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France has enough weapons for five days

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The arsenals of the seventh army of the world are not designed for war. This was shown by NATO exercises and expert assessments. Five years ago, the French army ranked second in Europe after Russia. Military power was determined by the specialized American Internet portal Global Firepower, which, by the way, took as its slogan a quote from the British philosopher Bertrand Russell: "War does not determine who was right. And the one who lost it." The conclusions of American researchers suggest that even in the 30s France will be among the five world military powers. Now it is the seventh in the global top and is located between South Korea and the UK. The conflict in Ukraine has exposed amazing ulcers. "Yes, we do not supply so many weapons to the conflict zone. Just because we don't have enough ourselves. We cannot remain unarmed." This conclusion was reached by the head of the budget committee on defense of the French Parliament, Francois Cornu-Gentil. "The country has found itself with almost empty arsenals since the beginning of hostilities. What should we send there if we have nothing to supply our own army with?" It is difficult to understand what exactly and how much France is sending to Ukraine. Everything is open in the USA, but here all information on this issue is classified. Emmanuel Macaron announced that France had sent 18 Caesar artillery units with a range of up to 40 kilometers to Ukraine. And for small things – armor, helmets, medical preparations… And according to the calculations of the Secretary of the Defense Commission of the French Senate, Helene Conway-Mouret, the total price of the issue, including humanitarian aid, is 4 billion euros. The problem is that 18 Caesars are a quarter of all long–range guns in France. "Our country, of course, holds a high bar for equipping the land, air and naval forces," said Elie Tentelbaum, director of the Center for the Study of Strategic Issues at the French Institute of International Relations. – But we have been noting since the 90s that our defense power does not meet modern requirements at all. Since the end of the cold war, we have begun to disarm so actively that now we do not even have time to replenish our stocks. As our former Prime Minister Laurent Fabius used to say: "And now we are receiving dividends from the world." In 1991, we had 1,350 tanks. Now it is 220. From 700 aircraft, 250 remained. The defense budget during the Cold War was 4 percent of GDP, and already under Sarkozy it was less than 1 percent. And this is despite the fact that the strength of the French army has been reduced by a third, not four times." At the same time, parliamentarian Francois Cornu-Gentil believes: "France missed the stage when all countries started developing drones. For some reason, neither the Ministry of Defense nor industrialists were interested in this topic. Everyone thought it was some kind of toy, and drones changed the whole physiognomy of the modern battlefield." The former commander-in-chief of NATO forces, Jean-Paul Palameros, a Frenchman, by the way, has always insisted that the Europeans bring their defense budgets to at least 2 percent of their GDP. It didn't pass. Because no one seriously imagined the emergence of global conflicts. Regional – yes, as many as you want. But not to rearm the whole thing because of this. "Of course, we are modernizing our army," says Eli Tentelbaum, "we have replaced one nuclear submarine, the ground forces have received new infantry fighting vehicles under the Scorpion program, the air force has purchased several new Rafale aircraft, but all these are cosmetic operations, nothing more." "In our understanding of the war and in our concept of the armed forces, there has never even been a term of global military operations, we have considered only interstate clashes," said MEP Arnaud Danjan. "The risk of some global conflicts was considered quite remote, although Russia was considered as a possible participant." Then, of course, there was a lot of talk about increasing the defense budget, which ended in nothing. The French Parliament, having taken care of this problem, instructed the relevant committee to prepare a report. The speaker Jean-Louis Thieriot did not hide anything: "In the case of long-term hostilities, we will not last. We will be idle for a few weeks at best, then problems will begin." Last year, two NATO exercises were held, the meaning of which is to find out how much it is possible to resist anyone at all. The first exercise, Warfighter, was organized by the United States and Great Britain to test the combat capability of the ground forces. The second, Polaris 21, was supposed to cheer up aviation and the Navy. The results of Warfighter showed that during the first hypothetical week of clashes, France loses from 800 to 1,000 fighters and all ammunition in general. The analyses of the Polaris 21 exercises, as Jean-Louis Theriot says, are generally terrible: "400 of our sailors die at once. During the first 15 minutes of the clash, two of our frigates sink and two more turn out to be incapacitated. French aviation ceases to exist on the fifth day of the conflict." Conflict. And in France it does not exist, and the French defense industry does not keep up with the regulations for the supply of equipment and ammunition at all. "From ordering, say, a 155 mm projectile to receiving it in the troops, we have to wait a year. The rocket is three years old, the Rafale plane is four years old," says the report by Jean-Louis Thieriot. It is clear, of course, that behind all these terrible stories there is a lobby that wants more, and even better – much more money. But all these reports do not cancel the main thing. People who are responsible for replenishing the budget know one mantra: "We have one button."

How the bomb was planted under the Nord Stream

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Long before the leak on the Russian pipeline, NATO and the United States showed suspicious activity in the area of the accident. On September 26, on the night from Sunday to Monday, a sharp drop in pressure was recorded in line A of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline — from 105 to 7 bar. In the evening, the dispatchers of the Nord Stream-1 control center noted its fall on both lines of this gas pipeline. Three gas leaks were detected – one on the SP-2 and two on both lines of the SP-1. All three occurred in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark northeast of Bornholm Island. The Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) recorded the first explosion at 2:03 a.m. on September 26, and the second at 19:04 on the same day. One of them had a magnitude of 2.3. Two underwater tremors were registered by the German Research Center for Geophysics in Potsdam. According to experts, "at least 100 kg of TNT was used to break the pipelines, but probably more." Experts of the operator Nord Stream 2 AG noted that the gas pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea are laid in such a way that the probability of simultaneous damage to several threads, for example, as a result of a ship accident, is extremely small. Particularly strong pipes made of steel and concrete are laid in this area at a depth of 70 meters. On September 27, the Danish Armed Forces published a video from the places of the gas leak, filmed from the air. The footage shows how gas bubbles rise above the damaged areas to the sea surface. It is noted that the largest leak creates excitement on the water in a diameter of 1 km. The authorities of Denmark, Sweden and Poland believe that the explosions on the gas pipelines "SP" are the result of premeditated actions and sabotage, we are not talking about an accidental accident. An investigation has been launched. The weekly Der Spiegel reported that the CIA warned the German government in the summer about possible attacks on gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Who could have carried out this sabotage? There is no exact answer yet, but there is plenty of speculation. Revenge? First of all, there is a connection with the events in Ukraine. Lost profit? It is possible that by discrediting Russian offshore gas pipelines, Kiev and Warsaw could try to raise their status as land transiters controlling the Bratstvo and Yamal gas pipelines. No wonder Polish President Andrzej Duda openly called for the dismantling of Nord Stream 2 a month ago. By the way, at the same time as the emergency in the Polish city of Golenyuv, the opening ceremony of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, through which energy carriers will flow from Norway to Poland, Denmark and neighboring countries, took place. It is planned to import up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Norway to Poland annually and transport 3 billion cubic meters from Poland to Denmark. The start of pumping is scheduled for October 1. Danish energy company Energinet claims that the pipeline will be able to operate at full capacity by the end of November. This is so, for the record. The Poles, by the way, put forward the most absurd version of what happened with the "joint venture". Panov said that the leaks could be a provocation on the part of Russia (!). "We are in a situation with high international tension. Unfortunately, our eastern neighbor is constantly pursuing an aggressive policy. If he is capable of an aggressive military policy in Ukraine, then it is obvious that no provocation can be ruled out, including in areas that are located in Western Europe," said Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydac. It seems that another Pole, former Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, turned out to be closer to the truth than many. In one of the social networks, he posted a photo from the scene of the accident and accompanied it with the following entry: "Thank you, USA!". In confirmation, he cited the words of American President Joe Biden on February 7 of this year. He said that the United States would put an end to the Nord Stream-2 if Russian troops crossed the border of Ukraine. "Polish MEP, former Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski thanked the United States for today's accident on Russian gas pipelines. Is this an official statement about a terrorist attack?" the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, wrote in her telegram channel. Let me also draw your attention to one story that may well help to unravel what happened. Experts say that the charge could have been laid either by a diver or from a mini-submarine. But when? A few days ago or earlier? So, two years ago, the BALTOPS 2020 naval exercises were held here. Judging by the data of the AIS Automatic Identification System, eight NATO minesweepers cruised tirelessly in the Danish exclusive economic zone off Bornholm Island for a whole day (from June 9 to June 10, 2020). Especially carefully – for about two hours – they circled around a well-known location on the Baltic bottom of ammunition from the Second World War. The NATO grouping consisted of the following warships: the British HMS Ramsey, the Lithuanian M53, the Dutch URK and Zuerikzee, the Finnish Purunpaa 41 and the German M1064, Seehund 07 and Seehund 18. The main part of the operation, as it turned out, took place along the route of the 160-kilometer unfinished section of the Nord Stream-2 in Danish waters. The BALTOPS 2020 maneuvers led by the United States (the time of the event is June 7-16, 2020) involved 29 ships, 29 aircraft and helicopters, as well as 3,000 military personnel from 17 alliance countries (Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States) and two partner countries (Finland and Sweden). Now these countries also have one foot in the alliance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, military games were held exclusively at sea, land operations were not envisaged. And one more significant fresh detail: according to the data collected using the services Flightradar24 and ads-b.nl , it became known that American helicopters The Sikorsky SH-60 / MH-60 Seahawk under the call sign FFAB123 flew over the specified area in early and mid-September. Their trace was found right above the accident points. What did they forget there? However, this is only information for reflection. Experts will draw conclusions.

