Link back to the discussion thread.


  • Aramco CEO says Europe’s energy crisis plans only short-term solution MEMO

The Head of Saudi state oil giant, Aramco, said on Tuesday Europe’s plans to cap energy bills for consumers and tax energy companies were not long-term or helpful solutions for the global energy crisis, spurred largely by underinvestment in hydrocarbons, Reuters reports.

“Freezing or capping energy bills might help consumers in the short term, but it does not address the real causes and is not the long-term solution,” Chief Executive, Amin Nasser, told a forum in Switzerland.

“And taxing companies when you want them to increase production is clearly not helpful.”

Yeah, they should be nationalized and brought under public ownership instead.

  • EU Members Fear Watered-Down Russia Sanctions Bloomberg

This was written before Putin announced the partial mobilization. I imagine Europe will be ever more energized to destroy their own economies in the corner, gasping “Do you feel owned? Am I owning you?” while Russia looks on in confusion.

EU members, including Poland and the Baltics, are pushing back against a change that they fear will weaken sanctions on Russian coal. We’re told that the commission quietly issued new guidance that allows EU companies to help transport, finance or insure the sale of Russian coal, wood and some cement products to third countries “to combat food and energy insecurity around the world.” The loosening comes at an awkward time as Russia is hastening its annexation of the parts of Ukraine its forces still control. The Kremlin suddenly announced plans to hold referendums as soon as this weekend, even as Ukrainian forces continue their advance across several fronts.

  • EU Willing To Pay Up For Russian Diesel Ahead Of Ban Oil Price

The EU may have a plan to ban all Russian diesel purchases in February, but in the meantime, European buyers are happy to pay more for Russian diesel now than they did back in May, industry sources told Reuters.

The ban on Russian seaborne diesel imports, set to go into effect as part of a larger strategy to cut off Russia’s revenue stream, follows the EU’s crude oil ban set to go into effect in December. Two months later, the ban on Russian diesel imports—and all its refined products—will go into effect.

The discount on Russian diesel was at $30 per tonne in May, according to Reuters—but it is now just $6 per tonne in northwest Europe and $10 per tonne in the Mediterranean on the back of rising demand.

Europe is on a mission to increase its inventories to a level that will carry them safely through the winter months. And for now, Russia’s discount—although smaller than it was in May—still looks attractive.

“Those that can, will buy Russian and stockpile. Gas-to-oil switching has added to demand and we’re switching to winter diesel. This is one of the factors why Russian stuff is not as cheap as it used to be,” one European trader told Reuters.

But not all European countries are buying Russian diesel. In fact, as a whole, Europe has increased its diesel purchases from non-Russian suppliers in September, according to data from Vortexa.

Europe is on track to import 1.65 million bpd of diesel in September, an increase of 190,000 bpd over August levels. Meanwhile, Europe’s imports of Russian diesel totaled 44% of Europe’s total diesel imports so far this month, down from 51% in August and 60% in July. Its intake of Middle Eastern diesel has grown to 30%, up from 23% last month.


  • Offering taste of normality, McDonald’s reopens in Kyiv seven months into war Inquirer

Kyiv residents braved the cold to queue for hours on Tuesday as McDonald’s opened three branches in the Ukrainian capital that had been shut since the Russian invasion began nearly seven months ago.

The branches only opened for delivery services but customers waited outside the restaurants anyway to collect their meals from the motorcycle couriers who were next to them.


  • Fries shortage resolved, successor to McDonald’s in Russia eyes full reopening Reuters

After battling supply chain issues, potato shortages and a hefty rebranding job, the successor to McDonald’s Corp’s business in Russia expects to have all 850 restaurants open by the end of the year, it said on Tuesday.

Oleg Paroev, CEO of Vkusno & tochka, or “Tasty and that’s it”, painted a positive picture of the company’s first 100 days, but withheld specific details on sales, revenue, new products and import markets.

The bumpy transition illustrates as Western companies have had trouble making a seamless exit from Russia, so too have new owners faced challenges when snapping up available assets.

Since opening on June 12, Vkusno & tochka has sold more than 1.2 million burgers, Paroev told reporters, occasionally enjoying days of higher sales than under the McDonald’s brand.

  • Pepsi Reportedly Stops Manufacturing Sodas In Russia—Joining Global Food Giants Leaving Amid Ukraine Invasion Forbes

Beverage giant PepsiCo has stopped manufacturing several of its popular soda brands in Russia, Reuters reported on Tuesday, a move that comes a month after the bottler of its chief rival Coca-Cola announced it had stopped all sales and production in the country and six months after Pepsi announced plans to suspend sales in the country following the invasion of Ukraine.

According to Reuters, PepsiCo stopped manufacturing concentrates for all of its soft drink brands—Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Mirinda and 7Up— in Russia, and all existing stock has now been exhausted.


  • Moldova chooses alternatives to Russian gas Reuters

Ex-Soviet Moldova has selected seven companies to secure gas from next month should supply from Russia’s Gazprom, be disrupted, a senior government official said.

Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu, who has led Moldova’s team of negotiators in talks with Gazprom through a year of steep price increases, told a Moldovan television programme late on Monday that the Russian giant was “unpredictable”.

Moldova can draw on 300 million euros put up by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the event of a break in Russian supply, he told JurnalTV.

State gas company Moldovagaz said on Tuesday it had paid for August deliveries and was due to make its 50% advance payment for September amounting to $33.89 million, though a senior company source told Reuters it was uncertain it had the funds to do so.


  • Bulgaria tenders for gas supplies to ride out energy crisis Reuters

Bulgaria’s state gas company, Bulgargaz, is launching three tenders for liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Tuesday to avoid winter shortages and ensure long-term energy security, said Chief Executive Denitsa Zlateva.

The Balkan country was almost totally reliant on Russian gas before Moscow cut deliveries in August and is now struggling to secure sufficient supplies at affordable prices for businesses in the European Union’s poorest member state.

The interim cabinet that took office in August after the collapse of the coalition led by reformist premier Kiril Petkov, which refused to pay for Russian gas in roubles, has asked Gazprom to consider restoring supplies to Bulgaria.

It is also holding talks with Azerbaijan to boost gas deliveries during the winter.

Bulgaria is also considering opening tenders for pipeline gas from neighbouring Turkey, interim energy minister Rossen Hristov said.


