Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have a lot in common—elephantine egos, jowls, a post-fact approach to the world. They also happen to run two of the world’s most unequal countries, as major economies go.
The chart below shows the share of national income in three countries—the US, Russia, and France—claimed by the top 10% of earners since the early 1900s. (Income counts as wages, interest, rent, dividends, realized capital gains, pensions, and unemployment benefits before taxes and transfers.)
Elite earners in US, Russia, and France all claimed roughly the same share of income in the early 1900s. But their fortunes diverged dramatically over the next century. That makes it particularly striking that, in terms of income inequality, Russia and the US have wound up in about the same place.
Despite the global prominence of Russian oligarchs, you don’t often see Russia on the top of the income inequality charts. That’s probably because the government’s official data clearly understate the situation. These new data come from pioneering work by the French economist Thomas Piketty documenting more than a century of Russian wealth—trends that he details in a blog post and a fascinating new working paper.
By documenting the share of income pocketed by different ranks of earners, the measure tells us a lot about the distribution of wealth in a given society. For instance, in an egalitarian utopia, where everyone made just about the same amount of money each year, the top 10% of earners would earn only a bit more than 10% of total income.
But when that upper decile is bringing in, say, 48% of the country’s total income, it means that the average person in that top bracket is earning 4.8 times more than his average countryman.
And that, as it happens, is where the US finds itself as of 2015, the last year for which there are data. Elite Americans are now claiming the biggest share of income than they’ve managed in 75 years.
That’s probably no coincidence. It was around 75 years ago that New Deal reforms strengthening workers’ bargaining power began to bear fruit. Along with programs that boosted education and homeownership among World War II veterans, those reforms shifted wealth toward the middle chunk of society. That built the American middle class that powered a virtuous cycle of economic expansion. As the economy grew, so did incomes. And as consumption grew, so did the economy.
That “Great Compression” of incomes, as economists Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo termed it, ends abruptly in the 1980s as the US adopted neoliberal policies, shredding the New Deal social contract. (In Piketty’s home country, where a robust social welfare program endures, income remains far more equally distributed, though France’s economy has also grown at a slower pace.)
In terms of who earned what, Soviet Russia was strikingly—probably artificially—egalitarian. In 1980, the 10% highest Russian earners took home around 21% of total income, compared with around 46% in 2015. That’s almost exactly where it was in 1905, when czars ran Russia.
The country’s swift shift toward inequality begins with the Soviet Union’s collapse. Five years later, the share of income earned by the top 10% had almost doubled, jumping from 25% in 1991 to 48% in 1996, as a privatization bonanza got underway. Since then, that share has stayed in about the same place, ticking up during the epic Russian bull market that spanned from 1998 to 2008, and dropping just a tad after the global financial crisis and the plunge of oil prices.
The income grab by Russia’s elite as the country morphed from a Soviet republic to an (increasingly autocratic) kleptocracy was much sharper, and quicker, than that accompanying the US’s neoliberalist embrace.
But perhaps the circumstances and timing of the US shift should make Americans even more uneasy. Russia’s inequality is an unfortunate but unsurprising byproduct of the Soviet Union’s collapse; the epic upheaval that followed gave oligarchs an easy opportunity to seize control of the institutions that distribute wealth. The US shift toward inequality, by comparison, occurred during a period of near-idyllic stability. Unlike Russia, the re-jiggerings of US political and economic institutions to favor the wealthy weren’t by accident. They were deliberate, voter-approved choices.
“isn’t it funny that now as obamagod’s credibility is shaken and his real objective is showing through, we have Tarpley running a campaign in the dissident left urging them to “re-align” and support obama by “denouncing” real independent journalism?” me, today, so there
A reader left me a comment suggesting WebsterTarpley was exposing Glenn Greenwald as a psyop as early as June 9th 2013. That’s not entirely accurate. What Tarpley actually said was that the NSA scandal was being orchestrated by MI6 in order to pressure Obama into attacking Syria. He didn’t know if Glenn was in on the deception or not.
What Tarpley does stress in the hour plus video is that dissident groups have to “re-align” behind supporting Obama and they all need to “denounce” any independent journalists out here trying to expose his criminality.
While blaming everything from Benghazi to the NSA on Romney and MI6 he breezes over Obama’s criminality in Libya, never mentions drones and suggests we should back Obama in our own interests as purveyors of “realism politics” meaning : “hold your nose and vote”, “lesser of two evils”… pick your establishment supporting false left V right paradigm cliche.
According to Webster it’s the pragmatic approach to investigative journalism I suppose but to me it’s also called “controlled opposition” or better still, Cass Sunstein styled pure “propaganda”
Based on his own words, in his own words, you should all understand that Webster Tarpley is in the BUSINESS of carrying water for the criminal Obama administration, trying to convince the dissident left to get in line behind administration policies by ignoring their crimes and attacking those of us who don’t.
What follows after the break is the video left as a link by this reader and my comment that followed it. I felt it was important enough to make this an article on it’s own because what I do here is expose propaganda. That includes propaganda and crimes of the state committed by Bush as well as Obama and that includes exposing operatives in the MSM and the alternative media who back said regimes either from the right or the left.
and here is the comment I left for the reader:
Submitted on 2014/01/20 at 8:00 am | In reply to Daniel Casalaro.
“I don’t need you to support Obama. That’s impossible (not running again). But what you CAN do and what you MUST do is denounce those attacking Obama!” Webster Tarpley
listening to video…
“we should be lucky we don’t have Romney… we would be fighting in Syria and Iran and we’re better off” Webster Tarpley
funny, the fascist dictatorship he describes that we would have had @ 6:30 mark in video (were it not for ObamaGod?) is the exact same thing that happened in Egypt, which he supports as the “real revolution”
then he goes on to absolve ObamaGod for Benghazi, saying it was an attempted “October Surprise” done to put Romney in the White House. Blames Benghazi on Romney (not Clinton?) and fails to notice it was done to justify military build-up in Africa.
he then goes on to say ObamaGod didn’t submit a jobs creating program because he couldn’t “get it through the house”
oh yeah, that’s why…
At the 16 minute mark he seems to suggest that Mubarak of Egypt was a Nasserist leader, populist by nature, and that the “current government” (elected Morsi) was trying to destroy that populist element of Egypt. Remember, he also supports the al Sisi dictatorship…
he focuses on France and Britain’s role in Syrian destabilization campaign while ignoring ObamaGod’s role altogether.