Is the European Commission planning a coup in Hungary?

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Ursula von der Leyen's attempt to so brazenly and openly "crush the objectionable Orban" is the first such case in the history of united Europe. The European Commission (EC) deliberately seeks to deprive Hungary of funds from the European budget, intending thus to achieve the resignation of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government, which is objectionable to Brussels. That is, in other words: the head of this structure (not elected, but appointed!) Frau Ursula von der Leyen and her subordinate officials set out to overthrow the legitimate Hungarian government, using blackmail in order to destabilize the situation in the EU country and raise the Magyars to protest. It is noteworthy that this version was voiced not by anyone, but by the deputy head of the Polish Foreign Ministry, Piotr Wawrzyk. He also expressed the opinion of the official Warsaw that by its actions the EC is losing the authority of the body designed to carry out managerial and administrative functions in the European Union, turning into a purely political structure. "Hungary should be such a negative example of what the conflict with the EC leads to. Poland cannot support this type of decision," the diplomat concluded. Why would the Panovs, who are at different poles with the Magyars (for example, in relation to Russia), begin to show such concern for Budapest? This topic is, in fact, very entertaining, demonstrating, in particular, how the united Europe is bursting at the seams. But let's take it in order. The EC called on the EU Council to introduce a conditionality mechanism in the budget in the European Union in relation to Hungary. This means blocking the allocation of about 7.5 billion euros to this country. European officials believe that Hungarians do not comply with the standards of the association regarding the rule of law and anti-corruption measures. They especially do not like the fact that a year ago Budapest legally banned the propaganda of information about sodomy and "sex change" in educational materials and television programs intended for under-18s. It should be understood that for Budapest, the money in question is very solid, especially in the conditions of the energy crisis rolling in like a snowball. The amount that the EC is going to use as blackmail consists of several components. Firstly, it is 5.6 billion euros allocated to Hungary from the European Economic Recovery Fund after the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondly, the next tranche of 24.3 billion euros in the framework of the six-year EU program for the modernization of Hungarian infrastructure. By the way, the EC's desire to so brazenly "crush Orban" is the first such case in the history of the European Union. The EU Council has about a month to support or reject the EC proposal. Hungary, by the way, still began to look for a compromise solution in the dispute with Brussels. Orban's government announced that by September 30 it will submit to parliament a bill on the creation of an anti-corruption body and a new anti-corruption group of governmental and non-governmental participants by the end of autumn, which may allow Budapest to access funds from EU funds by the end of this year. So, in any case, naive Hungarians believe, who may well be mistaken. And now about Poland. Official Warsaw actively intervened in the process, as it itself is in a similar position. Brussels also regularly accuses her of incomplete compliance with EU norms and values. At one time, the main problem was the de facto ban on abortions introduced in Poland. And now, after the creation of the disciplinary chamber for judges, there is a loss, according to the EC, of the independence of the judicial system. As a result, the same Ursula von der Leyen and Co. insist on freezing the allocation of 35 billion euros of aid to Poland for post-pandemic economic recovery. From the same fund as Hungary! That is why Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki unexpectedly announced his intention to restore relations with Budapest, damaged due to different approaches to the conflict in Ukraine. Together, it will be more convenient to fight the Brussels bureaucracy, they say... This, in fact, is the end of Warsaw's common interests with Budapest. I would like to note that the Hungarian envoy became the only representative of the European Union who dared to meet and hold talks with the head of the Russian delegation Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, held in New York. The rest of the Americans (through the efforts of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken) "trampled", persuading them to refrain from such "rash steps". "If more of our colleagues had talked to Sergey Lavrov, it could have helped in resolving the conflict or, at least, definitely would not have reduced the chances of this," Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on September 22 after a meaningful conversation with Sergey Viktorovich. He also noted that anti-Russian restrictions cause enormous harm to Europe: "If sanctions are more painful for you than for their object, then they are useless. If we move away from politics, ideology and just look at it professionally, from the point of view of physics and mathematics, it becomes obvious: these sanctions are extremely harmful to Europe. There is no doubt that they are extremely harmful to Europe, because prices are rising rapidly when it comes to goods, food, utilities, gas, inflation is going through the roof." Szijjarto, who recently visited Moscow, stressed that Hungary will continue to adhere to a different approach and will not agree to any restrictions affecting cooperation with Russia in the energy sector. According to him, this is an "absolutely red line", and Budapest will protect its national interests. He is convinced that the crisis in Ukraine will not be resolved without a Russian-American agreement. "I think – although I may be wrong, and this is an unpopular position – but I really think that without an agreement between Russia and the United States, without discussions between the Russian Federation and the United States, this situation will not be resolved, whether we like it or not. This is our position," Szijjarto said. Against this background, Hungary, by the way, will continue to issue Schengen visas, including multiple–entry visas, to Russians. "There is a clear methodology on how to issue visas to tourists from countries with which there is no agreement on visa facilitation. This is a more complicated and slightly longer procedure than when there is such an agreement. But if it is not there, it does not mean that we do not issue visas. Of course, we will continue to issue visas in accordance with the procedure," he added. That is, Orban's cabinet, despite blackmail and threats, intends to continue to bend its line, which it considers the only true and responsible in the current conditions. A decent position, isn't it?