  • Hungary extends energy and food price caps amid soaring inflation EU Reporter

Hungary’s chief of staff, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, stated that the country has increased the price caps on fuels, basic food and other items by three months to the end of the current year to protect households from rising costs.

Budapest strongly criticized the European Union’s imposition of sanctions against Russia for its invasion in Ukraine. They failed to reduce Moscow and caused a rise in food prices and energy prices.

Combining with falling forint levels to new records, Hungary’s inflation has reached two-decade highs. This led to the National Bank of Hungary raising its base rate to 11.75%.

United Kingdom

  • Liz Truss urges world leaders to follow UK with trickle down economics Guardian

Liz Truss is to urge world leaders to join Britain in introducing far-reaching tax cuts despite US president Joe Biden pouring scorn on “trickle down economics” ahead of their first bilateral talks in New York.

In a speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, the prime minister will argue the free world must prioritise economic growth to deny authoritarian states like Russia the chance to manipulate the global economy.

However, her embrace of Reaganite economic policy puts her on a collision course with the Democratic president who tweeted yesterday that he was “sick and tired” of the approach, which he claimed had never worked.

Biden does have his moments where he’s genuinely cool. Like this, and the Afghanistan withdrawal. And… I’m struggling to think of much else.

  • UK Plans to Slash Wholesale Prices of Business Energy Bills Bloomberg

The UK plans to slash the wholesale prices that are incorporated into business energy bills this winter, people familiar with the matter said, as the government tries to contain the economic damage from spiraling costs.

The cap would limit the maximum costs to about 21.1 pence per kilowatt-hour for electricity and 7.5 pence for gas, the people said, asking not to be named because the numbers aren’t public. The planned discounts are set to apply to contracts signed since April 1 this year and would last for six months starting Oct. 1. The final amounts could change depending on market conditions.

“We will confirm further details of the business support scheme tomorrow,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said on Tuesday in a statement. “The scheme will support businesses with their October energy bills, including through backdating if necessary.”

Compared with the current market prices facing suppliers, the cap would impose a discount of roughly 50% on the winter contract for electricity and 25% on gas for next month. The package will apply to non-domestic users like businesses, charities and public sector organizations, with a review in three months.

Is that even enough?

  • More than 29m people in UK watched Queen’s funeral, TV data shows Guardian

That’s so fucking embarrassing.


  • Russian gold floods Switzerland at the highest pace in more than 2 years as investors eye remelting and reselling taboo supplies Business Insider

Swiss imports of Russian gold hit their highest clip in over two years last month as investors eye the global refining and transit hub as a conduit for potential resales.

According to Swiss customs data, about 5.7 tons of Moscow’s bullion valued at roughly $320 million arrived in the country in August, the most since April 2020. The gold originated from Russia although it was refined in the UK.

The jump in imports could signal that investors holding on to Russian bars may be looking to remelt their bullion at Swiss refineries to then resell it.

Russia is the world’s second-largest gold miner, but output has suffered since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The US, EU and Switzerland have all sanctioned Russian gold exports, though bars that left the county before August 4 aren’t subject to the ban.

Still, Russian gold continues to have a stigma that investors are seeking to avoid, and hundreds of tons of gold mined in Russia remain in storage in the UK, Switzerland and the US.


  • Brothers of Italy suspends candidate after online post praising Hitler found Guardian

The far-right Brothers of Italy party has suspended an election candidate after it was discovered he had praised Adolf Hitler and described the group’s leader, Giorgia Meloni, as a “modern fascist”.

Calogero Pisano, a coordinator for Brothers of Italy in the Sicilian province of Agrigento, wrote on Facebook in 2014 that the Nazi leader was “a great statesman”.

The post, which sparked condemnation from Italy’s Jewish community, emerged in a story by La Repubblica newspaper days before Italians go to the polls in general elections.

The newspaper found another post by Pisano, written in the same year, saying he supports the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, while the words referring to his party’s leader were written in 2016.

Brothers of Italy, a descendant of the neofascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), leads a coalition that is forecast to win a comfortable victory in the elections on Sunday, paving the way for Meloni to potentially become prime minister.

Meloni has tried to distance her party from its neofascist origins, saying in August that it had “handed fascism to history decades ago”. However, she refused calls to remove the party’s tricoloured flamed symbol, which had come from MSI’s official logo.


  • Germany Nationalizes Uniper to Avert Energy Sector Collapse Bloomberg

Germany will nationalize Uniper SE in a historic move to rescue the country’s largest gas importer and avert a collapse of the energy sector in Europe’s biggest economy.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration will control about 99% of the Dusseldorf-based utility after injecting 8 billion euros ($8 billion) into the company and buying the majority stake held by Finnish utility Fortum Oyj. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Uniper is the epicenter of the energy crisis in Germany. Its massive gas contracts with Russia exposed the company to the Kremlin’s moves to slash supplies in retaliation for sanctions stemming from its invasion of Ukraine. The utility has accumulated 8.5 billion euros in gas-related losses after prices for alternative sources soared.

Uniper shares tumbled as much as 23%, while Fortum shares surged as much as 20%.


  • France Prepares To Nationalize Its Struggling Nuclear Industry Oil Price

France is working up to fully nationalizing the currently 84% state-owned nuclear energy company Électricité de France (EDF) at the same time that the company is anticipating a massive downturn in profits. EDF had already warned investors that its core profits would take a considerable hit this year, but just sharply increased that projected loss to a whopping 29 billion Euros (normally here we would say how much that is in dollars, but the European economy has taken such a downturn – largely thanks to energy woes – that the values of the Euro and the Dollar are virtually identical). The massive loss is thanks to a series of unfortunate events that have led to more than half of EDF’s 56 reactors being taken offline – a record shortage.

France’s nuclear sector has been hit with multiple issues at the worst possible moment. The industry is dealing with a pileup of delays and stoppages thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, a “series of maintenance issues including corrosion at some of France’s aging reactors, troubles at state-controlled energy group EDF and a years-long absence of significant new nuclear investment,” according to reporting from the Financial Times over the summer. In the few months since that FT report, the situation has grown even worse, as a severe drought has caused rivers around Europe to run dry, leaving some French and Swiss nuclear plants without enough water to keep their systems cool.

