The Shot in the Foot Heard ‘Round the World – Geoffrey’s Chat With Vickie: continued/new comment thread

Uncle Volodya says, "You must remember the most important rule of any successful illusion. First, the people must want to believe in it. "

Uncle Volodya says, “You must remember the most important rule of any successful illusion. First, the people must want to believe in it. “

This article is just a stub, to alleviate the loading problems caused by too many comments – not that I’m complaining, because I love gossip – attached to the previous post. But I thought I should add something in the way of a public service. From Fedia Kriukov (thanks, Fedia!!) we received a fascinating clip, I daresay well before most other viewers since it is only now beginning to break big-time on the intertubes. Anyway, here it is again. I love the title: Marionettkiy Maidana – “Puppets of the Maidan”. Very imaginative, le mot juste. The clip records a conversation between Victoria Nuland (U.S. State Department, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, as well as the wife of Überconservative right-wing nutjob Robert Kagan) and Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States Ambassador to Ukraine.

To forestall any defense that the recording could be any two people of the correct gender from the region that matches their North American accent, I would point out – courtesy of Patrick Armstrong – that the semi-official response was pretty far from a denial. In fact, the White House immediately blamed Russia, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called it “a new low” for Russia, in what must be the howler of the decade and suggests she has never heard of the NSA and their 24-7 snooping on everyone and everything.

Anyway, enjoy the entertainment, and against the possibility some might have trouble with the North American accent and the speed of the conversation, I have provided a transcript in English.

Nuland: What do you think?

 Pyatt: I think we’re in play. The, uhh…the Klitschko piece is obviously the complicated electron here, uhhh…especially the announcement of him as Deputy Prime Minister..and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now, so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to Ann, which she’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call we want to set up, should be exactly the one you made to Ya (??? Yanukovych? Yatsenyuk?) tonight, I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot as to where he fits in this scenario, and I’m very glad he said what he said in response.

 Nuland: Good. So..uhh…I don’t think Klitch should go into the government, I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

 Pyatt: Yeah. I mean, I guess…you think…in terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff, I’m just thinking, in terms of sort of the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate democrats together; the problem is gonna be Tiahnybok and his guys, and…you know, I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all of this…I..

Nuland:  I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience, he’s..he’s the guy, you know, what he needs is Klitch and Tiahnybok on the outside, he needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know…I just think Klitch going in, he’s gonna be at that level, working for Yatsenyuk, it’s just not gonna work.

 Pyatt: Yeah..no..I think that’s right, OK. Good; well, you want us to try to set up a call with him, as your next step?

 Nuland: My understanding from (inaudible, sounds like a name) call that you tell me was that the Big Three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was gonna offer, in that context, a three-way, you know, three-plus-one conversation, or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?

 Pyatt: No, I think…I mean, that’s what he proposed, but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them, where..umm.. Klitschko’s been the top dog, he’s gonna take a while to show up to whatever meeting they’ve got, he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three, and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he..uh..he explains why he doesn’t like it.

 Nuland: OK, good, I’m happy; why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

 Pyatt: OK, will do; thanks.

 Nuland: OK; I’ve now written…oh, one more wrinkle for you, Jeff…

 Pyatt: Yeah.

 Nuland: Uh…can’t remember if I told you this or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman (Jeffrey Feltman, Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs at the United Nations, working directly for Ban Ki-Moon and appointed by him), this morning, he had a new name, for the UN guy, Robert Serry (a Dutch diplomat who currently serves at the UN as the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process), did I write you that?

 Pyatt: Yeah. Yeah, I saw that.

 Nuland: He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban Ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday.

 Pyatt: OK.

 Nuland: So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and have the UN help glue it, and, you know…fuck the EU.

 Pyatt: Oh, exactly, and I think that we’ve gotta do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does, if it does start to gain altitude, the Russians’ll be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it, and again, the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych did that. But in the meantime, there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now, and, you know, I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But..uh..anyway, we could lend Joey setup on this one if we move fast. So let me work on..let me work on Klitschko, and if you can just keep..I think we want to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing..and the other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych, but we can probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

 Nuland: So on that piece, Jeff, when I wrote the note, Sullivan’s (probably Jake Sullivan, the Vice-President’s National Security Advisor) come back to me VFR, saying you need Biden, and I said probably tomorrow for an attaboy (a gratuitous pat on the back to a subordinate) and to get the deets (details) to stick. If Biden’s willing.

 Pyatt: OK, great, thanks.

I love how they refer to them as “Yats” and “Klitch”, as if they were house cats or something, just the ticket when you are trying to groom new leaders to serve you in a regime-change operation. I’ll bet Yats’s and Klitch’s followers are blown away by the respect in which they are held by those who are pulling their strings. Blown away, too, doubtless, is Angela Merkel, who is not only a big part of the EU that was just told to go fuck itself, but is also the patron of “Klitch” and who was pressing ahead with plans to get him installed as the Ukrainian President, only to find the U.S. State Department is doing an end-run around her and intends that her button-man shall not even have a seat in the government, never mind run it. No, he’s to do his political homework, and report to “Yats” four times a week. Nice work, if you can get it – does that come with a car and driver?

Marx spoke too soon; it is not history, but revolution in Ukraine that repeats itself – first as tragedy, the second time as farce. If Yanukovych cannot parlay this gift into firm reassertion of control over public order in Kiev, he deserves to be overthrown.

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534 Responses to The Shot in the Foot Heard ‘Round the World – Geoffrey’s Chat With Vickie: continued/new comment thread

  1. marknesop says:

    Bulgaria Slams Ukraine For Canceling the Status of Bulgarian Language

    http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=158488

    The Bulgarian government is dissatisfied with Ukraine’s decision to cancel the recognition of Bulgarian language as regional language.

    Earlier this week Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada canceled the State Language Policy Act, which was granting the status of “regional language” to the language of minority groups who make up more than 10% of the residents in an area.

    I wondered about that; I wondered if they would stop at Russian, or if they were going to press on with this “Ukraine for Ukrainians” thing. That ought to be good for tourism – no sense learning another language if you have almost no chance of ever using it.

  2. marknesop says:

    В Запорожье синагогу закидали коктейлями Молотова

    [Molotov cocktails hurled into Zaporozhye synagogue]

    Posted by Kremlin shills, no doubt, who “duped” the believers about their Kremlin connections, because everyone knows the Oranges are not antisemitic. Probably staffers from RT threw it in there themselves to blame the Oranges – or Yanukovych sympathizers; after all, that’s their territory.

    • Steady on. I think it behooves us all to understand that, just as the WMSM is printing what fits its POV, the Russian media is going to be pretty hyper on certain rumours. I’d wait for confirmation or more reports.

      • marknesop says:

        True enough. Speaking of further reports, former Deputy Interior Minister of the Ukraine Gennady Moskal (a most unfortunate surname that he goes out of his way to belie) reports he has found evidence that the Ukrainian government’s murder of peaceful protesters was directed by – who else – Russia. Sure enough, the former Deputy Head of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate was put up at the Kiev Hotel, paid for by the SBU. Very neat, two birds with one stone. It’s like the Ukrainians are trying to drag Russia into war.

  3. marknesop says:

    “Just caught the tail end of a 1on1 on CNN between Cristiane Amanpour & Alexander Nekrassov Kremlin adviosor (1995-1996). Nekrassov was good. That stupid bi8ch kept on cutting him off every time he countered her loaded questions with good arguments or facts. I understand that a good interviewer should pose tough questions and try and throw their interviewee of balance (i.e. actual journalism), but each time Ammanpour cut him off and kept on saying “OK, we should move on..”.

    http://www.edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2014/02/25/amanpour-ukraine-russia-alexander-nekrassov.cnn

    I know I shouldn’t be shocked (I was on the reporting of the breakup of ex-Yu so many years ago), but at what point did even basic journalism go completely out the window in the US?

    This is a rhetorical question.”

    That’s a tactic journalists use to make it look like the interviewee feels guilty and is frantically trying to justify himself or herself, although the brave emotionless journalist refuses to be taken in and mercilessly skewers him with another question. But watch journalists interview John McCain sometime – he’s even worse with geography than Yalensis, frequently not knowing which countries share a common border, and wears slip-ons because tying shoes is beyond him now. Yet interviewers are polite to the point of fawning and give him all the time he needs to make a fool of himself once more.

  4. marknesop says:

    “I sort of feel sorry for Yanukovych that he’s been put in this position and then I don’t in a way because he allowed himself to be led around and Washington subsequently found him very easy to manipulate.”

    Well, anyone who feels sorry for Yanukovych better hurry up if they want to express their condolences, because Novaya Gazeta has run him to earth in Sevastopol and he is about to board a Russian landing ship to be conveyed with full honours to Moscow, where The Horned One will present him with the Murder Of Peaceful Protesters Cross, with bar.

    I wonder why Novaya Gazeta always gets these amazing stories; it’s absolutely criminal that a paper with a circulation of their immediate families doesn’t get more funding, because their reporters are nothing short of stellar.

    I used to like ZeroHedge, and Durden’s reporting particularly on the crisis in Greece was mostly first-class – he made a lot of educated guesses, but they mostly paid off. However, if he is going to go with a Novaya Gazeta report as if it were factual, I have just cited my last ZeroHedge report.

  5. yalensis says:

    Here is what is going on in Sebastopol.
    If there is going to be a war, then this is where it will be fought.
    Back story: Sebastopol mayor is technically appointed by Kiev (not an elected position).

    Kiev-appointed Mayor Fedor Rubanov, does not want to give up his post, even though he was “democratically” overthrown by a pitchfork-toting crowd estimated at 30-50K. The crowd (I won’t call them a “mob” because I like them) overthrew Rubanov in favor of their new candidate Aleksei Chalyj.

    However, since Rubanov still insists that he is Mayor, and still refuses to allow Chalyj into the Mayor’s office; then there exists a state of dual power in Sebastopol.
    Meanwhile, Orange “guests” from Lvov and Kyiv are threatening to invade Sebastopol, on their so-called “Friendship Train” (which is an ironic name, it goes without saying). Because the purpose of this “train” is to instigate a big fight between pro- and anti-Russian forces.
    Sebastopol locals are preparing to meet this “train”, possibly in armed groups.
    Some are begging Russia to give them weapons to fight against the Banderite incursion that is expected any day now.
    Already thousands of men have signed up for armed defense of Sebastopol against the roaming gangs of unemployed Banderites.

    • yalensis says:

      Вставай, страна огромная,
      Вставай на смертный бой
      С фашистской силой темною,
      С проклятою ордой.


      [Refrain:]
      Пусть ярость благородная
      Вскипает как волна,
      Идет война народная,
      Священная война!

      Дадим отпор душителям
      Всех пламенных идей,
      Насильникам, грабителям,
      Мучителям людей!

      [Refrain]

      Не смеют крылья черные
      Над Родиной летать,
      Поля её просторные
      Не смеет враг топтать!

      [Refrain]

      Гнилой фашистской нечисти
      Загоним пулю в лоб,
      Отребью человечества
      Сколотим крепкий гроб!

      [Refrain]

    • yalensis says:

      TRANSLATION:

      Arise, giant country!
      Arise for the mortal combat
      Against the dark forces of fascism,
      Against their acccursed horde!


      [Refrain:]
      Let our noble wrath
      Seethe like a wave..
      The national war rages.
      The Holy War

      Resist the oppressors
      Of virtue:
      Rapists, bandits
      People’s tormentors

      [Refrain]

      Don’t let their black wings dare
      Fly over our Motherland
      Don’t let the enemy dare tread
      Over Our immense fields

      [Refrain]

      Shoot a bullet into the brow
      Of the rotten fascist vermin.
      Let us hammer together a strong coffin
      For these dregs of humanity.

      [Refrain]

    • marknesop says:

      Just another example of the minority (mayor appointed by Kiev) ruling over the majority (citizens who consider themselves Russians who do not care for Kiev). Off with his head!! Where are the EU and USA, instructing him not to resist and that he must step down for the good of Sevastopol?

  6. yalensis says:

    And here is what is going on in Rovno aka Rivne, which, as we all know, is located in Galicia (just kidding, it’s in Volhynia).

    Local Soviet is told by Maidan leader how to cast their votes. He is very persuasive, is this Alexander Muzychko, aka Sasha Bilyj.

    Dear Delegates, Vote like Sasha says, or you get Kalashnikov jammed up your tushies!

    • cartman says:

      Wow. That guy looks just like Shrek. This may be a little bit snobbish, but the Nazis got where they were because they didn’t look like inbred goons.

    • marknesop says:

      Mmmmm….yes, I remember him. The guy who says he’s going to be “fighting Jews and Russians till he dies“. He was quite the warrior with the Chechnyan separatist forces back in the 90′s, and claims experience in operating heavy armor like tanks, which he can apparently get hold of as easy as snapping his fingers. It goes without saying he is ready to use them in the Godly fight against Jews, Communists and Russians. Perhaps not all Oranges are Banderists, but I think it’s safe to assume he is one. Nice crowd that’s taken political power in Ukraine. Will the west ever rue its meddling ways in its pursuit of the Great Game? This just might be the one.

      Personally honoured by Dudayev with “Hero of the Nation” Award for leading a group of federal forces into a Chechen ambush. I imagine there are a few in Russia who would like to see the end of him. Things look less and less likely for the possibility of any Russian money, and now they are chipping away at debt forgiveness, too. Not to mention any chance of ever, ever joining the EU, as the first commenter to the article pointed out.

      Ever read, “The Ransom of Red Chief”? I had to read it in school, but it was a pretty great story. A couple of ne’er-do-wells captures a boy whom they intend to hold until his parents pay a ransom. Knowing full well what their son is like, the parents wisely say nothing to the police, eventually striking a deal with the Two Desperate Men to take him back if the men pay them $250.00. It’s just a short story; here it is in its entirety. I think you’ll like it. And the EU and USA might feel a little twinge when they read it. Perhaps in a year’s time they may be trying to think of a way to fob Ukraine off on Russia.

      • yalensis says:

        One can at least respect Musychko for his refreshing honesty about his aims and goals, namely
        To eradicate Jews, Russians and Communists.

        (no wiffle-waffling from him about “democracy” or “Western values” – and I have a sneaking suspicion that Sasha does not support gay marriage equality)

        Speaking of Communism, Svoboda and Right Sector are some of the main forces behind the dismantling of the Lenin statues throughout Ukraine. It is part of their battle against Godless Communism. Just like Hitler before them, they are obsessed with Communism and Bolshevism and cannot rest until every molecule of it has been eradicated. Hence, the attacks against the statues.
        (I think Lenin would actually be okay with that, when still alive he said he didn’t want people building statues of him, and very few of the statues have any artistic merit anyhow, although some do.)

        In the weeks before they came to power, these Banderite cells were busy dismantling statues. Even in East and South, where Banderites don’t have much popular support, they were able to commit successful acts of vandalism, because, let’s face it, local police cannot protect every single landmark in any given town.

        After they came to power in Kiev, Banderite radicals “ordered” regional officials to continue to dismantle Lenin statues, and this is being done, wherever the statues are not protected. Even in Crimea, pusillanimous local officials are obeying the orders from Kiev.
        In some places, people don’t really care, because they are not that much into Lenin.

        Hoewver, Banderites are not stopping with Lenin, and also ordering the dismantling of “imperial” pro-Russian statues, such as Kutuzov, etc.
        I guess, going back in time, Banderites supported Napoleon’s army against Russia.
        Later, they supported Nazi army against Russia.
        Some other people might support Napoleon but not Hitler.
        Banderites are very consistent, though. They always support whoever invades Russia.

  7. yalensis says:

    Some interesting history on the Right Sector Party, one of the victors on the battlefield of the Maidan. Right Sector successfully fought against, and defeated, Berkut, thus earning themselves a place in the new revolutionary government.

    Right Sector Party stems from Stepan Bandera’s “Trizub” Party (=”Three Teeth” = “Trident” (like Neptune’s Trident = the national symbol of Ukraine). Right Sector was founded about 20 years ago, by a guy named Dmitry Yarosh (now 43 years old). They hold as their forefathers Bandera, UPA, and the National-Socialists. (aka Nazis, not to mince words)

    Yarosh has already said that he will not participate in the attempt to form a new Orange government, in coalition with Tymoshenko, Klichko, and the others. He regards them as self-serving oligarchs little better than Yanukovych. He is holding back and intends, eventually to take all the power for his party. His party has a lot of money right now. (doesn’t say from where…)

    Yarosh opposes Ukraine’s entry into both Custom Union (with Russia) and European Union.
    Goes on to say that a Tymoshenko government is the most likely variant, but she will be forced to share power with Yarosh’s national-socialists.

    • marknesop says:

      He doesn’t care for the oligarchy, but he likes the idea – or doesn’t hate the idea – of a Tymoshenko government?? Did he grow up inside an oil drum? Does he not know that Tymoshenko is the uber-oligarch?

  8. reggietcs says:

    LOL.

    I take a week or so off from Kremlin Stooge and come back and lo and behold, right-wing fascists and Banderites are now pretty much in charge in Kiev!!?!?!

    Large Bandera banners hanging in the Kiev city hall, Russian statues commemorating the defeat of the Nazi’s and Napoleon being demolished, graffiti proclaiming “Jews live here” being tagged on buildings, fascist flags now flying over the Rada, the Russian language – or anything Russian for that matter – under assault.

    What the hell!?!?!?!

    What happened to the rule of the mob — er, I mean “people” that AP promised would blossom after the corrupt and incompetent (but STILL democratically-elected) Yanokovych was overthrown? because from what I’ve been seeing the past several days, it’s starting to look more like “Triumph of the Will.”

    I also love how Susan Rice, McCain, and all the usual suspects are talking tough and “warning” Russia not to invade. And I very well doubt that Putin has an invasion, at least on the scale the Americans like to imagine, in the cards. To begin with, the east is primarily aligned with Russia, so realistically, all they would have to do is “invite” them in, but then again, they’re already there in Crimea via the Black Sea Fleet.

    This mess developing in the Ukraine seems to change daily, but it really is turning out to be a train-wreck of tragic proportions.

    • yalensis says:

      Hi, Reggie,
      Did you think you could take a vacation?
      If you take a week off or even blink, then you miss the next regime change!
      By the way, Susan Rice maybe paid attention to the all the “Benghazi-Benghazi!” taunts hurled in her general direction. According to this , the U.S. is dispatching additional Marine guard specialists from Quantico, Virginia; to Kiev, to protect American embassy there.
      Maybe even they are worried about Banderites attacking their embassy and staff?
      Susan doesn’t want that on her conscience, so she is employing due diligence.

      P.S. if neo-Nazis DID attack American embassy, then the marine guards would have the right to shoot back and gun them down. Unlike Berkut, who were not allowed to do that.

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    Here’s a post about that clip I posted earlier that shows two army trucks allegedly bringing armed troops from Sevastopol to a sanatorium in Yalta.

    My suspicions were at first roused by its title: “They are moving out of Sevastopol”.

    The camera shots follow the trucks along the highway to their destination. However, en route to the sanatorium, there suddenly appears a shot taken from another vehicle approaching the army trucks, then the scene reverts to shots taken from the car following them, just like a movie setting the scene with shots taken from different points of view. Did the driver of the car following instruct another driver to meet the convoy head on and take shots as it was approaching? How did the other car manage so quickly to find the convoy in the hills and do this?

    The post that I’ve just read in a blog says:

    Maxim, They have paid for this scenario to made showing an ALLEGED “imminent threat”. Can’t you see: they’re wearing their helmets and then a voice says: “But what are they wearing helmets for?” Then the gate man pops out and there is already some other man approaching and swearing – and suddenly this film “operator” is forcibly stopped as though he has been knocked over and his camera falls but it keeps on running.

    Once again: this is a fake! A PROVOCATION!”

    So if this snoop has been violently prevented from filming the billeting of troops up in the hills, how come his camera wasn’t smashed by security?

    And not only wasn’t the evidence that the camera allegedly shows destroyed, but its stunning revelation is almost immediately posted after the alleged incident? (The billeting was allegedly at 5pm yesterday and the clip was posted on You Tube at about 10pm.)

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around. More on the unfortunately-named Moskal and his evidence that “Moscow assisted with the plan to violently suppress protesters”. Yes, a plan arrived at by hardened riot police together with government snipers on rooftops and hordes of Titushki, ramrodded by Russia’s former First Deputy of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia, to disperse the protesters and recapture the Trade Union building ultimately fell apart and was defeated by a couple of thousand peaceful protesters in hockey and skateboard gear who had been mostly living in the open for a couple of months. Ukraine, not to mention everywhere else, needs more soldiers like those – they are freaking invincible.

      It was helpful of the SBU, who were supposed to be Ukraine’s Security Services, to leave a detailed description of the operations, code-named “Wave” and “Boomerang” in their records to be found by the conquerors, together with the unnamed Russian honcho’s hotel bills and meal expenses. I wonder if all the notes were in English, or just the map? Always remember the target audience.

    • yalensis says:

      Is the implication that Yanukovych is hiding out in the Yalta sanatorium?
      That actually seems plausible to me.

  10. Fern says:

    The head of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has signed an order to dissolve the Berkut. They will, no doubt, be replaced by a force which incorporates many of the mask-wearing, gun-toting folk currently running around Kiev. http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_26/Head-of-Ukrainian-Interior-Ministry-signs-order-to-dissolve-Berkut-3065/

    • marknesop says:

      Happy days, huh? You could pretty much see that coming. That’s after – allegedly – they were made to get down on their knees and apologize, while the people shouted “shame!!” The Berkut were totally sold out by Yanukovych, sent in to control rock-throwing and Molotov-flinging peaceful protesters (some of whom also had guns) with nothing but rubber bullets. And now they will likely have to leave Ukraine or at least Kiev, because it is a vengeful crowd in charge now which has tasted blood, and likes it.

      • Fedia Kriukov says:

        Why allegedly?

        Or did someone already claim the video was made by titushki?

        • marknesop says:

          I just read it somewhere, without any attribution; that’s why I said “allegedly”. This is the first I’ve seen this. Hey, I’m pretty sure that big cross is the same one Flava Flav used to wear around his neck. Only on Sundays, though.

          These are some scary people; there’s nothing like an easy victory to make you feel invincible.

