A Moment of Hope 107

The apparent end to the power of my old adversary Islam Karimov gives a brief moment of hope for change in Uzbekistan.

It is worth recalling that Karimov was a member of the last Soviet politburo, and was a part of the failed hard line “communist” coup against Gorbachev. His support for Uzbek independence was both a matter of self-preservation and a successful endeavour to sustain the massively corrupt system that enabled a few families to pillage Uzbekistan’s great natural wealth. Tashkent was already famously corrupt in Soviet times; Karimov increased this and concentrated the wealth in an ever smaller circle, while personal freedoms were higher in the Soviet period than now.

There is no telling if Karimov is already dead or not, but a massive stroke has with certainty ended his rule. There is much speculation on what happens next. The one thing we can be quite certain will not happen is a free and fair election of a successor.

The formal process, presided over by the speaker of parliament, is an irrelevance to the power grab that is going on and depends on control of the army, the separate Ministry of the Interior armed forces, the police and the security services. By common consent Rustam Inoyatov is a key kingmaker, and for the last two years Prime Minister Mirzaeyev has been carefully cementing this alliance. Mirzaeyev is probably the most ruthless of all the candidates – he is as cold-blooded a killer as Karimov, and I suspect this quality will bring him through.

Mirzaeyev comes from the same Samarkand power base as Karimov, but he faces a difficult balancing act in ensuring nobody else has any power to challenge him, while at the same time placating powerful Tashkent and Ferghana interests. If Mirzaeyev can gain the support of the Gafur Rakhimov/Alisher Usmanov mafia nexus he will probably be home and dry. But to emphasise how complex and vicious this will be, when the Alisher Usmanov/Mirzaeyev family relationship was due to be cemented in 2013 by a marriage alliance featuring Usmanov’s nephew and heir Babur Usmanov, the groom was killed in a “car crash” at the behest of Inoyatov. This murder was probably just a friendly reminder that Inoyatov cannot be cut out, and one Mirzaeyev seems to have heeded, but underlines the potential for it all to go violently wrong.

So how can this be hopeful? Well, quite simply things can only get better. Whoever takes over is unlikely to want immediately to rush into the arms of one of Uzbekistan’s three suitors, the USA, China and Russia. There is a reasonable chance that they will wish to portray themselves as having a reform agenda, in order to keep the USA and to some extent Russia interested. Putin never viewed Karimov as more than an embarrassment. Indeed, almost every potential President except Mirzaeyev does have an inkling that the deliberate stifling of all economic initiative and the enslavement of the country to a cotton monoculture is not a good policy.

Finally a message to Karimov, my old sparring partner. You won, you kept power and I lost, and got sacked for my pains. But then I am not dead, and when I am I shall not go to Hell. Good luck with that. Craig

107 thoughts on “A Moment of Hope

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  • John Goss

    Gulnara Karimova was once thought to be heir-apparent when her father pegged it. Last I read she was under house arrest apparently imprisoned by Karimov. Also, she is supposed to be wanted in Uzbekistan on corruption charges. I wonder how that will pan out now.

    • Hieroglyph

      She’s the Presidents daughter, and still manages to get herself under house arrest. That’s pretty impressive actually. She should run a hedge fund or something, as she’s clearly in the top leagues when it comes to corruption.

      I was going to speculate who the ‘West’ will back for succession. But we already know: it will be the most vicious and venal one. It’s always the same. The West constantly backs these sadists, which is somewhat revealing, in my humble opinion. The sadist may carry out the work, but it’s the psychopath who asks him to.

      • Tom Welsh

        “She’s the Presidents daughter, and still manages to get herself under house arrest”.

        That’s actually quite a common state of affairs in autocracies. Consider, for example, the circumstances in which Queen Elizabeth I found herself before being told that she had survived to become Queen. (Excellently depicted by Cate Blanchett). Or the troubles Henry II of England had with his wife and sons; it is common, though scandalous, knowledge, that he resorted to locking up his wife (Eleanor of Aquitaine) for years to keep her out of trouble.

      • Tom Welsh

        And, if you read Ian Fleming’s actual books, Bond is also quite incompetent. Sorry, I should have said “very incompetent indeed”. Otherwise he wouldn’t get the chance to be imprisoned and tortured every time, only to break free with one bound.