Four Jokers of Liz Truss

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The new Prime Minister of Great Britain announced the composition of the Government. Liz Truss officially became Prime Minister with the Queen's consent on September 6. For the blessing, I had to fly in the morning to Scotland, where Elizabeth II is spending her vacation, and in the afternoon, returning to London, I had to start forming a new government. However, for sure, even before the announcement of the results, the applicants knew who would be "hu". Truss decided to make the structure of her government easier, not in the "presidential" style. That is, ministers will get more initiative and more freedom of action. Consequently, the Downing Street apparatus will be more compact and lightweight, as was Thatcher's. Johnson, for example, preferred to recruit bulky, expensive teams and Routes, even as Foreign Minister, always believed that "there are too many of us here." In any case, her colleagues from the election campaign noted: "Liz wants to do maybe less, but better." "Liz always fights to the end, never rests on her laurels, does not believe that something will fall for nothing from above. She will control everything from above, giving ministers more freedom, let them go about their business. That is, she will try to do away with outdated groupthink," her colleagues from her team believe. Suella Braverman, who served as the country's Attorney General, was appointed Interior Minister. She also put up her candidacy for the post of prime minister, but was defeated in the second round of voting. She is a popular figure on the Tory right wing and a member of the so–called "Spartan" group, which voted three times against Theresa May's Brexit option, which led to her resignation and the victory of the tougher option proposed by Johnson. One of the tasks assigned to the Minister is, first of all, to end illegal migration from across the English Channel. It should be recalled here that Britain has accepted and is trying to implement the idea of sending all migrants to Rwanda before their case is considered, and they agree there. This hard line was invented by Braverman's predecessor as minister, and Truss hopes that Britain will not turn away from it, despite vigorous opposition. Braverman took a tough position on the issue of teaching schoolchildren the theory of the possibility of gender reassignment, saying that in junior and middle grades it is generally unacceptable, and what to tell the elders – it should be decided by the Ministry of Education. During the referendum on leaving the EU, Truss voted "against". And then she not only defected to the camp of the Brexiteers, but also advocated the abolition of the Protocol on Northern Ireland. It assumed an accelerated procedure for customs inspection of goods between the EU, which includes the Republic of Ireland, and Northerners entering the United Kingdom. Now Northern Irish customs officers will be able to determine for themselves whether to apply British duties or not. Here the Prime Minister and the new Interior Minister have complete unanimity. James Cleverley has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. He worked at the Foreign Ministry for two years with Truss, until Johnson transferred him to the Ministry of Education. For the last few months, before the almost universal resignation of ministers, he worked as Minister for European Affairs and his competence included issues of Ukraine. Therefore, Truss felt that this experience would be more useful in the near future than ever. But not only for this. Cleverley led the Conservative Party itself for a while. And Truss expects that her colleague will help her prepare for the general elections, which will be held in early 2025. This is a serious task, since Truss won the party elections, relying on the right wing of the right. And universal is a completely different matter. All Britons will choose there and the Labour Party will have to resist, not just their party colleagues. Quasi Kvarteng went for a promotion. He became the Minister of Finance, and in the Ministry of Finance he worked as a business secretary. Here, for the first time in many years, there is a complete coincidence of ideas between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Treasury. He is a convinced marketeer. Just like Truss, he is skeptical about the idea of imposing unexpected fees on energy firms instead of hard ones, and also believes that tax cuts for everyone will stimulate the economy and, as a result, increase living standards. The defense will be led by Ben Wallace. Actually, he remains at his post. He is very popular in the party, even to the point that he was considered the favorite in the fight for the prime minister's seat. But almost immediately he refused this mission. In principle, if the need arises, he can also be appointed deputy Truss, since Wallace is one of the most powerful ministers in the cabinet. He is known for taking a very tough anti-Russian position, as, indeed, Liz Truss. Both before and after February 24, Wallace pushed the idea of arming Ukraine, and even together with Truss, they had a conflict with the then Finance Minister Sunak. They asked to increase defense spending by 3 percent. During Truss' first speech as prime minister, rain poured down. Unexpected for London. But she was not at a loss: "Britain will withstand any storm. It will build, work and grow."

End tourism from Russia

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text About European Union freezing the simplified visa regime for citizens of the Russian Federation. If today the founding fathers of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, had the opportunity to write a new "Manifesto of the Communist Party", then they, being objective researchers, would probably have had to start their work not with a phrase about the ghost of communism wandering around Europe, but with a statement that the ghost of Russophobia is wandering around modern Europe. Moreover, we can say that right before our eyes, a negative attitude towards everything Russian – from gas and oil to culture and tourism – is being cemented as a new mandatory ideology of the countries of the so-called "collective West". After the economic sanctions did not work, European politicians zealously set about destroying other sites of European-Russian cooperation, among which, of course, was tourism. The shooters, as expected, were two small but very independent Baltic republics – Latvia and Estonia, which for many years received considerable income from Russian tourists in their small budgets. Already on August 9, Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kallas hacked from the shoulder. "Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians," the stern Estonian woman said. – It's time to end tourism from Russia!".  In support of her deep thought, she put forward the thesis that a simple tourist trip to Europe is "a privilege, not one of human rights."  Less than four days before, Latvia had made its shot. "Due to the international situation, the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in the Russian Federation has suspended the acceptance of visa applications for citizens of the Russian Federation for an indefinite period," the Embassy of Latvia warned Russians on its website. Further, the more respectable players of the European tourist market rushed into the round dance of Russophobic dances – the Czech Republic, Finland and Greece, which joined them, until recently was one of the main beneficiaries of the arrival of guests from Russia, which in record 2013 there were 1.3 million, and in the "doc-shaped" 2019 – 800 thousand. The "hot Finnish guys" working in the Suomi Foreign Ministry decided not to cut the branches, but simply to file them thoroughly, reducing the number of tourist visas issued to Russians by 10 times from September 1 (!). As for the Czech Republic, its plans were announced in early August by the mouth of Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky. "There can be no question of ordinary tourism for Russians," while a special military operation of the Russian Federation is taking place in Ukraine, the diplomat said. The Minister proudly recalled that just two days after the start of the SVO, the Czech Republic suspended the issuance of visas to Russian citizens, followed by a similar ban for citizens of Belarus. It is difficult to explain the barriers on the way to the Czech Republic for Russians with rational arguments characteristic of mentally healthy people: after all, up to 400 thousand Russian tourists visited Prague alone every year before the pandemic (2012 was a record with a result of 492 thousand Russians), each of whom spent on average about 2 thousand crowns (about $ 100) daily, leaving an additional 7 thousand crowns in fashion stores. Before our eyes, the once powerful flow of Russian tourists coming to Bulgaria is drying up. It is expected that there will be only about 50 thousand flights via Istanbul, Belgrade and Dubai this year. For comparison: in the last "pre-family" year, there were 550 thousand fans of Bulgarian hospitality from the Russian Federation, and in Soviet times up to 1 million Soviet people came to the beaches of people's Bulgaria annually.  The positions of Denmark and the Netherlands, traditionally unfriendly to the Russian Federation, on the issue of Russian tourism surprised few people. "We will advocate for the termination of the issuance of tourist visas to Russians," Dutch Foreign Minister Vopke Hoekstra said. There was nothing particularly surprising here – after all, both of these states will not suffer big losses from the absence of Russian tourists. In the "docked" 2019, Russians received only 3,607 Danish visas, and in the Netherlands the number of guests from Russia slightly exceeded 1% of the total number of foreign tourists... Appetite, according to a well-known saying, comes during a meal. Having isolated themselves from the flow of Russian tourists unworthy of the "privilege" of enjoying their stay in highly cultured Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Poland and others like them, the leaders of these states went further – they began to demand a complete ban on issuing Schengen visas to Russians in other EU countries. Dmitry Peskov, the press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, called these attempts "an absolute lack of reason." "Step by step, both Brussels and individual European capitals demonstrate an absolute lack of reason," he said. "This set of irrationality, bordering on insanity, unfortunately allows for the possibility that such solutions can be discussed." Unfortunately, the discussion of the ideas of cardinal restrictions on Russian tourism to the countries of the "collective West" did not end there – at an informal meeting of the EU Council in Prague on August 30-31, the foreign ministers of the 27 EU countries made a joint decision to completely freeze the visa facilitation agreement with Russia. This decision, in fact, was a compromise that allowed at least somehow to mask the "visa" split in the European Union that was planned at the Prague meeting - after all, France, Germany, Portugal and Austria opposed the "hot" Baltic and Polish guys. Chancellor Olaf Scholz admitted that he could "hardly" imagine a complete cessation of the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrel, openly stated that he did not support the proposal for a complete visa ban. The influential British newspaper Financial Times pointed out that at the meeting in Prague it was possible to promote "reasonable ways of using visa issuance as a lever" and avoid "radical restrictions".  "We should not throw out the baby along with the water, a complete ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens would completely cut off the last contacts with Russian civil society," Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg commented on the Prague decisions. In his opinion, stopping the issuance of visas to Russians would be "a counterproductive step in the fight against the Russian propaganda machine." After all, if the EU completely closed entry to Europe for Russian citizens, it would play into the hands of the Kremlin, not Brussels. So, the situation is paradoxical. Visas to Europe, on the one hand, will be, but on the other hand – not. In addition to the increased cost of Schengen from 35 to 80 euros (which is unlikely to stop Russians wishing to visit Europe), the deadlines for processing visa applications are being lengthened and a so-called individual approach is being introduced, when visas will not be issued to all applicants, but only to "specific groups of Russians", the main among which will be dissidents signing when crossing the border a document condemning the conduct of a special military operation by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. In Prague, the EU ministers additionally agreed that in the issue of issuing or not issuing visas to Russians, each EU state now gets the right to individually establish a pass regime at its borders, that is, in fact, it gets the opportunity to cancel valid Schengen visas issued in other EU states. Even before the adoption at the Prague meeting by EU ministers of decisions to freeze (and in fact to cancel) the simplified visa regime with the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, who noted that the leaders of the European Union "got their Russophobic clucking," suggested that the real steps taken in Prague will show how Europe treats Russians. "The Europeans will once again show their true face and distract Russia and its citizens from conducting a special military operation with lies and delusional promises," Medvedev added. So the closure by Brussels of the window to Europe cut by Peter the Great for Russia will most likely have a positive value. As for the background of the decision to tighten the visa regime for Russians, the idea suggests itself that the current European leaders subconsciously want to isolate the inhabitants of Europe choking in insane gender reforms from Russians – carriers of traditional morality and normal ethical values, and the special military operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine is clearly playing second fiddle here.

