Syria War: The Battle for the Capital of ISIS – Part I

Dear Readers:

You may be aware that the Syria War entered a new stage in the past week or so.  Things are looking up for the combined forces of the Syrian Army, with assistance from the Russian armed forces and also Hezbollah.  Syrian tanks made a Rommel-like “lightning move” eastward all the way to the Iraqi border, cutting off ISIS/Daesh units from their Iraqi supplies.  While this was going on, the pro-American so-called “coalition forces” entered  Raqqa.   Like the wiki says, Raqqa, a strategic Syrian city located on the Northeast bank of the Euphrates River, was captured by ISIS in 2013 and became the capital of their Islamic State.

The Headchoppers had their day in the sun, but now their time is almost up.  It’s not an issue of “if”, but of “when” and “who”.  And the race is on:  the Americans seeking to gain some advantage and carve up the Syrian carcass to their own advantage.  On the other side:  the Syrian government and their Russian allies seeking to keep Syria together in one piece, while making some internal adjustments to benefit, for example, the Kurds.

To help explain the highly fluid military situation, I have this piece from VZGLIAD, by military/intelligence reporter Evgeny Krutikov.  The headline reads:

The Battle for ISIS Capital City will Prove a Tough Slog for the Americans

The lede paragraph translates thusly:

The Syrian Opposition, with the assistance of the U.S., hastily entered Raqqa, the capital of ISIS, in an attempt to overtake the pro-government Syrian forces.  For the Americans it is a matter of principle to overtake Assad’s forces and to not allow the Shiites to gain control over the borders of the Syrian Arab Republic.  The question now is:  Will they succeed?  It is not excluded that the Americans will find an unpleasant surprise waiting for them.

Without further ado or commentary of my own, here is my summary/partial translation of the rest of Krutikov’s piece:

Captain Jeff Davis

Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis informed journalists about the operation to take Raqqa away from ISIS.  The Americans have deployed marines and Apache attack helicopters.  Captain Davis stated that the marines are using 155-millimeter M777 Howitzers (big mounted guns).  Under the shield of these howitzers, units of the “Syrian Democratic Opposition” have entered Raqqa and are busy liberating the city.

Can American howitzers defeat ISIS?

The Americans have also stated that they have been launching strikes against ISIS off their big boats in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Americans have long been embedded among the Kurds, both as “military advisors” and battle support.  However, in principle the Americans do not give heavy weaponry to their allies, since the Israelis object to that.  Tel-Aviv has a vested interest in not allowing long-range artillery or rocket systems to get into the hands of any of the players in this Middle Eastern game.  Therefore the American advisors have been forced to drag these howitzers and heavy grenade launchers around themselves, through the mountains and deserts.  The Americans are also expected to personally control the “electronic serenades”, which is what they call the weapons-aiming controlling systems.  Although, to be sure, nowadays these controlling systems can be deployed on a single light notebook computer.

Kurdish fighters: “Give us your secret codes!”

Electronic controlling systems have been around since World War I, but nowadays they involve a lot of cryptography, and the Pentagon doesn’t want people like the Kurds getting their hands on this good stuff.  Otherwise, who knows, they might sell all this fruit of higher mathematics and cybernetics to the Persians, and that would be a catastrophe!

The American marines are not directly involved in combat at this point.  They play a role somewhere between rear-guard support and Hospitality-Vacation organizer.  It is difficult to get Kurds, whatever their religion, tribal affiliations, or political allegiance, to operate beyond what they regard as their “natural aureal”.  They must be constantly harried, promised things, paid, and verbally praised.  Otherwise, they won’t budge.

Under Hafez al-Assad (President of Syria from 1971 to 2000), the Kurdish people were discriminated against, they did not enjoy full citizenship rights and did not carry passports, nor did they enjoy local autonomy.  But things improved for them, under the government of the son and current President, Bashar_al-Assad.  He restored civil rights to the Kurds and has promised them a broad autonomy, once the current conflict is over.

Astana: The foundations for a stable peace?

In fact, the current peace negotiations taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan, are focused on resolving the Kurdish issue once and for all.  Leaks coming out of the conferences indicate that the Syrian government are prepared to bend over backwards to accommodate the Kurds.  The very name of the country “Syrian Arab Republic” will change to, simply, “Syrian Republic”.  Thus cementing Syria as what it actually is, a multi-ethnic nation, not just Arabs.

In the face of these history-changing developments, how are the Americans expected to keep flogging the Kurds to swarm into Raqqa, a city they have never claimed and have zero interest in?

[to be continued]

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Balto-Slavic Catfight: Linkevičius vs Udaltsov – Part II

Dear Readers:

And now that we have set up the premise, today we really get down and dirty into this Combat Royale between the husky Balt, Linas Antanas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania  — vs. his pugnacious opponent, the Russian Ambassador to Lithuania, Alexander Ivanovich Udaltsov.

Who threw the first punch?  Well, at first glance it looks like it was Mr. Udaltsov, on Thursday June 8.  Below, I will translate excerpts from his interview with a Lithuanian weekly magazine, in which he made several trenchant points.  In Udaltsov’s his defense, he was deeply provoked.  This feud has been going on for years now — decades actually — ever since that bitter divorce.

Before the divorce: Flag of Lithuanian SSR

And yes, it can be called a divorce!  Even an arranged, or a forced, marriage, is still a marriage.  And the subsequent divorce leads to bitter squabbling over property, and who owes alimony.  In the year 1992 a referendum was held, in which 90% of Lithuanian citizens voted “Yes” to the idea that Russia owed them reparations for the so-called “Soviet occupation”.  In 1995 a commission was created, which came up with a concrete number:  23 billion Euros.  That’s a lot of dough.  And in 2000 the Lithuanian Parliament passed a law obligating the government to conduct negotiations with the Russian Federation regarding these “reparations” demands.

Moscow routinely rejects these reparation claims out of hand and tells the Balts to go fly a kite.  For starters, the Russian Federation does not accept the premise that neither Lithuania (nor the two other Baltic States) were “occupied” by the Soviet Union.  There’s a lot of back-history — which only people who have read 100 books can even pretend to sort out — and, besides, that’s just one of those “he said – she said” things.  It’s all a matter of interpretation.  Two competing views of history, two competing realities that can never be reconciled.  An everlasting feud which sometimes dies down, and then flares up again at certain intervals.  Usually when internal political needs, or the funding needs of NATO require people to get all fired up.

The Kaliningrad enclave is Russia’s only border with Lithuania.

This recent spat began when Lithuania announced that it planned to build a fence along the border with the Russian province/enclave of Kaliningrad (formerly German Königsberg).  Liths:  “Oh, you bad Russians already invaded Crimea, and we’re next!”  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mocked the Liths for their idea.  Which wasn’t even their idea — it came from NATO, which is busy scaring and pumping up their Captive Nations in preparation for various wars.  A fence, of course, is not capable of stopping, neither tanks nor cigarette smugglers; but is useful for ideological posturing and whipping up one’s own population.  Nationalistic Balts eager to go to war against Russia may well find themselves serving in some remote unit on the Iraqi border.  All for the greater good.  Anyhow, Lavrov called the whole fence idea a “Russophobic action”.  Following in the footsteps of his boss, Ambassador Udaltsov took his criticisms of Lithuania one step further, remarking that “the actions of official Vilnius, which have practically severed all contacts [with Russia] at the international level, have driven our relationship into a dead-end.”

Udaltsov has no beef against the Lithuanian people. per se.

