Dear Readers:

Welcome to Awful Avalanche, here is my blog concept and what I do:

I scan online newspapers from Russian-language press, in search of interesting stories and political topics.  These are stories which Russians themselves are reading and commenting upon.

I translate or at least summarize into English the content therein.

My target audience:  Russophiles, or anybody else who is interested.

I pick stories and analysis which interest me, generally from the following categories (this might evolve):

  • Breaking News,
  • Celebrity Gossip
  • True Crime,
  • Cat Fighting,
  • Human Interest Stories,
  • maybe even some Cute Animal Stories too!

Sincerely yours,


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The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part V

Dear Readers:

Today I finish working through this historical piece written by reporter Dmitry Lyskov, entitled: Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well!

Where we left off, the striking miners were bitter when they discovered that all their hard work in dismantling the USSR had led only to the enrichment of capitalist “intellectuals” such as Anatoly Chubais.  As is the usual case in revolutions (or counter-revolutions), the people who do the yeoman work are often not the actual beneficiaries of the process.  The whole point of the operation was to build a capitalist class in Russia.  Of which, coal-miners are not one.

Still, the miners soldiered on, determined to assert themselves.  And rightfully so, since they were expected to lower themselves into the bowels of the earth every day and work for free — their wages had not been paid for over 7 months.  And this is precisely the type of situation where workers would be fools to not go on strike.

Komi is the area in red

On May 13, 1998, the miners of the city of Inta (in the Komi Republic), alongside teachers and medical workers, blocked the railroad artery leading from Moscow to Vorkuta, cutting off the entire Komi Republic from the center.

The Arctic-leaning Komi Republic, with a population of just under a million, is a federal subject within the Russian Federation, possessing an economic importance belying its sparse population, due to its location and natural resources.  In the Middle Ages, this was an important trading hub, rich in furs and timber.  Under Russian governance, the area became known also for mineral extraction.  In 1936 it became an Autonomous Soviet Republic, but later promoted to Federal status.  The town of Inta (with a population just under 100K) was founded in 1940 to support a Soviet geological expedition.  The expedition struck black gold and started building coal mines.  According to wiki, “Inta” is a Nenets (Nenets being the local aborigines who are sort of related to the Finns and Estonians, at least linguistically) word meaning “well-watered place”.  Due to all the luscious rivers and lakes.  The English word “parka” (as in a hooded jacket or coat) is a borrowing from the Nenets language.

Anyhow, it was in Inta that the so-called “Railroad War” began when the parka-clad (or not) coal miners shut Moscow off from that sweet sweet black Komi coal the Muscovites had become accustomed to.

The Nenets people invented the hoodie

The strike spread to the Kuzbass, and now things got serious when the miners blocked the Trans-Siberian Railroad (Magistral) itself.  By May 20 (1998) other towns and cities all over Russia (including Rostov) had joined in the mass strike.  This was possibly a proto-revolutionary situation, of the classical Leninist scenario, except that there was no Leninist vanguard party to guide the political demands of the strikers.

Nonetheless, the strikes soon took on a political bent.  Only this time, instead of demanding more capitalism, the strikers demanded an end to the “Liberal” reforms and re-nationalization of the enterprises.  In addition to the purely economic demands (wages, pensions, economic assistance), the strikers also started to issue demands for the resignation of the government and the President.

The Trans-Sib network

On May 22 a  governmental commission arrived in the Kuzbass, endowed with authority to negotiate a settlement.  They desperately promised the strikers whatever they wanted, just re-open the highways, that’s all we ask.  Lyskov got hold of a “uniquely absurd” document from the archives, consisting of a signed agreement between the strikers and the head of the Commission, a government official named Oleg Sysuyev.  The very first bullet point of the agreement reads:  “Send B.N. Yeltsin into retirement.  Deadline:  June 1, 1998.”

The tactic of agreeing to all the strikers demands, worked.  By the end of May most of the miners had departed from the railway lines and returned to work.  But a delegation of miners took off for Moscow and set up a tent city in front of the Government building, demanding that the agreement be honored.  The Government obviously having no intention to observe the agreement.

