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German legislators came, saw, and slammed Russia sanctions on trip to Crimea

Crimea is and was always Russian, as a its history amply demonstrates

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Come and see the beauty of Crimea by the sea. In order to truly understand Crimea, you have to visit this beautiful, magical place. Do so, and your perspective on it, and the world may completely change. You may also fall in love.

If more policymakers would just visit this land which they issue sanctions over, and truly understand the wonder and history Crimea offers the world, they make change their perspective. That is what happened when the German delegation visited.

German lawmaker opposes anti-Russian sanctions, urges Ukraine to accept Crimean people’s choice

These were the words of Helmut Seifen, a German MP from North Rhine-Westphalia after his Crimea visit:

 I think that the sanctions introduced after Crimea held its referendum and was reunited with Russia are counterproductive. This is a way of escalation.Some political forces must come to power in Ukraine that would accept the will of the Crimean people. This would bring peace between the nations and ordinary people could resume their travels from Ukraine to Crimea and back. All ties would be restored,” added the German politician.

This is something alternative media has been covering for ages now, and something that top US professors have already explained – Crimea is Russia. Sanctioning Russian lands for joining Russia is insanity. The sooner people understand that, the sooner they stop risking a dangerous conflict with catastrophic consequences for the whole world.

The fact that Crimea is Russia is not a matter of opinion, it is a simple historical fact, and no one upon truly studying the history and culture in depth would disagree, unless they are a radical anti-Russian nationalist. In order to truly appreciate the German MP’s revelation, we must take a walk through the annuals of Crimean history.

The Glorious and Tragic History of Crimea – the same could be said of many Slavic lands:

Crimea is one of the most important parts of Rus’, yet it began it’s story with the Greeks. Indeed, would you believe the site of the Baptism of the first Rus Prince was NOT a part of Kievan Rus’? How is this possible? Let’s find out…

Kievan Rus’ was the first Russian state, which all scholars agree was the ancestor of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

If one looks carefully, they will notice the Crimean peninsula was not a part of Kievan Rus, but was, in fact, a Greek colony – a territory of the Eastern Roman Empire. There are 9th-century Greek monasteries on the peninsula to prove it.

Bear in mind, this is not the time or place for a detailed history of Crimea, of which pages could be written, but the simply account goes that Crimea, the site of the Baptism of Saint Vladimir of Kiev, in preparation for his marriage to a Byzantine Princess, would eventually fall to Mongol hordes like the rest of Rus’. This means Crimea is not part of what Ukrainians misleadingly refer to as “Ancient Ukraine”, as they call Kievan Rus. This is misleading, as while Ukrainian people have an equal claim to the land with Russians and Belarussians, there was no such term as Ukraine in the period, and the state was called Rus’, from which Russia takes her name, and the three peoples were indistinguishable in that time.

Mongol Invasion (light grey) around 1250 A.D.

After the Mongol Empire fractures into the Golden Horde, Crimea eventually is ruled by a splinter group called the Crimean Khanate, who were vassals of the Ottoman empire. The khanate was the source of endless suffering for Rus’ people, often abducting slaves from Ruthenia (modern day Ukraine), and Polish-Lithuanian territories, and selling them to the Ottoman Turks. This was how Suliman the Magnificent received his wife, Roxalana, a Ukrainian girl abducted by the Crimean Tatars.

Image result for Роксолана

The Cossacks of Zaporozhia would be forced to ally with the Tatars against the Poles, in the interest of national liberation, but the moment Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky was able to negotiate the reunification of Ukraine with Russia, his Cossacks quickly ignored the Tatars, whom they only saw as an ally of convenience, and never forgot their cruelty.

A map showing Cossack-Russian, Polish, and Crimean Khanate (light purple) lands

Eventually, after freeing the nation from Polish rule with Russia’s help, the Cossacks would in turn help Russia settle the “Wild Fields” of Southern Ukraine and Russia, including the Kuban where they still dwell today. In this process, it led to the settlement of New Russia (Novorossia).

It was called “New” as the land had little to do with Ancient Rus’, and all the great cities of Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson, etc. were built in the late 18th century by the modern Russian empire, as opposed to being cities built during the shared period of Rus’. The map below clearly show how Cossacks helped Russia settle these new lands, and reveal the historical evolution of the land now called Ukraine.

These lands include Crimea, and oh how history repeats itself, because the conflict in Novorossia is, of course, still raging today. It is in understanding this history, we realize why sanctions against Russia over Crimea is pointless, and Crimea is Russia. The fact that all these lands were settled in the early modern period by the Russian Empire connects them even more with Russia, than other ancient Russian cities like Lviv, which were founded in the common medieval period, and existed seperate from Russia for several centuries. Crimea simply would not be settled by Slavs in general, were it not for the Russian Empire. In 1954, the peninsula was unceremoniously gifted to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader of Ukrainian descent.

Note: the “Polish territory” was ancient Rus’ territory long before Poland invaded and took it

This is where partial knowledge of history fails some people, as, without the whole story, some may concede and admit that Crimea is Russia, because it was given in 1954, but insist that Donbas and Kiev are distinctively Ukrainian. That is still not quite accurate. The issue here is that all of Ukraine was once Russia a mere less than 50 years prior. The land was only divided as the result of the Bolshevik revolution and WW1, and then artificially constructed, but by then, the seeds of nationalism took root. The difference between Ukraine and Russia is like East and West Germany, when they were two separate states. If the people wish to remain in separate states, this is a political opinion, and everyone has the right to their own opinion, but no one can deny the historical unity between them.

It was this unity that German lawmakers noticed when they went to Crimea. We have already covered the German expedition to Crimea in detail here:

German politicians visit Crimea, Ukraine throws tantrum as expected

According to RT, Kiev has already initiated legal proceedings against the German lawmakers, after threatening them that their trip could have lamentable consequences, as we noted in the article above.

It is perhaps the words of the Deputy Speaker of Crimean legislative assembly, Yuri Gempel, which perfectly sum everything up:

Europe is waking up slowly and starting to understand that Crimea has returned to Russia forever.

Any discussion of Crimea or Ukraine must be made with the understanding that this is a permanent reunion, just as the reunification of Ukraine and Russia in 1654 was meant to be, until it was sabotaged by foreign powers who manipulated petty nationalism amongst the people, and used the Bolsheviks as a tool to divide old Russia.

There is a monument to that reunion here, in our photo essay about the haunting beauty of Chernobyl which we highly recommend.

It must be understood that Crimeans did not abandon any part of themselves when they returned. Those who wish to be Ukrainian are no less Ukrainian, as Ukrainian culture is as much an inseparable part of Russia as Gogol, and just as much as Russian culture and history is inseparable from Ukraine. No matter how far across the vast steppes of time Ukrainians roam – Russia is their home.

Ой ви хлопці, славні Запорожці, Верніться до дому! (the words of an old song, urging Cossacks to return home)

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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