Recall that Udaltsov is Russia’s Ambassador to Lithuania.  It is his job to try to get along, to engage the other side and try to find common ground, areas of cooperation, etc.  But now he feels like he can’t even barely do his job any more, with the other side all decked out openly in war paint.

In his interview with the weekly magazine “Lithuanian Courier”, Udaltsov complained bitterly:  “Let me remind you that just a few days ago the Head of the Foreign Ministry of Russia himself characterized the course of the Lithuanian government, in regard to our government, as hostile.”

Udaltsov’s Plaint

Let me give you a picture of just the past few weeks — we saw not one, but two rallies of the non-systemic Russian Opposition converging on Lithuania; and when I say Opposition I really mean various shades of opponents of the Kremlin (…); then some international conference devoted to the situation of the Crimean Tatars (…); and then the construction of this fence on the border with Kalinigrad Oblast.  And finally, the decision to close still another Russian school in the capital of Lithuania.

I’m not even speaking about the deep Russophobia, but just the daily reports of the Lithuanian special services in their (supposed) analysis of (Russian) threats to their national security, larded, as usual, with spy scares and other scarecrows, in an attempt to accuse our diplomats of engaging in espionage.

Not one single official Russian person is going to so much as discuss the question of reparations and the supposed damage suffered by Lithuania in the USSR years.  Let alone the concept of “occupation”.

The Lithunian countryside, preserved in an outdoor museum.

According to Udaltsov, it’s actually the other way around:  Lithuania owes Russia money.  Udaltsov went on to name a specific amount which he says Lithuania owes Russia:  $72 billion dollars.

Udaltsov reminded people that Lithuania was primarily an agrarian nation before its entry into the Soviet Union.  The little economic potential that it did possess, was mostly destroyed during World War II.

“As a member of the Soviet Union, Lithuania acquired the possibility to develop its economy to a greater degree than its own internal resources would have permitted.  This helped not only in the rapid restoration of all that was destroyed during the war, but also going on to create an industrial base from scratch.”

Lifosa chemical plant at Kedainiai

Udaltsov calculates that, between the years 1940-1990, something like $65 billion dollars were invested in the Lithuanian economy.  “As a result, chemical and petrochemical industries were created; some of the largest enterprises were constructed, here are some examples:  The Mažeikiai oil refinery.  The Kedainiai chemical factory.  The Jonava fertilizer factory.  The nuclear power plant in Ignalina.  Taking all this into account, one can see how absurd it is for the Lithuanian side to talk about Russia, as the inheritor state of the Soviet Union, compensating them for the supposed damage they suffered during the time they were a Soviet republic.

“As the largest republic in the Soviet Union, it was the Russian Republic which made the main contribution to the common budget, and as such would be fully within its rights to submit to Lithuania a counter-suit for compensation of monies which, by the way, when invested in Lithuania were at the expense of the other republics as well; and also for compensation of other expenses incurred, for example energy, raw materials, etc. which they obtained at a significant discount from the world rate.  All in all, the bill comes to around $72 billion dollars.”

Link’s Counter-Plaint

Linkevičius reacted bluntly to Udaltsov’s counter-suit:  “This whole thing is absurd,” he stated in his interview with Delfi.  “This declaration,” an outraged Link went on to say, “is both ridiculous and infuriating.  It particularly arouses ire, since it was made on the eve of our Day of Mourning and Hope, our Day of Occupation and Genocide, which we celebrate.  To speak of such matters after what the whole world recognizes as the occupation of our country, after we lost our independence, after all the harm that was done to our people and to our state — and then to name a sum of money — this is extremely offensive!”

Lithuanians commemorate their deportations.

This Mourney-Hopey thing, by the way, which Liths celebrate every June 14, commemorate deportations of Lithuanians to Soviet regions far away from the front lines.  The deportations started on the night of June 14, 1941, barely a week before all the Baltics were overrun by the Nazi army.  The number of deported is disputed, of course; the pro-Lith wiki entry claims an eventual total of around 130,000 people, 70% of them women and children.  This is probably an inflated number, which does not necessarily reflect on the justice or injustice of the act itself.  Let’s  just say that Stalin had his reasons.  But that after Stalin’s death in 1953 the deported ones were allowed to return to their former homes.  Which also does not necessarily constitute a formal “rehabilitation” of each and every individual.

A deported Lithuanian family

Busy bees that they were, the Soviet NKVD was said to have made a list of major Lithuanian anti-Soviet elements, which included Lithuanian Nationalist and Fascist political parties, capitalists and landlords and politicized Catholic organizations.  In other words, regardless of what Lithuanians claim, the targeted groups were not random; were not based on ethnicity or genetics; and therefore the deportations do not fit into the legal definition of genocide, however the Balts would like these unfortunate events to be viewed by the world; and however they desire to equate their suffering with that of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis.  The fact that women and even children were deported from their homes is troublesome; but, looking at it from the bright side, at least the families got to stay together!

So What About the Snakes?

Discerning readers, who know my love of elaborate metaphors, are wondering if I close this catfight by tying back to the Serpent Princess Eglė.  Where is my metaphor?  Who is who?  Well, Eglė is obviously the nation of Lithuania herself.  But who is her handsome Snake Prince Žilvinas?  Is he the Soviet Union, to whom Eglė was enticed into an unsuitable (but fruitful) marriage?  Or is he the EU?

The serpents arrive to claim the bride.

And what about those siblings of hers?  Well, recall that Eglė’s family consisted of 15 siblings:  herself, her two sisters, and her 12 brothers.  Now, just by coincidence, the Soviet Union consisted of 15 Republics, including Lithuania!  See, the metaphor is starting to work!

By which, the Serpents are actually the EU, whisking their beautiful bride away from her true family – ha ha!

Which would make Prince Žilvinas NATO.  Sure, he is so handsome and smart in his little uniform, not to mention such a wonderful husband (even though he forces his wife to perform impossible chores)… but when all is said and done, Žilvinas is still just a snake disguised as a prince.


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Balto-Slavic Catfight: Linkevičius vs Udaltsov – Part I

Dear Readers:

Today I bring you a juicy diplomatic catfight between the representatives of two neighboring nations:  Lithuania vs Russia.

Linkevičius: I break you.

Udaltsov: I break you back.

In this corner:  The husky Balt, Linas Antanas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the great nation of Lithuania.  Aside from his political CV, which shows him rising steadily within the ranks of Lithuanian/EU/NATO type institutions, Link’s biography is fairly thin, which indicates either that (1) his life is boring, or that (2) he is highly discrete.  We know that he was born in 1961, which makes him 56 years old.  Physically, he sort of let himself go, although he was lucky enough to keep his hair.  The other thing we know about him is that he is a member of the so-called European Leadership Network, which looks to be a rogues gallery of Deep State, Euro-style.  Thus nicely fitting in with Awful Avalanches’s arcing early-summer theme of geo-political conspiracies and unaccountable actors!

Aside from that, Link is a virulent Russia-hater, to the extent that he would readily use NATO as his personal army and air force against Russia.  If he could.

In the other corner:  Russian Ambassador to Lithuania, Alexander Ivanovich Udaltsov.  I can’t find an English-language bio of him, but here is his Russian wiki.  Sasha was born in 1951, making him 10 years older than Link and actually at retirement age.  Still, he looks to be in better shape, with an angry slab for a face, a shock of white hair, and pugnacious mien.  This is a guy who has seen a lot in his time, and fought a lot of battles.

