Friday, April 29, 2022

Putin the Poisoner

Election by Assassination: Putin Wins by Killing the People's Choice

putin the poisoner

Photo from

In March 0f 2022, President Joe Biden said of Putin, "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in Power." To which, Putin's pompous puppy, Demity Peskov, piped up, "That's not for Biden to decide, the President of Russia is elected by Russians." Well, that must come as quite a surprise to the Russians!

One of the most surprised would have to be Alexei Navalny, who famously labeled Putin's political party, United Russia, a "party of crooks and thieves". He was allowed to run for Mayor of Moscow twice, but not allowed to win. He was also arrested on trumped-up charges of "embezzlement" twice. So he decided to conduct his own embezzlement investigations which culminated with a film which focused on approximately1.2 billion USD embezzled by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Naturally, when he tried to run in the 2018 presidential election and, due to popular support was sure to win, he was barred from running by the Central Election Commission due to those trumped up convictions. This caused massive demonstrations. Fearing his ability to motivate people and confront monsters, he was poisoned in 2020. Novochok was spread on his underpants likely on orders from Putin. He was evacuated to Germany where he received life saving treatment. Being less fearful of Putin than Putin was of him, he returned to Russia and was arrested for violation of parole. He celebrated by releasing his newest documentary, Putin's Palace. History of the World's Largest Bribe, about Putin's massive corruption operations. A must see. He is serving 11.5 years in prison. Now, with the release of a new film by Daniel Roher, Navalny, about his poisoning and arrest, he may never see the light of day so long as Putin lives. So much for the Russians choosing their president.

Boris Nemstov also thought it was up to the Russian people to decide who they wanted to be president. Wrong again. Nemstov who was the deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin was expected to succeed him. He was nudged out of the way by Putin but continued to campaign against corruption and the illegal 2014 takeover of Ukraine's Crimea. Five days before he was to  march at the head of a massive protest, he was gunned down in the street in 2015, in broad daylight, within meters of the Kremlin. This is the cost of running for president in Putin's Russia. It was blamed on "Chechens". But now some astute investigations by Bellingcat, The Insider and the BBC reveal that Putins FSB was behind it. Not that anyone needed convincing.

Certainly not Alexander Litvinenko, the intelligence agent who defected to the West and was poisoned in London where he lived in 2006.This was a gruesome and lingering death brought on by having his tea laced with deadly radioactive polonium-210. Two Russian agents,
Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, were convicted of the crime but flew the coup back to Moscow. Killing Russians in Russia is one thing but killing them on foreign soil is another, you might say. 

But don't say it to Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia. Skripal was a Russian spy recruited by the British in the 1990s. This sort of thing happens all the time and he was not a "high-level" guy. He was arrested by the Russians and released in a spy swap with America in 2010. In March of 2018 he and his daughter Yulia were found, foaming from the mouth, on a bench at a beach in England where they lived. They had been poisoned with Novochok, possibly sprayed on the door handle of their home. Very luckily the poison was not enough to kill them and they recovered. But thanks to the who-gives-a-shit attitude of Putin's assassins, who discarded the "perfume" bottle in the neighborhood in which they used it, another woman died after she accidentally found the contaminated bottle. Her husband, who also handled the bottle did not die but did go blind. Skripal was a guy who posed zero threat to Putin. But Putin fancies himself the "Godfather" and once he thinks you crossed him, he must have revenge.

However, in fairness to a fiend, he is only following in a long line of poisonous Russian politics dating to at least the 15th century, as this excellent article by Linda Kinstler explains. Ancient history aside, it was the "father of the Revolution", Vladimir Lenin, who really got the ball rolling with his KGB Poison Factory, better known as the Kamera. For the Soviets, who—due to their own mistrust and paranoia—spent as much time killing each other as they did the enemy, poison was a natural choice. It fit perfectly with their habit of carrying out a crime and then disclaiming any knowledge of it. Discovering "evidence" that someone else was the perpetrator, the so-called "false flag", is often part of the plot. But Putin has raised the "technique" of his namesake to an art and deployed it in total contempt of other countries sovereignty.

