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The RAGA newsletter, August 22, 2017

Dear friends of the Russia & America Good Will Association ( and antiwar colleagues!

Last time I wrote was Independence Day. In respect for a Summer break, I wanted to wait for the Labor Day in September. However, the events in the USA prompt an early intervention. It's the Charlottesville. Some people suggestively abbreviate it to Cville-- War. I don't like what happened there nor the bitter aftermath when the mishandling of the clash between Alt-Right and Antifa people by the local police is being used as part of the incessant vicious campaign to unseat President Trump. 

RAGA eschews party politics. We take the high road of metapolitics: we stand above partisan bickering. Or, call it megapolitics, for our urgent goal is the survival and well-being of our Planet. This can hardly be achieved without the USA and Russia respectfully talking to each other, without shouting and name calling. For this to happen, both countries need to have a degree of maturity and domestic health. Strangely, now it appears that, while Russia stays calm and stable in spite of the vicious Western economic sanctions, the United States is less united as more people resort to verbal and actual violence at home and ignore US violence abroad. 

As I pointed out in the newsletter right after the presidential election, Trump was elected fair and square by the majority vote against the enormous odds as of the money-establishment MSM supported the other side. Whether we like him or not, we have to give him respect and support that our Constitution requires so that he could carry out his duties. Instead, the MSM harps at him for suggesting an even-handed course to stem violence between the radical Right and the revolutionary Left.

The best article I have seen about the lack of even-handed approach to the current civil strife is Peter Beinart 's The Rise of the Violent Left. Antifa’s activists say they’re battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead? SEPTEMBER 2017 ISSUE

Beinart suggests that, while venting all its ire against the "racist" Alt-right, the left-liberal media have been coddling Antifa . Personally, I don't believe that the majority of those who are against the removal of Confederate memorials are racist. They are patriotic American citizens who want to make sure the horrors of civil war of 1861-65 stay behind us. Beinart points to a more serious source of trouble, The Antifa. 

Beinart disputes Antifa's democratic credentials the media is eager to bestow on them. "Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force".

Beinart points to dangerous dynamics: "To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth". 
Understandably, "Trump supporters and white nationalists see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their right to freely assemble... The result is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s". 

Well, I witnessed the Vietnam era's student warfare at the University of Washington campus in Seattle when it claimed the largest number of clandestine bomb explosions in the nation, when anti-Communist professors were molested while "progressive" professors taught courses on home-made bombs. Do we want it to happen again?
Beinart accuses the liberal establishment of siding with Antifa as "this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech...Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism...But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation", Beinart concludes. 

As self-proclaimed defenders of the poor and disenfranchised, Antifa is mired in Marxist class struggle and violent world revolution utopia. They are on the way to becoming totalitarians,  for their ideological progenitors are the Bolsheviks in Russia who claimed  they were defending minorities and poor people against the Tsarist police, "black hundreds" and "anti-Semites," but as soon as they seized power they showed the world what a truly totalitarian rule is like. 

I am writing this from a small provincial Russian town. I am squeezed in the mid of Sverdlov, Volodarsky and Uritsky streets so named after Bolshevik revolutionary terrorists. All three were Jews who renounced Judaism to help create the atheist Bolshevik regime which suppressed all religions and, among other things, forbade Jews to study Hebrew. Yes, the main street here is Lenin's. His bulky monument still dominates the town square. On August 19,  it turned 26 years since the USSR fell apart. Communist experiment ended miserably as Russia turned 180 degrees back to capitalism, imperfect as it was and is. Of course, many dwellers here fret about Lenin's stature and want historical names restored to the streets, but they also understand the need to be patient for the sake of public tranquility.

Do the United States need to go through a similar violent experiment? I think not. Therefore, leave the history alone, do not try to re-write it backward. To honor heroes of the Other Side is wise and noble as it wins time to sort things out.

On the other hand, Lenin's oversize stature in Seattle, brought there in 1995 from a garage sale in one of former Communist countries, got to go. It should not be destroyed. It should be moved to a museum and carefully preserved as a reminder of the greatest folly of the 20th century.