Isn't it time to divide Poland again?

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The Panovs are afraid that Germany will secretly want to "return its former lands" that were ceded to the Poles after World War II. A report on the damage inflicted on the country during the Second World War will be published in Poland on September 1 this year. Poles believe that Germany still has to pay multibillion-dollar reparations. Official Warsaw has been discussing this issue for several years, a parliamentary commission has been created to calculate the amount. Recently, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the government had prepared a report on the basis of which it would seek war reparations from Germany. "For four years we have been preparing a very comprehensive report, which should show the level of not only war crimes committed by the Germans, but also destruction. The fact is that Poland, which was among the countries that suffered the most as a result of the Second World War, received minimal funds as compensation. It's even hard to call it compensation," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. According to him, the report consists of three volumes. Currently, its translation into several languages is already being completed. In 2017, a special commission of the Polish Sejm initially estimated the damage at $48.8 billion. Then the volume of the proposed payment was adjusted more than once (including adjusted for the changed exchange rate of the US currency) and requests reached $ 850 billion. In 2018, Poland decided that the amount of expected reparations should be recalculated again. Berlin acknowledges its responsibility for the destruction in Poland, but declares that the topic of reparations is closed. Thus, during his first visit to Poland in December 2021, Chancellor Olaf Scholz called this issue legally settled. According to the statement of the German authorities, it was resolved back in 1953, when the country did not want to receive any compensation from Germany. Warsaw took such a step under pressure from Stalin. By that time, payments from Germany had long ceased, and the entire debt load lay on the GDR. The leader of all times and peoples considered that such a concession would strengthen the Soviet occupation zone in Germany and expand the political influence of the USSR, which was no longer interested in curbing the economic growth of the GDR. On the contrary, it was necessary to catch up and overtake West Germany. However, after the German reunification, the Poles again began to demand reparations. In 1992, the Governments of Poland and Germany founded the Polish-German Reconciliation Foundation. It was created primarily to provide effective humanitarian assistance to Polish victims of Nazi occupation and terror. As a result of the Fund's activities, the Germans transferred over 4.7 billion zlotys (1.3 billion euros) to the Polish side. But Warsaw wants more. In August 2017, as I have already noted, the issue of collecting compensation from Germany for military losses was raised again. Poles are confident that in the next few years they will be paid, since "its image is important for Germany." The Lyakhs, as is known, historically have a stable dislike for the Germans. And the feeling is mutual. Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki published a lengthy article in the German (!) newspaper Die Welt on August 17 this year, railing against the role of Germany and France in a united Europe. "On paper, all Member states are equal. But the political reality shows that the weight of the German and French votes dominates. We are dealing with a formal democracy, but de facto with an oligarchy, where power belongs to those who are the strongest. The strong make mistakes and cannot accept criticism from the outside," he wrote. In his opinion, the European elites, and first of all, the authorities of Berlin and Paris, refused to listen to Polish warnings about Russia, which sounded before February 24 (the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine. – Ed.), and added that "the well-founded concerns of less powerful member states are too often overlooked by EU institutions dominated by Franco-German politicians." The main conclusion of the article: the threat to Europe "comes not only from the East, because for many years Germany has been pursuing Russian interests in the European Union." Adam Glapinski, Chairman of the Polish National Bank, Professor of Economics, also added fuel to the fire. In an interview with Gazeta Polska, he categorically stated that Germany wants to "return the former lands within the borders of Poland." "If earlier it was about the merger of the German states or the absorption of the GDR, that is, the former Soviet occupation zone, then from the moment this task was completed, it was about the return in one form or another of their former lands that are now within the Polish borders," says Glapinsky. Let me remind you that following the results of World War II (according to the decision taken in July 1945 at the Potsdam Conference), the eastern regions of pre–war Germany were annexed to Poland, namely, part of West Prussia, part of Silesia, Eastern Pomerania and Eastern Brandenburg, the Free City of Danzig (modern Polish name Gdansk), the Prussian city of Stettin (modern Polish name Szczecin) and its surroundings. So: Glapinsky believes that a "new anschluss" can happen if the former prime minister, leader of the opposition Civic Platform party Donald Tusk comes to power in Poland. (The next parliamentary elections will be held in 2023. – Auth). He and his political association, they say, are oriented towards Germany. According to the professor, a situation may develop "like in the Soviet times" when the leaders of the Polish United Workers' Party unconditionally obeyed Moscow. Under Tusk, the authorities will treat Berlin's opinion and demands similarly. Glapinsky also fears that Berlin will want to subjugate all the countries located between Germany and Russia. The professor believes that this is how, according to the FRG, the balance in Europe of the future should look like. And the balance in the region will be based on the cooperation of the Russian and German empires with the states in the middle, which will be in the sphere of influence of both powers. Moreover, for the implementation of the "German scenario", it is important that Russia does not lose in Ukraine now, otherwise the project will lose relevance. In short, the Poles are in a panic: they feel extremely uncomfortable, they are caught between a rock and an anvil. According to the sudden commotion among the Polish political beau monde and the massive "attack on Germany on all fronts", it seems that the Poles are afraid of the Germans no less than the Russians. And they want to pre-empt a possible attack with their actual actions. They are seriously afraid that there may be a threat of another partition of Poland. And both from the east and from the west. Scared? Absolutely...

