Why Should Ukraine Not Split?

by craig on February 25, 2014 8:10 am in Uncategorized

There had never been an Ukrainian nation state until the last twenty five years.  The boundaries of the old Soviet Socialist Republics were never intended to define nation states, and indeed were in part designed to guard against forming potentially dangerous cohesive units.  The Ukrainians are a nation and f they wish are certainly entitled to a state, but that its borders must be those defined, and changed several times, by the Soviet Union for the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is not axiomatic.

It is not true that there is a general desire for secession for Ukraine on the linguistic and broadly West East split.  It is true that key political attitudes do correlate closely to the linguistic split, with Russian speakers identifying with the ousted government, and favouring closer ties with Russian over closer ties with the West, while Ukrainian speakers overwhelmingly favour EU integration.  But that does not translate into a general desire by the Russian speakers to secede from a Ukraine that goes the other way.  The key to this is that two thirds of Russian speaking Ukrainian nationals view themselves as ethnically Ukrainian, not Russian.  Only a third of Russian speakers, a sixth of the general population, regard themselves as ethnically Russian.  It does appear to be true that among those who view themselves as ethnically Russian, there is a significant desire for union with Russia, and that there is probably a majority in some Eastern provinces for that idea, probably including Crimea.  But the area involved is far smaller than the linguistically Russian area.

Ethnicity is of course a less tangible concept than linguistic identity, and has little claim to objective reality, particularly in an area with such turbulent history of population movement.  But it is futile to pretend it has no part in the idea of a nation state, and is best regarded as a cultural concept of self-identification.

The historical legacy is extremely complex.  Kievan Rus was essential to the construction of Russian identity, but for Russia to claim Kiev on that basis would be like France claiming Scandinavia because that is where the Normans came from.  Kievan Rus was destroyed and or displaced by what historical shorthand calls the Mongal hordes, almost a millennium ago.  Ukrainian history is fascinating, the major part of it having been at various times under Horde, Lithuanian, Polish, Krim Tartar, Galician, Cossack Federation, Russian and Soviet rule.

Still just within living memory, one in seven Ukrainians, including almost the entire intellectual and cultural elite, was murdered by Stalin.  An appalling genocide.  Like Katyn a hundred times over.  That is the poisonous root of the extreme right nationalism that has rightly been identified as a dangerous element in the current revolution.  Pro-western writers have largely overlooked the fascists and left wing critics have largely overlooked Stalin.  His brutal massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Krim Tartar is also relevant – many were forcibly deported to Uzbekistan, and I have heard the stories direct.

Having served in the British Embassy in Poland shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I regard as blinkered those who deny that membership of the European Union would be a massive advantage to Ukraine.  In 1994 there was very little difference in the standard of living in both countries – I saw it myself. The difference is now enormous, and that really means in the standard of living of ordinary working people.  Poland’s relationship with, and eventual membership of, the European Union has undoubtedly been a key factor.  Those who wish Ukraine instead to be linked to the raw commodity export economy of Putin’s Russia are no true friends of the working people. Ukraine’s accidental boundaries include, of course, the great formerly Polish city of Lvov.

Ukraine is an accidental state and its future will be much brighter if it is a willing union.  It needs not just Presidential and Parliamentary elections, but also a federal constitution and a referendum on whether any of its provinces would prefer to join Russia.  That can give an agreed way forward to which Russia might also subscribe, and defuse the current crisis.  It would suit the long term interest of both the Ukraine and the West.  I fear however that the politicians will be too macho to see it.

 

 

 

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357 Comments

  1. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 12:42 pm

    Russians are playing dirty game ever now and again.

    Kremlin is denying that armed men occupying Crimean airports have anything to do with Russian armed forces, and at the same time Russia is calling all security servicemen in Crimea to join Russian army and issuing them Russian passports.

    Now, just for information. Ethnic Russians living in Central Asia (and elsewhere except when Russian government needs to annex territory) have to wait for an average of 3 years to get permission of settlement in Russia (not even citizenship).

  2. Excellent points, Uzbek. I agree with you that Soviet imperialism went hand-in-hand with Russian imperialism, of a kind, and ironically Stalin – despite being Georgian – was a huge proponent of Russo-centrism and destruction of other dangerous nationalisms.

  3. More of the BBC’s inverted commas in use.

    28 February 2014 Last updated at 11:53
    Ukraine crisis: ‘Russians occupy’ Crimea airports

    Live
    Key video
    Crimea explained
    BBC on ground
    Key players Yanukovych surfaces

    Christian Fraser says barriers and armed men are blocking Sevastopol airport

    Ukraine crisis
    Crimean airports occupied Live
    Crimea explained
    Profile: Viktor Yanukovych
    Key players

    Ukraine’s interior minister has accused Russian naval forces of occupying Sevastopol airport in the region of Crimea.

    Arsen Avakov called their presence an “armed invasion”.

    But Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has denied that Russian servicemen are taking part.

    The other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, has also been occupied by armed men, thought to be pro-Russia militia.

    /..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26379722

  4. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    Not sure how trustworthy it is (as it is coming out of Russian sources) but…

    Over 40% of respondents in Russia believe that Ukraine uprising is a criminal offence led by criminals and consider Yanukovich to be rightful president of Ukraine.

    Also 60% believe that Crimea is Russian territory and needs to join Russia, since majority (as propagated by Russian media) are Russians.

    Interestingly, what would their answer be if someone asked them if Ichkeria (Chechnya) have right to separate from Russia since 98% of population there are Chechens? Or Tatarstan where 72% of population are Tatars?

  5. According to this reliable source the fascists have taken charge in the Ukraine.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukrainian-neo-nazis-declare-that-power-comes-out-of-the-barrels-of-their-guns/5371126

  6. John Goss, that is a) Paul Craig Roberts, on b) Global Research, citing c) Russia Today.

    That’s three strikes against the claim “reliable source”.

  7. I posted that before John. Professor Michel Chossudovsky is widely travelled in the region and is particularly well informed. I thought the content in some of the photos was chilling.

  8. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 2:05 pm

    Yanukovich in this press-conference in Russia (one should ask himself why in Russia) claims that he never ordered police to shoot people in Kiev.

    Yes, of course I believe him. Just like I believe that Karimov never ordered to slaughter people in Andijan in 2005.

    All these communist buggers are the same. Killing their own people blessed by Kremlin.

  9. This analysis is good.

    Reviving the Cold War
    Dr Strangelove over Ukraine
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/dr-strangelove-over-ukraine/

    Jeffery Summers
    28 February 2014

    ‘[..]
    The scene for the original plot was set in the closing stages of the Cold War. George Bush (the elder) promised Gorbachev that if the Soviets let the Warsaw Pact go, Russia would never have to worry about the expansion of NATO. The US responded to this deal by immediately taking the former Warsaw Pact into NATO and then moving into the former USSR territory itself by taking in the Baltics. Nobody could blame the new entrants for wishing NATO entry, given their Soviet occupation past. But, neither could anyone blame the Russians for feeling utterly betrayed by the US and NATO for breaking their word.

    Thereafter, Eurasionists in the US State Department wanted more. For them, the goal was the further break-up of Russia and its ‘near abroad’ and remaking it in the image of a neoliberal periphery. For Russia, the ‘game’ has had an existential character. Russia was imploding (whether by their own actions, pressure from the West, or a combination of the two are all points for debate). For Russia, NATO’s moves into Georgia cut too close to the bone and Russia responded, yet the threat of NATO taking Ukraine represented taking Russia’s ‘heart’: the very ancestral home where ‘Russia’ was founded.

    Meanwhile, the EU has thought it could reprise its earlier eastward expansion into the former Warsaw Pact that delivered a consumer goods export windfall. This alleviated West European unemployment resulting from the Maastricht Treaty’s punishing fiscal and monetary requirements to create its currency union. Ukraine’s purchasing potential, however, is less than the countries that bordered Germany who were integrated into West European markets. An export boom is unlikely to occur with the proposed Association Agreement. Indeed, the possible damage to Ukrainian markets from poorly executed trade liberalization and non-visa regimes could flood the EU with cheap labor. This outcome would work to further erode Europe’s historically unique (and largely successful) ‘Social Market.’

    Ukraine has suffered in this Big Powers crossfire that has left them indebted to both Russia & the EU. Meanwhile, ethnic Ukrainians see the EU as a ‘savior.’ What they fail to recognize is that they are only seeing the last vestiges of a ‘Social Europe’ that in the main has been sacrificed on the alter of neoliberalism. In short, Ukraine’s ‘savior’ is a phantom that no longer exists.’
    [..]

