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Interview with Jacob Djugashvili – Stalin’s great-grandson

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**NOTE TO EDITOR: If article is accepted, please upload on Nov. 7, THE DAY OF the Centenary, and not before. Question #5 is a bit contentious with The Duran’s regular audience, but I will trust your editorial judgement. Kindly let me know by email if you will publish the article IN FULL, or without question #5, as soon as possible. Please include the Russian translation as well.**

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We have the pleasure of interviewing Jacob Djugashvili, the great-grandson of the revolutionary leader and General Secretariat of the USSR, Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili (Stalin). We discuss his life and work, the history of his great-grandfather as a leader of the Soviet Union, and significance of the 2017 October Revolution Centenary.

For more information, kindly visit his personal website, jugashvili.com. To read the original in Russian (Русский), click here.

Can you tell me about yourself, your life, and what you currently do? What messages do you try to communicate through your work?

[To begin, remember that] Stalin was married twice. His first wife was a Georgian, Ekaterina Semenovna Svanidze, and in 1907, they gave a birth to a son—Yakov. That same year, she died of typhus. Yakov would later start a relationship with Olga Pavlovna Golysheva, however, they never officially married. They then gave a birth to a son—Evgeniy—my father.

During [World War II], the USSR opened the Suvorovsk Military and Hakhimov Naval Schools, which recruited the orphaned children of soldiers killed whilst at war. My father was enrolled at the Suvorovsk Military School in Kalinin (present-day Tver). After graduating from secondary school, he decided to dedicate his life to the military and became a career soldier. He attended Gukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy and began working as a military representative at the factories of Sergey Korolev for a long time.

He participated in the research and development of Soviet rockets, and towards the end of his life, he managed to write an autobiography. It was published in Moscow three years ago and was titled, “My Grandfather Stalin: A Saint”. Two years ago, he started editing the book and managed to make all the necessary corrections, but didn’t make it to the publisher—he died right there in the street, on the way to the editor last year, on the 22nd of December. After his funeral, I brought the edited version to the publishers and this summer, the new book finally appeared in book stores in Moscow.

[I am an artist, and] I think that, due to the advancements in equipment and technology, painting has lost its role as an instrument of propaganda and means to convey ideas and thoughts to people. If a painter has any ideas that are useful to others, he or she may express them to others through text or speech, using modern recording methods. Despite this, painting is initially HOW and only afterwards WHAT, and is valuable because it is created by a human. It’s well known that humans make mistakes, unlike a machine or other technical piece of equipment, but man’s ability to correct a mistake by finding a solution that wasn’t taught at school or university, sometimes out of the blue, is called creativity. The more interesting and creatively an artist works, the more valuable it is.

The October Centenary will take place on 7 November, which marks 100 years after the Russian revolution in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). What is the significance of this historical event? Why should the working class never forget it?

Russian and Soviet philosopher A.A. Zinoviev, who was banished from USSR in 1977 for anti-Soviet propaganda, said in the 2000s that,

“[The] Revolution of 1917 year saved Russia from perishing, continued its history as a great nation, and preserved and multiplied its greatest achievements. To regard the Soviet period of Russian history as a black failure is a monstrous lie. Actually, that black failure has come only now. Nowadays in Russia, there has indeed been a complete breakdown of generations—[on a] political, civil, ideological, cultural, moral, and psychological [level]—There has never been an ideal power and never will, but rather, the ideal is an abstraction. 

The most ideal political figures in the history of mankind, in my opinion, were two people: Napoleon and Stalin. I call the 19th century the century of Napoleon and the 20th the century of Stalin. I put Stalin above Lenin; however, as a revolutionary, creator, and organiser of the Soviet state, Lenin is an epoch-making figure.

There are no ideal state systems either, and it is necessary to evaluate [them] by how adequate they are for historical conditions. The western system is perceived by [many] as the most ideal; Yes, for western countries. But when transferred to non-Western countries, it’s nonsense. The attempts to transfer these systems to Russia brought it to collapse and [almost] lead to its ultimate destruction. The most ideal [system] for Russian conditions was the Soviet model, and this was the peak of its history.

