Putin’s Victorious Defeat

by craig on March 7, 2014 3:37 pm in Uncategorized

Just a month ago, Putin had one of his pet oligarchs, the firmly pro-Russian multi-billionaire Yanukovich, in power in Ukraine.  Putin had been to an awful lot of trouble to ensure that Yanukovich got elected.  It is undoubtedly true that the United States and its allies funded various pro-western groups in the Ukraine – my friend Ray McGovern, former senior CIA, put a figure of US$100 million on it, and he should know.  The resources Putin poured in to ensure Yanukovich’s election were more in kind than financial, but were not on too different a scale.

In earlier attempts to put Yanukovich in power, Putin had in 2004 helped organise massive electoral fraud, and Putin’s secret service had attempted to assassinate Victor Yushchenko.  The 2010 election of Yanukovich also involved a great deal of fraud.  Russia is an influential member of the OSCE, Ukraine is also a member and that organization is notably mealy-mouthed in pointing out the derelictions of its own members. Nonetheless its observation mission of the 2010 Presidential elections stated:

 “The presidential election met most OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections and consolidated progress achieved since 2004. The process was transparent and offered voters a genuine choice between candidates representing diverse political views. However, unsubstantiated allegations of large-scale electoral fraud negatively affected the election atmosphere and voter confidence in the process.”

That is about as close as the OSCE has ever come to accusing one of its own members of fraud.  International organisations have their obvious limitations.

Putin had put years of effort into getting the President of Ukraine which he wanted, and he had him.  Yanukovich attempted to steer an even-handed path between Russia and the West, while putting his main effort into acquiring an astonishing personal fortune.  Putin lost patience when Yanukovich appeared ready to sign an EU association agreement, and put extremely heavy pressure on Yanukovich over debt, energy supplies, and doubtless some deeply personal pressures too.  Yanukovich backed down from the EU Association agreement and signed a new trade deal with Russia, appearing on the path to Putin’s cherished new Eurasian customs union.

The west – and not only the west – of Ukraine erupted into popular protest.  The reason for this is perfectly simple. Income, lifestyle, education, health and social security for ordinary people are far better in western and central Europe than they are in Russia.  The standard of living for ordinary Polish people in Poland has caught up at a tremendous rate towards the rest of the EU.  I am not depending on statistics here – I have lived in Poland, travelled widely in Poland and speak Polish.  I was professionally involved in the process of Polish economic transformation.  There have been a large number of commenters on this blog this last few days who deny that the standard of living for ordinary people in Poland is better as a result of EU membership, and believe life for ordinary people is better in Russia than in the west.  I also of course speak Russian and have travelled widely in Russia.  Frankly, you have to be so ideologically blinkered to believe that, I have no concerns if such people leave this blog and never come back; they are incapable of independent thought anyway.

Undoubtedly pro-western groups financed by the US and others played a part in the anti-Yanukovich movement.  They may have had a catalytic role, but that cannot detract from the upswell of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who were not paid by the West, and drove Yanukovich from power. It is true that, when the situation became violent some very unpleasant nationalist, even fascist, groups came to the fore.  There is a great deal of extreme right wing thuggery in all the former Soviet Union – ask Uzbeks who live in Russia.  The current government in power in Kiev seem a diverse bunch, and seem to include some pleasant people and some very unpleasant people.  Elections this year will make things clearer.   It is also true that corruption is the norm among the Ukrainian political elite, across any nationalist or ideological divides.

In a very short space of time, Putin went from the triumph of killing off the EU Association agreement to the disaster of completely losing control of Kiev.  But for reasons including trade, infrastructure and debt, the new government was bound to come back to some relationship and accommodation with Putin eventually.  It just needed patience.

Instead of which, Putin decided to go for a macho seizure of the Crimea.  There is no doubt that the actions of surrounding military bases and government buildings by Russian forces, and controlling roads and borders, are illegal under international law.  There also appears little doubt that a large proportion of Crimea’s population would like union with Russia, though whether a genuine majority I am not sure.  I am sure under these circumstances of intimidation and military occupation, the referendum will show a massive majority.  Hitler pulled the same trick.

So now Putin can stride the stage as the macho guy who outfoxed the west and used his military to win Crimea for Mother Russia.  But it is an extremely hollow victory.  He has gained Crimea, but lost the other 95% of the Ukraine, over which one month ago he exercised a massive political influence.

The western powers will not bring any really effective sanctions that would harm the financial interests of the interconnected super-rich, be they Russian oligarchs or City bankers.  But they will now do what they were not prepared to do before, provide enough resources to make Ukraine politically free of Russia.  The EU has already agreed to match the US$19 billion in guarantees Putin had promised to Yanukovich. Before the annexation of Crimea the EU was not prepared to do that.

The Crimea was the only ethnic Russian majority province in Ukraine.  Donetsk does not have an ethnic Russian majority, only a Russian speaking majority – just like Cardiff has an English speaking majority.  The difference is key to understand the situation, and largely ignored by the mainstream media.  Without Crimea, the chances of the pro-Putin forces in the rest of Ukraine ever mustering an electoral majority are extremely slim.  Putin has gained Crimea and lost Ukraine – has he really won?

The real tragedy, of course, is that Ukraine’s relationships are viewed as a zero-sum game.  Russia has huge interests in common with Europe.  I hope to see Ukraine a member of the EU in the next decade, and Putin has made that vastly more likely than it was a month ago.  But why does that have to preclude a close economic relationship with Russia?  The EU should not operate as a barrier against the rest of the world, but as a zone of complete freedom within and ever-expanding freedom to  and from without.  And European Union will never be complete until Russia, one of the greatest of European cultures, is a member.

 

 

 

 

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238 Comments

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  1. The Washington/London plot to destabilise the Crimea using the same strategy used in Kiev was ‘thrown a monkey wrench’ by good intelligence. A reliable source has informed coia that well trained ‘mercenaries’ on £800/day plus expenses intended to fly to Simferopol airport and seize it and other strategic locations, such as Sevastopol, Kerch, Feodosia and Yalta where a meetup would occur in an abandoned warehouse. The plan was nullified when Flights were called back and others cancelled.

