World Domination 469

Add together the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk and you don’t reach the economic output of Dundee.  World domination it isn’t.  Unfortunately both in the Kremlin and on Capitol Hill they, and their satraps, think it is.  Neither side cares at all about the millions of ordinary people in the zone of potential conflict.

The spiral of death in Ukraine is very worrying.  Following the tragic deaths in Odessa, the ball is very much in Putin’s court.  His bluff has very much been called.  We will now learn whether he was stoking clashes in Eastern Ukraine and massing forces on his border in order to give a pretext for invasion – which pretext he now has – or in order to destabilize and intimidate Kiev into moving away from relationships with the EU.

This has been a discussion of the deaf even more within intellectual circles in the West than between Washington and the Kremlin, where at least the Machiavellians understand full well what they are doing.  But their followers either, on the one hand, deny that there are any far right elements on the Ukrainian side or any CIA assistance, or alternatively deny that there are many millions of ordinary Ukrainians who genuinely want to be at peace in their own country and move towards the EU.  They either claim that all the separatists are Russian agents and deny the genuine minority population which yearns for the Soviet Union or Russia, or they deny the existence of Russian agents and special forces in Ukraine, and that most of the Russian nationalists are every bit as right wing and appalling as the equivalent tendency on the Ukrainian side.

First, some history.  The Ukrainian people really do exist.  They have been a subjugated people for centuries, most lastingly by the great Polish-Lithuanian  Empire and then by the Russian Empire.  That does not mean they did not exist.  Consider this: until 1990 there had not been an independent Polish state for over two hundred years, except for a fleeting twenty years between the two world wars.  Yet nobody doubts the Poles are a real nation.  I shan’t start on Scotland again …

None of modern Ukraine was Russian until the 18th century, when the expansion of the Russian empire and decline of the Polish took in these new colonies. As Putin famously remarked, it was called New Russia.  Yes, Vladimir, note it was New.  That is because it was a colony. Just like New York.  Because it was called New Russia gives you no more right to it than the Channel Islands have to New Jersey.  Ukraine had been Russian seven hundred years before its 18th century reconquest, but that population had migrated to Muscovy.

The expansion of the Russian Empire was exactly contemporary with the expansion of the British and American Empires, and other bit players like the French.  Like most of the American, most of the Russian Empire was a contiguous land mass.  The difference between the Russian and British Empires, on the one hand, and the American Empire on the other, was that the Russians and British did not commit genocide of the existing populations.  The difference between the Russian and the British Empires is that the British gave almost all of theirs back in the post-colonial period (a process that needs to be urgently completed). Russia gave back much of her Empire at the fall of the Soviet Union, but still retained a very great deal more than the British.  It is to me inarguable that, in a historical perspective, Putin is attempting to recover as much of the Russian Empire as possible, including but by no means solely by the annexation of Crimea and his actions in Ukraine.

Crimea, incidentally, had maintained its own independent existence as the last remnant of the Mongol Horde right up until the 19th century.  Despite the Russian colonisation of Crimea in the 19th century, it still had a majority Tatar population until the 1940’s, when Stalin tried his hand at genocide on them.  The Tatars were branded Nazis.  Opponents of the Russian Empire are always “Nazis” or “Jihadists”.  The deportation of the Tatars from Crimea was only twenty years before the British did the same genocide to a smaller people in Diego Garcia.  I call for the restitution of both.  Those who call for the restitution of one and not the other are appalling hypocrites.

Equally hypocritical are those who call for a referendum on Russian union for East Ukraine, but not for referenda on independence for Dagestan and Chechnya.  It is an irony insufficiently noted, that in Russia to call or campaign for the separation of any part of the state is a crime punishable by up to 22 years’ imprisonment.  There are over 7,000 people from the Caucasus imprisoned under that law.

There is absolutely no movement among the large minority Russians of the Baltic States to rejoin Mother Russia, because living conditions in the EU are just so much better.  As I have blogged before, it is undeniably true that living conditions for ordinary people in Poland have vastly improved as a result of EU membership, and are much better than in Ukraine – or Russia.

