Mobsters in Transit: Saturn, Pluto, Lev Parnas, and the Russian Mafiya

We cannot draw the line at Trump. We must have the whole octopus.

ON 12 JANUARY 2020, Saturn and Pluto went “conjunct.” That means that from the vantage point of Earth, the two transiting planets appear to occupy the same space in the heavens. In astrology, the close proximity of these powerful and slow-moving celestial bodies is a big deal. Robert Hand explains it thus in Planets in Transit: “During this transit some things will come to an end or an old order of life will cease….This process involves getting rid of old structures.”

What sort of old structures are breaking down? What old order is ceasing? In astrology, as in mythology, Pluto rules the underworld—including the criminal underworld. Saturn, meanwhile, is the bringer of reckoning. This means that, at least in the horoscopical heavens, the forces of good are literally colliding with the forces of evil. It’s cops against robbers, democracy against despotism, G-men against the mob. And one of the sides must prevail. As the astrologer Stella Starsky puts it, “It’s solve et coagula in the extreme.”

So it’s astrologically apt that, in the first week of the Saturn-Pluto transit, the articles of impeachment were sent to the Senate and Lev Parnas went supernova.

As above, so below, as the occultists like to say.


The impeachment inquiry made clear, and the impeachment trial will confirm, that Donald John Trump is a criminal. This will remain true regardless of how Mitch McConnell and his corrupt GOP Senators vote. Trump flagrantly broke the law as president, just as he has broken the law for decades as a private citizen. He is a crook—period, full stop—and he will eventually pay for his crimes. The real question is: Will Trump alone take the fall, or will his bosses, handlers, and whoremasters be exposed and rooted out as well? Will the old structures be torn down, or just one middling money launderer and a gaggle of his accomplices?

The key figure in all of this, at least for the moment, is Lev Parnas. After his arrest, Parnas retained—mirabile dictu—John Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers, who likely advised him to not talk. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bail hearing: Parnas, perhaps freaked out by the Jeffrey Epstein imbroglio, decided that he could not and should not trust Bill Barr. He fired Dowd, retained a real attorney, and is poised to take out Trump, Barr, Giuliani—the Whole Sick Crew:

In Parnas’s calculus, the benefits of ratting out Trump and the collaborators outweighed the drawbacks. We don’t yet know the exact circumstances of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, but it is not unreasonable for Parnas to have observed that he turned up dead in extraordinary circumstances while on Bill Barr’s watch—taking his secrets with him to the grave. So Parnas went to town. Turning over all those text messages and documents and doing the Maddow interview make it impossible for Trump or Barr to get to Parnas without arousing suspicion, even among the MAGA (who love the Epstein conspiracy theories because of the Bill Clinton angle).

But Lev Parnas is no dummy. He knew where to draw the line:

That “business partner” of Semion Mogilevich, the head of the Russian mob, is Dmytro Firtash. The name should be familiar to anyone who has watched the Active Measures documentary. A Ukrainian national, Firtash is the oligarch Vladimir Putin installed to oversee the natural gas pipeline coming into Ukraine from Russia. His job? Create as much corruption in Kiev, and skim as much money off the top, as possible. He was influential in the corrupt government of Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president who was a client of Paul Manafort (Trump’s campaign chair) and Tad Devine (Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign chief strategist; now working for Andrew Yang). Firtash is tight with both Putin and Mogilevich, which makes him extraordinarily powerful. Oh, and he lives in Vienna, where Parnas and Rudy Giuliani were constantly flying off to.

Parnas appears to have given up the president and his minions. He is not giving up Firtash. Indeed, his description of the Trump operation as “a cult leader” only serves to distance Trumplandia from the mob that sustains it: “It was like…being in a cult,” he told Rachel Maddow. “I don’t think Trump is like organized crime. I think he’s a cult leader…..He became that powerful when he got Barr….I am more scared of our own Justice Department.” That last sentence is demonstrably and laughably untrue.

Trump is but one appendage of the giant octopus that is transnational organized crime. With the exposure of the Ukraine quid pro quo, and the subsequent articles of impeachment, that appendage has become gangrenous. To stave off further infection, Parnas has applied the tourniquet. It’s only a matter of time before the whole rotten limb falls off. But the trick, from the mob’s point of view, is to contain the damage.

When Paul Manafort was indicted, he pretended to cooperate with the feds, ran them on wild goose chases, and then withdrew his offer of cooperation. That is in keeping with how the vor y zakone, the “thieves-in-law,” do things: never help the law, never ever ever. Michael Cohen resisted at first, and then decided to cooperate with the authorities—but only to implicate Donald John Trump, and not any mobsters who might be in his orbit. Lev Parnas is doing the same thing—providing ample evidence to bury Trump and his collaborators, but distancing himself, and the Trumps, from the Russian mob. He is no hero. He is a rat. That the crook he’s ratting out happens to be the seditious president of the United States does not make Parnas any less of a scumbag piece of shit. Remember: he was surveilling the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to either menace her or have her assassinated—and that’s just what he told us about.

There is no question that Trump will be defeated. Semion Mogilevich and the Russian mafiya is a whole other story. To take back our country from the malevolent mob forces—to truly Make America Great Again—we cannot draw the line at Trump. We cannot be satisfied with just the gangrenous limb. We must have the whole octopus. It must be chopped into bits and turned into calamari. The old order must cease. The old structures must be eradicated. We must have solve et coagula in the extreme.

Hopefully, the stars will align, and this will come to pass. Lev Parnas does not want that outcome. Neither do his underworld bosses. But Pluto may insist.