I tell you this as a person who was anti-Stalinist from youth, who would have been shot in the ‘40s for attempting terrorist activities against Stalin. However, it’s one thing to be anti-Stalinist and another to evaluate the Stalinist era as a scientist. From this point of view, I have always treated Stalin as the greatest political figure of [the 20th] century and haven’t changed my opinion. There were years of studying, discovering, and at the end of the life, I admit that, indeed, the Soviet system was the most adequate for Russian conditions…”

There’s no better way to say it.

Can you tell us about your great-grandfather, Joseph Djugashvili? Can you describe his personality, legacy, accomplishments, as well as your personal feelings about him? Can you give us an accurate understanding of what happened in the USSR under his service as the General Secretariat?

The events that took place during Stalin’s life and his role in these events are two different things. To understand Stalin’s role at that time, firstly, it is necessary to understand the nature of these events. Most people that talk about the history of USSR do not understand this most important detail. In the USSR, there never existed a single dictatorship, as was in Western democracies. Instead, there was a collective dictatorship—the Central Committee of the [Communist Party]—which was more than 70 people, and most of them were first secretaries of regional party organisations. This organ was the dictator, not Stalin, but it was Stalin who was considered as its leader. Why?

The fact is that this collective—the Central Committee—was responsible for the correctness of the tasks undertaken and carried by the government as a political organ of leadership. In this type of leadership, the one who is smarter, more honest, fairer, more efficient, etc. always stands out. Stalin was made the leader for the qualities of his personality, but was not given a powerful position until May 1941, or how some idiot researchers write that, “Stalin became the leader by chance”. 

In reality, Stalin was made the leader in a kind of captivity. He was not “almighty” at all, but had an ability to persuade others and justify the correctness of his vision on this or that matter. While evaluating and making decisions, he also needed to persuade other members of Central Committee in its correctness so that the state could implement it.

Yes, indeed, most of Stalin’s proposals were enthusiastically accepted by the majority of the Central Committee because, firstly, this saved them from having to delve into the essence of rising issues (why should one have to think when there is already a “workhorse” Stalin?), and secondly, these issues did not concern their personal careers. As soon as Stalin put forward the idea that it was time to turn the country into a truly  communistic power, which meant ending the dictatorship of the party (i.e. finishing with party secretaries) and handing it over to the Soviet people in the USSR, then those party secretaries decided to commit the crimes later referred to as the “Stalinist repressions”.

Due to Stalin’s powers of persuasion, he managed to convince the majority of Central Committee members of the need to dismiss the head of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs—[Nicholai] Yezhov—who, with his subordinates, imprisoned innocent people. Without the “ideas” of the first secretaries, sabotaging Stalin’s reforms would have been impossible.  

The Soviet Union was the world’s first socialist government and through it, the working class people of the world accomplished many great things. Can you tell us about life in the USSR? What were some of its greatest achievements and criticisms?

I personally believe that there is a class of parasites and a class of creators. People should be distinguished by their goals in life and not by the amount of capital that belongs to them. For me, there is no difference between the rich and poor if both have the same goal in life: to be a parasite, only to take from the community and not give anything in return, to eat and relax. For me, both are [rubbish].

Communism is a society of creators [and] should not come as a result of the development of technology, as most people claim, but as a result of society’s development. The Soviet Union was an attempt to change people and make creators out of them. For me, the USSR firstly [represents] all those values and the ideas that come from them, which formed the basis of the Soviet project. It is important for me to understand the purpose of the USSR as its founders, and especially I.V. Stalin, saw it. I’m trying to convey those values to others so that in the future, I hope, they will help us to become one people again.

According to the Levanda Centre, 87% of Russians did not want the Soviet Union to collapse. How did the end of the USSR change international relations? What do you think of the Russian renaissance under Vladimir Putin, compared to life in the USSR?