As a result, French nuclear energy output is at an all-time low. This is a major issue for the nation, which derives about 70% of its energy from nuclear power. Generally, France is a net exporter of energy, thanks to its robust and heretofore reliable nuclear sector. Now it’s being forced to import energy in a historically tight market. The European continent is experiencing a crisis of soaring energy prices thanks to a game of chicken with Moscow. In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has been working toward weaning itself off of its heavy reliance on Russian fossil fuels with the intention of instituting energy sanctions on the Kremlin. In response, Russia’s Gazprom has indefinitely cut off natural gas supply to the continent via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing its own suspiciously timed maintenance issues.

The timing of the French nuclear collapse is all the more tragic due to the political wrangling with Russia. France has long been the global poster child for nuclear energy, with the highest production rates per capita and an evangelical zeal for nuclear energy development to shore up energy security in the era of climate change. France was not tied in any substantive way to the dangerous reliance on Russian gas imports that made the continent’s energy security so fragile. In fact, it has prided itself on the energy independence that nuclear built. But now, just when it was most needed, French nuclear has failed to save the day.


  • Putin at war with all of EU – Spanish PM RT

Pedro Sanchez says conflict between Russia and Ukraine is making the EU stronger.

Kinda like how cutting your arm off makes the other arm stronger.

Asia and Oceania


  • China willing to make effort for peaceful ‘reunification’ with Taiwan Jakarta Post

China is willing to make the utmost effort to strive for a peaceful “reunification” with Taiwan, a Chinese government spokesperson said on Wednesday, following weeks of military manoeuvres and war games by Beijing near the island.

  • U.S., Canadian warships sail through Taiwan Strait for 2nd time in a year Reuters

A U.S. Navy warship and a Canadian frigate made a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, the militaries of both nations said, at a time of heightened military tension between Beijing and Taipei.

The transit was the second in a month by a U.S. Navy ship, and the second jointly by the United States and Canada in less than a year, since October 2021.


  • China’s Imports of Russian LNG Triple in 2022 TeleSUR

The latest customs data reveal that this year, LNG shipments to China from Russia (28.5 percent) and Qatar (66.7 percent) have increased so far this year.

The value of LNG coming into China from Russia via pipelines in the first eight months of 2022 totaled 2.39 billion dollars, nearly triple that of last year, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said by consulting the data.

According to the SCMP, China’s total LNG imports from Russia increased by 28.5 percent year-on-year, with 66.7 percent, or two-thirds, from Qatar.

  • Chinese FM Wang Meets With Henry Kissinger TeleSUR

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York.

Wang congratulated Kissinger on his upcoming 100th birthday, calling him an old and good friend of the Chinese people, who has made historic contributions to the establishment and development of China-U.S. relations.

China appreciates the fact that Kissinger has always been friendly to China and has confidence in China-U.S. relations, Wang said and expressed hope that Kissinger will continue to play an important role and help bilateral relationship get back on track as soon as possible.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s visit to China and the issue of the Shanghai Communique, Wang said, adding that China and the United States should earnestly sum up the conducive experience of 50 years of exchanges.


  • Man set himself on fire amid outcry over Shinzo Abe’s state funeral plans Euro News

A man set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister’s office in Tokyo early Wednesday in a sign of protest against the state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe.

The man, believed to be in his 70s, sustained burns on large parts of his body but was conscious and told police that he set himself on fire after pouring oil over himself, Kyodo News agency reported.

A note supposedly written by the man was found that said, “Personally, I am absolutely against” Abe’s funeral.

Tokyo authorities confirmed that the incident took place but refused to make further comments, including on a report that a police officer was caught in the fire.

The suspected immolation underscores a growing wave of protests against the funeral for Abe, one of the most divisive leaders in postwar Japanese politics.

  • Four Dead As Typhoon Brings Intense Mudslides And Flooding To Japan Forbes

The death toll from Typhoon Nanmadol, which battered Japan with 145 mph winds, mudslides and heavy flooding Monday, has risen to four, with at least 114 injured, a Japanese government spokesperson said Tuesday morning, as roughly 140,000 homes remain without electricity in one of the worst storms to hit Japan in years.


  • Hundreds of whales stranded on Tasmania’s west coast in state’s second event this week Guardian

Hundreds of whales have become stranded on Tasmania’s west coast, near the town of Strahan, just a day after a separate mass stranding event on King Island.

The Tasmanian department of natural resources and environment confirmed that a pod of about 230 pilot whales stranded on Ocean Beach. Some animals were also stranded on a sand flat inside Macquarie Harbour.

“It appears about half of the animals are alive,” the department said in a statement, adding that a team was assembling whale rescue gear and heading to the area. “Marine wildlife experts will assess the scene and the situation to plan an appropriate response.”

  • Australia signs global nature pledge committing to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 Guardian

The Australian government has signed a global pledge endorsed by more than 90 countries committing them to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, announced Australia had joined the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature at an event taking place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Middle East


  • Two Turkish banks suspend Russian MIR payments after US warning MEMO

Two of Turkiye’s largest banks have suspended their acceptance of Russia’s MIR payments system after US warnings of punishment for sanctions evasion, Bloomberg reports.

According to the report, Turkiye’s largest private lender, IsBank and Denizbank, a Turkish unit of the United Arab Emirates' NBD, suspended transactions through Russia’s MIR system after the sanctions applied by the US.

Russia’s Central Bank said, last week, that foreign banks were reluctant to join the MIR system out of fear of secondary sanctions.

Reuters' report says that more than half of Russia’s population has a MIR card, as 100 million MIR cards have been issued since the system launched in 2015.

  • Israeli, Turkish leaders hold first meeting since 2008 Al Jazeera

The leaders of Israel and Turkey have held face-to-face talks for the first time since 2008, as ties between the two countries continue to warm.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting on Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, according to a statement from Lapid’s office.

Israel-Turkey relations, long frosty amid feuding over the Palestinian cause, have warmed in recent months, with energy emerging as a potential key area of cooperation.

The two countries officially restored full diplomatic relations in August, including an exchange of ambassadors.

United Arab Emirates

  • UAE Accelerates Development Of Huge Gas Field As High Prices Persist Oil Price


  • Iranian women burn their hijabs as hundreds protest death of Mahsa Amini CNN

I automatically do not trust the mainstream media’s portrayal of protests in countries that the West does not like - those extremely organic Cuban protests we saw a while ago are proof of that - but these seem to at least have genuinely good aims. Maybe there will be proof later on that the CIA was involved in them somehow, but more feminism is never a bad thing.