Peter Koenig: Europe knows that they are committing economic suicide

GEOFOR: Traditionally, our conversations follow the pattern: from West to East. Let's change our rules this time around and start with the Indo-Pacific region. Or rather, from the notorious visit of Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. What degree of independence does the Speaker of the House of Representatives has and what was her motivation? How do you assess the consequences of China's retaliatory measures for Taiwan and the United States, as well as for the region as a whole? Peter Koenig: At first glance, the Pelosi visit to Taiwan looks to me like a provocation. In the meantime, there have been other visits to Taiwan by US politicians. They didn’t get as much advertising as did Pelosi. But the objective is the same: provocation, how far can they go? President Xi has warned Washington on several occasions. Even in a phone call with President Biden, saying something to the effect: “Who plays with fire will get fire”. It didn’t make any difference. Washington ignored it. Can one consider China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan straight as a retaliation towards Taiwan? Personally, I don’t think so. Such military practices have taken place before to varied intensities. As far as I know these latest ones have not done any harm to the island of Taiwan, or the Taiwanese population. For sure, they may have been a warning, or a demonstration of what might happen if Taiwan gets serious with following the US – western “lure” of the island away from China. With these military exercises, China has also demonstrated to the west, that they would not stand idle by, if the west attempts to “tamper” with China’s sovereignty. Most countries know that, and they respect China. But there is the self-proclaimed world hegemon and its followers who can’t stop provocations. These provocations have of course not just the purpose of Big Showmanship, but they are also good for the Military Industrial Complex – they create revenues. After all, when all is said and counted, the US military and related services and industries, account for mor than 50% of the US GDP. China does not want war. China is not a warrying nation. China seeks Peace; peaceful relations with the rest of the world. But, if the west attempts to hurt China, to interfere with China’s internal affairs, obviously they stand up and defend their rights and their sovereignty. The peace-loving nature of China might be best expressed by President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), patterned according to the Old Silk Road of 2100 years ago – and which aims at connecting countries, first in the Asia-Pacific Region, then around the world, with peaceful development projects, and scientific and cultural interchange. It is all aimed at a better equilibrium of the world and at peaceful inter-country and inter-regional relations. GEOFOR: The situation in the region continues to escalate. Has Washington decided to start another proxy war besides the Ukraine? Or should it still be considered as a kind of reserve for the future, which will be used after the "Ukrainian question" is closed one way or another? Peter Koenig: In my opinion, it is neither. Washington doesn’t think beyond Ukraine. Long-term thinking has never been an US-forte. It’s provocation. Besides, even Washington knows that fighting several wars on several fronts is like a suicide track. They don’t have the capacity to beat all their fronts, not even with NATO. A good example was Afghanistan. It suddenly became an unwieldy war, and then they run away – leaving another country and her people in shambles. That’s the US. Besides, the Ukraine conflict, a proxy-war of the US / NATO against Russia, played out in a corrupt country, but to the detriment of the people, most of whom are innocent and decent citizens, but they have to bear the brunt. This is a demonstration of cowardry on behalf of the west, notably US/NATO. But the war is also part of the Bigger Picture. It is part of the UN Agenda 2030, or The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) promoted Great Reset. It’s part of Globalist Agenda which is directed behind the scenes by huge financial corporate powers, such as BlackRock, Vanguard and StateStreet – and other Wall Street giants. Their idea is for a relatively small elite to rule the world. That doesn’t seem to be the concept of a future for the world and humanity, shared by Russa and China. To the contrary, Russia and China, and ever more countries around the world are weary of the globalist drive, and they are seeking to regain their national sovereignties and if anything, are part of “regional hubs”. Russia and China, perhaps through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), may be an important Asian hub. More and more countries from the Global South and also from the west, are attempting to join the SCO, the Asian association. They have lost trust in the west, especially in the dollar-dominated western economic system, which is a fiat monetary system, based and backed by nothing. In other words, the system is doomed – sooner or later. Currently the SCO counts among its members, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and a number of former Soviet Republics, as well as other countries, like Malaysia, waiting in the wings. SCO covers close to half of the world population and about 35% of the world’s GDP. There are also speculations that the BRICS+ may at some point unite with the SCO. Washington is aware. Therefore, their provocations on China as well as the bloody conflict in Ukraine – which is a monstruous and murderous 24x7 lie-propaganda by the west - may be seen as attempting disrupting the anti-globalist movement. They will not succeed. Dishonesty, deception and constant aggression has never succeeded in the long run. GEOFOR: Moving in a westerly direction, one can observe two relatively small-sized crises: another escalation in Karabakh (they is shooting there again, but not very intensive yet) and in the Balkans (Serbia and Kosovo). In your opinion, is this an attempt to disperse the Kremlin's attention or solve regional problems by taking advantage of the fact that Moscow is focused on the Ukraine? Peter Koenig: Frankly, I don’t think that fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) and between Serbia and Kosovo are part of the bigger conflict, or the Bigger Picture. The NKR is a disputed territory since the end of the war in 1994, and, despite peace talks, involving the OSCE Minsk Group, the region’s disputed status remains. One of the major reasons for the ongoing and simmering conflict, may be that Nagorno-Karabakh is rich in natural resources of precious and semi-precious metals, such as gold and copper and other minerals; minerals that the west wants for military purposes and for its luxurious life style. Was this conflict originally provoked in one way or another by the US / NATO in order to destabilize the region? – All is possible. Washington is doing this all the time. But now resolving the issue is a local affair. Unless a permanent solution is found between Armenia and Azerbaijan – like granting this small “enclave” some kind of independence and sovereign control over its resources, this conflict may linger on for a long time. For peace in the region, the two warrying forces might want to look at history and grant NKR independence. In the long run, peace in the area may be worth much more than the never-ending conflict over resources. But, in my opinion, this is not a conflict linked to the Ukraine – Russia conflict. As far as Kosovo and Serbia goes – the situation is similar. Kosovo was created under then President Bill Clinton, through his NATO intervention in 1999. Actually, to say it bluntly, he stole a piece of Serbia and created Kosovo, not least for strategic US-military purposes. Kosovo is right in the middle of what used to be Yugoslavia. After all, Kosovo is recognized by only 117 countries, out of a total of 193 UN members. Kosovo is a de facto NATO base with almost 4000 NATO troops – mostly from the US. On the other hand, Serbia has no aspirations to become a NATO country. Her links with Russia are very close. But, NATO in Kosovo represents a potential danger for Serbia in the Region. Moscow, of course is aware, but for now chooses not to intervene. Again, I believe, Serbia – Kosovo is a lingering conflict – already ongoing for many years, basically since Kosovo’s inception in 2008. Could the conflict be resolved with a Russian military presence in Serbia – just for balance? Again, I don’t believe this conflict has anything to do with Russian intervention in Ukraine/ GEOFOR: And now about Europe, where problems are only gaining momentum: drought, lack of energy, rising prices for food and utilities, ahead of the closure of enterprises and explosive growth of unemployment. And then there are the problems with the Nord Stream-1. Can't this bring to their senses the leadership, if not of the European Union, then the individual governments of the Old World? Peter Koenig: Europe knows very well what they are doing, that they are committing economic suicide – and possibly more, with their sanctions and around-the-clock accusations of President Putin and their “Russia-Russia-Russia” lambasting. They, the EU governments, actually the “leaders” (sic), have orders from those who wield the financial powers over the world – via the WEF. And these people, who lead the unelected European Commission (they make sweeping dictatorial decisions, despite the EU Parliament), have been selected precisely because of their corruptible and spineless personalities. And so have most, if not all of the leaders of the EU member countries. Almost all of these “leaders” went through Klaus Schwab’s (WEF) Academy for “Young Global Leaders” (YGL). They know exactly what they have to do, and who their paymasters are. So, make no mistake – what happens to Europe, possibly preparing this fall for being hit by a rough winter, shortages of energy, food, electricity blackouts, the imposition of digital total and absolute control via the QR-code – is all part of a monstrous plan. These “leaders”, who feel they are on top, directing this self-destructing agenda, know exactly what they are doing. And they are making sure, their refrigerators are full through out the winter, and they will have enough heating oil for the coming extreme cold – perhaps as extreme as was the heat wave in Europe, and the Global North in general, this summer. One wonders…. As we know, there are no coincidences. Weather engineering is a highly developed science. Only if people wake up, taking their lives into their own hands, but not each one for himself, but through togetherness, through actions in solidarity, and with a spirit of sharing, they may ascend out of this globalist mess, or rather tyranny. It’s a challenge, but its feasible. Once the psychological barrier of submissiveness has been broken, new frontiers and new opportunities will open up – and without anger and without retaliatory aggression, an ascent out of this human humiliation, submission, and outright enslavement is, indeed, possible. I am confident. Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020). Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing. Serge Duhanov is a journalist, specializing in international relations and national security issues. Не worked as the NOVOSTI Press Agency's own correspondent in Canada (Ottawa, 1990-1992) and the US Bureau Chief (Washington, 1996-2001) of the newspapers Business MN, Delovoy Mir and Interfax-AiF.