GDP per capita figures for Russia look quite good, but do not give a true reflection of living standards because of astonishing levels of inequality of wealth.  This is very bad in the West, and getting much worse rather rapidly, but is nowhere near as bad as in Russia which is the most viciously capitalist state in the world, made worse by its commodity dependency.  The Russian economy is completely non-diversified, manufacturing and services are miniscule and it is overwhelmingly a raw commodity exporter in energy, metals, grain etc.  That leads to extreme concentration of profit and a lack of employment opportunity.  Combine that with mafia state corruption and you have the oligarchs’ paradise.  Russia is a gangster state.  On top of which, if I were a Russian who campaigned against the Russian government in the same way that I do against  my own, I would be dead.

The desire of ordinary Ukrainians to join the EU one day, and move closer to it now, is understandable and indeed commendable.  It was also the desire of Yanukovich.  Those who claim Western pressure on Yanukovich forget – or choose to ignore – that Yanukovich’s government had actually, quite independently and voluntarily, negotiated the EU co-operation agreement and were on the point of signing it, when Yanukovich was summoned to Moscow by Putin and informed that if they signed the agreement, the energy supplies to Ukraine would immediately be cut off in mid-winter and debt called in.

That is a fact.  It was not illegal for Putin to do that; it was perhaps even legitimate for those who believe in a Machiavellian approach to great power politics.  Yanukovich temporized, between a rock and a hard place.  Ukraine seemed to be at a key moment of  balance, hung between the EU and Russia. The capital being in West Ukraine and overwhelmingly ethnic Ukrainian, pro-EU crowds started to build up.  Then things started to get wildly out of control.

Were western governments encouraging pro-western groups in Ukraine?  Yes, that’s their job.  Did this include covert support? Yes.  Were the Russians doing precisely the same thing with their supporters?  Yes, that’s their job too.  Did the Americans spend 5 billion dollars on covert support?  Of course not.

Victoria Nuland claimed in a speech America had put 5 billion dollars into Ukraine.  I used to write those kind of speeches for British ministers.  First you take every bit of money given by USAID to anything over a very long period, remembering to add an estimate for money given to international projects including Ukraine.  Don’t forget to add huge staff costs and overheads, then something vast for your share of money lent by the IMF and EBRD, then round it up well.  I can write you a speech claiming that Britain has given five billion dollars to pretty well anywhere you claim to name.

The problem is that both the left and right have again, equal but opposite motives for believing Nuland’s bombast about the extent of America’s influence on events.  I have been in this game.  You can’t start a revolution in another country.  You can affect it at the margins.

A military coup you certainly can start.  One thing we don’t really know nearly enough about is what happened at the end, when Yankovich had to flee.  The Maidan protestors would never have caused a government to fall which retained full control of its army.  The army can fail the rulers in two ways.  First is a revolutionary movement among normal soldiers – the French revolution model.  Second is where the troops remain disciplined but follow their officers in a military coup.  The latter is of course a CIA speciality.  More evidence is needed, but if this is the second model, it is unusual for it not to result in military control of government.  Egypt is the obvious current example of a CIA backed coup.

After Yanukovich we had entered the world domination game.  Putin seemed to have lost.  The annexation of Crimea was a smart move by Putin in that game, because there probably is a genuine small majority of the population there who would like to join Russia.  I have no doubt whatsoever that Putin himself does not believe the 93% for a moment.  As I said, the Machiavellian players of world domination are realistic; it is their purblind followers on either side who buy their propaganda.

The Kiev government and the West should have conceded Crimea before Putin moved his troops into it.  The sensible thing for the new Kiev government to have done would have been to offer a referendum in Crimea itself, under its own auspices.  That would have got the most hardline pro-Russian voters out of the country for good. But by that time, everyone had gone into Macho mode, which is where we still are.

None of the remaining provinces would opt to join Russia given the choice.  There is no shortage of existing and historic opinion poll evidence on that.   Crimea was the only province with an ethnic Russian majority.  The Eastern provinces have Russian speaking majorities, but most are ethnic Ukrainian. I base ethnicity here purely on self-identification in census (and, as I have repeatedly explained, absolutely everybody in the former Soviet Union knows precisely what is asked in the questions of Gradzvanstvo and Narodnosch). Just as some Welsh people speak English, some Ukrainians speak Russian but do not consider themselves Russian.  Putin’s frequent references to the Russian-speaking peoples coming back to Russia are as sinister as if we started talking of re-uniting all the English speaking people in the world.