Alexander Perepilichny and Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky were not running for office but both were involved in exposing massive theft from the Russian state coffers, carried out by Russian officials. Again, nothing of this kind can be carried out without Putin's okay and without him getting the biggest cut. One of the perks of being an absolute dictator. Perepilichny handed over documents showing how 220 million was stolen through Heritage Capital Management. Its a complicated story which you can read about here. The point is that things got too hot for him in mother Russia, so he left to live a quiet life in England. However he suddenly dropped dead while jogging in 2012. Toxin from a Chinese flowering plant Gelsemium was found in his stomach but no proof of how it got there was established. Sergei Magnitsky was a mild mannered tax advisor who also reported massive theft by Russian officials in regard to the same company. He was rewarded with arrest and thrown in jail in 2008. He died after being held without trial for 11 months. The United States passed the Magnitsky Act, "barring those Russian officials believed to be involved in Magnitsky's death from entering the United States or using its banking system." (Wikipedia) The other part of the story is that one of the founders of Hermitage, American Bill Browder, who set up the fund in 2005 believing that Putin was on track to clean out crime and modernize Russia, became one of the most vocal critics of the regime when he saw the massive theft that was going on. Now he fears for his own life though he hasn't stopped speaking out. Putin even suggested to Trump that he hand over Bill Browder in exchange for letting Robert Muelller go to Russia as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the American election.  

Vladimir Kara-Murza is another critic of the regime of "crooks and thieves" (and we must not forget, murderers). He was poisoned twice but refused to die. At least, not that way. After the second poisoning in 2017, he left Russia and lived for awhile in the USA. Now he has returned to the "old country" because, like Navalny, he refuses to be isolated from those who continue the fight for freedom. Now he has been jailed on charges of “deliberately disseminating false information about Russian military forces”, a charge which can bring a 15 year sentence. He did an interview for Frontllne in 2017 which is a brief and clear history of the rise of Putin. A must read.

Viktor Yushchenko was fortunate in that he did not run for President of Russia but of Ukraine. Even so, running against Putin's hand picked man, Viktor Yanukovych, was tantamount to the same offense. The Ukrainian system requires one of the candidates to garner over 50 % of the vote or face a runoff. In the 2004 election, neither candidate did and in a runoff, Yanukovych was the clear winner. Except that he wasn't. Massive fraud was the winner and the Ukrainan people were not standing for it. Huge demonstrations, which came to be known as the "Orange Revolution" forced a new election. This was won by Yuschenko who immediately took sick and had to be transported to Austria for emergency treatment. Pictures of his badly distorted face, the result of having digested a massive dose of toxin, were widely posted at the time. He survived and went on to serve as president for five tumultuous years. After 5 years of battles between parties, strongman Yanukovych was ready to throw his hat in the ring again. He was elected but immediately began moves to cancel a pending European Union membership in favor of accepting a bailout and closer ties with Russia—which was clearly not what the people wanted. This led to violent clashes between protestors and the police, known as the "Maidan Revolution".  Putin lost another chance at controlling the country through a puppet regime when Yanukovych fled to Russia and the parliament fired him and held another election in 2014. He now enjoys a comfortable retirement in Putin's warm embrace. 

But the whole incident was just another reason for Putin to hate Ukraine and determine to get his revenge. Which he did immediately by marching into the Crimea and proclaiming it part of Russia. He also moved troops into Donesk and Luhansk all under the pretext of protecting Russians living in the area. Ukraine was just trying to rebuild it's government and had little power to organize a resistance. The world protested, cut some ties, but did little to punish Putin. Ironically, it may have been this very lack of attention that he found so dissatisfying: dictators love to stand on balcony's while the loving masses applaud, you know. So he decided to invade and gain the admiration he truly deserves. But the poison he has been sprinkling so freely around the world's kitchens has now come back to pollute his own pantry. And, even as he has made thousands of graves in Ukraine, it is the place where he too will be buried.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Holodomor: Murder by Starvation


Murder by Starvation and the New Stalinism


The following information is primarily from with additional text by Shinto Shrines of Japan.

"At the height of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine under Joseph Stalin, starving people roamed the countryside, desperate for anything to eat. The Ukrainian famine—known as the Holodomor, a combination of the Ukrainian words for “starvation” and “to inflict death”—by one estimate claimed the lives of 3.9 million people, about 13 percent of the population. And, unlike other famines in history caused by blight or drought, this was caused when a dictator wanted both to replace Ukraine’s small farms with state-run collectives and punish independence-minded Ukrainians who posed a threat to his totalitarian authority."