    We can presume these people and other jihadist including al-qaeda operatives from Saudi and Tatars trained in Turkey will attempt to disrupt the Crimea referendum to be held in 10 days time.

    The ultra-right-wing military organization known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO) is I believe part of a NATO GLADIO organisation based in Ukraine and it is this group that is tasked I am sure with coordinating others and faking a massive humanitarian crisis in Crimea before the Crimea people’s mandate.

    I have informed Moscow.

  2. Goodness me.
    I found this report in CNN.Fascinating to see them report the obvious.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/07/opinion/putin-western-hypocrosy/
    As for 95% Craig.Methinks your numbers are wrong.
    Ukraine is in the process of splitting.This process has precisely begun.
    The East of Ukraine is very Russian and with little effort it will join the Crimea.
    What is left over is a country with many problems and their new leadership is #1.
    IMF help is #2.And then there is an EU willing to print money and still woo the bride without her juicy bits.Sick at #3!number 4 and sitting in the back seat is Obama wanting an airbase on Russia’s doorstep.They will be agitating till it comes.
    I don’t think Putin has lost or will lose.We witnessed the bloody coup,and then we saw how the Russians do it.No soldiers, just local militia tovarich.

  3. Kurtan

    Crimea is the only province which is majority ethnically Russian. Your “no Russian troops” claim is a stupid lie. People can believe and argue what they want, but deliberate lying is different.

  4. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    “And European Union will never be complete until Russia, one of the greatest of European cultures, is a member.”

    For this Russian mentality (and not only their elites) has to change a lot. For now I think it is probably that the gap between Russian and Europe is wider than between Europe and Turkey.

  5. “Just a month ago, Putin had one of his pet oligarchs, the firmly pro-Russian multi-billionaire Yanukovich, in power in Ukraine.”

    “The British government selected the man who they wanted to be the head of the new Russian government. His name was Boris Savinkov.”

    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?s=29703e70cd95d0ec5a5134e1991756d9&showtopic=21072&hl=

  6. “they are incapable of independent thought anyway.” – or they are Zionists.
    Anyone who disagrees with you is a Zionist, or is incapable of independent thought, naturally.
    Do you ever wonder why your media interviews get cancelled? Is it all a Zionist plot, or have you become an embarassing tosser?

  7. lucythediclonius

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:04 pm

    What is ethnically Russian according to you Craig?If you had a Georgian mother and a Kazakh father and were born in Kiev would you be Russian ,Kazakh or other?

  8. Your attempts to denigrate Putin go to extreme lengths.

    Putin did nothing to help Yanukovych get elected in 2004 or with the attempted assassination of Victor Yushchenko – just CIA propaganda, apparently from your buddy McGovern.

    This is Russophobia in spades.

    You should read something reliable about Putin, like Shevtsova’s book, and get over it.

  9. It’s purely a self-identification thing Lucy. Throughout the former soviet union, for official purposes people are asked their citizenship and their nationality – gradzvanstva and narodnosc. Everyone in the former soviet union knows what it means. People will answer “I am an Uzbek citizen of Tajik nationality” for example. Just as you may call yourself Welsh and be of goodness knows what ancestry. Self-identification, that’s all.

    But in the census of Donetsk, only about 20% of the population put themselves as Ukrainian citizens, Russian nationals. The large majority put themselves as Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian nationals. They knew precisely what the question means. Crimea was the only region where most people answerd Ukrainian citizen, Russian national.

    Does that help you? I have not, I am glad to say, become a racial theorist!

  10. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    Lucythediclonius

    How would you respond to your own question?

    You only need to ask ethnically Russian if you (whose mother is Georgian and father is Kazakh) could call yourself Russian. Be prepared to put brave face when you are loudly laughed in your face.

  11. Lawrence AB

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:13 pm

    Craig, your last comment about the importance of Russia to Europe is spot on.
    Russia has been intimately involved in European affairs for at least 300 years. It has given us, and to the world, literature, political thinkers, poets, music, painters, of extraordinary quality, second to none. We have far more in common with Russia than with the currently degraded democracy across the Atlantic (I hope it regains its early values but signs are not good).
    We must be patient and persistent with Russia and always show our respect for the people, if not for the régimes. The Cold EWar rhetoric is unhelpful to say the least, downright stupid at worst. Anyone who has studied Russian history knows that a great pendulum swings through the decades between slavophils and zapadniki (wersternisers). We are in a Slovophil moment. It will change. We must encourage the change.

  12. Craig,

    I understand what you’re saying about Poland and agree with you. However, it also could be said that EU membership leads to IMF-type debt and a steady supply of ‘underclass’ for poorly-paid service work jobs in rich, financialized EU countries like the UK. I’m all for the free movement of people, but I’m not sure that migrations of the younger generations to rich EU nations to be exploited in dead-end jobs is the same thing as freedom.

    Putin’s Russia doesn’t operate so much on the financialization model. He seems to be more interested in resources and industry. Over time, this would seem to offer another path to prosperity, one that doesn’t involve predatory organizations like the IMF and the World Bank, and offers a real economy at home for those who don’t want to leave their country.

    Poland got into the EU before the financial crisis, and already had a fairly robust guest worker system in parts of Europe. The pressures on the richer economies today to sustain the giant, freewheeling casino of financialization are quite different than in 2004.

  13. Trowbridge

    “Putin did nothing to help Yanukovych get elected in 2004 or with the attempted assassination of Victor Yushchenko –”

    Laughable

  14. Reliably

    Putin’s economic model relies entirely on the massive export of raw commodities, especially metals and energy, which provides very little employment and concentrates super-profits in the hands of a tiny elite. Manufacturing and services are minute parts of the economy. What is the last thing you bought made in Russia? What is the last thing Putin or any of his oligarchs bought that is made in Russia?

    The system results in even worse wealth inequality than the terrible – and worsening – situation you rightly describe in the West

  15. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:19 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    I would rather recommend you and other people to read another book about Putin. “Putin’s Russia” by assassinated (by KGB-however I realise that this will be dismissed as CIA propaganda) Anna Politkovskaya.

