The Fashion for Hypocrisy

by craig on March 3, 2014 12:28 pm in Uncategorized

Hypocrisy seems to be massively in fashion.  This from William Hague renders me speechless: “Be in no doubt, there will be consequences. The world cannot say it is OK to violate the sovereignty of other nations.”

Then today we have the British Establishment at a closed event in Westminster Abbey in memory of Nelson Mandela.  Prince Harry, David Cameron, all the toffs.  I was never more than a footsoldier in the anti-apartheid movement, but I trudged through the rain and handed out leaflets in Dundee and Edinburgh.  I suspect very few indeed of the guests at this posh memorial service did that.  David Cameron was actively involved in Conservative groups which promoted precisely the opposite cause.

My first appointment in the Foreign Office was to the South Africa (Political) desk in 1984.  The official British government line was that the ANC was a terrorist organization.  I faced hostility and disapproval even when I tried to get action on appalling human rights abuses like the case of Oscar Mpetha (thanks here to Tony Gooch and Terry Curran, they know why).  I got in big trouble for asking how many black guests had been received in the High Commissioner’s residence in Pretoria.

Every day, on a day to day basis, my job involved dealing with members of the British establishment, its political, business and professional communities.  The entire tenor of those meetings was how to prevent economic sanctions, circumvent existing sanctions and prolong the economic advantages to the UK of white rule.  Support for PW Botha was axiomatic.  I have no doubt many of those people or those who worked alongside them are in Westminster Abbey today.

The final extraordinary outbreak of hypocrisy is on the British left.  Russian military invasion of Ukraine is approved by them, because it is an invasion by Russia, and not an invasion by the West.  They are precisely as hypocritical as Hague.  Both think it is OK to violate the sovereignty of other nations, but only by their chosen side.

Until 1917, Russia was an Empire, avowedly so.  Thereafter the Soviet Union was a non-avowed Empire. The Crimea, and the rest of the Caucasus, was not colonized by Russia until the 1820’s onward.  The reason Crimea has a majority Russian population is that Stalin deported the Krim Tartars as recently as the 1930’s.  That was an old fashioned, wholesale  colonial atrocity, precisely similar to the British clearing parts of Kenya for white settlement.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Russian statesmen like Nesselrode appealed to the British in particular, not to oppose their expansion in the Caucasus, because as he said like the British they were white Christian Europeans engaged in a civilizing mission among savages and Muslims.  It was precisely the same colonial motivation the British used.  There is no moral difference, or even overt difference in justification at the time, between British colonization of India and Russian colonization of Chechnya.  Because Britain happens to be an island, we think of Empires as something you get to by ship.  Russia’s Empire happened to be a contiguous land mass.  But Dagestan, Chechnya, and Tartarstan were none the less colonies, exactly as were Kokhand, Bokhara and Khiva, formed to make Uzbekistan.  Yet left wing anti-colonialism does not demand decolonisation by Russia, only the West. Gross hypocrisy.


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  1. And what if Kiev sends the military in to Donetsk Craig?
    Donetsk City Council declares itself sole lawful authority in the city itself-sole-lawful-authority-in-the-city-338120.html

    Or Kharkhov?

    There’s nothing ‘legitimate’ about the new Kiev regime
    Any more than there is in Egypt or anywhere else where elections have been overturned

  2. Tony

    You sound just like Willam Hague. “What if Gadaffi sends his troops into Benghazi?”

    The point is they are Ukrainians involved in a civil dispute with Ukrainians. It would be absolutely wrong for Russia to intervene, just as it was wrong for the West to intervene in Libya.

  3. The service is on live now on BBC 2. Archbishop Tutu is addressing the congregation. On this link I believe you can watch from the start.

    Zuma did not attend. He has gone to a Mugabe family wedding in Zimbabwe.

    Shame that the ANC liberation ended up with the likes of Zuma. Little has changed for the better in the life of the black South African, discounting those who have joined the middle class and have acquired wealth.

  4. I think this exposes one of the fatal flaws of all statist positions – its not about people, its about absolute power over areas of land.
    For the non-anarchist left (and possibly the non-Marxian), they too often take the same view as the right – the enemy of our enemy is our friend. Never mind that that ‘friend’ is a violent, right wing imperialist (or violent ‘left-wing’ imperialist).

    Its all about power for the elite, nothing about people and suffering. That’s sadly the same for those at the top of all sides in the Ukranian factions too.

  5. A bit more hypocrisy by you where you ignore English land-based imperialism at the expense of the Welsh, Scots and Celts, and Russian presence in the Ukraine since at least the 12th century when it was under attack by the nomads of central Asia..

    .And I an no British left-winger.

  6. Trowbridge

    The Kievan Rus were not just under attack, they were positively driven out to Muscovy in the 12th century. I agree with your point about English imperialism.

  7. As always Dmitry Orlov talks a lot of sense about this situation.

  8. I am not referring to the Kievan Rus but the Russians in eastern current Ukraine in the 12th century – what resulted in the appearance of The Tale of (Prince) Igor’s Campaign.

    It played the same role in the formation of Russian consciousness, as thevNibelungenlied and the poem of El Cid did in the formation of other European national consciousness.

  9. Phil,

    “More government, more bureaucracy, more laws, more police, more coercion”. I have consistently argued for less of all of those. I am deleting your comment as it is a deliberate falsehood.

  10. Trowbridge,

    We are referring to the same event, and they left and went to Muscovy. Yes, Ukrainian lands are a potent part of Russia’s national myth. But that is exactly similar to Israel in Jewish national myth. The fact your people were somewhere a thousand or two thousand years ago does not give you the right to it now, if you left in the interim.

