Friday, 15 September 2017

Hybrid Warfare and the Gerasimov Doctrine

Apparently, those pesky Russkies have been running rings around the west and NATO over recent years with their devious new brand of warfare which includes, among other things, that highly popular tool of indoctrination and mind control: RT news channel.

I'm no expert on warfare, but i'm pretty sure that the characteristics of hybrid, or non-linear, warfare have been around for years -  if not centuries - in the form of black ops, special operations, propaganda, disinformation campaigns, proxy wars.  As 19th Centruary Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said "War is the continuation of politics by other means" and that can mean a range of activities on the spectrum from soft to hard power.

Of course, we must guard against these threats but lets not pretend it's anything new (other than the means by which they are pursued), but I would say that soft power (trade, culture, democratic institutions, rule of law, material well being, living standards, consumerism, global brands) is probably the most cost-effective tool in our armoury against those who wish to undermine us (UK, the west, USA, NATO).

Anyway, here is an interesting article on GIBRID VOIYNA by Russian and security expert Mark Galeotti:

Illustrated Memories of Soviet Childhood

These paintings are fantastic.  The artist captures scenes from everyday Soviet life in vibrant colours.  The Isreali artist, Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi, illustrates memories of her childhood, growing up in Kiev in the USSR, during the period 1983 - 1991.

Image may contain: outdoor

More information on the artist can be found here:

Loads more images of Soviet Youth can be found on her Facebook page here:

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A Lesson for Today: August 1991 Coup Failed because KGB Didn’t Support It, Gennady Gudkov Says

A Lesson for Today: August 1991 Coup Failed because KGB Didn’t Support It, Gennady Gudkov Says: (Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 20, 2017) Force structures have invariably played a key role in all revolutions, revolts, or palace coups, either by supporting the in…

Monday, 24 July 2017

Putin Answers Kids’ Questions Ahead of Election Year (Live Blog)

Putin Answers Kids’ Questions Ahead of Election Year (Live Blog): (Moscow Times – – July 21, 2017) 7:00 p.m. – As the clock hits the three-hour mark, Putin addresses the audience and wishes them success in the future, taking o…

Friday, 16 June 2017

TRANSCRIPT & VIDEO: Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

TRANSCRIPT & VIDEO: Direct Line with Vladimir Putin: ( – June 15, 2017) [Complete video in Russian also at] The annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin was broadcast live by Channel One, R…

Thursday, 13 April 2017

James Bond Locations: The Russia House - Barley's bar, Lisbon

James Bond Locations: The Russia House - Barley's bar, Lisbon: In 1991, Sean Connery starred in the spy thriller  The Russia House  based on a book by John le Carré .   The Russia House  is one of only...

Another scene "bagged" from the Russia House Movie

On a recent trip to London, I managed to "bag" another scene from the film The Russia House. 

Towards the end of the film, Barley Scott Blair (Sean Connery) and his American "business partner", Jack Henziger (Colin Stinton), host a business launch party in Moscow during a Book Fair.  In the film, the location of the "Potomac / Blair" party is not stated, nor is mentioned in the book - the reception takes place in "the mirrored room of an elderly mid-town hotel" in Moscow; however, there is a cut to a scene featuring Barley and Katya (Michelle Pfeiffer) on a balcony of the now demolished Hotel Rossiya - overlooking St Basil's cathedral and the Kremlin.  The interior shots of the party scene were filmed in the Reading & Writing Room of One Whitehall Place in London.

One Whitehall Place is located just off Whitehall on Victoria Embankment overlooking the River Thames towards the South Bank and London Eye.  It is a elegant Victorian building which host a number of function rooms ornate sculpted ceilings, glittering chandeliers and spectacular views over the River Thames , ideal for weddings, conferences and, of course, filming locations.  

Entering on the corner of Whitehall Place / Whitehall Court, where the brass plate at the entrance states that it is the National Liberal Club, you are faced with a grand circular marble staircase - the largest in London, I was reliably informed by a concierge.  The Reading & Writing Room is to be found at the top the staircase along an ornate, tiled corridor. 

It is not the only scene from The Russia House to have been filmed in London: here are a couple of others I have managed to find:

St Ermin's Hotel:
King Charles Street (off Whitehall):
Symons Street (off Sloane Square)

The Russia House - Lisbon Locations

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Who Are You in 1917?