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    Comment from a Ukrainian in today’s Guardian:

    I am Ukrainian living in the West.
    To give some perspective and info as I have relatives there:
    1 – opposition is not unified. Majority are peaceful normal people, but 15-20% are hardcore ultra-right/fascist – incidentally they are the ones with guns.
    2 – current parliament is afraid of the ultra-right, and first law they passed was to abolish russian as minority language – very stupid mistake as normal people dont care one bit who speaks what language and it only antagonized Odessa
    3 – normal average people are very very ambivalent towards the opposition politicians – all of them are tainted, and in private people say that its better if all of them are disposed of, not just yanukovitch. problem is, there is nobody else except the ultra-right
    4 – ultra-right militias are right now conducting pogroms on former officials and their families, similar to what Lenin did in 1917 – basically they have a list of addresses and names, and they are breaking in and taking everything. Its not reported in the west, but its happening. Danger is, it might spread into a general pogrom.
    5 – police and army melted in the end because they are not paid. Guys that stood in uniform on the Maidan for 3 months with no showers got paid 60$ per month roughly (they were promised 250$ per month). Standing with shields vs unarmed mobs is one thing, but would you risk your life under live fire? A lot of police officers have fled by the way. No money in treasury to pay for anything – not salaries, not police, not army, nothing.
    So those are some interesting tidbits not widely reported.
    Now to any normal person it is clear that the only future of Ukraine is with Europe, even if we have to be economic slaves for a decade or two. People look at Poland and what Poles did in 2 decades. However, russia is not an enemy either, and thats the dilemma. US meddling and financing unpopular opposition factions doesnt help.
    Long-term, not only Ukraine should join the EU, but Russia as well. Peter the Great in 16th century already saw which way the wind was blowing, Russia should swallow their pride and just apply to Nato and EU.

    See: Ukraine leader warns of separatism threat amid fears over Crimea

    • yalensis says:

      The comment above in the Guardian from the Ukrainian is a very reasonable analysis and echoes some of what AP was saying way back in the distant past when (2 weeks ago) he was still being reasonable; and before he went all frothing Banderite on us.

      Now to any normal person it is clear that the only future of Ukraine is with Europe, even if we have to be economic slaves for a decade or two. People look at Poland and what Poles did in 2 decades.. I think that sentence is key to what the “reasonable” ones were thinking when they supported this revolution. They hoped it would somehow miraculously lead to a “Polish” outcome for Ukraine. Like, be economic slaves for a generation or so, and then you’ll be like Poland.

      It would be a reasonable long-term strategy if it had any hope of success. It’s like throwing 1000 jig-saw pieces up in the air and hoping they land in the correct pattern.
      I mean, if you had a time machine, and you went forward in time and found that it DID all work out just that way, then, okay, I guess it would have been worth it for them.

      To these “reasonable” Ukrainians, it looks to them like Poland risked everything on the throw of a dice, and won the gamble; so why shouldn’t they try it? This reasoning (which I believe is deluded, but I understand it) also explains why they were willing to suspend disbelief about the Banderites taking power at the barrel of a gun. They (the reasonable Ukrainians) hope that the Banderite phase is just a transitional one; that it will result in Ukraine joining EU and enduring austerity for a generation; and eventually it will all come out okay.

      I get it. I understand their reasoning now.
      I just think they are deluding themselves. But I could be wrong. I don’t have a time machine either.

      • Jen says:

        Isn’t possible that Poland is the exception to the rule of failed EU Eastern European member nations because it happens to border Germany and allowed German companies to outsource a lot of their operations there to take advantage of cheap but educated labour who still had a good knowledge of the German language? Apart from having to follow austerity programs which among other things discredited Lech Walesa (and revealed him to be an ignorant dolt and a huge embarrassment to the Polish) and his Solidarity party.

        • robert says:

          Beat me to it Jen. I think that’s absolutely right yes. In any case Poland had the prospect of joining the EU which gave them something to hope for. I highly doubt Ukraine is going to be allowed to join the EU any time soon. Consider the attitude towards Rumanian and Bulgarian immigrants in the UK. Is the EU going to open its doors to huge numbers of Ukrainian immigrants? I doubt it. Poor Ukraine will have the prospect of EU membership dangled in front of it as an incentive to continue with the brutal austerity reforms but Brussels will not deliver. Ukrainians are going to be sold a pup.

          • And, at the end of the day, I’ll bet that whatever financial package is promised, Ukraine won’t see more than 25% of it — the rest will somehow never arrive. Not only does the dog not know how to drive, but he doesn’t have much gas money either.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, they might, but in order to get all of it Ukraine will have to do exactly as it’s told. Judgment of the EU masters that Ukraine is on target to achieve its myriad reforms is absolutely critical to the operation of the money tap, and the IMF did not hesitate to pull the rug out from under Yushchenko when he disobeyed the direction to shut off the gas subsidy, while his work on “anti-corruption” – if he ever actually did any – was spotty. Actually, terrible. It’s worth remembering that bandit Yanukovych did not get a great big loan, but was instead left with a floundering economy and a huge balance of payments on Yushchenko’s loan, all of which of course was spent.

        • marknesop says:

          Quite possibly, but you hear a lot of this “cheap but educated labour pool” I believe I saw it last discussed in that article someone linked on Latvia. Europe is capable of absorbing Latvia’s working population without too much discomfort, but Ukraine’s overall population is more than 20 times as big. Most EU countries already have high unemployment rates, we have discussed this before, and there are not going to be loads of great high-paying jobs in Europe just waiting for energetic young Ukrainians. An ambitious Ukrainian might find his chances of landing that dream job slightly better in an EU association than in the the situation which prevails right now, but no better, I submit, than if he took his chances and emigrated to an EU country at random.

          • Jen says:

            The other issue with Ukraine’s “cheap but educated labour pool” is that the people educated to professional level (engineers, technicians, IT people, scientists, academics, medical people and the people who certify their qualifications) now have to learn new technical standards applying to their fields of study and work. Assume this education has to take place at their own expense in new private universities and colleges that charge hundreds if not thousands. New private banks (foreign-owned) will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of new student clients for long-term loans with high interest rates.

  12. Fern says:

    Financial realities may finally be dawning. This article suggests Ukraine “may be the geopolitical prize nobody can afford” and suggests that “a lot of people in a lot of those capitals really —Berlin and Paris to name two — think that the European Union got too far out in front of itself, didn’t think through what it was doing, got involved in what was a zero-sum position with Russia,” http://news.yahoo.com/facing-collapse-ukraine-costly-prize-west-010303463.html

    Catherine Ashton took part in a Q&A session after her most recent trip to Kiev. She had this to say about Ukraine’s relationship with Russia:-
    “I want to also make an obvious point, which is the importance of the strong links between Ukraine and Russia and the importance that these are maintained. I’m in regular contact with Russia. I spoke recently with the Foreign Minister Lavrov. We know and understand the strong trade links that have existed with Russia and the strong links that need to exist with Russia in the future. And that message needs to be widely understood.”

    I wonder to which audience are these comments directed – who should understand the need for strong links with Russia? Is it possible she recognises that access to the Russian market is essential for Ukraine? Could this be a signal that the EU might be open to Putin’s suggestion of a tripartite arrangement between the EU, Russia and Ukraine?

    There’s a classic exchange when one questioner asks her about the so-called compromise agreement brokered by French, German and Polish ministers, signed by the then opposition and Yanukovich and which lasted about two and half minutes:-
    “Q5: Russian government says that the situation in Ukraine is illegal. Do you agree with Mr Lavrov?

    I have seen some comments that Mr Lavrov is reported to have said. I spoke with him at length on Friday and we have talked about the importance of making sure that there is no violence here, making sure that the country stood together – territorial integrity, as I have described – and I think that it is very important that Russia, as an important neighbour of Ukraine, also lends its support so that the country can move forward in the way that it wishes to. And in our deliberations with Russia that is a message that we will be giving to them.”

    A moving on sort of gal, our Catherine.

    • marknesop says:

      I can’t understand why this is such a surprise. It was very much in the public domain that Ukraine was down to the last of its reserves, and would have gone bankrupt more than a month ago were it not for the first tranche of Russian money. Everybody who was anybody in finance knew, had to have known. But the reason this is such a bit of mud in the eye for the EU is that it will not be able to impose austerity right away and removal of subsidies – not without giving the people something to live on – or they will revolt some more. Its cherished reforms will have to wait while it does rescue, which it apparently did not envision.

      Russia should give them nothing. If the EU is just figuring out what we have discussed on this blog for five months or more, then things are in a sad state of affairs indeed.

      I propose a contest – the most embarrassing thing you would make Tiahnybok do in order for Ukraine to get Russian help. I say he should be made to play the balalaika in a Speedo bathing suit, accompanying himself as he sings “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in Russian.

      • Jen says:

        Easy, get Tyahnybok to visit Jewish synagogues around Ukraine and Tatar communities in Crimea to tell the people there what Svoboda party policies and proposals affecting their interests are.

    • yalensis says:

      Once upon a time, a very clever dog decided to catch a car.
      He spent 20 years planning how to catch the car.
      Then, one day, all his plans worked, and he caught the car!
      Now he wonders what to do with this car, because he doesn’t know how to drive.

      The end.

      • The more I think about it, the more I like your analogy. The car is a Zaporozhets with bald tires and the gas tank is empty. Not only does our dog (an attractive female fluffy lap dog, looking slightly like Lady Ashton. In an alternate reality.) not have any money, but the two Dobermans living in the back seat with big teeth and collars with 88 spikes, are pulling her in so they can get better acquainted.

        Meanwhile. a passing bear is watching all this with a smile on its face.

  13. Fern says:

    This article detailing Latvia’s experience over the last couple of decades might be of interest to the Ukrainian commentator to the Guardian linked by Moscow Exile. Not every country has enjoyed an EU-brokered economic miracle.
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/latvias-economic-disaster-as-a-neoliberal-success-story-a-model-for-europe-and-the-us.html

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!!! That’s brilliant! The Peterson Institute – depicted here as “the now notorious Peterson bank lobby “think tank” – is where quavery-voiced Swedish fuck Anders Aslund hangs his Russia-hating hat.

    • astabada says:

      This is one of the miracles of the Western model: everyone looks at its successes, nobody looks at its disasters.

      I wonder why.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      It was only about 8 years ago when Latvian airlines were almost giving seats away so that tourist would fly into Riga – where they were greeted by “working girls” in abundance and an assortment of nefarious hostelries and clubs and bars. If I remember rightly, you could fly from London to Riga for about £25 then.

  14. yalensis says:

    Wow, Turchynov is becoming super powerful!
    In addition to being both President and Prime Minister, Turch is now also Commander in Chief of Ukrainian armed forces.
    He looks really macho, with that stubble on his face…

    • marknesop says:

      Makes you wonder a little bit, doesn’t it? I mean, that crystal-clear intercept of Geoffrey Pyatt chatting with Nudelman comes out – blamed on the Russians, of course – and basically makes all three of the Opposition leaders look like western stooges…and poof! the former head of the SBU is the interim President.

    • Al says:

      I’d like to know who proposed him for the post. It could actually be quite an astute political move.

      My thoughts. The positions are essentially reversed. The Police, Berkut & Armed Forces are still vulnerable to splitting, much as Yanukovic feared they would be.

      Berkut was dissolved simply because the new regime couldn’t trust that all of the forces would come over, regardless of what it’s leaders said and that the Crimea is keeping control of its own.

      If the new CiC Turchyanov orders units to the Crimea, what is the risk that a) they will not obey, b) unit troops will not obey their commanders who have apparently pledged loyalty, c) when they arrive they have to choose who they will be shooting? That would be exactly what Yanukovic was accused of doing.

      If Turchynov makes such a stupid move, then he could easily be dismissed from office (and essentially government politics) precisely for destabilizing the situation further and marginalization of his party at least from influential posts, hence the question as to who proposed him for the post in the first place.

      If he’s smart, he’ll do nothing, but he behaves all Biggus Dickus:

      Whither NATO, protectors of European piss for the last 25 years? Russia’s Western Military District is now on alert and surprise exercises are being launched. This is clearly a very strong signal to NATO to keep the f94k out. I could imagine a scenario where Turchyov orders in troops, they get in to trouble and he then appeals for NATO for help “to stop the Russians dividing the Ukraine”. NATO would want an excuse like this rather than steaming in to protect Ukrainian nationalists who have bitten off more than they can chew. Either way, any escalation can be used by NATO to further support their plans to build more missile defenses in Europe and push for the modernized B-61 13 smart nuclear bombs to replace the 200 or so dumb ones that already exist. Meanwhile the Ukrainian economy would fall off a cliff. Good luck finding investors!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A spot of radiation in the south would sort of balance out that bit of radiation they have in the north though, wouldn’t it?

      • Al says:

        I wasn’t too clear. The US has already announced its intentions to ‘upgrade’ its dumb nuclear bombs to ‘smart’ ones. They call it an ‘upgrade’ otherwise it would violated various nuclear treaties they have with Russia even though almost everything in the bomb will be replaced and rather than having to fly over the target, they will be ‘stand off’ weapons, have the ability to be launched from hundreds of kilometers away. So when the US squeals about abiding by the letter and spirit of agreements, this is a good one to fling back. ‘Upgrade’, their ass.

      • cartman says:

        We can call him Marshal Turchynov now. If he starts shooting in Simferopol and lots of people die, will the West stick by him?

      • Jen says:

        Turchynov was a former business partner of the Gas Princess in Dnipropetrovsk.

        Voted in as Acting Prime Minister by the Verkhovna Rada (316 votes out of 450) last Saturday (22 February 2014) with Arsen Avakov (Batkivshchyna, and originally from Kharkiv) as Acting Interior Minister. Not even a week has passed and Turchynov is now Acting President and Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Enough to give him a swelled head, I reckon.

        Looks as if the Tymoshenko clique is coming back into business.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, without Tymoshenko, maybe. Ukrainian investigative journalist Sergey Leshchenko claims to have a mass of evidence in his possession which will torpedo her in her tracks if she announces for President. He’s a brave man to even mention it, because there are suggestions that she and Lazarenko have killed before and even her fans speak of her utter ruthlessness. He describes evidence which I have read several times before exists, which was collected by the FBI in the money-laundering trial of Lazarenko. I’m sure she will be so angry at the thought of not returning to politics that she might well have some kind of attack and die, but if it is clear to her that she would lose, I don’t think even she would enter the race as a spoiler candidate. She would be persuaded by her oligarch friends to give it a miss.

          Speaking of oligarchs, I was kind of touched by Leshchenko’s apparently-serious statement that Ukraine is going to do it without the oligarchs this time. There is realistically no way this can happen. The west is going to hand over $35 Billion in loans (or around $15 Billion if it only wants to fund them through the first year, because apparently $35 Billion is what they estimate they need for this year and next) when it knows the state has no way of paying it back and is counting on the oligarchs to stimulate foreign investment. Because they’re going to be the only people in Ukraine who have any money. I don’t know if Ukrainians realize it, but the first year is going to be grim. Companies will be struggling to make payroll, there’s not going to be a reversal in unemployment, and they’re likely to be paying more for gas. Their profit margin on goods shipped to Russia is going to shrink, if trade does not collapse altogether. If nothing else, Leddy Ashton indicates with evident growing alarm that she realizes it.

          • cartman says:

            The oligarchs already own all the banks. Remember that Menatep owned by Saint Khodorkovsky was entrusted with $4.8 IMF money that disappeared.

      • yalensis says:

        If Turchynov declares himself Emperor of Ukraine, then will he assume the name of Emperor Gluteus Maximus? (’cause, see, he looks kinda chubby and has a big ass…)

        • yalensis says:

          sorry, that “crack” about Turchynov’s ass was beneath me (ha ha).
          I just got swept up in the Monty Python “Biggus Dickus” shtick.

  15. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, in Crimea: The battle has begun.
    Supporters and opponents of Orange Maidan clash outside Parliament of Autonomous Crimea, which is debating whether to recognize, or not recognize, the new revolutionary federal government in Kiev.

    The disturbing thing is that the Crimean Tatar community appears to have aligned with the Orange faction against the ethnic Russians. This could be bad, especially if it leads to ethnic strife.

    • yalensis says:

      More on the Crimean clash: It is taking place right now in Simferopol, outside the Supreme Soviet of Crimea building.

      Anti-Maidan forces include Cossacks and ethnic Russians. They are chanting: “Russia! Defend Crimea!”

      Pro-Maidan forces include Oranges and Tatars. (The leader of the Tatar community in Crimea has come out in support of the new Orange government in Kiev.) They are chanting: “Crimea is not Russia!” and “Allah Akhbar!”

      Article says more and more people are arriving to take part, but all men, no women.
      The police trying to keep the sides apart, but police have no batons, shields or masks. (=budget cuts) and are ineffective in preventing violence.

      There are reports of some people having bloody noses.

      • Drutten says:

        Banderites, oranges, delusional liberals and Allahu Akhbars in an unholy alliance. Fantastic.

        I understand if they’re reluctant to leave, roots are roots and it’s especially complicated considering the significance of Sevastopol, Odessa etc… But if this is what it’s gonna come down to, I think Russia should support a mass exodus of ethnic Russians from these areas. No active interference, just let them know that they’re most welcome.

        It’s a shame, but this is not going to end well either way.

      • I thought Tatars are secular people. Why would they Allah Akhbar -mode?

    • marknesop says:

      This is probably because the federal government has made noises about Crimea not belonging to Russia, if they want to press the point, but to the ethnic Tatars. This seems to have led to a belief among the latter that the new Kiev government intends to make them the lords of the land. Not very much chance of that actually happening, I would have to say. They merely hope to gain the Tatars’ support, and it seems to be working, but the Tatars are not Ukrainians and this Ukraine is going to be for Ukrainians.

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, Oranges are just trying to pit Tatars against Russians.
        They did this before, when Viktor Dioxinovich was in power.

  16. patient observer says:

    Another EU animal analogy

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    “Who wants to try and take my Kalashnikov off me? Who wants to try to take my pistol? Who wants to try and take my knives off me?”

    I tell you what I should like to do.

    I should like to put a hole right between his piggy eyes.

    That’s the only cure for swine like him.

    Not democratic, I know.

    Nor is he.

    Although he has the support of the silent majority…

    • patient observer says:

      Waiting for AP to bring clarity to the situation,

      • cartman says:

        It would be more fun to count how many times the Grauniad shows a picture of a fascist flag or symbol, with no mention of the symbol’s presence.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The Grauniad kicked off today by saying there were 20,000 demonstrating in Simferopol today. Then that figure changed to 10,000. Don’t not how many they now say were there .

          As regards the photographs in the Gaunriad, here’s one taken on the Maidan.

          The caption just reads: “A man holds a Ukrainian flag in Independence Square”.

          Nice cap he’s wearing.

          The UPA was one of the premier Nazi collaborationist groups in World War II, being exceeded in cruelty only by the Croatian Ustashi. Members of the UPA aided the Einsatzkommandos in the killing of Jews, they helped to deport helpless civilians to slave labour in Germany, and German records indicate that they killed between 100,000 to 500,000 Poles, Romanians, Magyars, Carpatho-Russians, Great Russians, Jews, and Roma (Gypsys) in areas under their control. To be fair, most “Ukrainians” are decent people who didn’t, and do not, support such terrorism and enormities. Be wary of anyone who praises this group, for it the same as glorifying the SS. Indeed, many UPA members served in the SS, such as Sturmbannführer (Major) Roman Shuskevych, who was recently awarded a posthumous medal by Yushchenko.

          See: The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) failed to halt the publication of a book about the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)

          And if you speak Polish or can read Polish:Bogiem Sławiena Maryja

        • Al says:

          They’re slippery f83ks the Guardian. Claiming to represent peace and light, they have been highlighting the conditions of workers in Qatar etc. In their latest piece, they write that ‘Qatar’s foreign domestic workers subjected to slave-like conditions’.

          Now what is objectionable to that? How good is your english???

          They didn’t write ‘Qatar’s foreign domestic workers are treated like slaves’ because that would make it much easier for Qatar (which has very good relations with London) to bring a libel action against the Guardian. That would be represented as a statement of fact. Instead, they sidestep this ‘legal quibble’ by using ‘slave like’, which is something entirely different to saying ‘like slaves’, i.e. ‘similar to’. It gives them serious legal wiggle room. So we have the Guardian which likes to puff out its moral chest (for its favorite causes of course, silence for others) as it bleats its moral superiority. If you look closely, you can see it has been parsed down to the character by its in-house lawyers. That’s the level of hypocrisy practices by the Guardian and other media outlets. Still, the legal threat is much less now as the libel law was very recently amended (to stop foreign libel tourism) to put the onus on the one (non-resident/foreign state) bringing the claim to prove that their reputation has been significantly impinged.

  18. Al says:

    http://www.osce.org/hcnm/115643

    Restraint, responsibility and dialogue needed in Ukraine, including Crimea, says OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

    THE HAGUE, 24 February 2014 – OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors today expressed her satisfaction that solutions to end the violence and loss of life in Ukraine are emerging. However, she cautioned that the situation remains very fragile. She called on all actors to refrain from taking actions that could lead to increased tensions.

    Thors is concerned about the effect the recent events have had on the already precarious situation on the Crimean peninsula. “I urge all sides to act responsibly, to continue respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and to prevent clashes between different ethnic groups.”

    Meanwhile, the decisions taken yesterday by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to cancel the 2012 law on the “Principles of the State Language Policy” could lead to further unrest, especially in a context where language policy is such a divisive issue. The High Commissioner urged the authorities to take measures to ensure that the concerns of all ethnic and linguistic groups are being taken into account. She encouraged the authorities to refrain from taking any hasty actions that could lead to further escalation.

    “At this crucial time in its history, Ukraine needs leaders, laws and policies that unite rather than divide. Like my predecessors, I call on the Ukrainian authorities to adopt a balanced and inclusive approach towards language policy. The authorities have to consult widely to ensure that future language legislation accommodates the needs and positions of everyone in Ukrainian society, whether they are speakers of Ukrainian, Russian or other languages,” Thors said. Consultations should also encompass international organizations, including the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to ensure that any new language legislation meets European standards.