  • Resident Dissident

    Given the recent involvement of Putin in meetings with Karimov and his influence over Usmanov we all know who the real kingmaker will be.

  • fwl

    Craig if forced to pay Karimov a compliment, which would reveal his humanity for even monsters must have some, what would it be?

      • fwl

        No need to greet me as such. If one recognizes one is a monster but does not force the change then change comes of itself.

          • fwl

            Krishnamurti’s teaching not mine – although I would concur with the principle, which has nothing to do with ‘force’. That my friend is star wars. Although, I am only joshing by setting you up like that with a bit of K so don’t take it to heart. I like K’s story of the devil observing someone finding a pearl of truth in the mire and when asked whether it caused concern he answered of course not for he would now help the poor soul organise that truth i.e. well you can’t really ‘i.e.’ that can you? Not without falling into the pit.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ Craig: ‘…But then I am not dead, and when I am I shall not go to Hell. Good luck with that. Craig’

    I like that bit – there’s hope for you yet!

  • Alcyone

    Craig, forget your Heavens and Hell. You are not just ‘not dead’, you are alive and kicking and can make your Paradise right here, despite your challenges. Some of which one knows, the rest one can probably imagine.

    We are psychological and psychosomatic beings. We are here to learn and to enjoy this gift of life. I doubt your old foe excelled at either. good luck to you and keep up your own confidence.

  • Ed

    End of an era, one that you and I both participated in, at the same time as well, and arguably even on the same side..

    Whilst I can’t say I’ll miss Karimov, I can say unequivocally I miss my Ragu curries, followed by a few pints downstairs.

    Now the fun is starting might have to return though 😉

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Great news it was when I heard it. I claimed many times that it is the only way karimov will give up throne. Power struggle is filly on at present and i think mirziyaev (the worst of all possible candidates) will become the next khan. Even in post stalin russia the worst man did not get the job but he certainly will in uzbekistan.

    I agree that any change is good but i do not think mirziyaev will start any reforms. Not even nominal.

    Uzbek people have not been and will not be consulted on this matter and as long as this is ok ( for people) type of karimov or mirziyaev will keep rulling them.

    I liked your last fee sentences. But karimov not only kept his power but made his family and relatives extremely rich by allowing them to rob, killed fee thousands of inocent people and will never face any justice. This is the most dipressing of all.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    And yes, there is no Hell and no Haven. We live in either of those in this (and only life) depending what we do and how well off we become.

    You most certainly went through Hell when your principals led you to joblessness and poor health. Karimov on other hand lived in Haven enjoyning unchalleneged authority but expirienced Hellish memonents in his life.

    His corpe will rot in the ground just like yours or mine will. And this will be the untimate end of eveyone of us.

    • Paul Barbara

      Don’t be so sure – there is no proof either way. It is a matter of faith, and billions of people believe there is a heaven and hell.
      As Jesus said: ‘What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?’
      We shall find out which of us is right in good time…..

      • Tom Welsh

        As far as I know – and I have an interest in the subject – there is no possible way for us to determine if there is a heaven and a hell.

        “It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs”.

        – Aristotle

        • John

          If you are serious, you could look into why Hermetic Science is so named ? And, despite Aristotle, wise people have always recognised the limitations of scholasticism.

        • Bhante

          Tom Welsh: “As far as I know – and I have an interest in the subject – there is no possible way for us to determine if there is a heaven and a hell.”

          It can, however, be shown that bad actions cause a range of uncomfortable results, and good actions cause a range of comfortable results, regardless of whether you believe in heaven and hell or not. This is analysed very thoroughly and logically in the Majjhima Nikaya, Apannaka Sutta (Sutta 60, The Incontrovertible Teaching) in the Buddhist Pali Canon.

          To summarise in very brief form:

          First, consider those who believe that there is no heaven or hell, and there are no effects after death of good and bad actions in this life.

