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Monday, April 24, 2017

Authoritative Putin Think Tank Could Not Choose Between Clinton and Trump

A Reuter’s exclusive cites seven anonymous “informed sources” with access to the “confidential” reports of the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). Reuters claims that these reports “provided the framework and rationale” for the Kremlin’s “intensive effort …. to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system.” My own reading of RISS published reports (in Russian) finds that RISS’s experts were ambiguous on which candidate to favor, despite the US intelligence community’s conclusion that “Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference [my italics] for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton,”

Putin’s spokesman denied the Reuters claims during a regular press briefing and cautioned that “seven anonymous sources are not worth one real one.”


RISS is indeed an authoritative Russian think tank, headed by top security veterans and staffed by qualified senior researchers. RISS maintains an active working paper and publication series and has its own TV interview network. RISS’s evaluation of candidates Clinton and Trump could therefore provide a glimpse into Putin’s own thinking.    


go to Forbes.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Truckers' Strike Pits The People Against The Kremlin

The platon strike is a significant battle of wills between the Kremlin and Russia’s working class. The long-haul trucker strike offers a model of how to fight the “monster” of the Putin political system, which teaches ordinary Russians that it is useless to struggle. If the Kremlin backs down and withdraws the tax, the Russian people may see that resistance can work.


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Putin Applies MH17 False-Flag Template To Syria's Gas Attack To Convince Russian Public

If Putin can convince his people that Russian missiles did not shoot down MH17, he can even more easily convince his domestic audience that client Bashar Assad  is being framed by a sinister false-flag operation mounted by the CIA, NATO, ISIS and hostile Sunnis -- all in cahoots against the innocent Syrian dictator. Putin may even be joined the the vast community of Trump haters, who are ready to believe that Trump (and Putin) are somehow behind the gassing of Syrian innocents.

Get ready for another round of crazy conspiracy theories, which serve Putin's goal of blaming powers other than Russian and Syria for the barbarism at Idlibe.


go to Forbes.com

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Kremlin Claims Trump Has Joined The Terrorists With An Invented WMD Excuse To Strike Syria

President Trump's decision to launch missiles against a Syrian air base suspected of launching a chemical weapons attack on civilians has placed the Putin regime in a tenuous position. Few would object to punishing a sarin attack on innocent children, just as reasonable people would want those who shot down MH17 brought to justice. With Assad as a key client, Putin does not have a good comeback. He can only create smokescreens that he knows the world will reject but he hopes his own people will swallow.

go to Forbes.com

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our Politics Has Given Putin The Weapon To Create A Constitutional Crisis

Knowing Putin, he will wait for the right moment to say without offering any proof: “Of course, it was decided that I'd help Mr. Trump win. He is a good man, and I knew that he would do a far better job than Hillary. I did this to help both our countries." Russian journalists are already speculating what words he will use. 
Putin has the leverage, thanks to our politics, to throw the US into a constitutional crisis. Thank you, political class. Remember my words when Putin pulls this rabbit out of his hat.

go to Forbes.com

Friday, March 31, 2017

100% Renewables by 2050 -- Germany Pays the Price for its Ambition

Germany has set the most ambitious agenda for renewable energy. According to Germany’s Enegiewende program, the share of renewables in electricity generation should reach 45 percent by 2030 and 100% by half century. Complicating matters is Germany’s Atomstop decision to close down its nuclear power plants under pressure from the powerful Green movement. The Atomstop agreement calls for substantial payments by electrical utilities into a special fund for storing nuclear waste.
Germany’s mechanism for achieving its ambitious renewable-energy goals is not direct subsidies but the requirement that its utilities must take wind and solar energy first into the power grid.
With wind and solar energy costing multiples more than conventional energy, their increasing share will continue to raise Germany’s wholesale electricity prices above those in other countries with less ambitious renewable energy policies. (See Figure for 2016 price comparisons).


go to Forbes.com (energy fellows)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hackers In Epaulets: A Challenge To The Consensus on Russian Interference in the 2016 Election?

To connect the dots on Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election (RussiaGate), we must begin with the understanding that Russia is a criminal enterprise disguised as a state. Duty-bound KGB officers have been replaced by shadowy figures who deal in compromising material, often for personal financial gain, and shuttle between private and state activities. Russia’s vaunted cyber warfare is carried out by independent-contractor operator/criminals who often wear the uniform of the Federal Security Service (FSB), foreign intelligence (SVR), or defense ministry (GRU). A new term has entered the vocabulary: hackers in epaulets.


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Nationwide Protests Against Corruption Catch Russia's Authorities Off Guard

Chances are that Putin will regain the initiative, but he must pile repressive measures on top of already repressive measures. There are limits. Many pundits believe that the Putin regime is unstable. It cannot go on, but we have difficulty picturing the scenario under which the Putin regime falls. If nationwide demonstrations accelerate and people are indeed “no longer afraid,” could this be it?

go to Forbes.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

Putin Plans For Reelection Without Crimea Euphoria And The Trump Bubble

Putin has exhausted the popularity gains from Crimea and has gotten no boost from Syria. He has the admiration of vast segments of the Russian population, who can see no one other than he as their president. Donald Trump must be on Putin’s mind. Trump supposedly had no chance to win. Putin should be a shoo-in. Life and politics occasionally play tricks.



go to Forbes.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is Putin Preparing To Admit Guilt For MH17?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began its hearings on Ukraine's suit against Russia on March 6 in the Hague. Ukraine’s 45-page indictment alleges that Russia violated two UN conventions: First, the Terrorist Financing Treaty through its support of "illegally armed groups" in the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and, second, the mistreatment of Tartars under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The shooting down of MH17 is included as a violation of the Terrorist Financing Treaty. Under ICJ procedures, intent to harm civilians must be proved. Putin's lawyers appear to be making the case that the shooting down of MH17 was a terrible mistake -- implicitly on Russia's part.


go to Forbes.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Saudi Oil Minister Sounds Trouble For Russia At Houston Conference

Energy producers and OPEC ministers, meeting at CERAWeek in Houston, grappled with a global glut of oil that was not supposed to be. Back in November, OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers agreed to their first production cut in eight years. Thus ended a Saudi-led experiment with free markets that had driven down crude prices to historic lows. The Saudi gamble was that low prices would dry up U.S. shale investment, rig counts, and hence crude production, that competes with OPEC and Russian output.
The experiment apparently failed.