  16. Does anyone remember how much it cost to unite East and West Germany.

    It’d cost a lot more than that to make Ukraine and particularly West Ukraine a part of the EU.

    And East Germany was way way ahead of where the Ukraine is at economically, and of course the ethnic ties were very different.

    You’re talking hundreds of billions, and I don’t think the EU wants to spend that much.

    I can see them plundering the place though.

  17. “Putin’s economic model”

    It’s not his model. He has to work with what he has.

    The development of these other areas of economic activity takes time, and indeed evolves over time.

    Putin is currently rescuing the country from Yeltsin and the West’s shock therapy.

  18. “What is the last thing you bought made in Russia?”

    That could just about be said of the UK!.

    “The system results in even worse wealth inequality than the terrible – and worsening – situation you rightly describe in the West”

    Photo finish.

  19. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Herbie

    “And East Germany was way way ahead of where the Ukraine is at economically, and of course the ethnic ties were very different”

    REALLY? East Germany AKA German Democratic Republic? You must have been dreaming at the (important) historical moment of German unification.

  20. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    Someone

    “That could just about be said of the UK!.”

    So we all are driving Russian cars then, in the UK? Flying on Russian planes?

  21. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:34 pm

    Mr Murray

    Are not you tired arguing with the bluntly headed lefties? It seems not only they know very little about Russia and former USSR but also their knowledge of economic theory is questionable.

    I realise that I had to study Marx and Lenin and was not allowed to argue of their shortcomings. But why these people?

  22. So if Putin tried to kill Yushchenko, why does Shevtsova not mention it?

    If Putin’s so-called “meddling” ( p. 274) in the 2004 election was so instrumental in Yanukovych’s victory, why did Putin have to threaten to cut off the gas in 2006 to get him on Russia’s side?

  23. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:39 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    Yanukovich was Putin’s men but he was president of Ukraine where there were own elites and he also had to maintain that (as we have witnessed very fragile) balance between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian Ukrainians. He could not always do 100% what Putin wanted him to do. And as soon as he has forgotten this, he was out.

  24. lucythediclonius

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Yes thanks Craig it is somewhat confusing as are what exactly constitutes language in the region.Nothing inaccurate in your analysis but the east may be more Russian than you suggest.The western heartland of the fascist groups (Lviv) is Catholic and Polish in some ways.The borders were set when nationality wasn’t really an issue and a lot of people have family both sides of the border.

  25. “Aid For The Ukraine “Will Be Stolen” – Former Ukrainian Minister Of Economy”

    http://investmentwatchblog.com/aid-for-the-ukraine-will-be-stolen-former-ukrainian-minister-of-economy/

  26. Uzbek

    Are you disagreeing that East Germany was ahead of western Ukraine economically?

  27. Black jelly

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    The proof of the pudding is in the reaction of the massed ranks of the sayanim, how the Synagogue of Satan hates the man !! He has stumped their EVERY move for domination, so much so that the “Yats” have even had to resort to an alliance with Nazis in Ukraine to get at him.Its very simple, if the devils who have a proven long list of “credentials” including – King David Hotel,GoT,Kennedy,USS Liberty,911 NORAD,Ghouta,etc are after his ass – he must be an ANGEL !! Just the spin of the gaju devils in the Beeb has been enough to convince me Putin is da man !!

  28. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    Herbie

    Yes. In fact East Germany (despite being Germany) was one of the least developed eastern block economies could only be compared to Romania of that time. And it is despite it being flagship for soviets to prove that their economic model was better than western. Some current researches I came across suggested that it was due to German work ethics was incomparable with soviet. And it was soviet that was enforced on East Germans.

  29. If Putin had gone to such lengths to get Yanukovych elected President, why did he then have to go to Moscow to patch things up?

  30. I thought Scottish had a sense of humor Craig? You missed my sarcasm with local militia in place of soldiers.Ukraine situation is manufactured by the West.Or do you dispute that ?
    What was Putin to do ? If you were in his boots Craig. Let these obviously far right extremists and oligarchs just take over business from an elected leader ?
    It seems like a game and Putin isn’t losing.Obama doesn’t look weak,he looks stupid,but not as pathetic as his deputy.The CNN article I pasted mirrors my thoughts on the subject.
    Personally I would like to see Ukraine totally independent.
    Whichever way this ends Kiev will be wearing handcuffs.Beholden to western banking practices and yet another country under the yoke or just under Moscow rule.
    And yes, after the split of Soviet Union there was much sadness among many of it’s former members.We in the west were fed only the negatives,like now,and were never fed the cultural similarities.Uzbeks ,Tazjiks, fought with Kazhaks ,Russians & Ukrainians in a stupid war in Afghanistan.It pushed those soldiers together ,not apart.
    Time to dig out the old Soviet propaganda about the USA.It has never been more true.

  31. Leaked calls gives us great insight including a wavelength of empathy towards those murdered by snipers in Kiev.

    Gosh! ‘I didn’t know’ is worth a listen my friends, an introduction if you will into the conspiracy world of lies and deception to further rampant, obsessive and high-handed desires of power and control that Craig in his former posts is well aware of.

    Part one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gjZSkCDQkE

    Part two:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AK-STpL1rk

    I say again remember the Arab dressed SAS forces in Iraq found planting explosives many of which ripped the fragile limbs of children now orphaned and in constant pain both mentally and physically.

  32. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    Never mind that Gazprom Chief Miller has announced today that Gazprom will likely to stop gas supply to Ukraine within the next few weeks for the payment arrears.

    Not that crucial for people on this blog I guess.

  33. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    mark golding

    Just because one of the sides involved proved evil, it does not automatically matter that other side is angel. It needs to prove itself to be good caring angel. Or does it not, if it is Russia?

  34. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:07 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    I am surprised my earlier answer did not answer that. As soon as Yanukovich forgot and neglected his nominal role as president of Ukraine (and that at least he needed to pretend to behave like one) he was out. Ukrainians throughout centuries had troubled relations with Russians, and one who rules Ukraine needs to at least pretend to be Ukrainian.