20 minute mark “Whatever he (Greenwald) THINKS he’s doing, this is the tool of the British and the French…” Webster Tarpley
then he proceeds to blame it all on GCHQ.
“i would submit the actual origins of these stories is these people cus they spy on their own citizens… whatever Greenwald thinks, i think it was these people and the goal of it is, they want the US at war” 22:44 mark
ok, so Webster suggests Greenwald is being USED (not complicit) by MI6 to push ObamaGod into war with Syria, which of course, has been Webster’s schtick all along, that ObamaGod does want war and every scandal is simply blackmail by other elements.
aaaaaand that’s all he said about it aside from closing with…
“I don’t need you to support Obama. That’s impossible (not running again). But what you CAN do and what you MUST do is denounce those attacking Obama!” Webster Tarpley
uuuuh… no. That doesn’t even come close. yeah he “mentioned” Greenwald and Snowden, but not as a psyop, as an attempted blackmail of ObamaGod.
not even close
Yes, Amy Goodman is controlled opposition. That’s a fact. But so is Webster Tarpley. He’s just assigned to a different target market, but still he’s carrying water for ObamaGod and trying to position himself each and everyday as the “leader” of that targeted group. That’s why he’s always reinventing his position…
AND MAYBE THAT’S WHY GREENWALD THREW HIM A BONE ON TWITTER? EVER THINK OF THAT? MAYBE SOMEONE WRITING THE SCRIPT WOULD RATHER HAVE DISSIDENTS FOLLOWING TARPLEY AS HE DENOUNCES ANYONE WHO ATTACKS OBAMAGOD AND BLAMES EVERYTHING OBAMA DOES ON ROMNEY, THE BRITS, SAUDI ARABIA… AND OF COURSE WHILE HE BACKS AL SISI IN EGYPT. HMMMMM……. HOWS THAT WORK?
thanks for the video. very enlightening.
“the goal is watergate (impeachment). the republicans in washington, i watch them quite closely, they talk of nothing else. they say “the irs, benghazi, james rosen, the ap and now, the nsa. is this what you want? you have to make a political decision. is it going to help you to get obama out at this point? the merit obama has is when these people come to him and say we want the war, obama has said no… i speak as the most vehement critic of obama in the world” Webster Tarpley
for the record, obama is as much a warmonger as any of them and the entire syrian destabilization campaign STARTED under obama. for the record… Libya. for the record, obama surged our involvement in Afghanistan and is currently sending thousands of troops into Africa. for the record, obama signed ndaa 2012 in the dead of night dec 31 2011. for the record his death by drone campaign is off the charts. for the record, american gladio under his watch.
this video is a perfect example of the kind of controlled opposition that Webster Tarpley represents. different than Goodman, different slightly, than Di$info Jone$, but OBVIOUSLY, controlled opposition just the same
and for the record, YOU DON’T DO INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM FROM THE STARTING POINT OF A POLITICAL DECISION THAT WILL EITHER BENEFIT OR HARM YOU WHICH IS CLEARLY WHAT WEBSTER IS DOING BY HIS OWN ADMISSION
you don’t “denounce” journalists because they are reporting stories that may harm your favorite president.
and you certainly don’t obfuscate or ignore their crimes because you think the alternative may be worse. think about that for a second. sound like the old propaganda line we heard years ago?
“we can’t impeach Bush cus Cheney would take over”
“i urge you to re-align” Webster Tarpley literally telling dissident crowd to get behind Obama
isn’t it funny that now as obamagod’s credibility is shaken and his real objective is showing through, we have Tarpley running a campaign in the dissident left urging them to “re-align” and support obama by “denouncing” real journalism?
you think this guy is believable at all? trustworthy? it’s a joke
The Burrard Street Bridge (sometimes referred to as the Burrard Bridge) is a four-lane, Art Deco style, steel truss bridge constructed in 1930–1932 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The high, five part bridge on four piers spans False Creek, connecting downtown Vancouver with Kitsilano via connections to Burrard Street on both ends. It is one of three bridges crossing False Creek. The other two bridges are the Granville Bridge, three blocks or 0.5 km (0.31 mi) to the southeast, and the Cambie Street Bridge, about 11 blocks or 2 km (1.2 mi) to the east. In addition to the vehicle deck, the Burrard Bridge has 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) wide sidewalks and a dedicated cycling lane on both sides.
The architect of the Burrard Street Bridge was George Lister Thornton Sharp, the engineer John R. Grant. The bridge’s two close approach spans are Warren trusses placed below deck level, while its central span is a Pratt truss placed above deck level to allow greater clearance height for ships passing underneath. The central truss is hidden when crossing the bridge in either direction by vertical extensions of the bridge’s masonry piers into imposing concrete towers, connected by overhead galleries, which are embellished with architectural and sculptural details that create a torch-like entrance of pylons. Busts of Captain George Vancouver and Sir Harry Burrard-Neale in ship prows jut from the bridge’s superstructure (a V under Vancouver’s bust, a B under Burrard’s).
Unifying the long approaches and the distinctive central span are heavy concrete railings, originally topped with decorative street lamps. These pierced handrails were designed as a kind of visual shutter (stroboscopic effect), so that at a speed of 50 km/h motorists would see through them with an uninterrupted view of the harbour. The effect works at speeds from about 40 to 64 km/h.
The Burrard Street Bridge, opened July 1, 1932, was built to provide a high-level crossing from Vancouver to the southwestern neighbourhoods in Kitsilano, by connecting Burrard Street to Cedar Street. After completion, Burrard was extended through to the base of downtown and Cedar Street disappeared.
At the opening ceremony, entertainment was provided by two bands, the Kitsilano Boy’s Band and the Fireman’s Band. An RCAF seaplane flew under the bridge and later a sugar replica of the bridge was unveiled at the civic reception in the Hotel Vancouver.
G.L. Thornton Sharp, of Sharp and Thompson, was the architect responsible for the distinctive towers on the bridge and its middle galleries. “Both central piers,” Sharp told a reporter, “were designed and connected with an overhead gallery across the road. This helped to mask the network of steel in the truss from the two approaches, and has been treated as an entrance gateway to the city.” Along their other axis, the full height of the piers above the water also serve to frame a sea entrance gateway, notably for pleasure craft: “by sea and land we prosper”. The piers have provision for a rapid transit vertical lift span beneath the highway deck, never installed.