In the video, a massive crowd cheers as a woman lifts a pair of scissors to her hair – exposed, without a hijab in sight. The sea of people, many of them men, roar as she chops off her ponytail and raises her fist in the air.

It was a powerful act of defiance Tuesday night in the city of Kerman, Iran, where women are required to wear hijabs in public – and just one of the many protests taking place across the country following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody last week.

Thousands took to the streets Tuesday night, with videos of protests emerging from dozens of towns and cities – ranging from the capital Tehran to more traditionally conservative strongholds like Mashad.

Footage shows some protesters chanting, “Women, life, freedom.” Others can be seen setting up bonfires, scuffling with police, or removing and burning their headscarves – as well as destroying posters of the country’s Supreme Leader and shouting, “Death to the dictator.”

The protests are striking for their scale, ferocity and rare feminist nature; the last protests of this size were three years ago, after the government hiked gas prices in 2019.

Witnesses tell CNN that the Tuesday night demonstrations appear to be “flash protests” – meaning groups form and disperse quickly, to avoid run-ins with Iran’s security forces after the escalating violence of the last week.

A source said there was at least one instance of a heavy-handed police response on Tuesday, near Iran’s Enghelab (“Revolution”) Square on the western side of Tehran University – historically a rallying point for protests.

  • Over 100 nanotech projects to be promoted at IranNano exhibition Tehran Times

More than 100 nanotechnology projects to invest in and commercialize are ready to be offered to investors at the 13th International Nanotechnology Festival and Exhibition.

The event will be held in Tehran from October 1 to 4.

These projects, whose initial products have also been manufactured and a large number of them have received a nanoscale certificate, are ready to be presented to investors.

The projects are related to water and environment, health, laboratory equipment, agriculture and packaging, nanomaterials, electronics, advanced materials, paint and coating, and the construction industry.


  • Pakistan: COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign To Inoculate Children TeleSUR

Pakistan is inoculating children aged five to 11 against COVID-19, starting from selected districts of southern Sindh and eastern Punjab provinces, and the capital Islamabad.

Pakistan launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Monday for children aged five to 11 in order to inoculate a maximum number of individuals to control the spread of the disease, the country’s health ministry said.


  • Tigrayan forces in Ethiopia say Eritrea launches offensive over border Reuters

Forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region said troops from neighbouring Eritrea started a full-scale offensive on Tuesday and heavy fighting was taking place in several areas along the border.

Two aid workers also reported intense fighting along the border, including shelling into a displaced persons camp on the outskirts of the village of Ziban Gedena. They did not say whether Eritrean troops were on the ground in Tigray.

If confirmed, the participation of Eritrean troops would mark an escalation in a conflict that was reignited last month after the collapse of a ceasefire in place since March.


  • Activists criticise $100m of British investment in Egypt as ‘greenwashing’ MEMO

Activists are speaking out online about the announcement that British International Investment (BII) is financing local start-ups in Egypt to the tune of $100 million.

The BII, which is backed by the British government, describes itself as an investment partner to businesses, which supports companies in developing countries grow.

Activists and key figures have criticised the choice of Egypt as host given the country’s history of human rights violations and severe repression on civil society, which is essential in pressuring governments to implement meaningful climate change measures.

Egyptian authorities have been accused of greenwashing human rights abuses in the country through the conference and using it as an opportunity to syphon off money from richer countries.

At the centre of the criticism has been the ongoing imprisonment of 60,000 political prisoners by the Egyptian government.

One of them is the British-Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdelfattah who is on hunger strike to protest his ongoing detention.


  • Uganda declares Ebola outbreak after Sudan strain found Reuters

An outbreak of Ebola has been declared in Uganda after health authorities confirmed a case of the relatively rare Sudan strain, the health ministry and World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

A 24-year-old man in Uganda’s central Mubende district showed symptoms and later died.

“We want to inform the country that we have an outbreak of Ebola which we confirmed yesterday,” Diana Atwine, the health ministry’s permanent secretary, told a news conference.

North America

  • Ruinous Hurricane Fiona reaches Category 4 as it moves north, leaving disaster-stricken areas to begin slow road to recovery CNN

Hurricane Fiona has escalated into a Category 4 storm as it continues its catastrophic path northward on Wednesday, leaving behind disaster-stricken communities in Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic who must now begin working toward recovery.

Fiona’s sustained winds are raging as high as 130 miles per hour with gusts reaching 155 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday, and it is still expected to strengthen as it moves away from Turks and Caicos on Wednesday and makes its way to Bermuda by the week’s end.

After touching down in Puerto Rico on Sunday, the storm ripped through the island and then slammed into the Dominican Republic, causing devastating flooding and leaving critical water and power infrastructure damage in its wake. Most people in the storm’s path were left without power or water in the immediate aftermath, officials said.

Turks and Caicos was under a hurricane warning on Tuesday and residents were urged to shelter in place as sustained winds of up to almost 125 miles per hour – and even higher gusts – battered the islands, according to the British territory’s Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies. Conditions are expected to improve as the storm moves further north.

Several parts of Turks and Caicos experienced island-wide power outages, including Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, according to Deputy Governor Anya Williams.

United States

  • Jackson water crisis spurs calls to bring the federal hammer down on Mississippi Politico

Advocacy groups that see racial bias as a major cause of the water crisis in Jackson, Miss., are debating new strategies for taking the Republican-controlled state government out of the lead role when it comes to steering federal spending in its capital city.

Those tactics could include filing a federal civil rights complaint accusing the state of shortchanging the Black-majority city of 150,000 people when distributing federal water infrastructure dollars. Another option under consideration, people involved in the discussions said, is getting Congress to steer additional water funding to Jackson without Mississippi’s involvement — a sharp change from the central role states traditionally play in distributing these kinds of dollars.

And then there is what advocates dub the nuclear option: pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the state’s authority to carry out enforcement of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA would then oversee Mississippi’s more than 1,000 drinking water systems directly, something it now does only in Wyoming and the District of Columbia. That would put the federal government in charge of not just distributing federal dollars, but also inspecting the systems’ infrastructure and ensuring water quality meets federal standards.

All these strategies would face daunting obstacles, and it’s unclear that the Biden administration is even willing to entertain the last one. But civil rights and environmental justice groups say it’s urgent that Washington take a far more direct role in ensuring safe drinking water in Jackson after three years of federal regulators pressing state and local officials to address the city’s ailing utility system.