    “I am ready to give advice and facilitate discussions on new legislation,” Thors added. “We must avoid the mistakes made last time when unbalanced legislation was adopted without a proper dialogue in the Verkhovna Rada.”
    ***

    The OSCE doesn’t give a shit apart for its own future. They’re ok with it when it happens elsewhere in Europe.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Does any one here think old Shoigu might just be telling porkies?

    Шойгу: военные учения России не связаны с событиями на Украине

    [Shoigu: Russian military exercises are not connected with events in the Ukraine]

    According to the linked article, 150,000 are now mobilized for exercises.

    And they ain’t carrying no aluminium shields either: they’ve already become so – how can I say – passé?

    • Al says:

      Unfashionable? They also cause trouble on the cat walk. All you need is one modelling BERKUT model to fall over because one of his hobnailed boots has slipped on the runway and it all goes wrong. I wonder what the soundtrack would be???

    • marknesop says:

      If I had to guess, and it’s only a guess, I would guess that Russia is not going to fight for the Crimea. Not because it is afraid, but because it never intended to. However, I would further guess that the naval exercises are intended to make NATO get its skirts all in a muss, and for EU politicians to edge further out on the limb in announcing their intent to assume full and complete responsibility for Ukraine. That way, Russia need not feel obligated to do anything to help it, and the EU would not get anywhere looking all baffled afterward and saying “What? What’d I say? What’s making them act all huffy?” after they screeched “stay out of it!! Just STAY THE FUCK OUT OF IT!!!”

      And anyone who wants to suggest that it is extremely irresponsible – nay, provocative! – for Russia to run a large-scale military exercise right alongside a country that is in a state of violence, and in which it has a direct interest, had better get ready to defend that missile test the Israelis ran off Syria a few days after Obama announced his intent to attack Syria with cruise missiles. That test, in which the Americans were fully briefed but the Russians and Syrians obviously were not, had an Israeli naval vessel fire missiles from a position as close as they dared to get to the Syrian coast, at Israel; it was a test of their new anti-missile system, “Iron Dome”.

      • I like that (“make NATO get its skirts all in a muss, and for EU politicians to edge further out on the limb in announcing their intent to assume full and complete responsibility for Ukraine”)… the Putsickle is a judoka after all.

    • yalensis says:

      “porkies” = “porky pies” = “LIES” ?
      I think I’m starting to get that Cockney slang!

  20. Al says:

    Russia, India to set up FTA with Customs Union

    http://thebricspost.com/russia-india-to-set-up-fta-with-customs-union/

    BRICS members Russia and India on Wednesday announced the setting up a Joint Study Group for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with member-countries of the Customs Union, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

    This was announced after high-level talks between Indian Commerce Anand Sharma and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in New Delhi.

  21. robert says:

    Regarding Kirill’s post about that shibboleth of contemporary economics, free trade.

    Pick up an introductory textbook of economics and your chances of finding an objective assessment of a system of this kind are very low indeed. Instead, what you’ll find between the covers is a ringing endorsement of free trade, usually in the most propagandistic sort of language. Most likely it will rehash the arguments originally made by British economist David Ricardo, in the early 19th century, to prove that free trade inevitably encourages every nation to develop whatever industries are best suited to its circumstances, and so produces more prosperity for everybody. Those arguments will usually be spiced up with whatever more recent additions appeal to the theoretical tastes of the textbook’s author or authors, and will plop the whole discussion into a historical narrative that insists that once upon a time, there were silly people who didn’t like free trade, but now we all know better.

    What inevitably gets omitted from the textbook is any discussion, based in actual historical examples, of the way that free trade works out in practice That would be awkward, because in the real world, throughout history, free trade pretty consistently hasn’t done what Ricardo’s rhetoric and today’s economics textbooks claim it will do. Instead, it amplifies the advantages of wealthy nations and the disadvantages of poorer ones, concentrating capital and income in the hands of those who already have plenty of both while squeezing out potential rivals and forcing down wages across the board. This is why every nation in history that’s ever developed a significant industrial sector to its economy has done so by rejecting the ideology of free trade, and building its industries behind a protective wall of tariffs, trade barriers, and capital controls, while those nations that have listened to the advice of the tame economists of the British and American empires have one and all remained mired in poverty and dependence as long as they did so.

    There’s a rich irony here, because not much more than a century ago, a healthy skepticism toward the claims of free trade ideology used to be standard in the United States. At that time, Britain filled the role in the world system that the United States fills today, complete with the global empire, the gargantuan military with annual budget to match, and the endless drumbeat of brushfire wars across what would one day be called the Third World, and British economists were accordingly the world’s loudest proponents of free trade, while the United States filled the role of rising industrial power that China fills today, complete with sky-high trade barriers that protected its growing industries, not to mention a distinctly cavalier attitude toward intellectual property laws.

    One result of that latter detail is that pirate editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica were produced and sold by a number of American firms all through the 19th century. Most of these editions differed from their British originals in an interesting way, though. The entry for “Free Trade” in the original editions repeated standard British free-trade economic theory, repeating Ricardo’s arguments and dismissing criticisms of free trade out of hand; the American editors by and large took the trouble to replace these with entries critiquing free trade ideology in much the same terms I’ve used in this post. The replacement of pro- with anti-free trade arguments in these pirate editions, interestingly enough, attracted far more denunciation in the British press than the piracy itself got, which shows that the real issues were tolerably well understood at the time.

    When it comes to free trade and its alternatives, that level of understanding is nowhere near so common these days, at least in Britain —I’ve long suspected that businessmen and officials in Beijing have a very precise understanding of what free trade actually means, though it would hardly be to their advantage just now to talk about that with any degree of candor. In the West even those who speak most enthusiastically about relocalization and the end of corporate globalism apparently haven’t noticed how effectively tariffs, trade barriers, and capital controls foster domestic industries and rebuild national economies—or perhaps it’s just that too many of them aren’t willing to consider paying the kind of prices for their iPods and Xboxes that would follow the enactment of a reasonable tariff, much less the prices that would be required if we had the kind of trade barriers that built the American economy and could build it again, and bluecollar First World workers were paid First World wages to make them.

    Free trade is simply one of the mechanisms of empire in the age of industrialism, one part of the wealth pump that concentrated the wealth of the globe in Britain during the years of its imperial dominion and does the same thing for the benefit of the United States today. Choose any other mechanism of empire, from the web of military treaties that lock allies and subject nations into a condition of dependence on the imperial center, through the immense benefits that accrue to whatever nation issues the currency in which international trade is carried out, to the way that the charitable organizations of the imperial center—missionary churches in Victoria’s time, for example, or humanitarian NGOs in ours—further the agenda of empire with such weary predictability: in every case, you’ll find a haze of doubletalk surrounding a straightforward exercise of imperial domination. It requires a keen eye to look past the rhetoric and pay attention to the direction the benefits flow.

    Follow the flow of wealth and you understand empire. That’s true in a general and a more specific sense, and both of these have their uses. In the general sense, paying attention to shifts in wealth between the imperial core and the nations subject to it is an essential antidote to the popular sort of nonsense—popular among tame intellectuals such as Thomas Friedman, at least, and their audiences in the imperial core—that imagines empire as a sort of social welfare program for conquered nations. Whether it’s some old pukka sahib talking about how the British Empire brought railroads and good government to India, or his neoconservative equivalent talking about how the United States ought to export the blessings of democracy and the free market to the Middle East or the former Soviet Union it’s codswallop, and the easiest way to see that it’s codswallop is to notice that the price paid for whatever exports are under discussion normally amounts to the systematic impoverishment of the subject nation.

    • marknesop says:

      Free trade is only fair if all nations in the agreement start from the same point. If you choose not to invest in development, that’s your own lookout, but don’t complain if you end up under the de facto control of the one who did. But when a highly-developed nation espouses a free trade agreement with a nation that is just starting, it should be fairly easy to forecast who will come out ahead on the deal.

      Did you…uhhh…write that yourself? Because it’s pretty awesome.

    • astabada says:

      I agree with Mark, your comment is great.

      Especially when you mention that these matters were much more clear to the general public a century ago, than they are now.

      This is what List wrote (National System):
      It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him. In this lies the secret of the cosmopolitical doctrine of Adam Smith, and of the cosmopolitical tendencies of his great contemporary William Pitt, and of all his successors in the British Government administrations. Any nation which by means of protective duties and restrictions on navigation has raised her manufacturing power and her navigation to such a degree of development that no other nation can sustain free competition with her, can do nothing wiser than to throw away these ladders of her greatness, to preach to other nations the benefits of free trade, and to declare in penitent tones that she has hitherto wandered in the paths of error, and has now for the first time succeeded in discovering the truth.

  22. Al says:

    If the Russkie’s are pressed, or asked by brain dead journos what’s behind the military exercises, maybe they should take a page out of the Western notebook.

    “Russian Federation military forces are conducting military exercises in the event of a potential situation where the human rights of russian speakers is under existential threat. Through the mechanism of R2P, Responsibility to Protect, Russian forces shall therefore seek intervene on behalf of those under threat for their protection.”

    What’s good for the goose…

    As a side note, the old Cold War roles have now been reversed in that NATO would sanction first used of nuclear weapons in event of a massive Soviet conventional attack that they could not repulse (Txx tanks storming across the Fulda Gap). Now, NATO forces are qualitatively better than Russian forces (though they are rapidly catching up) so RF forces should declare a similar posture, first use of nukes (probably tactical). Quid pro quo, innit?

  23. yalensis says:

    Okay, here is the latest news about the new Ukrainian cabinet posts to be doled out by the revolutionary Orange government:

    Yatsenuk (aka “Yats” in Nudelman dialect) gets Prime Minister.
    Alexander Shlapak = Minister of Finances
    Andrei Deshchitsa = Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Andrei Parubiy = Secretary of National Security and Defense
    Deputy Premier for Euro-integration = Boris Tarasuk
    Deputy Premier for Humanitarian Issues = Olga Bogomolets
    Deputy Premier for Regional Politics = Vladimir Groisman
    Another Deputy Premier = Alexander Sych (from Svoboda Party)
    Minister of Justice = Pavel Petrenko (Batkivshchina Party)
    Minister of Education = Sergei Kvit
    Minister of Social Policy = Ludmila Denisova
    Minister of Economics = Andrei Mokhnik (Svoboda)
    Minister of Agriculture = Alexander Mirnyj (Svoboda)
    Minister of Energy = Yuriy Prodan
    Head of anti-Corruption Burea = Tatiana Chornovol
    Chairperson for Lustration Committee = Egor Sobolev
    Minister of Youth and Sports = Dmitry Bulatov [he's the guy who says he got got crucified]
    Minister of Culture = Evgenia Nishchuka
    Head of Internal Security = Arsen Avakov

    • I believe these are the “proposals” made by the Maidan for the Rada to “freely” agree to.

    • cartman says:

      Are some of these new – like the “Deputy Premier for Euro-integration?”

      Looks suspiciously like a patronage system.

      • yalensis says:

        Yes, I believe they are adding new-fangled ministries and posts in order to reward some of the “heroes of the Maidan”. These heroes will get a paid job and a corner office, pretending to do some work while the big boys make the real decisions.

        The Ministry of Lustration, for example, I don’t think that post exists in most civilized countries. Most people don’t know what “lustration” actually means, they vaguely know that it comes from the Latin “lux” and has something to do with “light”, so they think, like, “bringing to light” the misdeeds of these former tyrants, etc.

        What it actually means is hanging people from lampposts!

        • yalensis says:

          As in:
          “Defenestration” = tossing people from windows
          “Lustration” = hanging people from lampposts

          Violence somehow sounds more civilized when it’s in Latin!

          • yalensis says:

            P.S. “Lustration” was all the rage in Russia in the early, heady days after Yeltsin came to power (also via illegal coup – remember the Drunken One on top of the tank?).

            Afterwards, there was an initial attempt to completely destroy the Communist Party through violence, intimidation, and lustration. Those attempts fell through, however, because there were simply too many Communists, and they were the ones who knew how to run all the institutions.

            In Ukrainian context, “lustration” seems to involve banning of Party of Regions and also Communist Party, also intimating former officials and exposing their nefarious deeds and corruption.

            • Jen says:

              “Lustration” is the noun derived from the verb “lustrate” meaning to purify through a ceremonial washing, a sacrifice or some other propitiary action to atone for sinning. In other words, cleaning the heads of former regime politicians and officials through their ears and making sure they are all clean and spotless inside before they can resume politics and public service.

    • Jen says:

      This was put up by KyKaH in a CiF forum to a Guardian post “Ukraine Leader warns of separatism threat amid fears over Crimea” a couple of days ago
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/ukraine-separatism-threat-crimea-russia-naval-port

      Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk («Fatherland»)
      The first-Vice-Prime Oleg Тяныбок («Freedom»)
      Vice-Premier (European integration) – Vitali Klitschko («STRIKE»)
      Vice-Premier (fuel-energy block) – Mykola Martynenko («Fatherland»)
      Ministry of agrarian policy and food – Vitaliy Kovalchuk («STRIKE»)
      The Ministry of internal Affairs Arsen Avakov («Fatherland»)
      The Ministry of defense – Andrey Parubit («Fatherland»)
      The Ministry of revenues and duties – Oleksandra Kuzhel («Fatherland»)
      Ministry of ecology and natural resources – Irina SEH («Freedom»)
      The Ministry of economic development and trade – Lesya Orobets («Fatherland»)
      The Ministry of foreign Affairs Boris Tarasyuk («Fatherland»)
      The Ministry of culture Bogdan Benyuk («Freedom»)
      Ministry of youth and sports Arthur Ward («STRIKE»)
      Ministry of education – Irina Farion («Freedom»)
      Ministry of industrial policy – Oksana Prodan («STRIKE»)
      Ministry of health – Olga Bogomolets (quota «Strike»)
      The Ministry of regional development, construction and housing – Eduard Gurvits («STRIKE»)
      Ministry of social policy Ludmila Denisova («Fatherland»)
      The Ministry of Finance Viktor Pynzenyk («STRIKE»)
      Ministry of justice – Andrey Мохнык («Freedom»)

      If Yalensis’ information is more recent, it looks like there must have been some uproar over the choices for the Education and Culture ministries. Note that in KyKaH’s information, these positions went to Svoboda.

      Presumably Svoboda might do slightly less damage in the areas of economic and agriculture policy: put Pravy Sektor fighters to work in the fields with their pitchforks and homemade armour. Beating swords into plough-shares, eh?

      Chornovol in charge of the Anti-Corruption Bureau?! Now that’s a worry …

      • marknesop says:

        I see they have offered Klitch a post pretty much as meaningless as the one Yanukovych offered him. Minister of Office Supplies would at least have been busier. And what do they actually need all these ministers for anyway? I thought this was going to be a government by the people? Now each of these dicks will have to have a senior underling, a secretary and a couple of dogsbodies, and that has us up to 80 people already plus the Rada.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I wonder what kind of salary they have awarded themselves?

          • marknesop says:

            Usually they start off modest – remember what ruined communism – but gradually anyone in a position of power over others convinces himself or herself that he/she does more, even if they simply hold more responsibility, and that the position will not be respected if it does not pay a respectable salary. It’s all downhill from there, and if the position was essentially created for you to reward you for some great deed and really doesn’t do anything that couldn’t be incorporated into another agency, the arc of descent is even steeper.

        • yalensis says:

          Something is going on behind the scenes with Klich, because in the general jamboree his party is not getting many posts, and I read somewhere that he said he doesn’t even want a post in the new government.
          He seems unhappy about something..
          I will try to research more to find out what is up with him.
          Maybe Nudelman still doesn’t like him? Remember, she and Pyatt wanted to keep him out in the cold.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          They could make Klitschko Министр погибших, seeing as he has the wonderful ability to talk with them.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Minister of Youth and Sports Dmitry Bulatov !!!

      Are they serious?

      Clearly, leading by example is not part of the minister’s policy programme.

      • marknesop says:

        Unless new sports are going to be Cheeseburger Race, Find the Twinkie and Doughnut Challenge. It would be a nervous cheeseburger indeed that had to tiptoe past Minister Bulatov’s doorway every morning. Unless he was nailed to it or something like that. Maybe they really nailed him to a door because there was nothing left in the house to eat and there was no other way to keep him out of the refrigerator.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Along the same line, I well remember there once being in the UK an aptly shaped Minister of Food (I kid you not!) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from 1992-1994, a certain Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and “biggest buddy” of Prince Jug Ears, HRH The Prince of Wales.

          Soames lists amongst his hobbies “racing and country pursuits”. He means horse racing, of course – he owns some nags, I believe.

          As regards “country pursuits”, I haven’t clue what the rotund one means: chasing foxes, I should imagine.

          The only country pursuit that I would be partial to would be those that gamekeeper Mellors enjoyed with Lady Chatterly.

        • yalensis says:

          Bulatov is clearly UNFIT for the post of “Minister of Sports”. That should go to somebody who looks more like this young man .

          Or, seriously, that post should go to Klich! At least Klich put in all those years training in the boxing rink.

  24. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Ramzan Kadyrov plans to travel to Crimea to work with local Tatars and try to win them away from Oranges in Kiev.
    Like Tatars, Kadyrov is a Muslim, so he hopes the Tatars will listen to him.
    Kadyrov plans to travel alongside a “Russian nationalist” named Egor Prosvirin, to help support the Russian ethnic group in Crimea.

    • Jen says:

      Curious to know whether, on speaking with them, Kadyrov discovers some of the local Crimean Tatars speak better Arabic and Chechen than they do Crimean Tatar.

  25. yalensis says:

    While this is going on, clashes between ethnic Russians and Tatars continues in Simferopol.
    Tatars affiliated with the “medzhlis” (=the autonomous Tatar community organ) used tear gas against pro-Russian protesters. Due to the tear gas, the pro-Russian protesters were forced to retreat temporarily and regroup.
    Then they got mad and came back and occupied the internal areas of the Supreme Soviet.

    Somewhere around 20 people have been wounded in the clashes between the Russians and Tatars.

    • astabada says:

      I just want to remark that medzhlis is the Arabic word for Assembly and Parliament, rather than a generic organ. In my opinion Tatars are cultivating great ambitions in Russia.

      • yalensis says:

        Thanks, astabada. I don’t fully understand the governing system currently in place in Crimea. I think it’s complicated, with special governing council for Tatars. (the medzhlis), which is separate from the other parliament, which is still called the soviet
        .
        I don’t fully understand how “medzhlis” interacts with the rest of the autonomous government. For example, I don’t know if the medzhlis is only limited to dealing with internal Tatar affairs (of the Tatar community), or if they also have representatives in the overall government.

        I will try to research some more.

        In any case, the take-away is that Kadyrov is heading for Crimea, and this is supposed to make the Crimean Oranges scared because “The Chechens are coming! The Chechens are coming!” [Chechens have a very macho reputation.]

        We have to wait and see if Kadyrov can convince his fellow Muslims in the “medzhlis” that their future lies more with Russia than with Oranges. In Russia herself, it is my impression that most Tatars are loyal citizens of Russian Federation and as a group don’t particularly have any issues or pretensions towards the federal government.

        • Jen says:

          Wikipedia states that the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people was established in 1991 to represent their interests to the Ukrainian government, the Crimean government and international bodies. It seems to combine functions normally associated with local and national government, a political movement, an ethno-cultural organisation and assembly for expressing and dealing with problems between Crimean Tatars and between them and others. For the Crimean Tatars, the Mejlis operates in parallel with national and regional governments. Perhaps the confusing part is that the Mejlis doesn’t appear to deal with religious matters which are the preserve of the Muftiyat.

          More information on the functions and activities of the Mejlis:
          http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0220/p09s02-coop.html

          • PvMikhail says:

            In my opinion, we should not get busy finding out what mejlis does. The main thing is – just to be clear and straightforward – ethnic Crimean Tartars are mainly anti-Russian, especially their “spiritual leader”, Mustafa Dzhemilev (Jemilev).

            So don’t expect anything from them. They will support the anti-Russian side, In this case the Banderovite nazis.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Бий жидів та москалів – Україна для українців!

              I take it then that Crimean Tatars consider their present Ukrainian citizenship sufficient to justify their inclusion in Ukrainian society.

              If that be the case, then they are in for a shock for in the “nationalist” slogan above, the phrase “Ukraine for Ukrainians” means “Ukraine for ethnic Ukrainians” and it seems that those that use this slogan might well be calling the tune in Kiev at the moment.

              Surely they cannot be unaware of this fact?

  26. yalensis says:

    Also today, John Kerry said that the USA might just offer Ukraine up to a billion bucks in aid. MIGHT offer. Possibly.
    But no more than a billion. [Recall that Ukraine needs $35 billion just to get thru the current fiscal year.]

    Kerry also said he really didn’t want to start a new cold war with Russia, though.

    • kirill says:

      These clowns are hoping Russia keeps giving Ukraine welfare just like before. But things have changed. NATO has crossed a historical red line and Russia will make it pay. That is why there has been so little noise from Russia, things are deadly serious.

    • astabada says:

      Kerry also said he really didn’t want to start a new cold war with Russia, though.

      Translated from Kerrish to English:

      We would really like to help Ukraine, and are ready to flood it with trillions of freshly printed dollars. However, Russia is upset with this, and we – for the love of peace (R) that characterizes the American Nation (TM) – cannot risk a nuclear war by helping you. We will gladly help you with 1 billion USD in 25$ worth digital compasses. In the future, should anything go wrong, use them to find the East, and point your fingers in that direction.

  27. yalensis says:

    Boy, those Chinese really like to kick you when you’re down!
    Just around the time when Ukraine goes completely bankrupt, those meanie old Chinese are calling in their debts.

    China is demanding from Ukraine they pony up $3 billion dollars for non-fulfillment of contracts in grain deliveries. An angry Peking is taking Ukraine to arbitrage High Court in London.

    Recall that in earlier times China had loaned Ukraine $3 billion, with grain as collateral.
    Then China did not get the grain, nor did they get their money back.
    So now they are suing Ukraine for the $$$$$

    • yalensis says:

      In related news, Ukrainian hryvna fell yesterday to a record low of 10 hryvnas per dollar.
      The weakening of the hryvna may be bad news for Ukrainian citizens, but is good news for international investors and is actually one of the conditions for the IMF loan.