  11. Craig, I hope I’m not being hypocritical myself. I do try to avoid that. Various things seem to be insufficiently differentiated from each other, both in thought and reality, leading to a lot of confusion.

    There is the economic system of the EU, insufficiently differentiated from the military ambitions of US-dominated NATO.

    There is the objection to the questionable manner of the change of political power in Ukraine, insufficiently differentiated from opposition to the popular movement for change in Ukraine.

    There is concern about the sudden shift in the power-balance between the the nuclear-armed powers of the US and Russia, insufficiently differentiated from support for Russian interventionism.

    Personally, I feel that opinions similar to my own are being widely misrepresented in a manner that serves pro-Western-corporatist propaganda. This is why I’ve been arguing on these threads against all mud-slinging, including accusations of “supporting the Kremlin” or “supporting the Neocon agenda” or whatever; it takes time and considerable reflection when composing a comment to differentiate between the various tangled strands I mention above. It is much quicker and easier for those who point the finger at others and accuse them of being “supportive of (whichever chosen) enemy”, and consequently such commenters can post several comments and malign several other commenters in the time it takes myself to compose a comment such as this.

  12. No actually it IS the cutting edge of political analysis, and I congratulate you, Craig, on persisting in analysing political events from an ethical perspective rather than in terms of discredited political dogmas. The dishonesty of contemporary politics is the fundamental issue, because constructive discourse is almost impossible when people conceal their own true motivations.

    At to the contemporary British Left, they’re about as dogmatic, inhuman, dishonest, and oblivious to reality as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and discussions with them leave me equally frustrated.

  13. Yossi

    Honestly, that is pathetic. Five of the seven bullet points Orlov starts with are quite simply untrue.

  14. Craig

    I notice that Kosovo and Sierra Leone were missing from the list of foreign interventions that you opposed – was that deliberate or do believe that there are genuine cases for liberal interventionism?

  15. Actually my last comment was in response to a comment that Craig deleted while I was writing it!

    But on another point, Trowbridge, yes obviously you’re not British of any political persuasion, as you apparently think that “Celts” are a specific ethnic group distinct from “Welsh” and “Scots”. But I don’t want to derail the discussion into a (probably fruitless) discussion of the complexities of ethnicity and ancient British history.

    As regards whether “the Russians” were in Ukraine or any other place at any particular time in the Middle Ages, such discussions tend to project modern national self-definitions onto the past where in fact nations did not exist in the modern sense of the word. Historical atlases are very misleading when they show states expanding and contracting like amoebas. Mostly these boundary changes did not involve any transfer of population- the peasants stayed put and were merely taxed, oppressed, raped, and occasionally massacred by a different set of mounted warriors. Nationality is a modern construct.

  16. Craig
    He has many contacts in Ukraine and seems to be closer to the ground than most people who comment. What do you think of his comments iro “Heaven’s Hundred” ?

  17. “There is the economic system of the EU, insufficiently differentiated from the military ambitions of US-dominated NATO.”

    Who is suggesting that the Ukraine joins NATO – I have seen no call from the Ukrainians to do so, and there have been several opinion polls where Ukrainians from all parts of the country have made it clear that they do not want to join NATO.

  18. ESLO

    No, I opposed Sierra Leone too – very actively indeed in the Foreign Office. I wrote a book about it! On Kossovo, I believe it was wrong too, but I was unfortunately so tied up over Sierra Leone I can’t pretend I paid much attention at the time.

  19. Congratulations, Craig, on a series of astute pieces of analysis. Both on the arrest of Moazzem Begg and on the Ukraine crisis, what your clarity of exposition makes clear is how hypocrisy undermines the authority with which many of the actors speak.

    There’s such an accumulation of self-deception that it would be an astonishingly effective ploy to detach the “nasty” label from the Conservative Party if Cameron were to say – “I now admit, with shame, that there was a time when I and most people in the Conservative Party, including Mrs Thatcher, supported rulers of South Africa such as P W Botha and dismissed Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. We were wrong. The reason why I made such a wrong call was… [I’ll leave him to construct a concluding phrase which does not reduce a genuine apology to an apologia].”

  20. Well, at least one of Russia’s greatest composers revived the myth in the 19th century when it was in control of Kiev, unlike what happened with other European national myths.

    The weakness of the West’s case against Moscow is now demonstrated by its not going to the UN over Moscow’s alleged unprovoked aggressions – what it would, of course, only lose while having its covert dirty tricks exposed.

    Wonder if Snowden has given Moscow some insights into what the Anglo-Americans have been up to there, starting with the Sochi Games?

  21. “as you apparently think that “Celts” are a specific ethnic group distinct from “Welsh” and “Scots”

    Haven’t you heard of the Cornish and Elmet?

  22. Craig, in your compendium of hypocrisy you have pointedly left out your beloved EU.

    Brussels is seemingly comfortable with members of Svoboda and Right Sector occupying cabinet posts in the new government in Kiev. Compare and contrast their current behaviour with the hissy fit they threw in 2000 when the Freedom Party (after gaining over 20% of the popular vote) obtained cabinet posts in the Austrian government, and Brussels imposed pointless ‘sanctions’ for several months-

  23. Pete, 1:29 pm;

    Actually my last comment was in response to a comment that Craig deleted while I was writing it!

    That’s one of the reasons I always preface my replies like I have this one.