In June the tent city was dismantled.  The miners lingered on for another couple of months, in a futile attempt to impress the government with their chanted slogans.  But then the fatal crisis days arrived:  August 1998, this was the real political crisis, and nobody cared about the coal miners any more.  Now came the time for the man on the white horse.

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The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part IV

Dear Readers:

Today continuing with this historical piece written by reporter Dmitry Lyskov, entitled: Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well!

Where we left off, the striking miners have enriched themselves, joined forces with Boris Yeltsin, and helped to bring down the USSR.  All in a day’s work, and now we have arrived at the fateful year 1993.

Lyskov stipulates that what happened next was more like chaos theory, a series of improbable coincidences; and it should not be assumed that the miners had any clue what their actions were leading to, or could see into the dim future of these events.  But as 1993 unfolded, in a civil war between the President and the Supreme Soviet, it was enough for one of the parties to even hint at “miners are upset”, and people started throwing money at them, despite the stern edicts of the IMF.  Everybody remembered how the miners had helped Yeltsin to defeat Gorbachov; now the new players included Alexander Rutskoy and Ruslan Khasbulatov.

Khasbulatov and Yeltsin

But the Glory Days of the coal miners were numbered.  Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin!  The moving finger writ, and found Russia wanting. The IMF had its own plan for “reconstructing” the Russian mining industry, and it didn’t include supporting an overpaid elite caste.  The warning bell rang in 1994, when at a session of the Interdepartmental Commission to study the problems of the mining regions, Chairperson (and member of the Russian Government) Alexander Shokhin stayed in the meeting hall only long enough to listen to the presentation of the World Bank, and then, with shockin’ rudeness, abruptly left the hall, snubbing the protesting trade unionists outside.

In fact, paradoxically, the IMF plan included shutting down the most profitable Russian mines — go figure — and by the time of the 1995 budget, state subsidies to the mining industry had dropped by 40%.  The austerity measures led to dissatisfaction, and a nation-wide coal miners strike.  The strike began on February 1, 1996 and lasted for two days.

The strike proved that the miners still enjoyed real clout in the nation.  Just prior to it, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) had won the elections to the Duma/Parliament, harbingering an interesting Presidential election campaign that would not bode well for the “Team of Reformers”.  Understanding the not-so-solid ground they stood on, and thinking that the miners might switch sides to “He who promises the most $$$$”, the government quickly gave in to the strikers and promised them over 10 trillion rubles of government support!

In “The Iron Heel” Jack London predicted the rise of an elite caste of proletarians acting as goons for the capitalists

Still, everybody knew that this pampering of the miners could not go on forever.  The Moor has done his duty, now the Moor can go,  Preferably without letting the door slam his tushie on the way out.  The IMF and the World Bank held most of the cards at this point, and the Russian government had no choice except to bow and scrape like Sambo and Quimbo before the piercing-bullet gaze of Simon Legree.

By 1998 the coal miners were just as miserable as the rest of the working people in Russia:  At several mines, the wages were more than 7 months overdue!  People were actually expected to show up at work every day, for months on end, without seeing a paycheck!  Around this same time, the scandal of the “Overpaid Writers” broke out:  Russian media reported that some of the leading “reformers” (including Anatoly Chubais and Alfred Koch) had received advances of $90K [dollars] apiece for their upcoming (as yet unwritten) book about the Russian market reforms.  At this point it was becoming clear, even to the ignorant, exactly who was who, and what was what, in this brave new world.

In January 1998 the coal miners of the Primorye region, using an oldie but goodie gambit, attempted to block the Trans-Siberian highway.  Among their “political” demands was one directly to Chubais personally:  That he write a book about the fate of the miners and donate his earnings to the paying of their salaries.

Next:  The strikers cut Russia in two.

[to be continued]

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The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part III

Dear Readers:

Continuing with this historical piece written by reporter Dmitry Lyskov, the headline blazes: Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well!

Where we left off, Lyskov was adducing facts to support his historical thesis that the Soviet coal miners were mostly responsible for Yeltsin’s rise to power and the collapse of the USSR.  Supporting the words of Mikhail Kislyuk of the Kuzbass Strike Committee, Lyskov also quotes Yury Simonov, a historian researching this movement.  Simonov wrote that:  “It is no exaggeration to say that the miners, if not the decisive force who brought Yeltsin into the government, at least did everything they could to bring about this end.”