    • marknesop says:

      I interpret that as a sign of support for Russia. Aside from their innate thrift, the Chinese are gamblers, and what’s $3 Billion to them? I think that in other circumstances the Chinese government could have been quite easily persuaded – especially by some high-ranking EU official like Leddy Ashton – to wait a bit and let things settle down. If they have already laid the grounds for legal action, they mean business.

      Why does it always have to be in London? Aren’t there any other international courts?

      • yalensis says:

        There are other international merchant courts.
        But there NO other international merchant courts that can hold a candle to the one in London.
        I learned that fact from Alexander Mercouris.
        And I wonder where he is? I miss him!

      • patient observer says:

        Usually the jurisdiction to settle disputes is agreed during contract negotiation. Switzerland seems to be a popular choice.

  28. cartman says:

    Let’s look at the Opposition’s residences. First, here’s Poroshenko in what looks like a replica to the White House:

    photo/1

  29. Fern says:

    Here’s an interesting snippet. Another US figure has been clocking up the air miles to Kiev. This time it’s Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns, who announced that the US is sending a team of ‘financial experts’ to Ukraine to help the new leaders deal with the financial crisis. Well, the US economy is in terrific shape so obviously, they’re the people to call on. http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_26/US-experts-in-Ukraine-to-help-tackle-economic-crisis-US-Deputy-Secretary-of-State-0652/

    William Burns was the US Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008. One of the things for which he’s best known is penning a report called “A Caucasus Wedding” describing a wedding he attended in Dagestan where he touched base with a number of Chechyan big-shots. http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/08/06MOSCOW9533.html

    I might be being unduly suspicious and cynical but he sounds like the sort of person you might to send to a country where there’s the possibility of exploiting ethnic, linguistic & cultural differences, say, between Russians and Tatars.

    Yatsenyuk, having been in post as PM for five minutes, is already giving interviews lamenting the burdens of office. He has told the BBC of the need to implement tough austerity measures, placing all the blame on the previous government. I wonder what kind of crackdown on protestors will be sanctioned if there are riots once the austerity measures kick in?

    • yalensis says:

      When fire-bomb-throwing Orange protesters seized government buildings in Kyiv: “Rah rah rah!”
      When Yanukovych called them what they were, “terrorists” – “How dare he malign our heroes!”

      Now, when pro-Russian protesters seize government building Simferopol:
      “The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office announced that it has opened an investigation into the building seizure as a terrorist act. ”

      Ach! Is it possible to literally die from too much irony?

    • marknesop says:

      He went straight for the provocateurs card. Titushki! Because no right-thinking Crimean would ever choose Russia over the utopia that is the new Ukraine. So they must be titushki, in the pay of the government. Trying to blame things on the opposition, who are….uhhh….now the government.

  30. yalensis says:

    And speaking of Russian gas :
    According to IZVESTIA, Russian gas prices for Ukraine might rise as early as April (approx. one month from now).

    In addition, it is predicted that Ukrainian pipes will not be able to transit gas to Europe, because their pipes will not have enough pressure in them to handle the load. [engineering issue I don't understand - help! somebody who understands how pipelines work]

    So, anyhow, aside from the engineering issue… here is something I do understand:
    April begins the second quarter of the fiscal year. At that time Russia will begin to charge Ukraine $400 for 1 kilo-cube of gas. Currently Ukraine is paying only $268.5 as part of an earlier deal.

    This has to do with contract between Gazprom (= big old Russian meanies) and Ukraine’s Naftogas (= innocent victims).

    A couple of weeks ago, Ukraine paid off $1,28 billion to Gazprom, approx. half of what she owed for 2013. And forked out an additional $191 million for January gas. Ukraine was able to pay these monies because of the first tranche of the Russian loan (to the tune of $3 billion). Russia was supposed to dole out a second tranche of $2 billion, until the .. er.. . recent unpleasantness, and then Russia cancelled the cheque. (=nasty scrooges!)

    Okay, so here is where the engineering component intersects with the financial component:
    Unable to pay off her debt to Russia and receive more gas into her plump pipelines, Ukraine began to siphon off gas in the pipes for her own domestic use. This has made the pressure drop in the pipes, and due to this, the gas cannot flow into Europe. [again, if there are any engineers out there who can help with this analysis - HELP!]

    In conclusion, Europe will not get much gas starting in April. That’s okay, the worst of the winter months will be over. Europeans will be okay, they can take cold showers and start eating raw food. They say that’s better for you anyhow…

    • Al says:

      http://www.aga.org/Kc/aboutnaturalgas/consumerinfo/Pages/NGDeliverySystem.aspx

      The Distribution System
      From the gate station, natural gas moves into distribution lines or “mains” that range from 2 inches to more than 24 inches in diameter. Within each distribution system, there are sections that operate at different pressures, with regulators controlling the pressure. Some regulators are remotely controlled by the utility to change pressures in parts of the system to optimize efficiency. Generally speaking, the closer natural gas gets to a customer, the smaller the pipe diameter is and the lower the pressure is.

      The gas utility’s central control center continuously monitors flow rates and pressures at various points in its system. The operators must ensure that the gas reaches each customer with sufficient flow rate and pressure to fuel equipment and appliances. They also ensure that the pressures stay below the maximum pressure for each segment of the system. Distribution lines typically operate at less than one-fifth of their design pressure.

      As gas flows through the system, regulators control the flow from higher to lower pressures. If a regulator senses that the pressure has dropped below a set point it will open accordingly to allow more gas to flow. Conversely, when pressure rises above a set point, the regulator will close to adjust. As an added safety feature, relief valves are installed on pipelines to vent gas harmlessly, if a line becomes overpressured and the regulators malfunction.

      Sophisticated computer programs are used to evaluate the delivery capacity of the network and to ensure that all customers receive adequate supplies of gas at or above the minimum pressure level required by their gas appliances.
      ***

      Logically, if there is not enough pressure and the compressor stations are still functioning, then the pressure will drop even further towards a vacuum and may well damage the pipeline system itself.

      I seem to recall from the last gas crisis that Russia installed big, round pressure meter on its side of the pipeline and invited the media to have a look – to prove that it was still pumping at normal levels, so any differentiation on the other side of the network, ex-Ukraine west, is due to gas being stolen.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Mr. Nice Guy back in action again, this time with an unfortunate public prosecutor.

    Such are the types that had the support of the silent majority.

    The minority of criminals that were violently defending the Maidan under the leadership of Nazis, Bandera adulators and other such vermin are now in charge, whether the “silent majority across the whole of the Ukraine likes it or not.

    Do you think they’ll go away quietly if asked by the silent majority?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I think Lady Ashton should have a little word in his ear, or perhaps John Kerry’s counsel would carry more weight?

      No, no! Better still, Dr. “Iron Fist” Vitali Klitschko might be more persuasive in advising him to act with a little more decorum, do you not think?

      I’m jesting, of course. The only persons who can have any influence on this lump of concentrated filth are two Austrians that I know of: Heckler & Koch.

    • marknesop says:

      Just loving it, isn’t he? Overnight, entirely through his own boldness, he has appropriated the right to behave like that in public, and rather than getting arrested, he is loved and idolized instead.

      Somebody will kill him. I imagine he is too arrogant to allow for the possibility that someone might want to shoot him from a window or something, and if he carries on the way he apparently intends to it will become necessary for his own side to eliminate him.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I reckon he’s shortly going to get the shock of his life – quite literally. Somebody’ll pull out an automatic and pop him one – or two or three or a full magazine even.

        But then again, maybe not, because in the Ukraine, as in all of Europe (including the Evil Empire), there is strict gun control – unless, of course, you are on the side of freedom and democracy: then you can simply go and help yourself to the contents of a conveniently located military establishment armoury.

    • patient observer says:

      Finally! A jack-booted Russian thug captured on video. Wait, he’s representing the movement so beloved by the EU! This is so confusing!

      AP, can you help us folks who totally misunderstood the Orange movement to better comprehend what is going on? Perhaps some nice statistic like nearly 50% of Orange fascists prefer civil dialog before they threaten your life?

    • cartman says:

      Surprisingly close to the ground. I think the prosecutor could take him if he had the chance. I’m assuming that horde of ogres around him is his security?

    • yalensis says:

      My god, these Oranges are just schoolyard bullies!

    • Al says:

      Doesn’t the suited guy look like he’s related to Grandpa (Sam Dracula) in the Munsters?

  32. Fern says:

    Another day and another fluid and fast-moving situation in Ukraine. Yanukovich has surfaced, probably in Russia although that’s not absolutely clear, and has issued a statement saying he is the legitimate President and claiming to be willing to fight on to return to the compromise agreement he signed with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland and the then opposition. Some sort of asylum seems to have been granted to him by Russia – I’m sure Putin is thrilled with this additional complication.

    RT reported earlier that there have been two deaths in Crimea but I haven’t found anything to corroborate that. The Crimean Parliament has called for a referendum to determine the region’s future. There were reports circulating yesterday that Turkey felt it had interests in Crimea and if it was up for grabs, might well put its hat in the ring. What a mess.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yeah, the Ottomans felt they had lost out at the peace treaty following the end of the Crimea War. There were moves afoot to let the Ottomans have the place back – the Crimean Khanate had been an Ottoman satrap until Prince Potemkin showed them the door at the end of the 18th century – but the Russian Empire, though forbidden to have a Black Sea fleet, was allowed to hold the Crimea because they’d really given the Turks a good hiding in Anatolia on the “Turkish Front” of that war.

      The British only think of the Crimea theatre in that war of 1853-1856, but there were others on which the Russians were victorious. In the Baltic and White Seas, the Royal Navy tried to reduce Russian fortresses, but with little success and there were also naval actions and landings in the Far East at Kamchatka and the Kurile Islands.

    • marknesop says:

      Great. I had hoped Yanukovych would pop up anywhere but in Russia, because that will just help drive the narrative that he was the Kremlin’s man all along although in reality he was an obstreperous dolt who kept flirting with the EU for the express purpose of annoying the Kremlin in hopes he could wring more concessions from it. I don’t think he felt any express gratitude toward Russia for pulling his goolies out of the fire with the loan offer – rather likely concluding he had pulled it off with his matchless business acumen – and it would be galling for him to turn up now in Russia so its detractors could make him and Putin out to be close friends and confidantes.

      But realistically there are few places else he could go where they would not immediately return him to the newest Shining City On A Hill.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Aleksandr Muzychko, aka Sashko Byliy, is the piece of shit’s name, he of Chechen War fame; the one who boasts about how many Russians he killed there.

    He also says quite often that his “credo” in life is to kill Russians, Jews and communists.

    Now where have I heard of such sentiments before….?

    He was Dudayev’s bodyguard in Chechnya.

    Here he is giving his Sieg Heil salute after his Right Sector had seized the Rovno parliament.

    Another blow for freedom!

    And as his goons file out on the left, might that not be Vitalik standing against the wall – you know, Vitali Klitscko, the German agent?

    Not to worry, though! They’re only a minority and the majority of Ukrainians, who are certainly not Nazis, will keep such unruly folk under firm control, won’t they?

    They will, though…won’t they?

  34. Fern says:

    NATO, which I guess doesn’t do irony, stressed the commitment of its members to the values of democracy and the rule of law at today’s meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Secretary-General Rasmussen had this to say on events in Crimea:
    “This morning’s action by an armed group is dangerous and irresponsible.”
    So, take-over of central government by an armed group in Kiev = good, double plus good, in fact, and is a testimony to democracy and the rule of law.
    Storming of a regional parliament by an armed group in Crimea = bad.
    Try and keep up, yalensis.
    Rasmussen went on to give the now standard warning to Russia not ‘to inflame’ the situation. This is something else noteworthy in the double/treble/quadruple standards league – the legitimate grievances of the protesters against Yanukovich are always recognised whereas those protesting what’s happened in Kiev are dismissed as Putin’s stooges – the Dark Lord has been practising mind control and holds swathes of people helpless in his satanic grip. No legitimacy whatsoever is granted to their concerns.
    http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_107520.htm

  35. Fern says:

    The IMF has just announced that a ‘fact-finding’ team will be visiting Kiev in the next few days (a variation on the lightbulb joke: how many MBAs does it take to find out Ukraine’s broke?) and will also discuss the ‘policy reforms’ needed for full Fund support. Likely topics of discussion are cuts in benefits for children and the elderly, ending of subsidies, especially for energy, sale of land and privatisation of state assets such as mines etc. Tough times ahead.

    Also worth taking a look at is this table showing the repayments schedule for existing IMF loans.
    http://www.imf.org/external/np/fin/tad/extforth.aspx?memberkey1=993&date1key=2014-01-31&category=forth&year=2014&trxtype=repchg&overforth=f&schedule=exp&extend=y

    • Golly — fully paid off what it already owes by only 2029 and a mere $2,996,658,972. Which is about what China says it will sue it for…..

    • Al says:

      ‘Fact-finding’???

      I’d like a vowel please, Carol!

      • astabada says:

        There’s a typo.

        They meant ‘Fact-funding‘, i.e. invest money in fabricating new and convenient facts. It’s a clever investment, as fabricated facts have a huge market. In addition, they are the primary material to manifacture consent.

      • marknesop says:

        She did originally put “fact-funding”, but I thought it must be a typo since it made less sense than “fact-finding”, and the “u” and the “i” are right beside one another on the keyboard, so I changed it. Government bodies embark on “fact-finding” missions all the time, usually junkets to kick back in a foreign hotel and eat exotic food at the taxpayers’ expense, they used to be called “retreats” before that term fell out of favour.

        Is it really “fact-funding”? What the hell is that?

        • Al says:

          I was thinking more of changing the second letter to a vowel…

            • Al says:

              Nothing but da truth. Biggus Dickus has been complaining that there is no money in the bank at all and that it has all been stolen. How convenient. Not that several months of protest would have caused any damage or the oligarchs, whichever side they are on for the moment weren’t prepared for such an outcome. It’s only a matter of time before someone mentions that maybe the Ukraine could give up the Crimea for debt relief. Oh, I just did! I must be a prophet. Call me Brian!

              • Al says:

                There’s more than one Biggus Dickus. It’s not a fight I’d like to see..

              • Jen says:

                Actually I mentioned that idea before on past Kremlin Stooge posts as a leasing arrangement in which Ukraine leases out the whole of Crimea to Russia for 50 years and Russia turns the place into a special economic zone with low taxes.

        • Jen says:

          “Fact-funding”? Did Christine Lagarde learn New Zealand English? :-)

          I heard Lagarde used to be in the French national synchronised swimming team. Pretty handy experience that would be, if you’re learning to plant things on Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd Society ships. :-)

    • yalensis says:

      Jesus Christ on Roller Skates, this is insane!
      Ukraine will be in debt slavery up to 2029.
      And that’s not even counting the interest charges.
      Even Solomon Northup only had to be a slave for 12 years.

      Only one solution: Ukraine needs to fake her own death and get a new identity, so she doesn’t have to pay off the debt.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Nikolai Baluyev has rolled up in Simferopol.

    And for Russia:

    In the blue corner, weighing 330 and a half pounds —- NIKOLAI BALUYEV!!

    And for Germany:

    In the red corner, weighing 243 pounds —- VITALI KLITSCHKO!!!!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      VALUYEV!!

      Getting my alphabets mixed up!

        • marknesop says:

          That’s comical, but it raises a valid point – where is Klitschko? He has been very little in evidence of late, especially at a time you would expect The People’s Choice to be all over television, solidifying his chances to take over the leadership. Can it be the people of Ukraine are going to be disenfranchised yet again? Somebody – Yalensis, I think it was – suggested he had said he does not want a position in the new government. That doesn’t necessarily mean he would not run for President, but knowing it is now a less powerful position than Prime Minister and assuming Tymoshenko will be balked from running by the threat of releasing hard evidence of her having been in prison because she is a crook to the marrow of her bones, who would be left? It’d be down to Yats and Tiahnybok (who is always called by his full name even by state department officials because there is nothing cute about him, and he might come around and beat your face in if you called him “Tan”).

    • Al says:

      I think for the european lurkers here, a conversion would be useful:

      330.5lbs = 149.9kg
      243lbs = 110.2kg

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    I thought this was funny. Just got it from Grauniad comments:

    How the media ramps up crises and makes news:

    It’s War:

    • Drutten says:

      Brilliant!

    • marknesop says:

      Sometimes I like British comedy. That’s rather good; accurate enough that at first I thought it was the real thing. You and they are right; the media whips up things sometimes where none exist, and appears so smugly self-satisfied afterward at having secured something which will require constant reporting and updating that you want to wring their necks.

      Speaking of the media, did you catch what’s going on in Turkey? The latest crisis is another phone intercept which allegedly has Erdogan talking with his son about how to move a significant amount of money around under the radar. Like the Nudelman Chronicles, Erdogan does not deny the voice is his, but insists the tape is a montage or spliced and is therefore a fabrication. The people seem pretty riled up, though, especially for a group under a corrupt dictator who has actually made the economy work pretty well.

    • Al says:

      I’ve got a surprise for you:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03w472n

      Online for a week after first broadcast. An hour of your life you will happily give away.

  38. Al says:

    Sikorski’s wife is off with the faries in her latest piece on Slate. I fear Latinaya and her will get in to a bloody fight over who can be more ridiculous.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/02/vladimir_putin_can_destabilize_ukraine_the_russian_president_doesn_t_need.html

    • marknesop says:

      There are so many moments in there that you just find yourself flabbergasted at the utter side of the cow – calmly recounting tried-and-true playbook destabilization methods devised by the west to institute regime change and then acting as if they are all Russian inventions. But I think this is my favourite: “No one has yet explained, for example, why Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych not only left Kiev after signing an European Union–brokered treaty last week, but also ordered security guards to abandon all government buildings as well. Was that an unsubtle invitation for the opposition to ransack the offices, so that he could claim he had been chased out by a violent coup?”

      What about the entire slate of EU foreign ministers who were in town to beat up Yanukovych some more, but who quickly folded their tents and got out instead without meeting him – and that’s while he was still there? Were they in on Yanukovych’s plot as well? Or were they tipped off that the final push was about to get off the ground? I’ve noticed in other sources that it’s now reported it was Yanukovych who asked for a truce, when in fact it was the opposition, and Yats wailed that things had slipped past the point of no return when Yanukovych turned it down the first time they asked. To look at him now, you’d never know things were past the point of no return, would you? He seems to have adjusted rather well.

      • cartman says:

        I wonder where all of these KGB/FSB paid posters are. Go to NYT or HP and the comments are all the same and ridiculously retarded. Definitely not FSB.

        • Southerncross says:

          Where can I sign up to be a paid FSB troll? Is payment by the word or by the post? Are there bonuses for angry responses provoked, or accusations of paid sockpuppetry received?

          Why is it always “FSB” that Russia-haters babble on about? Wouldn’t SVR be responsible for any comment astroturfing on foreign websites?

          • Easy to sign up — just write to the nearest Russian Embassy. The problem is getting any money out of the cheap buggers. Oh dear, that’s not our phone number any more. Gosh, you didn’t get the e-mail? Sorry, he’s left and I can’t find the list of approved FSB trolls. Let me check our payment records and I’ll get right back to you. Our records show that we have paid you. And, when all else fails: the cheque is in the mail.
            It’s amazing that hundreds of us keep ruining our health and sanity, burning out our computers, bruising our fingertips posting thousands of trollish comments on blogs when none of us has seen even a kopek.
            I guess we are stupid.

            • marknesop says:

              Good thing I did not put my FSB job up as collateral when I bought my house. Otherwise I would be living in a cardboard box under the Johnson St. Bridge by now.

              For the record, there was actually a small but disproportionately-convivial crowd who claimed the area sheltered by the Johnson St. Bridge as their permanent residence; they were known in legend as the Apple Tree Gang (I have no idea why); there’s a brief reference to them here (just under the photo of Swan’s Hotel: “Williams also tried to transform the lives of Victoria’s homeless population and particularly members of The Apple Tree Gang with whom he had become friends and that included finding them shelter. During the winter of 1991, two members of the Apple Tree Gang died of exposure. The following November, Williams and a group of downtown businessmen financed and organized the installation of a prefabricated homeless shelter under the Blue Bridge in the waterfront area near Old Town. The shelter was made of glass and metal, had a gravel floor, and was heated by a wooden stove. According to a 1992 Victoria Times Colonist report, Williams “wanted a place where chronic alcoholics could pass out – a more pleasant alternative to being hauled off to the drunk tank” (Wilson 1992). Williams then went on to liken the use of a structure for such purposes to a clean needle program. The structure ended up being used primarily by members of The Apple Tree Gang. Within three months of the shelter’s installation, a fire broke out, sending one man to hospital. Within days of the fire, the Coast Guard removed the structure for “safety reasons” and referred to the shelter as “a death trap” (Lavoie 1993). Despite the shelter’s short lifespan, Williams remained dedicated to issues of homelessness until his own death nine years later in 2001.”

              I moved to Victoria in 1988, so there was still an Apple Tree Gang for a long time since I lived here, but I never ever saw them. Mind you, I did not spend a lot of time hanging about under the Johnson St. Bridge (also known as The Blue Bridge), and take all my liquor from bottles that have labels. Liquor labels.

              What were we talking about, again? I seem to have gotten sidetracked.

      • Al says:

        It’s just piss and vinegar. They were going to run from any signed agreement the moment the opportunity presented itself. They have a history of this (vis ex-Yu where they are still trying to unpick Dayton). Unlike the foot stomping, ball swinging shittin’ in da woods US, the EU MO is general upping the ante bit by bit to see how far they can go (for free) before the target throws a wobbly. If that doesn’t happen, they keep on pushing. I think it is particularly for that reason that the Russian military exercises were ordered, because otherwise it would encourage a significant percentage of government morons to go too far and tip everything over. I don’t think Putin particularly wanted to be so overt , even though it does have its advantages, but he had to put down a clear marker, as much for them as for Russia.

        Someone should make a musical of this. It’s got everything apart from sex. Actually, if we put Sochi in, then we do have sex…

  39. marknesop says:

    Well, that’s gratitude, then, innit? After the lovely liberation the USA staged for their benefit, and all.

  40. cartman says:

    Remember how Credit Suisse released a report that Russia has the most income inequality in the world.

    Now they have a new report making it a leader in EM discretionary spending. Weird how people with no money to live are spending so much on holidays (and booze).