Udaltsov graduated from Moscow State University in 1973, with a degree in History.  He proceeded straight to diplomatic work while also acquiring his post-graduate degree at the Diplomatic Academy in 1985.  He has worked in various diplomatic posts in both Soviet and post-Soviet times, including ambassadorships to nations such as Slovakia and Latvia; and now also Ambassador to Lithuania.  He is married, with a son and a daughter.

Udaltsov is the scion of a diplomatic family, his father Ivan Ivanovich Udaltsov was the Soviet ambassador to Greece, back in the day.  Ivan also served in the Soviet army during World War II (1940-45), which makes Alexander Ivanovich eligible to march in the “Immortal Regiment” every year; even though his dad survived the war (obviously) and went on to work in the Soviet Foreign Service.  The dad, by the way, lived to a ripe (for that generation) old age, dying in 1995 in Moscow, at the age of 77.

Lithuanian heroine Eglė the Queen of Serpents

Meanwhile, we don’t know anything about Link’s papa , or which side he fought on during the war; one can presume, the Soviet side, but one never knows.  Here is Link’s Lithuanian bio, which is almost as thin as his English one, only adding the one personal detail that he is married (wife Danguolė) and has two daughters, named Aušra (“Dawn”) and Eglė
(“Spruce”).  Both apparently being common names for Lithuanian girls.  The name Eglė in particular having mythological connotations, as the heroine of a Lithuanian folk tale.  Here is the basic gist of the story, which I “borrowed” from wiki:

A young girl named Eglė has 2 sisters and 12 brothers.  One day she discovers a serpent in her clothes after bathing with her sisters. Speaking in a human voice, the serpent agrees to go away only after Eglė pledges herself to him in exchange for his leaving the clothes, not realising the possible consequences. Three days pass, and thousands of serpents come for the bride, but are tricked by her relatives each time. A goose, a sheep and a cow are given instead but the cuckoo warns about the deceit. Enraged serpents return for a final time and take Eglė with them to the bottom of the sea to their master.

Instead of seeing a serpent, Eglė meets her bridegroom Žilvinas, a handsome human – the Serpent Prince. They live together happily and bear four children (3 sons and a daughter), until Eglė decides to visit home and her husband denies her permission. In order to be allowed to visit home, Eglė is required to fulfil three impossible tasks: to spin a never-ending tuft of silk, wear down a pair of iron shoes and to bake a pie with no utensils. After she gets advice from the sorceress and succeeds, Žilvinas reluctantly lets Eglė and the children go.

After meeting the long lost family members, Eglė’s relatives do not wish to let them back to the sea and decide to kill Žilvinas. The three boys are threatened and beaten by their uncles, in order to try to disclose how to summon their father; however, they remain silent and do not betray him. Finally, the frightened girl-child discloses the method.

The twelve brothers summon Žilvinas the Serpent from the sea and kill him using scythes.

The worried Eglė calls her husband, but unfortunately only foams of blood return from the sea. When Eglė discovers that her beloved is dead, as a punishment for betrayal she turns her children and herself into trees – the sons into strong trees, an oak, an ash and a birch [’cause, see they stood up to torture], whereas the daughter was turned into a quaking aspen [’cause, see, she snitched on her dad]. Finally, Eglė transformed herself into a spruce.

With that backstory out of the way, and now that we know the contestants, it is time to return to our catfight.  The gist being that Link says Russia owes his country money; and Udaltsov saying, no, it’s the other way around!

[to be continued]

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Hamlet Of the Arbat: KP Interviews the Family – Part II

Dear Readers:

Children are always finding ways to earn extra money.

Today finishing my translation of this piece from Komsomolskaya Pravda — in which the father and step-mother of young “Hamlet of the Arbat” get to tell their side of the story.  Both adults, hounded by the press and paparazzi, deny that they concocted or instigated this event, or that they were paid by “Liberals” to discredit the Moscow police or Putin government.  The Russian press was all over this one, sensing possibly a new “Pussy Riot” in the works.  And the Westie press — did its usual thing.  Westie propaganda usually starts from the desired headline, and then works its way backwards to either tweak or create Reality, to fit the headline.  For example, with Pussy Riot, the desired headline was:  “Feisty young women arrested for singing in a Russian cathedral.”  In regards to young Oscar, the desired headline was:  “Boy arrested on Moscow street corner for reading Shakespeare.”

In the town of “Footloose”, the cops forbid Dirty Dancing. Or something like that….

Westie propagandists, training the public to hate Russia mindlessly and yearn to go to war against that cruel and mysterious land, expect that casual readers, just skimming headlines, will get the impression, burned into their brains, that Russia is a totalitarian society where people’s behavior is highly regulated.  And where both music and Shakespeare are banned.  Sort of like that rustic town where Kevin Bacon was forbidden to jam his signature moves.  And with that sentence, I just managed to link Oskar Skavronski to Kevin Bacon in a single step!

Putting propaganda narratives aside, the KP reporter and photographer had a chance to observe the child in his natural environment.  It turns out this enterprising kid is always thinking of ways to make money — see, he wants to buy himself a (computer) tablet.  After seeing the state of Oskar’s bedroom, filled with junk that he wants to “sell on the internet”, it becomes fairly obvious why the boy was out on the Arbat declaiming Hamlet with a begging bag at his feet.  Although a less intellectual child might have just set up a lemonade stand!

The Mother And the Step-Mother

Elias told me [this is the KP reporter talking, continuing with the interview] that several years ago they moved here [to Moscow] precisely to this neighborhood, so that the boy could be closer to his (biological) mother.  (She lives nearby.)

“His mother and I were never actually together, in the usual meaning of the word.  From the time he was around one and a half, up to the age of 7, Oskar lived with me.  After that we came to an agreement, and now we raise him together.  On Thursdays I take him after school, and on Mondays I drive him to school.  After which, she takes him back on Mondays.  We communicate with each other like normal people.”

Elias and Kristina

“The issue is me,” Kristina interjects.  She doesn’t like it, in principle, that I exist.  I don’t know how many times she has told Elias that he should break up with me.  And now this happened.”

We sat for a long time and chatted in the kitchen.  We drank three cups of tea apiece.  We argued, even heatedly.  [KP reporter doesn’t say what they argued about; I am guessing, politics.]  Our “heroes” had to contend with a constantly ringing telephone.  Now it was reporters trying to solicit some quotes; now it was artists inviting them to a concert in the Kremlin.

Nobody ended up going to the Kremlin, which really disappointed Oskar, by the way.  But among the adults there was neither the desire nor the will.

“Kristina, can we plant carrots?” the boy asks.  “We can?  When?”

“We will, we will, don’t worry,” she assures him.

As I am getting ready to leave, I ask the boy:  “Can you read some Shakespeare to me as a going-away present?”

“Oi, no!  I got so scared I forgot everything!”

“Is the talk show on yet?”  Kristina suddenly jumps up.  “Elias, run to the store right away, after the show runs we won’t get a chance, they [the reporters] will be laying in wait for us at every door!”

Thus ends the formal interview; but as a bonus, KP tacks a small commentary on at the end of the story, this is written by a family psychologist named Natalia Pitchenko, who treated the family.  It seems unprofessional to me that she breaks confidentiality here; but possibly the family authorized her, especially since her comment fits their side of the story:

Oskar received a serious psychological trauma when he was detained by the police.  I met with him two days later, as his parents were attempting to bring him out of his state of constant anxiety.  Within the family, Oskar does well, he is happy.  He very much loves his papa, his mama, and Kristina.  I saw his drawings, they are happy ones, in which all the members of the family are holding hands.  He is comfortable and happy within the family.  By his nature, this child likes to be the center of attention, that is a definite fact.  And he derived satisfaction from these street performances.  I talked to him about that.  My opinion is that nobody put any pressure on him from any side to do this, there was nothing like that at all.