          If these people undertake destructive, immoral actions, they will believe they are safe, because they believe there is nothing after this life; nevertheless, wise people will condemn them as immoral and will censure them here and now. Furthermore they will constantly be looking over their shoulder in fear of retribution from those they have harmed, in fear of those trying to seek justice against wrongdoing, and in fear of others trying to take over for themselves their ill-gotten gains.
          If, on the other hand, there is really heaven and hell and there is really a result after death of good and bad deeds in this life, then these people have thrown a double unlucky throw: in addition to the already mentioned negative results here and now, they will then indeed after death experience the negative results of their negative actions in this life.

          If these people undertake contructive, moral actions, then wise people will praise them as moral here and now, and they will avoid fear of being pursued for offenses they have not committed. Nevertheless, because they see other people gaining on a purely materialistic level from their gruesome deeds and because they do not understand correctly as it really is the intense suffering those people such as Karimov experience here and now as a result of their bad deeds, they harbour doubts as to the benefits of good deeds and the dangers of ill deeds. As a result they are far more likely to make misjudgements and to carry out actions which cause them suffering and difficulties in this life, and they are less likely to guard their actions and try to purify their actions.

          Then, consider those who believe that there is heaven and hell, and that after death we encounter the positive and negative results of good and bad actions in this life.

          If these people undertake destructive, immoral actions, they at once see danger in these actions because they fear a painful result of these actions after death. Therefore they experience a double unlucky throw here and now, because in addition to fearing a negative outcome after death, they also are condemned by the wise for their immoral deeds and look over their shoulder in fear of being pursued by others. This is true regardless of whether or not there is in fact heaven and hell and the result of good and bad deeds after death. As a result they have a much stronger disincentive from carrying out negative actions, and having carried out negative actions they are much more likely to regret them and try to avoid repeating them in the future.

          If these people undertake constructive, moral actions, then they have thrown a double lucky throw here and now: they will consider that they have secured for themselves a safe outcome after death through their good conduct (this is a pleasant feeling here and now, irrespective of whether or not in fact there is a result after death), and furthermore the wise will praise them for their good deeds here and now, and they create security for themselves from the threat of being pursued by others. As a result, they have a much stronger incentive to carry out more positive actions, and having carried out positive actions they are much more likely to regard them as a good course of action and try to repeat them in the future.
          If, in fact, there is really heaven and hell and a result of our actions after death, then these people get a third benefit after death, in addition to the double benefit here and now, namely the positive result after death (i.e. the contentment that they have secured for themselves a good result is one, the good result itself is another if it really occurs).

          I can recommend reading the full treatise in the original.

          The real problem with Western secular consumerism is not that we don’t suffer negative effects from our misdeeds, but that we don’t understand correctly as they really are what are positive effects and what are negative effects of our good and bad deeds, and what are true happiness and suffering, imprisonment and freedom. Because of that we spend most of our lives chasing after suffering, craving for suffering, clinging to suffering, and imprisoned by suffering in the deluded belief that it is happiness, and generating both for ourselves and for others no end of suffering in the process – because we don’t understand what are really suffering, imprisonment, happiness and freedom; what are the causes of true suffering, true imprisonment, true happiness and true freedom; what leads to suffering and imprisonment or what leads to happiness and freedom. Because most of the time that we trying to secure happiness for ourselves and avoid unhappiness we are through our greed and ignorance doing precisely that which causes true happiness and freedom to elude us.

          Then we wonder why we are unhappy, despite having everything. The (male) French Prime Minister praises illegal and immoral laws that ban people from dressing modestly, and says it is better for women to be half-naked in public, while the probable next US President proudly boasts of all the ways she will conflagrate aggressive US warfare around the world and try her best to incite a world war with Russia and China.

          When we worship the secular and condemn religion per se it is like burying our heads in the sand and saying “There is no danger! I’ve proved it, because I cannot see it!”

          • John

            Sigh. Happens quite often when one posts a brief, yet hopefully informative, suggestion.

          • fwl

            Bhante, don’t be discouraged by Alcyone he sometimes appears to have a short fuse for anything approximating religion.

            Alcyone, try not to be so rude. Is Buddhism a religion or a method of living. It suggests that we (1) try to be generous to others (2) practise some basic morality and these two matters are something of a foundation, which in the West we forget, then (3) develop persistence and vitality or force if you like so that we have a dragon head dragon tail and not a snake tail i.e. we don’t give up too easily, (4) cultivate concentration – this is Zen and finally (5) cultivate wisdom, which to some extent involves that I fwl and you alcyone and everyone must die and pass away and as we begin to fully realise how transient life in all its wonderful manifestations is we flower. We start as something of a bare stick but the bud on the stick flowers.

