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.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

469 thoughts on “World Domination

1 13 14 15 16
  • John Goss

    “How do you John welcome the control of man?”

    I love the wild flowers myself Jay, the ones which find their own little patch, like ivy-leaved toadflax climbing up a wall.

    To answer your question, not very much. We have freedom in the west, we are told, but that freedom has its boundaries and border controls. In a perfect world the borders would be the first to go. Border flowers, while pretty where they grow, cannot expand beyond their limits. When the borders were removed from Europe we could freely go where none had freely gone before. A world without borders would be a beautiful place. Hope I understood you Jay.

  • Ba'al Zevul ( :-) All The Way To The Bank)

    Another take on the UKraine:

    Too many issues to summarise – but a point to ponder might be:

    With the exceptions of Timchenko and Igor Sechin, the names on the US sanctions list are notable for their lack of oligarch command and control of Russia’s major economic enterprises and sectors; the evidence of US Government reports on those sectors shows it. According to the Wikileaks archive of State Department cables, the oligarch names are Vladimir Potanin, Alexei Mordashov, Mikhail Prokhorov, Victor Rashnikov, and Oleg Deripaska. More potent than the State Department’s files are the annual threat assessment reports of the Director of National Intelligence. These have identified “criminals and criminally linked oligarchs [who] enhance the ability of state or state-allied actors to undermine competition in gas, oil, aluminum, and precious metals markets.” Their names are implied: Sechin, Timchenko, Potanin, Prokhorov, Deripaska, and (until recently) Suleiman Kerimov. The only overlap between the current sanctions designations and the “criminally linked oligarchs”, according to the US Government documents, is Sechin and Timchenko.

  • Ba'al Zevul ( :-) All The Way To The Bank)

    Habit, sorry..
    Typo, sorry.

  • Jay

    Thanks John

    I believe you are just in your beliefs, for me internal spiritual boundaries exist that need addressing, ones that I have developed in my mind.
    Like you say John “hope not hate”.

    John, don’t we need tendencies’ that set us all on a path for higher ethical values relative to our true current state of existence? A concept that if applied disseminates universally.

    Thanks John , well fed and watered!


  • Tony M

    Should have gone easier on the Vimto Ba’al, it’s left you with a touch of the Timoshenkos.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Mr Goss

    “In a perfect world the borders would be the first to go.”

    Debatable. Why shouldn’t hunger be the first thing to go in a perfect world, for instance?

    And – as you keep pointing out with your posts – it’s not a perfect world. And in an imperfect world, borders have their raison d’être.


    We have freedom in the west, we are told, but that freedom has its boundaries..”


    And a jolly good job too.

  • John Goss

    Jay, thanks.

    Was that your analysis that oddie linked at 7 May, 2014 – 1:11 am?

    As to the spiritual boundaries, yes I guess others might call them ethical or moral barriers that ought not to be crossed. I dislike mosquitoes as much as they like me. If they are coming for me or biting me I swat them. Last night a mosquito had somehow got its legs stuck in a soapy residue and it was struggling. I helped it onto a piece of toilet tissue and left it. This morning it was beside the paper dead. There is no real moral. Next mosquito season they will not stop biting me because I tried to help one of their injured comrades. It is what they are programmed to do, like the Nazis, and trolls.

    Are you a Buddhist?

  • Mary

    Hague has been speaking from the eponymous Ukraine Crisis Media Centre in Kiev:


    11:30 Jerome Vacher, IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine

    12:30 Press briefing of the top five Democratic Alliance candidates to Kyiv City Council:
    • Vasyl Gatsko, Head of the party “Democratic Alliance”
    • Galyna Yanchenko, Expert of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre
    • Dmytro Levytsky, Lawyer
    • Andriy Bohdanovych, Deputy head of the party “Democratic Alliance”
    • Olena Shulyak, General Director of “Midland Development Ukraine”
    Topic: “Kyiv City Council elections, presentation of the top five candidates to Kyiv City Council and the program of Democratic Alliance”

    13:30 Press briefing of the Maidan Hundreds’ Leaders: Anna Kovalenko, 39 hundred leader, Anatoliy Zhernovy, Advisor to the Minister of Defense, Sergiy Pidvalny, 11 hundred leader, 24 hundred leader. Topic: “Maidan Hundreds are organized and ready to defend Kiev residents from the provocations on 8-9 May”

    14:30 William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

    Nice bunch.