I don't want to sound alarmist, but there are some prominent people who worry about the future of the US. "America is under attack from within. Our culture, our history, our founding are under the most direct assault I have seen in my life... You might even get away with saying that we are on the cusp of a second civil war", says Rush Limbaugh

To see how the Bolsheviks undermined and distorted Russian culture, I recommend you read Professor Philip Jenkins' extraordinary perceptive article "Remembering the Old Russia"

"This Fall marks the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.  Although few commentators today are likely to glorify that event or its aftermath, most will assume that the revolution was a regrettable necessity, which swept away a repressive and stagnant ancient regime.  Such a view is false.  Culturally and spiritually, that lost pre-revolutionary Russia was a treasure house, and indeed a birthplace of the modern West.  The grim view we hold of Russia’s old Christian world is one of the last triumphs of Soviet propaganda", says Jenkins.

I found Jenkins' article so consonant with RAGA's philosophy that I immediately translated it into Russian for the benefit of Russian readers who may not be so knowlegeable about Russia's contribution to world culture as the author is. Вспоминая Царскую Россию (Remembering the Old Russia).

Speaking of modern art, on July 9, 2017, the outstading Russian painter Ilya Glazunov passed away. As I have known him since 1957 when he clandestinately showed his art to dissident students of Moscow State University, I wrote an article in his memory focused on the prophetic thrust of his art. To those who read Russian, here it is

My main source for the Russian article was in English:
Vladislav Krasnov, “Il’ia Glazunov's Russian NationalismNotes from Two Exhibits”, Acta Slavica Iaponica. 1985.

In that article I reviewed what regular Soviet visitors wrote about Glazunov's "Russian nationalism" art when the government reluctantly allowed two huge exhibits of his art in Moscow (1978) and Leningrad (1979). After analysing the two books of visitors' comments that were smuggled to the West, I came to the conclusion that a huge majority admired Glazunov's non-Communist art, found his nationalism benign and fully justified in stressing the need for Russia to come back to its Christian roots. This message was roundly ignored in the West, so in 1991, before the collapse of the USSR, I wrote "Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth". The process of building a nation-state in Russia has been going on ever since despite all US efforts to suborn it to New World Order.

Below are other remarkable items waiting for your attention:
  • Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence By VIPS.July 25, 2017 "Information Clearing House" 
  • MEMORANDUM FOR: The President (Donald Trump)
  • FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
  • SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
  • Executive Summary
  • Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.
  • After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.
  • The Saker of The Unz Review sees the main source of trouble in the Neo-Con influence. Read his Place the Empire on suicide watch – By The Saker (The Unz Review) Sun, 12 Mar 2017  Political suicide: the Neocons’ refusal to accept the election of Donald Trump has resulted in a massive campaign to de-legitimize him. What the Neocons clearly fail to see, or don’t care about, is that by de-legitimizing Trump they are also de-legitimizing the entire political process which brought Trump to power and upon which the United States is built as a society.
  • THE THREAT. Pew has an international survey out asking about leading security threats. The following NATO members name US power as a greater threat than Russian or Chinese: Canada, Germany, Greece, Spain and Turkey. USA is named first by 19 countries, China by 9, Russia by 7. This is a competition the US has won every time out of the gate.
  • CrossTalking with Edward Lozansky, Mark Sleboda, and Vladimir Golstein. Published on Jul 31, 2017. It is time to speak the obvious: Cold War 2.0 is officially on. Though this Cold War is different and possibly far more dangerous. The world is in uncharted waters as the Trump White House attempts to find its footing.
  • Robert Parry is explains the media manipulation. How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth. By Robert Parry. July 16, 2017  "Information Clearing House" Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about “Russian propaganda” and “fake news” with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google’s First Draft Coalition deem “false.” Frst Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft’s job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.
  • Speaking of the new era of internet censorship, I got a very disturbing letter from a RAGA associate and my good friend William Fox whose web site was recently shut down. He writes to the lawyer who sent him the verdict: <<In response to the very recent shutdown of my web site and the email sent from your office reproduced below, I consider myself a staunch pro-First Amendment free speech advocate who believes strongly in the “free market place of ideas” as a necessary prerequisite for fully informed, scientific analysis. I also believe that even if certain web sites might be regarded as “Neo-Nazi” (or conversely even  “Neo-Communist,” “Neo-Zionist,” “Neo-Anarchist,” “Neo-Black Nationalist,” “Neo-Racist,” or Neo-anything else) they should not be blocked  based upon their ideological content.  In fact, at my web site I created a “Reconciling Opposing Ideologies” series at >> If any RAGA reader has a word of sympathy, encouragement and advice to Mr. Fox, please write him at  <>
  •  Russian president Vladimir Putin paid a surprise visit to one of Russia’s best known human rights campaigners, Lyudmila Alekseyeva. The occasion was her 90th birthday. Alekseyeva started exposing human rights violations in the USSR in 1968. To this day, she remains an active critic of the Kremlin. As a personally met Lyudmila in New York around 1980, I was glad to see President Putin visiting her on her 90th birthday and myself wish her healthy and productive life to the benefit of human rights everywhere.