  35. conjunction

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    A very interesting piece. Like you, Craig I am a Europhile. Not to say I want the UK to join the Euro I am happy for us to sit on the edge. But the EU is the outcome of hundreds of years of wars culminating in the double crucifixion of the last century. In a certain sense we have got beyond nationalism.

    Russia of course has never except for a few years in the nineties had any form of democracy. Putin perhaps can only act out of his own traditions. But your thoughts about Russia and the EU are a good way of trying to imagine the future.

    The EU of course was born out of the ashes of the Second World War, in which 25 million Russians died.

  36. conjunction

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:15 pm

    Mark Golding: who or what is coia?

  37. That’s strange, Uzbek.

    Where’s the evidence that East Germany was on a par with Romania?

    I only ever see reports of East Germany having had the highest standard of living in the Eastern bloc.

    But anyway, how much do you think it will cost to bring the Ukrainian economy into the EU, and who has the money to pay for it?

    We’ve already seen that the EU Association deal was little more than a plunderer’s charter.

  38. Lauris Kaplinski

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:24 pm

    Craig, it is true that only 20% of people from Donetsk identify themselves as Russians and 80% as Ukrainians. But this does not mean, that they identify themselves with whatever regime present in Kiev. They probably love their country and precise because of that do not want it to fall into the hands of Western-Ukrainian nationalists. Unfortunately they are much more passive, because their Ukrainian identity is fueled by nationalism.
    IMO how things evolve depend now how Russia and current government in Kiev behave. The occupation of Crimea probably alienates many of them from Russia for the time being – but as soon as Kiev starts implementing nationalistic policies (and it seems determined to do that) it may serve as a strong cause that can be used to strong-arm the government for concessions. Which again does not fly well with Western-Ukrainians.
    Also, while Russia is less developed than Poland it has much better quality of life than Ukraine. Even Belarus is richer than Ukraine. As soon as the IMF pension cuts kick in I would not put my bets on the patriotism of Eastern Ukrainians.
    The best arrangement would be some sort of federal structure. It should have be set up 25 years ago but nationalists from Western Ukraine blocked it. And unfortunately it seems that for a time being powers that be are decided to not let it happen this time too.

  39. Craig, your definition of ‘Putin’s economic model’ that ‘provides very little employment’ seems to be based on your experiences in the similarly resource rich countries of West Africa rather than Russia. Russian citzens hold most of the technician and engineer posts that their extractive industries generate, whereas in West Africa these posts are largely staffed by Ex-pats (and not just westerners- you’ll find Filipinos working on Nigerian oil rigs almost as commonly as actual Nigerians. On many off shore facilities in the Bight the only Nigerian you’ll find would be the cook!)

    You are quite right about the high level of inequality, and rampant corruption, in Putin’s Russia. However the oil and gas boom in the Putin years has also benefitted some sections of the middle class, unlike in the Yeltsin years, when commodities were in the doldrums and the ‘shock therapy’, introduced in 1992, reduced a very large cohort of the Russian population to real penury.

    In the last decade the Russian middle class has enjoyed holidaying in large numbers on the beaches of Cyprus, Egypt and Thailand; that never happened under Yeltsin, and also helps explain why Putin’s authoritarianism hasn’t caused large scale unrest in Russia- or even much dented his approval ratings.

  40. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    Herbie

    I am not sure how much money it will take to modernise Ukrainian economy. Surely it should not be one way process, (like Russians do with Belarus) giving them money and pretending that they are doing something good with it. What do you mean bringing economy to the EU? What I see is Romania and Bulgaria members of the EU whereas Croatia and Turkey (with stronger economies) are not. EU is not just about economy.

    It depends what reports you are looking at. East Germans (like eastern block in general) were well known for things called in Russian as Prepiska (written without evidence). As said it was crucial for USSR to show that GDR is performing better than other, because it was GDR that had FRG (Federal Republic of Germany- West Germany) across the frontline border against which economic performance was clearly assessable.

  41. Lauris Kaplinski

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    is NOT fueled by nationalism

  42. Another way of looking at it is, why would the Germans put at risk their massive trade with Russia, in order to take on and fund the massive economic basket case that is Ukraine.

    They won’t. They simply won’t do that.

    The only interest the West has in Ukraine is a military one in terms of Russia, and Ukrainians would do best to understand that or they’ll be very disappointed as their remaining resources are plundered.

  43. OrwellianUK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:30 pm

    I still think the extent of the Military situation in Ukraine has been massively exaggerated in Western Media and I feel you are being swayed by this Craig. The troops were already there. Sure, Putin is playing to the home crowd but in some respects he probably had little choice but to act considering some of the dangerous elements in what was for all intensive purposes a coup d’etat. I also think you are understating/underestimating the extent of the US/EU involvement with the violent protests. It’s becoming clear that some provocateurism was involved. The US/EU seem to care little who they get into bed with to get their own way, and the fact that they are singing from different hymn sheets has made the situation worse.

    I also think you’re focusing too much on Putin’s Imperialism here and not showing some balance. After all, how do you think the US would behave if this were Mexico? Can we believe for one minute that the US government has not had a major influence on who the government of Mexico is? For some reason no-one notices when the US does this, just as Piers Morgan on CNN the other day, questioning RT Anchor Abby Martin only sees the Propaganda when it is the Russians doing it. Supposing Alaska became an independent Republic but still maintained strong ties to the US including a military presence and the Russians and Chinese subverted the elected government and installed their own puppets? What do you think the US would do?

    I think it is too early to say who has overplayed their hand in this, but all outside parties are doing what Empires do – a tug of war between at least 3 major outside factions which will ultimately decimate Ukraine in a cascade of debt and internal crisis.

    I’m puzzled as to why you put so much store in the EU. It is an enormously wasteful, corrupt and bankrupt organisation run by a motley crew of inept Western and Eastern European Oligarchs and Politicos. These standards of living, in case you hadn’t noticed, are on their way down (for the majority of us), not up. Adding an already debt-crippled nation to this pathetically dysfunctional entity will do neither them or the incumbent nations any good at all. It’s just more good money thrown after bad.

