A bad sign

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reshuffling his cabinet today, and the CBC reports that he will appoint Chrystia Freeland as Foreign Minister. Freeland was placed on a sanctions list by Russia in 2014. Canada, therefore, will now have a Foreign Minister who is prohibited from entering the Russian Federation. This must be a first in international politics.

Freeland did not end up on Russia’s sanctions list by accident. A former journalist, and author of a book entitled Sale of the Century: Russia’s Wild Ride from Communism to Capitalism, Freeland has been frequently critical of modern Russia. The positive heroes of Freeland’s musings on Russia are the 3 Ks of the so-called ‘liberal opposition’ – Kasyanov, Kasparov, and Khodorkovsky. But she views those who actually govern Russia, especially Vladimir Putin, in an extremely negative light. As for the Russian people, she once wrote: ‘Russians have no one to blame but themselves for the brutal dictatorship they built in their own country and imposed on their neighbours.’ Freeland says, ‘I think of myself as a Russophile. I speak the language and studied the nation’s literature and history in college. I loved living in Moscow in the mid-nineties.’ That may be true, but if so it’s a Russophilia of a particular kind.

To get a feel of her views, let’s take a look at what the new Canadian Foreign Minister has written and said about modern Russia.

Perhaps probably the clearest exposition of her attitude is an article entitled ‘What does Putin want?’, which appeared in Prospect magazine in January 2015. This is fairly typical of the ‘What Putin Wants’ genre which keeps appearing in the press, and which generally consists of unsubstantiated allegations about what’s going on in Putin’s head. In her article, Freeland says:

Putin’s macho posturing can be so crude and his double-speak so transparent that it is easy to lose sight of how effective the Kremlin’s foreign communication strategy has been. All the talk of a mystic Slavic brotherhood, of feelings of national humiliation, of responding to the threat posed by Nato and standing up for a multi-polar world has done its job.

It has also obscured what it is that Putin really wants. That is quite simple. He is a dictator whose thirst for power has eroded the economic prosperity his rule had hitherto partly rested upon. Foreign conquest is an obvious distraction and substitute.

Putin’s Russia has chosen its path. Today it is an authoritarian state, with expansionist ambitions, that does not consider itself bound by international treaties and norms. To secure his power at home, Putin has decided to test its limits abroad. Whether it is in Ukraine, or elsewhere, one day we will have to stop him.

According to another article penned by Freeland, the war in Ukraine is entirely the fault of Vladimir Putin, and can be explained solely in terms of ‘Russian aggression’. This aggression in turn derives from Putin’s determination to suppress opposition at home by any means. Freeland writes:

Mr. Putin has already muzzled Russia’s once boisterous free press, exiled and imprisoned opposition leaders and assumed direct control of the mass media. … This [the war in Ukraine] is not a civil war … this conflict started with the Ukrainian people’s revolt against authoritarianism and in favor of the liberal rights and responsibilities Ukrainians call European values. This is partly a fight of freedom of speech against censorship. Ukrainians decided to build a democracy at home and to make a trade deal with Europe; Russia invaded.

The war in Ukraine, says Freeland, ‘is a fight for democratic values, human rights, multicultural spheres.’ ‘It is an entirely good thing that Ukraine’s new leaders are defining their national identity as inherently democratic and freedom-loving’, she writes elsewhere. Putin, however, ‘need[s] … to show that a democratic Ukraine living under the rule of law can’t work’, Freeland claims. This explains the war in Donbass. ‘Russia wants to snuff out democracy’, she says.

Freeland is on record as demanding that Canada take a hard line against Russia. Before the Liberal Party took power in a general election in October 2015, she complained that the sanctions introduced against Russia by the then Conservative government did not go far enough. In January 2015, for instance, she declared that it was ‘mystifying’ that certain members of Putin’s ‘inner circle’ had not been sanctioned, and called for Russia to be expelled from the SWIFT international banking system.