The Russian elite are parasites that do not participate in producing the means to ensure the livelihoods of its people, but lives exclusively at the expense of taxes collected from citizens. What kind of renaissance are you talking about?

What message would you like to give to the global proletariat? What lessons can the October centenary teach them? What does it mean to be a Socialist or Communist, in your honest opinion?

[Again] I do not divide people into classes, and for me there are working people (creators) and parasites. To be a communist, one does not necessarily have to be a member of any party or carry the title of “communist” or “labourer.” To be a communist is to be a person, not an animal. What is the difference between an animal and a human being? An animal lives to satisfy its natural instincts (simply eating and sleeping, roughly speaking) while a person has the ability to suppress these instincts for the sake of society. A man is one who not only takes from society, but also gives. Every man, if he is a man and not an animal, must find a way to serve society.

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Russia’s Lukoil Halts Oil Swaps In Venezuela After U.S. Sanctions

Under the new wide-ranging U.S. sanctions, Venezuela will not be able to import U.S. naphtha which it has typically used to dilute its heavy crude grades.

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Via Oilprice.com


Litasco, the international trading arm of Russia’s second-biggest oil producer Lukoil, stopped its oil swaps deals with Venezuela immediately after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and state oil firm PDVSA, Lukoil’s chief executive Vagit Alekperov said at an investment forum in Russia.

Russia, which stands by Nicolas Maduro in the ongoing Venezuelan political crisis, has vowed to defend its interests in Venezuela—including oil interests—within the international law using “all mechanisms available to us.”

Because of Moscow’s support for Maduro, the international community and market analysts are closely watching the relationship of Russian oil companies with Venezuela.

“Litasco does not work with Venezuela. Before the restrictions were imposed, Litasco had operations to deliver oil products and to sell oil. There were swap operations. Today there are none, since the sanctions were imposed,” Lukoil’s Alekperov said at the Russian Investment Forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Another Russian oil producer, Gazprom Neft, however, does not see major risks for its oil business in Venezuela, the company’s chief executive officer Alexander Dyukov said at the same event.

Gazprom Neft has not supplied and does not supply oil products to Venezuela needed to dilute the thick heavy Venezuelan oil, Dyukov said, noting that the Latin American country hadn’t approached Gazprom Neft for possible supply of oil products for diluents.

Under the new wide-ranging U.S. sanctions, Venezuela will not be able to import U.S. naphtha which it has typically used to dilute its heavy crude grades. Analysts expect that a shortage of diluents could accelerate beginning this month the already steadily declining Venezuelan oil production and exports.

Venezuela’s crude oil production plunged by another 59,000 bpd from December 2018 to stand at just 1.106 million bpd in January 2019, OPEC’s secondary sources figures showed in the cartel’s closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) this week.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Germany Pulls Rank on Macron and American Energy Blackmail

Why France’s Macron, at the last minute, attempted to undermine the project by placing stiffer regulations is a curious question.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It was billed politely as a Franco-German “compromise” when the EU balked at adopting a Gas Directive which would have undermined the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia.

Nevertheless, diplomatic rhetoric aside, Berlin’s blocking last week of a bid by French President Emmanuel Macron to impose tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 gas project was without doubt a firm rebuff to Paris.

Macron wanted to give the EU administration in Brussels greater control over the new pipeline running from Russia to Germany. But in the end the so-called “compromise” was a rejection of Macron’s proposal, reaffirming Germany in the lead role of implementing the Nord Stream 2 route, along with Russia.

The $11-billion, 1,200 kilometer pipeline is due to become operational at the end of this year. Stretching from Russian mainland under the Baltic Sea, it will double the natural gas supply from Russia to Germany. The Berlin government and German industry view the project as a vital boost to the country’s ever-robust economy. Gas supplies will also be distributed from Germany to other European states. Consumers stand to gain from lower prices for heating homes and businesses.