  44. Uzbek…

    Gazprom cannot, physically, “stop supplying Ukraine”.
    Its pipelines to the south and west run through Ukraine.

    It’s a political rather than practical threat.

  45. Kurtan

    My sincere apologies – your mimicry was so like some of the curious people who have been posting, I was quite taken in!!

  46. Prof Aleksandr Buzgalin gives his view:

    “People were tired from Yanukovych, and I understand very well that it is necessary and it was necessary to make democratic revolution. But what was happened in Ukraine, unfortunately, is not real democratic revolution on the basis of the–on the backs of the ordinary people who wanted to change bureaucratic, corrupted power, came to the power another–representatives of another oligarchical groups, another geopolitical forces who want to manipulate with Ukraine.”

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11553

  47. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 5:51 pm

    old mark

    I think the main argument here what economy is better for Ukraine. European type (diverse and efficient) or Russian (very different from former) which would not work in Ukraine which has no gas and oil.

    It is too early to compare Russia to West Africa. It was after all 2nd world not 3rd. It has (still) some industrial output but as Mr Murray mentioned it is more within raw materials then finished industrial products. Russians sell metals (which itself require industrial output to produce) but does not sell cars.

    You gave Yeltsin’s era as example but during Yeltsin’s presidency oil did not cost over 100 USD per barrel. Nor gas cost as much as it is now.

    One only need to drive 20 miles away from MKAD (Moscow M25) to see what Russian economy and distribution of wealth is. I have been living in the UK for some years now, but I never seen toilet without sewage in the UK, or anywhere in western Europe. And there are still some within MKAD. And it is despite Russian GDP per capita closing to that of Estonia (which is by the way with no oil and gas export power).

  48. Paul Craig Roberts gives his view:

    “The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun”

    “Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37876.htm

    Dr Paul Craig Roberts is an economist and was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy under Reagan and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.

  49. Absolutely right Uzbek. Proof relies on information not propaganda or disinformation. Disinformation is unstable, immaterial or unreal and decays with time. That said the unreal part has to exist in the first place so that information can evolve.

  50. As with the Iraq war it is our MSM who are not telling the truth. Whatever Putin’s tactics in the election of Yanukovich it was Yanukovich who was in power when overthrown by a rogue element from among the protestors. The fact that Mark Golding, who is well in touch with what is going on in the world, has only just posted a story that broke more than 48 hours ago. It shows how ill-informed society in general is. I respect Craig Murray and his opinions. When the BBC is deliberately presenting false information to influence public opinion, I for one want to know why I have to pay a licence fee.

    The lying BBC and other MSM outlets are presenting their masters’ wishes of what is happening in the Ukraine. It is all a load of tosh. Yet people still believe it. Wake up world! Russia has not sent troops into Crimea. The start of the shooting in Kiev came from a sniper from the protestors’ side who fired on police and supporters.

    http://nsnbc.me/2014/03/07/bbc-and-nato-violate-human-rights-commit-war-crimes/

  51. Keith Crosby

    7 Mar, 2014 - 6:22 pm

    So according to you, Yanushkevitch is a Russian version of the Khasi of Afghanistan/Cameron/Merkel etc. Did you ever doubt that Russia was a second division version of America or that US imperial policy towards Russia was a version of its siege of Cuba? A plague on all their statist totalitarian houses.

  52. “An IMF director said a fact-finding mission to Kiev was “progressing well” and that the IMF was “positively impressed” with the new government.”

    The vampyre loves the virgin.

    Meanwhile, these Russians certainly aren’t suckers:

    “A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said the notion of talks with Ukraine mediated by Western powers “makes us smile”. But the spokesman expressed faith and hope that a new Cold War was not beginning.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/07/ukraine-crisis-putin-russia-crimea-us-eu-sanctions-live-updates

  53. Keith Crosby

    7 Mar, 2014 - 6:33 pm

    “I am sure under these circumstances of intimidation and military occupation, the referendum will show a massive majority. Hitler pulled the same trick.”

    No, even with intimidation, fraud and terrorism the nazis failed to win the first election of 1933. It was only in the second “election” when only nazis could stand that the nazis “won”. Hitler was never democratically elected to anything. In the last free election in November 1932 the nazis got 33.09% of the vote and in the semi-bent election of March 1933 they got 43.91%, roughly the same as Thatchler under the equally bent FPTP system here. Britain has never had a democratically-elected government so perhaps you could suggest some changes here before sneering at Putin the amateur.

  54. Talk about curiosities. Please define the Left from your perspective, craig. Is it the Left who has given you support for your dissidence, or the Left who simply disagrees with your analysis of the the topic?

    Not expecting an answer, of course.

  55. Gracious John – Thanks. I rely on others for information including Mary – Where is she? I miss her.

  56. technicolour

    7 Mar, 2014 - 6:45 pm

    All the extremes doing their best to shout down the peaceful heart of it (much like most places), it would appear.

    Otherwise, have every sympathy with people citing the US/UK’s absolute lack of a peaceful moral high ground, not to mention the fact that Monsanto et al will be extending their feelers towards the ‘new’ Ukraine with gusto. On other other hand, anyone who hasn’t lived under the Russian regime really does not know what they are talking about. Why on earth you would whitewash/aggrandise one simply because you loathe the other is beyond me too.

  57. I miss Mary too Mark. I think she pre-empted Craig’s thoughtful invitation to any who disagree with him.

  58. Hi Mark

    I’ve noticed Mary’s absence. I hope she is all right. Personal attacks have not been as bad recently and people have largely been staying on-topic. Perhaps, like all of us, comments may have been removed and she may have taken umbrage. That’s pure speculation, I don’t know. My only contact with her is through this blog.

  59. Re Mary, this may, or may not be relevant/connected;

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/03/crimea-referendum/#comment-444661

  60. Ukrainians are basically Slavic people inhabiting a land that has not been independent since the Iron Age. Whether they’ll be at home in the EU remains to be seen.

    Putin’s having gained Crimea and lost Ukraine – if that is, indeed, going to be the case – may not be such a bad deal for Russia after all. One wonders who will pay Ukraine’s debts. One way or the other, Ukraine will get on with Russia as they have to.