Later, as Minister of International Trade, Freeland accepted the new government’s policy of engagement with Russia, but also made it clear that engagement didn’t so much mean dialogue as Canada lecturing Russians on their behaviour (‘talking to the Russians’,  not talking with them). As she said:

Now, when it comes to Russia, our view is that the most effective way that we can support Ukraine, that we can support those democratic values, is by being part of that international community, which is engaging Russia and talking to the Russians about how they have to live up to their international commitments.

Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, went out of his way during his Premiership to foster good relations with the Soviet Union. Judging by Freeland’s appointment, Trudeau Jr doesn’t seem to be such a friend of the Russians. Either that or he didn’t think about the Russia-related implications of his decision, or he is just isn’t aware of Freeland’s politics. However you look at it, the apointment is not a good sign as far as Russo-Canadian relations are concerned.

 

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34 thoughts on “A bad sign”

  1. Freeland’s mother: Halyna Freeland ( Chomiak), born in a displaced persons camp in Bad Wörishofen, Germany, to Ukrainian Catholic parents, Mykhailo Chomiak and Alexandra Chomiak (neé Loban).

    Source: Wiki.

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    1. I predict that the svidomites (their press, governmental officials and iodine deficiency suffering Net-active commoners) will proclaim this appointment a glorious peremoga, gonna trumpet about the new appointees racial superiority as the descendant of the ancient Ukrs (who is also anti-Moskal) and then proclaim that soon (at least – sooner than Ukrainian visa-free travel with the EU) Russia will suffer and crumble from the relentless onslught of mighty CANADA (which, as Petro Poroshenko reminded Mr. Trudeau, had been founded by the Ukrainians also)!

      It’s all better than to ruminate over newest Savchenko induced zrada. Or, you know, better than trying to work and do something about your own country.

      SUGS!

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      1. …and I’m already feeling vindicated!

        With tendencies being what they are at the moment soon there will be more Ukrainians in Canadian government than in the Ukrainian one!

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  2. I will bet the next cheque PutinTrollServices sends me that in 12 months Ukraine will have disappeared as a common subject and so will The Russian Threat meme. In this respect what I like to call the Galicia SS Division view of history will be somewhat less popular. But maybe he was taking the advice of this guy in the G&M ” Don’t lecture the Trump administration on women’s rights or diversity – send them delegations led by the likes of Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland or Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/justin-trudeaus-year-of-living-dangerously/article33530229/)

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  3. The economic clash of the titans as Justin Trudeau opts out of attending the Davos World Economic Forum. Chinese president Xi Jinping is heading the event with over 3000 business, political and academic leaders attending. China and Russia are the main players in the formation of BRICS. Appointing this particular person as Foreign Minister proves he has no stomach for the current global economic changing of the guard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The question arises, who puts forward the people who make up the pool of Cabinet choices for Justin Trudeau? Does the Liberal Party determine by internal voting processes or some informal selection procedure who are the best people for Cabinet positions, or can just anyone representing an electorate toss his/her hat into the ring for selection?

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    1. It’s entirely up to the Prime Minister himself. He has some constraints – it is generally considered desirable to have a balance of people from all the various regions of the country, for instance. But within those constraints, if he has authority as leader, which Trudeau does, it’s his decision, and his alone.

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  5. I would be willing to bet the Ukrainian expat community in Canada – which is a significant voting bloc despite its numbers, since they know how to leverage their vote, a sort of Canadian AIPAC – lobbied hard for her appointment. Canadian activists such as Oksana Bashuk-Hepburn,

    https://www.kyivpost.com/author/oksana-bashuk-hepburn

    herself a former executive in the Canadian government (finance, I believe) and the dreadful smarmy ‘Inna Thorn’, who is actually a west-Ukrainian-descended troublemaker named Inna Platonova,

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/08/30/klm-cancels-lisitsa-my-story-of-fighting-hate-and-war-promotion/#arvlbdata

    will be delighted to learn of this highly-political appointment.