  10. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    From Yanukovich’s press-conference where he described those who drove him from power as “young neo-fascist thugs”.

    Here we go again. And John Goss, bless him, swallowed the same KGB bait that many Russians are offered today.

    Trusting source relying on RT on a conflict in which Russia is directly involved (Yanukovich’s presence in Russia is not out of the blue) is either being very stupid (I hope this is not John) or very naïve.

  11. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 2:18 pm

    From article on which John Goss is relying in his conclusion that current government in Kiev are Neo-Nazis.

    “Today Japan and Germany are Washington’s puppet states. In contrast, Ukraine was an independent country with a working relationship with Russia. It was this relationship that Washington wished to destroy.”

    One should ask himself how is dependence (or puppetness) of Germany and Japan on Washington is different to independence of Ukraine from Russia? And one should assess working relations which Ukraine (as claimed in the article) had with Russia to (I presume) puppet relations Germany and Japan have with US?

    I am still amused (but I now started getting very angry) about bluntness of hardcore leftie bastards. Day will come when Karimov (or his successors) will (hopefully) be challenged and these leftie bustards (I feel) will support whoever is opposing the west. Be so Russian chauvinists or Chinese Communist (with genocidal attitude towards minorities).

  12. Hmmm…Yanukovych in Rostov-on-Don begging to be allowed back to Ukraine. Strange given that if he was so popular in the East of Ukraine he didn’t have a big support group there. And yes, Uzbek, as you say it’s interesting that he would end up in Russia of all places.

  13. Uzbek in the UK,

    “One should ask himself how is dependence (or puppetness) of Germany and Japan on Washington is different to independence of Ukraine from Russia? And one should assess working relations which Ukraine (as claimed in the article) had with Russia to (I presume) puppet relations Germany and Japan have with US?”

    I think the trick is you are not supposed to test these claims for coherence. The point is “West bad. Anti-west good”.

  14. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Mary

    When one is looking into NATO expansion one should again consider history as their guide.

    As it happened all presently new members of NATO have served as buffer zones in centuries of wars between Europeans (with whoever) and within Europeans driven by balance of power politics.

    To add to this one should carefully look into 4 decades that followed since end of WWII when all these new NATO members were de facto Russian colonies. It is still unknown how many lives perished during this occupation, but economic stagnation is upfront. One should only look onto Germany (former west and east) to sense wholescaleness of economic failure.

    In fact as many researches and revealed documents show, it was these governments with strong support from their people who asked to be accepted into security club that 1. defended them from future Russian threat and 2. guaranteed that their security is not compromised by western powers since there was no major conflict between western powers since end of WWII.

  15. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 3:32 pm

    Breaking News (or something that have been anticipated long ago)

    In his press-conference openly called for Russian support to ensure that “neo-Nazi thugs” are driven out of Ukraine and legitimate (his own arse) government installed.

    He said that Russia cannot stand aside from whatever is happening in Ukraine and must intervene to ensure his return.

    What a bloody bloke this kremlin puppet is. Shooting his own people, leaving country in difficult moment (if his claims of “neo-Nazi thugs” is true then it is difficult moment), surfacing in Russia and calling it to help him to get power back… What a puppet.

  16. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    I have omitted that my previous post was related to Yanukovich’s recent press-conference in Russia.

  17. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 3:34 pm

    Yanukovich is a)independent or b) puppet

    Please vote.

  18. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    Mr Murray,

    I think our dream of having Shashlik (Uzbek style shish kebab) in Tashkent will remain to be dream forever lasting.

    I will explain.

    Within CSTO framework Russia has pushed for Central Asian states to agree on rapid reaction force which Russia (as main contributor) will use in case of security challenge posted by either external (or internal – emphasis added) force to any of the members. This is easily interpreted that such forces could be used in time of popular uprising to crush anyone who poses threat to the dictators.

    One small hope is that Uzbekistan suspended its membership in 2012. But for instance Ukraine has never been a member, and looks in all the Russian meddling there.

  19. Uzbek in the UK:

    “Yanukovich is a)independent or b) puppet

    Please vote.”

    Shouldn’t also add :

    “Yats” (you know Yats of course) 1s a)independent or b)puppet

    Just for balance!!

  20. yanukovich; plutocrat puppet democratically elected

  21. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    Evgueni

    Sorry, for the silence. I have just seen your post. I think I am over consumed by reading latest developments and anger and the same time.

    Yes, I read the book СТРАНА МОКСЕЛЬ (in internet), hence (and not only because of this book) my reference to start of the Ukrainian oppression from 14th century, when Moscow Kingdom (Velikoe Moskovskoe Knyazhestvo) took over Kiev.

    Spoon fed propaganda about Russian liberators established well in our heads. Russification has also played great role. It takes a lot of reading (of something not written by Russian chauvinists) to realise how poor our knowledge or our own history and culture is.

    If you are Ukrainian I wish you and your oppressed compatriots well. I sincerely hope that this time you overcome this historical injustice and will place seeds of positive modernity (and not the one showered by blood).

  22. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Ben

    Is “democratically elected” your emphasis? I remember one another man (or more correct his party) which was democratically elected once.

  23. Uzbek; A suggestion for any (Evgueni) who feel the ignorance wrt to Ukraine or other shortcomings that we are eager to learn from those who have understanding. It would help if links to inertial data were forthcoming rather than bald critique.

  24. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 4:52 pm

    Z

    Sorry no idea what Yats means. I find it hard to remember word of literary English – age takes its own tall on the memory.

  25. Uzbeck; I’m not saying the election was valid. Can we be sure if any are? My point was more valid if legal and prescribed methods were used to remove him from office. There are wheels within wheels operating, and unless one is omniscient, it is difficult to separate the good guys from bad.

  26. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 4:56 pm

    Ben

    I made many references to the shortcomings (yours and some others) in understanding of Ukrainian crisis and grave mistake to look at it as west vs russia zero-sum game.

    If one starts writing Slavic history from 10th century on this blog, then Mr Murray could well retire and not come back here in 10 years time as there will be no time/space for his thoughts (or of others).

  27. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 5:01 pm

    “My point was more valid if legal”

    Mr Islam Karimov – president of Uzbekistan is being elected (legally) as president of Uzbekistan since 1993. Well, lets follow your logic (and your normative approach (or lack of it)) and wish Mr Karimov WELL.

  28. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 5:02 pm

    I am now biting my tong for wishing Karimov well. Every day he is in power, someone (or many more than one) is dying in prison.

  29. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    28 Feb, 2014 - 5:09 pm

    Uzbek in UK

    Ben has responded to your invitation to vote with the following bit of low-grade casuistry:

    “yanukovich; plutocrat puppet democratically elected”
    ___________________

    And that, dear Uzbek, is probably the best you’re going to get out of the Russia-good West-bad crowd on this blog (with the exception of Angrysoba and myself).

    *********************

    “Life is getting better, life is getting merrier!” J.Stalin, ca. 1932)

  30. Really Uzbek? I don’t remember you saying anything definitive about who the honest brokers are in the Ukraine. Names or groups who have the best interest of the People? This is your chance to educate beyond stating commentator ignorance.

  31. Uzbek in the UK:

    Sorry no idea what Yats means.

    Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk.
    Ring any bells?

  32. The pro-Western ‘Yats’ needs to understand that austerity does not work. Japan has been trying it for 20 years.

    They got permanent stagnancy and Fukushima. I think they preferred Fuk.

  33. I should clarify.

    Austerity can work in a dictatorship or a body politic like a Junta. I meant to say if democratic values are in play, it won’t work.

    The former just reduces the population by the number of opponents, and voila'; success.

  34. There’s growing evidence that the armed groups occupying Crimea’s airports are Russian troops. They’re too well equipped and too disciplined to be militia.

    If there was even a hint that they might be US Marines or British Paras this thread would be on its tenth page of outrage and indignation.

  35. One insignificant, unexplained Russian navy ship in Cuba, and American commentators go wild about the resumption of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Actually there were three Russian naval vessels visiting Cuba this week.

    And ships or subs are a much more satisfactory base for nuke-tipped missiles and electronic sensing equipment than immobile land-based missiles and radar installations.

    What’s more Russia has announced pending military base agreements not only with Cuba, but also Nicaragua, Venezuela, Vietnam and other countries. So, in fact, Obama has now to face the reality of Russian nukes within 100 miles of America’s southern shore, just as Russia has to face American nukes on its Polish border, placed there in contravention of an understanding between Regan and Gorbachev. And if ‘Barmy thinks that not a strategic threat, he’s more of a fool that most people seem to think.