    As for Russia becoming a member of the EU – I don’t really see them deferring to Brussels – “a zone of complete freedom within and ever-expanding freedom to and from without”

  61. ” One wonders who will pay Ukraine’s debts.”

    Ukrainians…..

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-03-05/top-official-says-eu-to-provide-ukraine-15-billion-aid-package-in-loans-and-grants

    “Most disbursements will likely hinge on the formation of a new Ukrainian government after elections in May and an agreement on wide-ranging reforms with the IMF. The fund will likely insist, among other things, on a currency devaluation and a sharp hike to natural gas prices, which Ukraine subsidizes heavily.”

    I think the ‘iceberg effect’ in in play with austerity for the $15 billion in IMF aid. They need $35 billion over the next two years, and the erosion of the economy will proceed as Japan’s.

  62. I see where you’re coming from Craig, but do not agree with you.
    I suppose the West got what they manufactured.Putin has just reacted. Surrounding Ukrainian bases on the Crimea makes total sense.He would look extremely silly having his Black Sea fleet surrounded instead. And then who knows what this idiot in charge could’ve ordered as he is now in control I suppose of Ukrainian armed forces.He has already told media in a speech that Russian tanks were rolling into Crimea.Interestingly enough, he also brought up Iranian nukes.He is Jewish after all and has dual citizenship, but maybe that’s just another coincidence.
    It’s pretty sad when you believe other leaders more than your own.We don’t have a Lavrov or a Putin. Just a bunch of silly school boys playing at politicians.They get their script from the FO or the City.
    We have a lot of Ukrainians and Russians in Vienna. They mix totally. You can meet them all ,including very attractive ladies at the Russian Trade mission here. I haven’t been there since the troubles began,but have a hard time believing that there’s bad feeling.Too much vodka under the bridge.They always argue politics,but that seems to be like entertainment for them.The barman is from Turkmenistan and his wife from Azerbadjan.
    Feryudin always calls himself Russian.

  63. Macky, Mary was posting after that comment on the next thread as well. If offended it was most likely this comment.

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/03/putin-and-international-law/comment-page-2/#comment-443888

  64. “So we all are driving Russian cars then, in the UK? Flying on Russian planes?”

    We could well be soon, I think it’s three American car manufacturers have factories in Russia now. The days of the Lada are over

  65. Gaston: There’s many stories of where the Ukrainians came from.
    The Swedish Vikings invaded that region. The Ukrainian flag has exactly the same colours as the Swedish flag. The women are very blond and Scandinavian looking.The language is Slavic, but there’s a good mix there.As I found out when they held the Euro Song contest, many customs are similar or the same to those of Sweden.

    As for the EU. Neighbouring countries have always traded with each other.Scotlands biggest trading partner way back in the 1200’s was Belgium or Flanders as it was.The Hanseatic League was huge in its time.It did not hinder you from trading with anybody else, it just made it easier.That’s all our Union was sold to us as.I don’t want it to become a US of E.

  66. technicolour

    7 Mar, 2014 - 7:29 pm

    (OT) I loved my Lada.

  67. Most teens want full independence, but teens are caught by the reality of economic dependence. The Ukraine may want to shake off its dependence from Russia, but Yanukovich was right when he said that he had to be realistic. Here is the reality that the Ukraine must deal with: 70% of its economy is trade with Russia. That might change in the future, but right now, its trade is dependent on Russia. The Ukraine gets and is unable to pay for its use of gas, which was over $400 million in February and did not pay. The debt to Russia approaching $2 billion, and who knows how much to other debtors. I don’t question that corruption by politicians is a huge problem, but I doubt that it is the reason for all the debt that the Ukraine owes. The current government doesn’t have the support of majority of the Ukraine people. Why do I say this? Because other cities did not follow Kiev. In other countries, we saw demonstrations all over, e.g. Egypt, Tunisia, etc. Being in debt to the Russians or to the IMF, like the Greeks, makes no difference. I doubt that Russia will give its gas to the Ukraine at half price if it decides to go with the EU.

  68. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 7:38 pm

    Thank you, Craig, and congratulations on a masterful piece which summarizes the build-up to where we are now and likely short-term consequences; I agree with 95% of what you wrote.

    Also thanks to Uzbek in the UK for so ably and energetically rebutting many of the ensuing posts from the usual suspects.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’m sure you’ll forgive me this little observation: perhaps you’ll understand from the reactions which this and your couple of previous themes have provoked why I’ve intervening quite so frequently on your blog over the past year or so. The themes have been multiple, but the approach of – I’m sorry to say of the majority of – your regulars is always the same. QED.

  69. To add to my recent post, you may use Google translate for this article from El Pais, Spain.

    La economía ucrania habla ruso

    http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/03/04/actualidad/1393961386_739757.html

  70. One realises the approach or path is the same having gone through the same gate. That is harmony, singularity, of oneness, of connection, of non-duality. That is the proof. QED

  71. Mobile phone age,reports of troop movements,no restrictions on movement, just approaching bases.
    If there were large troop movments someone would have recorded them.
    They haven’t happened.

  72. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 7:57 pm

    “Dr Paul Craig Roberts is an economist and was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy under Reagan and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.”
    ____________________________

    Herbie, beware of false Gods – and of excessive hero worship.

    Yes, Roberts is an economist by training – as were Milton Friedman, Patrick Minford, Joseph Schumpeter, Margaret Thatcher’s favorite guru Alan Walters and many others to whom you would probably not link in quite the same fawning manner.

    He was indeed an Assistant Secretary at the Treasury – for all of 11 months more than 30 years ago. At present, there are around 11 Assistant Secretaries in the Treasury Dept.

    And he is no longer an Associate Editor at the Wall Street Journal and hasn’t written for it for a long time.

    I advise anyone who wants to savour Dr Roberts’ all-encompassing wisdom, dispassionate and even-handed analytical capacity, prophetic track record and multi-track mind to either read Counterpunch regularly or to go onto the man’s own website. The man is a David Ike with degrees in economics.Enjoy while you can (for, according to the good Doctor, the end of the world is nigh)!