Thus Macron’s belated bizarre meddling was rebuffed by Berlin. A rebuff was given too to the stepped-up pressure from Washington for the Nord Stream 2 project to be cancelled. Last week, US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and two other American envoys wrote an op-ed for Deutsche Welle in which they accused Russia of trying to use “energy blackmail” over Europe’s geopolitics.

Why France’s Macron, at the last minute, attempted to undermine the project by placing stiffer regulations is a curious question. Those extra regulations if they had been imposed would have potentially made the Russian gas supply more expensive. As it turns out, the project will now go-ahead without onerous restrictions.

In short, Macron and the spoiling tactics of Washington, along with EU states hostile to Russia, Poland and the Baltic countries, have been put in their place by Germany and its assertion of national interests of securing economical and abundant gas supply from Russia. Other EU member states that backed Berlin over Nord Stream 2 were Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands.

Washington’s claims that Nord Stream 2 would give Russia leverage of Europe’s security have been echoed by Poland and the Baltic states. Poland, and non-EU Ukraine, stand to lose out billions of dollars-worth of transit fees. Such a move, however, is the prerogative of Germany and Russia to find a more economical mode of supply. Besides, what right has Ukraine to make demands on a bilateral matter that is none of its business? Kiev’s previous bad faith over not paying gas bills to Russia disbars it from reasonable opinion.

Another factor is the inherent Russophobia of Polish and Baltic politicians who view everything concerning Russia through a prism of paranoia.

For the Americans, it is obviously a blatant case of seeking to sell their own much more expensive natural gas to Europe’s giant energy market – in place of Russia’s product. Based on objective market figures, Russia is the most competitive supplier to Europe. The Americans are therefore trying to snatch a strategic business through foul means of propaganda and political pressure. Ironically, the US German ambassador Richard Grenell and the other American envoys wrote in their recent oped: “Europe must retain control of its energy security.”

Last month, Grenell threatened German and European firms involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 that they could face punitive American sanctions in the future. Evidently, it is the US side that is using “blackmail” to coerce others into submission, not Russia.

Back to Macron. What was he up to in his belated spoiling tactics over Nord Stream 2 and in particular the attempted problems being leveled for Germany if the extra regulations had been imposed?

It seems implausible that Macron was suddenly finding a concern for Poland and the Baltic states in their paranoia over alleged Russian invasion.

Was Macron trying to garner favors from the Trump administration? His initial obsequious rapport with Trump has since faded from the early days of Macron’s presidency in 2017. By doing Washington’s bidding to undermine the Nord Stream 2 project was Macron trying to ingratiate himself again?

The contradictions regarding Macron are replete. He is supposed to be a champion of “ecological causes”. A major factor in Germany’s desire for the Nord Stream 2 project is that the increased gas supply will reduce the European powerhouse’s dependence on dirty fuels of coal, oil and nuclear power. By throwing up regulatory barriers, Macron is making it harder for Germany and Europe to move to cleaner sources of energy that the Russian natural gas represents.

Also, if Macron had succeeded in imposing tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 project it would have inevitably increased the costs to consumers for gas bills. This is at a time when his government is being assailed by nationwide Yellow Vest protests over soaring living costs, in particular fuel-price hikes.

A possible factor in Macron’s sabotage bid in Germany’s Nord Stream 2 plans was his chagrin over Berlin’s rejection of his much-vaunted reform agenda for the Eurozone bloc within the EU. Despite Macron’s very public amity with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin has continually knocked back the French leader’s ambitions for reform.

It’s hard to discern what are the real objectives of Macron’s reforms. But they seem to constitute a “banker’s charter”. Many eminent German economists have lambasted his plans, which they say will give more taxpayer-funded bailouts to insolvent banks. They say Macron is trying to move the EU further away from the social-market economy than the bloc already has moved.