Above all, they say, that means wresting control over funding decisions away from the state.

The groups have questioned whether the Republican-controlled state deliberately withheld water funding for Jackson, a city that is 82 percent Black and has a disproportionate share of low-income residents. State officials have blamed the city for mismanaging the system, and Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, last year said the city needed to do a better job of “collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money.”

  • Majority of American adults think Trump and Biden are both unfit to serve in public office: poll Business Insider

The majority of American adults feel that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are unfit to serve in public office at the moment, a new Insider/Morning Consult poll shows.

The survey, conducted in early September, revealed that nearly six in 10 American adults felt that Biden was either “somewhat unfit” or “very unfit” to serve in public office right now. Nearly as many felt the same about Trump.

A chart of how fit Americans think certain politicians are to serve in public office right now

Harris being seen as the most fit to serve is both very depressing and very expected given that list of people. Liz Cheney being as high as she is is also depressing. Buttigieg still beats her though, which is hilarious.

  • Fed’s Third Straight 0.75-Point Interest-Rate Rise Is Anticipated WSJ

The Federal Reserve is expected to approve its third consecutive interest-rate increase of 0.75 percentage point on Wednesday, while signaling plans to raise and hold its benchmark rate above 4% in coming months to battle inflation.

Investors see a small chance of a larger rate rise of a full percentage point, or 100 basis points, at the Fed’s policy meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. A few analysts have said last week’s report showing high inflation could force central-bank officials to debate the merits of the larger move. But others think surprising the public with a larger rate rise could fuel questions over the central bank’s broader strategy and tactics.

“They would only go for 100 if they saw a fundamental change in where they thought the economy and inflation were going, and I doubt one month’s data was enough to do that,” said William English, a former senior Fed economist who is now a professor at the Yale School of Management. “You could do 100 if you really wanted to stamp your foot and say, ‘This is unacceptable.’ To me, it doesn’t seem like they need it.”

  • Major Fire Breaks Out At BP Refinery In Ohio Oil Price

A fire broke out at a refinery operated by BP in Toledo, Ohio, on Tuesday, with two people injured, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

The refinery was shut down soon after the fire broke out, the spokeswoman also said, as quoted by NBC News.

First responders are at the scene, working to put the fire out. The cause remains to yet be determined, media reported, citing emergency service officials. Reuters noted in its report that the refinery had just come out of maintenance.

The facility has a capacity of close to 160,000 bpd of crude oil and is co-owned by BP and Canada’s Cenovus. Last month, Cenovus agreed to buy BP’s 50-percent share in the facility and become its sole owner. The Canadian company inherited the stake from Husky, with which it merged last year.

The Toledo facility also suffered a fire in November last year, and an explosion in January this year. Neither of the incidents resulted in any injuries.

  • Mark Zuckerberg has lost $70 billion in net worth, bumping him down to 20th richest person in the world Business Insider

Meta’s net income fell 36%, or more than $3 billion, in the second quarter from the same period in 2021.

The company said in an April proxy statement that it had spent around $10 billion on metaverse investments in 2021, or roughly 50% of its capital expenditure. Meta said that as of April there were over 10,000 people working on its metaverse projects.

“The metaverse business for us isn’t really going to be a meaningful contributor to the business until at a minimum much later in this decade, and probably realistically this decade is going to be about setting the foundation for that and then the 2030s are really where this is going to contribute a lot to the profits of this company,” Zuckerberg said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.

He added that successful companies should be investing significantly in research and development “to help push the world forward.”


  • Cuba Boosts Cigar Exports to Facilitate Recovery Amid Sanctions TeleSUR

Cuba continues to promote cigar exports for economic recovery as the country braves the headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. trade embargo.

Situated on the outskirts of the Cuban capital city of Havana, the El Laguito cigar factory is well known for producing Cohiba cigars over the past five decades.The factory, one of the five making cigars for exports in Havana, has some 250 workers, with 70 percent being women.

Official data showed that in 2021, the Caribbean nation reported record sales of its hand-rolled cigars worth over US$507 million, as the tobacco industry is one of the four core sectors that contribute most to Cuba’s GDP.

Oscar Rodriguez, director of El Laguito cigar factory, said that they are now making some 9,000 Cuban cigars a day.

South America


  • Ecuador reaches deal with China to restructure debt Reuters

Ecuador has reached an agreement to restructure its debt with Chinese banks, the government said in a statement on Monday, providing relief worth some $1.4 billion until 2025.

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso announced in February that he was looking to restructure the country’s debt and improve the conditions of long-term oil sales contracts with Beijing.


  • Venezuela is a Reliable and Strategic Partner: Putin TeleSUR

On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin affirmed that Russia will strengthen bilateral cooperation with Venezuela, a country that the Kremlin considers “a reliable and strategic partner.”

“Russia and Venezuela maintain close or fully coincident positions on the main issues on the international agenda,” Putin said during a ceremony in which he received credentials from ambassadors from 24 nations.

“We maintain an intense dialogue with President Nicolas Maduro… we intend to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation in all areas, especially in energy, industry, infrastructure, transport and pharmaceutical products.”

The Russian leader also rejected “the illegitimate sanctions imposed” against the Bolivarian nation, indicating that his administration supports “the efforts of the Venezuelan Government to stabilize the internal situation and protect national sovereignty.”


  • Russia’s Invasion Shadows U.N. Assembly Amid ‘Colossal Global Dysfunction’ NYT

This article deserves to go into the trash bin, but I think it’s honestly not a godawful description of what’s happening at the UN right now.

Divided by war, strained by shortages and faced with the cataclysm of global warming, dozens of world leaders convened at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday for the first full, in-person General Assembly since the pandemic began.

Among all the global crises, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated the day, with heads of state addressing the violence of the conflict, the chaos in supply chains, the soaring energy prices and the other ripple effects of the war.

“We cannot go on like this,” said António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, in opening remarks to the assembly. “We have a duty to act. And yet we are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction.”

At least two presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Emmanuel Macron of France, used the United Nations as a stage to cast themselves as would-be peacemakers in the war in Ukraine.

Mr. Erdogan met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Uzbekistan last week and called on him to return captured territories in Ukraine — reflecting the growing pressure on Mr. Putin from nations like India and China that have been key sources of economic support for Russia in the face of Western sanctions.