"In 1929, as part of his plan to rapidly create a totally communist economy, Stalin had imposed collectivization, which replaced individually owned and operated farms with big state-run collectives. Ukraine’s small, mostly subsistence farmers resisted giving up their land and livelihoods. In response, the Soviet regime derided the resisters as kulaks—well-to-do peasants, who in Soviet ideology were considered enemies of the state. Soviet officials drove these peasants off their farms by force and Stalin’s secret police further made plans to deport 50,000 Ukrainian farm families to Siberia, historian Anne Applebaum writes in her 2017 book:

Stalin appears to have been motivated by the goal of transforming the Ukrainian nation into his idea of a modern, proletarian, socialist nation, even if this entailed the physical destruction of broad sections of its population.”

"Collectivization in Ukraine didn’t go very well. By the fall of 1932—around the time that Stalin’s wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, who reportedly objected to his collectivization policy, committed suicide—it became apparent that Ukraine’s grain harvest was going to miss Soviet planners’ target by 60 percent. There still might have been enough food for Ukrainian peasants to get by, but Stalin then ordered what little they had be confiscated as punishment for not meeting quotas."

"As the famine worsened, many tried to flee in search of places with more food. Some died by the roadside, while others were thwarted by the secret police and the regime’s system of internal passports. By the summer of 1933, some of the collective farms had only a third of their households left, and prisons and labor camps were jammed to capacity. With hardly anyone left to raise crops, Stalin’s regime resettled Russian peasants from other parts of the Soviet Union in Ukraine to cope with the labor shortage."

"Ultimately, although Stalin’s policies resulted in the deaths of millions, failed to crush Ukrainian aspirations for autonomy, and in the long run, may actually have backfired. “Famine often achieves a socio-economic or military purpose, such as transferring land possession or clearing an area of population, since most flee rather than die,” famine historian de Waal says. “But politically and ideologically it is more often counterproductive for its perpetrators. As in the case of Ukraine it generated so much hatred and resentment that it solidified Ukrainian nationalism.”"

"Eventually, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine finally became an independent nation—and the Holodomor remains a painful part of Ukrainians’ common identity."

As with this and other Russian atrocities before and after WWII, the death of millions is never an obstacle to Russian mega monsters like Stalin and his loving admirer Putin. But likewise, the senseless tragedy will never prop up a dying regime that offers nothing but totalitarianism and grief. Today, Ukranians who have not fled to the West or been killed, are being packed off to far flung regions of Russia to be "reeducated" as good little Russian robots. Another Russian "present".

Of course, as I've said elsewhere, this will all come crashing down on Russian heads as well. As this article from the Telegraph explains,

"The Kremlin has started planting Soviet-style political commissars into Russian government ministries and state-owned companies to report back to the president's office on the "emotional state and mood" of staff.

"In a plan that harks back to the paranoia of Josef Stalin's Soviet Union in the 1930s, these "political officers" will also push Vladimir Putin's political agenda and ensure official support for his war in Ukraine stays on track."

"In another sign of the ways in which the official narrative is starting to leak into different parts of Russian society, textbook publishers have reportedly been told to delete any references to Ukraine. Kremlin officials have increasingly said that they want to wipe Ukraine off the map."

“You can mention how we saved Kyiv, but it is no longer possible to talk about any independence of Ukraine as a country,"

In a future article, I will highlight an important fact of history of which readers may or may not be aware: the Nazi's (which Putin ostensibly hates so much) learned most of their dirty skills from the Russians.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Return of the Black Hundreds

Return of the Black Hundreds

In 2018, with the blessing of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church split from the
Russian Orthodox Church. This was inevitable especially after the ROC and it's Putin-lovin' leader, Patriarch Kirill, endorsed the illegal invasion and takeover of Crimea. The ROC is just another arm of the Russian dictator. Church and State are again comfortably ensconced in each other's bosom as they were in the good ole' days of the Tsar and Tsarina. But Kirill and company were very angry about losing control over Ukraine (the third-largest Orthodox community in the world). One more reason for Putin, the self-annotated Emperor of the Orthodox Slavs, to make war.

