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Gender: Female
Hometown: Georgia
Member since: 2002
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It's odd that so many of the protesters being arrested in Russia are women.

Is it that more of them are protesting? Is it that photographers choose to photograph them more often, or that photos of women are chosen for use more often? Is it that police choose to grab them first as easier targets?

It's striking, like something once noticed that cannot be unseen.

Food for thought:


About how internet communications work and the sometimes unintended consequences of messing with it.


Discussion of government censorship, localized internet shutdowns, and how they can backfire.

Another thought: cutting Russia off the internet makes it more difficult to keep an eye on what is happening there, and restricts the ability of the people to ask the world for help if things go terribly sour for them in the coming months.

It's essentially asking them to break the internet.

I understand why Ukraine is making the request, but is it really a good idea? What precedent will it set?


Eamon Javers @EamonJavers
There is a vigorous debate about whether that's a good idea. Pro: Russia deserves the toughest sanctions that will most deeply affect its economy. Con: This could cut everyday Russians off from independent news about the war, and Balkanize the global Internet.
1:43 PM · Mar 1, 2022

It's a good thing that the internet works the way it's supposed to and isn't easy to disrupt. The problem isn't the internet itself, but what's on the internet. Way more pressure should be applied to media outlets and social media companies that aren't pushing back against if not outright blacklisting Russian bot farms and propaganda outlets.

Naive question: As for cyberattacks, what methods are there to block outgoing sabotage without blocking the Russian people from receiving news?

The Russian people are at the beginning of a long, painful economic slide from sanctions. Do they deserve to be completely isolated from the rest of the online world? They might feel written off and deserted by that, and rightly so. What might be the long term blowback?

Interesting, thanks. They'd have a better argument if they could find their own paperwork.

According to the entry quoted, there were questions about the legitimacy of the Belovezh Accords at the time. Also, seems there's plenty of dog-ate-my-homework missing documentation to go around in this situation.

The Telegraph (I know, but it had the most text) Feb 2013, no paywall: https://archive.ph/mppXQ
Document proclaiming death of Soviet Union missing

Stanislav Shushkevich, the former leader of Belarus, told The Daily Telegraph that the Belavezha Accords — the agreement which sounded the death knell of the USSR in 1991 – had disappeared from state archives.

The accords were signed by Mr Shushkevich, Russia’s president Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine’s president Leonid Kravchuk in a hunting lodge in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha nature reserve in western Belarus.

It has often been rumoured that the trio were under the influence of alcohol at the time they signed the document which brought down the vast Soviet empire, although Mr Shushkevich has since denied they were drunk.

In a telephone interview, the former Belarus leader said he had requested to see the original document as he prepared to write his memoirs. “The last time I saw it was when I put my signature on it,” said Mr Shushkevich. “I wrote to the foreign ministry where it should be archived but they sent a polite reply saying they don’t have a copy in Belarusian. And then it transpired that they don’t have the original in Russian either. It’s not there.”

I have no expertise in any kind of law either, but I find the whole situation curiouser and curiouser.

However, the official documentation admitting Russia to the UN is nonexistent.

Russia has been a member called USSR still to this day in the charter. As mentioned in the Euromaidan Press, the official paperwork for Russia's admission doesn't exist. He may be splitting legal hairs, but good on Kyslytsia for doing it. It seems wrong that all other former states from the USSR had to reapply, but Russia did not. Yeltsin just sent a letter, and no one argued at the time. They're arguing now. Sorry if you've already seen these:



Maybe Kyslytsia is tilting at windmills to make an issue of it at this late date, but somebody should have long before now and didn't. I admire him for it. It's telling that none of the other countries present today are complaining about it. They're letting him make his case, and it's not a entirely bad one.

Who knows? This may get very interesting. Cheers.

Good for Ukraine. The application was signed today.



Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the country's president, shared an image of himself flanked by Denys Shmyhal, his prime minister, and Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, as he signed the document. [snip]

He has asked the EU to allow Ukraine to gain membership immediately under a special procedure as it defends itself from invasion by Russian forces.

The application to the EU was largely symbolic and the process could take years, with Ukraine having been weakened by endemic corruption for many years, making the benchmarks of approval extremely hard to reach.

However, the move is still unlikely to sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who does not want Ukraine to have a strong relationship with the West.

Tsk. Moscow Mitch's buddy Oleg has had run-ins with sanctions before.

Of all of the Russian oligarchs who deserve sanctions, Oleg Deripaska is at the top of the list.


In 2018, acting at the request of then National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, who was on his way out of the Trump White House, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Deripaska and his aluminum company, Rusal. The company's stock tanked 50 percent on the news. The move was part of a broad set of sanctions against Russian oligarchs. As for Deripaska specifically, according to the Treasury, he had been "investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering."