Mr. Macron has for months engaged with Mr. Putin, apparently with little success, though he has helped to keep Europe unified behind Ukraine. On Tuesday, the French president was the most prominent speaker of the Western alliance countering Russia, and he was vehement in his denunciation of the invasion — even as he insisted that he could play a role in brokering peace.

“What we’ve seen since Feb. 24 is a return to the age of imperialism and colonies,” he told the assembly, referring to the day Russia’s invasion began. “France rejects this. France, obstinately, will look for peace.”

France is definitely the funniest country that could have said that. I mean, yeah, sure, the United States is the evil empire of the world, but France still has thousands of troops in Africa right now. If I could :chef’s kiss: here, I would.

But it remained far from clear how any of the world leaders who gathered in New York might be able to sway Mr. Putin, who chose not to attend the assembly, or what the United Nations might resolve to do this week, however high the widespread but not universal anger at Mr. Putin.

As a member of the U.N. Security Council, Russia holds veto power over its actions, leaving nations and allied blocs to come up with their own policies — and forcing Mr. Guterres to focus on specific crises, like a deal to get grain exports out of Ukraine’s ports and a mission to stabilize a Russian-controlled nuclear plant in Ukraine.

Mr. Erdogan, the mercurial president of Turkey, played a central role in the grain talks, and on Tuesday he trumpeted his role in that deal and as the host of inconclusive peace talks in March.

“We think the war will never have a triumph, and a fair peace process will not have a loser,” he told the assembly. “We need a dignified way out of this crisis, through a diplomatic process that is rational, fair and which is applicable.”

You clearly think that wars will have a triumph given what you’re been doing on your eastern border. Erdogan is so good at talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Throughout the war, Mr. Erdogan has tried to maintain a close relationship with Mr. Putin, seeking to mitigate in Turkey the fallout from the war as he heads into an election year with his country’s economy faltering. He has also denounced the invasion, and said in an interview televised on Monday by PBS that Russia should return all Ukrainian territory it has captured.

“This is what is expected,” Mr. Erdogan said in the interview. “This is what is wanted.”

Since the war began, Mr. Macron has spoken periodically with Mr. Putin and has emphasized that Ukraine and Russia would have to negotiate to end the conflict.

On Tuesday, the French leader challenged those nations that have remained “neutral” in the war, saying they were “wrong” and making a “historic” error. “Those who are keeping silent today are, in a way, complicit with the cause of a new imperialism,” he said.

This is akin to a serial killer who has murdered hundreds pointing at a guy who is killing a single person and going “What a monster! We must stop him!"

He called on the members of the U.N. Security Council “to act so that Russia rejects the path of war and assesses the cost for itself and for all of us — and, really, bring an end to this act of aggression.”

Well, that aged well.

  • UN chief says world ‘in peril and paralysed’ as summit convenes Al Jazeera

  • U.N. General Assembly: France and Turkey Cast Themselves as Peacemakers in Russia’s War NYT

And so on. There’s a couple articles going over Guterres', Erdogan’s, and Macron’s remarks.

  • Hunger now killing one person every four seconds, NGOs say Al Jazeera

One person is estimated to be dying of hunger every four seconds, more than 200 NGOs have warned, urging decisive international action to “end the spiralling global hunger crisis”.

In an open letter addressing world leaders gathering in New York for the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, 238 organisations from 75 countries – including Oxfam, Save the Children, and Plan International – expressed outrage at skyrocketing hunger levels.

“A staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, a number that has more than doubled since 2019,” they said in a statement.

“Despite promises from world leaders to never allow famine again in the 21st century, famine is once more imminent in Somalia. Around the world, 50 million people are on the brink of starvation in 45 countries,” they said.

Pointing out that as many as 19,700 people are estimated to be dying of hunger every day, the NGOs said that this translates to one person dying of hunger every four seconds.

  • Saudi Aramco chief is ‘seriously concerned’ that a rebound of the global economy will kill off any spare oil capacity Business Insider

Saudi Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser delivered grim reading on the future of the global energy crisis, noting that he was worried that improved macroeconomic conditions could kill off any spare oil capacity out there, causing more pain for an already supply-strapped global market.

“When the global economy recovers, we can expect demand to rebound further, eliminating the little spare oil production capacity out there … that is why I am seriously concerned,” Nasser said at an event on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Nasser estimated that spare oil capacity currently only accounts for a mere 1.5% of global demand. That’s a severe lag, largely due to chronic underinvestment in oil and gas production in the industry – an issue OPEC+ has also blamed for being behind soaring energy prices.


The Ukraine War

  • Russia Signals Annexation of Parts of Ukraine, Raising Stakes in Fighting NYT

  • Russia’s Annexation Votes Aren’t Legitimate: Stoltenberg Bloomberg

  • West reacts to Donbass referendum plans RT

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz brushed off the upcoming votes as “sham referendums” that “cannot be accepted,” the DPA news agency reported. Such a move would contradict international law, Scholz told journalists on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Earlier, the US said it will “never recognize Russia’s claims to any purportedly annexed parts of Ukraine.” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that Washington will always consider them part of Ukraine, adding that the US also “rejects Russia’s actions unequivocally.”

Very surprising, I thought NATO would be totally on board with democracy in action.

  • Russia’s Putin signs decree on partial mobilisation for citizens Al Jazeera

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial mobilisation in Russia as the war in Ukraine reaches nearly seven months.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, Putin said he was defending Russian territories and that the West wanted to destroy the country.

Putin said he has signed a decree on the partial mobilisation, which is due to start later on Wednesday.

“We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience,” he said.

  • Putin announces partial military mobilization, drafting reservists into immediate action and escalating Ukraine war Business Insider

  • ‘This is not a bluff’: Putin orders ‘partial’ mobilization of 300,000 troops and rattles nuclear saber Fortune

  • Russia reveals military losses in Ukraine RT

The Russian military has lost almost 6,000 troops during the fighting in Ukraine, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.

Fatalities on the Ukrainian side are ten times higher, with 61,207 Kiev troops killed, according to the minister.

It’s the first time that Russia announced its losses during the military operation since late March when the number of killed servicemen stood at 1,351, according to the defense ministry.

“Initially, the Armed Forces of Ukraine amounted to between 201,000 and 202,000 people, and since then they have suffered losses of around 100,000, with 61,207 killed and 49,368 others wounded,” he said.

Shoigu added that Kiev has since mobilized hundreds of thousands more men into its forces.

