An amazing documentary about Putin’s Russia

I just watched an amazing documentary on Antenne 2 called “Putin, the new Empire”  15th Dec 2016. The  director Jean-Michel Carré, has already made two other documentaries about Putin, and he chose to make this one from a Russian point of view.It seems as if none of his excellent documntaries are translated, which is such a pity.

Here’s the description of the program in French, then an overview of the main parts in English.


The film starts with the dramatic pictures of the Russians celebrating the end of WWII
(27 million  Russian soldiers died during that war) and we learn that no western leader had accepted the invitation to this ceremony!
The world leaders present were from China and India (among others) and Vladimir Putin made a very valid speech about the Russians defeating Hitler.

To compound the insult of the western leaders not accepting that invitation, we learn that the Russian leader was not invited to the celebration of the liberation of Auschwitch, which was in fact liberated by Russian soldiers first.- as can been seen in all the history books – check here on the Auschwitz site – so why does that fact come as such a surprise?

NATO was created in 1949, and the Communist block created the Warsaw Pact in 1955 in response to the creation of NATO (1955 was the year Germany was became a member of NATO).

The Warsaw Pact ended in about 1989 at the end of the Cold War and was officially declared disbanded in 1971. Bush senior declared so proudly “we have won the Cold War ”


From a country of 300 million inhabitants, Russia was reduced to a country of 140 million

At this point, Goldman Sachs was mentionned again in relation to … buying up the Russian industry and resources in collaboration with the existing oligarchy at the end of the Yeltsine era.
I can’t find anything about that, but it is generally well accepted the Goldmann Sachs is responsible for the mess in Greece (having hidden their debts when the first accessed the euro and making millions from it)
and it’s interesting to note that Trump is filling his cabinet with Goldmann Sachs people ….

Anyways – there are lots of instances of Putin being laughed at by US politicians – and at the time when OTAN decided to bomb Yugoslavia (without the agreement of the UN security council, theoretically to save the Albanians of Kosovo) – Russia’s protests against the bombing (this was at the end of the Yeltsine era) were not taken seriously.

This is where Putin comes in. He has to take on the humiliated country

Then comes Chetchenie – which, after the arrestation of two “terrorists” for 5 terrorist attacks – was totally bombed (200 000 dead from a population of 1 million) Russian reporters find that the 2 terrorists were members of the FSB (the former KGB)

After the Twin Tower attack in NY, Poutine offers support and was actively pro-European at the beginning.

The IRAQI war – 23 march 2003 – started in the conditions we know about now, and again without the agreement of the UN security council – France, Germany and Russia protested. – I million deaths and Saddam Hussein’s army left to the new revolutionaries (lots of military knowledge for the so-called IS)

“The US military failed in the early years to recognise the role the disbanded Baathist officers would eventually come to play in the extremist group, eclipsing the foreign fighters whom American officials preferred to blame”

Sept 2003, US backs the “orange revolution” in Ukraine – the Rose revolution in Georgia (Nov 2003) received the support of

 Hungarian-American billionaire financier George Soros. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies reports the case of a former Georgian parliamentarian who alleges that in the three months prior to the Rose Revolution, “Soros spent $42 million ramping-up for the overthrow of Shevardnadze.[41] Speaking in T’blisi in June 2005, Soros said, “I’m very pleased and proud of the work of the foundation in preparing Georgian society for what became a Rose Revolution, but the role of the foundation and my personal has been greatly exaggerated.”[42]

then the Tulip revolution in Kyrgystan  Roumania Dec 1989 & velvet revolution Czechoslovakia  17th Nov 1989

So, although Putin started out pro -European,


Bulgaria, Estonia, Latavia, Lithuania, Roumania, Slovakia, Slovenia joined NATO !

(Just imagine for one instant that state of affairs the other way roung. Image the US reaction if some South American Nations  joined the Warsaw Pact (should it still exist) ! The very idea is totally inconceivable, but the result is that NATO has come to the Russian frontiers , whereas have we ever asked ourselves WHY DOES NATO STILL EXIST?)

After two terms of Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, an economic liberal – becomes president 2008-2012

2008 – sub prime crisis – Georgia bombs une province on the Russian border, then  Putin (that is Prime Minister Putin) takes over the army – and as a result of these two events, Medvedev weakened as president  – during the sub prime crisis, capital leaves Russia and the Russian stock exchange closes several times.

2011 – Lybian crisis – Putine does not veto action at UN – coalition Franco-Brit – which is supposed to be humanitaire, in fact aims to destitute Kadafi

During the next elections in Russia, there is much active opposition, as Putin points out, fired up by non-verified declatations from the US secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. see video.

But – for Europe, Russia is a big potential market, but Russia turns to China (and China and Russia start buying large quantities of gold! > ready to threaten dollar).

give up on Europe – turn to China 2012 – first state visit … China (see video)

and joins the “Shanghai group”

FILM extract

To be found later (hopefully) – the rest is my notes for the moment!