To commemorate the 100th anniversary this year of the revolutions in Russia of 1917, the “1917. Free History” project enables participants to find out about the history of 1917 from those who lived during this defining moment of twentieth century history.  The project consists entirely of primary sources. All the texts used are taken from genuine documents written by historical figures: letters, memoirs, diaries and other documents of the period.

The site provides information in English and Russian.  There is an on-line test to find out who you might have been during this turbulent period of Russian history:

I've done the test, and apparently, in 1917, I was a reporter working for the newspaper "Pravda" ("Truth").

Boring Postcards USSR

Hotel Klyasma - Vladimir

The Calvert Journal recently featured the work of Italian photographer Marco Citron who has appropriated the aesthetics of vintage postcards to showcase the idiosyncratic architectural experiments of the Soviet era.

He started this project in 2007, and spent the next three years photographing architectural landscapes in eastern Europe.  Citron acknowledges that the idea was indebted to Martin Parr’s collection of published vintage postcards from the 1950s to the early 70s.

I have also been drawn to photographs of the UK's post-war urban developments, new housing, shopping centres, motorways & service stations.  Those bright, slightly overexposed, photographs celebrating the pristine splendour of contemporary architectural developments of the 50s, 60s and 70s - conveying a sense of the short-lived period of optimism of the period, the Brave New World of the future, before urban decay, stagnation, pollution, vandalism and ageing took its toll.

Growing up in the designated New Town of Washington during the 1970s, I find that they resonate with my memories of the urban environment  - the sense of newness, unblemished white concrete, the well-manicured and sparse feel of newly planted trees, shrubs and grass verges; the long motorway journeys on concrete roads or smooth jet black asphalt, and frequent stops at futuristic looking service stations along the way.  

Sevastopol, Crimea 1970s

These photographs are not a million miles from the sort of photographs which appeared "boring" postcard sets published in the Soviet Union covering the same period and beyond. As with the UK photos, they were usually taken by professional photographers, attempting to capture their subjects to the best of their ability - there is no hint of irony, humour, or lack of interest, which we might attribute to such postcards (or their creators) nowadays.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Happy International Women's Day - Поздравления с 8 Марта

President of Russia,  Vladimir Putin marked International Women's Day 2017 with this message : 

Dear women: mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives, friends, our nearest and dearest ones, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on International Women’s Day!
You fill this world with beauty and vitality, giving warmth and comfort, cordiality and harmony with your tenderness and generosity of spirit.
You care day and night for your children, grandchildren and your family. Even today, on International Women’s Day, you are still caught up in your routine, working tirelessly, always on time. We often ask ourselves, how do they manage it all?
Most importantly, we love and treasure you. No wonder men have been celebrating women in music and poetry for centuries. Konstantin Balmont, a Russian Silver Age poet, described women in a vivid and precise manner:
A woman – with us when we are born,
A woman – with us in our last hour,
A woman – our standard during battle,
A woman – the joy of open eyes.
We always turn to women for inspiration and consolation, and always find it. Women give us life and perpetuate it in our children.
That said, women also need men’s support. We will remember that always, not only today. We will do our outmost to surround the women we love with care and attention, so that they can smile more often.
Once again, let me congratulate you sincerely on this holiday. I wish you good health, success, joy and happiness. Happy Women’s Day!

International Women's Day is a throwback from Soviet times, but it remains a national holiday in Russia today.  It is the day when women are celebrated - with wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers, mother in laws, grandmothers, aunts, etc, receiving flowers, chocolates and cakes from the men in their lives.  

I've been in Russia on two occasions when when this holiday has been celebrated.  Flower sellers on every street and metro entrance; Men carrying cake boxes with string handles and bunches of flowers wrapped in copies of Pravda; and people greet each other with 'S praznikom' (happy holiday, i think) - it is a happy occasion which is widely celebrated.

But as women say in Russia "1 day for women, 364 days for men" bemoaning the fact that their menfolk do very little the rest of the year to contribute to the household chores. Even on International Women's day they can get a raw deal - I was walking around Red Square on a bitterly cold night of 8th March 1988 when I spotted two women shovelling snow on to the back of a truck - back-breaking work; meanwhile, sitting in the warm cabin of the truck, was their male co-worker relaxing with a cigarette!