            There, I have again broken K’s rule and said something which might wrongly indicate that I know something about truth. I know very little, but its out there and here. If you want to cultivate anger and the ability to stand up to nonsense that’s fine, but it is a skill best utilised in person in extreme cases. Other times its best to cultivate friendship.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The one thing we can be quite certain will not happen is a free and fair election of a successor”.

    I would very much like to know, Craig, in which country or countries you would expect “a free and fair election” under such circumstances. Certainly not the USA, if you have been paying any attention at all to the news for the last 16 years or so. Hardly the UK, as we have an unelected head of state – but even the choice of our Prime Minister is absolutely not “free and fair” from the point of view of the voter in the street. (Witness the fact that the voters in the street chose heavily to leave the EU, whereupon the great difficulty was finding any of our “elected” leaders who were prepared to carry out that decision).

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Thanks for outlining the power structure and likely outcome, Craig. It looks as if Karimov’s family relationships are such as to make a dynastic succession unlikely, at any rate, for which Uzbekistan can be thankful. But I’m sure Putin will be hoping for a shift from Karimov’s unreliable ambiguity to a stance less favourable to the US, so is Mirzaeyev the favoured choice? An alternative scenario involves the global maggots breeding in the corpse of the economy, with our former prime minister ‘advising’ the new regime on who to sell the mining rights to.

  • Bhante

    Craig, if the eventual outcome of the power struggle were to lead to a realignment closer to Russia and China and away from the USA, how would that affect ordinary Uzbeki citizens?

    • Alan

      “Karimov’s death is great news,” said Muhammad Salih, the head of the banned opposition Erk (or Freedom) Democratic Party, who has lived in exile in Istanbul for more than a decade. “First of all, I have to go to Uzbekistan. Then we have to organize the people for elections, for which we need the help of the international community.”

      But Salih, a nationally acclaimed poet, acknowledges that free and fair elections are only a distant possibility. Without international support for free elections, he said, “the opposition will suffer, there will be 20 more years of dictatorship, and Uzbekistan will still not have a [democratic] political process.”

      Translation – Another Colour Revolution is planned.

    • nevermind

      Sadly, mark G, you are right, its almost like a harmonious alignment of stars in reverse. Wanting to assert Americas primacy means war.

      All we can hope for is that this war will be taken to the US continent, that it will concern US interests alone, because Europeans do not want war with any superpower. NATO’s spokesperson Oana Lungescu will be very busy, as Anders Fogh Rasmussen will be hiding in some bunker playing with buttons.

      • bevin

        “Fogh Rasmussen will be hiding in some bunker playing with buttons.”
        You are very old fashioned-I bet his fly has a zipper.

        • Bhante

          Maybe, like Clinton, he will be playing with the buttons and the zipper at the same time

      • Mark Golding

        Asserting primacy is correct Nevermind and more; a clash, a fight, enmity, daggers drawn in reply to Putin’s eleventh-hour diplomacy, which erased a ‘red line’ and delayed the obliteration of yet another Middle East state, now labeled as some sort of geopolitical ploy.

        Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution fired a frenzy that has taken America to a psychotic point in its foreign policy when avoiding military conflict is actually viewed as a setback and has now brought the surrogate mother of global upheaval and chaos to the zenith of destruction.

        In a complete U-turn, Obama’s handlers has ensured the US put the finishing touches on its Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania, the culmination of a decades-worth of disingenuous negotiations with Moscow. Attempts to “neutralize Russia’s nuclear potential” by camouflaging the war criminals real designs behind Iran and North Korea has conjured a strategic balance apparently in America’s favor and this my friends, will be used to trick American folk and the West into armageddon.

  • Joe

    I have serious doubts that anyone, regardless of how “evil”, goes to hell. The best that can be hoped for these types is that they dissolve into ‘nothingness’.