    • kirill says:

      Maybe they or other BS report writers can invoke the decline in alcohol consumption in Russia in the last 14+ years to the worsening standard of living of Russians. These days facts are totally optional in journalism and the pundit crap it cites.

  41. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, back on the Crimean peninsula:
    In Simferopol, there is a new Prime Minister of Crimean Autonomous Republic. His name is Sergei Aksenov, and he is the leader of the “Russian Unity” party.
    Aksenov stated that Crimean Autonomous Republic has applied to Russia for financial aid. And he called on the police and army of Crimea to submit to the new government. (They overthrew the old one.)
    His Deputy PM is a guy named Rustam Temirgaliev. From his name, and his visage, Rustam might possibly be Tatar or half-Tatar (?)

    Oranges in Kiev are upset by these new developments, they say Crimea does not have the right to elect their own PM, they only have the right to suggest a candidate to President of Ukraine. (who currently is Turchynov).

    Meanwhile, Crimeans are not particularly listening to Kiev, they have designated May 25 for a referendum to broaden the Autonomy’s rights and powers. By doing so, Crimea will become more independent of Kiev and eventually may secede and join back to Russia. If Kiev tries to stop them, then they better be prepared to go to war against Russia. (which they don’t have the $$$ to do right now…)

    • yalensis says:

      Russian tanks on the move near Simferopol:

      • marknesop says:

        These are not tanks; they are BTR’s, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC’s) typically employed in infantry assault. Despite the nattily-dressed military man’s opinion, it is pretty hard to tell from what we see if they are Ukrainian or Russian, because both have these vehicles, but they most probably are Russian, since the locals are not shouting and throwing stones at them. They might well be based only a few miles from where they are seen driving around; the Army of the Crimea – surprisingly – already has over 5000 armoured vehicles and 50,000 troops, 20,000 of which are reserves.

        I love that site; the info appears to have been machine-translated in a phonetic format. Did you figure out that the “Esseylt Rofli” meant “Assault Rifle”? Actually, the bulk of their armoured vehicles are tanks, fairly new and quite capable PT-91′s made by Bumar Lebedy of Poland.

        The Army of the Crimea’s armour is actually just about a match for the armoured corps of all of Ukraine, although I don’t really expect there to be a fight at all, let alone a dug-in WW II-style land battle. And the entire Ukrainian Army – including air-mobile divisions – only has an advantage in manpower of about 13,000 over the Army of the Crimea. I suspect if it wants to go and says it will fight anyone who tries to stop it, it will be allowed to go; after all, the government is in turmoil and Yanukovych prudently fired the Chief of the Army before he left. Who likes those odds?

      • Rublev says:

        The soldier seen on top of the BTR circa 0:20 is wearing a commercial Gorka uniform, made by BARS. Those suits are very common in Russian infantry, though I´ve also seen some Ukranian soldiers with them. The guy in the cop car is wearing Ukranian TTsKO, a crappier copy of the late Soviet M-88 uniform and the current standard issue uniform of Ukraine. The lack of shoulder patches make them hard to ID, though my gut says these guys are most likely local, surely with Russian logistical support (fuel,munitions) since I very much doubt that the Ukranian army could mobilize anything at this point.

        This last point has not been taken into account properly: for how long have these guys gone without pay? Lack of maintenance, fuel, salaries and basic supplies will seriously hinder the military in any potential deployment to maintain “civil order”. If Yats tried to use the armed forces to crush armed opposition in Eastern Ukraine or Crimea, mass desertions are very likely to follow. I bet the Navy and Air Force would almost instantly collapse and/or desert to Russia with their equipment, and ground army operations would turn into a massive and highly embarrassing rout all the way to Kiev.

    • marknesop says:

      How many people in the current government of Ukraine are elected?

  42. yalensis says:

    Simferopol is becoming the revolutionary center of Crimean autonomy .
    Yesterday, via revolutionary actions, pro-Russian militias seized the parliament building and the Council of Ministers. Forces of interior and police were mobilized and put on alert to defend these revolutionary actions.

    Also yesterday (Thursday) the Supreme Rada of Crimea announced that it has no choice (given the fact that armed bands of radical nationalists have seized power in Kiev), but to expand Crimean autonomy in self-defense.
    There is no way out of this situation, said spokesperson for Crimean Rada, except to give authority back to the power, via referendum, planned for May 25.
    Meanwhile, ever-growing crowds are gathering at the Crimean parliament, wearing St. George ribbons attached to their sleeves. They have raised the flag of Crimea and the Russian navy. Members of Simferopol self-defense militias were greeted by crowd with ecstatic shouts of: “Russia! Russia!” and then “Sevastopol! Sevastopol!”

    Back in Kiev, a very angry President Turchynov demanded that Russian troops stay inside their bases. He says Ukrainian army is fully able and capable of defending her territorial integrity against any incursion on the part of Russia.

    Question: What is he smoking? Fogh Rasmussen already said today that NATO has no inclination or desire to get involved in any of this mess.

  43. yalensis says:

    typo: should read “except to give authority back to the people, via referendum..”

  44. yalensis says:

    Revolution spreading from Simferopol to Sevastopol:
    Ukrainian flag was taken down from government buildings in Sevastopol. There are no more Ukrainian flags flying in Hero-City Sevastopol.
    Meanwhile, Rogozin mocked Turchynov on his (Rogozin’s) Facebook page and told him (Turchynov) to go arrest himself .
    This in reference to Turchynov’s comical frothing about “terrorists” seizing government buildings.

  45. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, NATO responding somewhat sanguinely to the new developments. Turchynov is hysterically complaining to NATO about Crimean seccesionism, Russian tanks running amok in the streets, Russian aggression (did he even mention Russian biker gangs invading?)

    But Fogh Rasmussen just kind of shrugging and saying it will all turn out okay. He’s not too overly concerned about the sudden and massive Russian military exercises in the neighbouring areas
    NATO’s Ukrainian representative, some scrote named Igor Dolgov, said that Turchynov already threatened Russia and ordered them to order all their military to stay in their bases and not roam around too much. Dolgov says Turchynov is going to take a trip down to Simferopol and straighten everything out himself, in person.

    That should be interesting to watch..

  46. robert says:

    Saker on the recent events. He reckons Ukraine can kiss goodbye to the Crimea. It’s gone.

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-kremlins-response-to-events-in.html

    • yalensis says:

      Saker’s analysis is right on the money. Crimea will declare independence (the model of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), leaving it free to join Russia at some later point in time, once the dust settles.
      Saker is correct that the Orange crazies can send as many “friendship trains” as they please to Sevastopol, however, the local militias, remnants of Berkut, and (if needed) Russian military might will be able to swat these Banderite gangs away like flies.

      The only wild card is whether or not NATO will intervene on the Orange side. That would be a real war, between two equal armies.

      However, so far we don’t see too much indication that NATO is gearing up for war, or equal to engage, in war against Russia. But you can never tell, with those foxes. I notice the level of anti-Russian propaganda in western media has actually gone down. This is either a good sign, or a bad sign. ["It's quiet down there.... too quiet...."]

      Even with Russia openly sheltering Yanukovych (which I initially opposed, but now I see the crafty geo-political wisdom of this; is akin to France sheltering Bonny Prince Charlie), as the last legitimate ruler, however odious..

      Chuck Hagel just made some lame comment that he “hoped Russia would be transparent” in the employment of her current massive and aggressive military exercises around the Ukrainian border. From what I can see, Russia is being COMPLETELY transparent in her intentions. So, don’t worry about it, Chuckie.

      John Kerry made an even more lamer comment saying he hoped Russia would contribute $$$ to shore up Ukrainian economy and help preserve Ukrainian unity. Is he DELUSIONAL, or just stupid?

      Saker is also right about Eastern Ukraine regions, nobody really knows at this point who is more popular there, Oranges or anti-Oranges. So Russia will adopt a wait-and-see attitude, as they did with Serbia: “We cannot be more pro-Serb than the Serbs themselves,” etc.

      But that is NOT the case in Crimea, where the locals have proved themselves worthy of direct Russian assistance.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. and it really is looking like the Chinese ARE piling on, silently taking Russia’s side against Ukraine. In their own subtle, sneaky way, suing for a paltry (to them) $3 billion.
        Hence, the Chinese lawsuit against Ukraine is not just a coincidence. But a nice sweet way of kicking a bastard when he’s down.

        Those crafty, inscrutable Asiatics…. :)

        • astabada says:

          Да, азиаты — мы
          :-)

          • yalensis says:

            Мильоны – вас. Нас – тьмы, и тьмы, и тьмы.
            Попробуйте, сразитесь с нами!
            Да, скифы – мы! Да, азиаты – мы,
            С раскосыми и жадными очами!

            Для вас – века, для нас – единый час.
            Мы, как послушные холопы,
            Держали щит меж двух враждебных рас
            Монголов и Европы!

            Века, века ваш старый горн ковал
            И заглушал грома, лавины,
            И дикой сказкой был для вас провал
            И Лиссабона, и Мессины!

            Вы сотни лет глядели на Восток
            Копя и плавя наши перлы,
            И вы, глумясь, считали только срок,
            Когда наставить пушек жерла!

            Вот – срок настал. Крылами бьет беда,
            И каждый день обиды множит,
            И день придет – не будет и следа
            От ваших Пестумов, быть может!

            О, старый мир! Пока ты не погиб,
            Пока томишься мукой сладкой,
            Остановись, премудрый, как Эдип,
            Пред Сфинксом с древнею загадкой!

            Россия – Сфинкс. Ликуя и скорбя,
            И обливаясь черной кровью,
            Она глядит, глядит, глядит в тебя
            И с ненавистью, и с любовью!…

            Да, так любить, как любит наша кровь,
            Никто из вас давно не любит!
            Забыли вы, что в мире есть любовь,
            Которая и жжет, и губит!

            Мы любим все – и жар холодных числ,
            И дар божественных видений,
            Нам внятно всё – и острый галльский смысл,
            И сумрачный германский гений…

            Мы помним всё – парижских улиц ад,
            И венецьянские прохлады,
            Лимонных рощ далекий аромат,
            И Кельна дымные громады…

            Мы любим плоть – и вкус ее, и цвет,
            И душный, смертный плоти запах…
            Виновны ль мы, коль хрустнет ваш скелет
            В тяжелых, нежных наших лапах?

            Привыкли мы, хватая под уздцы
            Играющих коней ретивых,
            Ломать коням тяжелые крестцы,
            И усмирять рабынь строптивых…

            Придите к нам! От ужасов войны
            Придите в мирные обьятья!
            Пока не поздно – старый меч в ножны,
            Товарищи! Мы станем – братья!

            А если нет – нам нечего терять,
            И нам доступно вероломство!
            Века, века вас будет проклинать
            Больное позднее потомство!

            Мы широко по дебрям и лесам
            Перед Европою пригожей
            Расступимся! Мы обернемся к вам
            Своею азиатской рожей!

            Идите все, идите на Урал!
            Мы очищаем место бою
            Стальных машин, где дышит интеграл,
            С монгольской дикою ордою!

            Но сами мы – отныне вам не щит,
            Отныне в бой не вступим сами,
            Мы поглядим, как смертный бой кипит,
            Своими узкими глазами.

            Не сдвинемся, когда свирепый гунн
            В карманах трупов будет шарить,
            Жечь города, и в церковь гнать табун,
            И мясо белых братьев жарить!…

            В последний раз – опомнись, старый мир!
            На братский пир труда и мира,
            В последний раз на светлый братский пир
            Сзывает варварская лира!

            (Alexander Blok, “Scythians”, 1918)\

            Ha ha – this stuff always scares the shit out of the Europeans.

      • Warren says:

        NATO will not fight/intervene against Russia to preserve Ukraine “territorial integrity”,. For the same reason NATO did not intervene in the South Ossetia-Georgia War August 2008 (coincidental in the start & middle of the summer Olympics).

        Remember folks that Ukraine is NOT a member of NATO! And Sarko & Mutti Angie VETOED the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine and Georgia TWICE in 2008! First time in April at Bucharest summit and then at emergency December Brussels summit

        Fact is US and Europe will NEVER fight a war against Russia for Ukraine, especially for Crimea. No one in Europe or the US will sacrifice themselves so Banderites and Pravyi Sektor clowns can lord over the people of Crimea.

        Russia can helped Crimea gain its independence just like it did with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The EU and US will talk and make noise for a few days, then forget about the whole thing. And then “reset” the relationship, Notice the equivocal and nuanced language form the US, UK, and EU. No one in the West is promising or threatening military action to protect the new Orange/Banderite putschists realm.

        • kirill says:

          Indeed, a full blown war over Crimea is not going to happen if rational think prevails. I suspect the new regime supporters in the west are hoping that the “Russian invasion of Crimea” helps consolidate support for the new regime. That is why they are not rushing to kick out Russian invaders from the peninsula. There would be a storm of propaganda and UN security council meetings otherwise.

        • marknesop says:

          Importantly, though, if Ukraine does not willingly let it go – assuming the referendum ends with a vote for secession – it will be left with the same unresolved-borders status as Georgia, which was sufficient to keep it out of the EU and out of NATO despite some westerners almost giving themselves hernias with the extraordinary pushing to try to make it happen. If the Crimea wishes to go, which is by no means certain, Ukraine would be best served to smile and go along with it, remaking its territorial borders to reflect the new reality, and then try to join the EU. There is no indication at present that the current crop of power numpties grasps this, while the gross behaviour of some of its minions (although it is debatable which is the minion and which the master) virtually assures it would be very difficult to admit Ukraine under its current chaotic conditions. Bring in its financial insolvency and likelihood of a future default resulting in querulous pleas for a bailout – more unlikely still. Recall that a year or so before the huge brouhaha over Russia’s “anti-gay laws”, Kiev passed an identical law against propaganda of homosexuality despite a personal plea from Sir Elton John for Ukraine not to turn its back on its LGBT citizens. A law which had the unflinching approval of Ukraine’s current fake president, who regards homosexuality as a perversion and is not shy about saying so. Chance of admission? Ha, ha.

          • Hunter says:

            The thing is that if Ukraine were to accept any attempt at Crimean secession it would be virtually giving up most of its current Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Black Sea. It would also set a bad precedent in that it could give other regions the idea that they could secede and Kiev would agree. What would happen if areas such as Kherson, Odessa and Mykolaiv did indeed express a majority desire to join a newly independent Crimean Republic? And maybe Dnipropretrovsk, Lugansk, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Zaporizhia? At that point Ukraine would be giving up ALL of it’s coast and exclusive economic zone, becoming a land-locked country. And then Russia could build a South Stream pipeline that passed through the now Crimean EEZ…..

            • marknesop says:

              All true, although I had not considered the Black Sea EEZ. And Odessa, Kherson and Nikolayev have all expressed an interest in being included in the Crimean autonomous zone. Russian input to that will depend on whether the Crimea actually votes to secede or not, and you better believe the unelected central government will be talking softly up to that vote. However, if it becomes apparent the vote is trending toward outright secession, expect a desperate grab to take it back by force.

              Is it just me, or does the unelected central government display a marked inability to prioritize and stay focused on the business of governing? It made several horrible mistakes in the first couple of days – to be fair, its decision-making was closely supervised by neo-Nazis with guns and clubs – and it did make a couple of brief and spasmodic attempts to reverse the damage and “reach out”, but since then they have been focused on the Crimea business to the exclusion of all else, even mobilizing the country’s entire military. A country with a seasoned foreign-policy team would be able to manage several crises like the Crimea business, and these guys are not even handling that competently. However, to be fair again the west is also treating the Crimea as if it were the only crisis on the world scene.

  47. marknesop says:

    Apparently all you have to do to be upgraded to “armed militant” from “peaceful protester” when you seize control of a public building is be from Crimea instead of Kiev.

    • yalensis says:

      NYT berates the pro-Russian Crimean protesters, but admits that “If a referendum were held, it would almost certainly lead to an overwhelming popular vote in favor of weaker links with Ukraine and even outright secession.”

      As NYT notes, the referendum will NOT directly pose the issue of secession. It is a vote for “increased autonomy” which is Step #1 in a 3-step legal process leading to reunion with Russia (1: vote for increased autonomy, 2: vote for independence, 3: vote for reunion with Russia).

      People can’t just rush into secession all in one fell swoop. As the Wicked Witch remarked in “The Wizard of Oz”: “These things must be done very delicately…”

  48. Fern says:

    Another allegedly hacked email correspondence has emerged from ‘Anonymous Ukraine’, this time between one of the nationalist figures, Andrey Tarasenko, and the Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. The email is dated in late January and was originally in Russian. Tarasenko was asking for information on weapons caches. It’s hard to assess the authenticity of this – if it’s fake, however, someone should have a word with the authors to explain that starting a document with the phrase “everything is going according to plan” isn’t the most convincing line.
    What is really interesting, however, is that ‘Anonymous Ukraine’ claim to have hacked emails at NATO offices and those of several US officials in Kiev which they are planning to publish online shortly.
    http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_28/Anonymous-operations-expose-Ukrainian-Bandera-nazis-9458/

    • marknesop says:

      I think they’re phony; as you have already intuited, they seem to be specifically written to validate a desired narrative – that there was a plan, that it involved collusion with outside authorities the pretender government had no business contacting and that the pretender government received help from outside authorities who would like to see the elected government of Ukraine overthrown for their own interests. It just seems like a similar but opposite line to the “evidence” the pretender government is regularly discovering that the Russians were behind the violence against peaceful protesters, that Yanukovych stole all Ukraine’s money and his it in offshore accounts, bla, bla. It just sounds like a disinformation effort from someone who is tired of all the disinformation coming from the same side.

  49. Fern says:

    President Putin appears to have broken his silence on Ukraine – sort of. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin has instructed the government to continue contact with Kiev on economic and trade relations and to discuss the provision of humanitarian aid to the Crimea region. http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_28/Putin-instructs-govt-to-continue-contacts-with-Kiev-on-economy-and-to-discuss-Crimea-humanitarian-aid-8920/

    Financial realities and the new governing authorities in Kiev – Chapter XII. The new Finance Minister is very anxious to talk to Russia:-
    ” “Certainly, we shall be holding talks with Russia over continuation of the credit line. I think we shall try to do this within the shortest possible time. Possibly, even next week. We shall try to talk to the Russians so that the new government could hear some grievances and demands from the Russian side over what they would wish to obtain in order to continue our cooperation, both in the sphere of budget support, and for future gas cooperation”. I bet. http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_27/Ukraine-hopes-to-continue-financial-gas-cooperation-with-Russia-minister-5491/

    I would be kinda disappointed if Russia continued to pump money into Ukraine under its present governing arrangements – let the US/EU/IMF have their prize.

    • yalensis says:

      “Hey, Billy,I just killed your mom and raped your sister. Can I ask you for a favor?
      I need you to loan me some gas money so I can drive home now.”

    • marknesop says:

      I completely agree; there is absolutely no reason for Russia to support this government – for one, it is a government comprised of Russia-haters who were only too happy to spread the line that Russia was bullying Ukraine into accepting membership in the Customs Union and that such was the reason for Yanukovych’s reversal. Once things started to fall apart, it was only too happy to echo the western line warning Russia to stay out of it – except for their money, of course, that was still acceptable – and when things really went pear-shaped the entire effort was of course directed by a retired Russian Colonel or something from the Main Intelligence Directorate (whatever that is, because it doesn’t exist in the FSB’s organizational structure) holed up in the Kiev Hotel and paid for by the SBU.

      Two, they only get mealy-mouthed and “reasonable” after they’ve had a chance to look through the Books Of Financial Realities. They therefore still do not see Russia as a friend and potential partner, merely as a big donor nation with deep pockets who might finance their march toward EUtopia, in return for nothing but all Ukraine’s inferior goods it cannot sell to the EU, at premium prices. They have only become “anxious to talk to Russia” since the coup is accomplished and Kiev is made safe for the return of western diplomats and EU ministers, who are funneling through everything the previous government left and advising the current crop of unelected no-hopers on what they need to do to find money from somewhere other than the west. The west probably will come up with an aid package – which is what they call a loan in these days of no discretionary spending – but it would be so much better if Russia would pay to restore its own enemies to health.

      Three, Ukraine and its western patrons probably hopes Russia will seize Crimea, maybe even the Southeast, because they are restive regions that might otherwise need to be pacified with further violence or at great expense and in which an Orange majority is otherwise unlikely to develop. It will be simpler to be able to weep indignantly that Russia stole them, which will always be good for western sympathy and may possibly lead to cultural institutions developing in western countries which will funnel money to Ukraine.

      This unelected government has already shown its first instinct is to go for the cheap laugh, the visceral reaction, and to pander to nationalist instincts with visions of the red menace stoking insurrection in Ukraine and portraying Russia as fully deserving of nothing but loathing. They hastily backtracked on their language law – passed while Kiev was still smoldering – only because their western masters were a little uncomfortable with its scope and its potential to be unpopular with some of the regions, which is further indication that it is the voice of the Banderite haters which is being listened to. Here’s a fine example; despite ample evidence that it is the Crimea’s own citizen who desire to be free from the Kiev central government and that it is Crimean citizens who have taken over public buildings in exactly the same manner glorious Kiev revolutionaries did, to heady praise from the group that now as appointed itself the central government, it’s all KremlinKremlinKremlin and what is going on now in Crimea is “a military intervention and occupation by the Kremlin“.

      Russia owes them nothing. I hope Putin continues to stall them with bland platitudes while not committing to anything, and even if they were the best friends in the world it would be a financially unsound notion to lend them money; anything Ukraine gets now might as well be considered a gift, and why would you give gifts to people who hate you?

  50. yalensis says:

    Russian parliament preparing the legal basis to re-annex Crimea. (Thus nullifying Khrushchev’s “Gift” of 1954.)

    Parliamentarian Elena Mizulina (from “Fair Russia” party) has prepared a draft law laying out the steps necessary for Russia to accept into her federation a piece of a different state, after the residents of that piece vote by referendum to join the Federation.

    This is good, and I hope the law passes. It is obviously designed for Crimean situation, but this could also form the basis for South Ossetia to finally join Russia as an autonomous region (or just reunite with North Ossetia).