  36. CanSpeccy; That’s interesting in it’s global threat capacity, but is the population at large supporting the far right, or are they the tiny squeaking wheel that get’s the grease; kinda like the Tea Party?

    Can any of the Ukraine experts provide some information on the likelihood the People support the extreme right-wing? Still waiting.

  37. I got an email from a good friend who lives in Kiev. He is a pretty clued in liberal type. Anyway I value his opinion and thought it useful to post it here. Well Clark suggested I did after I put it on Squonk.

    ********

    Yes, everyone here is revolting but don’t believe the stuff you read by people like the guy that wrote the article you sent. He’s one of Russia’s ‘useful idiots’ who is connected to RT (formerly known as Russia Today).

    Yes, there are some right wing elements involved in Maidan but it’s hugely overplayed by lazy people who know very little about it and believe the misinformation coming from Putin and co.

    The majority of people in Maidan are not extremists, most of them aren’t connected with any political party, and — contrary to what you may read, and unlike the so-called anti-Maidan protesters — they are definitely not being paid to turn up. They are ordinary Ukrainian citizens, from all classes, all ages, all religions, all ethnic groups, speaking Russian and Ukrainian who have just had enough of being treated like absolute shit by politicians who are quite literally criminals. Criminals in their past lives and criminals now in government, who have shamelessly robbed the country blind and ruined the economy for personal gain.

    This has been brewing for a long time and when Yanokovich decided not to sign that European thing (whatever it was), the shit hit the fan! Not because of the European agriculture policy or the European monetary system but because people hoped that it might make the government reform the crooked courts, the crooked cops, the crooked everything and introduce the rule of law.

    Anyway, I won’t go on. Here’s an article that gives a different view (not the best I’ve read but I can’t find anything else at the moment).

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/andrea-chalupa/2014/02/fact-checking-the-ukrainian-revolution/

    and there’s some well made video stuff here (In Ukrainian mostly but you get the gist):
    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrJIIeADD45RsffK2yYgmSw?feature=watch

  38. Thanks Phil;

    That email was the personal face I was looking for. To the article’s point I was more familiar with the Armenian genocide than Holodomor, and I don’t know why that event has less public awareness, except maybe that the numbers for Stalin’s genocide are so large that it is incomprehensible and therefore, unthinkable.

    I repeat my earlier point that I hope the maligned far right is not so vocal that they engineer a government that only appears to be democratic. The people of the Ukraine deserve a more representative government.

  39. Na Du, or similar, wrote
    “I am not some Anti-EU Little Brit, but to see people on demonstrations waving the EU flag in Kiev screams ‘fake’.”

    Yes it does doesn’t it, why do you say Klitschko is a crook?
    Is it because he served one once, as a debt collector?

    I think your assumption is wrong because people on the ground do believe he is the better of the worst solutions.
    Whether this is to the liking of us or his German connections is not here or there, he has street cred.
    He is also fairly intelligent, despite his fighting lifestyle. That he has Russian leanings is obvious, his dad was Russian.

    But do tell us something we don’t know, please.

  40. Welcome to the new Ukraine:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SedAjI9FmGI

  41. Z; thugs always loom large; bullies must appear larger than life. What do you make of the popular uprising described in Phil’s email above? Are the thugs aligned as though ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’?

  42. Ben

    What I think is that the thugs were in control all the time, after the dissolution of the
    Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.That is, there was no effort at all to create the foundations for proper civil societies and democratic institutions. They went from Scylla to Charybdis, so to speak, with the plundering of state owned property by various former party members and officials, having bigger priority over the transition to a better run society.
    The present situation in Ukraine is a tragic example of this.

    The character who abuses attacks the prosecutor in the video, is supposed to be someone from the “Right Sector”. It is interesting that no-one interferes with this abuse, not even the police officer behind the victim!

  43. ” ships or subs are a much more satisfactory base for nuke-tipped missiles ”

    Surface ships don’t carry nuclear weapons. Banned by treaty in 1991.

    Russian warships have been in and out of Cuba on a regular basis since the end of the Cold War. The only difference this time is that the state-controlled press in Cuba has made no mention of it which paradoxically has drawn greater attention from the western press.

  44. “I am not some Anti-EU Little Brit, but to see people on demonstrations waving the EU flag in Kiev screams ‘fake’.”

    Why so? I agree you wouldn’t see it in this country but the EU Association Agreement would’ve given Ukraine 20 billion euros of loans and grants and obliged the government to clean up it’s act. Yanukvych was prepared to sign right up until Moscow made him another offer; possibly one he couldn’t refuse.

  45. E-mail to Jon Snow Ch 4 News from Ed on Medialens.

    Snowmail…McCain and the Ukraine…short email to 6 Pilgers
    Posted by Ed on February 28, 2014, 7:05 pm

    Mr Snow,
    I see from tonight’s “Snowmail”(1) that you are going to talk to Senator John McCain about how the world should react to events in the Ukraine.

    Why on earth have you decided that your viewers should be subjected to the views of a deceptive, warmongering neocon who does little else but spread fear and loathing on his never ending quest to portray foreign countries as some sort of existential threat to the US and its allies?

    America is up to its neck in fomenting and aiding the coup d’état against the democratically elected government in the Ukraine and yet you choose to discuss the situation with one of the worst examples of US political life on earth.

    It just beggars belief when there are so many more honest, qualified, knowledgeable and yes, “humane” people that you could have spoken to for the greater benefit of your audience.

    Maybe you can ask McCain if he has any more “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” type jokes for the Ukraine.

    He’s a funny man, no?

    Ed Murray.

    (1)International Editor Lindsey Hilsum was in the Crimean capital Simferopol as Russian troops moved in. Here she is in her own words: “Our team was at Simferopol airport shortly after Russian troops took control. Russian soldiers wore no insignia and were somewhat shy when I asked them to identify themselves. More Russian soldiers seem to be arriving this evening at the airport in Sevastopol, there are Russian troops on main roads and reports that Russian troops have taken over a local TV channel.” Meanwhile, Senator John McCain insists that “this is not the cold war”. As a Russian warship blocks the entrance to the harbour, we go over the options with him tonight on how the rest of the world should react to latest events.

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1393614301.html

  46. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 11:06 pm

    Z

    Thanks for Yats explanation. I feel it is coming hot bakes straight from Lubyanka bakery shop?

    Not heard of it much, but guess it will now be as common as Maydanshik.

    Yes, in fact I do not mind to put Yats on voting ballot too. Could he match the man who had lived in luxury with duck houses and personalised whiskey, while his people were paying increased (by Russia) energy bills?

    Let’s see. Common lefties.

  47. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 11:12 pm

    Phil

    Interesting email thanks for posting it here. This is something I have been hearing a lot from old connections. It was in fact people of different age (some soviet educated blokes like myself) who stood in Maydan. Like every resistance event this one was tried to get hijacked by radicals but nor were they in majority, nor they got any support from people.

    Russian propaganda on other hand was quick and since then persistent to brand Maydan apprising as crime led by neo-nazis. The fact that this came out of Yanukovich today (in Russia) sounding exactly the same as earlier from Medvedev should one make think the trustworthiness of the claim.

  48. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 11:29 pm

    Ben

    I do not think you believe in representative government. Your point (from what I understand) is anything is good as long as west is not meddling. Even so if it is bad.

    For instance you do not support people in Kiev (most of the dead ones much younger than 30), but you support ‘democratically’ elected president who left Ukraine as soon as he could and reappeared in Russia calling Putin to intervene (read kill Ukrainians) to return him his duck house. People who stood against this man and died you branded neo-nazis. Your lack of knowledge about deeply rooted conflict, oppression and genocide of Ukrainians allows you to ignore everything else but Russian propaganda. You hatred of the west (in which you live and which benefits you use) is allowing you to turn your blind eye on violation of Human Rights in Russia and (with Russian blessing) in many other parts of former USSR. And when Ukrainians are trying to brake away from it, you brand them neo-nazis.

    Hardcore lefties like you make whole lot of noise when police in London cattle student demonstration, BUT keep shut when Berkut use real bullets and aiming at organs of human beings in Ukraine. Are you RACIST? Do you think just because Ukrainians are not Brits they could be called neo-nazis for standing up for their rights? Or do you only support those who are oppressed (or were oppressed) by British Empire? Can I then remind you that British Empire is no longer but Russia still exists in pretty much its imperial boundaries? Is this matter to be ignored?

  49. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    Mary

    Lets know make whole lot of shows about people who died and (will likely die if Russian intervention into Crimea starts) in Ukraine? It is amusing is not it?