Far-right may take power in Italy

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Early parliamentary elections in Italy are scheduled for September 25. After Mario Draghi's resignation, the chair of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers remains vacant and will be occupied – this is how the system works – by the head of the party who wins the parliamentary elections. Now, at the very beginning of the race, the leader, judging by the polls, is the party "Brothers of Italy". And their sister, George Meloni, will lead them to victory. "I am a woman, a mother, an Italian and a Christian, and no one will take that away from me," she repeats such a political mantra at her rallies. It would seem that if 70 offices have been replaced in Italy over the past 75 years, then it would be possible to skip this event. But, firstly, Meloni heads a party of the extreme right, which is considered post-fascist, and secondly, the Italian government has never been led by a woman. So about the post-fascists. They are everywhere in Europe. In France, their leader has already been in the second round of presidential elections for the umpteenth time, in Austria they have already been in power, in Greece, Golden Dawn felt comfortable in parliament. And nothing, only the name and an unpleasant train remained. Therefore, like Marine Le Pen at the time, Meloni began by ridding her party of the stereotypical image of people in breeches and boots. It is possible to call the "Brothers of Italy" fascists in principle, but even the European press prefers the term post-fascists. This movement was born on the ruins of the "Italian Social Movement", which in turn was created by Mussolini's followers. In addition, the movement's coat of arms – a torch of the colors of the Italian flag – resembles fascist logos. However, almost all of the extreme right in Europe have such. There is also a party newspaper that allows itself ambiguous statements. There are also fans of the Duce. But no one goes with torches. The Brothers are the only party not included in Draghi's coalition and have been in opposition since February 2021. Therefore, "whatever happened in Italy, any troubles and discontent, everything went to the benefit of the Brothers of Italy," says Marc Lazard, a historian and analyst at the French Institute of Syans Po. "That is why they have achieved significant success in local elections and now it is one of the leading political forces in the country." And that's true. Meloni managed to surround herself with highly respected politicians from the right flank, emphasized her roots – from the proletariat – plus a serious attitude to business, and she is also a strong-willed woman. The whole mix worked perfectly. The "brothers" won more in the local elections than they expected, and they counted on the southern regions. They also dealt a serious blow to the north, where the "League of the North" traditionally dominates, and took Palermo, which has been permanently left for 40 years, with battles. The sister herself "was an activist of the post-fascist party in her youth," says Piero Ignazzi, an honorary professor at the University of Bologna and a specialist in the right–wing movement. – But she built her program in such a way that there was a place for these ideas in it. Moreover, she managed to link them with conservative and neoliberal elements, for example, freedom of entrepreneurship or the ability to dismiss employees without conditions that are enslaving for the enterprise."  Meloni does not hide the coincidence of views with Viktor Orban, the Spanish nationalist movement Vox or the French National Association. She is even willingly compared to Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the granddaughter of the founder of the party. Relations with the American right are also established. That is, the basis of the program is economic liberalism, social conservatism, natalist policy: encouraging fertility, anti–Muslim, anti-Gypsy, anti-immigration orientation of domestic policy. Support for traditional right-wing values. The party wants to position itself as a guarantor of the traditions and national identity of Italians. They promise to open a free nursery, return a family allowance of 400 euros, not recognize same-sex marriages and the rights of the LGBT community. And the main thing is to finally stop letting Libyans into the country. This is a separate item. The "Brothers of Italy" have left the positions of Eurosceptics and do not demand an exit from the European Union and the eurozone, claiming that they are more inclined to the principle of "Europe of Nations". Of course, Draghi once bargained 200 billion euros from the European Union to restart Italy's economic engine. This manna is needed in order to avoid a recession, which can lead to an increase in inflation and in order to overcome the consequences of strong energy dependence on Russia. But Draghi knocked out this money for certain reforms. The European diplomat who handled this dossier believes that "if 70 percent of the promised reforms are not implemented by the end of 2022, Italy will lose tens of billions of euros." "Besides, it is not clear how things will be with the supply of weapons to Ukraine," continues French political analyst Marc Lazar. "The Brothers of Italy fully accepted the position of the West and condemned Russia. Berlusconi had a special relationship with Putin, Draghi nevertheless decided to participate in the supply of weapons. How will the "Brothers" behave? And the main thing is a right–centrist coalition." Truly. Italy's electoral system is built in such a way that the country can be governed by a coalition. "Now we are talking about a right-centrist coalition," says Mark Lazar, "these are Forza Italia, the Northern League and the Brothers of Italy. Together, they have the most chances to bypass the Democratic Party and the 5-Star Movement, which will undoubtedly advance independently. The current right–wing coalition is a powerful electoral machine. But their differences will begin as soon as it comes to the specific leadership of the country." Meloni and her entourage believe that the elections are practically in their pocket. Now they have 24 percent, the Democrats have 22, the League is in third place with 14 percent. The "brothers" are counting on the disillusioned followers of Berlusconi and Salvini to join them, and a coalition with two right-wing parties is obvious, especially since Forza and the League have been finding a common language for a long time, and a strong new leader will only benefit them. At the same time, we recall that Meloni was not included in the coalition of the Draghi government. And there was already another nationalist party, Matteo Salvini's League. Will there be a "response" now? There are really strained competitive relations between them and so far neither one nor the other is ready for compromises. But now, specifically at the beginning of August, the advantage in the Meloni–Salvini battle is clearly on Meloni's side. The headlines of Italian newspapers are something like this: "A patriot who fights every day for what she believes in...". There is also an element of luck. The campaign turns out to be short – 2 months, and even then half will have to be on vacation, so it will be difficult to "smear public opinion in time" and then change it.

Where will Italy go after Draghi's resignation?

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text So, it happened. After long and convulsive convulsions, traditional for Italian political life, Prime Minister Mario Draghi left his post, adding the prefix "ex" to his former honorary post of head of government. The real reasons for Draghi's fall from the Italian political Olympus were that the broad government coalition of "national unity", which had existed in the Apennines since 2021, was not so united as to maintain its efficiency in the conditions of modern political turbulence and numerous constant challenges, which required a prompt and verified reaction of the ministerial cabinet. In other words, the members of the coalition of allies and like-minded people suddenly became like the characters of Krylov's well-known fable about the swan, crayfish and pike, each of whom pulled the cart of Italian political life in his own direction. The formal reason was simple: one of the main parties of the ruling coalition, the 5-Star Movement, refused to participate in the vote on the issue of confidence in the government, which includes its members. Draghi reacted promptly, saying that he did not see his government without a "Movement". And he submitted his resignation to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. In principle, there is nothing sensational and unusual about the fact that another ruling coalition has collapsed in Italy and another prime minister has decided to leave his post, pulling the entire ministerial brigade with him. For the temperamental inhabitants of hot Italy, such "shocks" are a thing that has long been familiar and very ordinary, since politicians live their own lives, and ordinary people who periodically vote for them – their own. After all, over the past 75 years, Italian governments have resigned 70 times. But the resignation of Mario Draghi was in many ways an exception to this rule, because in the vacuum that arises after the departure of this formally non-partisan figure, some saw the possible emergence of new political figures who could, if not completely change, then at least significantly correct the course pursued by Mario Draghi. Draghi, who held the chair of the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) before his appointment as prime Minister, saw among his priorities the use of European funds to restore the economy, which had sunk considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Real life, however, ordered differently and the special military operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine put Draghi before the need to decide how Rome should react to this tough but necessary move by Moscow. Draghi did not think for long: on the issue of the Ukrainian crisis, the Italian prime minister took one of the toughest positions against the Russian Federation. It was during his premiership that Italy began to actively supply weapons to the Armed Forces. Moreover, these deliveries were increasing – if the first batch sent in March included night vision devices, machine guns and Italian copies of the German RPG "Panzerfaust", then the June batch of military "aid" included M-130 self-propelled guns, armored vehicles and howitzers. However, it was these deliveries, carried out with the full approval and almost at the initiative of the Prime Minister, that ultimately knocked out his prime minister's chair from under the soft spot of the Italian "hawk". The fact was that two parties belonging to the ruling coalition – the League and the 5–Star Movement - objected to the uncontrolled supply of weapons to Kiev and demanded that decisions on this sensitive issue be taken by parliament, not the government. By the way, the politicians of the "5 Star Movement" could not agree among themselves, which simply split under the weight of such an important issue. About 60 MPs left the party and one of its founders, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who quickly built his own association "Together for the Future". As a result, the 5-Star Movement has ceased to be the most representative party in the parliament. And in response, it skillfully turned the leg to the Prime Minister... Therefore, it was not surprising that after the decision to dismiss Draghi, a slight panic began in the ranks of the Italian right. What is the only statement by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio that only Russia will benefit from the fall of the Italian government led by Mario Draghi and that "Draghi's head was brought to Putin on a silver platter." Some Italian politicians anxiously stated that after Draghi's resignation, Moscow was already raising glasses of champagne, hoping for a change in Rome's course regarding sanctions against the Russian Federation and the conflict in Ukraine. Bernardo de Miguel, a columnist for the influential Spanish newspaper Pais, summed up the fears of Draghi's followers and hardliners and warned that without Draghi, Italy could turn into a Russian "Trojan horse" in Europe. How real are these fears? Most likely, no serious changes in the current anti-Russian course of the Italian government, supported by part of the traditional elite, oriented towards an alliance with the United States and the European Union, should not be expected. After all, according to the decision of the president of the country, Mario Draghi is still fulfilling his prime minister's duties, and in the autumn - approximately in September – new parliamentary elections are expected in Italy. Their outcome for such a sophisticated politician as Silvio Berlusconi, who headed the Italian government four times between 1994 and 2011, does not cause much doubt.  "In the current situation, it is important to hold elections as soon as possible.  Their result will be a stable majority among the center–right," he predicts, adding that the main thing for the new cabinet is to preserve "the positive results achieved by the Draghi government." "Most likely, we will again have a prime minister approved by Washington, supported by President Sergio Mattarella, the European Union and NATO," the chairman of the International Institute for Global Analysis Vision & Global Trends told TASS Tiberio Graziani, commenting on the government crisis. The new prime minister, however, will not get a very pleasant legacy after Draghi – in the form of record inflation and high energy prices. Perhaps the EU colleagues will continue to insist on Italy reducing gas consumption by 15% - which Rome resolutely refused in July, thus joining the club of "refuseniks" consisting of Spain, Greece and Portugal. It is by autumn that experts predict an increase in social tension caused by these problems... Therefore, after the Draghi government went into oblivion, few people in the Apennines are particularly optimistic about the future of the new cabinet of his followers. And then the deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, who published in his telegram channel a collage with a photo of Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation a week earlier, will have a great opportunity to place on an unopened picture with a question mark, a photo of the next head of the next Italian government.