Burrard Street Bridge has been assessed by heritage consultants retained by the City of Vancouver as being in the top category of historic buildings in Vancouver. The bridge appeared on a stamp issued by Canada Post in 2011, in a series showcasing five notable Art Deco structures in Canada.
When constructed, the Burrard Street Bridge did not have dedicated lanes for cyclists, who shared the bridge’s six vehicle lanes with motorists. Later, as traffic volume grew and speed limits were increased on the bridge to 60 km/h, cyclists were directed to share the bridge’s sidewalks with pedestrians. Over time, the volume of pedestrians and cyclists on the 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) sidewalks created a dangerous situation, with several accidents occurring, which resulted in at least one successful lawsuit against the city.
Since the mid-1990s, the city of Vancouver has investigated various options to rectify the situation. The two most prominent options were 1) to introduce bicycle lanes on the bridge’s vehicle deck by reallocating one or more vehicle lanes, and 2) to build horizontal extensions on the outside of the bridge to create additional sidewalk space. Other options have included building an entirely new pedestrian and/or cyclist only bridge, and building another deck on the bridge below the existing deck.
Heritage advocates have been strongly opposed to the construction of outside sidewalk extensions, which would likely alter significantly the historical character of the bridge. Fiscal conservatives have also been opposed to high costs associated with this option.
Many motorists and others have opposed reallocation of vehicle lanes to bicycle lanes, believing that the reduction in vehicle carrying capacity would create excessive traffic problems both on the bridge and on and around alternate crossings, such as the Granville Street Bridge.
Beginning March 26, 1996, in a six-month trial by the City, one commuter lane was closed to automobile traffic and made into a temporary cyclist lane. However, after one week, the City was forced to revert the lane to its original purpose, due to outrage by some motorists.
On May 31, 2005, a detailed engineering and planning report was presented to Council, reviewing the situation broadly, presenting alternatives, and offering recommendations.
That day Vancouver City Council voted 10–1 not to follow the recommendations of the report, but to reallocate the two curb-side lanes to cyclists for another trial, as part of Council’s plan to increase cycling in Vancouver by 10 percent for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The issue was carried into the municipal election of November 19, 2005.
On December 20, 2005 the newly elected Council voted 6-4 to cancel the lane reallocation trial and to proceed directly to widening the bridge sidewalks as promised in that election.
In 2006, the City considered removing the concrete railings and widening the bridge deck by outward (‘outrigger’) sidewalks, at projected cost of over $40 million. To preserve the bridge’s heritage value, such cantilevered structures would not include the bridge’s central piers, or towers. Critics of this plan argued that the resulting “pinch points” would defeat the purpose of widening the bridge by creating bottlenecks, through which a greater number of cyclists, skaters and pedestrians must pass over coming decades.
For the third consecutive year, in 2008 Heritage Vancouver listed the Burrard Bridge first on its Top Ten endangered sites in Vancouver. It had ranked fourth in 2005.
Sidewalk expansion was delayed by the Squamish First Nation, which controls the land directly under the south (or west) side of the bridge. For construction to begin, the city would require permission from this group, which has expressed concern that machinery working on the site may affect their land.
The Squamish First Nation erected advertising billboards on their properties, located at that bridge approach, and is proposing the same for similar properties by the Lions’ Gate Bridge and the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.
In a late April 2008 report to Council, city engineers raised the estimated cost of widening to $57 million, due to reconsideration of the additional weight to the existing bridge structure and rising construction costs. $61 million was set as a more likely figure.
In Nov. 2008 the current Council, which advocated widening the bridge, was defeated and replaced by a new mayor and Council opposed to the widening but supportive of lane reallocation from vehicles to cyclists. In late January 2009, in an economic downturn and anticipating the 2010 Winter Olympics, the City announced plans for trials of three kinds of auto traffic lane closings, allowing bicycle use of the road surface. This would be supplemented by safety upgrades.
In March 2009, the City of Vancouver delayed discussing the Burrard Bridge Bike Lane Trial at least one month. Council rescheduled meeting to May 5, 2009 to discuss the three kinds of possible trials, to begin summer 2009, where one approved.
On May 7, 2009, Council approved a motion to proceed with option 3 of the proposed trials, to begin in June 2009. The proposed trial began on July 13. It saw the southbound motor-vehicle curb lane and the northbound-side sidewalk allocated to bicycles, with the southbound-side sidewalk allocated to pedestrians. The reassigned lane was separated from motor vehicles by a physical barrier. As part of the trial, traffic pattern changes to accommodate feeder bicycle traffic were also completed on Pacific St., next to the North bridgehead, over complaints from local merchants that cited lack of consultation and possible negative impacts on their businesses. Three days into the trial, a local merchant reported a 46% drop in sales compared to the same days the year before. Six weeks into the trial another local merchant reported a 25% drop in sales, and a local restaurant reported a 30% drop in sales.
Regarding effects on three kinds of traffic: two weeks into the trial, the City of Vancouver released a data report showing daily bicycle travel across the bridge had increased by an average of 30%. The same report indicated little change in pedestrian trips, a slight drop in motor vehicle trips, but no change in motor vehicle travel times between 12th Avenue and Georgia Street along Burrard via the bridge.
In July 2009 a website allowing people to register opposition to the bike lane trail was set up by local realtor and former NPA parks candidate Keith Roy at www.unblockthebridge.ca
(On August 24, 2009 the Vancouver Police Department announced a sharp increase in bicycle theft, with the first three weeks of August experiencing a 53 percent increase over 2008, however, VPD spokesperson Constable Jana McGuinness denied a link between the rise in theft and the lane reallocation trial.)
By 2019, the bike lane on the Burrard Bridge had become the busiest bike lane in North America. The Downtown Business Improvement Association, which had originally opposed the conversion of vehicle lanes into bike lanes, stated that it endorsed cycling infrastructure because many employees and customers bike to downtown businesses.