    As usual, Canada is a day late and a dollar short, and its leader has elected to go big on the Ukraine-is-Europe thing just as the Europeans are fed up with Poroshenko’s greed and gimme-ing, and the country is augering in on afterburner. Why he held back except for rhetoric until now, and then threw his maple-leaf toque into the ring just as all his allies were backing away is a mystery. But I agree Ukrainians will likely dance and jump about as if it were a great victory, while the choice of this foreign minister just to appease Ukraine appears extremely shortsighted.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The perfect post-modern foreign ambassador. They don’t actually have to be in the foreign country, they can just blow off from the comfort of their own home.

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  7. New Canadian foreign minister indeed under Russian sanctions – source in Russian Foreign Ministry

    “She has remained under sanctions since 2014: this is no secret. She was added to the sanctions list as a response measure, because Canada has imposed restrictions on Russia, including officials”, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told reporters.

    [edited — ME]

    One small point: Freeland’s mother, Halyna Freeland ( Chomiak) was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Bavaria in 1946.

    Her parents were Ukrainian Catholics with no home to go to, that’s why they were in a DP camp, right?

    In Germany.

    It is very likely that Freeland’s Ukrainian Catholic grandparents were from East Ukraine, more specifically from Galitsia.

    Did not Galitsia exist in 1946?

    Or did the Chomiacs, Freeland’s grandparents, not consider Galitsia “home”, that they considered it “occupied”, that for them Galitsia no longer existed?

    In fact, Freeland’s maternal grandfather, Mykhailo Khomiak (Michael Chomiak),was born in Stroniatyn in Galitsia, and graduated from Lviv University in 1931.

    See: CANADIAN ARCHIVAL HOLDINGS PERTAINING TO THE HISTORY OF UKRAINE

    Carleton University Library · ‎National Archives of Canada

    Provincial Archives of Alberta
    12845-102 Avenue
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Canada T5N OM6
    * Chomiak Collection (1905-1984)
    Quantity: 1.5 metres
    Accession number: 85.191

    Michael Chomiak (Mykhailo Khomiak) was born in Stroniatyn in Galicia, and graduated from Lviv University in 1931. in 1928-34 he served on the editorial staff of Dilo*. During the Second World War under Nazi occupation he was editor of Krakivski visti. first published in Cracow (1940-4) and then in Vienna (1944-5). He emigrated to Canada in 1948. Of special interest to scholars of Ukrainian history are the materials dealing with the period of the Second World War.

    * Dilo (The Deed) was a leading Galitsian newspaper, the oldest and for many years the only Ukrainian daily. Dilo was published in Lviv from 1880 to 1939.

    Emigrted to Canada 1948!

    My, that was quick work!

    From a DP to Canadian immigrant in 2 years, together with wife and daughter!

    Welcome to Banderada?
    Bienvenue au Banderada?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know nothing about McCallum’s Canadian politics. But on Russia, she is regrettably correct. Her views are not substantially different from those of Masha Gessen, a Jewish-Russian expat who writes for the New Yorker and has published several books on Russia. McCallum spent time in Russia during the years I lived there, when many hoped that something like a social democratic state might arise out of the ashes of the Soviet Union. Her examination of the rise of the plutocracy is accurate, and it predated Gessen’s own book on the same topic.

    The text you posted from the Irrussianality blog offers two false premises: 1) that McCallum’s status as persona non grata in Russia is unusual, perhaps a sign of some shortcoming; and 2) that her take on Russia ought to be contrasted with the Liberal Party’s stance under Trudeau père.

    First, there is a long list of European politicians who can’t travel to Russia because they have spoken out against government-backed homophobia there, or criticised the suppression of the press, the arrests of political opponents, the lack of an independent judicial system, and the corruption among the governing elites; and one could add to this group the critics of Russia’s unprecedented covert war in the Ukraine and its unhindered support of Assad in Syria. Those Germans who may not enter Russia are members of the Green party, representatives of NGOs, Human Rights activists, and not hawks from the Republican party. That’s a rather illustrious crowd. I feel it speaks for her. Accommodating Russia in Syria was a drastic failure of international willpower and judgement.