The Russian forces and the militias of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk have also eliminated more than 2,000 mercenaries fighting for Kiev, the minister said. Just over 1,000 foreigners currently remain in the ranks of the Ukrainian military, he added.

  • China reacts to mobilization in Russia RT

Beijing has responded to the announcement of partial military mobilization in Russia by calling for a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in Ukraine.

China’s position that the parties involved in the security crisis should exercise restraint and seek a mutually acceptable solution has been consistent and clear, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told journalists during a daily briefing on Wednesday, as quoted by news agencies.

Climate, Space, and Science

  • Al Gore sees the world at ‘tipping point’ for climate action Inquirer

The world is at a “positive tipping point” in the fight against climate change as surging oil and gas costs spur governments to decarbonize faster, former U.S. Vice President and co-founder of Generation Investment Management Al Gore told Reuters.

He pointed to the Inflation Reduction Act signed in August, a $430-billion bill seen as the biggest climate package in U.S. history, as well as a pledge by Australia earlier this month to cut carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.

Gore said he also expected Brazil to change its policy on climate after an impending election and China to re-establish a dialogue with U.S. President Joe Biden at the November’s G20 summit in Indonesia.

He added that he was concerned, though, about the moves by some countries to increase fossil fuel output in the face of the war in Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation”, that has sent oil and gas prices soaring.

“There is no such thing as a clean fossil fuel, just as there is no such thing as a healthy cigarette,” Gore stated. “We don’t want to see investments in fossil fuel infrastructure of the sort that A/ will not alleviate the short-term problem and B/ will guarantee higher emission levels for decades to come.”

“There are signs absolutely everywhere around the world” of the pace of change picking up, he noted, adding that the need to act was also being driven by worsening weather events.

“Mother Nature has joined the discussion about the climate crisis,” Gore said, citing heatwaves in China, floods in Pakistan and drought in Europe.

  • G20 economies slow pace of decarbonization, PwC study shows Inquirer

Decarbonization rates in the Group of Twenty (G20) economies slumped to their lowest level in two decades last year, consulting firm PwC said, falling short of what is needed to reach the world’s climate goal.

PwC said the pace of change needed to pick up to get back on track with an objective of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“No country in the G20 is decarbonising quickly enough to maintain a safe climate,” PwC Net Zero Economy Index showed.

Global decarbonization fell to 0.5%, a long way below the 12.9% required to keep temperature rises in line with the target, while in the G20, it landed at just 0.2%.

Dan Dowling, partner at PwC UK, said in a statement the world was falling “alarmingly” short of the rate needed to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2030 deadline to reduce emissions by 43%.

The next round of global climate talks is in November.

The average global rate of decarbonization must now reach 15.2% year-on-year, the PwC analysis revealed, 11 times faster than that achieved since 2000.

Nine out of the G20 economies, which together account for around 80% of global energy-related emissions, increased their carbon intensity in 2021, PwC said, based on levels of energy consumption relative to their GDP and its carbon content.

  • US, Russia to resume space missions despite Ukraine war tensions Al Jazeera

A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are set to blast off to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Russian-operated flight despite soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NASA’s Frank Rubio and Russia’s Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin are scheduled to take off from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 13:54 GMT on Wednesday, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Dipshittery and Cope

I don’t read any of these unless they’re particularly interesting. I’m happy for them tho. Or sorry that happened.


  • Why Putin Can’t Tap Fascism’s Greatest Resource Bloomberg


Neither he nor Russia’s hard-core nationalists have come up with convincing arguments to persuade ordinary post-Soviet Russians to die in a discretionary conflict.

So does that mean that because Ukraine IS doing that, Ukraine is fascist?

  • Biden’s Team Saved Ukraine by Learning From Its Mistakes Bloomberg

  • The U.N. is getting Ukraine surprisingly right WaPo

The fight against Russia should be over keeping a rules-based international order, not a crusade against autocracy.

Oh god. Yeah, I ain’t reading this.

  • Russia Mulls Mass Mobilization. It Won’t Save Its Army In Ukraine. Forbes

I’m expecting about a hundred of these articles with slightly different wordings over the next few weeks.

The West

  • The Right Way To Buy The U.S. Navy’s New Generation Of Supercarriers Forbes

Some time later this year, the lead ship in a new class of U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers will commence its first deployment. The USS Gerald R. Ford, named for the nation’s 38th president, heralds a sea change in American naval power—the first clean-sheet design of a carrier since the USS Nimitz was commissioned in 1975.

Large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers aren’t just the biggest warships ever built, they are the signature expression of U.S. military might. With a crew of 4,500 personnel and a steadily evolving air wing of 75 or more high-performance aircraft, the ten Ford-class carriers are expected to be the centerpiece of America’s maritime force structure through the year 2105.

It is hard to overstate how fearsome the Ford class will be as a tool of U.S. strategy. The carriers will be capable of generating 160 aircraft sorties per day during peacetime operations, and up to 270 in wartime. Each of the strike fighters in the carrier air wing will be able to precisely destroy multiple targets in a single flight. And because their base at sea is mobile—able to move over 700 miles in a single day—the fighters will be more flexible and resilient than any land-based aircraft.

The Ford class incorporates two dozen major technologies not available when the Nimitz class was conceived, everything from an electromagnetic aircraft launch system to a dual-band radar to a super-efficient pair of nuclear reactors that can generate twice as much electricity as the vessel currently needs to accommodate future warfighting innovations (like high-power lasers).

An additional feature is that they will become the future sites of coral reefs when hit by a significantly cheaper hypersonic missile by China or Russia.

Good Takes that are Dope

For good, or at least decent, analysis of an event or situation - particularly one that hasn’t been covered endlessly before or has a fresh angle.

  • Putin’s War Is Exposing the Cracks in Russia’s Communist Party Jacobin

Truth be told, I’m not sure if this is a totally accurate view of Russia’s Communist Party - but it certainly does correlate with what I’ve heard about them. Any comrades who know more are invited to comment on this.


For two decades, the Communist Party has been part of Vladimir Putin’s power system, while also integrating many protest movements from within Russian society. But since the invasion of Ukraine, the party’s balancing act has become ever more precarious.