  50. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 11:47 pm

    Z

    Interestingly, but the video looks like well staged play put on youtube with Maydan being emphasised. Other videos from Crimea looks lot more real though.

    Talking about criminal thugs running former ussr you carefully managed not to mention the largest and richest criminal enterprise (Russia) and emphasised on Ukraine instead. You also fail to mention that most of the businesses in Russia are controlled by former KGB officers and criminal authoritets who have submitted to KGB (so called Sukas). It is only sky high oil and gas prices that allow Russian GDP to grow as for everything else (from cars to textile, from IT to general household goods) are still being imported to Russia despite being made of components large bought from Russia as raw materials.

  51. Remember this ? Violation of international law by US. They cannot help themselves ,they plant CIA
    agents everywhere causing trouble ,in the the 1960`s as soon as we uncovered one in our University
    they would be replaced in a couple of months and the game would start again. It very nearly became a régime change in the UK when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister.
    I bet your boots they were behind the Ukraine coup.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/thirty-years-after-the-u-s-invasion-of-grenada-the-first-neoliberal-war/5355916

  52. Our enemies enemy is not our friend. Beware sucking up Russian propaganda just because you don’t like some clips of EU flags being waved (anyway I keep noticing red and black flags which reminds me of Ukraine’s radical history).

    Are these people fascists? These? Check out the nerve of these people. Is Ukraine so full of fascists they can kick out a Russian backed government. That would take a lot of fascists. Doesn’t seem likely to me. I know some Ukranians and they are not fascists. And they are saying this is not a fascist coup. Who am I to know better? Who am I to call them idiot CIA fascist stooges? I’m an armchair commentator on political blogs that’s who!

  53. Uzbek

    Your reply indicates you have no understanding of my poverty. Kindly hugger off.

  54. Poverty should be pov

  55. Ben,

    But is your point-of-view an informed one?

    If you have a serious interest in learning about the situation, I would recommend reading Uzbek’s posts with a more open-mind rather than through the usual lens of conspiracism.

  56. “But is your point-of-view an informed one?”

    I’m writing my pov in english so maybe that’s the problem. I see only anecdotal info from Uzbek and my question to you is; have you read my posts? How could Uzbek draw the conclusion I was racist unless he is deranged. I have no need to defend what needs no defense and I’m through with this episode.

  57. Uzbek in the UK, respect to you for pointing out the plight of Ukrainians standing up against Russia and their government.

    Various people, please remember that the disgusting Karimov regime in Uzbekistan is a Russian client government, and Uzbek in the UK knows what it is like to live under such a system. Alisher Usmanov is part of that system.

    Phil, thanks for the message from your friend in Kiev. Could you ask him to post here on this blog?

    Others, we have some Russian speakers here; can any of you translate from the videos that have been linked, or listen to them and explain what’s going on etc?

    We need to remember that the EU is not the US, and in any case, just because the US supports protesters doesn’t mean the protesters are bad. The US will support something if it’s in US interests, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

    I’m a bit worried that in the videos some of the protesters seem to be quite well equipped, for instance all those shields and helmets. Some of the protesters seem to be wearing things that almost look like uniforms. But even if we assume that this indicates US support, that still doesn’t mean that the protesters are wrong. If you were involved in protests that turned violent when attacked by state forces, you’d probably accept shields and helmets no matter which country gave them to you.

    Regarding extremist elements, we should assume that authorities will use such elements for the authorities’ own propaganda advantage. For instance, in the student demonstrations in the UK a small minority of students acted either violently or stupidly. This was used to justify police violence against the student protesters as a whole. There are also always the possibilities of infiltrators and agents provocateurs, whose actions are intended to discredit legitimate protesters. We’ve seen this in the UK and in Canada, so why not in Ukraine?

    I fear for the protesters if the Russian military intervenes.

  58. Ben, chill out, friend. I know from Squonk that you’re under a lot of stress at present. If I were Uzbek in the UK, I too would be likely to feel angry at people in the safety of the West accepting Russian propaganda. We object to our own establishment’s propaganda, but we have to remember that other establishments do exactly the same thing.

  59. WTF, Clark? Where in hades have I swallowed Russkie propaganda?

    Really. You are out of line.

  60. Ben, sorry. When there are a lot of comments coming from different people, it can get confusing. I’ll read the comments a bit more and then post again…

  61. Ben, having looked back, I don’t think you were, but some of your comments are less than clear; for instance: “I hope the maligned far right is not so vocal…” – eh? The far right are malign, so I don’t know how they could be maligned. If I don’t understand this, it’s likely to confuse Uzbek in the UK, whose first language isn’t English.

    Ben, my advice is to just put it down to misunderstanding all round, and move on. I don’t think you’re racist.

  62. Happy St David’s Day to all the Welsh Dafydds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(name)#In_other_languages

    There is a Russian/Ukrainian version Давид (Davyd) too.

  63. Obama said:

    ‘Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilising, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe,” he said.

    “It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine – and of international laws.”‘

    What a hypocrite. How dare he preach to Russia. Substitute Iraq or Afghanistan for Ukraine at the beginning of the first sentence. Does he not admit that the US wars in the region have destabilized the whole area and caused mayhem and chaos?

  64. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    1 Mar, 2014 - 8:52 am

    Ben’s feeble response:

    “I’m writing my pov in english so maybe that’s the problem. I see only anecdotal info from Uzbek and my question to you is; have you read my posts? How could Uzbek draw the conclusion I was racist unless he is deranged. I have no need to defend what needs no defense and I’m through with this episode.”
    _________________

    Yes, Uzbek gave you a really good kicking, didn’t he. You managed to brush aside the smaller kickings I’ve given you from time to tome, but the best you can do against Uzbek – who’s really told it as it is and shown you up – is to whine “I’m through with this episode”. As far as I’m concerned, this blog’s through with you.

  65. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 9:30 am

    I agree almost entirely with what Craig says on this matter. Those of us who have spent time in that part of the world (and I have worked in Poland, Ukraine and Russia) know that culturally, economically and geographically that Poland and Ukraine, the vast bulk of the Russia population, are part of Europe – that needs to put back together after the splits of the 20th century.

    I should also add that while there is a lot of historical evidence to support the view that one of the favourite pastimes of the various Slavic tribes is fighting each other – my personal experience is that their common characteristics are a lot greater – and after a few drinks in the right surroundings those similarities and unifying characteristics usually come to the fore.

    There are of course those on the ersatz left, who time and time on this blog demonstrate that empty vessels make the most noise, who have a lingering affection for the days when a Soviet Union could stand as a superpower counterpoint to the other superpower and their bête noir. And they have a course now loyally trooped into their old uniforms as fellow travellers and useful idiots for the Putin regime. What they fail to realise is that the best way of countering this superpower nonsense is by developing a federation of European states as a working mechanism for different political ideas and cultures to work alongside each other based on tolerance and respect is a better counter to the superpower model – than just building up a rival superpower or two (just look at how the Chinese are recolonizing Africa for instance)

    What is not recognised is that it is the autocratic and kleptocratic Putin regime that is the main barrier to Ukraine and Russia (and also Belarus) taking their true place within a European family of nations. Not surprisingly Putin likes to surround himself with neighbours who have a similar mindset and of course are prepared to bend their knee to him as the capo de kapos – helped along from time to time with a few monetary incentives and the occasional threat and punishment (e.g. turning off the heating in winter). You can be pretty sure that when Karimov departs, Putin will be looking to appoint a more compliant lieutenant to his Tashkent branch – and indeed there are signs that the recruitment process has already begun. The historically aware will note that this model has a lot of similarities to that employed by the Mongol leaders who controlled this part of the world for many years.

    Well the Ukrainians have had enough and decided that they no longer want an autocratic kleptocrat as their leader – and who knows the Russians, Belarussians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs and Azeris might hopefully join them one day. Others have debunked the idea that this movement is a fascist inspired one. Of course fascists and extreme nationalists that fester in such an environment come to the fore – but if anyone thinks this is a Ukraine only phenomenom they are very much mistaken. In Russia itself the fascists are now pretty much tolerated and even encouraged. Zhironovsky and his party are among Putin’s staunchest supporters. Far right groups have killed hundreds of immigrant and what they view as undesirables – and then the State joins in with similar attacks on immigrants. I have even seen with my own eyes thugs dressed in Nazi like uniforms prancing around unchallenged in the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow. And what does Putin do to actively discourage such behaviour?