As almost always with colonies, the minority ethnic Russian populations in the East of Ukraine are more concentrated in urban areas.  Hence it has been possible in regional capitals to mobilise gangs of disaffected and unemployed Russian young men (in view of Ukraine’s basket case economy there are plenty), and with a slight stiffening of Russian forces take control of town centres.  There is a significant minority, and possibly a majority in town centres, willing to support.  It is, I think, extremely important to understand that the thugs on both sides are very unpleasant.  I have the particular experience of relations with a lot of Uzbeks, and the incidence of racial attacks by Russian nationalist thugs within Russia itself is absolutely horrifying and almost completely unreported.  The swastika is a popular symbol among young macho men throughout all of former Eastern Europe including Russia.  I absolutely guarantee you that an equally significant proportion of the pro-Russians who have been attacking anyone who tries to show support for Ukraine within Eastern Ukrainian cities, are no more and no less right wing, racist and vicious than the appalling Pravy Sektor thugs included on the other side.  We have plenty within the EU – there is a serious problem, for example, with the official encouragement given to commemorations of pro-Nazi forces within the Baltic states which often have a distinctly neo-Nazi tinge.

Putin’s campaign of controlling the urban centres appears to have gone wrong in Odessa, which is simply too large for the numbers of available young men armed with baseball bats to take control.  The pro-Russians were badly beaten in precisely the same street fighting they had been winning elsewhere.  The culmination of this was the terrible fire and deaths. My expectation is there will not be many women, children or old people among the dead, but also there will not be many non-Ukrainian nationals.  I expect these will prove to have been local Russian young men.

Putin now has a real problem.  His own rhetoric has indicated that he will sweep in and defend these Russians, but there is one thing anyone with half a brain should have worked out by now.  The ruling 1%, the ultra-wealthy, in both Russia and the West are so interconnected with each other that they are playing the game of world domination while trying at the same time to make sure nobody super-rich really loses his money.  Hence the strange obviously bogus sanctions regimes. Real stock market disruption and confiscation of corrupt assets would be difficult to avoid if the tanks start rolling in earnest.  We may be saved from utter disaster by the sheer scale of global corruption, which is a strange conclusion.

I would like to think the awful deaths of the last few days would lead both sides to step back from the brink.  The time has come for a peacekeeping force.  Negotiations should be held urgently to make the Kiev interim government more inclusive of opposition elements from the East – and they must oust the far right at the same time.  The UN Security Council should then send in UN peacekeepers, which must include both Russian and western forces in close integration, to keep the peace while genuine elections are held.  I can see no other way forward which does not risk disaster.

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469 thoughts on “World Domination

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  • Resident Dissident

    “then it seems to me that Craig’s assertion that the Ukrainian people are better served by the E.U as opposed to a Federalist concept more closely aligned with Russia, is a disingenuous one.”

    Before accusing Craig of being disingenuous perhaps you might wish to explain why you believe that Russia is a better defender of federalism than the EU – which is something of a federalist structure itself and contains a number of federal states. You might also wish to ponder what Putin and his cronies mean when they refer to the vertical of power.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I notice, and I do not want this to be misconstrued as anti-Jewish, whenever it is shown that those whom the hairy bridged-wellers support, have been guilty of horrendous crimes against humanity in Odessa, and the illegal government they support lies about it, there is a mass Exodus from the blog.”

    Garbage – my only Exodus was to work this morning, and I have made it absolutely clear that what happened in Odessa was completely wrong. As for being anti- Jewish – you made that clear without a shadow of doubt last week.

    I noticed that you still persist in the line that the Ukrainians are fascist – but ignore the evidence I posted that Svoboda’s standing in opinion polls has fallen steadily to only 2.1% considerably less than the 12.5% obtained by Russia’s leading fascist party in the last Duma elections.

  • Resident Dissident

    Federailsm basically means de-centralized power.

    Agreed – so explain how it works in Russia under Putin and why Ukrainians should think that “Russia is a better defender of federalism than the EU”?