Article begins:

With the death of the populist clown Vladimir Zhirinovsky this April, seventy-eight-year-old Gennady Zyuganov became Russia’s longest-serving party leader — and also its oldest. Zyuganov has held a near unshakeable grip on the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) since its foundation in 1993. The KPRF itself is a mainstay of post-Soviet Russian politics, indeed in a manner entirely unanticipated upon the collapse of state socialism; it has held first or second place in every Russian parliament (Duma) since 1995, and been runner-up in every presidential election since the first in 1996.

It is true that the party’s zenith is long behind it. From 1995 to 1999, the KPRF (with allies) had a near parliamentary majority, could claim up to half of Russia’s eighty-nine governors as its own (it now has just three), and briefly entered a left-wing government, which tried to impeach then president Boris Yeltsin. Most notably, Zyuganov pushed Yeltsin to a second round in the (significantly fraudulent) 1996 presidential elections, the only time the incumbent hasn’t sealed victory in the first round. However, since 1999, the party has run an ever more distant second to Vladimir Putin and his United Russia “Party of Power.”

Nevertheless, the KPRF is far from irrelevant. In the last (September 2021) Duma elections, it took 18.9 percent of the vote and fifty-seven of four hundred fifty seats. Although United Russia maintained its “supermajority” (over three hundred seats, enough to make constitutional changes) and de facto the election changed little, the KPRF’s “real” performance was perhaps as high as 30 percent, not so far behind the Party of Power.

What, then, explains Zyuganov and the KPRF’s apparent longevity and viability? Is there any possibility of the party representing a real challenge to the Kremlin?

The short answer to the latter question is no. The KPRF’s stability is rooted in its ability to exploit fluctuating extraparliamentary protest trends in an ambiguous way that doesn’t fundamentally threaten Kremlin power structures. Since its foundation, it has moved from an anti-system, “irreconcilable” opposition to an entirely “systemic” force, but nevertheless one that strives to maintain the image of extraparliamentary radicalism. It has been rightly dubbed a centaur — with one head facing the streets, the other the regime. This makes it a highly contradictory political force.

Anti-Reform Image, Complex Reality

The KPRF is heir to the once-ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), but comes via the short-lived Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (CP RSFSR), formed in 1990 as part of the search for national sovereignty that ultimately brought down the Soviet Union. CPSU conservatives formed a (previously lacking) party for the USSR’s Russian republic in order to contest Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika (“restructuring”). However, the CP RSFSR was hamstrung by internal divisions and the general leakage of authority from party structures, and was suspended by then-banned Yeltsin immediately after the August 1991 anti-Gorbachev coup. The party tacitly supported this three-day takeover but — symptomatic of its declining influence — wasn’t represented on the State Committee on the State of Emergency, comprised of eight leading Soviet officials who temporarily usurped power.

The KPRF was (re)founded in February 1993, after its leadership successfully contested the ban in the Constitutional Court. Its new chair was Zyuganov, formerly the CPSU’s deputy ideology secretary, mostly known for cultivating Party links with pro-Soviet nationalists. The KPRF’s overall profile has remained consistent from this date — an opponent of Westernization and liberalism, and a staunch defender of the Soviet heritage (the USSR is, it insists, to be “voluntarily” reconstructed). The current resonance of this “anti-reform” image is clear from Zyuganov’s castigation of the late Gorbachev as the greatest “traitor” in Russia’s thousand-year history. Zyuganov has successfully popularized several “nationalist” ideas, such as taking the USSR for an expression of Russian statehood, destroyed not through internal problems but by the machinations of pro-Western “fifth columnists.”

Beneath this staunch image, however, the KPRF has several other aspects that have been decisive for its long-term survival. First is an orientation to incrementalism and institutionalism, reflecting its leaders’ origins in the Soviet bureaucratic elite (nomenklatura): these are no Leninist revolutionaries. The KPRF stood out the October 1993 armed skirmishes between president and parliament, and, unlike many of its opposition rivals, participated in the December 1993 elections held under the new constitution, even as it decried the document’s illegitimacy.

Second, beneath its “anti-reform” umbrella, the KPRF encompassed a wide range of ideological tendencies from would-be social democrats and Brezhnevite conservatives to outright Stalinists and “national Bolsheviks,” who justify Soviet power from a nationalist, not Marxist-Leninist, point of view. Even more notable was a cleavage around attitudes to the post-Soviet power system between a moderate leadership inclined toward compromise with the authorities, and more radical regional cadres that preferred “irreconcilable” extraparliamentary opposition and were deeply suspicious of their own leadership. However, most party trends have been profoundly socially conservative — the KPRF opposes LGBTQ rights and second-wave feminism.

Third, Zyuganov established the dominance of the national Bolshevik trend, trying to rehabilitate communism and the KPRF by demonstrating that they were an authentic representation of Russia’s nationalist traditions and not some foreign ideological implant. This led to the party’s rapprochement with national capital and state institutions such as the Church, and Zyuganov’s often-repeated claims such as “Russia has had enough of revolutions” and “Jesus was the first communist.” Such claims were made more controversial by his later assertions that the rebirth of the Church owed much to Stalin personally.

The orientation toward bourgeois state structures was particularly noxious for Marxists inside and outside the party, many of whom accused the KPRF leadership of parliamentary cretinism, reneging on class struggle and internationalism, failing to maximize links with trade unions and the working class, and ultimately becoming of the nationalist right rather than Leninist left.

Indeed, activists from newer groupuscules such as the Russian Socialist Movement see the KPRF’s ideology as a “moderate version of . . . popular Stalinism” fused with “Orthodox imperial nationalism.” However, aided by hierarchical democratic centralism and Zyuganov’s bureaucratic intrigues, effective intraparty opposition has rarely materialized. Indeed, having lost the 1996 election, the KPRF seemed to be maneuvering itself into a stable position in elite structures as part of a formal “two-party system,” and hesitantly contemplated some social democratization.

I’ll stop here for the interests of length, as that’s only half the article.


  • 1,350 kilos of potatoes used to cook up world’s largest rösti in Switzerland Euro News

It took over 1,350 kilos of potatoes to cook the world’s largest rösti – a traditional potato fritter from Switzerland.

Members of the Swiss Farmer’s Union cooked up the colossal 13 square metre rösti handing out portions to the crowd in front of the parliament building in Bern on Monday.

The farmer’s union president announced the new rösti record, which beat the one set in 1994, when a three-square-metre fritter was made.

“[This is] the day we have longed for. It’s also the day we have worked towards for over a year,” said Markus Ritter, the president of the union.

Link back to the discussion thread.