    As for the Crimea and referendums – it would perhaps surprise some to know that Ukraine did hold a referendum to confirm its independence back in 1991 and the results were pretty conclusive across the whole of the Ukraine and even in the Crimea the vote went 57% to 43% in favour of independence.

    Craig is right that Lvov was a former Polish city – but he fails to mention that a lot of the population of Lvov moved to Wroclaw – which of course was the former German city of Breslau. Perhaps some thinks just have to be left to settle.

  66. Dave Lawton

    1 Mar, 2014 - 9:45 am

    The Biggest threat to world peace from a poll in 2013 was found to be the United States.
    For them War is Business..

    https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/31-6

  67. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Just in

    “The Stop the War Coalition opposes imperialist interventions wherever they occur, and by whatever government carries them out. We didn’t stop the war in Iraq, but we did create a mass anti war opinion in Britain and throughout the world. That tide of anti war opinion has made itself felt in the past few days. We now have to reject all attempts at intervention in Ukraine and call upon President Putin to to develop a foreign policy which is based on equality and justice, and the rights of national sovereignty. We will demonstrate on Saturday against this intervention. It is the aim of the anti-war movement to ensure that Putin is forced to abandon the attack on Ukraine now that the country with which Russia is supposed to enjoy a ‘special relationship’ has carried out an exercise in national self-determination.’”

  68. Resident Dissident, will you be attending? I can’t tell you how dreadful I feel. I can try to get there.

    Habbabkuk, there is NOTHING good about a “kicking”. But if you’ll be at the demonstration, I’d rather it was me that got kicked than anyone else.

  69. Is this sort of life worth living at all? Where’s Anon to tell me that I ought not to waste my time and I should be out making money or shooting things instead?

    Of course a demonstration will do no good. When we think of the anti-war demonstrations for Iraq, everyone thinks of London. But similar massive demonstrations happened all over the world.

    I’d best start getting ready.

  70. Just in

    “A handful of old trots coalition state categorically and unambiguously when it is appropriate to do so that war is bad for you kids. Although we do not intend to take any meaningful action I will soon have a meeting with my comrade and my wife in a secret location in our North London detached home to decide that we will be inviting Tariq Ali to make a speech reiterating that war is bad for you kids. As long as the comrade inspector from the met gives us the go ahead.”

  71. Resident Dissident, There is no mention on the stopwar.org.uk website. Do you have any idea why?

    http://stopwar.org.uk/

  72. I won’t be much of a demonstration on my own, will I?

  73. “There is no mention on the stopwar.org.uk website. Do you have any idea why?”

    Tariq Ali is on holiday. Tony Benn is unwell. Comrade inspector from the met says NO. All actions postponed.

  74. Please people stop being ironic or whatever. There is no tone of voice in text communication. Please just state the facts.

  75. Just in

    “The coalition of a handful of old trots re-emphasise the revolutionary necessity for countering reactionary counter revolutionary types by adopting temporary revolutionary restrategisation. Comrade inspector from the met has passed on the unequivocal assesment PISS OFF.”

    “Comrade Clark has rumbled the ironists and, playing the sincere liberal concern card, is asking them politely to desist. So all is not lost. But we, your clear thinking and fearless leaders, are planning an emergency meeting in which we will democratically decide that our demo must await Ali. How could we imagine otherwise? Keep this channel open. Both good comrades for himself. Run for the Chilterns.”

  76. doug scorgie

    1 Mar, 2014 - 11:12 am

    Uzbek in the UK
    28 Feb, 2014 – 12:42 pm

    “Kremlin is denying that armed men occupying Crimean airports have anything to do with Russian armed forces, and at the same time Russia is calling all security servicemen in Crimea to join Russian army and issuing them Russian passports.”

    “Now, just for information. Ethnic Russians living in Central Asia (and elsewhere except when Russian government needs to annex territory) have to wait for an average of 3 years to get permission of settlement in Russia (not even citizenship).”

    True Uzbek but who started this crisis?

    I will answer. It was the EU, UK, and USA.

    The USA is now doing the same now in Venezuela.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-26392262

  77. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 11:14 am

    All those concerned about fascism in the Ukraine will no doubt be not at all concerned by the visit of Zhirinovsky to the Crimea – as he is the right sort of fascist.

  78. Phil, was I merely “a useful idiot” when I demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq?

    Habbabkuk?

    Resident Dissident?

    Is anyone prepared to discuss honestly with me?

  79. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 11:17 am

    “True Uzbek but who started this crisis?

    I will answer. It was the EU, UK, and USA.”

    Of course it has nothing whatsoever to do with a Russian backed autocratic kleptocrat being in charge. That nice Mr Putin never ever meddles in the affairs of his neighbours.

    Not sure what you are on Mr Scourge but it must be good.

  80. doug scorgie, would you think it right to say that the EU, UK and USA precipitated the crisis in Ukraine with a financial offer, but that it was Russia that permitted it to develop by supporting corrupt misrule over a long time?

  81. Resident dissident, PLEASE don’t provoke and wind up. I’m trying to understand, and I find it hard.

  82. doug scorgie

    1 Mar, 2014 - 11:32 am

    Angrysoba
    28 Feb, 2014 – 1:25 pm
    John Goss, that is a) Paul Craig Roberts, on b) Global Research, citing c) Russia Today.

    That’s three strikes against the claim “reliable source”.

    Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine

    https://libcom.org/news/neo-nazis-far-right-protesters-ukraine-23012014

    Ukraine: far-right extremists at core of ‘democracy’ protest

    http://www.channel4.com/news/kiev-svoboda-far-right-protests-right-sector-riot-police

    Ukraine: Neo-Nazi Militia Leader Threatens ‘Civil War’

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/177113#.UxHE_pvivzA

    I could go on.

  83. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 11:32 am

    Clark

    I think you will find I was responding to the provocation from Scourge. But yes I think you will find that your perfectly respectable pacifist position of opposing all violent interventions on others sovereign territory in all circumstances (which is not one that I share – but on that I am being honest) was used by those who pretended to share your position, but are now truly revealed as the dishonest rogues they always were.

  84. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 11:35 am

    Doug Scorgie

    Just Google far right and Russia – I think you will find that Mr Putin has his own rather long running and more significant fascist problem that he needs to deal with, should he want to, before worrying about that in other countries.

  85. I want to know where all the paramilitary riot gear in Ukraine has come from. Someone has prepared for these demonstrations.

    I find Doug Scorgie’s links above convincing. It was in US interests to precipitate a violent spearhead amid legitimate civil protest, and they seem to have achieved that by supporting the violent right wing. The situation looks similar to that in Syria, and before that, Libya.

    I also find the personal testimony from Uzbek in the UK and Phil’s friend in Kiev convincing. Ordinary people want change, and are prepared to fight for it with broken cobblestones.

    This looks very bad for the ordinary people of Ukraine. Both routes presented to them are corrupted.

  86. Several commentators here have pointed out, quite correctly, that Russia is ignoring the agreement reached in 1994 that affirms the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia seems in fact to be busy creating ‘facts on the ground’ that may soon make that agreement a dead letter.

    We’ve been here before; even UNSC resolutions can be rendered redundant if powerful forces decide they are best consigned to the dustbin:

    From UNSC 1244 on the status of Kosovo-

    ‘Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2′

  87. Resident dissident, I see no provocation from Doug Scorgie. In respect for me, please spell his name correctly. If you see provocation, PLEASE do not respond with counter-provocation. Do you consider that a reasonable request? As out there in the world, so here on this blog. Escalation can serve only violent ends, a breakdown of meaningful discussion. Do you accept this?

  88. ‘I want to know where all the paramilitary riot gear in Ukraine has come from. Someone has prepared for these demonstrations.

    I find Doug Scorgie’s links above convincing. It was in US interests to precipitate a violent spearhead amid legitimate civil protest, and they seem to have achieved that by supporting the violent right wing. The situation looks similar to that in Syria, and before that, Libya.’

    It seems that Mr Omidyar was involved Clark. Certainly Ms Nuland and her $5billion.

    http://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/

    We will never know. I am going outside to plant a tree. Some displacement activity!

  89. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 12:12 pm

    Clark

    Might I kindly suggest that you stop being so one sided in your judgements – if someone wishes to blame everything that has happened in the Ukraine on fascists provoked by the EU and US perhaps you might wish to see that as the original provocation and target that as well as those who respond. I think that you should note that DS’s provocation came after a long stream of posters providing evidence as to why there was a lot more than fascists behind the removal of the previous Ukraine regime – whose points DS continually fails to address.