    All: I do wish everyone would do the same; it helps to prevent confusion, unintended offence, and time wasted in responding to arguments that were actually directed elsewhere. It helps readers to look back in the thread to see exactly what a reply was in response to.

  24. ESLO, 1:35 pm

    “Who is suggesting that the Ukraine joins NATO “

    What matters in understanding recent Russain military action is whether the Russian government fears such a development.

  25. Old Mark

    Are members of Svoboda and Right Sector really occupying cabinet posts? Because I have repeatedly asked for examples, and so far the only examples given have been people who are not members of either, like Klitschko. I am not saying they are not, I am asking for the evidence as all I have seen so far is assertion.

  26. Hi Craig,

    Notwistanding the ilegality of the Crimean move, you cannot surely equate that with the Lybia affair. I mean, how many Texan-speakers live in western Lybia? How close is to Maryland? And so forth.

  27. Sure have heard of the Cornish, as has bard Peter Ellis, author of Celt and Saxon, The Struggle for Britain AD 410-937, but who are Elmet? Can only find them on one of his maps, near Liincoln.

    And don’t forget the picts, scone, inbbhir ris, etc., just to name a few others.

  28. Elmet is an area which was reputed to be the last stronghold of the Celts in England – Ted Hughes wrote the Remains of Elmet.

  29. What invasion Craig?

    According to the status of force agreement Russia can post up to 30,000 soldiers in Crimea. The normal size of its forces there is just half of that. If Russia wants to reinforce those it can do so without breaking any national or international agreement.

  30. lucythediclonius

    3 Mar, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    Are members of Svoboda and Right Sector really occupying cabinet posts? Because I have repeatedly asked for examples, and so far the only examples given have been people who are not members of either, like Klitschko. I am not saying they are not, I am asking for the evidence as all I have seen so far is assertion.

  31. My own hypocrisy compels me to delete my own comment

  32. lucythediclonius

    3 Mar, 2014 - 2:41 pm

    This article covers the Ukranian cabinet Ive checked a few of them and it seems authentic.


    ‘Yats’ is allied with Tymoshenko. A rose is a rose by any other name.

  34. Breathtaking hyprocrisy and duplicity. Western states have thought up this doctrine of ‘right to protect’ which they own and use to overthrow governments.

    Russia is not using this ‘right’ it is using it’s natural protection of Russian citizens and Russian assets.

    Geopolitics and world order dominate the minds of the elite, the banksters and corporates who pull the political strings. These zombies and their lackeys lack empathy and suppress past memory. They are dangerous, their minds overtaken by a Russia threat fantasy. They do not care about a single bit about you or I or Craig or the 3000 murdered in the Trade Towers or the Ukrainian people, just as they did not care one iota about the Albanians in Kososova in 1999, a conflict like Iraq in that NO UNSC approval was gained. In 2001 the UN refusing to admit this genocide just as we also witness the indefinate delay of the damning Chilcot inquiry on Iraq.

    Folks, this is one putsh too far, one violation too much. This cruel oligarthy of absolutism and totality must be ended by OUR power of intention. We are all connected in nonduality and we can make this work for us to change course from a path that can only lead to catastrophe and termination.

  35. Ben, 2:42; your first link doesn’t work due to the exclamation mark being omitted, but this party is described as social-democratic:!

    Your second link redirects to the Batkivshchyna page; they’re described as centre-right:

  36. “According to the status of force agreement Russia can post up to 30,000 soldiers in Crimea”

    Surrounding Ukrainian army bases? This is perhaps the most ridiculous apologia I have seen so far.

  37. “Are members of Svoboda and Right Sector really occupying cabinet posts? Because I have repeatedly asked for examples, and so far the only examples given have been people who are not members of either, like Klitschko. I am not saying they are not, I am asking for the evidence as all I have seen so far is assertion.”

    Yes, there certainly are cabinet members who are far-right, including Svoboda members. Probably the worst one, by the looks of things is Andriy Parubiy, who is in charge of national security of all things. The defence and police also look to have been put in charge of Svoboda as well, which is pretty scary stuff.

    I think we will have to wait until the elections so that we can see how the Ukrainian people vote.

  38. Another hypocrite is John Kerry “You don’t just invade another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”

    Well these represent some US invasions. Just 34 from the Mexico war of 1846 but surely a lot more to come in the never-ending war on Islam.

  39. Dammit. Posted this on the wrong thread:


    I think these are not actually in cabinet posts:

    “Andriy Volodymyrovych Parubiy (Ukrainian: Андрій Володимирович Парубій) is a Ukrainian politician[2] and the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, appointed after leading the anti-government riots in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[3] His deputy is Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh.”

    Still worrying nonetheless.

  40. There is a lot of hypocrisy to go around today.
    I don’t particularly condone the Russian annexation of the Crimea.
    Equally I don’t condone the western attempt to overthrow the government
    in Kiev.

    I support the right of the Ukrainians to self-determination, but when that
    is funded and fomented by external money and power then it is not a revolution,
    it is a coup.

    I strongly object to the Western media narrative that this all due to the nasty guy Putin. He may well be nasty, but no less so than the neo-cons in the Whitehouse.
    Sadly the Great Game is where nasty people go to play. Nice ones don’t do well there.

    I feel sorry for the 40 million Ukrainians who are having their world turned upside down to satisfy the egos of power elites in faraway foreign capitals.