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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Putin Changes Course As He Gives Up On Trump

With Trump and Putin, we are returning to the Reagan-Gorbachev era, but under less favorable conditions for the Russian side. The USSR had a larger population than the US and its GDP was around one half. Can Putin really hope to compete with a country two and a half times Russia’s population and a GDP a 14 times Russia's? Can he sacrifice his peoples’ living standards, health, and education even more? I doubt it.


go to Forbes.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Interview with Only Russian Linked to Hacks of US Political Institutions

I recently was contacted by Vladimir Fomenko, of Biysk, Siberia. He complained that he and his server-hosting company, King-Servers, had been falsely accused of being deeply involved in Russian hacking of U.S. political institutions. We entered into a correspondence for the purpose of allowing Fomenko to tell his side of the story. Here it is.


go to Forbes.com

Saturday, February 18, 2017

No One Mentions That The Russian Trail Leads To Democratic Lobbyists

In his February 16 press conference, President Trump declared in response to the intensifying media drumbeat on his Russian connections: “I haven’t done anything for Russia.” K-Street lobbyists, on the other hand, have done a lot to help Russia. They greased the skids for a strategic deal (that required the Secretary of State’s approval) that multiplied the Kremlin’s command of world uranium supplies. They likely prevented the shipment of strategic weapons needed by Ukraine to repulse well-armed pro-Russian forces. A fugitive billionaire who robbed the Ukrainian people of billions is represented by one of the establishment’s most connected lawyers.
Gazprombank GPB hired Breux and Lott to gain repeal of sanctions. That’s perfectly fine in Washington; they are playing according established “swamp rules” in their tailored suits and fine D.C. restaurants. General Flynn lost his job when the subject of sanctions was mentioned by the Russian ambassador in their telephone conversation, but that’s the way the media and Washington play.


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Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Time For Trump To Call Ukraine's 'Pro-Russian Rebels' What They Are: Russian Invaders

The West has, to my regret, subscribed to an “uncontrollable but influenceable” interpretation of Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict. Angela Merkel (along with President Obama)  has called repeatedly on Putin “to use his influence” on Ukrainian rebels to end the conflict, to which Putin replies in fake innocence that he wants a peaceful Ukraine on his borders.  The West embraces the notion of “uncontrollable but influenceable” as a convenient excuse for not taking action against Russian aggression, other than economic sanctions and words.



go to Forbes.com

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Putin Counterattacks: Russian Turncoats Working For The CIA Hacked The Kremlin

In the course of its investigation, the FSB discovered that a group of Russian hackers calling themselves “Shaltai-Boltai” had hacked the personal accounts of the highest officials of the Russian government, the presidential administration, and the ministry of defense. The FSB has concluded that the Shaltai-Boltai” attacks were coordinated by Mikhailov and carried out by super-hacker, Dokuchaev.
Note that Putin’s charges are more dramatic than those of the U.S. Democratic and media establishment:  American spies hacked the entire Russian state, not just the DNC or John Podesta as the Democrats charge Russia. Putin is more of a victim than Hillary Clinton, according to this line of reasoning.
go to Forbes.com

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Trump Dossier Is Fake -- And Here Are The Reasons Why

After reading the Orbis report I got the queasy feeling that it may have influenced intelligence community’s unclassified report Leaks of classified bits by NBCNews and the Washington Post suggest the findings were, in part, based on British intelligence and spies. I wonder if the reference is to Putin’s role, which the intelligence report characterized as direct. This is a matter the new administration must look into.
We have reached a sad state of affairs where an anonymous report, full of bizarre statements, captures the attention of the world media because it casts a shadow over the legitimacy of a President-elect, who has not even taken the oath of office. For example, the Trump dossier is tonight’s lead item on German state television and on BBC. False news has become America’s international export to the world media.


go to Forbes.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Why Russia Cannot Become Our Friend: Memo to President Trump

Regrettably, the prospects for a successful negotiation with Putin over the “unsatisfactory condition of Russian-American relations” are near zero for the following reasons: The Putin regime requires confrontation with the US for its very survival, while Trump must deliver “beautiful deals” that “make American great again.” If Trump were to sign a deal which does not yield real enforceable concessions by Putin on Crimea, east Ukraine, or the Middle East, Trump’s deal-making image would be shattered along with his presidency.


go to Forbes.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trump's Election Spoils Putin's Narrative To The Russian People

The 2016 election shows Russians that, in America, a candidate can come out of nowhere – a David to slay the Goliath of crooked American politics. This is contrary to Putin’s narrative of a decadent, greedy, and aggressive US establishment that uses its political monopoly to cut down a Trump-like candidacy. This is the last message Putin wants delivered to the Russian people with his own carefully-orchestrated election scheduled for 2018.


go to forbes.com