    This will not affect Abkhazia, I don’t believe, because most Abkhazians don’t actually want to join Russia, they would rather stay independent, but obviously under Russian military protection from Gruzia.

  51. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, in financial news, Ukrainian government has placed limits on national bank to prevent people from withdrawing their hard currency.
    There is fear of massive runs on banks, and the collapse of Uke banking system.

  52. yalensis says:

    Explanation why Chuck Hagel/John Kerry not so worried about Russian intentions, even with sudden and spontaneous outbreak of Russian military exercises on Ukrainian border.
    According to this , American intelligence agencies did an analysis of the situation, and came to the conclusion that Russia is not going to invade Ukraine. They base this on the fact (according to anonymous source in U.S. Congress) that the military units exercising, do not include medical detachments. Hence, they are not expecting any wounded.

    After reaching this conclusion, USA/NATO breathed a sigh of relief. “Nothin’ to see here, just keep movin’ it along, folks…”

    [ALT-explanation: maybe Russians are not expecting any serious resistance?
    Or, is close enough that wounded can be helicoptered out to mobile clinics?]

  53. You may want to check this thread at the Russia Debate where I am posting updates on the situation in Crimea:

    http://russiadebate.com/threads/the-crimea-crisis.439/

  54. Al says:

    FYI, from the Kyiv Post, a rundown of the interim ministers –

    The not-so-revolutionary new Ukraine government

    http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/katya-gorchinskaya-the-not-so-revolutionary-new-ukraine-government-337768.html

    • marknesop says:

      There are one or two appointments in there which actually make sense, but not many and as the Kyiv Post at least honestly points out, many are perceived to be simply rewards for revolutionaries. Excellent view of Bulatov’s truncated ear there; he seems quite proud of it now that he’s safe among his fellow revolutionaries and his true story will never be told.

      • Al says:

        A good reason to keep an eye on the usual propaganda sources. Every now and then they have brief moment of rational journalism. I just had a look at the BBC website – it’s gone all tabloid “Russia mulls new land-grab law’. The Beeb really does need a rinse with industrial strength chlorine and a good scrub with the toilet brush to get rid of all this type of cr*p.

  55. Moscow Exile says:

    At last! They’ve got fed up of the Chosen One’s posturings and a Moscow Court has put Navalny under house arrest.

    Best of it is, he cannot blog any longer.

    Cue: human rights freedom of speech shite.

    Court puts Navalny under house arrest

  56. Moscow Exile says:

    It’s raining in the Crimea.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      If anyone doubts the authenticity of the above clip:

      A trusted journalist source who has seen the metadata for the video says it confirms the time and date. See here:

      1. https://twitter.com/jamesmatesitv/status/439360935271337984
      2. https://twitter.com/jamesmatesitv/status/439371105816821760

      ITV’s James Mates added that the video was filmed near Chervonoye (Червоне). The uploader’s VK & Facebook give his home location as Yevpatoriya. ITV’s James Mates gives the location of the video as near Chervonoye (Червоне), which is around 60km north of “Belbek” Sevastopol International Airport. It is a few kilometres from Yevpatoriya. This corroborates the location of the video, although it should be noted that Chervone is some distance from the airport.

      According to +Tania Kinal and another source corresponding with us on Twitter, the radio report quotes an Interfax report. We found the Interfax report cited by the audio, and the information in the eighth paragraph tallies with the radio report. The Interfax report is dated February 28. This confirms the date of the video.

      Interfax report is here:
      http://www.interfax.ru/world/361733

      From You Tube

      • Al says:

        Hardcore! A flight of Mi-24s. A gunship and a troop carrier and a literal flying brick sh*thouse! It’s a pity the Russians turned down a request by the Indians to develop a follow on. The US tested a few and gave it the big thumbs up. Easy to maintain in the field, tough, flies on just about any fuel source (though the rough stuff will mess with the engines) and fast. In their exercises, they found that it was almost impossible to defend against high-speed slashing attack tactics at low-level by these brutes.

  57. Al says:

    From the Moon of Alabama countering Applebum’s recent frothings:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/02/anne-applebaums-dull-conspiracy-existence.html#comments

    Anne Applebaum’s Dull Conspiracy Existence

    The neocon demagogue Anne Applebaum asks:

    No one has yet explained, for example, why Ukrainian President Viktor Yanu­kovych not only left Kiev last week after signing a treaty brokered by the European Union but also ordered security guards to abandon all government buildings as well. Was that an unsubtle invitation for the opposition to ransack the offices so that he could claim he had been chased out by a violent coup?

    No, Mrs. Applebaum, it wasn’t. The removal of the guards was a condition in the agreement (not “treaty”) brokered by the European Union….

    ***
    The ‘agreement’ link leads to the 3 page agreement, vis page 5:

    “5. The authorities will not impose a state of emergency. The authorities and the
    opposition will refrain from the use of violence. The Parliament will adopt the 3rd amnesty, covering the same range of illegal actions as the 17th February 2014 law.

    Both parties will undertake serious efforts for the normalisation of life in the cities
    and villages by withdrawing from administrative and public buildings and
    unblocking streets, city parks and squares.

    Illegal weapons should be handed over to the Ministry of Interior bodies within
    24 hours of the special law, referred to in point 1hereof, coming into force. After
    the aforementioned period, all cases of illegal carrying and storage of weapons
    will fall under the law of Ukraine. The forces of authorities and of the opposition
    will step back from confrontational posture. The Government will use law
    enforcement forces exclusively for the physical protection of public buildings. “

  58. Moscow Exile says:

    “Right Sector” intimidates peaceful citizens

    The notices next to the nooses strung up to trees in Ivano-Frankivsk read: “For Traitors to Ukraine”.

    • marknesop says:

      Meanwhile, back in pretender-government land, a Rada Deputy named Oles Donyi was allegedly beaten in one of the toilets of the Ukrainian Parliament (no word if there were two bowls in the cubicle or only one) by two members of Svoboda and was taken to hospital with skull injuries. Tiahnybok refused to apologize, countering that Donyi had voted for Yanukovych’s budget. Unless there were only two votes for it, the other being Yanukovych’s (yes, I know he can’t vote for it, I’m being sarcastic), that seems to suggest that if true, Svoboda’s peaceful protesters will be visiting a lot of voters in the near future to admonish them for their choice. It also suggests Svoboda members who were given government appointments have instantly begun to misuse them by distributing voting records. That sounds extremely democratic, I must say – vote the way Svoboda wants you to (and believe me, mister, we can check) – or it’s a trip to Lump City for you unless you hold your pee all day while you’re in the Rada and wait until you’re safe at home to go. Disappointed, AP; I’m very, very disappointed.

      At the same time, a more desirable phenomenon is being observed – oh, depending on where you are, of course – as Europe empties of neo-Nazis, all bound for Ukraine to fight for the future of the white race. Did you miss Swedish Captain of Intolerance Fredrik Hagberg’s speech from Kiev City Hall? Apparently it was both captivating and revealing. “I stand before your forces of revolution to tell you about what your future might be if you fail your glorious endeavour,” he said in fluid-but-clipped English. “I stand here as a Swede. However where I come from is no longer Sweden.” Hagberg warned Ukrainians that a successful revolution must chart a path that carefully avoided the evils of abortion and ethnic mongrelization, one that harshly punished welfare abuse and rejected the normalization of homosexuality. “Officials in Sweden like to calls us the most modern country in the world. I say to you, brothers, this is what awaits you if you choose to follow our example. You now have the opportunity to choose and create your own future. Do not accept the trap of choosing either the West or Russia.” Unaccountably, the photo that leads off the piece is not neo-Nazis in Kiev but depicts pro-Russia protesters in Crimea.

      There must be wall-eyed panic in the U.S. Senate and the Council of Europe. What in the fuck have we done?

      Patrick would say slowly, slowly – we don’t know if any of this is true. And that’s right; we don’t. But this is an environment in which every event is quickly spun for advantage by one side or the other. Suffice it to say that a general feeling of nervousness regarding the…uhh…zealotry of certain among the glorious revolutionary heroes is beginning to creep in, whilst the ravings of Sashko Bilyi and the refusal of Pravy Sektor to lay down their arms are matters of public record.

      Just to give you an idea how events are quickly manipulated for political gain, there’s this. Ukraine’s largest airline reported that Crimean airspace had been closed and that no flights from Kiev were being allowed to land at Simferopol. The airport’s own information official reported that was not true, that only one flight from Kiev had been delayed, and other flights had been coming and going from Simferopol without any problems.

  59. marknesop says:

    And what’s this all about? Parubiy is saying on televsion that “Ukrainian security authorities have regained control” of two airports on the Crimean peninsula said to have been seized by Kremlin-backed gunmen.

    How did that happen with no shooting? And I don’t think the armed groups ever exercised control over the airports anyway.

    • kirill says:

      This is obvious hot air. Russian troops just came and went leaving some men behind as guards. Supposedly the Ukrainian customs agents are still working. The purpose of this “seizure” of the airports was to send a clear signal that no supply of Banderite militants or NATO special forces to back any such militants will be tolerated. All they can do now is huff and puff.

  60. marknesop says:

    Ukraine’s Ambassador to the EU says Ukraine must sign the EU Association agreement before the Presidential elections scheduled for May 25th. Can’t imagine anyone would see anything wrong with that. I’m curious as to whether the EU still wants it as badly as it did a month ago.

    • Al says:

      Um, why can’t they wait until after the parliamentary and presidential elections? Would it actually be legal for a ‘caretaker’ government to sign such a thing? Normally ‘caretaker’ governments are only supposed to treat water and make sure the bureaucracy is working, not change fundamental aspects of how the state works, sign big ticket policies or make large foreign policy decisions.

      Why the desperation? Are they afraid of something? Do they not understand that even signed documents can be ignored, as they themselves have recently done?

      It leaves a very, very bad smell.

      • Jen says:

        I think this could be a ploy to concentrate people’s attention on the benefits that the trade deal is presumed to confer: the long-term goal of full EU membership and a visa-free travel regime. Never mind that the trade deal promises neither such fantasy and that Ukraine must contort itself to comply with all EU and IMF conditions and restrictions before it can be allowed to see on the horizon the Land of EU-membership Milk and Visa-free Honey.

    • kirill says:

      The kangaroo legislature and the coup regime have no authority to sign anything or pass any laws. That the west is kissing up to these criminals shows what all the talk about democracy is worth.

      Funny how all the coverage in the western media is now a chorus of BS repeating the phrase “Yanukovich regime”. They weren’t describing Ukraine’s government at such even six months ago. The OSCE pronounced the government to have won the elections fair and square. There was no slide into dictatorship after the elections. The Maidanut regime cannot ban the two parties that held the majority of the seats in the Rada and claim that it loves democracy.

      Good thing that Russia is willing to stand up to this regime and its NATO backers. Even Obama had make only a short blurt of a speech at his press conference. Making some oblique reference to “costs” for Russia if it uses its forces in Crimea. NATO has no legal and moral ground to stand on.

  61. yalensis says:

    Yanukovych publicly repents for his actions:

    He apologizes for his weakness and indecisiveness, which allowed lawless bandits to seize power in Ukraine and terrorize the Ukrainian people.

    He apologizes to Berkut for giving them inadequate support and letting them be burnt alive by fascists:


    Yanukovich also apologized to the Ukrainian riot police, Berkut, for having to “suffer” while doing their duty of maintaining peace and order. Police officers were “burned and poured over by petrol bombs,” were “fired at and killed by rifles” but still stood their ground, he said.

    The Ukrainian leader then said he had not given any order for police to fire live rounds until the rioters started using firearms, putting the officers’ lives under threat.

    Yanukovich refused to comment on the Ukrainian parliament’s intention to try him in the International Criminal Court, saying that an independent investigation has to be carried out first. However, he stressed that “the scenario of bloodshed… was drafted not in Ukraine.”

    It is good to see Yanuk repenting and achieving a kind of epiphany which he never had before. But, as American proverb says, “A day late and a dollar short.”
    It is too bad that he didn’t act firmly when he had a chance to prevent this bloodshed and chaos.

    Still, I give him credit for necessary introspection and achieving some enlightenment, however tardy.

  62. Fern says:

    It’s hard to understand the comments of the Ukrainian Ambassador to the EU since the EU itself has said it it believes the proper course of action would be to wait until after the elections to sign the Association Agreement.
    The EU appears to have fallen slightly out of love with its great prize. The press release of the plenary session on 27th February recorded this on Ukraine:-
    “The resolution also urges all parties not to give way to the “spirit of revenge” but instead engage in an inclusive political dialogue to build compromises and avoid “extrajudicial retaliation”.
    Ukraine’s new leaders should distance themselves from extremists and avoid provocation that might fuel “separatist moves”, MEPs warn, adding that they should respect the rights of minorities in the country, including the right to use Russian and other minority languages. MEPs also condemn a recent attack on the headquarters of the Communist Party of Ukraine.”

    It concludes with the usual warning to Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity but adds a twist. Russia should:-
    “refrain from exerting economic pressure on Ukraine in order to subordinate it to its own interests.” http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140221IPR36637/html/Ukraine-MEPs-urge-EU-to-help-financial-rescue-but-enact-targeted-sanctions-too

    Financial realities and the new governing authorities in Kiev, Chapter XIII.
    “Kiev is slowly beginning to understand that without Russia’s help Ukraine will not succeed in avoiding economic collapse. New Minister of Finance of the Maidan, Aleksander Shlapak, has reported about the intention to continue negotiations with Russia on financial cooperation in the gas sphere. He did not even try to conceal that Kiev was planning to discuss with Moscow the issue of “continuing the credit line”. This implies unfreezing of the Russian loan in the amount of $15 billion. Ukraine has already received three billion. As it is recognized in Kiev, only this has allowed Ukraine not to fall into a debt abyss already in the beginning of the year………..both Brussels and the US, despite their usual rhetoric of the last days, have already advised Kiev to somehow curb the nationalist ultras and “slow down the Maidan.” The “Day of Russian Language” in Lvov on February 25 is a result of such advices. And this also refers to the decision of the “Vidavnitstvo Starogo Leva” publishing house (“Publishing House of the Old Lion”) to release their first book in Russian.” http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_28/Russias-financial-aid-to-help-Ukraine-avoid-economic-collapse-debt-abyss-6086/ Nyet, nyet and thrice nyet – let the US/EU/IMF pony up the money.
     
    Details are starting to emerge of some of the more shadowy players in the events of the last few weeks, one of whom is US billionaire Pierre Omidyar. He recently set-up a new media venture, ‘The Intercept’ with Glen Greenwald, Laura Poitras (both of Snowdon’s NSA cache fame) and Jeremy Scahill. As Mark Ames says in the linked article:-
    “What all this adds up to is a journalistic conflict-of-interest of the worst kind: Omidyar working hand-in-glove with US foreign policy agencies to interfere in foreign governments, co-financing regime change with well-known arms of the American empire — while at the same time hiring a growing team of soi-disant ”independent journalists” which vows to investigate the behavior of the US government at home and overseas, and boasts of its uniquely adversarial relationship towards these government institutions.” http://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/


    As someone once said, funny old world.

    • kirill says:

      Russia would be stupid to discuss anything with this illegal regime. Any discussion must involve the restoration of the original Rada. Yanuk and his administration may be corrupt, but so are all the other clowns on the political scene in Ukraine. So this is no excuse for usurpation of power.

      The new regime requires money to survive. It needs to be destroyed through this lever.

    • marknesop says:

      I completely agree, and it must be the very height of hypocrisy – I notice every time something is selected for that honour, something even more ridiculous comes along, but this is tough to beat – to suggest that Russian withdrawal of its generous offer to purchase Ukrainian debt constitutes economic pressure to coax it back under Russia’s wing. The EU, especially, still hopes it will be handed Ukraine to make over as it sees fit as a consumer of EU goods and services, but that Russia will be tricked into paying for it. I said several times over the last few weeks that I could not believe how exuberantly bellicose the EU’s anti-Russian rhetoric was, as if they did not think they would ever have to walk it back and try to negotiate with Russia and as if they did not realize that even if Russia only shut its markets, Ukraine would collapse because the EU is not interested in buying their goods.

      Putin seems to be pretty consistently a forgive-and-forget kind of politician, but I hope this time he will play the hard boy and refuse to deal with the two-faced (at least) EU and the self-congratulatory USA. Let Ukraine sort out its own problems like the EU keeps screeching it must be allowed to do when it is laying down the rules – Russia must immediately stop interfering in Ukraine, except for giving it piles of money in exchange for nothing.

      • Al says:

        I don’t think it would be such a good idea to be so binary, and Putin being Mr. Judo probably does as well. I suspect that Russia will drip drip finances to keep the Ukraine on life support so that they can claim:

        a) the Russians didn’t pull the rug out from the Ukranian people & that they are simply following the West’s lead and that proposed of the new interim leaders, help yourself first – this can also be used as a direct counterpoint to western criticism – I’m practicing what you preach;

        b) the Russians are reasonable and will work with reasonable people. If you threaten us or other russians, we will fç”k you. Badly.

        c) the party is over. We will no longer be part of your ping-pong politics.

        As for the Crimea thing, Russian actions are clearly about military perspective. If you are going to covertly/overtly threaten something, then you have to show that you have actually been prepared to do so. The military is ready, it’s only a phone call away. It’s a trip wire.

        The interim government needs to prove it is in some sort of control and what better test is their than watching to see if they clean up the nationalist neo-nazi groups who now roam? If the government can’t do this it is either because they don’t have control or that they are still being used as ‘deniable’ regime shock troops. If these groups are stupid enough to head East, then they will be cleaned up with extreme prejudice (Judge Dredd style).

        The argument also works for the West here except Russia is demanding real action whereas the West is only saying it for PR. They would be quite happy if these neo-nazis groups stopped giving press interviews (BBC World last night) and disappeared into the background. We have seen this in places like Kosovo where the West deliberately turns a blind eye or minimizes the real effects of rampant discrimination and attacks against the remaining minorities. We know the West is only too happy to support all kinds of fascist regimes as long as it is not too overt.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It would be really wonderful if, should he find time between his bullying of prosecutors and regional governing councils, Sashko Byliy took the opportunity so graciously handed to him by the “Russian aggressors” to take a few of his chums down to the Crimea and do what he has many times stated is one of his goals in life, namely to kill Russians.

  63. yalensis says:

    IMF sternly tells Ukraine to stop her incessant schnoring for $$$.

    Christine Lagard, Director of the IMF said today that she wished the new Ukrainian government would stop its panicky demands for IMF money. It’s like a Beggars Opera out there, only without the singing. Christine said the situation in Ukraine is not really that bad, and it is premature to start doling out cash to them.

    She says, just be patient, we’re sending some experts out next week to assess your situation; in the meantime, just please shut up, you mooches.

    [Note: some of the above is a paraphrase]

    • kirill says:

      The IMF needs to realize that the new regime is f*cked without money. That is why it is begging. It seems the west is waiting for Russia to resume funding the clowns in charge as it did before. Russia needs to stop, ASAP. Make the eastern regions chose what they want. Fantasy of visa free travel to the EU to work part time and live it up, or do real work at home to make Ukraine prosperous. The west is a lost cause that needs to be unloaded into NATO’s lap. They can set up bases and missile installations to intercept Russian ICBMs east of the Urals (sarcasm intended).

  64. marknesop says:

    Hey, anyone remember Natalie? I knew her last name once, but I’ve forgotten it. Anyway, she used to run a blog called “Birdbrain”, and was a sometime commenter here. We were kind of drawn together by our mutual dislike of La Russophobe, then pushed apart by our differing views of some friends of hers who were Israel-firsters, then her blog went defunct so I dropped the link….long story. Anyway, she used to do some very biting Russophilic commentary and had a great sense of humour, some of the stuff she said used to just make me snort indelicately. I stumbled across her avatar later on another blog and so learned she runs a new one, Fluent Historian. I just ran across it again and came across an extremely interesting piece regarding the legality of Yanukovych’s deposition. In it, she decries the laziness of journalists who could not be bothered to look it up (that made me wince a little with guilt, and you all as well, I hope, since everyone has just speculated it was bullshit without looking it up). She then proceeds to cite the relevant legislation.

    You go, girl – she’s right. It’s illegal as hell. I have added Fluent Historian to the blogroll.

    • yalensis says:

      These are really good points; and Yanuk made the same points himself in his press conference yesterday.
      Yanuk announced that he was STILL the legal president of Ukraine. He himself laid out the 3 things, any one of which, would have removed him from office, none of which are in place:
      (1) His own death – which would have happened had he not fled to Russia;
      (2) His resignation – which he stresses he did NOT give. or:
      (3) His impeachment – which he says did not happen in any legal sense.

      Hence, any international court worth its salt would have to agree: Yanuk is still Prez!

      Oh, and by the way, Yanuk DID admit in his press conference that he ordered to police to open fire on protesters. I like the fact that he admitted that and did not weasel around the issue at all, à la MIlosevich. Yanuk said he gave the order once it became clear that armed insurgents were shooting live rounds at the police.

      And Yanuk begged the Ukrainian people to forgive him… NOT for shooting at the Banderite thugs, but for being too weak and indecisive initially. I like that too. He should have taken harsher action at an earlier stage in the game, when it was still possible for Berkut to repel the fascist horde.

      IMHO Russia should NOT hand Yanuk over to Hague for a kangaroo trial. But what she could do is organize an international legal commission of unbiased jurists and legal experts, to investigate all these incidents and make a legal recommendation, was Yanuk guilty or not? And is he still Prez, or not? That would be interesting to watch; and make an interesting diversion while Crimea continues her efforts to secede.

      It could all turn out okay!

      • marknesop says:

        Yanukovych’s plea for forgiveness for being weak and indecisive rang true because he was weak and indecisive – we all raged about it here weeks ago and wished aloud he would stop dithering and fucking around and just roll up the mob, which at every various stage would have been easier to do than the wreck he ended up with, platoons of organized and openly-armed insurgents patrolling the streets. He was stupid not to have recognized it from the first as a western-engineered regime-change operation. His right to make decisions for Ukraine was loudly defended by the west right up until he made the wrong decision – did he not notice when that all went ominously silent, or all the foreign diplomats jetting in to huddle with the opposition? Do I have to draw you a fucking picture, Yanukovych? They’re here for your ass!! But he persisted as if it were just a flowers-and-beads hippie crowd yearning to join the EU and that if ignored they would gradually lose heart. He is a fool who needs to be gone just as soon as it can conveniently be arranged, but he is still the legitimate leader of Ukraine and not Ninja-Accountant Yatsenyuk.