    “ignore the evidence I posted that Svoboda’s standing in opinion polls has fallen steadily to only 2.1% considerably less than the 12.5% obtained by Russia’s leading fascist party in the last Duma elections.”

    Heh. Obummer started off with huge numbers. Now that we see what he is doing, not so much, but he’s still in power.


    “– so explain how it works in Russia under Putin and why Ukrainians should think that “Russia is a better defender of federalism than the EU”?”

    I think you are mischaracterizing Daniels comment. How was Putin derping around the Ukraine?. His so-called ‘puppet’ Prime Minister supported the IMF with all the warts. Putin certainly couldn’t have been happy with that.

  • Resident Dissident

    “You Russophobes better give yourselves a shake and clear your heads, because the Russia the crude propaganda you’ve been over-exposed to and has taught you to hate, will, must inevitably be inside the EU you’ve lemming-like cleaved to suicidally, simply to express your xenophobic hatred of Russians.”

    Some of us are quite capable of distinguishing between the Putin regime and Russians.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I’m living in Poland. Since November I’ve been watching Ukrainian satellite television every day — often for hours. What first struck me was the fact that — after a period of adjustment — I could understand practically everything they said (unless they spoke extremely quickly). Not just the same words, but very often the same turns of phrase.”

    A few weeks back we had Sofia quoting a fellow Putinista saying that Ukrainian was a dialect of Russian – you cannot both be right. I very much doubt that Kyiv would like to become a second city to Warsaw.

  • John Goss

    By the way RD I have never said Ukrainians were fascists, I have only ever referred to the fascist government thugs.


    “IMF programmes have a fairly good record in easing the adjustment of basically sound economies in currency or debt crises. They have a much less good record in increasing trend growth in dysfunctional economies within the timescale of their own lending programme. (Anyway, that’s the job of the World Bank, or its regional counterparts.) Going with Christine from the local bank rather than dodgy Uncle Vlad is still the right decision, but Ukraine should be aware of the long-term risks as well as the short-term pain involved.”

    Google has it’s first entries on more fawfaw on Putin’s eagerness to see IMF cash…bolonius

  • Resident Dissident

    “Have they stopped you posting comments from work?”

    Not allowed and never has been – would also be highly unprofessional.

  • John Goss

    RD, if the figure about Svoboda in the opinion polls is correct (2.1%) it has hardly been falling steadily. It has fallen rapidly from the last elections. Where was it taken? Donetsk?

    “Svoboda is hardly a fringe organization. In the 2012 election won by the now deposed president, Viktor Yanukovitch, the Party took 10.45 percent of the vote and over 40 percent in parts of the western Ukraine. While the west voted overwhelmingly for the Fatherland Party’s Yulia Tymoshenko, the more populous east went overwhelmingly for the Party of the Regions’ Yanukovitch. The latter won the election handily, 48.8 percent to 45.7 percent.”

    What do you say to that?


    ‘Nuff said…

    ” Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is now running for Ukrainian president, has said that she was the only politician in Ukraine capable of conducting political reforms the country badly needs.
    Speaking at a news conference in Nikolayev, Timoshenko put it quite straight: if the country elects other candidate, there will be no avoiding a “third round of revolution.””

    How badly does she want the IMF, RD.? The oligarchs know that’s the safety pin for keeping their ill-gotten gains.

    “Just dump the obligations onto the little people”

  • John Goss

    I could certainly see the fascists’ share of the vote having fallen further after the deaths they deliberately caused in Odessa. Decent people do not like to be governed by a party of thugs, and the three pronged alliance, under Yatsenyuk, includes Svoboda, the SS arm of the illegal government.

  • Peacewisher

    @John: Hope you are right, but if the control of information is effective enough, they won’t know what the right sector thugs are doing… Do you think ordinary Brits knew about the slave trade? Do you think the average German would have heard about what happened in Guernica?

  • Peacewisher

    @John: Yes, I was. I hope I’m not being disrespectful to Craig’s friends if I wonder what percentage of Ukrainians independently research the Internet and read Wikipedia…

    Good to see that the Wikipedia article faithfully recalls the covering up of the Guernica painting at a highly significant televised meeting in February 2003 just before Iraq was invaded. Probably didn’t fit with “Operation Iraqi Freedom”.