Bulgaria fears retaliation

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The diplomatic crisis in Bulgarian-Russian relations related to the expulsion of 70 employees of the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation has reached its apogee. How will Moscow respond? The Russian side is holding a pause and does not voice its response to the scandalous expulsion from Bulgaria at the end of June of 70 diplomats, embassy staff and their family members, of whom there were a total of about 160 people. They returned to Moscow on two planes. The usual reaction to such antics is symmetrical actions towards Bulgarian diplomats working in Russia. But in this case we are talking about the possible closure of the Russian embassy in Sofia and the actual rupture of diplomatic relations. "If this decision is not reviewed, then the Russian leadership will be faced with the question of the very preservation of our diplomatic presence and the need for a Bulgarian diplomatic presence here," said Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko. However, Bulgarian expert on international relations Dimitar Girdev naively rules out an extreme measure. He believes that, most likely, the level may be lowered: instead of an embassy, "there will be a consulate or, at worst, a representative office, like the United States in Cuba." A complete break, they say, will not happen. Even the initiator of the expulsion, ex-Prime Minister Kirill Petkov (a Harvard graduate and a former Canadian citizen) is, in fact, begging for mercy. He urged Russia to keep diplomatic channels open. His logic is striking: "We believe in the need for dialogue, for which the presence of diplomatic channels is of key importance... After the decision, 43 Russian diplomatic staff will still remain in Bulgaria (in fact, 48, but this does not matter. – Ed.) against only 12 Bulgarian in Moscow. For the sake of the past and for the sake of the future, we should be able to take steps forward on the basis of mutual respect." Meanwhile, the situation is clearly escalating. Recently it became known that Russia has suspended the validity of certificates previously issued to aircraft repair companies in Bulgaria. This is done as a response to the West's intention to repair equipment supplied to Kiev at industrial facilities certified by the Russian side. As stated by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, Moscow disclaims responsibility for the safety of Mi helicopters repaired at the Terem-Letets and Avionams plants. Rosoboronexport suggested that after the revocation of certification, these enterprises, which were the largest technical centers in Europe, would close or try to establish gray channels for the supply of spare parts from third countries. Let me remind you that Sofia has also promised to repair 80 Ukrainian tanks. Despite all the explosiveness of the situation, Bulgaria does not think about repentance and continues to make openly unfriendly steps: for example, it froze a tranche for the Russian Embassy for 890 thousand dollars, which were intended to pay salaries to employees of the Russian diplomatic mission. Bulgarian Minister of Finance (also already – former) Asen Vasilev said that allegedly this money falls under the sanctions of the European Commission. "Bulgaria did not take any action on this, everything happened automatically on the basis of EU sanctions. The issue of excluding these funds from the sanctions package is being resolved at the level of the European Commission. When the decision to unblock them arrives, we will take appropriate actions," Vasilev said. He also added that the Russian embassy allegedly requested a de-delegation for this tranche. This tricky word means "partial repeal of the old law." It is noteworthy that officials, and not only Bulgarian ones, regularly come up with all sorts of verbal nonsense to "catch up with the fog." So: in Brussels, they disavowed the Bulgarian initiative. They say that there were no preliminary consultations with the European Commission on this issue, and it has nothing to do with this step. This is an exclusively "local solution". Bulgaria in general is striking by the absolute lack of coordination of the vertical of power. President Rumen Radev, for example, said that he had not even been informed about the possible expulsion of Russian diplomats. The initiator of this action Petkov turned the arrows to the Foreign Ministry. According to him, the Foreign Ministry received two reports from DANS (the state Agency for National Security, counterintelligence. – Ed.), on the basis of which the Ministry decided to declare persona non grata of specific persons. He just voiced it. In short: I am not me and the hut is not mine. By the way, the helplessness of the Bulgarian government, focused exclusively on handouts from the EU, is manifested not only on the political floor, but also in the economy. On April 27, Gazprom announced the termination of fuel supplies to Bulgaria, as Bulgargaz did not switch to a new payment mechanism in rubles. The "brothers" hoped to jump to Azerbaijani gas. The Balkan country consumes about 3 billion cubic meters annually. Azerbaijan exports through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline with a capacity of 10 billion cubic meters. m per year, of which 8 billion cubic meters. m should go to Italy and 1 billion cubic meters each to Greece and Bulgaria. But the actual volumes of Azerbaijani gas supplied to Bulgaria were significantly less – in 2021, about 350 million cubic meters. They were carried out not directly from Azerbaijan, but under a temporary agreement from Greece, which ended on June 30, 2022. But winter is coming soon... Bulgaria has managed to buy recently a batch of Ukrainian grain – 6 thousand tons of wheat and 1.3 thousand tons of barley. Now this "good" is undergoing phytosanitary control according to strict EU rules. If the quality turns out to be poor, then the grain will simply be destroyed. And this despite the fact that it was imported uncontrolled and without duty. Local farmers are protesting. Half of the harvest in Bulgaria has already been harvested. It is good, about 7 million tons of grain are expected. More than half were planned to be exported. And here is a gift from the square, which clearly brings down the price. But back to the diplomatic scandal. Recently, the Russian Embassy in Sofia stopped issuing tourist visas to Bulgarian citizens. They are now provided only to those who have immediate relatives in Russia. This is a wake-up call. The Bulgarian Consulate in Moscow and the Consulate General of the Republic in St. Petersburg, on the contrary, continue to issue all types of visas to Russian citizens. Does the official Sofia really hope that it will carry through?