    • hoct says:

      Yeah, the Moon of Alabama said the same.

    • Natalie says:

      Just saw this—thanks for linking to me! That post has gone semi-viral a few times in the past week. And thank you for your kind words. I’m happy you remember me. I shut down my prior blog for various personal reasons, but quickly found that I felt a bit lost without blogging, so I started the one I currently write. I am glad you found my post helpful. :)

      P.S. I’m shocked and flattered that you found me funny! I’ve never thought of myself as a funny person, though I have often wished I were. ;)

      • marknesop says:

        Hi, Nat; you could be quite the comedienne when you were in the mood; I remember several of your comments which made me laugh out loud. Your post was indeed very helpful – I was a bit premature in suggesting that nobody else could be bothered to look up the relevant Constitutional article, Moon of Alabama did, but such sources were very few – because the head of the UN is an American puppet, and it is not the business of international courts to seek out and punish offenders. They address complaints that the law has been broken. So long as everyone believed what was just done in Kiev was on the up-and-up, nobody would ever complain, and those august bodies regardless their personal opinions would be content to just sit back and let it happen. Thanks to your post and the very few others like it, the self-appointed Kiev government will now be the subject of scrutiny and questions, and when its western backers adjudge it can no longer be passed off as legal, some other way of doing things until elections can be held (presumably on the date agreed in the document signed by the actual president, Yanukovych) will have to be devised. However, the appointments which plainly just rewarded “revolutionary soldiers” like Chornovol and Bulatov for acting undemocratically are increasingly controversial because of the unwanted attention from without.

        It was a terrible mistake for the new self-appointed government to immediately pander exclusively to its western and central base, and although it did take steps to back away – like walking back the language law and declaring the comical “Day of Russian Language” in Lviv – they were too late and their initial actions were probably fatal.

  65. Fedia Kriukov says:

    You might recall how back in January, one intrepid Russian blogger went to Kiev to report on what Maidan is really like. He found that it was a popular uprising against Yanukovich, not a coup attempt by Nazis, nationalists, and other right wingers, as portrayed by “Kremlin controlled Russian media”. His post became a huge hit: http://zyalt.livejournal.com/982589.html More relevant to this blog, I recall that AP made a big deal out of it here, especially pointing out the photographs that showed just how diverse the background of those peaceful protesters was.

    Well, today this blogger made a little mistake. When describing how the dastardly Russians have occupied Ukraine, he wrote: “In addition to that, 10-15 Russian riflemen in masks and helmets control the entrance to the administrative facilities of the Simferopol airport. The soldiers also stand on the parking lot by the old terminal. Together with them, there are civilians from “self-defense” with St. George ribbons. The servicemen decline attempts at conversation. They’ve installed metal barriers and demand that no one cross them. [i]make sure you add that the airport is being blockaded not by the forces of the Black Sea Fleet, but by Spetsnaz GRU arrived from Russia.[/i] The airplane carrying the spetsnaz troops landed on the BSF military airfield in the village of Gvardeisk.” Full story, including the (not surprising) source of the information the blogger is ordered to add to the post: http://hrono61.livejournal.com/1176468.html

    The lesson? When you’re an independent, objective blogger writing about advances of democracy in Ukraine, don’t be so lazy as to copy and paste what you’re told to write by your handler, as that may result in you copying a little more than you should. Type everything out yourself.

    • Fedia Kriukov says:

      Should I have used html tags? Does this work?

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Fedia: Thanks for this piquant find!

        The screenshot of his blog shows that Varlamov was working off some kind of template, or outline of his post, into which he was supposed to add his own content. The template included the instructions: “Make sure you add that the airport is being blockaded not by the forces of the Black Sea Fleet, but by Spetsnaz on the BSF military airfield in the village of Gvardeisk.”

        As he filled in the content to this template, Varlamov should have deleted the stub phrases and instructions, but he forgot to do that.

        Thus proving that he wrote this content on demand, with the requirement to have a certain slant and present a certain POV.

        • marknesop says:

          Which further suggests his poignant and popular these-are-the-faces-of-the-rebellion post which normalized events in Kiev before that was likely more of the same – pre-chewed pablum for the witless masses.

    • kirill says:

      It’s funny when law breaker supporters start screaming about illegality. I don’t see why this blogger is supposed to be some fountain of truth. Clearly his grasp of the events in Crimea is lacking. Anyone with an internet connection can supply this sort of analysis.

      The 1997 treaty that the drunk moron Yeltsin signed actually had enough of a loophole for Russia to re-assert its claims on Crimea. If Ukraine turns hostile to Russia, the Friendship Treaty is off. Also funny how any action in Crimea against the “authority” of the illegal regime in Kiev is fobbed off as “insurgency” as if it is not a fact that Russians make up over 75% of the population. And it looks like the Tatars who make up around 15% are not going to side with the Svoboda and Right Sector goons.

      • Fedia Kriukov says:

        Kirill, that’s the whole point. Who cares what his grasp of events is? He writes what he is told to write by someone. And what he is told to write is what Radio Liberty writes. I think it’s not a huge stretch from here to assume that both he (and I’m sure other bloggers like him) and RL are controlled from the same source.

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!! Sure hurts when you step on your own dick, and it makes you fall flat on your face. It’s frightening, how intense the battle for public opinion is getting, and there presumably is no side of the argument which will not stoop to falsifying events to support their narrative. We are fast getting to the point where a major event not only may not have happened the way we think it did, it may never have happened at all – the entire history and insertion of the event into the fabric of social awareness having been completely and wholly invented. Alarmingly, while some are getting more cynical and better at spotting disinformation efforts, others are becoming even dumber and more easy to fool, basically just turning from one narrator to the next with big, moonie eyes and crisp nods of affirmation. They, coincidentally, are the worst individuals with whom to engage in argument, because they are so immovably sure of their own rightness.

      • Fedia Kriukov says:

        This is something I simply don’t get. Maybe I’m getting old prematurely? Clearly, a certain amount of effort and money is spent by states to influence discussions on the internet in a clandestine manner. But politics still take place in the real world. Do all these internet battles really affect outcomes of real battles? Or is it simply because bloggers and other posters are so cheap that they can be bought for pocket change of any serious political force, so even if such expenditures are futile, it’s no big deal?

        The media created this “twitter revolution” meme 2 or 3 years ago, but I viewed “twitter” simply as a communication tool used to organize an uprising. But was there a role of “twitter” in shaping the opinion of a sufficient number of people to actually cause an uprising?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s this “flash mob” jape of theirs gone mad!

          They really think they can organize a “regime overthrow” as easily as it is to organize a few hundred easily persuadable young people to ride various subway systems trouserless or, as the case may be, skirtless on certain days.

          (Can’t say “pantless” in my British English – that means without yer keks on, meaning no underpants [I had to peel my keks off I'd had them on for so long] or “knickers”, aka “panties” [Get yer keks off!], although Scousers call trousers ‘”keks” [I like yer keks, la! Where dzhya gerrem?] :-) )

          See: No pants day.

          With politics, though, it is another matter.

          A couple of weeks ago there was organized a “flash demo” in Moscow on Manezh Square in order to protest against the closing down of Dozhd TV, the station that caused uproar in querying the wisdom of enduring the siege of Leningrad at the same time when the majority of folk were certainly aware of the successful outcome of that horrendous event 70 years ago.

          The “flash” protesters were instructed to report at the square bearing umbrellas (the word “dozhd” means “rain”). Those who did arrive with their brollies – strangely enough, quite a few “oldies” amongst them – were, after having received due warnings off the cops, subsequently arrested for holding an unsanctioned meeting.

          Of course, the HR people kicked off about the right to assemble. As usual, all the detained persons in question were released from custody within a couple of hours after their having been informed of their breach of administrative law, which means that they will have to pay a piddling little fine for fucking around in public and annoying a great many people in the process.

        • marknesop says:

          Twitter and “Facebook Revolutions” such as supposedly took place in Egypt are a valuable communication tool for organizing, but they have a value beyond that in that they can create the illusion of critical mass reached far before that ever happens. Look at the hundreds of thousands pledged to come out into the streets for Navalny’s demonstrations. How many actually showed up? What about the online elections to the Coordinating Council, which was originally envisioned to be a shadow government? Interest indicated in it was huge, but the actual elections were lame and the Council itself lasted only a few months. It can be made to appear that interest, or outrage or whatever emotion you wish to evoke, is “lighting up the internet”, because those people can all be at home on their couch pushing tiny buttons on their phone. It’s easy to be outraged when you’re sitting in front of a big plate of schnitzel and a cold beer; it’s a little different when you have to put your boots on and go out in the cold.

          Word spreads rapidly via social media – it is no more complicated or part of a new secret society than that. However, creating the appearance of a grassroots Twitter revolution also relies on the media reporting only one side of the story, and there we are on familiar ground. It is easy to report that the net is abuzz with fury over this or that, but if you do not report that at least half of Twitter warriors never show up to do anything about it, or contrast the “trending hashtag” with how many Twitter users there actually are in that particular community, then it is pretty easy to make Twitter – like statistics – say anything you want it to.

  66. patient observer says:

    I realize that it may be petty of me but I would like to state that from the start AP came across as a poser and a deceiver. He could never bring himself to to say, oh, that genocide was a bad thing. Or that maybe it mattered a teensy weensy bit how power/money was acquired. He did work hard at maintaining a front of reasonableness but he had the heart of a fascist with a faith-based hatred.

    Not sure if AP was one of those wannabe junior G-men who troll immigrant communities, international trade shows and blogs like this looking for names to put on watch lists. They receive no pay but none is needed as they bask in the feelings of being part of master race/winning side and with hope of being noticed by a higher-up. I knew one of these scum bags hanging around the Romanian immigrant community trying to ingratiate themselves to frightened young families as he went about looking for communists and other usual suspects. Also knew a few Serbs who used their ethnicity to raise their commercial value as Serb-bashers.

    If I offended anyone regarding AP, my apologies.

    • marknesop says:

      I suppose I bear most of the responsibility for his being here, but you’re right that he seemed very reasonable at first and mostly argued his points well, and it did, after all, come down to a choice between him and Mike. The latter poisoned any chance of keeping him by refusing to back down and instead stepping up his personal attacks on anyone who questioned him, not to mention accusing me of becoming mentally unbalanced to the point that I could not see the rightness of his arguments, on top of months of his annoying habit of trash-talking against certain authors until you dared not even mention their names. I know that bothered a lot of people, and in the end AP looked like a model of sanity by comparison.

      We’ll see if he resurfaces, but right now I imagine him to be busy doing damage control and trying to reassure everyone that Svoboda and Pravy Sektor are (a) not all that bad, just misunderstood, and (b) not going to get any really important positions in the government anyway.

      • yalensis says:

        I had the impression that AP was just a regular politically-engaged reader who posted comments on blogs. I think he also posted some comments on Karlin’s blog, unless that was a different AP.
        And Mark really had no choice except to choose AP over Mike, because Mike was really out of control; he had become a loose cannon; whereas AP continued to debate in a farily civilized manner.

        I do think AP was somewhat dishonest about his true feelings, i.e., he pretended to be a “moderate Orange” but was actually a committed radical. But that could be just because he wanted people to get to like him.

      • rkka says:

        He’s now stirring up the Streetwise Professor hive-mind, and showing his true colors.

        The give-away for me was when he said that ‘Yeah, Bandera came with the Wehrmacht, whose intention was to exterminate Slavs, and opposed the Red Army, who prevented the Wehrmacht exterminating the Slavs, but those who adore him nowadays are okay, and in a minority of the Oranges to boot.’

        • Moscow Exile says:

          As the situation stands at the moment, I for one should not like to live with my Russian wife and our Russian children in that part of the Ukraine that was annexed by the USSR as a result of the Yalta agreement, especially when the likes of Sashko Byliy and the mad dogs that support him wandering around. Lviv is most definitely off my list of “must-see” places.

  67. Jen says:

    Interesting article by William Engdahl on the role of the right-wing paramilitary organisation Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO) in supplying the snipers who shot into the EuroMaidan crowds, causing panic and forcing Berkut to withdraw. As a result of this panic, EU ministers attempting to negotiate with the Yanukovych government left Kyiv, Klitschko went AWOL and Yanukovych himself fled the city.:
    http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/02/28/the-rape-of-ukraine-phase-two-begins/

    So if Engdahl is right, the snipers were not government snipers at all – they were part of Victoria Nuland’s US$5 billion “reconstruction” scheme for Ukraine.

    Of course if Yanukovych ends up before the ICC, one of the “war crimes” he will be charged with is that he ordered snipers to shoot into the EuroMaidan crowds.

    And here’s something that implies that the UNA-UNSO will also be involved in Crimea: a group of Anonymous Ukraine hacktivists has intercepted emails between Andrey Tarasenko, deputy head of The Stepan Bandera Trident party, and the deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People about the locations of caches of weapons and ammunition in Simferopol, Sevastopol, Feodosiya, Kerch and Yalta. One email refers to a Turkish Islamist link and a link to the Uighur separatist movement in Xinjiang in western China.
    http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_28/Anonymous-operations-expose-Ukrainian-Bandera-nazis-9458/

    The Ukrainian nationalists and the Mejlis deputy are apparently working together on the basis of a shared dislike of Russia but apart from that, their respective peoples have nothing in common so we can expect that in time the nationalists will turn against the Mejlis deputy and hang him out to dry (and I only mean that figuratively).

    • Jen says:

      Oops, just saw that Fern mentioned the Voice of Russia article on Tarasenko – Mejlis email correspondence earlier in this thread and that these emails might be suspect.

      • marknesop says:

        I re-read the article and noticed for the first time the phrase in one of the emails that “more gas masks and first-aid supplies would not hurt”. “Would not hurt” is a western colloquialism which is not part of the European vernacular – they typically say something like “wouldn’t come amiss” or “I wouldn’t say no to…”. Even if these purport to be translated into English from the original Ukrainian (I suppose), it is still a little jarring to see that phrase, and their whole structure sounds suspect to me.

    • patient observer says:

      I had the feeling that the US was backing the fascists versus the comparatively moderate Oranges and their oligarch benefactors. From the viewpoint of the oligarchs, there would be little upside for a fascist/ultra-nationalist takeover (bad for a stable business climate).

      On the other hand and as said by many others, the US (and the golden-tongued Nuland) wanted to screw Russia regardless of the toll it took on Ukraine or the collateral damage to the EU. Some are saying that such actions may drive Germany and France towards Russia. We do live in interesting times for sure.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I seem to recall reports that when some of the peaceful protesters seized a ministry building and there were reports of injuries and deaths caused by gunshot wounds, the count was was 25 dead, nine of whom were police officers.

      This occurred before Yanukovich “ordered” the forces of law and order to shoot on “unarmed” and “peaceful protesters”.

      And if I should be accused of using a link to a “Kremlin controlled” source above, here’s how the right-wing UK Daily Mail reported the same story: Flames of hate in Kiev: 25 DEAD as Ukrainian protesters armed with rocks, Molotov cocktails and even crossbows clash with police.

      Note how the Mail does not include firearms in the inventory of the peaceful protesters’ weapon, yet still says that “13 police officers suffered gunshot wounds”.

      Perhaps they shot themselves?

      Deutsche Welle goes one further and suggests that snipers participated in the shooting: Sniper fire, around 25 killed as violence flares again in Ukraine capital Kyiv, yet still adds that “Thursday’s fatalities, combined with 28 deaths resulting from clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday, took the overall death toll beyond 50, including 12 police”.

      So who shot the police?

      Surely not the peaceful protesters amongst whom were included peaceful snipers?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        To make the chronology of events mentioned in my last posting clear, the shooting incidents reported by the above-linked RT and the Dailly Mail articles took place on February 18; the shooting into crowds of peaceful protesters undertaken by government law enforcement agencies, allegedly on the orders of Yanukovich, took place on February 22.

        Of course, everywhere else in the world police forces are allowed to return fire if shot at – even by peaceful demonstrators – or, for that matter, have incendiary devices hurled at them for weeks on end, but not, it seems, in the Ukraine.

      • Al says:

        To the media, almost anyone with a gun is a ‘sniper’. They’re not to interested in quibbling with specifics because ‘sniper’ is such a great word. It is short, it is lauded in military feats of derring do, terrorist assassinations (JFK), and is the cold hearted logical killer who puts morals and humanity on hold to follow orders, and depending on the context it is used is either an unfortunate necessity (military) or pure evil (terrorist).

        Etymology
        Etymology: 14th Century: from Old Norse snīpa; related to Old High German snepfa Middle Dutch snippe
        https://backwardpresent.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/origin-of-the-term-sniper/
        http://sniper.askdefine.com/

        • marknesop says:

          Exactly the same military-porn craving that makes journalists continually and monotonously refer to things in terms of “boots on the ground” whenever there is this sort of operation ongoing, because they think it makes them sound like hardboiled war correspondents darting in and out of the smoke and the hate to get the story.

          Black folks have a rule – as soon as the white folks pick up a street phrase and start to use it regularly, it’s no longer black, because they ruined it by trying to pretend to be all urban and hip themselves. This rule should apply to military phraseology, use of by the civilian journalist. Characterizing whoever was shooting people from the rooftops in Kiev as “snipers” – at least one source suggested they were deliberately blinding people, as if they could shoot your eyes out in the flickering light of burning tyres at night without killing you, which not a sniper on the planet could do – ignored the fact that they shot both civilians and police in more or less equal measure. What kind of government sniper who could shoot your eyes out from 300-500 yards (did you look at that fake map that Ukrainian dipshit came up with from the Interior Ministry’s records, that he was going to turn over to the international courts? Go back and look at the distances involved, quite apart from the map being in English) would shoot the wrong target altogether?

          I knew a real sniper once; I was on a leadership course with him in St-Jean, Quebec in the 90′s, he was attached to the RCR (Royal Canadian Regiment). He said his duties were largely boring; when actually in the field, you might be on the gun for most of the day, just tracking the target and waiting for a “go” order, which might never come and for him never had. But snipers do not shoot people at night from great distances for one simple reason – there are no visual cues to allow for wind. Over the full range of a high-powered rifle, you might have to aim-off by as much as three feet to be sure of the bullet arriving at the desired forehead considering how far the wind would push it on its journey.

          I hate it when people blather about stuff when they don’t know anything at all about it and cannot be bothered to find out.

    • yalensis says:

      If Engdahl is right, then the UNA-UNSO are not even Ukrainian nationalists at all, but just another NATO paramilitary organization that meddles in Eurasian affairs for the past 20 years. Kind of like a Eurasian version of the “My Al Qaeda” cellphone app.

      As for Crimea, we saw in the very first day of the incidents there, that a small group of Tatars jumped into the fray, on the Orange side against Russia. New information is emerging that the pro-Orange Tatars are just a small fringe, which also, not coincidentally, has ties to Al Qaeda (hence the “Allah Akhbar” stuff) – surprise surprise. NATO calling in every resource it has.

      Looks like Russian side deftly fended off this threat by bringing in real Tatars and real Muslims to push the NATO fringe group aside.

      As for the thrust of Engdahl’s article, he is basically saying that the recent coup was pulled off by NATO and the U.S. State Department, without approval of EU.
      This explains a lot. EU are not as stupid as we thought in allowing such a mess that would end up hurting their own interests; they just got out-maneuvered by Nudelman and the good ole U.S.A.

    • Al says:

      I don’t really buy it. Sure, such things exist, but is such action really worth the risk? I would seem more plausible to me that key men/sleepers were activated to further inflame the situation, i.e. reverse titushki, but who am I to know?

      As for ‘anonymous’ sources, they’re like most condiments, you pick the ones you like. As we have seen with the recent Snowden revelations about GCHQ’s JTRIG program to discredit sources, it is fairly obvious that any site that has a large following is a target, which is why I attach a very strong sniff test to anything that appears as a conspiracy theory. The aim is simply to destroy the credibility of the target as a reasonable source of information for lurkers (journos too who follow blogs because the are clueless but still have to write something). That’s a good enough reason to treat information with kid gloves.

      It could be true, but what exactly does it bring to what we know about what is going on in the Ukraine at the moment? Not a lot, except that it neatly ties up all the loose ends. Either it is a joint US/specific euro country operation or it isn’t. I don’t see it as an either or operation. A also I don’t see the US being able to operate so undercover that their allies don’t have some intel about it.

      If there is one thing we can agree about on history (with hindsight), when things go wrong, there is always a strong element of chance, stupidity and other things that can influence events all by their lonesomes.

  68. Warren says:

    Ukraine: Far-right armed with bats patrol Kiev

    9 hours ago

    Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych made his first public appearance since being ousted from office a week ago.

    At a news conference in Russia, he apologised for not “having enough strength to keep stability” in Ukraine and called his usurpers “young, neo-fascist thugs”.

    Gabriel Gatehouse reports for Newsnight.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26394980

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    A well researched, truthful and objective BBC report on the Far Right that make up the Ukrainian “revolutionaries”. The BBC reporter actually reported facts and actually engaged in real journalism for once, even interviewing these C14 & Pravyi Sektor masked Nazi-themed clothes-wearing baton-wielding goons.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Linked above: Oliphant of the Telegraph tweets:”Finally got some mystery camo guys to identify themselves. Russian 810 marine brigade out of Sevastopol. ‘We’re just here to help’.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And Walker of the Grauniad says that the Russian flag has been raised in Donetsk.

        And is this is the democratic will of the people as it was previously expressed in Kiev?

        Or is it all simply the work of those sly, Asiatic Mongol-Tatar-Fino-Ugric Moskaly?

  69. yalensis says:

    According to RT, armed intruders from Kiev attempted to seize Crimean Interior MInistry last night, in Simferopol, but were repelled.
    Sergei Aksonov, Prime Minister of Crimean Autonomy, said there have been other clashes and attacks, notably against the Supreme Court. However, the forces protecting Crimea against these illegitimate putschists are holding firm and repelling the attacks.
    Aksonov added that he has appealed to Russia for help in keeping the peace. A source in the Kremlin administration replied, “Russia will not ignore that request.”