  • UN Adopts Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Despite US Opposition
    The treaty is intended to bar countries from developing, testing, manufacturing, acquiring or even possessing any kind of nuclear weapon. Max Greenwood, The Hill,  July 7, 2017
    A majority of the world's countries voted at the United Nations on Friday to adopt a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.  The vote marks the first time in history that a majority of countries moved to approve a binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons. In all, 122 nations voted in favor of the treaty, while only one, the Netherlands, voted against it. Singapore abstained.  The treaty is intended to bar countries from developing, testing, manufacturing, acquiring or even possessing any kind of nuclear weapon.
      Not part of the treaty negotiations, however, were the world's nuclear powers, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Russia — all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — who argued that the treaty was unrealistic and that countries like North Korea would not cooperate. The vote was celebrated by arms control groups as a first step for eliminating nuclear arms. 
About which, Sharon Tennison, a veteran peace fighter, writes:

"What can wake us up? What can we do even at this late moment with 15,000 nuclear weapons between us and Russia––with Democrat and Republican Congress members urging to “Get Tough on Russia." Our planet is loaded with these mega-weapons that can destroy us in an instant, and all life on our planet in a year or so. Without doubt any left living would envy those who had died. Does this make the urgings of both Republican and Democrat Congress members to “get tough” on Russia seem like the height of insanity?"

Sharon has an impressive group travel experience. Here is one of her observations:  The noticeable thing obvious on Russian streets today is men, women, youth, and even the elderly people carry themselves with a “sense of pride.” This is visible and pervasive, whether it’s Sevastopol, Krasnodar, Moscow, StPetersburg or elsewhere. It appears that Russians have quietly been reborn in this 21st century. After all of the dreariness and degradation of the Soviet period, the 80s and the 90s under Yeltsin, today's Russians have become proud of their country––and proud to be Russians. If you want to travel with her, here the address: Sharon Tennison <>

Reflect on Russia's nostalgy for the pre-1917 past

 As always, I am glad to forward a report from my colleague from Tulane university, William Brumfield: Photographer at the end of the earth. This one concerns my native Perm.

July 06, 2017 2:45 PM  |  William C. Brumfield   Print to PDF

    A number of other lectures followed, not only in Moscow but also the Urals cities of Perm and Yekaterinburg, where I gave two lectures at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center. Russian audiences seemed especially interested in my descriptions of growing up in the South and the role of Russian literature in my early education.
  Gratified by the warm Russian response, I am convinced that culture serves as a bridge between our two great countries.


Malice to None. Good Will  to All. 

Peace and Justice to the World.

 миру мир и благоволение в сердцах

 From RAGA site:

"We are an association of Americans who believe it is in the U.S. national interests to foster friendship with Russia on the basis of mutual Good Will and non-interference in each other's affairs. RAGA is a gathering of people who share common interests in Russia's history, culture, religion, economy, politics and the way of life. We feel that Russian people have made outstanding contributions to humankind and are capable of greater achievements. We envision Russia as a strong, independent, proud and free nation and as a partner in achieving peace in the world."