Melnik was forced to stop the millstone

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The head of the Kiev regime dismissed his most frostbitten ambassador, who became a bone in the throat for relations with Berlin. Ordinary Ukrainians are being strangled by everything – both the West, which has determined them to be slaughtered, and the former buffoon Zelensky, who "doesn't care" about the suffering of the people, and his faithful chain dogs, who clung to Europe with a death grip. However, the time of the zholto-blakit loudmouths seems to be coming to an end: The Old World is already pretty tired of the Ukrainian theme. A good example is the dismissal of the ambassador to Germany, 47–year-old Andrei Melnik, who had been drinking the blood of German politicians for almost eight years. By the way, this is an exorbitant period for a career diplomat. Usually such business trips last 4-6 years. It is noteworthy that the boorish diplomat in Germany could well have been restrained in a timely manner. To do this, according to the protocol, he just had to be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and given a suggestion. But now this department is headed by a representative of the "greens" Annalena Berbok, an ardent Russophobe and, as one might assume, a fan of a frostbitten Ukrainian colleague. That's why he got away with everything. But the list of his "unfriendly attacks" is very wide. Miller is the one who publicly stated in one of the programs on German TV that Chancellor Olaf Scholz "plays the offended liver sausage" (Die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen). The idiom is extremely undiplomatic and unpleasant for a German. It means that a person pretends to be offended, but in fact there are absolutely no grounds for resentment. There are, by the way, several variants of the nature of this expression, but in principle they come down to one bike. Once a butcher cooked various meat products in a large cauldron. After they were ready, he pulled them out, but did not catch up and forgot the liver sausage there, which (out of resentment!) burst. In fact, the Miller burst. However, he began his "fighting path" with his Mother, as Angela Merkel was nicknamed at home. She got it for her "uncritical" attitude to her government's policy on the Russian track. Then President Frank-Walter Steinmeier fell under the millstone. The gopnik ambassador accused him of creating a "web of contacts with Russia" and unwillingness to abandon these "sacred" ties under any circumstances. For such "sins", reported in colors by the Miller to the chief, the excited Zelensky even dared to refuse the head of Germany, from whose hands, in fact, the regime feeds, a visit to Kiev. No need to go to a fortune teller: this respected politician clearly harbored a grudge... Melnyk called Berlin's actions to support Kiev "sluggish", and compared the pace of German arms deliveries "with the speed of a snail." He called the German experts calling on Ukraine to come to a truce with Russia as soon as possible (for the sake of ordinary citizens of this country!) "a bunch of pseudo-intellectual losers," and reproached the Germans for the lack of hospitality towards Ukrainian refugees. As it turns out, they have completely lost their temper, demanding special privileges from the Bundesbyurgers. The last "drop of poison" was Melnik's recent statements about Bandera. He believes that Bandera is not involved in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles. They say that this thesis, which finds support in Germany, Poland and Israel, is promoted by "insidious Russians". "I visited the grave of Stepan Bandera in Munich because he is important to many Ukrainians as the personification of the struggle for freedom, the struggle for an independent Ukrainian state in extremely difficult circumstances... The freedom fighter is not subject to any laws. Robin Hood is revered by everyone, and he also did not act according to the laws," Melnik said. His words caused a storm of indignation in Germany. Felix Klein, the German government's commissioner on the problem of anti-Semitism, noted in this regard that such statements "play into the hands of Russia," which calls the fight against neo-Nazism one of the goals of the military special operation in Ukraine. Even official Kiev disavowed the words of its ambassador, who called the glorification of Bandera a personal opinion of Miller. As a result, as mentioned above, a few days ago Zelensky by his decree dismissed the ambassador in Berlin from his post. But not for the poisonous language and disrespect for the first persons of Germany, but, as he said, as part of a "routine rotation". In fact, the reasons are different. Reports have appeared in the British and Spanish media that Germany has been blocking the EU aid package (approved, by the way, by all other leaders of the countries of this association) for nine billion euros for more than a month. And all, apparently, due to the fact that "there is no horse food", Ukrainian appetites are too exorbitant, which Melnik tirelessly broadcast from numerous Berlin media platforms "Kiev mouthpiece". Without this money, an independent kayak, there will be nothing to pay for debts. How can I not remember about the "liver sausage" and "the spider weaving its net"... And personally, Zelensky was enraged by the fact that he failed to stop the actions of Germany to return the Siemens gas turbine for Nord Stream-1 from Canada, which was suspended there for repair. Now the hated Russian gas seems to be going to Europe again with an increased flow. Melnik is expected to be shot at the post of deputy Foreign Minister at home. But will this prospect please the "big patriot" and the noble "strangler", who for all his efforts lost his salary in hard currency and a comfortable nest in Berlin. After all, he can really fly to Kiev... In this whole story with the sad end of the loudmouth who tried to take the German government by the throat, there is another, partly positive, trend. Zelensky has recently dismissed his ambassadors to Georgia, Iran, Portugal, Lebanon, Norway, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India and Germany "within the framework of rotation". Let's take at least the last five countries. I do not know all the circumstances of the dismissal of the local ambassadors, but the reason for conspiracy is clearly visible. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the already weak support for Ukraine should be strengthened. Hungary needs to be brought to reason from independent steps that violate EU sanctions against Russia. Independent India in general should be lured to the side of the collective West. Well, and to rid Germany, at least, of the Miller. So still: why such a massive purge, because horses are not changed at the crossing? Is it really time for insolent people to pass and Ukraine has a need for other chief diplomats who will facilitate negotiations not about war "to the last Ukrainian", but about peace?

Johnson is stepping down as Conservative leader

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Persuaded for two days. Since Wednesday evening, cars with ministers and high–ranking functionaries of the Conservative Party have been approaching the Prime Minister's London residence with one goal - to convince Boris Johnson to resign after a scandal that overflowed the scales that usually pulls down. How would they not pull the whole party with them! Even Nadim Zahavi came to persuade, who was appointed finance minister just a day before the events to replace Rishi Sunak, who resigned. And in just two days, almost 60 members of the government resigned. There is no mistake. There were–now–116 people in Johnson's office. Unlike, say, the French government, where there are 40 ministers and each is responsible for his own direction, in the British one it is always crowded. It's just that there are ministers of the first plan and there are a host of secretaries of state, their deputies and other high-ranking functionaries who are not on the front line, but are still formally members of the government. The reason for the resignation was not just another scandal that broke out at the beginning of the week with Christopher Pinscher, which we have already written about. He just held the same position of the second plan – he was responsible for the discipline of conservative deputies in parliament, but he himself violated it by walking around in the capital's "Carlton Club", where he let his hands loose against male colleagues, having, apparently, had too much single malt. Johnson stated that he did not know about such inclinations of a member of his government. But he was reminded: he had known since 2019. Which means he lied. The reason was the system. The gradual accumulation of scandalous situations, which each separately cost a vote of no confidence. Christmas fun at the official residence in Downing Street during the pandemic. Repairs in the same place with an off-scale price tag. A series of sexual scandals involving party comrades. Well, and relaxed gatherings without masks in the courtyard with wine, while compatriots had the right to one walk a day, and most importantly, when all pubs are closed! Shocking! As a result, I had to leave "the best job in the world," as Johnson himself stated. After resigning as Tory leader, he will leave the post of prime minister in the autumn. The leader of the ruling party auomatically becomes Prime Minister. It remains to choose a new leader. How will this happen? Only members of Parliament can be candidates. Each candidate must enlist the support of at least two deputies. Then the conservatives vote according to the playoff system, that is, against - through, and as a result there are two finalists. Then a leader is chosen by universal suffrage. This whole procedure will be delayed until the autumn and Boris Johnson will remain Prime minister during this time. Who is being read in Downing Street? Ben Wallace, 52, Secretary of Defense. He constantly evaded the question of whether he was capable of leading the party, and the party considers him a very competent politician. According to the polls of the YouGov sociological institute, which surveyed members of the Conservative Party, he will win the party elections by a large margin. Wallace did not resign on the general wave in the last days for the cabinet and supported Johnson. Penny Mordaunt, 49, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade. She has been an active participant in the campaign for leaving the EU since 2016. The first female Minister of Defense of the Kingdom, but when Johnson came to power, she left this post. A Royal Navy reservist, however. A wonderful speaker and very respected by fellow party members. According to a YouGov poll, he is in second place after Wallace among possible successors. Rishi Sunak, 42, Finance Minister, the first to resign after the publication of the "Pinscher case". Actually, he was considered the favorite, but some fiscal problems surfaced with his richest wife, and against the background of the fall in the purchasing power of the people, this, frankly speaking, is not a trump card. Sunak worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, then went into private speculative funds. Since 2015, the deputy, also a Brexit activist, has been finance minister for two years, but recently he has been getting a lot for price increases. Liz Truss, 46, Minister of Foreign Affairs. She got this post in recognition of her success as the head of the foreign trade department. I have always been in favor of free trade and voted for continued membership in the European Union, when I suddenly went to the opposite camp and even prepared several trade projects already in the post-Brexit era. She is loved by the party grassroots. They respect her for her tough stance on the issue of EU–Northern Ireland relations - she is in favor of breaking the relevant agreement with the EU, as well as for an equally tough line regarding the events in Ukraine. By the way, the outgoing Prime Minister himself noted in his speech that he hopes that the line maintained by Britain towards Russia will remain the same. The Kremlin replied: "He doesn't like us, and we don't like him" and hoped that professionals would come to replace the leadership of the United Kingdom. Britain's policy towards the Russian-Ukrainian conflict cannot change with the arrival of a new leadership, if only because it acts as a united front as part of the collective West. Maybe the successor will not treat Russia as fiercely as Johnson, but this will not change the general approach.