest. Science fiction always seems such a long way away, even with projected interactive screens becoming a reality and self-tying shoelaces. So who is to say that machines won't actually one day lord over us - just with people at the helm?
I have not been alive in Germany at a time that the accusation of a Lügenpresse existing being bandied around commonly. And at first I was quite surprised that I would be alive to hear that this was the case in the United States.
There are only two possibilities regarding these leaks: they are somewhat or completely true, or they are completely false. There is no true nuance between these two options, but the ramifications aren't quite so binary: a man that has been recorded to carry a conversation including the phrase "Grab them by the pussy" can reasonably expect leniency toward other acts of depravity because that has been the established reaction to any missteps (ones that would bring down any other politician, one might imagine). The degree of outrage by the "mainstream media" will vary.
Putin's rule as President began (again) in 2012, but he was in the high echelons of politics already in 1999. Trump made first ripples in the pond of American politics with his claims of doubt regarding President Obama's birth country and legitimacy in his elected role in 2011 - reawakening a suspicion that went back as far as 2004. The controversial issue was heard around the world, though it left no noticeable traces elsewhere. (As an aside, I would be interested in learning if other countries have experienced an ascendancy to power by a "minority" whose eligibility/suitability has been called into question by nature of their "minority")