  41. Clark;

    “In May 2013 “Svoboda”, “Fatherland” and UDAR vowed to coordinate their actions during the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election.[80]”

    FATHERLAND link above


    “The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform of Vitali Klitschko (Ukrainian: Український демократичний альянс за реформи Віталія Кличка; the acronym UDAR/УДАР translates to “strike” or “punch”)[16] is a political party in Ukraine headed by retired[17] Ukrainian professional heavyweight boxer and the WBC world heavyweight champion emeritus Vitali Klitschko.[2] The party has an anti-corruption and pro-European platform.”

  42. The BBC have roped in Norman Smith to give out the anti-Putin propaganda now. He normally comments on parliamentary affairs in the ‘Houses’.

    John Simpson is also pontificating from the region as is his wont but I am not sure if he got into Crimea, burka wearing or not.

  43. to clarify this is Fatherland….

  44. It may be just a temporary alliance of convenience (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) for center-rght and rabid brown-shirts, but it does take the patina off their political vehicle.

  45. Craig believes that there are no neo-Nazis in the Kiev ‘government’ but here are these Swedish types arriving. Good job Breivik is under lock and key in Norway.

    Neo-Nazis Pour Into Kiev

    A stream of European jihadists have traveled to Syria to wage holy war. Now a group of European neo-Nazis are traveling to Ukraine to save the white race

    The Daily Beast was set up by Tina Brown, Harold Evans’ wife.

    The Daily Beast is an American news reporting and opinion website founded and formerly published by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as the short-lived Talk Magazine. The Daily Beast was launched on 6 October 2008, and is owned by IAC. John Avlon, an American journalist and political commentator as well as a CNN contributor, is the site’s executive editor, and Rhona Murphy is its interim CEO. Brown stepped down as editor in September 2013.

    The name of the site was taken from a fictional newspaper in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop. On 12 November 2010, The Daily Beast and Newsweek announced a merger deal, creating a combined company, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. On 3 Aug 2013 IAC, owner of The Daily Beast, sold Newsweek to IBT Media, owner of the International Business Times.

    > Etienne Uzac is the French-American co-founder and CEO of IBT Media, a New York based digital media company. Etienne started the company in 2006 with co-founder Johnathan Davis after completing his Bachelor’s degree at LSE.

    Etienne grew up in France and South Africa and while studying for college in London, he saw an opportunity to develop a truly global business digital media property. So he started International Business Times (, a business focused digital news property that now boasts over 20M unique users a month.

    Building on the success of IBTimes, the company started and now runs 12 other vertical news websites in the tech, health, Hispanic sectors and more. IBT Media also operates a premium digital video platform and portal. During the summer of 2013, IBT Media acquired Newsweek. All in all IBT Media O&O properties reach 40M unique users a month.

    Etienne is on the 2013 Folio:100 List


    Probably too much information but I wanted to see the provenance/ownership of The Daily Beast.

  46. “Russia is not using this ‘right’ it is using it’s natural protection of Russian citizens and Russian assets.”

    And who exactly has been threatened in the Crimea – apart from a few Tartars who have been beaten up and who can be ethnically cleansed at a later date when their propiskas have been checked.

  47. Improper use of ‘patina’ should’ve been ‘shine’.

  48. Sofia Kibo Noh

    3 Mar, 2014 - 3:40 pm

    In a worrying break with riot etiquette crowds of citizens have stormed and occupied regional government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

    Ignoring the time honoured and respectable tradition of throwing molotov coctails through the windows they have schemed instead to erect wire-mesh window guards.

    They are demanding that their representatives meet to debate and vote on a motion of disobedience to the guys with baseball bats in the burned our government buildings of Kiev.

    Is this</a acceptable behavior?

  49. I still want to know, who are this lot?

    They are apparently equipped and trained well enough to confront the police. They have helmets and shields; some of the helmets are motorcycle helmets and maybe they took the shields from the police. Many have eye protection or visors. Quite a few have bullet-proof jackets, and some seem to have full Kevlar body-armour. The “commanding officer” has a two-way radio. But most of all they seem trained and under orders. This sort of force doesn’t look like a simple civil uprising. But on the next video, you can see that the uprising definitely has popular support. Look at all the food that has been brought by normal people. See the woman passing out snacks:

  50. I think it is Propooski (пропуски) ESLO.

  51. No question the popular uprising had some legitimacy as push-back on corruption, but I wonder if there is a neo-nazi version of CHAOS in events on the ground.

  52. We still haven’t been given the names of any neo-Nazis who are in the Cabinet. EU citizens can enter Ukraine without a visa – I don’t think the Swedish neo-Nazis were invited there to join the government. No evidence they were invited at all – if the report is true. 90% of reporting coming out of Ukraine on all sides is just propaganda.

    As far as I can see, Ukrainian politicians of pretty well all affiliations are even more sleazy than politicians generally are. That includes both Yanukovich and Timoshenko’s crews. Neo-Nazis are of course uniquely and especially deplorable. But as far as I can judge, to characterize the current administration in Kiev as Neo-Nazi is lazy and untrue.

    What I suspect to happen next is that Putin will stage an attack on ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine. Despite Gladio etc, the West has no monopoly on false flag attacks. The false flag apartment bombings blamed on the Chechens had a direct effect on Putin’s consolidation of power.

  53. Sofia Kibo Noh

    3 Mar, 2014 - 3:51 pm

    A messy link there. Sorry.

    Here it is:

  54. Keith Crosby

    3 Mar, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    Come off it Craig, the US empire and the lickspittles you used to work for have been in Ukraine for more than a decade. Pot calls kettle black.

  55. “What invasion Craig?

    According to the status of force agreement Russia can post up to 30,000 soldiers in Crimea. The normal size of its forces there is just half of that. If Russia wants to reinforce those it can do so without breaking any national or international agreement.”