I don't know how many readers of this blog may still be under the illusion that Russia is a Communist country. Not that the "philosophy" has ever been little more than a thin red veil over the black face of brutal dictatorship, but for several decades now even the veil has fallen. There was a brief time when it was hoped that the face behind the veil would be one of democracy. So much for hopes.

The history of the Black Hundreds reveals the corruption and antisemitism that is endemic to Russian soil. It also hints at how the latest expression of Russian brutality will end: by the massive weight of its own venality.

For those interested in a complete picture, I strongly recommend reading the above linked thesis by  Jacob Langer. Briefly, the Black Hundreds were a loose network of right-wing, monarchists centered on the URP (Union of Russian People) and several other right-wing groups. These groups grew up partially in reaction to the Revolution of 1905 and were financially supported by the Tsar and others who were desperately trying to cling to power. The main activities of these groups consisted of marching with black and yellow flags, beating and vandalizing Jews—the favored target of dictators and their Christian supporters whether portrayed as revolutionaries or gypsies—assassinations and thuggery in support of the Tsar and (more importantly) themselves.

After 1905, by which time Russia had been defeated by Japan in the Russo-Japanese War, and the subsequent mutiny of the Potemkin and the Black Sea Fleet, the Tsar signed the October Manifesto ceding some power to a newly formed legislature (Duma). Men were given the right to vote and some basic freedoms of assembly. But the Tsar reserved veto rights over anything decided by the Duma. He also had the power to dissolve the body—which he did repeatedly. But after World War I broke out in 1914, things went from bad to worse until he abdicated in 1917 and he and his family were slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. By that time, about 1.7 million Russians had been killed or died in the war.

Through all this, strikes and opposition to the Tsar continued as did the increase in the activities of the Black Hundreds. One of the more relevant aspects of the "movement" to today's environment, was it's staunchly anti-Ukrainian aspect. To quote Langer, "Black Hundred ideology typically denied the ethnic distinctions of Ukrainians and Belorussians, defining both groups as ethnic Russians. Its credo professed a generally derogatory view of Russia’s other ethnic minorities, especially Jews, as well as rebellious nationalities such as Poles and Finns. The Black Hundred also found inspiration in the Pan-Slavs’ visceral opposition to the West. "All this sound familiar?

Fast forward, read this article from 2015 after Putin ordered the assassination (never proven, of course) of his rival, the popular successor of Boris Yeltsin, Boris Nemstov. Here is an extended quote: "Radical nationalism has long been one of the leading threats to Russia’s national security, a danger noted by Putin himself during an appearance on a call-in show last month. Over the past decade several large-scale underground nationalist groups have been crushed by law enforcement authorities. At the same time, the Kremlin has tried to co-opt the nationalists to use them to mobilize the population behind the Ukraine war. They have been allowed to hold large-scale rallies in downtown Moscow and to stage publicity stunts, such as Putin publicly riding with the Nationalist Night Wolves biker gang. Some groups probably quietly receive financial or political support from elements of the leadership." History repeats itself.

What all this has to do with Putin is embodied in the expression "throw it against the wall and see what sticks". Putin has ostensibly become focused on returning Russia to the Great Imperial Motherland that he perceives it to have been when the Romanov's held sway. He rails against the "threat" of NATO (although no NATO country has ever attacked Russia while quite the reverse is true), he makes vague statements about Nazi's (a word to which he gives new meaning), and he rattles the nuclear saber. But the truth is much more frightening and much more simple: like his ideal, Joseph Stalin, he will try anything and stop at nothing in the brutal preservation of himself: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

If you think this is all hyperbole, read the words of a man who knows. Just two interesting quotes here. Speaking of Putin: "The reason he’s doing this is not because of NATO … (or) Ukraine joining the European Union. He is doing this because he needs a war in order to stay popular and stay in power. He has been a dictator for 22 years, he’s stolen an enormous amount of money from the Russian people and, absent the war or some other highly visible way of riling his people into a fervor of patriotism, he would no longer be in power. And so this is his way of staying in power." One more, "The oligarchs aren’t powerful in their own right. Basically, they used to be before Putin. But their role now is to basically provide financial assistance to Putin — to look after his money for him, and to take financial actions as directed by him. And so they’re effectively the financial arm of Vladimir Putin." 

