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Talking Points

Something rotten is going on off the state of Sweden. A foreign something, nobody is sure what, has been reported floating close to Stockholm. Could be a submarine, could be a man in black, which begs a question how big is the man, or small the submarine. Well, must be a really big one if the Swedish navy has declared the area off limits to civilian navigation, and the skies above have been designated a no fly zone, as if the Baltic country is next to Syria or Libya. But small enough to be found in four days of a massive search.

British Ukrainian Russian actress and writer Vera Graziadei bemoans the lack of investigation into atrocities in Ukraine, including those against children. 

Russia, War crimes, Ukraine, Talking Point, Lugansk, atrocities, International Criminal Court

This month’s by-election results showed us quite clearly that UKIP – the rising force in British politics – poses a significant threat not only to Conservative chances of success in next year’s general election, but to Labour too, writes Neil Clark.

Udo Ulfkotte, former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, has revealed that he was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and German secret service. He would spin news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its opponents. Ulfkotte says: "Most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations. They work on your ego, make you feel like you're important. And one day one of them will ask you 'Will you do me this favour'..."

Here are excerpts from his interview which originally appeared on the Russia Insider website. 

This, they said, was a political bombshell. A democratic earthquake. A world-changing event which would change the face of politics in Scotland, then England, then Catalonia and Sardinia, the Faroe Islands and who knew where else around the globe? VoR's Tim Ecott looks deeper into the Scottish vote on independence.

In this essay based on his Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide, John Pilger argues that the assault on Gaza represents a wider threat to us all, and with episodic dangers in Ukraine, and the accompanying propaganda, we are drawn closer to world war.

 

The Cold War never really went away, you know. If it did, there wouldn’t be the circus we saw in Wales. Former Kremlin troubleshooter Alexander Nekrassov says that the very existence of NATO proves beyond all doubt that the West’s Cold War mentality never went away.

Former Kremlin troubleshooter Alexander Nekrassov wonders whether the NATO summit in Wales was just a circus. Here’s a question for you: what is more important when it comes to taking big decisions, a NATO summit or a quiet game of golf between a group of Wall Street bankers?

Throughout its 65 year history NATO has had several opportunities to engage Russia in a relationship that could have dramatically increased stability and security in Europe and beyond. Russia has been knocking on the NATO’s door almost since its inception. VoR's Nikolai Gorshkov examines the history of NATO-Russian relations.

The economic question of the day has suddenly become: ‘Is the global economy about to slide into another recession?’ In this Talking Point, Dr Jack Rasmus gives his view of the economic effects of the coup in Ukraine, USA-driven sanctions on Russia, and the weakening of the world economy.

 

 

As John Tefft takes over from Michael Anthony McFaul as the US ambassador in Russia, Eric Kraus looks at McFaul's legacy and says the US government's decision to apply more sanctions on Russia is a grave mistake.

Would people in Britain understand Russia's position on Ukraine if it had a situation closer to home with which to empathise? Imagine a scenario where Scotland were to be independent and a similar course of action that is taking place in Ukraine happened. Ian Sumter, a Moscow-based British journalist explains.

The other night, I saw George Orwell’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

In this Talking Point, Paul Craig Roberts argues that Washington is taking advantage of Russian President Vladimir Putin's reasonableness when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, and is pushing Russia to make moves that would then be used against Moscow to keep the US's European allies in line.

 

Another day of artillery shelling and firing missiles from fighter jets has brought new casualties among civilians in the East of Ukraine. The Russian media and social networks exploded with yet another cry of horror and disgust. But there is virtually nothing in the western press, says VoR's Dmitry Linnik.

It’s emerged Prince Charles has been making suggestions to political parties that could be seen as trying to influence public policy. Should the heir to the throne keep his views to himself and concentrate on cutting ribbons? VoR's Sasha Twining spoke to Mary Dejevsky, who writes for the Guardian and Independent newspapers.

 

According to the Financial Times, NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen told an audience at Chatham House in London that the Russian government has been working with NGOs to "maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas" by "funding anti-fracking groups" to mislead the public and lobby governments. Maybe, maybe not. But such Gazprom conspiracy theories are irrelevant, writes Ben Pile.

Ukraine’s acting prime-minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has referred to pro-Russian insurgents in the east of the country as 'subhumans'. In a statement vowing revenge for the death of 49 Ukrainian servicemen (in a downed military transport plane) he said the soldiers "lost their lives because they defended men and women, children and the elderly who found themselves in a situation facing a threat to be killed by invaders and sponsored by them subhumans."

Anti-Russian feelings have failed to find a home in Italy. Only initially did news coverage of Ukraine's crisis reflect western bias. Now, reporting by the country's public television RAI has become more balanced and detached, argues Daniele Pozzati in this Talking Point. 

 

The shouting match between West and East continues, but the Russian stock market was surging on May 19, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China, where he is expected to sign a string of massive investment deals. 

 

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