    I must say that these were my thoughts exactly.

    Russian troops have always been in Crimea. The Crimean people don’t seem to mind them being there. Last I heard there had not been one shot fired.

    To call this an invasion smacks of western hype and propaganda.

  56. John

    I think you will find that it pronounced propiski – I just made the plural from the singular in the usual anglicised manner. But yes Russia has retained the old repressive Soviet residence permit system.

  57. Who knows whether they were invited…

    ” The German government is encouraging the protest demonstrations being staged in the Ukraine by the “pro-European” alliance of conservative and ultra-rightwing parties. The “pro-Europe rallies” in Kiev and other cities of the country are transmitting “a very clear message”, according to a government spokesperson in Berlin: “Hopefully” the Ukrainian president “will heed this message,” meaning sign the EU’s Association Agreement, which Kiev had refused to do last week, in spite of massive German pressure. To gain influence in the country, Germany has for years been supporting the “pro-European” alliance in the Ukraine. The alliance includes not only conservative parties, but also forces from the extreme right – because of their strength, particularly in western Ukraine, where a cult around former Nazi collaborators is manifesting itself. The All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” party is particularly embedded in the national-chauvinist milieu, under the influence of this cult. Over the past few days, the party’s leader has called for a “revolution” in Kiev”

  58. Clark,

    I am not sure who those people are in your video, so this is guesswork from looking at the shields they are holding. It seems it might be C-14, which apparently is a neo-Nazi group. The shields have the number 14 and then are followed by the word Сотня which means 100, or hundreds. I think that’s a popular word for a large group, with “sotnyk” being the head of such a group. So I guess the guy with the walkie-talkie is a Sotnyk. Maybe someone else will have a better idea, however. The word along the bottom looks like “Samooborony”, which seems to mean “self-defence”. However, take this with a pinch of salt. I could be wrong about that.

  59. “Allied in Europe with France’s National Front, the British National Party and Hungary’s Jobbik among others, Svoboda was previously known as the Social-National Party, an echo of the National Socialist, or Nazi Party.”

  60. In fact, it may simply mean Number 14 Self-Defence Battalion (Hundreds), and not have any attachment to neo-Nazism at all. But numbers such as 14 and 88 are sometimes used as not-very-secret code by neo-Nazis.

  61. I have seen no mention yet of the reason Russian troops are in Crimea.

    The interim Ukraine government passed a law removing Russian from being an official language. This outraged and scared the people of Crimea who are mostly Russian speaking, there was an uprising.

    I don’t see any reason for passing this law at this time other than to create unrest.

    The law has now been repealed but the damage is done.

  62. As to cabinet seats we have to ask; Is Congress or Parliament populated with acolytes of the leadership? It seems logical the same rings true in Kiev.

  63. Craig
    Still waiting for your views on “Heavens Hundred” ?
    In the meantime have a look at one of the revolutionaries intimidating a government official.

  64. Craig: “On Kossovo, I believe it was wrong too, but I was unfortunately so tied up over Sierra Leone I can’t pretend I paid much attention at the time.”

    That’s a staggering statement ! The most serious conflict in Europe since WW2, and you didn’t “paid much attention” !! I sincerely hope that there is no connection with your nonchalant indifference to NATO’s bombing of Eastern Orthodox Serbians, to your peculiarly focused hostility to the mostly Eastern Orthodox Russians, which would actually also tie-in with your past negative & disparaging remarks about Eastern Orthodox Greeks ?!

  65. “Concerns about Svoboda aren’t confined to words and historical associations, however. As reported by the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) in April, Svoboda thugs took part in an opposition demonstration against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, and provoked a small riot in Cherkassy, a city some 125 miles southeast of Kyiv. Outfitted with T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Beat the zhids!,” the Svoboda goons’ provocation has, according to JTA, “raised anxieties among Ukrainian Jews fearful of rising xenophobia and racially motivated violence.” Joel Rubinfeld, co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, is quoted saying: “Svoboda lifted the lid from the sewer of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and it’s spilling out.””

  66. “The West must therefore urge restraint—not only from Moscow, but from Kiev as well. Any aid to the government in Kiev should be made strictly conditional on measures to reassure the Russian-speaking populations of the east and south of the country: respect for elected local authorities; restoration of the official status of minority languages; and above all, no use of force in those regions. In the longer run, the only way to keep Ukraine together may be the introduction of a new federal constitution with much greater powers for the different regions”

  67. OrwellianUK

    3 Mar, 2014 - 4:48 pm

    The caveat to this Craig is that although Putin is definitely at least bending international law and existing agreements, the reality is that those areas where Russian forces have entered are largely Pro-Russian anyway, historical ethnic cleansing aside of course. And as far as I can tell, so far the Russians haven’t fired a shot. If this were a Western Intervention, we’d be talking Shock and Awe in no time. I don’t think Vlad has any intention whatsoever in starting a war, but rather encouraging what is likely to happen anyway, which is a breakup of what is currently designated as the Ukraine into smaller states with Russia pulling into it’s sphere of influence the bits it wants, such as the Industrial East and Crimea.

    Any country would act to protect its interests against subversion by a powerful foreign state and this has been true throughout history, so if Putin hadn’t done this, he would probably be the first Autocrat in history not to follow the rules of what Global and Regional Empires do. Can we imagine for instance what the US would do if Russia and China engineered political unrest and a coup d’etat in Canada and installed their own puppet government there?