    Second, Pierre Trudeau, simultaneously with his friend Helmut Schmidt, the Chancellor of Germany from 1974-1982, were committed to de-escalating the arms race in period during which both Thatcher and Reagan came into office. Were Pierre Trudeau alive today, he would be dealing with a moderate German Chancellor and a foreign minister who opposed the Iraq war: both of these politicians are seriously and justifiably concerned about current Russian expansion and about Russia’s indirect and direct support of far right parties particularly in Germany and France. By cultivating members of the AfD in Germany, and ensuring that Russians and right-wing Germans hold similar views against homosexuals, immigrants, and the liberal media (“Lügenpresse”), Russia has and is continuing to interfere in German politics on an unprecedented scale. At the same time, several former Eastern Block countries (particularly the Baltic States) feel threatened by Russian propaganda and expansionism. Germany bent over backwards trying to appease Russia; Merkel even speaks the language. But that hasn’t worked.

    At least McCallum has sound historical knowledge about what liberal democracies are up against in Europe. I see no contradiction between a Prime Minister who appoints McCallum and one who has something good to say about Cuba’s Castro, who was seen in Europe as the most benign dictator in the Latin America (and he was the only one the US opposed). Isn’t that kinda Canadian?

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    1. “Her views are not substantially different from those of Masha Gessen, a Jewish-Russian expat”

      Correction: “Soviet Union born Jewish ”lesbian, who first GTFO with her family of sausage migrants in the glorious USA in the 80s, then returned back to the country of her origin in the Glorious and Democratic 90s of Boris the Drunk, and who proved zirself to be a rabid Russophobe and liar with no redeeming quality whatsoever”. Now, this is a correct description of the Maria Alexandrovna Gessen. Can’t you agree, that she’s a tad old to be referred to as “Masha”?

      “First, there is a long list of European politicians who can’t travel to Russia because they have spoken out against government-backed homophobia there, or criticised the suppression of the press, the arrests of political opponents, the lack of an independent judicial system, and the corruption among the governing elites”

      1) Mr. userperson “Brian Poole” (or is it “Michail Bachtin?) – can you provide us with said list of European politicians banned from traveling to Russia, with both date of the ban and the official reason?

      2) I have no idea what is this “government-backed homophobia” you are talking about. Care to elaborate?

      3) Which “political opponents” did the government of Russia arrest? On what charges?

      4) What “suppression of press” you are talking about?

      5) Have you even the slightest recognition of the fact that the “Regime” in Russia, indeed, fights against the corruption, as could be apparent to anyone who bothers to listen to the news? Or, what, Ulyukayev suddenly is a new “Innocent Victim of Totalitarism” and “The Paragon of Democracy”?

      “and one could add to this group the critics of Russia’s unprecedented covert war in the Ukraine”

      What war? Did Ukraine proclaimed a war against the “aggressor state”?

      “and its unhindered support of Assad in Syria”

      You mean absolutely legal support to the legitimate government of Syria? What about it?

      “Those Germans who may not enter Russia are members of the Green party, representatives of NGOs, Human Rights activists, and not hawks from the Republican party.”

      So?

      “Accommodating Russia in Syria was a drastic failure of international willpower and judgement.”

      If you are so forcefully against “accommodating Russia in Syria”, I have to ask – are you ready to die for Aleppo?

      “…both of these politicians are seriously and justifiably concerned about current Russian expansion and about Russia’s indirect and direct support of far right parties particularly in Germany and France.”

      1) What expansion?

      2) What about the West’s support of parties, NGOs and NCOs in Russia? Should we also ostracize them?

      “By cultivating members of the AfD in Germany”

      That’s a serious accusation. Any proof to that? Meanwhile, we have this:

      “and ensuring that Russians and right-wing Germans hold similar views against homosexuals”

      Again – where is the evidence that there are some actions taken to “ensure” that? And not, you know, that the normal people are having absolutely normal reaction toward that?

      “Russia has and is continuing to interfere in German politics on an unprecedented scale”

      Any solid evidence?