In December, 2009 the Squamish First Nation erected an electronic billboard on their land adjacent to the south end of the bridge on the west side. It is visible to traffic travelling in both directions on the bridge and each screen (one for each direction) measures 9 metres wide x 3 metres tall. The advertisements will cycle every ten seconds. There has been controversy and protest from neighbouring residents who claim the billboard is unsightly, blocks view corridors of the mountains and even that it is a dangerous distraction to drivers. There are at least five other similar billboards going up near the Lions Gate Bridge and Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing as well as near the Stawamus Chief on Highway 99. The billboards were approved by the federal government. Local and regional governments have acknowledged they have no control over what is done on native reserve lands. The Squamish Nation has said that the purpose of the billboards is primarily to make money.
There continues to be a significant problem with PCB contaminants at the bridge; in 2012 Vancouver City Council allocated $14 million in funding over two years to the removal of PCB contaminants from the Burrard and Granville bridges.
Lately, many people have been spreading videos, quotes, and articles featuring David Duke via email, Facebook, blogs, etc. This is a tangential issue, because it’s not something Alex Jones is doing himself. It’s something that has become mysteriously popular among certain fans of Jones, particularly Truthers and Canadian “Freemen”. I have to say something about it because I hate racism more than just about anything else on this planet, and I realize that (strange as this may seem to Americans), a lot of Canadians seem to be unaware of David Duke’s history and motives. They like what he has to say about the Israel-Palestine issue, or Zionism, or what-have-you, so they think it’s perfectly acceptable to share his “work” for the enlightenment of others.
Here’s the deal. I’ve watched these videos and read these articles, and I can tell you in perfect confidence that everything David Duke has to say about Israel and Palestine has already been said elsewhere, by far more credible (and far less racist) people like Gwynn Dyer, Robert Fisk, and Norman Finkelstein – to name just a few. Duke is not doing original research. I doubt he’s even been to Israel or Palestine, as there would be no impetus for a Christian white racial supremacist to hang out with Jews and Muslims (unless it’s at a Holocaust denial conference or a PR event). I believe that Duke’s recent moral support of Muslims is a ploy; he doesn’t actually care about their rights and issues, but it benifits him to align himself with them in the short term, to promote his anti-Semitism.
So by using Duke’s words, his videos, his image to spread a certain message, rather than going to the source material and putting together your own presentations on the conflict, you look like a total asshole. I guarantee that anyone who knows you’re disseminating David Duke literature and vids will look askance at you for the rest of your life, wondering if you’re secretly a racial supremacist. It will damage your credibility and reputation beyond measure, no matter how many times you say something like, “I don’t like David Duke, I just liked what he had to say in this clip.”
The attitude seems to be that it’s OK to learn from and collaborate with racial supremacists as long as they’re not being overtly racist. It’s the same attitude I saw among Truthers who worked openly with Holocaust deniers, arguing that if you’re united on one issue, it doesn’t matter what else you believe. Maybe that’s true, but look how much damage was done to the Truth movement by its affiliation with anti-Semites. The bottom line is that by failing to challenge racist disinfo and supremacist propaganda when you’re directly faced with it, you are basically aiding and abetting it. You are giving your tacit approval to it. And if you are helping racists spread their message by sharing their videos and literature – for whatever reason – you are actually participating in it.
With the current attitude, it shouldn’t be a surprise that white supremacists and white separatists have been making some major headway lately. The separatist movement has its own syndicated radio show, Political Cesspool (on which perennial Jones favourite Paul Craig Roberts has been a guest). And now David Duke, of all people, has somehow managed to dupe certain members of the public – once again – into believing that he has changed and that it’s time to stop mentioning his “past” as a Klan leader and racist. If you have fallen for this, I strongly urge you to review even the most basic information about Duke, even just his Wikipedia entry. He does, beyond any shadow of any doubt, believe that the Christian white man is morally, spiritually, physically, and mentally superior to any other race on earth, and that he has a God-given mandate to spread this message to as many people as he can. This is not past tense. David Duke is not appearing on TV and giving radio interviews to offer you unbiased, helpful information about Israel and Palestine; he is using public forums to subtly denigrate non-Christian and/or non-white people so that you will begin to think of yourself as superior to them and jump all the way onto his bandwagon. He is a propagandist. He is a popularizer. He is a recruiter. If you’re comfortable with this, go ahead and share his information with everyone you know. If you’re not, take a stand. Stop being a vector of thinly veiled racist propaganda.
Let’s bid farewell to Paul Craig Roberts, a favourite guest of both Jones and the white supremacists at Republic Broadcasting Network’s Political Cesspool. (David Duke once wrote that before PC debuted in 2004, the white man had no voice in mainstream radio. Apparently Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Imus, Glenn Beck et al don’t qualify as mainstream. Or white men.)
Roberts is retiring from professional paranoia, though he might return to The Alex Jones Show once or twice.
I won’t call Roberts a racist or an anti-Semite, because like all the people he excoriates for sitting on or ignoring the *truth* about his pet topics, Roberts likes to coyly dance around certain issues so that you can’t quite pin him down. While his anti-war views can be appreciated even by liberals, his other views … um, not so much. He has spent the last decade shredding the reputation he spent the other 60+ years building. Kinda sad, but also kinda familiar. I mean, Morley Safer is doing infomercials these days. I guess when you reach an advanced age, you get to be a complete moron and no one will call you on it.
To PCR fans, cheer up: There are plenty more paranoid white guys where he came from.
Aleksey Valerievich Isaev is one of the most famous recent Russian historians who soundly rebutted the “Rezun/Suvorov Thesis.” Here I organized a partial translation of an article he posted on a Russian Military-History Forum. In it Isaev counters the mythology advanced by a “rezunite” B. Shaptalov in the book Test By War, and S. Pereslegin the commentary added to a new edition of N.K. Poppel’s memoir. The facts and arguments brought up by Isaev are very useful to counter the works of all other “rezunites” as well.
To my knowledge, Isaev’s Anti-Suvorov and Anti-Suvorov: Ten Myths of Second World War have not yet been translated into English. Perhaps if these works were readily available in the West, then the influence of the “rezunites” could be significantly undermined. Most of the books of Isaev and his opponents are freely available in Russian at this site.
Soviet Deployment: the Belostok Bulge.