  • James lake

    The silence on the presidents condition from all in the area – indicates that he had passed and they are quietly sorting out the succession.
    With Afghanistan and assorted jihadis near the border I just hope they can maintain stability
    There is not going to be any change in the way things are done there for the foreseeable future.
    Any engagement with the west is always with an eye for profit to the clans, not to effect any reform.

    The elites are content with the way things are going.

    Russia and China will want stability and the USA kept out. That would be what they bank on.

    The U.S. Would want chaos to cause trouble in the region for Russia – that is how they operate. Chaos means that the clans can’t make money.

    Stability is what the clans will aim for

    • Alan

      They might keep him in an undead state for years, like Michael Schumacher and Ariel Sharon. It’s amazing how long they can keep you in an undead state these days.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    An outlet called ‘All-true News’* invites deep suspicion from the start. But it’s reporting that Tashkent has released a photo purporting to be of a non-dead Karimov, which is alleged by Fergana Agency to be a Photoshop job, also that the Tashkent police have orders to arrest anyone questioning Karimov’s health. Also that Russia is/is not – the translation is poor – supplying medical assistance.


    Utter confusion persists. I think we’ll know tomorrow.

    *New to me. May be Balkan or Russian

  • AdrianD

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    Talking of corrupt family enterprises (which just about keeps this on topic), if you’ve not seen these already, I’ve recently come across some apparently very-well-sourced bloggers and journalists who have done some most excellent work investigating the Clinton Foundation.

    Charity regulators in the US and across the globe seem to give them carte blanche to get away with misleading, inconsistent or completely absent audits and regulatory reports. We can only speculate as to why that is the case – and as to why the MSM continues to ignore them.

    Very comprehensive:

    A good place to start:

    Australian / PNG examples:

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Absolutely. However, a caveat is in order; a lot of the hostility to the Clinton Foundation emanates from the Republican election machine. Should they win power, they will have less reason to be critical, as charitable foundations are just as essential to them. Still and all, the US charity setup is more transparent than the UK one. The combination of loopholes in company law and the severely restricted nature of information required by the Charities Commission – let alone what anyone else is allowed to see – makes friend Blair’s ‘charitable’ activities absolutely invisible, for instance.

      • Ben

        Well the danger arising from conflict of interest should be well known to duet lawyers, Komo.

        Both of them seem to be oblivious to their disregard for the laws/ethics they are sworn to uphold.

        This is like being both stupid and crazy; terrible combo.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          But those same lawyers designed the impenetrable philanthrocorporate structures, taking advantage of every available legal loophole (and in Blair’s case at least, their client himself aided the creation of the loopholes) which mean that no testable legal evidence of wrongdoing will emerge, even if the unethical or criminal intent is obvious to all when its results are seen. All the philanthropist has to do then is brazen it out. Not stupid, not crazy (other than greedy-crazy). Oblivious , yes. The lawyers and accountants faithfully do their job and report that everything’s fine. What sort of philanthropist would doubt their word? Obliviousness is just something else you pay for.

      • bevin

        Then the Republicans deserve our thanks.
        It really doesn’t matter what Hillary said to whom when Secretary of State: everything she did had the potential of being a massive conflict of interest (her interests vs the national interest).
        We know that several governments, with whom she dealt directly, contributed large sums to the Foundation. We know that her closest aides were in contact, on a regular basis, with the Foundation. We know that as Secretary of State she had the statutory task of approving or disapproving arms exports. We know that the buyers, of the arms whose export she approved, made large contributions to the Foundation. And we know that the vendors did too.
        Do we need to know more?

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Just sayin’ Bevin. What we know* is absolutely irrelevant in the absence of ethical politics. Ethically speaking, the quick way to the heart of this is a radical redefinition of charitable status. It should not be possible for donations to be made to a politician’s charities, period. Indeed, serving politicians should not be allowed to take any part in any charity. Additionally, charities should not be allowed to operate as aid brokers – which is what Blair’s does as far as anyone can tell – creaming off management-scale salaries and expenses from state donors before sending the residue to where it would have gone anyway, or worse, to chums and personal clients in the ‘aided’ country. Or using the aid cash to promote private interests, in collaboration with a paid lobbyist, like either of the Blairs.