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Hamlet Of the Arbat: KP Interviews the Family – Part I

Dear Readers:

As promised, and continuing with our arcing theme of Early Summer plus machinations of the Deep State plus Shakespeare, I bring you more “further developments” of the Arbat Hamlet story, well, this piece is from a week ago — May 31 — when the story was still burning hot.  Currently the story is sort of in a holding pattern, while the police investigate their own and the wheels of justice slowly grind.

The Data

As you recall, a 9-year-old boy had a rough day out on the Arbat, in the center of Moscow, as he stood on a street corner declaiming Hamlet soliloquies to passing pedestrians.  A police patrol jumped to the (logical) conclusion that the boy was begging for money, which is a crime by Russian law.  Not so much against a child, as against adult pandering or corruption of a minor.  Which is what appeared to be going on, at first glance.

Moscow patrol cops question the young thespian.

The two patrol cops, both being male, wisely called in a female officer to help them out.  Males always have to be careful around children, there could be misunderstandings, especially if they have to touch the kid; and it’s always better to have a woman there to supervise and act as unofficial ombudsman for the child, if needed.

The officers questioned the boy.  Regardless what happened next, they would most likely have to take him to the station.  But the situation escalated, almost to a dangerous level, when a crazy-seeming woman interefered, screaming at the officers and even laying hands on them.  When asked directly if she was the mother, she denied any familial relationship.  The cops started to get rattled when the woman continued to scream at them and try to rip the boy out of their hands.  Readers, in your minds, please perform a mental experiment:  Imagine this same scenario on an American street corner.  Most likely, both woman and boy would have been tased.  Now imagine if the woman and boy were black.  The incident could have ended with weapons being discharged.

In the U.S. : Louisiana police cuffing a 6-year-old

This being Moscow and not the good ole USA, nobody was physically harmed.  Although the boy, who is of a sensitive nature, suffered psychological damage when the cops took him firmly by the collar and forced him into their vehicle.  This literal “collaring” was both uncomfortable and humiliating.  Although, as we heard it explained in my earlier post, cops are trained to use this type of hold on street kids.  It’s safer for them then grabbing the kid’s arm — which can lead to bruising and even dislocation.  Safest of all, from a technical standpoint, would be to cuff the kid, but the Moscow cops did not actually resort to that.   Anyhow, once at the Arbat police station, the police proceeded to sort everything out, called the boy’s father, who turned out to be a man named Elias (=Ilya) Skavronski.  Skavronski hastened to the police station to collect his child.  Once there, and cognizant of the fact that the family faced potential legal issues and possibly even intervention from Children’s Services, possibly even having the boy removed from his custody — Skavronski hired an attorney named Anastasia Samorukova, who specializes in family cases and knows her way around the Russian foster system.

And, as far as I know, this is where things stand, in the legal sense, as the family waits to see if any charges will be laid unto them.

As computer professionals say:  “There is the data… and now the metadata…”

The Metadata

Given the ideological Cold War between the West and Russia, everything that happens in Russia, however trivial and personal, always has two layers:  (1) The Data, i.e., what actually happened; and (2) The Metadata, i.e., how the incident is perceived/exploited in the West.

There is a third layer as well:  How the perceived reality is perceived back, by the Russians themselves.  Westie ideologists watch Russia with the eyes of a vulture — a vulture who happens to own a microscope — looking for anything bad that happens.  Even something like a landslide or a tornado is grist for the mill, like, proving that the government is ineffective and/or doesn’t care about people.  Even the most trivial incident of daily life is rapidly promoted from the “personal” to the “geo-political” in a single bound.  Westies see dark forces and conspiracies at work in everything that goes on in Russia.  There is no such thing as a normal street incident; everything involves Putin’s tyrannical regime, unholy alliance of Church and State, a mad and tyrannical Tsar enraged by Hamlet’s soliloquy, etc.  Such ludicrous, vicious, and inciting memes were actually employed by the Westie media when reporting on this otherwise banal case of a boy detained for allegedly begging in the street.  And, as regular people know from their own daily lives, it can be frustrating to try to defend yourself against enemies who bear you not one molecule of good will.

Jesus driving Pussy Riots out of the Temple

Meanwhile, patriotic Russians, incensed at the unfairness of Westie propaganda, see the hand of the American State Department in every broadside directed at themselves and their elected government.  And this “paranoia” is not so paranoid after all, given the long history of Westie NGO’s interfering in Russian “civil society”.  Also given that a segment of the Russian intelligentsia — the so-called “kreakles” aka “Fifth Column” openly express their political fealty to Western institutions and collaborate with gusto in the defaming of their own government.

Hence, some patriots, once this “Arbat Hamlet” thing went viral, jumped to the conclusion that the entire matter was a put-up job, a “red flag” concocted by Westies and Fifth Columnists.  Not unlike the Pussy Riot incident!  They suspected that the boy’s dad, Elias, had been paid by anti-Putin Liberals to put on a show for the public.  Which would make the Moscow police look bad and hopefully bring about more Western economic sanctions against Russia.  In their suspicious minds, this dad put his own son at risk for political gain.

Red flags against the dad included allegations that he had brought his family to Moscow from Kiev — nothing suspicious in and of itself, except that he was said to be one of the people who stood on the Maidan — which, if true, would endow him with a certain ideological slant that is hostile to the Russian government.  Another allegation is that he is unemployed and yet appears to enjoy a handsome lifestyle.  Therefore somebody must be paying him off, most likely the “anti-regime” Liberals.  Another allegation is that a former reporter named Lucia Stein, who used to work for the anti-Russia propaganda outlet “Radio Liberty” was johnny-on-the-spot:  She just “happened” to be out there on the Arbat, videotaped the entire incident, and posted it on the internet.

In the face of these suspicions, it is time to meet the family.  KP reporter Elena Kavun, accompanied by her photographer, Dina Karpitskaya did what real reporters are supposed to do:  Instead of idly speculating, they went directly to the high-rise apartment building, walked into the rented flat, and they talked to the family. getting their side of the story.  If you follow the link I posted above, you can see their photographs of the players, starting with the boy and his pet rat!

The so-called “Street Prince” is hiding in the entry, along with his caregivers:  His “stepmother-neighbor-acquaintance” Kristina and the “unemployed musician from the Maidan” — his biological father Elias — peer nervously around.  “The reporters are gone?  Thank god!”  Now we can go in.  The electric lock beeps, and we are safely inside [their flat].  Or as safe as possible, given that the neighbors are all aware of the scandal, and glance at the trio, as if seeing them for the first time.  Even those who don’t read the papers or watch TV, know the whole story, they heard it all from reporters and police who have passed through asking questions.

I am a reporter too, but I didn’t lie in wait for them.  I came here openly and honestly, at the invitation of the family.  Although I admit that it felt awkward to me.  The role of “family inspector” does not really suit my personality.

Oskar’s dad

The father, Elias:  “You see, this is how we live.  Please write [in your article] that we are not poor, and we are not struggling to get by.  Although, I wonder…  People will see [that we live well], and they will say that we live off the money of the Liberals….”

So, I write:  They live well.  The [rented] apartment is spacious, bright, comfortable.  The view from the window is like a fairytale.  The city lies below, as if on the palm of your hand:  beautiful and green.  To the right is Moscow-River, you can see floating on it languidly beautiful yachts and sail boats.  (I had no idea there were so many boats in Moscow!)