“There was no ‘concentration’ of forces in the Belostok bulge. There was a common for the whole Soviet-German front density of forces about 30 km for a division, improper for either offensive or defensive purposes. The perimeter of defense for the 3rd Army reached 120 km, 10th Army – 200 km and 4th Army – 150 km. On average, in the Western Military District a rifle division covered 36 km; in particular, a rifle division of 3rd Army covered 40 km, 10th Army – over 33 km and 4th Army – 37.5 km.”
“The three mechanized corps deployed near Belostok were accorded quite reasonable defensive missions according to the covering plan of the Western MD. The 6th mechanized corps was supposed to be used this way: ‘In case of a penetration of large moto-mechanized enemy forces from the direction of Ostrolenka, Malkinya-Gurna towards Belostok… 6th Mechcorps under the cover of 7th anti-tank brigade concentrates in the region of Strablya, Raisk, Ryboly and, attacking the enemy in the general direction of Vysoke-Mazovetzk, Zambruv or Sokol, Strenkova Gura, in cooperation with 9th, 43rd fighter aviation divisions and 12th bomber division destroys the enemy’s mechanized corps.’ The third Mechcorps also had a mission according to the plans: ‘17th Mechcorps stays in district’s reserve and is used according to the circumstances and its readiness.’
The deployment of the Mechcorps in the Western MD accorded fully to the idea of delivering blows to the flanks of the German armored spearheads. The problem was not in the concentration but in the incorrect expectations of the depth at which German spearheads were aimed. The headquarters of the Western MD, in the person of D. G. Pavlov, did not expect such wide blows aimed to link up so deep at Minsk. The expected blows were expected to be of smaller scale, across river Lida. This was one of the organic imperfections of the defensive plan of the Western MD.”
On Soviet Planning.
“It has become traditional to compare ‘netto-quantity’ of the German tanks with ‘brutto-quantity’ of the Soviet tanks…according to German military historian Muller-Gillbrandt, Panzerwaffe possessed only 3582 tanks without counting the flammpanzers at the beginning of the war. If, however, everything that was produced in Germany and captured in Europe is counted, then the brutto-quantity of German tanks would approach 10,000. It is more important here to compare not the number of tanks, but organizational structures, into which they were included. Also important would be to tell about the problems of new Soviet tanks (short lifetime of V-2 engine, poorly trained crews, technical weaknesses of some designs).”
“The characteristics of Soviet artillery should not be misinterpreted as well. The old Soviet mythology that influenced Suvorov and his followers made rather modest claims: ‘Soviet artillery had high combat qualities, and some were the best in the world;’ ‘At the time of German invasion the Red Army was equipped with the best artillery, whose combat qualities surpassed those of Western European, including German, equipment.’
The fact is, however, that a significant portion of Soviet artillery was made up of modernized guns, originally developed even before the First World War. At the beginning of the war Red Army possessed 1667 howitzers of type 1938 yr.; 5578 122 mm howitzers of type 1910/30 yr.; and 778 122 mm howitzers of type 1909/37 yr. A larger proportion of 152 mm howitzers was of newer designs, but still the bulk of these guns were of old types. 152 mm howitzers of type 1909/30 yr. – 2432 pieces, 152 mm howitzers of type 1938 yr.- 1128 pieces. The numbers speak for themselves.”
The Opposing Forces.
“The fact was that Soviet military districts entered the war torn into several echelons (forces along the border, divisions moving towards the border from several tens of kilometers inside of it, and, finally, those “deep divisions” moving towards the border. Realistically from the 56 Soviet divisions along the border 16 divisions should be subtracted since these were either in Crimea or several tens of kilometers from the border; so only 40 Soviet divisions were available to meet the blows of the Wehrmacht’s first echelon. This can be seen on any good map that shows the deployment of the opposing forces on 22 June 1941.”
“The fact was that the bulk of Wehrmacht’s forces was concentrated on the border at the beginning of the war, while the echelons of the RKKA were divided by hundreds of kilometers. Meanwhile, Second Strategic Echelon near the rivers West Dvina and Dnepr, some 300-400 km from the border, could not provide any help to the armies of the first (‘screening’) echelons, so it should not be counted as part of the special districts at all. Not even mentioning, that on 22 June, only 83 military train echelons of Second Strategic Echelon armies had arrived to their destinations, while 455 were in transit, 401 had not yet embarked to be transported.”
Hitler – Stalin – Britain.
“It is absolutely useless to deny the strategic surprise the German invasion had on the USSR, it is an undisputed fact. Up to some moment the high command of USSR could not understand the motivation behind the attack on the USSR. The real motive, proclaimed by A. Hitler at the meeting of 9 January 1941 yr: ‘The British are supported only by the possibility of the Russian entrance into the war. Had this hope been lost, they would have quitted the war.’ This kind of strategy of attacking the USSR (and defeating it quickly) for the sakes of scaring Britain was not considered by J.V. Stalin. Stalin also did not believe that Hitler would so gravely underestimate the capabilities of the USSR.”
Comparison: 4th PzGruppe (Hoepner) vs 12th and 3rd Mech corps.
“In the whole 12th Mechcorps there were 2531 cars, as many as in ONE German panzer division. In the battle against the tank divisions of Hoepner’s 4th PzGruppe on June 24th of the whole 3rd Mechcorps only 1 division, the 2nd Tank division, was able to take part. The 5th tank division was at that time fighting against Hoth’s 3rd PzGruppe near Alitus.”
“From the 12th Mechcorps in the battle near Shaulyai initially only the 28th tank division was involved and not even in full force because of a lack of fuel. 23rd tank division of 12th Mechcorps at the that time was subordinated to the 10th Rifle Corps.”
“The lack of artillery did not allow to suppress the German artillery and allow freedom of action to the motorized infantry of the tank divisions. The German 6th and 1st Panzer divisions were equipped with powerful 105mm gun (the Mechcorps lacked similar weapons), further help in dealing with Soviet KV’s was provided by the 88mm dual purpose guns. Finally, in the meeting engagement between these armored forces, the Germans had not reached the positions of the 3rd and 12th mechcorps, but the 28th and 2nd tank divisions in their movement to the forward deployment areas for the counterattack ran into the German forces.”
By the time the Soviets approached forward positions to deliver a blow the flanks of the German spearheads, the Germans had already occupied these positions.
