Category Archives: Russia

Michael Hudson: Has the IMF Annexed Ukraine?

Ukraine is going into an IMF program in even worse condition that Greece with its various loans from the Troika in 2010, and we can see how well borrowing more when you were already overindebted worked out for Greece. In addition, this interview with Michael Hudson makes clear that the loan to Ukraine is wildly out of line with IMF rules, making it painfully obvious that this “rescue” is all about propping up the government so it can continue to wage war rather than economic development.

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John Helmer: Poland’s Lobby for Ukraine Enjoyed Kolomoisky Bank Link (Updated)

Helmer’s deep dives into Ukraine’s corruption are a cross between Graham Greene underworldliness with a contemporary veneer of financial wheeling and dealing, plus lots of think tank laundered influence peddling. For those not up on the dramatis personae in Ukraine, Igor (also spelled Ihor) Kolomoisky is one of the wealthiest men in Ukraine.

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John Helmer: Amazing Pentagon Weapon Penetrates Putin’s Brain Before He Was Born – President Reagan’s Brain Secret Confirmed, With Poroshekno’s and Nuland’s

If you’ve read The Men Who Stare at Goats, you already know that the defense establishment has a peculiar fondness for funding quackery. But this is still a doozy.

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John Helmer: Convicted Fraudster Jonathan Hay, Harvard’s Man Who Wrecked Russia, Resurfaces in Ukraine

One of the sorriest chapters in recent American history was how we allowed an unprecedented opportunity to assist Russia in managing the end of its Communist era to turn into a looting exercise by well-placed insiders, including advisors under contract to Harvard.

onathan Hay ran the day-to-day operations of the Russia Project. He was found guilty of violating three counts of the False Claims Act and was debarred from serving in USAID. But he’s managed to resurface in Ukraine, working in the local operations of a Polish think tank. Nicely played.

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John Helmer: Russia’s and Greece’s Fraught New Friendship

Yves here. John Helmer points out that while Greece needs all the friends it can get right now, Russia has never been a great ally of Greece. Another big complicating factor is that Russia already has important commitments to Turkey. But the biggest complicating factor is that Greece’s links to Russia are through its oligarchs, which is precisely the class that Syriza has committed to crush. For instance, Yanis Varoufakis in a pre-election interviews put cracking down on oligarchs as a top priority. Similarly, as we noted, that commitment is one of the few reforms that Syriza has proposed that predisposes the Troika towards the new government.

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Putin: Battered, Bruised But Not Broken

Yves here. The triumphalism among Western commentators as the ruble plunged last week is more than a little cringe-making. We’re not yet in Two Minute Hate territory yet, but this feels like a warmup. Robert Parry provides an insanity check:

Official Washington’s “group think” on the Ukraine crisis now has a totalitarian feel to it as “everyone who matters” joins in the ritualistic stoning of Russian President Putin and takes joy in Russia’s economic pain, with liberal economist Paul Krugman the latest to hoist a rock…

Indeed, much of what Krugman finds so offensive about Putin’s Russia actually stemmed from the Yeltsin era following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the so-called Harvard Boys flew to Moscow to apply free-market “shock therapy” which translated into a small number of well-connected thieves plundering Russia’s industry and resources, making themselves billionaires while leaving average Russians near starvation.

The piece goes on to debunk in considerable detail the caricature of Putin presented in America, the most important element being the charge that Putin was the aggressor in Ukraine and is therefore getting what he deserved. Mind you, Putin is still an authoritarian, but we don’t find that objectionable in many of our putative allies, starting with the Saudis.

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John Helmer: Ukraine Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko Accused in Colorado Court

Yves here. Helmer was first to provide in-depth reporting on the US citizen and State-Department supported Natalie Jaresko, who was mysteriously parachuted into the post of Ukraine Finance Minister a few weeks ago. Jaresko is in the midst of a nasty divorce from her former business partner. As Helmer wrote:

It hasn’t been rare for American spouses to go into the asset management business in the former Soviet Union, and make profits underwritten by the US Government with information supplied from their US Government positions or contacts. It is exceptional for them to fall out over the loot.

Helmer gives us the latest update on this protracted battle, and what it says about the Natalie Jaresko’s willingness to play fast and loose.

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