  90. Resident Dissident, I have already asked Doug Scorgie for a response. I shall post an updated version, with emphasis:

    “Doug Scorgie, would you think it right to say that the EU, UK and USA precipitated the crisis in Ukraine with a financial offer and political support for the far righr, but that it was Russia that permitted it to develop by supporting corrupt misrule over a long time?”

  91. Resident Dissident, I reiterate, I see no “provocation” from Doug Scorgie. I see one side of an argument from him, and I see one side of an argument from you. If arguing on just one side is a provocation, then you are equally guilty.

  92. ‘Makes the “infantile and bungled” meddling of the west look subtle and professional’.

    The ‘West’ certainly deploys far superior PR in support of ‘regime change’ when compared to the clunky efforts of Russia. If Putin has his version of the NED, it must be a cheapskates version-

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Endowment_for_Democracy

    ‘This looks very bad for the ordinary people of Ukraine. Both routes presented to them are corrupted.’

    Clark- I’d second that prognostication.

  93. doug scorgie

    1 Mar, 2014 - 12:34 pm

    Resident Dissident
    1 Mar, 2014 – 10:14 am

    Just in
    “The Stop the War Coalition opposes imperialist interventions wherever they occur, and by whatever government carries them out…”

    http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/statement-from-the-stop-the-war-coalition/

    Nice to know where you get your inspiration from

  94. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Clark

    Provocation is usually in the eye of its target and/or the intent of the giver – which will be why you do not always see it. Pointless discussing further.

  95. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 12:40 pm

    Doug Scorgie

    Nice to know you know how to Google – tried my earlier suggestion yet?

    I get my inspiration from lots of places including the splendid Shiraz Socialist. Don’t you think he has a point?

  96. Resident Dissident, I offer to meet you and protest Russian action in Ukraine at the Russian Embassy, if you consider that appropriate.

    No, I think the spoof piece on shirazsocialist.wordpress.com misses a very important point. The utter failure of the demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq to affect our so-called democracies caused the entire movement to be dispirited. It lead to apathy, and this sort of spoof just makes that matter worse.

    This, from you, also seems provocative:

    Nice to know you know how to Google – tried my earlier suggestion yet?

  97. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    Clark

    “This, from you, also seems provocative:

    “Nice to know you know how to Google – tried my earlier suggestion yet?”

    and

    “Nice to know where you get your inspiration from” – wasn’t?

    I am not a turn the other cheek liberal, I’m afraid.

  98. Resident Dissident, yes I suppose that was provocative of Doug Scorgie.

    Doug, I ask you to desist too. Please.

    I know nothing about that blog.

  99. Resident Dissident, you wrote:

    I am not a turn the other cheek liberal, I’m afraid.

    Just how far do you think hostility in argument should escalate? I’d rather you allied with me in reducing tensions. As out there in the world, so here on this blog.

  100. No surprise here.

    The ex-Israeli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit

    ‘Delta’ has headed ‘the Blue Helmets of Maidan’ of 40 men and women – including several IDF veterans – in violent clashes with government forces.

    By JTA | Feb. 28, 2014

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.577114

  101. European neo-nazis stream to Kiev just as Jihad was imported to Syria. Can we speculate as to why Neocons support both rebel movements?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/28/the-swedish-neo-nazis-of-kiev.html

  102. “Before giving needed historical justification for my applying the F-word to current circumstances, I wish to pinpoint two practical implications of the fascism-totalitarianism distinction: one alarming and the other quite hopeful. The alarming part is that fascism can fool a nation’s people and have them deeply in its grip before they’ve even noticed–largely because they’ve confused fascism with totalitarianism, and falsely conclude they’re fascism-free because daily life isn’t (yet) totally under their government’s thumb. The hopeful part is that because fascism can exist for some time without totalitarianism, people can (if sufficiently awakened) still retain enough freedom to fight back and reverse their nation’s fascist course. I think ALL these characteristics–except, scarily, the sufficient awakening–exist in today’s United States.”

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Fascism-without-Totalitari-by-Patrick-Walker-Advertising_America-Freedom-To-Fascism_American-Civil-Liberties-Union_American-Foreign-Policy-140228-863.html

  103. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 3:51 pm

    From behind the FT’s paywall today – Gazprom are now threatening to increase the price of gas to the Ukraine by 50%. Nothing like a bit of blackmail and extortion. We tend to here rather more here about rather lower energy price rises in the UK.

  104. It’s unanimous, just like the Patriot Act and Iraq War Resolution.

    http://news.yahoo.com/lawmakers-allow-putin-military-ukraine-152934357.html

  105. From Ben’s link – Associated Press
    By DAVID McHUGH and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV 27 minutes ago

    “Russia’s parliament [,,,] also recommended Saturday that Moscow’s ambassador be recalled from Washington […]”

    That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? Or does it happen all the time?

  106. Resident Dissident, we DO hear of Gazprom here, directly from Craig:

    Putin Ratchets Up The Pressure on Ukraine

    by craig on Jan 7th 2009 in Russia

    Russia has caused a major crisis throughout much of Europe by radically reducing gas supplies. This was ordered personally by Putin […]

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/01/putin_ratchets/

  107. In any competition, especially politics, Clark, the thug/psychopath’s ruthlessness assists their rise to the top of the smelting pot making governance a dross metal. I hope my metaphors don’t arouse any untoward attacks on me. :)

    “”Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall”. wm shakespeare.

  108. I prefer a Cold War to a Hot War.

  109. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    Clark

    All rather goes to show that Putin has been meddling in the affairs of the Ukraine and is prepared to use extortion as a political weapon for rather a long time. I don’t think Craig is the one suffering from illusions about the true nature of Putin.

  110. Resident Dissident, thanks for posting the news about Gazprom. As Craig has said;

    Only normal business is the last thing Gazprom is involved in. Gazprom is perhaps the most important tool in Putin’s armoury. He keeps a close eye on it. The Chairman of Gazprom is Dmitri Medvedev, First Deputy Prime Minister, close Putin ally and a possible Putin choice for his successor. The Trade, Energy and Foreign Ministers are all represented on the board at ministerial level.

    Gazprom has been the instrument by which Putin has reasserted Russian hegemony over the Former Soviet Union, blackmailing European ex-Soviet countries by cutting off energy supplies in winter, and buying up the Central Asian ex-Soviet countries by taking over the heart of their economies.

    Can you post us some ‘fair use’ snippets from FT please?

  111. Resident Dissident, YOU are the contributor that has posted this important news about Gazprom. Others have posted other information, for instance:

    In December US senator John McCain travelled to Ukraine to offer his support to the opposition, appearing on stage with leaders of the three opposition parties leading the protests – including the far-right Svoboda party.

    Svoboda is currently Ukraine’s fourth biggest party and holds 36 seats in parliament. It is also part of the Alliance of European National Movements, along with the BNP and Hungary’s Jobbik.

    These various reports do not oppose or contradict each other, so please refrain from such barbs as:

    I don’t think Craig is the one suffering from illusions about the true nature of Putin.

    ..which implies that others are under such an illusion. It just gets people’s backs up, and then they may react by rejecting the information you’ve contributed. All the elements are important information. It isn’t a matter of sides to an argument, or it doesn’t appear so to me. Again, thanks for posting that.

  112. Resdes; “Gazprom are now threatening to increase the price of gas to the Ukraine by 50%. Nothing like a bit of blackmail and extortion”

    I suppose it was blackmail & extortion when Putin gave them a whopping 33% discount last year ?

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-05-280214.html

    Anyhow it can’t be denied that at least blackmail & extortion seems to be at part & parcel of modern international relationships; and who can argue against it being less destructive than a repeat of Shock & Awe; I’m sure that everybody acknowledges that in preference to twelve years of illegal bombing followed by twelve years of the Genocidal Sanctions, the Iraqis would have rejoiced to have been subjected to some blackmail & extortion !

    I’m curious as to all those who are eagerly championing the events in the Ukraine, ie a bloody takeover, seemingly on the grounds that their elected leaders were all crooks, if they also supported the non-violent Occupy Movements ? If not why not, and would they support a similar violent take over here in the UK, because we all know that those that govern us are indeed crooks !

  113. Welcome back, Macky.

  114. Macky, you wrote:

    I suppose it was blackmail & extortion when Putin gave them a whopping 33% discount last year ?

    This too was barbed. Not blackmail, but it could indeed be regarded as bribery, or a precursor to later blackmail. The real point is that Russia shouldn’t wield such power, just as you point out that the West should not have wielded the similar power of sanctions over Iraq.