“So, instead of a blow against the German flank, a meeting engagement ensued between the 6th Panzer division of the 41st Motorized corps and the 2nd Tank division of the 3rd Mechcorps. At the final stages the 1st panzer division entered the battle completing the encirclement of the 2nd Tank division from the north-west. The 2nd Tank division was effectively surrounded by three German divisions, 6th, 1st panzer and 269th infantry (from the south). It should be obvious why this counterattack failed.”
Headquarters of the 4th Army: “‘After restoring the communications, the commander of the army received in a letter transmitted in plain text by telegraph the order of the commander of the Western MD about preparing all forces for combat.”
“Next L.M. Sandalov describes the events this way:
‘At 15 minutes past 4 o’clock – chief of staff of the 42nd rifle division informed that the enemy had started the artillery preparation of the Brest fortress. At these same minutes the following order was just received:
NKO Directive No. I ‘Concerning the Deployment of Forces in Accordance with the plan for Covering Mobilization and Strategic Concentration’
To: The Military Councils of the Leningrad, Baltic, Western and Kiev Military Districts.
Copy to: The People’s Commissar of the Navy.
A surprise attack by the Germans on the fronts of the Leningrad, Baltic, Western Special, Kiev Special and Odessa Military Districts is possible during the course of 22-23 June 1941.
The mission of our forces is to avoid provocative actions of any kind, which might produce major complications. At the same time, the Leningrad, Baltic, Western Special, Kiev Special and Odessa Military Districts’ forces are to be at full combat readiness to meet a surprise blow by the Germans or their allies.
I order: (a) Secretly man the firing points of the fortified regions on the state borders during the night of 22 June 1941; (b) Disperse all aircraft, including military planes among field airfields and thoroughly camouflage them before dawn on 22 June 1941; (c) Bring all forces to a state of combat readiness without the additional call up of conscript personnel. Prepare all measures to black out cities and installations. Take no other measures without special permission. [signed] Timoshenko Zhukov
Received by the Western Special Military District at 0045 hours 22 June 1941 Dispatched to subordinate forces at 0225-0235 hours 22 June 1941
This was quite a logical order that called for defensive measures, however, it was issued too late (received simultaneously with the German attack) and so could not be fully carried out to have a major impact.
“L. M. Sandalov clearly remembers receiving of the order at a time when the Germans had already started the offensive. The actions taken by Korobkov before the German invasion are described this way by the chief of staff of the 4th Army: ‘Before 3 o’clock 45 minutes the army commander personally gave two orders by phone: to the chief of staff of 42nd rifle division to alert the division for combat and move out of the fortress to the gathering region; to the commander of the 14th Mechcorps to bring his forces to full combat readiness.’”
Dubno: Where Armor Clashed.
Army Group South headquarters notes.
Entry for 25th June: “III motorized army corps, having successfully participated (24.6) in a tank battle during its advance, considerably slowed down its rate of advance and only on the evening of 25.6 reached Lutsk.”
Entry for 26th June: “In the sector of the 17 Army and 6 Army the situation remains unchanged. The enemy defense, especially in the sector of the 17 Army, remains active and has been noted for a strong will to resist. As a result of this, our successes in the advance were not decisive.”
According to the official Tables of Organization and Equipment (Russian: Shtat) the difference in autotransport: German Panzer division – 2300 autos, Soviet Tank division – 1696. Needless to say, Soviet divisions were not fully equipped and the huge non-hostile losses of machinery should also be kept in mind.
“A 500 km march for the tanks of those years inevitably led to mechanical breakdowns. This is true for the Red Army both in 1941 and in 1943. Such a long march would also inevitably lead the artillery to lag behind, because the tow-tractors could not keep up. Without having the full Shtat of trucks, the Mechcorps could not properly carry neither the infantry, nor the supplies.”
“Major-General D. I. Ryabyshev noted in the ‘Description of the 8th Mechcorps’ combat actions during the period of 22-29, June 1941: ‘The corps had marched for an average of 495 km before entering combat, left behind during the march was 50 % of all the machinery.”
(RF: this Mechcorps had a total of 4 37mm AA guns and 24 AAMG’s for protection against the Luftwaffe)
Information on the non-combat losses of T-35 tanks can be found on the Russian Battlefield site.
More information can be found here.
While the “rezunites” explain the failures in the early days of war by the soldiers’ unwillingness to fight, they are not simply dishonoring all the brave and loyal men but also are deliberately ignoring well-known facts.
The main causes of the catastrophe were: unfinished (unfolded) deployment (Red Army units were simply too deeply echeloned), incomplete mobilization of forces, especially, of the support and logistics units.
For example, the Independent 9th Army’s divisions had on average 30-50 km to defend, which was too much to create a sufficiently thick frontline.
The following are excerpts from Isaev’s review of recently re-published memoir of N. Poppel, the Commissar of the 8th Mechcorps, with the ample commentary of the “rezunites.”
The total of the discharged Red Army officers during the Great Purges was about 44,000 men (Shadenko’s report), but this was higher than the total number of executions. Most importantly is the expansion of the Red Army in 1939-1941 simultaneous with Stalin’s repressions.
The general diversity of equipment alone does mean a force’s weakness.
“A tank army of 1943 Shtat had tanks of many different kinds: T-34 of different types, T-70, sometimes Lend-Lease tanks (e.g. Rotmistrov’s 5 GTA at Kursk in 1943). The mix of different tanks remained even later, even though the tank armies were equipped mostly with T-34’s, self-propelled guns of various types (SU-76, SU-85, ISU’s), Lend-Lease based SU-57 (T-48 based), heavy IS tanks. This is not counting of all different kinds of trucks, motorcycles, gun carriages. Artillery was also mixed. A tank army of 1943-45 had 82-120mm mortars, 37mm AA guns and 12.7mm Dshk AAMG’s; 45,57,76mm AT guns; 76, 122mm guns, rocket launchers M-13. All these were adequately supplied with spare parts and ammunition.”
Major-General D. I. Ryabyshev, Commander of the 8th Mechcorps (report of July 18th, 1941):
“The majority of the drivers of KV and T-34 tanks had 3 to 5 hours of practical experience. During the period of the corps’ existence the men and machinery had not fully participated in tactical training, and were not practically tested neither on marches, nor on basic combat maneuvers. The tactical cooperation and cohesion did not exceed the company level, very rarely being satisfactory at battalion and regiment levels. This was the main cause of the weakness of the command and control during the march and the fighting on the regimental-division levels.”