      “At the same time, several former Eastern Block countries (particularly the Baltic States) feel threatened by Russian propaganda and expansionism.”

      Gee, staging Neo-Nazi/SS Legion parades while denying Russophonics there citizen rights is a strange way to express their fear!

      “Germany bent over backwards trying to appease Russia”

      How and when?

      “Merkel even speaks the language”

      Gee, what an affront! To Gitmo her!

      “At least McCallum has sound historical knowledge about what liberal democracies are up against in Europe.”

      I dunno, but pray, tell us!

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      1. I feared this site would be a refuge for anit-intellectual pro-Soviet ranting, which so often proves a meeting point for homophobes and anti-Semites.

        On me? I’m a Canadian born Slavic scholar. Brian Poole is my real name. I taught at the Freie Universität Berlin for years, and lived in Russia for 3 years in total, two without intermission. I do speak the language fluently and watch the news. I write on Mikhail Bakhtin often. Hence the nickname.

        I wish I had referred not to McCallum but to Chrystia Freeland (I was not quite with it this morning.) But everything else I wrote was to the point.

        If there ever was a reason for ignoring comments, it’s when someone’s being a “lesbian” is used as a reason for discounting what that person writes and hence mentioned first in a post.

        Worse, regarding this troll “Lyttenburgh”: the obvious anti-Semitic ranting in the comment kind of rules out an intelligent conversation. Honestly. “Sausage migrants”?!

        Incidentally, Masha is the name Gessen uses in her English publications.

        Does this stuff belong on a web page operated by a professor at a Canadian university? The man is seriously questioning whether any political opponents of Putin have ever been jailed.

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      2. “I feared this site would be a refuge for anit-intellectual pro-Soviet ranting, which so often proves a meeting point for homophobes and anti-Semites.”

        Corrections!

        1) This is a blog – a private blog. Not some “site”

        2) You need to proof that it is indeed a “meeting point for homophobes and anti-Semites”. Who are you to claim such a thing? A Jew? Or a gay? In fact, if anything, modern dynamics and trends on the Net prove that sobriquets “homophobe”, “misogynist”, “racist”, “sexist” or “anto-Semite” are applied most often not to the people who do indeed expressed such sentiments, but instead:

        3) Yes, I’m pro-Soviet. Because the alternative is to be a Russophobe. Do you have a problem with that?

        “I taught at the Freie Universität Berlin for years, and lived in Russia for 3 years in total, two without intermission. I do speak the language fluently and watch the news.”

        Ваще огонь! Ну, если ты, Брайан, так заебецки балакаешь на русише, даже новости наши смотришь (кстати, какие – не либерастичные только, часом?) – то ты должен быть просто невперенно информирован о том, что мы, русские люди, думаем и считаем правильным, о наших ценностях и предпочтениях, о нашем менталитете. Так ведь?

        “If there ever was a reason for ignoring comments, it’s when someone’s being a “lesbian” is used as a reason for discounting what that person writes and hence mentioned first in a post.”

        No. I did nothing of such. If you said (((A))) by pointing out that she’s a Jew (gee, no one would guessed that without you!) I only said . I did not dismiss her for being either Jewish, or lesbian, or a so-called “democratic journalist”. I’m dismissing her because of her Russophobia. Statistically speaking, it’s not always a direct correlation – there are a lot of Russophobes who are not Jewish, gay and/or democratic journalists. But, as satistic shows us time and gain, Jewish/Gay/Democratic journalist (all together or a combination of said traits) are nearly always Russophobes!

        “Worse, regarding this troll “Lyttenburgh”: the obvious anti-Semitic ranting in the comment kind of rules out an intelligent conversation. Honestly. “Sausage migrants”?!”

        Yes, indeed – sausage migrants. I guess you are familiar with the term. Now, pray tell me (ignoring for a moment your sanctimonious accusation of yours truly of being a troll): what portion of the former SU Jews did emigrate to the lad of their ancestors, the blessed Holy Land of Israel (that’s what all this crap was about, innit?) as opposed to the people with good faces and right ancestry who buggered off elsewhere, where they could taste the true epitome of the “democracy” – the fabled “триста сортов колбасы”?