    Russia’s relationship to Ukraine in fact looks similar in structure to the West’s relationship to the former Iraq; a powerful foreign government wielding unjustifiable power over the corrupt government of a weaker country, followed by military domination. The differences are in magnitude and detail; the overall structures seem similar to me.

    Can any of us reach agreement over any of this? Given the facts of the various cases, it seems to me that we should be able to, if we try.

  115. Here on this blog, if we treat each other as enemies, enemies are what we shall find. As here, so out there in the world. The corruption we see played out in world-scale events is found in miniature in each of our hearts, as we each blame the other for that which we also do ourselves.

  116. Clark, you talk about the “West” as a political entity, whereas it should more accurately be described as “ the US dominated West”, which then reveals the unintended irony of your sentence of; “a powerful foreign government wielding unjustifiable power over the corrupt government of a weaker country, followed by military domination”; change everything to the pural, think of all the US military bases all over Europe, that’s your “West”.

    So what’s there to agree or disagree to ?!

  117. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    1 Mar, 2014 - 5:41 pm

    Clark

    “Habbabkuk, there is NOTHING good about a “kicking”.”
    _________________

    Of course you’re right, but you know I was using the word in a non-physical way…

  118. “Can any of us reach agreement over any of this?”

    It would seem we can’t when emotions color everything we hear or read, or write. I’m in agreement with it, but find it hard to parse my words into pablum so that it is not nuanced into hatred of West, or absolute support for one side only, when the triangulation of special interest agendas trumps a true understanding of events on the ground. I’m here not just to blow my opinion horn, but to learn background which gives me some perspective. I am capable of dealing with facts, but when answered with mere anecdotes and not links to those experiences when I request them, I learn nothing except that somehow I am guilty of muskrat love of Putin and his entourage.

  119. Habbabkuk, hello. It was a bit early for me; I wasn’t long past my time of dreaming, where all semantics seem as real as life. I doubt you’d write “La vita è bella!” if you were to swap dreams with me.

    Can we all value each other as +contributors+?

    What about my questions earlier:

    “Russia’s parliament [,,,] also recommended Saturday that Moscow’s ambassador be recalled from Washington […]”

    That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? Or does it happen all the time?

  120. Ben, like many you probably feel anger because you feel that you’re deceived and/or misled and/or misdirected. But the world doesn’t fit into our minds. That’s why we need analysis of structure; it enables us to simplify and classify and compare, without bludgeoning issues into Side-A-are-bad/Ignore-Side-B

  121. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    1 Mar, 2014 - 5:56 pm

    Can I break into this discussion and ask a question about Gazprom?

    There has been talk of Russia blackmailing Ukraine through Gazprom. Now, as a good capitalist (as are Mr Putin and Gazprom), I do feel that Gazprom has the right to charge Ukraine the market price for gas. So accusations of blackmail are only founded, I think, if Russia is asking (or has asked) Ukraine to pay higher prices than those asked of Gazprom’s clients in Western Europe. Is this the case?

    (I fully accept that threats to restrict supplies of gas – for reasons other than non-payment – can be considered as blackmail)

  122. “without bludgeoning issues into Side-A-are-bad/Ignore-Side-B..”

    Exactly correct.

  123. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    1 Mar, 2014 - 6:03 pm

    Clark

    ” “Russia’s parliament [,,,] also recommended Saturday that Moscow’s ambassador be recalled from Washington […]“

    That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? Or does it happen all the time?”
    _____________________

    I wouldn’t say that the recall of Ambassadors (usually “for consultations”) happens all the time, but on the other hand it’s not something earth-shattering either. Better than fighting and it doesn’t usually lead to a fight either.

  124. Resident Dissident, Habbabkuk is asking for more details on Gazprom’s prices to various countries. You have a Financial Times log-in…

    Macky, yes, the US-dominated West. I was just economising on typing.

    Habbabkuk, while waiting for any more detailed information, this is from Macky’s link:

    Frankly, Russian President Vladimir Putin – aka Vlad the Hammer – must be grinning like the Cheshire cat. He could simply erase the significant 33% discount on natural gas imports he gave Kiev late last year. Rumor after rumor already state – ominously – that the Aperol Spritz revolutionaries won’t have the cash to pay pensions and public servants’ salaries. In June comes a monster payment to a bunch of creditors ($1 billion in debt will mature). Afterwards, it’s bleaker than north Siberia in winter.

    The US offer of $1 billion is risible. And all this after the “”F**k the EU” “strategy” of Victoria Nuland torpedoed an Ukrainian transitional government – by the way, negotiated by the EU – which might have kept the Russians on board, money-wise.

    Without Russia, Ukraine will totally depend on the West to pay all its bills, not to mention avoid being bankrupt. That amounts to a whopping $30 billion until the end of 2014. Unlike Egypt, they cannot dial the House of Saud’s number and ask for some juicy petrodollars. That $15 billion loan from Russia promised recently could come in handy – but Moscow must get something in return.

    So to remain “a good capitalist”, just provide a discount in advance (a perfectly normal business practice), and when you want to call in a favour, put the price up by 50% – do the sums:

    3 minus (one third of three) = 2
    2 plus (half of two) = 3; back to where we started.

    See? This exactly reverses the “discount” given earlier, so Gazprom aren’t charging over the odds to Ukraine, nothing to own up to. Sorted.

  125. Clark “I was just economising on typing”

    No you were missing the point & still are; you state that “Russia’s relationship to Ukraine in fact looks similar in structure to the West’s relationship to the former Iraq” & “Russia shouldn’t wield such power”, apparently totally oblivious to the power & dominant relationship that the US exerts over “the West”, otherwise instead of using Iraq as your example, you would have used Europe, the countries of which are effectivly client-states of the US.

  126. The Rape of Ukraine: Phase Two Begins

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37803.htm

  127. “he National Endowment for Democracy, a central part of Ronald Reagan’s propaganda war against the Soviet Union three decades ago, has evolved into a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund that generally supports a neocon agenda often at cross-purposes with the Obama administration’s foreign policy.”

    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22314-focus-a-shadow-us-foreign-policy

    Neocons are like poltergeists but with more malevolence.

  128. Someone; The loose affiliation amongst groups reminds me of Occupy and some of the splintered objectives that made them less effective. My feeling is that all this will not end well (civl war)

  129. How I admire Ed Murray on Medialens for picking up on Snow and Ch 4 News.

    Snowmail…interim government in Kiev.”
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1393698335.html

    The BBC are using the same script of course.

  130. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvet_Revolution

    A non-violent revolution, but with the soft parade of Gorbachev.

  131. Thanks Mary, for the pointer to check over at ML, as I also found this;

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1393692211.html

  132. “”I appeal to our military, who are now on the peninsula of Crimea , I support them and thank for the fact that they adequately fulfill the responsibilities. I want to reassure the civilian population of the ARC, which does not support separatist slogans and recruited agents provocateurs. situation on the peninsula in the near future should be normalized, “- said in a televised address on Friday evening” (Turchinov)

    http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.segodnya.ua/politics/pnews/turchinov-poobeshchal-chto-situaciya-v-krymu-budet-normalizovana-v-blizhayshee-vremya-499683.html&usg=ALkJrhhChC7pufjrZvAEQ9mWNxewZ9T8Kg

  133. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 8:47 pm

    There isn’t a market for gas in the Ukraine – Gazprom is the sole supplier. I would have thought that giving a price cut of 33% when your fellow kleptocrat in power and then increasing it by 50% when he isn’t tells us all we need to know about Putin’s meddling in the affairs of another sovereign nature.

    The fact that Macky thinks that this is all fair really just demonstrates my point that some here really do have illusions about Putin. He should also note than the kleptocrats election was criticised as being highly flawed at the time – and I’m afraid he never received an electoral mandate for throwing his political rivals into prison, the use of death squads or his gross corruption – so the parallel between the situation in the Ukraine and the Occupy movement really is otiose in the extreme.

  134. There must be an ocular disease on the circuit. The ability to see shades of grey is lacking.

    Black and White is all they see. Must be related to color-blindness.

  135. Resident Dissident

    1 Mar, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    “Russia’s relationship to Ukraine in fact looks similar in structure to the West’s relationship to the former Iraq; a powerful foreign government wielding unjustifiable power over the corrupt government of a weaker country, followed by military domination. The differences are in magnitude and detail; the overall structures seem similar to me.”

    You are right the differences are in magnitude and detail – that is why they don’t appear at all similar to me.

  136. ResDes; “There isn’t a market for gas in the Ukraine – Gazprom is the sole supplier. I would have thought that giving a price cut of 33% when your fellow kleptocrat in power and then increasing it by 50% when he isn’t tells us all we need to know about Putin’s meddling in the affairs of another sovereign nature.”