    I think what many on the so called ‘left’ are pointing out is that Russia has only chosen to take this action due to the ongoing machinations of Western Powers to dominate the world and Isolate Russia. No Western interference in Ukraine would have resulted in no Regime Change in Ukraine and therefore no reaction by Russia to protect it’s ‘backyard’.

    The difference here is that although we see Western backed NGO’s doing their dirty business all over the world attempting to subvert the sovereignty of nations, you won’t see Russia or China attempting this like my above example any time soon. It’s nearly always the West who starts it. When the US Empire has faded into history though, perhaps roles will be reversed.

  68. lucythediclonius

    3 Mar, 2014 - 4:52 pm

  69. the High Commissioner’s residence in Pretoria

    Is that a mistake, or did the Brits continue to use the term “High Commissioner” behind the scenes, even when South Africa was outside the Commonwealth?

    In the mid-nineteenth century, Russian statesmen like Nesselrode appealed to the British in particular, not to oppose their expansion in the Caucasus, because as he said like the British they were white Christian Europeans engaged in a civilizing mission among savages and Muslims

    Yes, but in the Crimean War the Brits didn’t bat an eyelid when they backed the Muslim Turks against their fellow Christian Russians.

    If today’s topic du jour is the Russian empire, as well as the Caucasus see also the indigenous peoples of Siberia whose cultures were crushed in way that is comparable in some ways to the experience of the ‘Indians’ in North America.

    Those Siberian peoples include the Evenks, who gave the world the word “shaman”. Last I heard, their life expectancy was 29.

  70. …and also of course Sochi, which is basically occupied territory.

    Occupied, that is, after the expulsions and genocide of the Circassians.

  71. Some of these Ukrainian fascist members of parliament are threatening Russia with nukes:

    “We’ll regain our status as a nuclear power and that’ll change the conversation. Ukraine has all the technological means needed to create a nuclear arsenal – which would take us about three to six months,” Svoboda party MP Mikhail Golovko said.

    The rhetoric, which contradicts the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty Ukraine signed in 1994, is not new for the Svoboda party, one of the driving forces behind the Maidan uprising. Its leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, already promised that the country would go nuclear while he was running for the presidency in 2009.”

    It seems that they could only manage a “dirty bomb” at the moment, but that would be ideal in terms of the kind of proxy war that the West wishes upon Russia.

    I wonder would that be reason enough for Russia to “invade”.

    Remember that some of these lunatics are now in government positions:

    You’ve got a fascist who’s now Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council, and another one his deputy. You’ve got another fascist who’s the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. Another one is running the anti-corruption committee and yet another who is minister for youth and sports, with all that that implies.

    “members of Svoboda and the Right Sector occupy key positions in the areas of Defense, Law Enforcement, Education and Economic Affairs.”

    “Andriy Parubiy [right] co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda) was appointed Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU).”

    “Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector delegation in the parliament, has been appointed Parubiy’s deputy Secretary of the RNBOU.”

    “The Neo Nazi party also controls the judicial process with the appointment of Oleh Makhnitsky of the Svoboda party to the position of prosecutor-general of Ukraine”

    “Tetyana Chernovol, portrayed in the Western press as a crusading investigative journalist without reference to her past involvement in the anti-Semitic UNA-UNSO, was named chair of the government’s anti-corruption committee”

    “Dmytro Bulatov, known for his alleged kidnapping by police, but also with UNA-UNSO connections, was appointed minister of youth and sports.”

  72. Here’s why Chechnya is different from Crimea Craig.

    [quote] This is my big beef with the Chechens. Not their desire for independence. Actually, as claims for a historical right for independence go, the Chechen one was, in comparison to many others made in the former USSR, one of the most historically credible ones: unlike other peoples in the Caucasus, the Chechens have always resisted the Russian Empire, and while all the big cities in the Chechen plains were built by Russian Cossacks (including Grozny), the mountainous regions of Chechnia have always belonged to the Chechen nation. Simply put – the Russian presence in Chechnia has no other explanation then Russian imperialism and the Chechen desire for independence can only be considered as natural and just.

    No, the reason why I feel no sympathy at all for the Chechens is that from day one of their independence movement, they managed to be lead by truly evil thugs, cynical and bloodthirsty gang leaders with no sense of even basic human decency, truly the most vile and abject kind of human garbage ever produced by the Soviet society. All the Chechen leaders, and I do mean *all* of them, were truly monsters and yet the Chechen society naively thought that it could be lead by such people and not reap the consequences. Not only that, but for several years a very large part of the Chechen population actually enjoyed the orgy of lawlessness and violence that overtook Chechnia. Initially the victims were mostly ethnic Russians (and especially the Cossacks which the Chechens always feared and hated). But soon enough the lawlessness turned all of Chechnia into what can only be called a “black hole”. Eventually, of course, the Chechens reaped what they had themselves sown.

    I know for a fact that times when Russian military commanders, when confronted by Chechen crowds complaining about the destruction of their villages by the Russian military, replied: “Look, I am from Siberia and I miss my home. I hate this place and I would leave as soon as possible if I did not have to clean up the mess that you created. Where were you when many thousands people were kidnapped, murdered, tortured on video and in public squares, raped, when slaves were sold on open markets in central Grozny, when hundreds of innocents were held in zindans and when bandits were running your republic? It is because of you – the so-called ‘innocent Chechens’ – that I am here and that my men will have to eliminate all the thugs and murderers which you allowed to prosper and flourish in your society. If you could not clean your own mess, then shut up and don’t complain if we do it now!”

    And you know what? I fully agree with that.