        “Incidentally, Masha is the name Gessen uses in her English publications.”

        Poor thing. She doesn’t get younger, you know.

        “Does this stuff belong on a web page operated by a professor at a Canadian university?”

        Gee, what a scandal! Quick – report both me and Professor to the NSA! Oh, better yet- report us to the SBU and pan Geraschenko of the Mirotvorets infamy! Lustrations of the Enemies of the People are inevitable! SUGS!

        And yes – I’d still like to hear some answers

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      3. OK, guys, please calm down and stick to issues not personal abuse. I have only ever censored a couple of comments on this blog (due to overtly racist/anti-Semitic comments). I would rather not have to intervene further.

        A civil tone of, dare I say it to a Bakhtin scholar, ‘dialogic’ intellectual debate is what we seek here

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      4. Dear Paul Robinson:

        Although Bakhtin’s dialogism doesn’t offer any advice as regards civility (Habermas does), he had an aristocratic approach to communication with comically out-of-date extremes of cordiality that he cultivated with Matvei Isaevich Kagan, whose archive I worked in while in Moscow.

        What I responded to is this from Lyttenburgh on Masha Gessen:

        “Soviet Union born Jewish lesbian, who first GTFO with her family of sausage migrants in the glorious USA in the 80s, then returned back to the country of her origin in the Glorious and Democratic 90s of Boris the Drunk, and who proved zirself to be a rabid Russophobe and liar with no redeeming quality whatsoever”.

        Had I written in that tone, I would have never gotten published.

        Don’t we academics strive for better?

        Are you seriously accusing me of not maintaining a civil tone? I assume you are referring to Lyttenburgh.

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      5. I sometimes wonder whether there is a single ‘Lyttenburgh’. His/her byline appears on so many comments on so many blogs that it seems like Lyttenburgh does nothing but read and comment on blogs all day – practically a one-person troll factory!

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      6. “I have only ever censored a couple of comments on this blog (due to overtly racist/anti-Semitic comments).”

        Not from me, I’m clean! Oh, and I’m absolutely, 110% for the intelligent debate and honest exchange of opinions! I’m not presuming things about my interlocutor to a degree as to rule out any further arguments coming from him altogether. On the contrary – I’d like to see more!

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      7. “I sometimes wonder whether there is a single ‘Lyttenburgh’. His/her byline appears on so many comments on so many blogs that it seems like Lyttenburgh does nothing but read and comment on blogs all day – practically a one-person troll factory!”

        It’s a single Lyttenburgh (seriously – who can replace me? ;). I’m a “he”. No, not that many blogs. No, I’m not a “one-person troll factory”, weird that you suddenly became bothered by that now, Professor, more than a year since I began commenting here. “Trolling” for what it worth is just one venue to deliver your argument – not an aim in itself. Do I troll people? Sure! Did I troll our tyro Mr. Poole with my questions? No. I’m honestly curious, and I’d really like to engage in intelligent sophisticated dialog with him.

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  9. For the sake of clarity, here my post with the corrected reference to Chrystal Freeland:

    I know nothing about the Honourable Chrystia Freeland’s Canadian politics. But on Russia, she is regrettably correct. Her book “Plutocracy” (2012) is also broadly about income inequality worldwide. Her views on Russia are not substantially different from those of Masha Gessen, a Jewish-Russian expat who writes for the New Yorker and has published several books on Russia. Freeland spent time in Russia during the years I lived there, when many hoped that something like a social democratic state might arise out of the ashes of the Soviet Union. Her examination of the rise of the plutocracy is accurate, and it predated Gessen’s own book on the same topic.

    The link to the Irrussianality blog offers two false premises: 1) that Freeland’s status as persona non grata in Russia is unusual, perhaps a sign of some shortcoming; and 2) that her take on Russia ought to be contrasted with the Liberal Party’s stance under Trudeau père.