“The Germans penetrated the front of the 5th Army and threw their mechanized forces into the gap in the Sokal bulge. These forces then quickly started moving into the rear of the South-Western Front. What could have been sent against them? The strategic and the operational reserves, of course. Zhukov hastily gathered the necessary forces to create pincers meant to cut off the spearhead of the 1st PzGruppe by blows from the south (15th, 8th Mechcorps, parts of the 4th Mechcorps), which were to link up with the 9th, 19th, 22nd Mechcorps to the north. This was Zhukov’s strategy. The high command of the South-Western Front, represented by M. A. Purkaev, had other ideas, and it is precisely the confrontation of these ideas that lead to the confusion in the actions of the 8th Mechcorps. The South-Western Front’s high command wanted to create a front from the not yet fully deployed rifle corps (they were on their way to the border when the war started), and with the mechcorps to counterattack the German spearheads penetrating this front. This idea was totally utopian, since the front line of these deploying corps did not have a sufficient density. Success could have been achieved only with the full cooperation of rifle and mechanized corps in strangling the thin neck of the German panzer spearhead. Otherwise the front of the rifle corps could be easily penetrated in several places, and the mission still stays the same but now in several directions. Zhukov left on 26th of June and instead of organizing a cooperation of rifle corps (which possessed necessary artillery that was lagging behind the mechcorps) and mechcorps, the high command of the Kiev MD followed its own initiative at pulling the mechcorps out of the battle and into the rear of the rifle corps. This strategy involved the 8th and 15th mechcorps. After considerable criticism was received from Moscow, this self-reliance was stopped, another attempt to create a shock group was made, but the retreat of the mechcorps, the loss of the crucial time had sad consequences. First of all, units should not have been moved back and forth so much; secondly, the German infantry divisions had reached the frontline by that time effectively changing the force ratio at the main directions. These infantry divisions played a significant role in the operation. At the end of the Dubno battle, Group Popel was encircled and destroyed precisely by the infantry divisions that followed behind the armored formations.”
“Major-General D.I. Ryabyshev did not complain about a lack of attention from the front’s high command. On the contrary, he was showered by orders. ‘Very frequent change of orders of the South-Western Front, which altered the direction of the movement and the character of the combat missions, weak reconnaissance by the corps units, had a negative impact on the adaptation to the circumstances. Lack of time for the organization of cooperation and the organization of command and control in combat forced units of the corps to enter combat in many cases from the march.’”
On the characteristics of the T-34 and KV tanks.
A report by S. Ogurtsov, the commander of the 10th Tank division, of the 15th Mechcorps.
(RF: 10th TD had 63 KV and 38 T-34 tanks on 22/06/1941, source)
“‘The soldiers and commanders of our division are of high opinion about our tanks. Among the good qualities our machines have the following weaknesses: 1). About the KV tank a). AP shells or large caliber bullet hits can make the turret and the armored cupola jam and lock up. b). The diesel engine is underpowered, and because of this, it overloads and overheats. c). The main and the hull friction-clutches malfunction. 2). About the T-34 tank. a). The armor of the hull can be penetrated from 300-400m by 37mm AP rounds. The hull’s side plates can be penetrated by 20mm AP rounds. During crossing of ditches the tanks dive with their noses because of the low silhouette, the traction is insufficient because of the relative flatness of the tracks. b). A direct hit makes the driver’s hatch fall down. c). The tracks can be disabled by any shell. d). The main and hull friction-clutches malfunction.’”
“Some think that the Red Army’s mechcorps and the Wehrmacht’s motorized corps were sort of a bunch of knights fighting in an open field. In reality a significant role in the battles was played by infantry and artillery. The latter cleared the way for the attackers from the enemy’s strong points and anti-tank defenses. But it was exactly the Soviet artillery that lagged behind. Nor was it sufficient in the table of organization of the mechanized corps. In other words, the quantities of tanks alone should not be compared without full consideration of artillery, infantry and support units.”
“The research of the Dubno battles today allows to avoid both the compliments towards the communist party, as well as the political blabbering about the ‘bloody stalinist regime.’ Serious historical research assumes work with documents, reports of the participants, orders and other communications. The memoirs allow us only to understand the motivations behind the commanders’ decisions, while the dry pages of documents give us a chronology of events and the factual material about the battles. But only if to all this a proper understanding of the nature of combat during the Second World War is added, can a clear and accurate tale arise about the heroism of the tankists and the rifleman of the South-Western Front.
They did not have enough experience, the Red Army was not unfolded and had not completed its planned deployment and mobilization, and was not sufficiently equipped with transport and support units, at the time when it was forced to fight under the conditions of local German superiority.
The Mechcorps were the only means to intercept the German panzer spearheads, they were at least theoretically mobile enough to redeploy and to counterattack. The mechcorps were thrown into action in pieces, the direction of their blows was frequently altered under the continuously changing circumstances.
In the history of the South-Western Front’s counteroffensives there is everything: unconditional bravery, experienced soldiers and officers, green troops conscripted in May 1941, and the mistakes of the commanders. But these events deserve an accurate and a thoughtful description, and not the humiliation of our ancestors. Less of all they deserve the meaningless comments of a whole company of wanna-be historians.”
This is a follow-up essay to my previous posting on whether or not the cable news channels are deliberately ignoring Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign.
I’ve noted in the past how two subjects elicit the most hate mail: Climate change and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We can now add a third: Tulsi Gabbard
Two days ago I posted an essay on my analysis of the relationship between candidate support and news coverage. Based on the data, I concluded that Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard does not receive the amount of news coverage she deserves.
After posting the essay, angry replies hit my inbox within hours. The meanest ones I won’t dignify with a response, but one complaint found within more than one email does deserve an response: Why would the news media single out Tulsi Gabbard?
I believe there are three reasons Gabbard is targeted: (1) She challenged the Obama administration’s informal policy not to use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ when talking about the War on Terror, (2) she’s a vocal critic of the military-industrial complex, and (3) she sharply criticized Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at a critical point for Clinton in the 2016 primary season.