    Yes, a lot of innocent Chechens died, and a lot of innocent Chechens lost their dwellings. But at the core – it’s their own fault. Call it karma if you want, or call it historical justice, but a society is responsible for the consequences of letting crazed murderers rule it. This is fundamentally true of the Germans before and during WWII, and it is true for the Chechens today.[/quote]

  73. Details are sketchy here, but if the report is true, the Russian side has just dangerously upped the stakes-

    If the Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and outgunned, why set a deadline for surrender ? The Russian forces who seized Pristina airport in the Kosovo conflict in 1999 were simply cut off from any sources of re-supply, and soon had no alternative but to hand the airport over to NATO forces.

  74. Meanwhile if Tsar Vladimir the Terrible wants to come up with a legal justifiction for invading/liberating Crimea and possibly East and South mainland Ukraine what argument might he come up with?

    If I were him I might try this:

    “The sole remaining legal representative in the Ukraine is President Yanukovich according to the Ukranian constitution. Yanukovitch has neither resigned nor been impeached. What’s happened is a coup with neo Nazi armed insurgents doing the heavy lifting. Thus, if President Yanokovich requests Russian military assistance to protect Ukranian nationals under existential threat from a cadre of anti-russian and anti-semitic Ukrainian nationalists who have gained significant influence in this coup d’etat, then this is not a Russian invasion, but an invitation of Russian forces into the Ukraine.

    Kiev either has the means to control the fascists but chooses not to or it does not have control of them, either way they are failing by their own measure to uphold the security of Ukranian citizens in the East and South of Ukraine. Russian intervention is therefore not being used to overthrow the regime in Kiev, but to protect. This is R2P – Responsibility to Protect as requested by the President of the Ukraine”

    Yanukovitch is safely in Russian custody just as King James II was in French custody after 1688. No doubt Tsar Vladimir could persuade Yanukovitch to issue such a “request” in return for safe asylum in Russia and maybe a financial payoff for him and his “family”

    Alternatively Vlad the Hammer could simply quote the Kosovo precedent. Yes the 1999 war can be justified as humanitarian intevention but the independence of Kosovo in 2007 was blatantly illegal. It should have remained an autonomous province within Serbia. When the West recognised Kosovan independence it was setting a very dangerous precedent that has come back to bite us as I predicted it would at the time.

    Vlad the Hammer can say “Shocking isn’t it my invading a sovereign state. Only the West is allowed to do that! I am shocked, shocked to discover that there is gambling in this establishment!”

  75. ESLO 3 Mar, 2014 – 3:57 pm

    Yes thanks for that. I didn’t even know about propiska. They issued us with propooski in 1982 (which can apparently pluralise as propooska). What is most interesting is that one of these near synonyms is feminine (propiska) and the other masculine (propoosk). Ah well, the joys of language.

  76. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    3 Mar, 2014 - 5:35 pm


    Thank you for another good theme, but please do be careful – you are really living dangerously and worse – sorry, I really mean better – endangering the lives of many who usually support you: as you know, people can and do die of apoplexy.

    Having said that, I encourage you to stand your ground the FCO couldn’t break you and the tiny rages of many of these smelly little orthodox leftists will not do so either.

  77. The ‘ultimatum’ reported by the Beeb in the link I gave at 5.10 has elicited a Russian denial-

    If THIS report is true, the Beeb were shamefully acting as FCO stenographers in the previous report.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  78. The BBC are still saying it Old Mark. Top headline on front page.

    3 March 2014 Last updated at 16:52
    Russia demands surrender of Ukraine’s Crimea forces


    Of course there is a direct line through from No 10.

  79. Off topic.

    Monday 3rd March ~ BBC4 10:30pm till midnight

    5 Broken Cameras is an intimate documentary filmed by a Palestinian father at the start of his youngest son’s life; the filming continues as his cameras are progressively broken as he and fellow villagers struggle against the brutal encroachment of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. It is compelling viewing. See it and know what is really happening in our lifetimes.

  80. BBC News Channel has carried the Russian denial of surrender ultimatum. However some journalists claim they heard the surrender demand over loudspeakers at the navy base. Another claim says it wasn’t over the loudspeakers it was a surrender demand over the radio. Elsewhere on another forum someone claims that it was a radio transmission from Cyprus pretending to be from Russian forces. Lots of contradictory versions of the story.

  81. “Russia’s speaker of parliament has said it is currently “not necessary” to launch military action in Ukraine. His comment came as Russia’s Black Sea Fleet denied it had given Ukrainian forces an ultimatum to surrender.”

    Not quite Iraq or Libya.

  82. “it had issued a deadline with the threat of an assault, according to Interfax, who had originally been quoting an unnamed Ukrainian official.”

    That old trick.

  83. OrwellianUK

    Personally I have no problem with the Ukraine breaking up, if regions genuinely want to secede (and are not under Russian military occupation when they make the decision).

    But I am not sure Putin wants that. The remaining Ukraine, most of it, would then be solidly anti-Russian and probably a NATO member in a decade. Personally I think internationally supervised referenda on their status in the several provinces ought to be the way forward – but I don’t think that is Putin’s idea at all.

  84. Robert

    You acknowledge the justice of Chechnya’s right to independence, but then deny it because they are led by bloodthirsty thugs.

    Err – we were led by Tony Blair. Vastly more blood on his hands than on those of any Chechens. So do you hate us too? It is a mistake to blame people for their leaders. Political leaders are almost always bastards. Ordinary people are always almost nice. That sums up what I have learnt in my lifetime rather neatly.

