Estonia

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China Begins Direct Sales Of Fruit & Vegetables To Russia





Despite the ongoing mainstream media meme that Russia is becoming 'isolated' from the rest of the world thanks to Western sanctions, it appears they have found a few new 'old' friends to become un-isolated with. On the heels of Russia's food-import-ban sanctions last week, Russian and Chinese officials have announced an agreement that China will start selling fruit and vegetables directly to Russia via a special logistics center in Russia's far east. Notably, this week saw Russia's GDP beat consensus expectations, Ruble rally, and stocks jump as German confidence plunged - can you say blowback?

 
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Russia Launches Another Military Drill In Northwest: 3000 Paratroopers, 30 Aircraft And Helicopters To Take Part





As we said yesterday, it was only a matter of time before Russia announced yet another drill just to show to the west that it is by no means telegraphing any weakness through the timing of drills. We were about 12 hours early, because later that same day, Itar-Tass reported that some 3,000 paratroopers will be airlifted in two districts of Russia’s north-western Pskov region as part of command and staff exercises of the 76th air assault division starting on Monday, Airborne Force spokeswoman, Major Irina Kruglova said. As a reminder, Pskov is located right next to the Baltics, bordering Estonia and Latvia, both of which have been on a rather belligerent diplomatic track with the Kremlin, and thus will likely result in a substantial escalation in Russia-Baltic tensions, not to mention Ukraine as well, now that Putin is no longer counter-un-de-escalating, again.

 
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This Is How Putin's Advisor Sees The Ukraine Crisis Playing Out





“The point of a series of regional wars organized by the Americans, especially today’s catastrophe in Ukraine, centers on the U.S. securing control over all of north Eurasia” to bolster “its position against China. That’s how the U.S. military and oligarchs are trying to maintain leadership in the global competition with China....Task no. 1 is to block those threats to economic security that are now coming from the U.S., neutralize them by reducing the dependence of our external economic activity on the mercy of American politicians, whose aggressiveness threatens the entire world."

 
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The West's Reckless Rush Towards War With Russia





For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials. A dangerous dynamic is brewing between the West and Russia/Putin. We are seeing a rush to war very similar to the one that led up to Saddam's ouster, but this time, we have much less justification (hard to believe) and the opponent is tremendously more capable. There is little sense in the course the West is currently pursuing, little to gain, and much to lose. The main conclusion here is that not only is the US poking the bear, but it is doing so with increasing frequency and upping the ante dangerously with each step.

 
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The Economist Touts "Cyberdream" Of Global 'National ID System'





Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth?  In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote.  This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them.  Never heard about this?  Neither had I before this week.  The Economist is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted.  The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well?  Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?

 
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NATO Scrambles F-16 Jets Over Lithuania After Russian Warplanes Allegedly Enter Airspace





The Ukraine conflict continues to simmer, with the conclusive presidential election perceived as a positive even as the fighting in the eastern part of the nation intensifies, but it is NATO member Lithuania where today's action was, where according to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, NATO sent two fighter jets from Estonia after Lithuania said Russian vessel disturbed civilian shipping in Baltic Sea, and two Russian warplanes flew over Lithuanian airspace.

 
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ECB: Gold “Important” And No Plan To Sell Significant Quantity Of





The ECB, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Riksbank of Sweden announced a new gold agreement this morning. They announced they have no plans to sell significant quantities of gold and reaffirmed the importance of gold bullion as a monetary reserve asset.

 
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Guest Post: The IMF Goes To War In Ukraine





...What’s left for the Empire of Chaos is to pray for chaos to keep spreading across Ukraine, thus sapping Moscow’s energy. And all this because the Washington establishment is absolutely terrified of an emerging power in Eurasia. Not one, but two – Russia and China. Worse: strategically aligned. Worse still: bent on integrating Asia and Europe. So feel free to picture a bunch of Washington angry old men hissing like juvenile delinquents:I don’t like you. I don’t want to talk to you. I want you to die.”

 
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NATO Fighter Jet Presence Triples In Baltic States





The clip below explains that in response to Russia no longer following the globalist playbook, NATO has tripled its air policing mission assets guarding the skies over the Baltic region.  In the video: Danish fighter jets land in Estonia, while Poland and the United Kingdom take over guarding the skies in Lithuania, tripling the NATO air policing mission strength in the Baltic region.

 
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Warning: Ukraine Is At A Flashpoint





As tensions between all parties in Eastern Europe boil over, Chris Martenson provides a brief tour through just some of the antics surrounding the US' involvement in bringing about change (you can believe in!) in Ukraine. We raise these items to counter the usual clutter and complete lack of context being provided in the US press and to illustrate that the US is already in pretty deep and therefore unlikely to back down now. Before we move on, do you not find it at all strange that the US media, usually extremely sensitive to anti-semitism, has given the McCain and Nuland support of the Svoboda party a complete pass? I find it to be like the case of "the dog that did not bark", meaning the silence reveals a very fickle moral compass at the heart of the western press. The demonization of Putin as the bad guy here is near complete in western media. But there’s plenty of mischief all around and, as usual, the US finds itself with some pretty strange bedfellows as it seeks an outcome it likes.

 
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Guest Post: Investors Are "Whistling Past The Graveyard" Over Global Geopolitics





Despite the considerable risks created by the situation in eastern Europe, most western stock, bond and property markets, fed on massive central bank fiat liquidity, continue to flirt with new highs. This strikes me as an exercise in whistling past the graveyard. In the short term, investors may continue to profit from risk-taking in financial markets. In the larger picture, much of the geopolitical balance of power that has been in place for much of the past 25 years will be tested on the banks of the Black Sea. Investors should take a few minutes from their daily technical chart analysis to consider these major developments.

 
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"Riders On The Storm:" A Fictional Letter Explaining What Is Going On In Russia





Dear Gennady, ...So you see, Gennady, we are actually quite prepared to see the stock market crash, to see all the stock markets in the world crash, and the yields on our dollar bonds rise to whatever level. We are prepared for much worse things... The inevitable economic setback may result in some political opposition within Russia itself, but in the context of an escalating confrontation with Europe it shouldn’t be too difficult to cope with.... I hope that makes things a little clearer. Yes, it is a risky strategy, but a Europe dominated by Russia, or at least detached from the United States and disunited, is a prize worth risking everything for. Beppo is worth a crash.... Think about what I’ve said – some of it may come as a shock, but in the end, I think you’ll agree that it’s actually good news that the long tense period of waiting is finally over. We can’t win a conventional or a nuclear conflict, but this plan really might succeed. If not, well, we Russians are used to overcoming adversity.. Your Friend, Sasha

 
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More "De-escalation" - NATO Sends Five Warships To Baltic Sea





The latest development out of NATO, which was already largely expected, must be part of the just announced elaborate de-escalation scheme.  From VOA: "NATO members are sending navy ships to the Baltic Sea to increase the security of the alliance's eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis. NATO's Maritime Command said Thursday it is sending four minesweepers and a support vessel to the Baltic Sea. The ships are from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia."

 
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Spot The "Recovering" European Periphery





With Italian and Spanish bond yields at record lows (and spreads - risk premia - near record lows) one can only ascertain that Europe is fixed, Draghi has no need to do QE, and everything in the world is fine again. Except it's not... Draghi is cornered from QE by a lack of uncommitted collateral and a banking system glued at the hip to the sovereign bond markets. But perhaps, for those who are buying Italian and Spanish bonds, it is not enough to see record high unemployment, record loan delinquencies, and record low credit creation... In order to help further with the BTFD, we offer the following chart - showing Spanish and Italian home prices continue to slump (along with Cyprus).

 
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