Lyskov then quotes a certain Yury Boldyrev (not to be confused with the Russian Liberal politician of the same name), who led the strikers of the Donbass and later went on to become a Deputy of the Supreme Rada of the Ukraine representing the Party of Regions.

Ukrainian Party of Regions had its base in the coal mines of the Donbass

According to Boldyrev:  “Yeltsin relied on the Kuzbass Strike Committees, and it was they who actually gave him the power to break up the USSR.”

Russian politician and regional Governor Aman Tuleev (who resigned his post last month, according to his wiki) reminisced about these events: “Practically all the demands of the miners and their leaders were fulfilled.  And today we reap the fruits of the coal miners strikes of 1989-1991.  The strikers demanded that Russia secede from the Soviet Union.  They got what they wanted:  the dissolution of the USSR.  In the economic sphere, did they achieve the independence of the coal-mining sector?  They demanded that the mines be allowed to establish their own norms of extraction, and they indeed won this demand.”

The Giddy 90’s

As a result of these events, the coal miners enriched themselves.  The liberalization  of prices in 1992 did not harm them:  Theirs was one of the few sectors where wages grew, and quite sharply at that.  If earlier, in Soviet times, a coal miner made 3-4 times as much money as a teacher — now that went up to 10 times as much!  In other words, the Yeltsin coup was an economic success for this group of workers.

Statue of Soviet coal miner Alexei Stakhanov

And then things got even better:  The miners trade union worked out the so-called “50-50” deal with the Yeltsin government whereby half of all the incoming tariffs into this sector were allocated to the fund which fed their wages.  Compare this to other sectors of the economy, where up to 80% of all receipts went to pay off debts, and ordinary workers never saw the money.

When they demanded economic self-sufficiency, the miners didn’t take into account one factor:  That coal mining was a crucial source of revenues for the government, along with agriculture.  Meanwhile, the Yeltsin coup had virtually overnight turned Russia into a Third World colony of the International Monetary Fund.  Now the IMF was demanding that the Russian government institute a no-deficit budget.  This could be achieved only via austerity and cutbacks in all areas of social spending.  Under the yoke of the IMF, Russian agriculture collapsed.  Leaving coal mining as almost the sole source of revenues into the governmental coffers.  This turn of events made the Russian coal miners, as a politically active and conscious movement, both much more important, and at the same time, much more vulnerable, than they had ever been.

Next:  The role of the miners in the dramatic events of 1993.

[to be continued]

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The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part II

Dear Readers:

Continuing with this historical piece written by reporter Dmitry Lyskov, the headline blazes:  Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well!

Leontief’s equations: “Und zis is why vee need zee Kapitalism!”

Where we left off, the Soviet coal miners strikes of 1989 had jumped, rather exponentially, from purely economic demands (“We need soap!  Oh, and food too!”) to radical political demands, including the dismantling of the USSR and the introduction of American economic “advisors”.

Yesterday I mentioned Wassily Leontief, whose name I misspelled because I forgot to google him and check the spelling – my bad!  Apparently the Soviet coal-miners were huge fans of Leontief’s economic theories and wanted him to lead the Market Reforms project.  By then, Leontief was very old (born in 1905) but still alive and kicking (he didn’t die until a decade after these events, in 1999).  According to his wiki, Leontief had several run-ins with the Cheka in the 1920’s, he tricked them by claiming to have cancer (he lied), so they allowed him to leave the country, and he went on to run the Economics Department at Harvard University.  Leontief’s major contribution to Economics was his theory of Input-Output Analysis, which earned him a Nobel Prize.  Input-Output Analysis studies how the outputs of one assembly line are used as the inputs to a different assembly line.  Before Leontief, economists had believed that assembly lines operated completely autonomously of each other.  [Is a very weak little joke, Comrades.]

As I mentioned, the coal miners received the blessing of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov, which emboldened their crusade to import Leontief.  They wanted to sit at his feet and learn all the wisdom from the Master.  Leontief never came, but even after their basic demands for soap and money had been met, the miners continued on, with ever-ballooning demands.  They were on a roll!

Did Gorby try to deceive the strikers?