But by 2019, Trump moved to lift the sanctions and cut a deal with Deripaska, despite a key Senate Intelligence Committee report having described him as a "proxy for the Russian state and intelligence services." Outraged Democrats moved to stop the White House. But when the Senate began debating the sanctions, McConnell played a key role in persuading his GOP colleagues to back him, and together they blocked the Democratic-backed efforts. The sanctions went away.

Three months later, there was an unusual coincidence: Rusal announced a major deal to buy a 40 percent stake in a new American aluminum plant—in Ashland, Kentucky, McConnell's home state. McConnell stated he was unaware of Rusal's interest in the factory at the time the sanctions bill debate was occurring, but the alarming timing of these events earned McConnell the moniker "Moscow Mitch."

As if this wasn't enough, Deripaska was also a key figure in the shady dealings of Paul Manafort, the former Trump Campaign manager who went to prison on a seven and a half year sentence and ultimately refused to cooperate with investigators, but was among those pardoned by Trump on his way out of office. Manafort once received $10 million in funds from Deripaska, who was communicating and apparently sending instructions via another character wanted by the FBI named Konstantin Kilimnik, with whom Manafort worked closely.

The US has responded with sanctions for Belarus as well.


February 24, 2022
WASHINGTON — As part of the United States’ serious and expansive response to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals and entities due to Belarus’s support for, and facilitation of, the invasion. Today’s action focuses on Belarus’s defense sector and financial institutions, two areas in which Belarus has especially close ties to Russia. Belarus has become increasingly reliant on Russia for economic, political, and military support in recent years as the regime has clung to power following the fraudulent August 2020 presidential election.

Treasury’s Russia-related actions will also have significant downstream effects in Belarus. The Belarusian economy is highly dependent on key Russian financial institutions and their subsidiaries, including Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia (Sberbank), VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company (VTB), and State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB). Restrictions against Sberbank, VTB, and VEB, combined with the measures against Belarusian banks, target nearly one-fifth of the country’s entire financial sector.

“Having already sacrificed its legitimacy to suppress the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenka regime is now jeopardizing Belarus’s sovereignty by supporting Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “Treasury continues to disrupt Belarus’s military and financial capabilities through targeted sanctions. Further, due to the interconnectedness between the two countries, the actions Treasury took against Russia today will also impose severe economic pain on the Lukashenka regime.”

Today’s actions follow five previous Belarus-related sanctions tranches by the United States and its allies in response to the degradation of democracy in Belarus. The Lukashenka regime has continued to erode democracy in Belarus and has become increasingly subservient to Russia in the process. Proposed amendments to the Belarusian constitution will exacerbate that trend and will pave the way for increased Russian influence in Minsk.

So, the latest Repub talking point is to compare Zelenskyy to Biden,

so they can say how weak they think Biden is. It never occurs them to compare Zelenskyy to themselves.

C'mere Cancun Cruz. Let's hear all about your strength and backbone in a crisis.

From the second tweet, re Russia's Central Bank

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all that's involved, but it's a very big deal. People have a better understanding, please chime in.


Ursula von der Leyen @vonderleyen
Second, we will paralyse the assets of Russia’s central bank.

This will freeze its transactions.

And it will make it impossible for the Central Bank to liquidate its assets.
5:13 PM · Feb 26, 2022

WSJ, no paywall:
U.S. Weighing New Sanctions on Russia’s Central Bank

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, the Obama administration banned U.S. firms from buying debt from the central bank as part of its broader financial pressure campaign against Moscow. Those sanctions fueled a depreciation of the ruble and exposed the vulnerability of Russia’s dollar-denominated assets.

The Treasury Department on Tuesday expanded those sanctions to include central bank debt traded in the secondary markets, where intermediary institutions sell central bank bonds. [snip]

Among its options to expand sanctions on the Russian central bank, the administration could ban any dollar transactions—and allies might complement with similar action against euro, pound and yen trading. Such a step could hobble the central bank’s ability to sell its foreign currency reserves. Another option could be a full blacklisting that freezes any assets held in U.S. jurisdictions—and other countries’ jurisdictions where allies join Washington in the move—and prohibit any transactions. That could hit not only the bank’s currency-stabilization operations but also the transactions critical for the country’s international trade.

Ari Redbord, a former senior Treasury Department official now at the blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs, said imposing such blocking sanctions—along with so-called secondary sanctions that blacklist any foreign banks, businesses or individuals caught transacting with a target—“is a death sentence.” The threat of losing access to the U.S., with the world’s most important currency and deepest financial markets, would undercut Russian efforts to evade the sanctions even by redirecting financial transactions through a willing Chinese bank.

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