    First, there is a long list of European politicians who can’t travel to Russia because they have spoken out against government-backed homophobia there, or criticised the suppression of the press, the arrests of political opponents, the lack of an independent judicial system, and the corruption among the governing elites; and one could add to this group the critics of Russia’s unprecedented covert war in the Ukraine and its unhindered support of Assad in Syria. Those Germans who may not enter Russia are members of the Green party, representatives of NGOs, Human Rights activists, and not hawks from the Republican party. That’s a rather illustrious crowd. I feel it speaks for her. Accommodating Russia in Syria was a drastic failure of international willpower and judgement.

    Second, Pierre Trudeau, simultaneously with his friend Helmut Schmidt, the Chancellor of Germany from 1974-1982, were committed to de-escalating the arms race in period during which both Thatcher and Reagan came into office. Were Pierre Trudeau alive today, he would be dealing with a moderate German Chancellor and a foreign minister who opposed the Iraq war: both of these politicians are seriously and justifiably concerned about current Russian expansion and about Russia’s indirect and direct support of far right parties particularly in Germany and France. By cultivating members of the AfD in Germany, and ensuring that Russians and right-wing Germans hold similar views against homosexuals, immigrants, and the liberal media (“Lügenpresse”), Russia has and is continuing to interfere in German politics on an unprecedented scale. At the same time, several former Eastern Block countries (particularly the Baltic States) feel threatened by Russian propaganda and expansionism. Germany bent over backwards trying to appease Russia; Merkel even speaks the language. But that hasn’t worked.

    At least Chrystia Freeland has sound historical knowledge about what liberal democracies are up against in Europe. I see no contradiction between a Prime Minister who appoints Freeland and one who has something good to say about Cuba’s Castro, who was seen in Europe as the most benign dictator in the Latin America (and he was the only one the US opposed). Isn’t that kinda Canadian?

    (I hope Lyttenburgh doesn’t rant at me again.)

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  10. Whoa, a cavalry attack – straight from the ivory tower? That’s a new one here.

    I think normally it would be okay to add (by popular demand) Masha Gessen to “Kasyanov, Kasparov, and Khodorkovsky”, but then how do you explain this? Biting the hand that feeds you, or re-positioning for the new regime? Nah, let’s leave her alone for now…

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  11. Interesting expose of the Honourable Chrystia Freeland (whose views on Russia,I heard, “are not substantially different from those of Masha Gessen”) family history:

    Canada’s New Foreign Minister Lying About Family’s Ukrainian Nazi Past

    Chrystia Freeland, appointed last week to be the new Canadian Foreign Minister, claims that her maternal family were the Ukrainian victims of Russian persecution, who fled their home in 1939, after Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin agreed on a non-aggression pact and the division of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. She claims her mother was born in a camp for refugees before finding safe haven in Alberta, Canada. Freeland is lying.

    The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland’s maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Crakow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army’s winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht’s “success” at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

    Just before Vienna fell to the Soviet forces in March 1945, Chomiak evacuated with the German Army into Germany, ending up near Munich at Bad Worishofen. On September 2, 1946, when Freeland says her mother was born in a refugee camp, she was actually in a well-known spa resort for wealthy Bavarians.

    The reason the Polish Government is now investigating Freeland is that Chomiak’s wartime record not only victimized Galician Jews, but also the Polish citizens of Crakow. In a salute to Freeland as a “great friend of Poland” by the Polish Embassy in Ottawa last week, Warsaw officials now believe a mistake was made.

    […]

    “The sins of the grandfather can hardly be attributed to the granddaughter,” says Polish investigator Balcerac, “—except for two: race hatred and lying. Chomiak made a lucrative war selling hatred of Jews, Poles and Russians. Freeland is doing the same preaching race hatred of Russians. To mask what she’s doing, she has lied about the Nazi record of her family. The Chomiaks weren’t victims; they were aggressors”.

    ___________

    Gee, how anti-intellectual of me… I suppose.

    Like

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