  85. Why Yanukovitch is still the lawful President of Ukraine

    Obviously law and morality are two different things but take a look at some of the Orange neo Nazis behind this coup.

  86. More fascist appointments to the Kiev govt:

    “Svoboda Party members have temporarily been appointed to the posts of Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Supplies, and Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources.”

  87. David Wearing

    3 Mar, 2014 - 6:19 pm

    Nobody in my (100% anti-imperialist) left wing circles supports the Russian aggression, Craig. Don’t be misled by the increasingly embarrassing STW leadership and a few people on the internet. They don’t speak for all of us.

  88. Herbie,

    Thanks, I am convinced. Very unpleasant people – rather similar to those who have been in power in Hungary.

    Robert, as I have said before, revolutions are illegal, that’s rather the point. But what it does not give is outside powers the right to invade.

  89. lucythediclonius

    3 Mar, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    Nice one Craig the reason you failed to spot the neo nazis in the cabinet is the party name and history is mysteriously lacking in say the telegraphs list of the cabinet.All the other members have the party in brackets.I think wikipedia editing is going crazy at the moment as well.

  90. Sofia Kibo Noh

    3 Mar, 2014 - 7:01 pm


    It’s very complicated but I think I get it now, thanks to the “100% anti-imperialist left wing circles”

    I can mow see the dastardly Russian aggression for what it truly is.

    The old “Calm and Restrain” ploy. I know it’s a bit anticlimactic compared to proper “Shock and Awe” but I suppose it will have to do for today’s Two Minute Hate. Who are those Russians to threaten to break a monopoly on the use of desrtuctive violence as diplomacy anyway?

    Meanwhile in a sinister development Russia’s deputy foreign minister Georgy Karasin and his Chinese counterpart, Cheng Guoping, held consultations Monday and threatened the Free World by “stressing the need to continue the search for ways to resolve the situation in Ukraine, which would include wide participation from different political forces in the country and taking the interests of all Ukrainian regions into account.” Like the Feb 21 agreement or something.

    Wherever will they think of for their next act of aggression?

  91. Sofia Kibo Noh

    3 Mar, 2014 - 7:13 pm

    More Russian aggression.

    “We have become accustomed to the daily accusations by the Ukrainian media of carrying out some sort of military actions against our Ukrainian colleagues,” Russian Black Sea Fleet representative said, adding that “those who want to pit us against each other in the Crimea won’t succeed.”

    Calm and Bore, the ultimate horror!

  92. “Robert, as I have said before, revolutions are illegal, that’s rather the point. But what it does not give is outside powers the right to invade.”

    But, according to Fred and others on here, the Russian’s haven’t invaded Crimea.

  93. Radio 4 extra today had a play on this afternoon one if the lady characters said to another “I will smash their face in!”

    Violence in society is everywhere we should not tolerate this use of language because it is vagrant assault on peace loving people.

  94. All this is about a bunch of criminals or to give them their official name “far right neo-conservatives”, they are just fighting amongst themselves for a bigger share of the planetary spoils and a higher degree of power in the coming neo-conservative NWO that they have planned for ALL of mankind!!!. Please remember who rules Russia, neo-conservative russian oligarchs, just the same as those who rule in the USA/UK.

    Remember, its how it works

  95. doug scorgie

    3 Mar, 2014 - 8:09 pm


    “The final extraordinary outbreak of hypocrisy is on the British left. Russian military invasion of Ukraine is approved by them, because it is an invasion by Russia, and not an invasion by the West. They are precisely as hypocritical as Hague. Both think it is OK to violate the sovereignty of other nations, but only by their chosen side.”

    Who on the British left is “approving” the invasion by Russia?

    Read this article from the Communist Party of Great Briton:

    Not a hint of support for the invasion.

    So can you name the names of the British left supporting this invasion?

    I am not a communist by the way and I don’t support Putin or the invasion but what happened is quite understandable politically.

  96. OrwellianUK

    3 Mar, 2014 - 8:44 pm

    Hi Craig

    I doubt that any of the various International Gangsters – Putin included – jockeying for a dominant influence over Ukraine will get everything they want, and that is a good thing, but I tend to think that Geography will trump here and the Russians will come out with the best deal. It did appear that the EU came up with a sensible plan that included Russia in the compromise, but the US decided to “Fuck the EU” and shot all that out of the water. That arrogance is likely to only entrench those opposed to US interests, including perhaps EU States who are increasingly irritated with being spied on and treated with contempt by Washington.

    Who knows, in a decade, it might be Russia coming into the European Union and the US ostracised as the “Rogue State” it so obviously is. After what I’ve seen in the last decade or so, anything is possible. In my view, there is unlikely to be any military escalation here, unless the West manages to provoke it somehow. Putin does not want a war and he will certainly compromise in order to avoid one. He merely wants to negotiate from a strong position.

    For those failing to notice, there are secessions and localisations going on all over the world. This is because the price of energy is forcing the world to downsize making the influence of large states and centralised governments ever harder to sustain. Everyone is becoming more regional and this is not just hard faced Nationalism. It makes economic sense in a contracting world.

  97. doug scorgie

    3 Mar, 2014 - 8:52 pm

    3 Mar, 2014 – 3:51 pm

    “What I suspect to happen next is that Putin will stage an attack on ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine.”

    Craig, Putin doesn’t need a “false-flag” attack but the west does.

    It is more likely to be against non-Russian civilians or Ukrainian armed forces.

  98. Britain has just pulled a hilarious “haversack ruse”.

    Anybody who doesn’t know what that means, look it up! :-)

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