  • John Goss

    Peacewisher, thanks for the link to the parliamentary vote banning the autonomy referendum. I notice they banned the Communists from voting too. It is a wonderful parliament when the thugs stop people speaking as they did recently by beating them up. What people will do for power and control cannot be overestimated. Reminiscent to me of how the Bolsheviks came to power but more blatant, waiting for the Mensheviks (who would really have had a majority) had they not been at the synagogue.

    As to the ordinary people in the eighteenth century, they knew about the Slave Trade through the churches, but common people would not get a vote for a century and a half, and therefore had no say in what was done. My thesis was about Robert Bage, who in his novels campaigned for women’s rights like the abolition of dowries and finishing schools, was anti-war, anti-dueling, wanted education for all and was an active voice for the slaves especially through his novel “Man as he is” with Fidel’s story. He also supported the Staffordshire campaign for the abolition of slavery and was a trustee of the Elford Charity School, showing that he backed up his words with acts.

  • Resident Dissident

    The steady fall in the Svoboda % has been since the Presidential elections were called – see my original link to Wikipedia. Perhaps Mr Goss would like to comment on the consistently higher level of support for Zhirinovsky’s fascists in Russia – or perhaps he is only interested in attacking those fascists who oppose his world view – while quite happy to not to so when said fascists support his stance as in Russia, Syria and previously Iraq.

  • John Goss

    Yes he would like to comment. I despise NAZIS and Fascists in whatever country they live and try to ply their disgusting wares. If that is in Russia it is as bad as in Ukraine. Nevertheless in Russia they have an elected government which may even use transparent ballot boxes to show everything is above board, rather than Karl Rove’s electronic system that got your favourite warmonger George W. Bush illegally elected. What is it with you that you love illegal governments, and other warmongers like Tony Blair and Jack Straw so much?

  • Peacewisher

    @RD: Thank goodness Putin keeps them in their place. We are now being reminded (if it was needed…) what happens to a country if fascists are allowed to do their thing.

  • Tony M

    The real fascists don’t do the silly walks and bad moustaches any more, and they’ve got powerful PR, with the whole of the western media at their beck and call and they’ve secure nests in the governments of the US and its harlot minions. Traditional comic-book Fascists of the inept sort are however already inside the EU along with the less showy ones, in control and ensconced in every crevice of the Polish governing classes. When even a part of Poland’s role in the events in Ukraine sinks in, a backlash within and without will change that country irrevocably. I think we could all forego voting in the farcical EU MEP elections on May 22nd or spoil our ballot papers with crude drawings of a pornographic nature, if it weren’t for the pleasure of giving Labour, Tories and LibDems the severest drubbing possible –as it looks as if the dear dear EU itself will not survive in its present form, perhaps not in any form, as a result of Washington’s Polish Putsch. Yet no-one can say they didn’t know by now the US destroys all that it touches.

    It is clear in the EU-NATO relationship, the EU for all its folderol is very much the exceedingly junior partner, and compared with the demonic death cult that is NATO, even the shady mafioso of the EU’s Council of Ministers since positively angelic, democratic and accountable. Yet without NATO, who can prevent the Asiatic hordes ascending Mt. Everest on chair-lifts, slithering down the other side in their ice-kayaks and from there on swift camels heading straight for the channel coast and turning up Chipping Norton by teatime?

  • Jay

    @ john

    I really love gardeners, if we didn’t have plants and flowers we really would be in the proverbial.

    How do you John welcome the control of man?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    I was wondering where Corporal Macky had got to ‘cos I was rather missing his stentorian tones.

    A swift visit to Squonk’s place reveals all. Macky writes:

    “Craig’s comments iro the massacre in Odessa are beyond belief, his obscene mitigating & excusing attempts are so disgusting that I can’t bring myself to address him at present; every last bit of respect & admiration I once had for him is now gone, this Ukraine situation has reveal his real nature, and it is very ugly indeed, bordering on evil; I no longer believe that he found “Western support for the dictatorial Karimov regime unconscionable”, but rather suspect that he become a whistle-blower purely by mishap, as there is no way that a person’s moral integrity can be so flexible.”

    Throwing out of pram, toys, baby?

    Anyone else missing him? 🙂

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