  73. “One realises the approach or path is the same having gone through the same gate”

    Indeed, Mark. Who was it said the definition of insanity is doing the same activity to perpetuity, expecting different results?

  74. Habby

    Feel free to rebut Dr Robert’s arguments, rather than your usual cheap jibes.

    Or not.

    He’s had quite an accomplished and full career on the economic frontline, which you can read all about here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Craig_Roberts

    “Roberts is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley and at Merton College, Oxford University.[5] His first scholarly article (Classica et Mediaevalia) was a reformulation of “The Pirenne Thesis.”

    In Alienation and the Soviet Economy (1971), Roberts explained the Soviet economy as the outcome of a struggle between inordinate aspirations and a refractory reality. He argued that the Soviet economy was not centrally planned, but that its institutions, such as material supply, reflected the original Marxist aspirations to establish a non-market mode of production. In Marx’s Theory of Exchange (1973), Roberts argued that Marx was an organizational theorist whose materialist conception of history ruled out good will as an effective force for change.

    From 1975 to 1978, Roberts served on the congressional staff. As economic counsel to Congressman Jack Kemp,[6] he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill (which became the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981). He played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy.[5] Due to his influential 1978 article on tax burden for Harper’s,[7] while economic counsel to Senator Orrin Hatch,[8] the Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley offered him an editorial slot. He wrote for the WSJ until 1980.[9] He was a senior fellow in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then part of Georgetown University.[6]

    From early 1981 to January 1982, Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. President Ronald Reagan and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.”[5]

    Roberts resigned in January 1982 to become the first occupant of the William E. Simon Chair for Economic Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then part of Georgetown University.[10] He held this position until 1993. He went on to write The Supply-Side Revolution (1984), in which he explained the reformulation of macroeconomic theory and policy which he had helped to develop.

    From 1993 to 1996, he was a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute. He also was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.[5]

    In The New Color Line (1995), Roberts argued that the Civil Rights Act was subverted by the bureaucrats who applied it. He thought it was being used to create status-based privileges and threatened the equality of the Fourteenth Amendment in whose name it was passed. In The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), Roberts documented what he saw as the erosion of the Blackstonian legal principles that ensure that law is a shield of the innocent and not a weapon in the hands of government.
    Honors and recognition

    In 1987 the French government recognized him as “the artisan of a renewal in economic science and policy after half a century of state interventionism”; it inducted him into the Legion of Honor on March 20, 1987. The French Minister of Economics and Finance, Edouard Balladur, came to the US from France to present the medal to Roberts. President Reagan sent OMB Director Jim Miller to the ceremony with a letter of congratulation.[5]

    In 1992 Roberts received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism from the free-market American Legislative Exchange Council. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.[5]”

  75. Anyway, Corbie and Ryan Dawson take a look at Ukraine and other issues:

    http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-836-ryan-dawson-looks-for-a-third-way-in-the-ukraine-crisis/

  76. Well, can’t Mary take a few days off to enjoy the warm March weather without causing concern? We haven’t seen it for 5 years.

    Due diligence on the topic of Ukraine before commenting might be another reason for her absence.

    After all Craig lost his job because of frustration with the reckless policy of UK and US torture in the War on Terror. The reckless policies of Putin seems to me to be a bit of a smoke-screen at this moment of time for the reckless policies of the West in using Al Qaida in Syria.

    I come to the conclusion that we are being deliberately protected by our leaders, their cotton=wool media and their former diplomats and generals, from engaging with the main issue of the day, how to strangle the last of the Middle-Eastern dictators, the leaders of Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia so that a new, Westernised deal can be constructed with Islam.

    Look look an invasion in Ukraine.
    But I would think that wouldn’t I? Craig is currently deleting comments pointing the wrong way and raising storms in tea-cups about irrelevancies in Ukraine.

  77. “The EU has already agreed to match the US$19 billion in guarantees Putin had promised…”

    The difference is that Putin probably actually has the money.

  78. @John Goss; “If offended it was most likely this comment”

    No John, I don’t think she would take any notice of anything from that particular Poster; if anything it’s more likely to be the Post I highlighted, in which she is rebuked by Craig, for something that she was correctly reporting, and the subsequent resulting lack of an apology; also it cannot have been pleasant for her that a person she obviously admires immensely, starts parroting the same deluded nonsense that a certain group have been hurling at her for the past year.

  79. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 8:38 pm

    Ben

    “Indeed, Mark. Who was it said the definition of insanity is doing the same activity to perpetuity, expecting different results?”
    ________________

    Was that supposed to be a definition of the Eminences of this blog?

  80. What is the last thing Putin or any of his oligarchs bought that is made in Russia?

    AK47s, Sukhoi jet fighters, tanks? :-)

    But I guess Craig means consumer goods:

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/513251/Russia/38608/Manufacturing

    Light industry

    Textile industries are heavily concentrated in European Russia, especially in the Central region, which produces a large share of the country’s clothing and footwear. Cotton textiles are dominant, with the raw cotton supplied mainly by Central Asian countries. In the zone between the Volga and Oka rivers, east of Moscow, there are numerous cotton-textile towns, the largest of which are Ivanovo, Kostroma, and Yaroslavl. Durable consumer goods (e.g., refrigerators, washing machines, radios, and television sets) are produced primarily in areas with a tradition of skilled industry, notably in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    Not a great exporter of consumer goods like China, but better in manufacturing for example than Australia? (We only ‘invade’ Papua New Guinea and Nauru to create gulags for refugees)

  81. I have only deleted two comments – one for using a racist epithet, and one for accusing me of saying something I had never said. All of the comments which disagree with me are still there otherwise.

  82. @reliably “resources and industry…over time…would seem to offer another path to prosperity”

    If you think that mining and consumption has any long-term future in a global economy already doomed to runaway climate change then I hope you don’t have kids of your own to worry about.

  83. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 8:48 pm

    Macky

    Well, I’ve been rebuked by Craig as well and survived.

    An internet discussion blog is no place for the excessively thin-skinned.