          Corporate charities like the Clintons’ and Blairs’ invite, and IMO deserve, accusations of corruption. They’re a very handy vehicle for transferring money. I’ll thank the Republicans if they show an interest in changing this, and not until. As I said, it will be a long wait.

          * In terms of what we can prove, damn-all.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            PS – away from the charitable sector, you may care to pick up a copy of Private Eye this week. Ignore the relentless Corbyn-bashing (it would do well to pay similar attention to Smith, but doesn’t) and take a look at its 3-page examination of the revolving door between business and government. If anyone thinks that UK plc isn’t corrupt, root and branch, it’s a good starting point for disillusion.

      • AdrianD

        I think we do need to know more – especially when the defence of the Democrat establishment is essentially ‘look at all the good the foundation has done’, it’s worth investigating whether or not that ‘good’ is just a huge marketting exercise.

        • Ben

          Follow the salaries….

          Most charities suck all the air from legitimate donations and send between ten and 40 percent to the needy after ‘administrative’ expenses.

      • AdrianD

        Quite so – I’ve no idea of the political persuasions of Charles Ortel, but his work seems sufficiently well referenced to be considered. Amy Sterling (if you can believe her profile) has worked for years in US charities and Michael Smith is an Australian journalist who might have less of an axe to grind.

        Either way it’s all of a piece as far as the Foundation are concerned.

  • nevermind

    From the German Spiegel eulogy over this ‘waiting for the Dictator to die’.

    ” currently there are two names high in the ranking, Asimow and Mirsijajew. Whilst Asimow is the finance minister, Mirsijajew is spoken of having ‘no brain but a fist’. Human rights campaigners fear that he could be even more draconian that Karimov was….”


    So, not much hope at all, unless all hell breaks loose.

      • Paul Johnston

        Unlikely, the sources of the rivers themselves are in trouble so reducing production still probably would not do it (personal observation from some time in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in July but covers Uzbekistan as well).
        Also the growing of the cotton itself is only part of the problem, an efficient irrigation which loses less water would probably be just as effective. You have to see how bad it is to believe it, leaking canals, evaporation just moving it must be enormous.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The text of President Karimov’s inspiring Independence Day message to the Uzbek people – or those not currently banged up for discussing his health:


    Today. Note the reference to the Rio Games.

    The logical time to announce his demise, if any, would be tomorrow onwards, with the rejoicing masses off the streets and less danger of inappropriate jubilation breaking out.

    Reuters, on the other hand, report that he missed the occasion. Perhaps an ouija board was involved.

  • Lutfulla

    Mr. Murray, thank you for all that you did for our country and people! You were only diplomat who had a braveness to tell all truth about the regime.

    • Paul Barbara

      Yes, and Ariel Sharon was Karimov’s bosom bruvver; ‘those lot’ (dare I say it (being one of them, but one with a conscience)) are still going strong, running rampant across the world, totally oblivious of Jesus’ words, ‘What doth it profit a man(??????), if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his( (??????) soul?’
      Craig is a diamond, but the a**holes can commiserate in hell.
      Hold true, bruv!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    There is still some hope that Karimov is alive. Particularly if it is true that he has been transported to Samarkand for burial on Saturday…


    I live and work in front of the Registan Square. Today, close to 17 o’clock to drive many black cars … Later closed “okkupmrovali entire area. A lot of wipers from the whole country all clean … The most horrifying thing our district said tomorrow will be a” holiday “… And dobayil bad holiday, very bad … Karimov family house today renovated … also many workers clean the cemetery Shahi Zinda … We are now a volunteer … Everybody already knows. Tomorrow morning will be the square rally in memory of our Father

    He writes a resident of Samarkand

    We are now a volunteer….no change to the system, then.

    • Paul Barbara

      If the c*nt’s still alive, all the better! ‘it’ can contemplate ‘it’s’ fate!!!

    • Uzbek in the UK

      “no change to the system, then”

      Have you actually expected any change? Wind of change did not blow as far as Central Asia even when evil empire crumbled.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Good God, no. The Timur Leng model works so well…

        Even so, with the US needing to supply its futile Afghan adventure, the Russians and Chinese interested in hydrocarbons and minerals, no-one’s going to be pushing for freedom and democracy any time soon. I can only offer you my sincere sympathy

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