    I would have thought that providing gas at a subsidized rate, and then at least expecting the market rate when a former friendly Buyer, opens their arms to the Seller’s deadly rivals, is not that unexpected or unreasonable

    ResDes: “The fact that Macky thinks that this is all fair really just demonstrates my point that some here really do have illusions about Putin.”

    No, I didn’t say anything about it being “fair”; I just pointed out that such tactics seem to be part & parcel of modern international relationships, especially those involving powerful States.

    ResDes: “He should also note than the kleptocrats election was criticised as being highly flawed at the time – and I’m afraid he never received an electoral mandate for throwing his political rivals into prison, the use of death squads or his gross corruption – so the parallel between the situation in the Ukraine and the Occupy movement really is otiose in the extreme.”

    Again I made no claim or remarks, one way or another regarding electoral mandates; I would like you to provide backup to your claim that the election“was criticised as being highly flawed at the time”, as this is in direct(link below)contrast to “An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors)”; moreover according to news reports, there was an agreement to hold new presidential elections in December, plus a return to the 2004 Constitution, as well as the release of Julia Tymoshenko from prison.

    Again please provide backup to “throwing his political rivals into prison, the use of death squads”; yes I mentioned the often cited rationale given by the protestors as being corruption, which is actually one of two commonly cited reasons, the other being the rejection of the poor EU offer, relative to the better Russian offer, nothing about Death Squads !

    Re OM, again I wasn’t making a scenario to scenario comparison with the Occupy Movement, after all that was a non-violent approach ! Instead I couldn’t help wondering if the people who support the Ukraine violent protestors, who are quite specific as to one of the main reasons that they are protesting, ie corruption, also supported the OM who were also protesting mostly against the 1% who are robbing the rest ? I also pointed out that our politicians here in the UK are mostly crooks, so would they support a violent overthrow of Parliament here also; not that it could be allowed to happen, goodness the right to gather in a Public place to peacefully protest is virtually outlawed now ! Any takers to ease my wondering ?! :)

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37803.htm#idc-cover

  137. Gambits of Deception-Thanks Mary

    JTRIG protocols

    http://rt.com/news/five-eyes-online-manipulation-deception-564/

  138. Resident Dissident, 8:54 pm;

    that is why they don’t appear at all similar to me.

    Really? Russian forces entering Ukraine doesn’t appear remotely similar to US/UK forces entering Iraq to you?

  139. Viktor Yanukovych is of course past tense and all that remains is his prosecution for crimes against humanity and money laundering together with his son Oleksandr Yanukovych and 16 other people linked to Ukraine’s former government.

    Putin is shrewd enough to know the former Ukraine president lacks balls having ‘bolted’ from duty and dropped the bag, something Assad and even Gaddafi could not be accused of.

    I myself believe Putin commands the situation in Ukraine, financially and military, has protected his friends in Crimea and secured his armed assets including Sevastopo, the leased Russian naval base strategically as important as Diego Garcia is to the American fleet. Certainly Putin will not order Russian forces to intervene elsewhere in Ukraine or interfere in the sell-out of Ukraine to IMF loans and EU markets now sold-out and destitute.

    Threats of eliminating Russia’s membership in G8 and G20, removing Russia’s membership in the WTO or cancelling British/US visas to members of the Russian Government and Ruling Party Parliament members and their families are, well, just vacant threats.

    My only concern is terrorism in Crimea from the leader of Sayfullakh Shishani’s jamaat, a Chechen native named as Mohammed Khorasani. Funded by Bandar-Bush under the auspices of Jabhat al-Nusra his brigade may indeed be tasked with inciting ethnic conflict in the East and simferapol thus taking Russia’s eye off the ball in Syria. This perceived threat I believe is well known to Putin’s security forces.

  140. Outstanding analysis, Mark.

  141. I spoke on the phone to a friend in Illichevsk today. We spoke in Russian, as we always do. He was amused about the neo-nazis-in-control angle, this is a nonsense as far as he is concerned – propagated by Russian media. Trouble is, many in Ukraine’s south and east prefer Russian TV channels and are exposed to a constant stream of lies. Not sure if this is at all clear to you guys – the biggest bone of contention in the Ukraine is the status of the Russian language. Eastern and southern regions of Ukraine were largely supportive of events in Kiev but were angered when the interim government proposed to reverse the law that gives the Russian language equal status with Ukrainian. This was a big mistake. There were other mistakes, such as not including representatives from the eastern and southern regions in the new government. They are reverse pedalling now but it doesn’t look good.

    I skyped another friend, she told me her ethnically Russian husband, originally from the Ural, had seriously contemplated joining the protesters on the Maidan. But people are divided, she has fallen out with her own mother over Russia’s military intervention. My friends are both saying that they are loosing friendships over this. It is very sad because this is the result of an information war, nothing more. The Euromaidan’s main demand is a complete change of government, through early elections. Some fascists!

  142. I disagree, Ben. Бред сивой кобылы.

    Noun
    бред си́вой кобы́лы (bred sívoj kobýly) m inan (lit., delirium of a grey mare)

    1.(colloquial) hogwash, bullshit

  143. Evgueni: Respectfully I suggest that those who have a finger on the pulse like you and Uzbek, provide rationale and substantiation of some sort for your perspective. We can’t learn anything probative in links to opinions or so-called hard news, and we find it helpful when reasons for alternate views are provided. Your phone conversation was helpful. More of that please.

    It’s not helpful just to make cat-calls and issue name cards to those you don’t see eye-to-eye with.

  144. Maybe a war needs to happen. Irreconcilable differences lead to escalating acts of primitive aggression and the probability of war is highest when its outcome is most uncertain.

  145. So, Russia has now sent in troops as well as Zhironovsky, an actual fascist, and the Night Wolves biker gang. But no doubt it is still the Ukrainians who objected to their kleptocratic Moscow puppet leader who are the bad guys. But yeah, as Evgeni says that seems like an incredibly irresponsible move downgrading the Russian language from its official status.

  146. Hello Angrysoba, how are you today?

  147. Jemand 7:16 am

    the probability of war is highest when its outcome is most uncertain.

    That seems to make sense at first. But war is also most likely when one side has overwhelming advantage. Maybe this idea suggests a way of subdividing and classifying conflicts.

  148. Hi Clark,

    I’m fine. Thanks for asking. How are you today?

  149. Oh, not too bad, I suppose. My personal life is no better and gives me a lot of misery. Thank you for asking, too.

    Things got really horrible on this blog for a while. Craig was hardly ever posting. Sides formed amongst the commenters, and rationality seemed almost completely submerged to me. Jon, the remaining moderator quit. Insult wars dominated. No one could criticise US actions or claims of US covert actions without being labelled a supporter of Putin, and the other side couldn’t post their views without being called JTRIG trolls or whatever.

    Then a few weeks ago Craig started posting regularly again. He stopped for a bit, then resumed, and so did moderation but no identity was given for the moderator(s). Rapid deletions occurred for a day or so; some people complained about it and others approved. The comment wars subsided and deletions became few and sporadic. It’s all been a bit mad.

    Good to see you back.

  150. Thanks for the welcome back. Sorry to hear things are not going too well on a personal level. As for the comments wars and bickering, I think, unfortunately that it goes with the territory of political argument. And the labelling thing tends to go both ways too. I’ll try to behave as best I can. ;)

  151. I wrote:

    the other side couldn’t post their views without being called JTRIG trolls or whatever.

    They were just called trolls until Snowden’s GCHQ slide-show about JTRIG was published a week or two ago. Since then, that ‘side’ of this blog’s arguments seems to think that JTRIG is the only such operation, though I’m sure there must be many by now.

  152. Our comments crossed. Oh yes, the labelling and name calling does definitely go both ways.

  153. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    2 Mar, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    It’s seriously worrying to have to agree with Macky, but I do rather agree with him when he writes

    “I would have thought that providing gas at a subsidized rate, and then at least expecting the market rate when a former friendly Buyer, opens their arms to the Seller’s deadly rivals, is not that unexpected or unreasonable”.

    Selling gas to a country at below market rates is certainly pleasant for the country concerned but ssen in purely economic terms I’m not sure that the seller is under any obligation to continue selling at the discounted price for ever and a day.

    Nobody has yet responded to my question about whether the price of gas asked by Russia from Ukraine (without the discount)is higher than the price Russia asks from its Western buyers.

  154. There was a Ukrainian national state from 1917-21, with some changes of regime and control, and much instability, but a form of independence nevertheless.

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