    “Anyone else missing him?”

    My stars. Could it be you miss the ‘cat o’ nine-tailss’ in your masochistic learning-curve. Now that you’ve graduated from novice to adept, allow me to be master tormentor. I seem to have gotten under your skin. Quite a feat for a gadfly to drive a blowfly nutz with buzzing and diving, isn’t it?


    He’s thrown quite the childish fit at Squonk. He’s trying the patience of yet another blog host. He needs a diaper change.


    RD; take note of John’s link. This issue will continue to haunt your pov.

    John; Why are so few willing to make the Sevastapol/Iran/Syria linkage? Really. It’s quite curious.

  • John Goss

    “John; Why are so few willing to make the Sevastapol/Iran/Syria linkage? Really. It’s quite curious.”

    I really don’t know Ben. Denial? Throwback from Soviet days and the Cold War still going on in their heads? Belief that the BBC tells the truth?

    What hurts me is to see decent people, people I respect, throwing their weight behind Svoboda and Right Sector and the plain violence paid for by the owners of Nugent, Ashton and company in Ukraine, when if it happened here, they would be the first to criticise it. We have kept a lid on the National Front, BNP, EDL but we’ve still allowed what I call the “human face of nationalism” in the form of Nigel Farage’s UKIP. There was a Party Political broadcast on behalf of UKIP last night. It is already getting more than its fair share of coverage. Anyway one of its councillors is an Asian, so at least one token Asian to try and show it is not the racist party it is.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Ben says of me :

    “He’s trying the patience of yet another blog host.”


    I believe almost nothing the Californian Gadfly says, but I do believe him when he hints that he disapproves of people who try the patience of blog hosts.

    That is probably why he posts things like this about our host Craig Murray on other people’s blogs :

    “Craig is becoming the bureaucrat I feared he would be. He accuses me of being deliberately stupid, but it’s just projection. I do have a hard time with some of Craigs comments wrt his manner of expressing himself, but after a while in the back-and-forth it looks as though he is rock-headed. Just like an imperious public official without anyone to answer to.”

    Not cowardly at all, he’s just being considerate! 🙂


    John; Putin is on the same page as US on referendum. Delaying elections plays into both gameplans? Civil war does not keep the money rolling in. It;s nice to agree on something.

  • Peacewisher

    John Humphries much better on Radio 4 this morning (e.g. Hague: [Russian] Propaganda, Humphries: No, facts. Even Hague was very quick to condemn what happened at Odessa. British media don’t seem to know how to take Putin’s latest change of mind. Seem to be resorting to the good old favourite… “he’s lying”.

    I have a feeling that the fire of Odessa will down as a significant moment in history. And that we know the truth is all down to those unbelievably brave people who stayed and took those era-defining photographs that I can just picture in future history e-text books. Those poor people inside the TU building who were abused before they died… their spirits will surely hope they didn’t die in vain.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    Stop prosing on about rashes and just explain to readers why you bad-mouth your host Craig on other people’s blogs. If you have a beef with Craig – perhaps because he told you off a few times – why do you not tell us about it on Craig’s blog instead of on Squonk’s? Face to face, so to speak.