Oscar’s bedroom:  On his bed are strewn:  cases, cellphone covers, old appliances, some lamps.  “I am trying to sell these over the internet,” the enterprising boy explains to me.  “Papa said it was okay.  Do you see these two table lamps, each is worth around 500 rubles.  The telephone case is worth around 100.  All of this stuff is worth around 18,000 rubles!  If I sell it, then I can buy myself a [computer] tablet!”

Oskar is a young entrepreneur!

“Why, Oscar, you are a real businessman!” I marvel.

“He certainly is,” his father grins.  “When he was still very little, he figured out how to make piggy banks out of plastic bottles.  He would slice off the top, turn the throat inside out, and put [money] in the lower half of the bottle.  We drink a lot of water and collected a lot of bottles.  He kept trying to calculate how much money he could make off of selling them.  I had to lie to him and tell him I was taking all this wealth to the market, and not to the rubbish pile!  Oh wait, don’t write that!” the father interrupts himself.  “They’ll turn it all upside down and claim that I exploited him…”

There is a knock.  Everybody jumps (including me, for some reason).  Kristina tiptoes to the [front] door and looks out the peephole.  But it turns out, it’s just Oskar from inside the pantry.  He was hiding there.  He is playing hide-and-seek with my little daughter (I brought her with me, I didn’t have anyone to leave her with).

Meanwhile, Elias is talking to someone over the phone:  “I have no idea why the attorney wrote 25 May, I met her for the first time in my life at the police station on the evening of 26 May.  The reporters are calling every second.  Please phone her and ask her yourself, why she wrote that.  Sure, I’ll give you her number.  No, I have no relationship with the Liberals.  Or towards politics in general.  All the power comes from God.  Yeah, Kucherena came to see me, because he saw the news in the media.  He was the one who recommended this particular attorney.”

He hangs up the phone.

“I don’t know what to do,” he says to me.  If I talk to reporters, then they say I am stirring things up and getting more PR for myself.  Which is what many are accusing me of.  But if I don’t talk to reporters, then ever new rumors keep arising about me.  We didn’t want to go on some talk-show, but they told us, If you don’t appear on it, then things will look worse for you.  They’ll just discuss you behind your back, later you’ll have to refute all the gossip.  This is the first time [in my life] I find myself in this situation.”

“If it weren’t for the media,” Kristina interjects heatedly, “then none of this would have blown up.  I didn’t even know that Lucia character, let alone that she is a former reporter.”

The children come running into the kitchen, and the adults fall silent.  They try not to discuss [the case] in front of the boy.

I cannot bring myself to question Oskar about what happened on the Arbat.  Instead we talk about his school, which specializes in intensive study of foreign languages.

“It’s one of the best in Moscow,” the boy comments with pride.  “I am studying there at the middle-school level.”

There is an entire zoo in the Skavronski apartment.  A hedgehog lives in the corner, in a cage.  Alongside it are two Chilean squirrels.  On top of the refrigerator parrots are singing.  There is also a pet snail.

The children run into the other room, they are having fun.

“Thanks for bringing your daughter,” Kristina says.  “Oskar has really brightened up, he’s more like himself now.”

[Next:  We learn more about the family relationships among Oskar, his dad, stepmother, and biological mom.]

[to be continued]

Posted in Breaking News, Human Dignity | Tagged , | 2 Comments

A short musing on the Deep State and the likes of it… – by Lyttenburgh

Dear Readers:

A brief introduction here, before I turn you over to my colleague, Lyttenburgh.  But continuing with our arcing theme of early summer, mysterious happenings, frolics in the forests, deep cabals and, of course, the Bard!

Today being the holy “White Sunday” in Russia, known as “Nightingale Day” in pagan times; aka “Pentecost Day” in the West.  “Pentecost” being the Greek word for “50th”, as in the 50th day following Passover and/or Easter.

And now for a little Bible reading this Sunday morning (New Testament, Acts II)

By chance it happened to be Pentecost Day (more known for harvest feasts than for Language Lab on the Jerusalem Campus) when Saint Peter was busy preaching to a congregation in the capital city of the Roman province of Judea.  Bringing the people the good news about Jesus Christ.  Suddenly giant tongues of fire descended on the congregation.  Several people started to chatter away in foreign tongues:  Parthian, Mede, Elamite, Mesopotamian, Phrygian, Egyptian, Cretan, even Arabic.  Peter explained to the masses what was happening:  “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

So, there is my Sunday sermon for all of you, Amen, and now, without further Ado, [whether Much or Little] about Something, here is Lyttenburgh to further engage your sense of awe:

A short musing on the Deep State and the likes of it….

(by Lyttenburgh)

“They are the faction. O conspiracy!
Shamest thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O, then by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy;
Hide it in smiles and affability…”

– William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

It looks like the Stars themselves are conspiring for me to address one important issue. Signs and Portents were everywhere. First, a fellow Kremlin Stooge blog commenter Moscow Exile (native of the Misty Albion, now safely settled in Russia) mentioned a week ago the holy feast of Whitsuntide – that’s a fancy name for the Pentecost, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit of Christ’s Disciples and the formal creation of the Christian Church (4 June this year). This feast, borrowing heavily in its imagery from earlier pagan times, is also very important and memetic in British Isles.

Whitsuntide in the English countryside

Then – we had a bohemian semi-orphan wandering through Moscow’s streets reciting the Bard’s immortal verse. By pure coincidence, a distinguished member of the kreaklian perpetually kvetching masses of This Country, one Lucia Stein (former “Radio Liberty” employee and staffer in the electoral HQ of the highly handshakable liberast candidate Gudkov) was there to garner all possible hype and self-PR for her own political aims. Now Lucia is trying to get herself elected as Deputy in one of Moscow’s districts – all because of one “talented boy” (and her Instagram photos of the “sky-clad selfie” variety).

[yalensis footnote:  This Lucy Stein may indeed have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, but as of currently, there is no evidence, photographic or otherwise, that she was out there on the Arbat, so this case remains an open mystery.  Look for my post tomorrow, which will have a lot more info on the Skavronski family!]

And, finally, I’ve stumbled upon one particularly crappy, inane commentary on one particular pretentious and self-important blog, where one of the “intellectuals” ventured forth with the “brilliant” idea that the so-called “Deep State” is the characteristic of only a full fledged democracy – a pinnacle of Western Civilization’s “Development”, so to speak.

Stranger and more trivial things have spurred Muses to guide one’s writing – Leo Tolstoy, for example, was inspired by the sight of a half-crushed yet still defiant thistle to write his “Hadji Murat”. While my short writing here does not warrant too much, especially in the way of “groundbreaking” revelations, being not entirely serious and relying sometimes too much on the Aesopian tongue to speak of the present, while talking about the past, I suggest that it be treated as appropriately– i.e. as a commentary. Nothing more.

“O Time, thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me t’ untie.”

– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

The “Deep State”, by whatever name it goes, is neither a sole prerogative of the so-called “democracies”, nor did it appear just recently. Its history goes much, much deeper into the mists of times and coincides with the formation of the nation-states, where the ruling elites finally grew attached to the land where they and their clans of relatives and clients “served” their monarch, while ruling over said country. This crystallization of the top of the ruling elite had become the proverbial “wheels within wheels” (self oiled, by the way) which assured that after the mournful proclamation “The King is Dead!” there will be a smooth transition to the more joyful “Long live [another] King!”. To put it bluntly – they were the people who ensured that the shit gonna be done no matter rainstorm, flood, war or dynastic crisis. They were these often unaccredited people who ensured that.