Lyskov interviewed a participant of those events, guy by the name of Mikhail Kislyuk, who was the Deputy Chairperson of the Kuzbass Strike Committee.  According to Kislyuk, the strikers didn’t trust the Kremlin as far as they could throw it.  There was the paranoid perception that Moscow was trying to deceive them.  Gorbachov met with several of the strike committees, but never showed his face in the Kuzbass.  “After that, we became disillusioned in him and started to issue political demands as well, including the resignation of the President and the government.”

After this, the strikers naturally turned to Boris Yeltsin as their natural ally.  Like the strikers, Yeltsin hated Gorbachov and also had come to hate the Soviet “regime”,  the Nomenklatura, and Communism in general.  In the spring of 1990 the miners sent an Agitprop train to Moscow, demanding the election of Yeltsin as the Chairperson of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Republic.  The miners picketed the Congress delegates and threatened a general strike.  “Without our support,” Kislyuk averred, “it is highly dubious that [Yeltsin] would have been elected Chairperson of the Supreme Soviet of Russia.”  And the amazing thing is that Kislyuk was able to emit such an utterance and not hang his head in shame.

[to be continued]

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The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part I

Dear Readers:

On my blog, we have had some interesting discussions about the nature of socialism and what constitutes a so-called “workers state”.  Obviously, a “workers state” would be a state in which the major economic assets are owned by the entire working class.  But what would that mean, concretely, for an individual worker?  Would it mean that he would exert overbearing influence on the government?  Not exactly…  That would be analogous to affirming, that in a capitalist country every capitalist is a little king and gets to tell the government what to do.  Hardly…  Individual capitalists are often at odds with their government.  Marx stated this point very clearly in his Communist Manifesto:  “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

A proud member of the Penguin Communist Youth Group

With emphasis on the words “common affairs” and “whole bourgeoisie“, not “my bourgeois neighbor Bob”.  Since Bob is an idiot who cannot rule even inside his own home, let alone the entire nation.  And if this is true of capitalists, who are a minority among the overall population, how much triply true must it be of workers, who number in the millions?  You can’t have millions of people running the nation, it would be like bedlam.  They must elect a representative executive committee.  And the decisions of that committee are not necessarily going to suit everyone.  That’s just politics.

So this morning I saw this historical piece written by Dmitry Lyskov, it fits into this theme perfectly, and it actually serves as a case study on why individual workers and even groups of workers, even mascots of the industrial proletariat (such as Coal Miners) cannot always be trusted.  Yeah, most of the time these guys are the Salt of the Earth, but not always.  Lyskov’s piece deals with recent Russian history of 20 years ago.  The headline reads:  Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well.

Lyskov starts with the events of the “Trans-Siberian” strike which began in 1989, brought down the transportation system, and cut Russia in two.  Initiated by desperate miners, the strike helped to bring Boris Yeltsin and his “team of reformers” into the government.  And the miners did not limit their demands to the economic:  They demanded market reforms and helped to bring about the restoration of capitalism.  In this regard they are similar to the Polish Solidarity movement which turned Marx on his head by using the power of the industrial working class to destroy the workers state and return to capitalism.  An irony much appreciated by the international bourgeoisie who applauded these efforts.  And which, by the way, can serve as a reliable litmus test:  If the Westie media adores something, then you can be sure that whatever process they are praising, even if it’s a workers strike, cannot bode well for the actual socialist movement.

Kuzbass Miners Strike 1989

The strikes began in 1989, in the coal-mining regions of Vorkuta and Kuzbass, as the so-called “Soap Revolt”.  The grimy miners would come up from their shift, go to take a shower and find there was no soap in the bin.  At that time (various root causes hypothesized by economists)  the Soviet economy was in the grip of some type of ridiculous systemic glitch, under which ordinary consumer products suddenly disappeared from the shelves of the stores:  Everything from soap to cigarettes.  And the workers did as workers do — and quite rightfully — they went on strike and demanded their most basic rights.  The strikes then spread everywhere, even to the Donbass.  Initially the demands were not even so much economic, as just basic:  The workers demanded food, basic consumers goods, etc.  But then, rather quickly, as the political “vanguards” inserted themselves, the demands took on a highly-charged and anti-Communist political character:  The Vorkuta Strike Executive Committee demanded (1) the repeal of the Constitution of the USSR, (2) to reduce by 40% the apparatus of bureaucracy, (3) to invite American economist Vasily Leontiev into the country to conduct “reforms”, and (4) to award complete economic independence to the coal mines.  The Kuzbass committee went even further and demanded that the mines be allowed to engage in foreign trade with their product, by passing the Soviet Foreign Trade Ministry!  Miners were promised lavish bonuses and a gilded seat at the capitalist trough.