Friday, April 15, 2022

The Butcher of Mariupol


The Butcher of Mariupol

 This blog is about Shinto shrines. So why am I writing about Putin's slaughter of Ukrainians? Let me answer this way. Long before I began research and writing about  Shinto, I found a group of knowledgeable people on something called the Shinto Mailing list. This was a place for questions and answers about Shinto and a place to discuss aspects of the religion. At that time, the subject turned to politics and after one heated exchange someone said that politics should not be discussed on the list because it had nothing to do with religion. In rebuttal I said, " When has religion ever been separated from politics." The answer to that question is, of course, never: they have always been joined at the hip. Man is the alpha and the omega. Religions are run by men who take advantage of believers, not to do "God's work" but their own.

The "Butcher of Mariupol" and some of the butcher's buddies would like to paper over every atrocity with vague references to "Nazi", "economics", "Rule of law", or "God". I am writing to clear away some of the smoke: this war is all about one blood thirsty man's endless desire for wealth and power and men with the same ambitions who have thrown in their lot with the monster the world is now stuck with. It will end badly for everyone.

Not only for the unfortunate people of Ukraine who found themselves in the bloodsucker's path, but I predict that Ukraine will also be the graveyard of Russia and Putin will be the headstone. Russia is finished. And yet again, it is her own people who have done her in. Let's briefly review the history.

The vast Imperial Russia was ruled by the corrupt and brutal Romanov's until their own venality caught up to them in the form of severe defeats in external wars and revolution  from within. This revolution was quickly usurped by the Bolsheviks who immediately began killing any of their countryman who opposed them, then turned on each other and never stopped until the Germans were at the door. By this time, Stalin had murdered his way to the top and tried to do a deal with the Nazi's to save his own skin. Of course Hitler was no more trustworthy than the Russians and reneged on the deal. So Stalin was forced to fight to the bitter end. And it would have been the end if not for the Americans and Europeans doing the heavy lifting in destroying the Nazi and the Japanese war machines.

Stalin rewarded these efforts by further brutalizing his own people and refusing to leave the countries of Europe (and part of Japan) which he had "liberated".  Fast forward to the modern era of venal Russian leaders (Kruschov, Breshnev, Andropov, Chernenko). At that time the Russians "saved" Europe by building a wall to keep people from running away from their incarceration and torture paradise. But once again, the Russian "paradise" collapsed under the weight of it's own corruption and brutality – not because it was attacked from the outside.

So now here we are again, after a brief 20 years or so since the age of Gorbachev and lessened Russian demagoguery and violent takeovers of it's neighbors. Again, Russia suppresses opposition at home and inflicts a massive wound not only on a sister country but on itself. Again Russia will destroy herself and enter a dark era for another 20 or 30 years. Not because of NATO, or any attack from a real or fictitious enemy, but by another self-inflicted death blow. And good riddance. Because it must be asked, "What is it in the water that consistently breeds such monsters in Russia?"

Again, I call for the people of Russia to rise up. Throw your bodies in front of the tanks and stop the slaughter before the bombs start to drop on your own heads. Regardless of the cost to Russian lives it must be paid. Why should the birth of yet another Russian monster be charged to the Ukrainians or anyone else when it it the Russian people who must take responsibility for Russian leaders. Is it not that Russians mistrust each other, first and foremost, that finds them unable to band together and overcome one puny dictator after another?

I am well aware that this is an over simplification of history. But the matter is urgent and time is running out for Ukraine and Russia both. The Emperor has no clothes. He can threaten but he cannot poison and arrest everyone. Stand together to defeat the Butcher or be killed separately in your beds as you sleep.

Monday, April 11, 2022

The Vampire of Bucha

 The Vampire of Bucha

 This is a blog about Shinto shrines. Some will say I should stick to the subject. But the only important subject now is stopping the slaughter of thousands of people by a brutal dictator. 

A number of the readers of this blog are in Russia. This post is addressed to them and the people who support them. The world cannot standby while a handful of ruthless and ambitious men destroy a hard-won peace that has stood against blind savagery since WW2. 

I call on all others in the free-world with any kind of internet presence, from shopping site to political blog, to send the message in anyway you can: dethrone the monsters and stop the slaughter! However small, raise your voice. 

And to those in Russia, living under the fear of torture and death, throw away your fears! Act against your leaders who are spreading chaos and would cover the world in blood. Throw your own bodies in front of the tanks to stop them before the bombs start to drop on your heads too!