    And anyway, it wasn’t Mary who asked for an apology – that was some one else, trying to stir up trouble.

  84. In smaller freedom

    7 Mar, 2014 - 8:53 pm

    Sadly, the model for Ukraine’s EU accession is not Poland but Greece: endemic corruption papered over for geopolitical reasons with the population subsequently made to pay with interest. EU accession under current conditions means old ladies eating out of garbage cans and jumping off the roofs.

    And yes, it’s sad that Ukraine has a fake democracy. But for shits & grins I edited your post to globally replace Putin with Pritsker and Yanukovich with Obama, and it fit pretty damn good. Except Penny Pritsker installed her puppet with greater ease (after routine NSA surveillance and vetting.) The US has a fake democracy; Italy, Greece, Spain have fake democracies. The UK has pretty much dropped even the pretense of democracy.

    Very true that Ukraine should not be the object of an EU-Russian tug of war. Why pick sides? Their best bet would be to join the G-77, with which their history and circumstances have much in common. Outside of UNO, which seems to be cut out of this deal, the G-77 is the most trustworthy source of capacity-building in self-determination and rights and rule of law.

  85. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    “Durable consumer goods (e.g., refrigerators, washing machines, radios, and television sets) are produced primarily in areas with a tradition of skilled industry, notably in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg.”
    ____________________

    Here are 100 (devalued) Russian rubles that say the Kremlin buys German or Japanese :)

    I’ve read that Uncle Joe’s (the Little Father’s) favorite piped were from Dunhill.

    Not that this is relevant of course.

  86. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 8:56 pm

    Pipes, not piped (sorry, I was choking on my Communist Havana when writing that).

  87. Craig; You must have some rogue moderators.

    On the original Ukraine thread (I think since it is not extant) I just wrote a warning wrt JTRIG sock-puppets protocols proscribe providing ANY information because it is too difficult to assess whether the information will be helpful to a target. Therefore it’s best not to provide ANY information. I didn’t mention any posters or refer to trolls, but Hab made a comment prior to my deleted. First the post was scrubbed and the comment ‘completely off topic’ was visible. Minutes later the entire presence was scrubbed.

    Two deleted posts seemed too low a number.

  88. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 9:02 pm

    Skintnick

    ““The EU has already agreed to match the US$19 billion in guarantees Putin had promised…”

    The difference is that Putin probably actually has the money.”
    _______________________

    Witty, but not really relevant. Loan guarantees are what they say – guarantees. The guarantor only has to cough up when the guarantee actually defaults, you see. And, by the way, loan guarantees don’t come for free – the guarantee usually has to pay a fee.

    But correct me if I’m wrong, some one.

  89. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    7 Mar, 2014 - 9:06 pm

    Ben

    “I didn’t mention any posters or refer to trolls, but Hab made a comment prior to my deleted.”
    ___________________

    So perhaps the moderator thought your post was an attack on me? Perish the thought!

  90. @uzbek “I have been living in the UK for some years now, but I never seen toilet without sewage in the UK” – yer want to come up to Suffolk boy, we’ve got lots of ’em.

    So many pundits looking at the world through the lens of the bourgeois myth of “progress”, every damn one of you. What Ukraine has is fertile land and a small population to enjoy it. When all your IMF loans and measures of “standard of living” have fallen into the cauldron of climate chaos and technological breakdown, what remains of the population of “Ukraine” will do just fine I’ll wager.

  91. technicolour

    7 Mar, 2014 - 9:20 pm

    Ash toilets are fine, if you have the land. Urine is a powerful fertiliser thanks to the urea content (apparently they used to use it in the famed orchid greenhouses of Singapore, possibly still do). Progress along the lines of received wisdom is not all it’s made up to be, you do know that?

  92. technicolour

    7 Mar, 2014 - 9:40 pm

    Course, if you actually read the piece:

    “Serhiy Astakhov, aide to the head of border guards service, told Reuters the figure was an estimate”

  93. Where is General Accounting when you need them? We need an audit. Stat !

  94. Craig’s version of events may be true but it omits a key factor from Russia’s point of view – NATO.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin has suspected that NATO (ie the US) was determined to move its forces ever closer to the Russian border in order to maximize its military and political leverage over Moscow.

    Who can blame them? The world is dominated by an imperial power to an extent hitherto unknown in human history, and that power has been intent on “containing” Russia and China – its only potential rivals – for the past 70 years. Would British “leaders” have reacted differently in the same circumstances, given that Obama was pressing Kiev to permit NATO military exercises in Ukraine?

    (By the way, it may be satisfying to compare Putin’s actions to those of Hitler in the 1930s, but it doesn’t get us anywhere. The US invaded Mexico in the 1840s and annexed much of what is now the American West, to the enduring chagrin of the Mexicans. Britain spent much of the past 200 years invading, occupying and despoiling places all over the world. By these standards, Putin has committed an unfortunate indiscretion).

  95. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 9:50 pm

    John Goss,

    “Whatever Putin’s tactics in the election of Yanukovich it was Yanukovich who was in power when overthrown by a rogue element from among the protestors.”

    Cheers men. Rouge elements you say? Is that what you are branding some protesters now? I shall remember this. In May 2005 hundreds of protesters were killed in Uzbek city of Andijan, by another elected (and legitimate) president. That time so called “rouge protesters” lost. But John Goss gives no sh..t. They were rouge anyway.

  96. I recommend this Russian blogger living in Florida; here is an excellent piece about Russia after Yeltsin, and he writes a lot about Ukraine too

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.be/2013/10/1993-2013-is-twenty-years-long-pas-de.html

  97. Rouge should be rogue, unless you meant Reds under the bed.

  98. Uzbek in the UK

    7 Mar, 2014 - 9:57 pm

    Andy
    “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin has suspected that NATO (ie the US) was determined to move its forces ever closer to the Russian border in order to maximize its military and political leverage over Moscow.”

    It is indeed very common believe amongst KGB. And since they rule Russia today it is indeed common believe in Russia today. But fact is that it is Russia today who is blackmailing Europe (most of whom are NATO members) not at least with energy as a weapon. How does NATO expansion rhetoric explains this?

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