From the Tribune of the Supreme Soviet, Mikhail Gorbachov declared that the demands of the miners were just.

[to be continued]

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Kadyrov to France: “It’s your own damn fault!”

Dear Readers:

So, this past Saturday night (May 12), a knife-wielding assailant screaming “Allahu Akbar!” went on a rampage in the center of Paris, stabbing people at random.  He murdered one person and injured four others.  French police are investigating this incident as a terrorist act; and ISIS has claimed credit, saying the crazy guy was one of their “soldiers”.  Crazy guy in question being 21-year-old ethnic Chechen Khamzat Azimov, who was shot dead by the French police.

Scene of the knife attack

Afterwards, the French government made their usual pious and self-righteous utterances, of the nature of “We will not be cowed,” “We will not yield an inch to the enemies of Freedom” (French Prez Macron), yada yada yada.  As if such empty words are supposed to bolster the public and rally them around their idiotic and short-sighted leadership.

This piece from the Russian press gives the reaction of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.  Kadyrov lecturing the French government and media and, quite rightfully, telling them:  “Don’t blame Chechnya for this.  It’s your own damn fault!”  Kadyrov is sick of people blaming Chechnya and stereotyping Chechens as terrorists.  Especially Westies like the French, who aided and abetted the real Wahhabist terrorists for years and decades.  Although it must be said, that the English and Americans bear more blame than the French; yet the French were not far behind.

Monsieur Micron: “We will not be cowed by the enemies of free-dumb!”

When Azimov was finally gunned down, he didn’t have any papers on him.  But the French police were able to match his fingerprints and learn who he was.  Born in 1997, he had left Chechnya probably while still a child, and obtained French citizenship in 2010.

Here is the major soundbite quote from Kadyrov’s angry reaction:  “He was only born in Chechnya.  But the way he was raised, the formation of his personality, his views and his convictions, all took place in French society.  The Western countries created cozy conditions for those who are hostile to Russia as a whole, and to Chechnya in part.  [Western] special services assist their activities in the zones of armed conflict in the Middle East, they use [these terrorists] to beef up the ranks of the [Satanic] Iblis State. It stands to reason that some of their subordinates go rogue and commit such crimes.”

Ramzan then goes on a vague sort of rant about French society being too permissive, and the government not allowing parents to do their job with child-rearing.  As opposed to Chechnya, where parents are strict and raise their children properly without government interference.  But Ramzan’s cultural criticisms are, sort of, contradicted by the next part of the story, where it turns out that Azimov’s parents are radical jihadists themselves.  This is probably why they moved to France, where they received a warm welcome as “refugees” from Russian oppression; and this is probably exactly how they raised their son to be.  Just sayin’….

Ramzan Kadyrov: If this boy had grown up in Chechnya, he would have turned out okay.

Anyhow, after a crime such as this, it is normal for the police of both nations to question the families of the perp; and this is being done.  In Russia, the FSB is questioning Azimov’s family to make sure none of them are involved, or are secret jihadists.  To this point, Chechen government official Jambulat Umarov pointed out the hypocritical double standards of the French:  For sure they will be detaining for questioning Azimov’s parents in Paris; and yet will criticize the FSB for questioning his close relatives in Chechnya.  Probably will call it repressive Soviet-style police-state blah blah.

And sure enough, according to the French radio, Azimov’s parents have been detained in Paris.  As news comes out, we learn that the French police have been suspicious of this family since 2016.  The whole family apparently held to radical Islamist views.  The apple did not fall far from the tree, to the grief and dismay of the randomly-murdered passerby’s family.