  • Evgueni

    Spot on, Craig Murray. Only one (major) problem – the Russians did not migrate to Muscovy from Kievan Rus all those hundreds of years ago. That is a myth that became necessary to Ecaterina the Great when she realised that she married into the remains of the original franchise and set about re-writing the history of Muscovy. Muscovy historians that pre-date Ecaterina’s project such as Karamzin freely admitted that ethnically Muscovy was closest to Finnish-Hungarian tribes – Chud’ etc. In this context the reflexive Russian contempt for their ‘brother’ nations of Ukraine and Belarus is easily understood. They recognise the implicit challenge to their cherished national myth of being the ‘true descendants’ of Kievan Rus, the oldest civilisation in the region. Therefore, Ukrainians and Russians MUST be one and the same people. Those who disagree must be labelled Nazis and so on.

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    John. 6 02pm

    “…plain violence paid for by the owners of Nugent, Ashton and company in Ukraine…”

    Yes. Paid-for violence…

    As Ashton said once before, “…Gosh!”

    Ben. 6 38pm

    La infección no va a desaparecer!

    Después de la exposición a la erupción, lávese las manos.

    Ben. 6 40pm

    “…both gameplans? “

    Y la estrategia es muy importante también.

    ¿Dónde está el genio que planeaba poker frente al ajedrez?

    Un millón de gracias.

    Peacewisher. 10 33pm

    “…era-defining photographs…”

    Yes. The image of the Ukrainian flag joyfully waving in front of the burning Trade Union Building, while injured .

    Evgueni. 1 42pm

    So this is justified then OK then? Isn’t it all the Cockroaches deserve?

    I think you will like this then: “Join EuroMaidan PR: Web YouTube Twitter Twitter RUS: EuromaidanPR_RU Facebook.”


  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Correction: The image of the Ukrainian flag joyfully waving in front of the burning Trade Union Building, while the injured are dragged and beaten.

  • Mary

    The name Nugent used earlier above is incorrect. It is Nuland.

    She is still at it incidentally.

    Ukraine crisis: US senators ‘frustrated’ with White House sanctions strategy
    White House officials struggled to explain what would trigger harsher round of economic measures against Russia at Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing

    6 May 2014

    ‘“At some point, the nationalist fever in Russia will break and give way to a sweaty and harsh realization that there are economic costs,” said Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for Europe.

    But Nuland and her colleagues from the Pentagon and Treasury Department struggled to articulate what specifically would prompt the Obama administration to adopt the even harsher measures they threatened last week – particularly sanctioning entire swaths of the Russian economy.

    Nuland said that should the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist referendum occur and Russia follow up with recognition and the deployment of forces into the Ukrainian areas, “that will be a trigger” for sanctioning the finance, energy and defense sectors of the Russian economy.’

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Mary reports

    “But Nuland and her colleagues from the Pentagon and Treasury Department struggled to articulate what specifically would prompt the Obama administration to adopt the even harsher measures they threatened last week”

    …and then goes on to say :

    “Nuland said that should the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist referendum occur and Russia follow up with recognition and the deployment of forces into the Ukrainian areas, “that will be a trigger”

    Sounds clear enough to me. Where’s the “struggle”? Perhaps it’s just you, struggling to understand?

  • John Goss

    Spot on Mary. She’s a nasty piece of work that “Fuck the EU” Nuland. But this is just sabre-rattling. Should the US impose sanctions against energy it will hit Germany as well, and they won’t stand for that. They won’t bend over the barrel like Cameron begging Obama to give him one, not after knowing that the NSA tapped Angela Merkel’s phone. Taking on Europe is going to be the biggest mistake ever of the transatanic alliance.

  • Peacewisher

    @Sofia: The image you describe would be a consequence of the Ukrainian Parliament proclaiming the followers of Bandera as National Heroes. One wonders how they came to do that back in 2011!

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Peacewisher. 10 26am

    These horrific events don’t just happen. Some hatreds are cherished and carefully nurtured thruogh the years. I wonder how much of Nugget’s $5,000,000,000 was sunk into this part of the US investment?

    “On January 22, 2010, on the Day of Unity of Ukraine, the then-President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko awarded to Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously) for “defending national ideas and battling for an independent Ukrainian state.”


    And what would you say is the significance of this image?

1 13 14 15 16

Comments are closed.