But this line of logic down the road did get a logical development. If they are ensuring the smooth transition and continuation of country’s policies in the time of no rule, they can also ensure the same thing during the mis-rule. In the case when the monarch is lacking in, well, just about everything and cannot rule to the greater betterment of the Land, then it befalls to these fine specimens of the national elite to Do the Right Thing – rule as appropriate at the minimum, or replacing the monarch in question. And then you have to stretch the term “incompetent ruler” just a little bit once in a decade/century to end up with the ruling elite thinking itself indispensible. Welcome to the Deep State.

On the surface, the “Deep State” is good for the common people, because it proclaims itself the Mechanism of the State and oils it well for it to run to the betterment of the subjects. If we look at Russian history, it was certainly a case for the most of the time. No matter what happened in Moscow during the Times of Troubles, in the provinces the stuff was indeed done – taxes were collected, Tatar raids were fought off, Siberia got settled little by little. This detached bureaucracy was, indeed, a godsend for that era. Nizhny Novgorod, very important trade hub on Volga (needless to say – rich and yet unplundered by the vagaries of the Civil War) stayed loyal to this abstract idea of the Russian State embodied in whoever embodied said bureaucracy.

Nizhniy Novgorod: Capital of the Deep State?

Nizhny Novgorod never supported any of the numerous claimants or pretenders, never sided with the foreigners in the hope to get something for itself – it has always rooted for the legitimate Czar of Russia, no matter how shitty he was, whether Boris Godunov, False Dmitry or Vasily “I’m totally not a crook” Shuiskiy. It was the betrayal of the part of said ruling elite in the form of “semiboyarschina”, who called the Polish prince Vladislav to become a ruler of the land, while toppling crappy but legitimate czar Vasily Shuisky (whom they forcibly made him a monk) which rose the ire of the entire of Russia, i.e. of the provinces which were up to the moment mostly silent as to what happened in Moscow and the Western part of the country. This resulted in the unlikely alliance of the well known and prosperous merchant Kuzma Minin and the battle-hardened noble prince Pozharsky, who, combining the resources of the (spared by the Troubles) parts of Russia and the military power of those willing to fight, saved Rus from the follies of its Deep State… Only to step aside and not interfere in the consequent events, when the same old crystallized upper layer of the ruling elite was “electing” a new dynasty to “serve” under.

Vasily Shuisky: Worst Tsar ever?

The so-called “Deep State” with a different collection of actors kept working in/for Russia as time went by. From Peter the Great’s death in 1725 till his daughter Elizaveta’s enthronement in 1741 the Russian Empire lived through a series of palace coups, which gave the name to the entire Age and became a symbol for “Russian XVIII century”. Young and pretty Elizaveta Petrovna, upon toppling Anna Leopoldovna and the baby ruler Ivan VI, inherited not only the crown, but also several ongoing wars from her predecessors. And while the war with Sweden was hard to miss (with Swedish troops being just a few miles away from Saint Petersburg) it surely came as a surprise for the young empress when she was informed that Russia is at war with… Chukchi. In Chukotka.   A rather vicious and brutal war, because Chukchi defined as the “people” (read: humans) only themselves, viewing all other human beings (be they other native tribes or the Russians) as “non-humans” and thus feeling nothing about massacring them in the most brutal way. But the thing is – no matter who was on the throne, the so-called “Deep State” kept functioning and ensuring that even a war in such far away province will be sustained and prosecuted to the greater good of the Land.

Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes; though it be disht
For me to try how.

– William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale

That the West (or, speaking pointedly – its leading Anglophonic part) has a Deep State that ensures the smooth run of the policy (defined, by sheer coincidence, by the members of the Deep State) for the betterment of the Land, is an obvious fact. When any (really – any) shrieking pundit of the West cries about Russia and “non-replaceable Regime” in any country which incurred the so-called progressives wrath at the moment (e.g. – Russia, again, we do that often), I only laugh. Who are these people to criticize the “Regime” here and wish for its downfall, if their countries are run by the same old persons and agglomerations of lobbyists no matter what the sham (and in capitalist countries they are mostly sham) election results tell?

One question you might ask though is when any particular country acquired a “Deep State” and whether it managed to survive via line of succession to this present day. In the case of kingdom of England, now politically correctly called the “United Kingdom”, it’s rather easy. The date would be the second half of XVI c. The English, former second-tier power-players of Europe, suddenly awakened to the chime of the Age of Exploration and Great Discoveries and shouldered their way into the New World. At the same time with the self-alleged “Virgin Queen” on the throne the question of “what’s next?” became indeed a life or death dilemma for many in the ruling elite. Even while the “Good Queen Bess” was still among the living, a certain number of the top-most nobles became engrossed in their (and their country’s) future prospects in the transition period… and beyond. This proto-Deep State (or, more likely, one of its elements) was known as the “School of the Night”, and it listed among its conspirators Sir Walter Raleigh, who in 1584 received a charter from Queen Elizabeth I allowing him to claim any territories in the New World that he explored which were currently outside the rule of “any Christian Prince”. They were also called a “school of atheism” (most likely due to study of natural philosophy, which in those days included things like anatomy lessons performed on stolen corpses, alchemy, and occultism).

O paradox? Black is the badge of hell,
The hue of dungeons and the school of night

– William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Walter Raleigh was a pirate, an alchemist, Warden of the Stannaries (who supervised tin mines of Cornwall), a grandstanding gigolo turned conspirator, and one of the leading lights of this group of occult and “atheistic” studies. Other co-conspirators of the “School of the Night” included Henry Percy the “Wizard Earl of Northumberland”, Christopher Marlowe (born in 1564, the same year as Percy – and Shakespeare), John Dee, poet Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Francis Bacon and other poets, mathematicians, alchemists, and explorers. Before Percy joined the group in the early 1590s (and moved its headquarters from Raleigh’s house at Sherburne in Dorset to Percy’s euphoniously named Sion House in London), its leading aristocratic figure was Lord Fernando Strange, the Earl of Derby. Lord Strange holds yet another qualification – he may have been the first patron to employ William Shakespeare.

Sir Walter Raleigh was a handsome pirate

Sir Francis Bacon served as Lord Chancellor of England, betrayed his benefactor Essex to a charge of treason, pled guilty himself to bribery and corruption, wrote books of essays and histories, codified the scientific method in Novum Organum and The New Atlantis, and died on Easter Sunday after catching pneumonia trying to freeze a chicken.

Sir Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, was known as the “Wizard Earl” for his scientific (including alchemical) experiments and enormous library. He patronized poets Marlowe and Hariot. He was also a crypto-Catholic, and seventh in line to the throne. Percy collected the manuscripts of the Italian heretic and astronomer Giordano Bruno, who may also have been a spy for Walsingham (“turned” during his visit to England in 1583-84), and who may also (along with John Dee) have been a model for Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.

Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, which tells the story of a band of aristocrats (led by a “King Ferdinand”) who withdraw from the world to study arithmetic, astronomy, and geometry, may have been a coded reference to the School of Night – or it may have been written as a private performance for them, and encoded certain mystical symbolism within its discursive allusions (much as The Winter’s Tale might have).