Astana, Kazakstan – new capital of Euroasian group

Kazakstan: lots of oil ,gas uranium, 7000 km border with Russia and 1500 km border with China

200 million inhabitants in the enlarged Russian block (inc Kazak etc… Ukraine ?)

2010 > agreememnt Ukrane &Russia
2014 Europe says to Ukraine – either you’re with us, or against us .

Ukrain leader – faces bloody demos, and ends up being removed from power by the people -total shock for Putine (non-communist country where people have enough to eat etc still has a revolution)

see how Crimean leader asks Russia for help

a very different view of the invasion of Crimea.

See video with French scholar’s view of the EU as “ignorant of the people)

and how the US helped with 2014 revolution in Ukraine with the US secretary of state heard saying “fuck Europe” !

President of Crimea calls on Putine to help(!)

Russian army takes over – very little violence – shots in the air – biggest threat from Ukranian army “you are being filmed, the Americans are watching

see the interpreter, which her “historically Russian” stance.

UN decision on Crimea vetoes by Putine of course.

Putine unifies Russia with taking back Crimea,(including former anti-putinists!) – the US imposes sanctions (but no sanction on oil or gas of course)

Putines reaction to France refusing to deliver boat (which was already partly paid for!)

Boris Nemtsov

Le liberté d’expression n’est pas importante (which makes me think of Japan)

Communism forbade the church but gave the morals and rules to live by

Now the Church is doing that (orthodox church very different to Roman church) – establishing values (homosexuality bad, family good etc )


And finaly, here’s an inteview with Jean-Michel Carré, who made this documentary, and who explains why, his first two documentaries about Putin were very “anti” (they were from the interior point of view) whereas seen from the point of view of international affaires, the overall impression is not the same at all.

Charging mobile batteries.

Seems like I’m always one step behind

As a reasonably digitally aware person, it’s really quite difficult to follow how things change, and within the last 24 hours, I’ve just discovered two new “Oh no!” digital moments.
One from a while back first though: I discovered that while I was religiously defragmenting my hard drive reasonably regularly, I shouldn’t have been doing that any longer since it had a solid state hard drive. (well the operating system hadn’t caught on either and never said anything LOL)

Today’s first duh! moment came because I was still carefully allowing the batteries in my mobile devices their full hysterisis loop, making sure they were fully down before charging them completely – and now I discover that you should only do that for nickle-based batteries. Lithium-ion batteries actually should preferably not be left in overnight because if they are left charging when at 100%  that wears them out more quickly (even with automatic charge switch off, they keep on topping up when plugged in) – check that one out!

Finally, while prismMicrosoft is the provider  I have always been the most wary of, because I knew way back that they were colluding with the US government, providing the gvmt with information, I discover from the chart in the middle of this fascinating debate, that my misunderstanding comes from the fact that it was simply that they were the first to join the PRISM collection program (see it at around 1m40 in this 3 minute extract

Oh well, you live and learn


(if you’re lucky)

Exciting new tool for a BYOD class

Oye! Oye! EVO season is here again … EFL teachers all learning together … You have already checked out this year’s offerings of course 🙂 enrollement starts 5th Jan for the five week session.

Anyway – while finishing off preparations for this year’s session, thanks to Arizio Sweeting I discovered a brilliant new tool which took me a while to get my head around, because the drawing tool I was looking at only works synchronously in a class where everyone has their own device.Read More »

5 ways to use a dictionary for academic writing

“Reblog” – this is a new one to me, but it does mean I’ll find the article easily 🙂

Oxford University Press

Oxford Learner's Dictionary of Academic English book cover Julie Moore, a lexicographer for the new Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English, shares her top 5 ways to use a dictionary to teach academic writing skills.

With my background in lexicography, I’m a big fan of encouraging dictionary skills in the classroom. And as a teacher of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), I’m really looking forward to using the new Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English with my students.

Rather than teach planned dictionary skills lessons, I tend to slip in dictionary usage at every possible opportunity. In particular, I’ll often send students to the dictionary in a writing skills lesson. Here are my top five areas of academic vocabulary to focus on:


One thing that can make student writing sound awkward is an odd choice of collocation. Sometimes a choice that would be fine in everyday English or spoken academic contexts, such as do research

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Another 11, You’ve been tagged

Good grief! I’ve done it ! In reply to Sue Annan’s tag in the EFL teachers blog chain. I so much enjoyed reading Marisa, Carol Goody, lexical leo, Vickyloras, Shelly (of course LOL), Rachel Roberts, Anne Hodgson and many others that it  didn’t seem fair just to lurk, so here we go.

The rules (who started this thing anyways? the answer may lie in Doug Patterson’s title to his version!)

Acknowledge the person who tagged you
Give 11 facts about yourself

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