The rest of this piece, which was written by reporter Viktoria Fedotova, goes on to give a chronology of Islamist terrorist attacks against France, and the various theories and old debates as to what breeds terrorists (e.g., ghetto-ization, etc.).  But rightfully rejects such theories as it is pretty clear to all now what is the root cause of terrorism:  The Salafist ideology itself, which promotes extreme violence, and even random violence, as an end in itself.

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Russia: No More Mr. Nice Guy In Syria – Part III

Dear Readers:

Today finishing my review of Krutikov’s piece entitled:  “An Overly Liberal Attitude Towards the Militants Is Leading Syria To Disintegration”.  Specifically, Krutikov is worried that decentralized governments are emerging in the areas recently cleansed of jihadists.  In order to reassert its authority, the central Damascus government, army and police need to have at least some repressive capabilities, in case any really egregious jihadists stayed behind to foment trouble.  But, according to Krutikov, the Russian Military Police, with an overly laissez-faire attitude are preventing their Syrian friends from conducting such filtering operations and door-to-door searches.  A former terrorist can simply trim his beard and stroll around wherever he likes without showing an ID, and the terrorists can also get fake ID’s to hide themselves and what they were doing during the past five years of war.  When questioned, a person can just cavalierly claim that he lost his documents, pass himself off as a terrified war refugee, and invent for himself a new name; which gets validated with a Russian stamp.  And so he gets a laminated ration card.

Example of American-based ration for Arabs

As a result, the central government has lost some authority, the locals only listen to their locally-elected officials, and some of them only trust the Russians anyhow.  It also seems that Russia has acquired quite a lot of power over the lives of these ordinary people, since they are the ones stamping the ration cards!

It was precisely this necessity to feed hungry people very quickly, that led to the disintegration of proper “kontr-razvedka” (counter-intelligence).  Shortcuts had to be taken, and chaos theory took over.  There were incidents of terrorist sleeper-cells committing diversions in the rear.

All of this is highly upsetting to the legitimate repressive organs of the Syrian state.  The newspaper VZGLIAD was able to get exclusive and secret interviews with disgruntled members of the Mukhabarat (the Syrian secret police).  It goes without saying that Krutikov feels a professional affinity with these agents, since he himself used to be in the KGB, therefore he and they would tend to share the same professional attitude to problem-solving.

A Mukhabarat officer and a local volunteer

Anyhow, according to Krutikov, the Mukhabarat feel that their influence in the Syrian government is being diminished, especially with the restrictions of their duties on the battlefield.  They helped to win the war, but feel they are being pushed out of the process to win the peace.  This situation has led to more friction within the Damascus government; and that’s an unpleasant thing, especially from the political point of view.  Given that the liberated territories are not yet properly re-integrated into the unified national identity.

In Douma and Eastern Ghouta, recently liberated from the terrorists, the Russian Military Police are calling the shots; and not even allowing government forces in.  The local population are taking full advantage of this situation, secretly flipping off the Damascus government while under the protection of their “older brothers”, the Russians.

Well, so be it.  But Krutikov sees a risk that these guys (in Douma, for example) might try to take it even further and demand autonomy.  And if they get it, then a thousand other towns will demand it too.  The danger is not that Syria will be transformed into a Federation, but that it will disintegrate and collapse altogether.  And that is unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to happen.

What Is To Be Done?

In the final few paragraphs, Krutikov seems to, sort of, go back on some of the things he was saying before, and offer a more moderate approach to the problems that he has detected.

Krutikov is not calling for the Mukhabarat to be allowed to run wild and cleanse all of Douma.  But he believes it is necessary to work out a new method of civilian government for the territories and regions.  Otherwise, the formation of a New Syria will go into a dead end; and even the ability to conduct uniform elections across the whole of Syria might be brought into question.

The good news is that the Eastern Aleppo situation was resolved satisfactorily.  And perhaps a uniform solution for all of the Syrian regions is not even possible.  But at the very least, it is necessary to go very quickly to a “passportization” system:  Everybody must carry a verified passport.  And then to gradually restore civilian authority, while avoiding excessive “cleansing” and excessive violence.  Experience shows, that winning the peace is several degrees more difficult, than winning the war!

The temptation to resolve these issues with the brute force of the Shabiha has been avoided.  Now is the time to think with one’s head.  And this is an area where the Russians can shine.

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