A scene from “Love’s Labour Lost”

They were the Elite and the top-tier of the intelligentsia, a stratum which lends its intellectual and artistic acumen to those who are paying, for them to propagate the ideas of their paymasters. The magus John Dee, a “supernatural” advisor to Elizabeth I, seems to have invented the concept of ‘magical imperialism’ and infected an entire generation with it. Dee coined the phrase “British Empire” (note – “British”, not “English”!). Thus The Tempest was a propaganda-piece for the new ideology.

One thing the School liked was tobacco – an addictive weed which still keeps the people in its thrall while enriching its producers. Raleigh introduced it in court, and Marlowe and his crowd made it popular in lower society. Tobacco, of course, is the primary crop of North Carolina and Virginia (where England strived to set up its first colonies with… mixed results).

Shakespeare’s Tempest: Occult symbology?

So here before you are the types and characters of the people that usually make up the Deep State. Not a beautiful sight. It’s fortunate to observe them in the “wild” before they manage to cloak themselves from the external observance, becoming all too powerful and invisible, so the people have to guess now – which of the public figures DO belong to the Cabal?

The only way for us to peek behind a curtain is by the valiant efforts of the “whistleblowers”, laying bare all nefarious schemes and secrets of the Establishment. They tend to have very short and messy lives though. Which brings us to the crux of the matter and to a person I wanted to talk about for all these weeks.

“If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.”
– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Christopher Marlowe, aged 29, the father of English blank verse and the most successful playwright of his day, was a playwright and poet, reputed atheist (granted in XVI c. England “atheism” covered more than simply lack of belief in God, as any unorthodox, even unorthodox Christian, religious fell under that term), bisexual, magician, rakehell, duelist, tobacco-user, spy, and counterfeiter. He fit into the “School of Night” right like a hand fits into a glove. On 30 May 1593, just over 424 years ago, he died in a tavern fight over, allegedly, the trivial issue as to who’s gonna pay the bill (“recknynge” in that time’s parlance). An accident – nothing to see here. Move along, citizens!

Only there is a lot to see here for those who know how to look (mere possession of eyeballs in our time is no guarantee for that). Kit Marlowe worked for the famed spymaster of the Queen – Sir Francis Walsingham (whose daughter was married to another member of the “School of the Night” – Sir Philip Sidney) and then to his nephew Sir Thomas. Among his bosom buddies with whom he gathered in that tavern were Robert Poley (a senior case-officer and agent provocateur in Sir Robert Cecil’s spy network) and Nicholas Skeres (performed a similar function for the eventually treasonous Earl of Essex). His killer (who acted in “self-defense”, no doubt!) Ingram Frizer was a confidence man, loan shark, and general lowlife with intelligence connections of his own.

Marlow killed during tavern brawl

Ironically, it’s not Marlowe’s spying that got him into this predicament and required for such a gathering the representatives of various spy agencies. It’s through his presumed “atheism”. Marlowe, at the time of his murder, was on parole under a charge of atheism, incitement to riot, and treason. When Marlowe, a confidant of the powerful people and who was privy to some very sensitive data, proved too adept at using his own court connections to avoid the frame, someone called a “summit meeting” of spies connected to the various court figures: Poley for Cecil, Frizer for Walsingham, Skeres for Essex, and Marlowe for Raleigh and the School of Night. Either as a preplanned assassination (in which Poley and Frizer turned their coats, and not for the first time), or an argument over politics, Frizer stabbed Marlowe through the eye with his dagger (a common killing maneuver in Elizabethan knife-fighting, not the “accidental blow” of the inquest at all) and the three survivors concocted a plausible cover story (also not for the first time).

When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.”
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Even at the time, some people didn’t believe in the official version. The poets George Chapman and Thomas Nashe referred to Marlowe’s “divine Muse” (subtly refuting the charges of atheism) and implied that he died “for liberty of speech”. But the most opaque such epitaph (and keep in mind that defending someone who died under investigation of treasonous atheism was an exceptionally brave thing to do, and an exceptionally stupid thing to do openly) comes in Shakespeare’s (himself a client and money receiver from the School of Night folks) As You Like It, in the form of the above riddle spoken by the “wise fool” Touchstone. The “great reckoning in a little room” is the killing of Marlowe (whose “verses cannot be understood”), ostensibly over the “reckoning” but in actuality over some “great” cause. The play specifically alludes to Marlowe (quoting and referring to his poem Hero and Leander), to make sure the allusion hits home with the audience. The name of the fool also alludes to Marlowe’s careers as spy and counterfeiter: a touchstone is a black stone that changes color when rubbed against true gold – a veritable “tool of the trade” for such a person.

In Stratford-Upon-Avon: A statue of the jester Touchstone

There’s even more going on than that in As You Like It. It has a symbolic Duke with an exiled court and this Duke, significantly unnamed, rules the Forest of Arden living “like the old Robin Hood of England”. Shakespeare’s audience knew that the Robin Hood plays are associated with Whitsuntide – the season of mock kingly sacrifices and fertility rituals when Christopher Marlowe was killed for a “great reckoning”. Now, it’s true that May 30 was a Wednesday in 1593, four days before Whitsunday. It’s interesting that the main document in the government’s case against Marlowe, the so-called “Baines Note”, was delivered three days before his death – and dated three days after it by the clerk of the Privy Council, i.e. on Whitsunday’s eve.

Deep State Conspiracies are usually very careful to erase all traces to them, lest the ignorant and unwary would raise a hue and cry about such discovery. We are incredibly lucky to know about the “School of Night”, but what we know are just parcels and pieces of the whole picture – but we still see its ears, like the ears of the rabbit in the magician’s hat.

Just as Shakespeare was not at liberty to disappoint his paying customers, only occasionally managing to “get the crap past the radar”, so was his rival Marlowe, who had to resort to Aesopian language when trying to talk about the nature of the group of the influential individuals he was stuck with. Best example – his Doctor Faustus. The play has been seen both as an attempt to understand the Renaissance scientific mindset epitomized by Raleigh – and as a bitter reaction to it, identifying Dee-style magic (and entire unnatural state of the proto-Deep State of the “School of Night”) with Satanism. Was this why Marlowe’s protectors turned on him? To cover up their secrets and cynicism of “the ends justify the means” without any moral compass to guide them, a thing barely any different from the Devil-worship for any Christian person of the time?

We don’t know. For 424 years Marlow has been dead.

As I said in the beginning – IT exists. It goes by a number of names – Deep State, Regime, Cabal, Conspiracy, Oligarchy, Establishment etc. Barring a Revolution and a total purge of the power structure, you (personally – you here, dear reader) can do absolutely nothing with it. And you shouldn’t. IT exists for you. IT is your, ha-ha, “friend”. IT is the reason you have a state around you, and not a war of all against all (read: libertardian utopia) due to its failures at one of the bifurcation points in your country’s past. Embrace IT. Live with IT.

Look out your window. I hope you will see something nice here, reminding you of the upcoming summer. Whitsunday is upon us, but the 30th of May was also a feast day – of sorts. It was the beginning of the Ancient Roman festival honoring Hecate the Three-Faced, Queen of Magic, Crossroads and Underworld. On that day Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, falsely prosecuted for “heresy and witchcraft” only to be rehabilitated centuries later and proclaimed as a Saint.  Oft quoted here “Twelfth Night” despite referring to a Winter holy feast takes place during the height of Summer. Go gather your friends, no matter how many, and form a “conspiracy” of your own – to go out to nature and enjoy the summer to the fullest. As you like it.