What Macron, an ex-Rothschild banker, appears to be striving for is a replication of his pro-rich, anti-worker policies that he is imposing on France, and for these policies to be extended across the Eurozone. Berlin is not buying it, realizing such policies will further erode the social fabric. This could be the main reason why Macron tried to use the Nord Stream 2 project as leverage over Berlin.

In the end, Macron and Washington – albeit working for different objectives – were defeated in their attempts to sabotage the emerging energy trade between Germany, Europe and Russia. Nord Stream 2, as with Russia’s Turk Stream to the south of Europe, seems inevitable by sheer force of natural partnership.

On this note, the Hungarian government’s comments this week were apt. Budapest accused some European leaders and the US of “huge hypocrisy” in decrying association with Russia over energy trade. Macron has previously attended an economics forum in St Petersburg, and yet lately has sought to “blackmail” and disrupt Germany over its trade plans with Russia.

As for the Americans, their arrant hypocrisy is beyond words. As well as trying to dictate to Europe about “market principles” and “energy security”, it was reported this week that Washington is similarly demanding Iraq to end its import of natural gas from neighboring Iran.

Iraq is crippled by electricity and power shortages because of the criminal war that the US waged on that country from 2003-2011 which destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. Iraq critically needs Iranian gas supplies to keep the lights and fans running. Yet, here we have the US now dictating to Iraq to end its lifeline import of Iranian fuel in order to comply with the Trump administration’s sanctions against Tehran. Iraq is furious at the latest bullying interference by Washington in its sovereign affairs.

The hypocrisy of Washington and elitist politicians like Emmanuel Macron has become too much to stomach. Maybe Germany and others are finally realizing who the charlatans are.

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Russia Readies Own Web To Survive Global Internet Shutdown

Russia is simultaneously building a mass censorship system similar to that seen in China.

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Via Zerohedge


Russian authorities and major telecom operators are preparing to disconnect the country from the world wide web as part of an exercise to prepare for future cyber attacks, Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) reported last week.

The purpose of the exercise is to develop a threat analysis and provide feedback to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament last December.

The draft law, called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russian internet service providers (ISP) to guarantee the independence of the Russian Internet (Runet) in the event of a foreign attack to sever the country’s internet from the world wide web.

Telecom operators (MegaFon, VimpelCom (Beeline brand), MTS, Rostelecom and others) will have to introduce the “technical means” to re-route all Russian internet traffic to exchange points approved by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), Russia’s federal executive body responsible for censorship in media and telecommunications.

Roskomnazor will observe all internet traffic and make sure data between Russian users stays within the country’s borders, and is not re-routed abroad.

The exercise is expected to occur before April 1, as Russian authorities have not given exact dates.

The measures described in the law include Russia constructing its internet system, known as Domain Name System (DNS), so it can operate independently from the rest of the world.

Across the world, 12 companies oversee the root servers for DNS and none are located in Russia. However, there are copies of Russia’s core internet address book inside the country suggesting its internet could keep operating if the US cut it off.

Ultimately, the Russian government will require all domestic traffic to pass through government-controlled routing points. These hubs will filter traffic so that data sent between Russians internet users work seamlessly, but any data to foreign computers would be rejected.

Besides protecting its internet, Russia is simultaneously building a mass censorship system similar to that seen in China.

“What Russia wants to do is to bring those router points that handle data entering or exiting the country within its borders and under its control- so that it can then pull up the drawbridge, as it were, to external traffic if it’s under threat – or if it decides to censor what outside information people can access.

China’s firewall is probably the world’s best known censorship tool and it has become a sophisticated operation. It also polices its router points, using filters and blocks on keywords and certain websites and redirecting web traffic so that computers cannot connect to sites the state does not wish Chinese citizens to see,” said BBC.

The Russian government started preparations for creating its internet several years ago. Russian officials expect 95% of all internet traffic locally by next year.

As for Russia unplugging its internet from the rest of the world for an upcoming training exercise, well, this could potentially anger Washington because it is one less sanction that can keep Moscow contained.

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