Here are some of the specifics behind those three reasons…
Defying Obama’s guidance on referring to Middle East terrorism
When Gabbard was first elected to the U.S. House from Hawaii’s 2nd district in 2012, she was a rising star. A combat veteran that served in a medical unit during the Iraq War, she has a polished, even temperament that presents well on television.
At the start of her congressional career, Gabbard was rising within a political party desperately looking for young stars. The Obama years saw the number of elected Democrats dwindle to its lowest levels in decades and to reverse that trend, the party needed new blood.
In her first term, she was assigned to the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, an almost unprecedented honor for a freshman legislator. She also became a vice chair for the Democratic National Committee — again, an unusually fast rise for a legislator that was only 32 when first elected to the House.
However, there were early signs that Gabbard was not (and is not) a lock-step Democrat partisan. In 2015, she openly disagreed with the Obama administration’s reluctance to use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ to describe the War on Terror’s primary adversary.
According to Gabbard, you cannot fight the enemy if you don’t understand their motivation. To ignore the role of radical Islamic theology (Wahhabism) in terrorism is to misunderstand the problem altogether. The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian and others in the progressive left cried Islamophobe!, particularly as Gabbard become a more frequent guest on Fox News where producers began to see her as a useful ally in discrediting the Obama administration’s handling of Middle East events. Though hardly Gabbard’s intent, she represented disunity in a party obsessed with unity.
Embarrassing Hillary Clinton in 2016
If that had been the only thing, Gabbard would probably be in good standing with the Democratic Party today. But it wasn’t. Her next apostasy was a big one.
During the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination race she resigned from the DNC and endorsed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Among one of the first super-delegates to break free from the Clinton orbit, Gabbard again became the poster child for Democratic Party division.
All the same, the endorsement of Sanders isn’t what made her persona non grata at the DNC holiday party. It was how and when she did it.
She resigned on February 28, 2016, the day after Clinton had won a convincing victory over Sanders in South Carolina (73% to 26%, respectively), and endorsed Sanders in the process. Appearing on MSNBC, Gabbard declared that the DNC was not an even-handed umpire in the 2016 nomination race, as evidenced by their unwillingness to have more candidate debates between Clinton and Sanders.
In other words, Gabbard said the DNC was rigging the nomination race in favor of Clinton, long before the Russian-hacked DNC emails revealed in greater detail exactly how intertwined the Clinton campaign and DNC had become. Score another one for Gabbard.
Gabbard’s timing could not have been worse for Clinton, as Sanders was under increasing (and understandable) pressure to get out of the race, particularly by the party’s big donors who did not care for Sanders’ unapologetic Democratic socialism.
But with Gabbard’s announcement, the momentum and media narrative immediately turned against Clinton.
Gabbard knee-capped Hillary Clinton when it looked like the nomination race was over. Clinton never fully recovered after Gabbard’s Sanders endorsement. In contrast, Sanders surged, winning 15 out of the next 31 state races, punctuated by a unexpected win in Michigan. From there, Sanders carried his progressive message to the Democratic National Convention in July. I don’t believe that happens without Tulsi’s surprise resignation from the DNC.
Challenging the establishment’s love for regime change wars
Soon after Donald Trump was elected, Gabbard visited Syria on a fact-finding mission and met personally (and unexpectedly) with Syrian leader Bashar al Assad. The party establishment was apoplectic — still in a deep depression over Trump’s victory — and the Syria trip just added to their view that Gabbard wasn’t a team player. Though it would take almost two years, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi removed Gabbard from the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the start of the 116th U.S. Congress.
Rubbing salt into an open wound, Gabbard, along with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, would be one of the few voices to urge the Trump administration to be cautious before launching air attacks on Syria following a chlorine chemical attack in Douma, Syria, allegedly by the Assad regime.
The U.S. attacked anyway and now, over a year later, Gabbard’s skepticism about the origin of the Douma chemical attack has been possibly validated by an engineering report leaked from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons suggesting the Douma attack may have been staged by anti-Assad rebel fighters.
It is unlikely the Douma incident will ever be understood with certainty, but Gabbard has maintained a consistent position on U.S. military and foreign relations issues: No more counterproductive regime change wars.
When the Trump administration began its intimidation campaign against Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, Gabbard called it out as reckless. And even as MSNBC and CNN news celebrities implied (or stated directly in some cases) that Gabbard is friendly towards dictators (just like Trump!), she shook off the criticism and maintained her position — regime wars don’t work.
With this same dynamic going on now with Iran, Gabbard has again led among national Democrats in opposing U.S. aggression towards Iran. While Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have made some relatively good, though ultimately tepid, statements on Iran, they lack the confidence and gravitas Gabbard brings to the issue.
To be clear, Gabbard is not a pacifist — she believes when the U.S. is attacked (such as on 9–11), using the military is an appropriate form of reprisal. Gabbard is not anti-war. When the U.S. and its vital interests are attacked, the U.S. must respond, with appropriate force, says Gabbard, who also believes the U.S. must always pursue a dialogue with our adversaries such as North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria.
Other possible causes as to why Gabbard is ignored
On other policy fronts, Gabbard was the first presidential candidate to voice support for Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange when he was taken into custody by the British and subsequently charged by the U.S. with aiding and abetting an act of espionage, recognizing that his case was a direct assault on Americans’ First Amendment rights.
When New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled the “Green New Deal” — a highly abstract statement on how the U.S. can aggressively address climate change — Gabbard chose not to co-sponsor Ocasio-Cortez’ bill. Why? Gabbard had sponsored the 2017 OFFACT bill, a significantly more concrete plan to convert the U.S. energy profile to 100-percent renewable energy.
Gabbard’s willingness to lean forward on controversial domestic and foreign policy issues — and high success rate on being right — has created a small, but vocal fan base among anti-war activists and civil libertarians.
Finally, Gabbard is hard to place on a one-dimensional ideological scale (liberal-conservative). She operates on a different vector, independent of the Left versus Right rubric. At one moment she might defend fellow candidate Joe Biden, and the next criticize the Obama administration’s Middle East policies. Gabbard is the closest person we have to a non-partisan politician.
And when these reasons are viewed as a whole, it is easy to conjecture why establishment Democrats and, in turn, the Democrat-aligned new media, might consider Gabbard a genuine threat to their power status.