Posted in The Great Game | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Young Hamlet Of the Arbat – Further Developments

Dear Readers:

What happened to Spring?  We just blinked, and it was gone.  As the hazy days of summer descend on us, our thoughts turn to … Shakespeare.  To Fairies and Elfs cavorting in the verdant forests.  And also to High Politics, because that also seems to happen a lot in early summer.  And yes, I am continuing with the “Hamlet of the Arbat” story, because there are new developments.

Strange things happen in Summertime….

The Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda has done a terrific job following this story, when most other outlets just want to milk whatever propaganda value from an incident of urban theater.  I have two pieces from the Komsomolka that I want to cover, this one and this one.  Both pieces were brought to my attention by “Moscow Exile”, a frequent collaborator on Mark Chapman’s “Kremlin Stooge” blog.  The key question which Russophiles (and Putin supporters) demand to know:  Was this incident on the Arbat a staged provocation against the Moscow police?  Staged, in other words, by The Usual Suspects, “anti-regime” elements, Oppositionists, kreakles, etc., in the same way as, for example, Pussy Riot?

Or was this just something that happened, as the Russians say, “spontaneously”, with no political or conspiratorial implications?

So here is the plan:  Today I will cover the one and only (that I know of) evidence for the conspiracy version, namely “The mystery of the two dates“, May 25 vs May 26.

Cabals cavort…

Either tomorrow or Sunday, I will interrupt my own series of posts with an Interlude from my collaborator Lyttenburgh.  Who has penned another quite brilliant essay, this time on the relationship between Summer and High Politics, as in Deep State.  In this case, a conspiracy involving the English monarchy, and even Shakespeare himself!  [Stay tuned because it’s all inter-connected!]

After Lyt’s Interlude, I will continue with the Oskar Skavronski story, but here translating/summarizing the second KP story.  In which reporters, instead of speculating about people they never met, actually went inside their home and met them and talked to them – gasp!  Like real reporters are supposed to do.

But before we tag along to meet the Skavronski family in their swanky Moscow flat, let us first get this “conspiracy” business out of the way.

May 25 – A Smoking Gun?

This first KP piece was published on May 30.  The reporters are:  Alexander Boiko, Oksana Vakulina, and Dina Karpitskaya.  Recall the basic incident:  On Friday, May 26, 9-year-old Oskar Skavronski [it’s okay to give out the child’s name, everybody else already did] was detained by Moscow patrol police on a street corner in the Arbat.  The boy was reciting “Hamlet” with an open money-bag in front of him.  In Russia, “begging” on a street corner is a crime.  Adults who send children out to do this can be charged with a serious offense.  Patrol officers took the (screaming and struggling) kid down to the station to get everything sorted out.  In the process, they had to deal with a screaming woman who attempted to interefere in the detention.  She turned out to be the boy’s stepmother, although she did not so identify herself to the cops.  I already translated the interview with a Moscow patrol officer who commented on what his colleagues did right and what they did wrong in the course of this process.  I won’t bother going over all of that “police procedural” again.  Bottom line:  The cops acted on the information that they had at the time, and did not appear to have violated any of their own rules and policies.

Homeless Russian street urchins, circa 2003

Although…  I will say this:  In all “civilized” societies, police have a tendency to class bias.  My own first impression, when I first read of this case, and I stated my opinion at the time:  “This is a financially struggling family, who sent their kid out to scrounge for money.”  It turns out:  That was a WRONG ASSUMPTION.  The family is actually fairly well off, as the second KP article shows.  Now, a key question here is:  Would the cops have acted as they did, would they have grabbed the boy by the collar, had they known at the time that they were not dealing with a penniless street urchin?  I myself do not know the answer to that question.

Anyhow, once the cops had the boy down to the station, they phoned his papa, Elias (=Ilya) Skavronski.  Every parent can relate, this is a terrible moment when the police call your home and say, “Come get your kid.”  It takes a while to sort these things out, and it behooves a parent to hire an attorney pronto.  Being a smart dad, Elias got on the horn and hired somebody who was recommended to him, name of Anastasia Samorukova.  I am not 100% sure this is the same one, but I think this is her.

So far, so good.  But here’s the kicker:  Because this incident went viral, and the police found themselves under a microscope, they felt it necessary to publish all the details of the case.  And the internet lit up with righteous anger when Moscow Police HQ published the order by which Skavronski hired the attorney; and the order is dated May 25, in other words, a full day before the Arbat detention!  If you click on the link to the KP article, you can see the photocopy of the handwritten order of attorney.  The number “26” appears to be overwritten by the number “25”.

The obvious conclusion, according to the conspiracy theorists:  Dad (being some type of Navalnyite) predicted that his son was to be detained the following day, therefore he made sure to proactively hire an attorney.  He and his live-in girl planned this whole incident in advance, to discredit the police and the Putin regime!

Moscow Attorney Anastasia Samorukova

KP radio interviewed on-air the attorney herself, Samorukova, and asked her this pointed question.  Was she hired in advance of the incident itself?

Samorukova:   It never happened that way.  Before that Friday, May 26, 2018 [sic] I never knew that such a fellow, Elias Skavronski, even existed.  I have the exact time fixed:  On 26 May, at 22:18 hours [yalensis:  for American readers, that would be 10:18 PM] my telephone rang, with a number from an unknown caller.  It turned out to be Elias.  [yalensis:  Elias was already at the police station where his son was being questioned.]  He said that he had been given my number as an attorney who lives close by the “Arbat” station and who works with juveniles.  He asked me to work on his case, and I agreed.  It took me around half an hour to get down to the Arbat station.  The whole way I was consulting with him over my cellphone.  So, let’s say somewhere around 22:40 – 22:48 I met Elias in person.  I signed the order in his presence.  The consent form, in which he consented to my participation as his attorney, he also dated May 26.

KP:  But have you seen that document, which is dated May 25?

Moscow Municipal Police: Always busy slaying dragons…

Samorukova:   Yes, I have seen it.  If you magnify it, you can see that some corrections were made.  The order consists of two parts:  the heading, and then the order itself.  The heading clearly says 26 May.  No, I am not implying that the police forged anything.  You have to understand that my Friday was really crazy.  There were some very serious cases I was dealing with, and then a very long consultation with some juveniles, and I hadn’t been planning on going out anywhere the night from the 26th to the 27th.  I was planning to spend my evening in a completely different way, like normal people do, even, excuse me, attorneys!  For this reason, I cannot exclude the possibility that I simply wrote it down wrong.  Especially since I had to fill out the form right on the spot, and very quickly, and everything was in a bustle around me.  It’s possible that this was simply a mechanical typo [on my part].

KP:  What do you say to those who claim that you, as an attorney, were hired in advance, in order to carry out a planned provocation against the police?

Samorukova:   That’s insane nonsense, that they would hire an attorney to discredit the police.  [yalensis:  Except that it has happened in the past…]   I don’t even know how to respond to that.  Lawyers don’t work like that.  We don’t do that.  [yalensis:  Well, there are some who do…]  And you may have noticed that my name does not appear much in the press.  I don’t give out my opinions and I try to remain nondescript.

KP:  One more question.  The police are saying now that they apologized for their roughness, and that they apologized in front of the boy, Oskar.  But the boy’s dad says that they apologized to him.

Samorukova:   I can absolutely testify that in the presence of 10 people — and I can name each and everyone of them — the police did not apologize to the boy, as they are now saying they did (by that time, around 4:00 in the morning, the boy was already sleeping peacefully at home in his own bed).  They apologized to the father of the child.  And I have to say that this gladdened me greatly, because this was the right thing to do.  Oskar’s papa said that he accepted their apology.

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