    In conclusion, I like others do hope that Sashko Bilyj will sneak into Crimea and try to take on the Russian naval fleet.

  70. yalensis says:

    Latest news from GAZETA , and BTW they are worth following regularly, because they are keeping a live feed of every new development in Ukraine. I used to hate GAZETA because they were so f**king pro-Navalny, but even then still worth reading, and they have the best coverage when it gets down to details, as opposed to generalities.

    Gazeta’s coverage of Ukraine is surprisingly neutral in slant, I had expected them to be more pro-Orange. But maybe all this is too much, even for them. One can’t even call this stuff “Orange” any more, that was so-o-o-o last week.

    • yalensis says:

      On Gazeta’s live feed, the 2 latest posts from today, bullet points:

      The new authorities in Crimea have worked out an arrangement with Black Sea fleet, to secure vital objects. According to P.M. Aksonov, the 2 groups (Crimean Autonomy) and Black Sea Fleet, are working together in harmony to secure the peace. [read into that what you will...]

      Ukrainian politician Serhiy Tihipko has flown to Moscow to work on “peaceful resolution” of the situation in Crimea.

      It is complicated to keep up with Tihipko’s party affiliations, I think he is still Party of Regions, albeit not yet lustrated by the triumphalist Banderites. Apparently Tihipko is very experienced in economics and finances too, and occupied several high positions in past governments. I wonder if his purpose is to get Russian $$$ to finance Crimea’s budget? Those wages and pensions don’t pay themselves.
      Russia will obviously finance Crimean Autonomy, but they don’t just want to throw money around carelessly, they need somebody to control and audit this, presumably. So maybe that will be Tihipko’s job. Just speculating…

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Just tried to post to Comment is Free of the Grauniad the story posted here my Mark concerning Swedish “nationalists” speaking in Kiev.

        Pushed the “send” button and instantly notified that my posting had been moderated.

        A couple of days ago I posted the You Tube clip that has gone viral showing the delightful Shasko Byliy in action with a state prosecutor.

        No doubt I have been classified s a “Kremlinbot”.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          British ITN’s James Mates reports that Russian troops are clearly patrolling Crimean cities and that “Occupation now in the open”.

          Over to you, Shashko!

  71. Moscow Exile says:

    The sheer nauseating nature of the British russophobic mindset is shown here in this comment made in today’s UK Telegraph:

    I have seen Russian girls and most of them have no teeth they smell have bad breath and will give you a shag for a quid.

    As it happens, this picture went up today in the Western media with the caption “Life goes on. A newly married couple kiss under the statue of Lenin in Simferopol on Saturday. Photograph: DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS”.

    And the comments quickly began to come in about the apparent pulchritude of the photographed bride.

    One commenter stated that the site ukrainebridesagency.com must have spiked as soon as that picture had gone up.

    I should, however, hardly imagine that the young woman in the picture would class herself as “Ukrainian”.

    During my several visits to the Crimea, and also during my only visit to Odessa, I have not infrequently experienced the obvious signs of irritation off the locals when I have injudiciously mentioned in conversation with them that they are Ukranian citizens: these people whom I had inadvertently annoyed in this way have always been at pains to point out to me that they are Russian.

    Furthermore, I have only recently started working with a woman here in Moscow who hails from Odessa and who tells me that she never once heard Ukrainian spoken during her Odessa years (she came to Moscow to study when she was 18 years old) and knew of no one who spoke that tongue.

    She also told me that she shall never forget when, as a 12-year-old, she visited Lvov with her mother. They entered an old, historic church there, she told me, only to be quickly approached by two burly men, who brusquely told them to leave immediately. She said this happened as a result of these men hearing her and her mother talking to each other in Russian.

    Judging by this woman’s age now, that unpleasant incident must have taken place not long after the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic had ceased to exist, the territory of that former Soviet republic thereafter becoming an independent state that calls itself Україна (Ukraina).

  72. SFReader says:

    At this very moment, cities in east and south of Ukraine are in open revolt against Kiev.

    Protesters overthrew local administrations in Donetsk and Kharkov, raised Russian flag and demanded immediate referendum on joining Russia.

    Today is the first day of Russian Spring
    Donetsk
    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/andreyvadjra/18267988/121788/121788_900.jpg
    Kharkov
    http://i062.radikal.ru/1403/bb/fea5b8bb1118.jpg
    Mariupol
    http://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/9829/123177916.2b6/0_10306f_b182175b_XL.jpg
    Nikolaev
    http://cs320329.vk.me/v320329669/7ece/udu2_4hi1GQ.jpg
    Yenakievo
    http://cs14113.vk.me/c540106/v540106081/e03e/MQy3aNjwz84.jpg
    Dneprodzerjinsk
    http://cs14113.vk.me/c540106/v540106627/15847/8KqlWoZk_w4.jpg
    Melitopol
    http://cs14113.vk.me/c540106/v540106303/12051/hE8RC6IAl1M.jpg
    Feodosia
    http://cs314928.vk.me/v314928134/94a2/lXWhKuLzrFg.jpg
    Evpatoria
    http://cs311724.vk.me/v311724227/8a3d/l-1QVwWmDYA.jpg

    • kirill says:

      Thanks for linking the actual photos. For some reason I did not see your post before I posted my link. There must be some sort of automatic moderation.

      • marknesop says:

        No, it’s because SF Reader’s post went into the spam filter, because of all the links and from whence I rescued it this morning in the brief interval before I had to depart for my daughter’s dance lesson. Saturdays are bad days for political uprisings for me, because they conflict with Jazz and a hundred other family distractions. Anyway, that’s why you didn’t see the post, because it wasn’t visible until hours after it was posted. There is no moderation on this blog at all except for me, but you’re right that comments which are plainly of a commercial nature, those which are feelers for porn sites and those which because they contain a lot of hyperlinks resemble one or both of these are weeded out by Akismet, an autofilter. I have no control over it at all, it’s part of WordPress, but it rarely miscategorizes a comment and the number it has intercepted suggests we would be up to our necks in spam if it was not active – far more than the total of actual comments.

        • kirill says:

          Sorry, I should have known it was the spam filter. Somehow I got the impression that there was a hierarchy of “moderation” (filtering) where some posts are flagged for approval by you and others either get posted or sent to the spam can.

          • marknesop says:

            Nope; nothing like that, the blog is wide open except for automatic filters imposed by the program’s designers. It must be frustrating when a comment goes into the spam filter right after I’ve gone to bed – especially if you happened to be first on some hot breaking news – because I will not even see it for hours and I frequently do not even dump the spam until I have had a look over what’s new and maybe fired off a couple of replies myself. This morning I only had a few minutes before I had to leave for the dance lesson, so I just checked the traffic numbers and cleaned out the spam.

  73. kirill says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_ZSd0vQov5I

    People of Simferopol letting pro-Maidan oligarch Poroshenko know how they feel.

    • marknesop says:

      He looks a little tight-lipped and grim, not at all like you would expect a swaggering victor to look. Maybe he’s just thinking about his profit margin, though. Because I daresay he will be all right no matter who is running the country – the rich are both international and well-insulated.

  74. Drutten says:

    So the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy has joined the Russians and the most popular trend in Crimea right now is to take “selfies” with Russian marines.

    This just keeps getting better.

  75. Moscow Exile says:

    Nuclear retaliation assured?

    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.

    That headbanger is the only Svoboda delegate in the Rada. There are, however, doubtless plenty of rabid dogs who support him, such as the psychopath Sashko Byliy.

    See: Calls in Kiev to ‘regain nuclear status in six months’

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Breaking News

      In connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation, our compatriots, and the personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory (in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea)… I submit a proposal on using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in the that country.

      Submission made by the Russian president to senators in the Federation council.

      See: Putin requests senators’ approval to send troops to Crimea

      • patient observer says:
        • Moscow Exile says:

          By 100% “for”.

          Must have been fixed!
          :-)

          • yalensis says:

            Unanimous vote!
            And when has this particular herd of cats ever been unanimous about anything? Astounding!

            P.S. – also breaking news: Russia is going to withdraw her ambassador from the U.S.
            Russia is really ticked!

            • Moscow Exile says:

              It’s the senate that has proposed that this action be taken. Sauron has told his Orcs he’ll think it over.

              I was just thinking, though: that old twat McCain has been awful silent of late.

              I wonder if he’s stuck tying to cobble a pithy tweet as he did previously when he told “Vlad” that an Arab spring was about to burst into full bloom near him?

              Well, it’s spring 2014 already – today being the 1st of March. Putin could send McCain a message something along the following lines:

              Dear Senator McCain,

              Spring has sprung yet again, and still no sign of those Ay-rabs round this neck of the woods.

              • yalensis says:

                Mossad Agent and Terrorist Whisperer Richard Engel had actually coined a new phrase to use: “Eurasian Spring”.
                That was so-o-o-o-o last week, though. (before Russkies invaded Crimea)

                At the time, Richard was in Kiev, whither he had migrated after not finding any terrorist acts at the Sochi Olympics with with to opine.

                So, anyhow, Richard was on the Maidan, preening on TV (NBC station) and gloating about the glorious “Eurasian “Spring”, a term he had jus coined. Then, with a crafty glint in his eye he “wondered curiously” if the Eurasian Spring would start moving eastward, to Russia.

                ’cause Russians, see, would be so inspired by the images of burning tires and neo-Nazi armed guerrillas swearing skull masks.

              • patient observer says:

                It looks more like a Crimean spring (i.e. the will of the people is finally being heard)

    • marknesop says:

      Golly, that’s just what the EU was looking for – a nuclear-armed loose cannon on its borders. Membership offers should be flooding in soon.

  76. kirill says:

    http://lenta.ru/news/2014/03/01/kharkiv/

    Something is starting in eastern Ukraine.

  77. kirill says:

    http://www.nakanune.ru/news/2014/3/1/22343247

    Crimean Tatars are not going to support the Maidanuts. This is probably why Obama waffled his speech. Nobody on the peninsula do defend from “evil Russian invaders”.

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, initially there was some worry that a lot of Tatars might support Maidan. In the past, some of the mejlis leaders played a double game. A lot of us from this distance weren’t really familiar with their situation and who was who, and who had support, and who didn’t.
      Then it turned out, thankfully, that the pro-Orange Tatars are just a small fringe of NATO-sponsored jihadists; and the official Tatar leadership, not to mention bulk of Tatars, support the regular people of Crimea.


      Представитель крымских татар Севастополя, общественный деятель Ильнур Усманов выступил сегодня перед севастопольцами у здания администрации города, выразив солидарность крымских татар с позицией города, передает корреспондент Накануне.RU.

      “Мы понимаем ваши опасения, и знаем, от кого исходит опасность. Я могу вам предложить собрать побольше людей, чтобы вы написали свои вопросы и я по всем мог ответить. Я развею все сомнения, все страхи, которые у вас есть. Поверьте, крымские татары, так же как и русские — они хотят мира, процветания и дружбы”, – сказал он под аплодисменты собравшихся, которые начали кричать лозунг “мы едины — мы непобедимы!”.

      TRANSLATION

      The representative of the Crimean Tatars of Sebastopol, Ilnur Usmanov, today spoke to a crowd of Sebastopol citizens in front of the administrative building; and he expressed solidarity on behalf ot the Crimean Tatars…

      “We understand your apprehensions, and we know where the danger comes from. I can propose to you to collect more people, so that you can write down your questions, and I can answer them. I can assuage all your doubts, all your fears. Believe me, the Crimean Tatars, just like the Russians, want peace, prosperity, and friendship.” His speech drew applause from the crowd, which began to chant: “We are united! We are undefeatable!”

      END OF TRANSLATION

  78. kirill says:

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?234722-Havoc-in-Kiev&p=7064108&viewfull=1#post7064108

    The above has a set of photos showing large protests across eastern Ukraine. Note that there were no such large protests all over the country during the Maidan “mega” protest. There were not even such large protests in Lwow. In other words, the Maidanuts had no national support and were shipped in from places like Lwow.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Don’t forget, the Maidan peaceful protesters enjoyed the silent support of the majority of Ukrainian citizens – well, at least a majority of 50% of the Ukrainian population.

      And if you don’t accept that, then you’re living in a bubble.

      • kirill says:

        I know, such a cute little bit of BS. The western media can get away with such lies because it deliberately neglects to quote opinion polls. It does the same in the case of Russia. Then they can show some clown waving a Nazi symbol and claim all Ukrainians support him. Of course, they neglect to note the Nazi symbol.

  79. Moscow Exile says:

    That part of the Ukraine that was tacked onto the Ukrainian heartland by the Russian Tsar after the clearing of the “Wild Field” and the Black Sea Coast of the Ottoman Turks and its slave-trading subjects, the Crimean Tatars, in other words: what is now Eastern and South Eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian littoral and parts of what was Bessarabia and which became known as “New Russia” and “Little Bessarabia”, look set for breaking away from the former territory that was once called the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

    South East Ukraine, it is reported, has already started calling itself “New Russia” again:

    Россия услышала просьбу Крыма о помощи. Юго-Восток Украины уже называет себя Новороссией и поднимает на властными зданиями российские флаги.

    [Russia has heard the cry for help coming from the Crimea. South-East Ukraine is already calling itself "New Russia" and has hoisted Russian flags onto its government buildings.]

  80. Moscow Exile says:

    Banderovites being rounded up at 2pm today, March 1st, in Kharkov.

    They’d tried to occupy the main government building there, over which now flies the Russian flag.

    Clearly, this Banderov “peace train” arrived at the wrong station.

    People are shouting “Fascists!” at them as they are being led away from the building to a gathering place on the street, where they are being protected by the cops. There’s been some violence, as some of the arrested people have bloodied heads.

    Some Russian wag has commented below the clip:

    Сала этим героям! – Pork fat to these heroes.

    [Sala etim geroyam]

    Which is a pun on Слава этим героям [slava etim geroyam] – Glory to these heroes!

    Salo is much loved by many Ukrainians.

    I must say, I am rather partial to it myself.

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, my father-in-law loves it, too. And rylka. Once I could not abide any fat on my meat at all and would trim it all off. I’ve gotten a bit more relaxed as I got older, but I still prefer the meat-to-fat ratio to be high on the meat side.

      What my father-in-law enjoys here as Salo is essentially, so far as I can make out, thick-cut raw bacon.

  81. Moscow Exile says:

    Latest News:

    Russia’s Federation Council has anonymously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine. The move is aimed to settle the turmoil in the split country.

    The Upper House of the Russian parliament has voted in favor of sending troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which would ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.

  82. Fern says:

    Reggietcs mentioned above that he’d been away for a week and there’d been huge changes in Ukraine. Ah, those were the days when it took days to bring about a turn in events and we look back on them with nostalgia – blink nowadays and you miss at least one regime change. I went to bed last night, got up this morning, had the necessary expresso, turned on the TV to find we’re practically at war. I get why Russia has taken the action it has, but I can’t help thinking it’s an escalation of an already nightmare situation. What’s the general mood of everyone else?

    On the AP front, the problem with blogs – even ones as excellent as this – and internet communication generally, is that people feel pushed to take up positions which are more extreme or less nuanced than would be the case if you were having a face-to-face conversation with them. When reading a post, there’s no way to evaluate body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and so on, all the myriad signals we subconsciously take account of when interacting with others. I’m sure many genuinely peaceful Maidan protestors and supporters are unhappy with or have serious reservations about what has subsequently happened and AP’s probably amongst them. I could be wrong of course. I hope he returns.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I do, too.

      Paradoxically, I prefer this sort of communication to face-to-face, because in the latter instance it is hard to keep from reacting and in the case of someone who is deliberately trying to provoke you, it is hard not to give satisfaction by getting angry. In a remote conversation, when someone is rude or deliberately provocative it is much easier to affect either fatherly disappointment or bored disinterest, and thereby deny them the pleasure of a victory. Also, people are prepared to go much further in a remote exchange, and will say things that might earn them a teeth-rattling smack in the lips if said in a Pub. That leads to much more enjoyment on my part when they turn out to be wrong.

  83. Fern says:

    ‘Moon of Alabama’ has discovered an article dating from December 2013 reporting that a group of Tatar jihadists fighting in Syria had been withdrawn and flown to Ukraine, courtesy of Turkey:-
    “According to news appearing in the French, Ukrainian and Russian press, Turkish Intelligence has a finger in the ongoing pro-EU protests in Ukraine. News stories from these three nations have claimed that the governmental intelligence organization of Turkey, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) organized the transfer of separatist, jihadist Tatars trained in Turkey to the Ukraine. According to French news site Egalite et Réconciliation, dozens of Crimean Tatar Jihadists were extracted from Syria by the MİT and transferred to Ukraine via Turkey on an İstanbul-Sevastopol flight of Turkish Airlines on the 22 November”. http://www.aydinlikdaily.com/MİT-and-CIA-Stir-Up-Ukraine-on-EU’s-Behalf-1555

    The kerfuffle that happened yesterday when it was reported that armed men (Russian soldiers according to the western press) had seized two airports in Crimea resulted in a flight from Turkey turning back. The Saker has posited that this aircraft could have been bringing in additional fighters, weapons or money and stopping it landing or controlling it when it did, was the purpose of the exercise.

    • kirill says:

      Great catch. As I expected, the Russian military action in Crimea was to prevent Maidanut elements being moved into the region to suppress the locals.

      • yalensis says:

        That’s exactly right. Remember that this whole thing actually started in Kerch.
        The sequence of events was:

        (1) Maidanuts began sending so-called “Friendship Trains” to ship bully boys from Lvov/Kiev into Crimea. Assignment of said bully-boys was to set up local Maidans, intimidate the locals, and “teach the people how to live”.
        (2) Crimeans, starting with Kerchites, spontaneously rejected these incursions and began to fight back.
        (3) Crimeans appealed to Russia to help them repel more incursions.
        (4) Russians began sending troops, in response to these pleas for help.

    • marknesop says:

      Interesting: good find.

  84. Moscow Exile says:

    You spend years trying to dissuade people to talk in Cold War stereotypes and then you watch a parliament session like this. No words” – “Tweet” off Walker of the Grauniad commenting on the debate at the Russian senate over whether to allow Russian troops into the Crimea in order to stabilize the situation there (really to de-rail the Bandera “peace trains”).

    Interesting that, coming off the man who wrote the article “Krokodil” for the Independent, which article still ranks as one of that rag’s most read ones.

    See: “British Media Disease: Cold War Bullshit”

    • marknesop says:

      As delighted as I was to hear that Shaun Walker was left without words, I am pessimistic that it will be any more than a very temporary affliction. And his horribly distorted sentence should read “You spend years trying to dissuade people from talking in Cold War stereotypes and then you watch a parliament session like this”. What’s his first language, again? You don’t ever “dissuade” someone “to” something. I’ll just put it down to noble outrage, shall I?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        He must be mixing up “to persuade someone to do something” with “to dissuade someone from doing something”.

        Funny that: which verbs govern a gerund and which an infinitive – or both – and which preposition to use with a gerund cause big problems for Russian learners of English, as well as the differences in meaning that a following gerund or infinitive makes, e.g. “to remember to do/doing something” and “to try to do/doing something”.

        • marknesop says:

          That may well be, but I doubt Shaun Walker will get far with a defense that because of his native Russian language background, he has trouble with gerunds. He should have such a cosy academic relationship with gerunds that he can chuck them under the chin playfully like babies, considering he is not only a likely product of an excellent British education, but is a fooking professional journalist what writes for ‘is living into the bargain. As opposed to you, who brawled your way through school and then sold your birthright for a mess of pottage, choosing to begrime yourself in subterranean depths instead of walking on your hind legs and talking like gentry.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, my birthright I signed away – more exactly, made a mark with a clumsily scratched cross and a “thank ‘ee kindly, sir!” – my right forefinger knuckle lightly tapping my forehead after my having received my piece of silver.

            Which reminds me, as a son of the waves (compared to whom none are so free – “hearts of oak” and all that), do you know why the Royal Navy salute given by a seaman has the edge of the right hand presented to an officer, unlike in the British Army, where the whole palm of the right hand is facing the exalted one?

            It’s because Jolly Jack Tars’ hands were usually black, they being ingrained with tar through constantly handling the rigging, and it was considered impolite to present one’s dirty, grubby mit to an officer and gentleman.

  85. Al says:

    Well well. The question of the legitimacy of the ‘interim’ government in Kiev seems to have penetrated some of the MSM BS Bubble.

    NYT: After Initial Triumph, Ukraine’s Leaders Face Battle for Credibility
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/world/europe/after-initial-triumph-ukraines-leaders-face-battle-for-credibility.html

    “…“You have a revolution, with unelected guys seizing power,” said Andrew Wilson, a Ukraine expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

    “The people on the Maidan might be right, they might be martyrs, and they have good arguments, but no one elected them,” he said. “You need to get real politics and competition and more legitimacy. Of course, the counterargument is just concentrate on economy. But the credibility question is tearing the country apart and the transfer of power cut a lot of corners constitutionally.”…”

    What is a logical argument that could be made by Russia?? I would argue that,

    The sole remaining legal representative in the Ukraine is President Yanukovich according to the Ukranian constitution (as Moon of Alabama pointed out earlier) . Thus, if President Yanokovich requests Russian military assistance to protect Ukranian nationals under existential threat from a cadre of anti-russian & anti-semitic cadre of russian nationalists that have gained significant influence in the 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. Russian intervention is not being asked to overthrow the failures in Kiev, but to protect. This is R2P – Responsibility to Protect as requested by the President of the Ukraine. Maybe that is what Russia will argue at the UN tonight.

    Note that the EU bods said that they ‘consider’ the authorites in the Kiev to be legitimate. Using the ‘consider’ word gives them wiggle room because if they have actually spoken to any international law expert, then they would know that Yanukovich has been deposed illegally and even the voting in the new rada, is deeply suspect when you have pigs with baseball bats hanging around. No document is legal if it has been signed under coercion/threat.

    • marknesop says:

      Which speaks to the Russian government’s sagacity in having given Yanukovych sanctuary, even though he is an odious waffling incompetent boob – because as the legitimate leader of Ukraine he has tremendous value (as someone, perhaps you, pointed out earlier) in that he can give Russia a legal fig leaf that not even the UN or the squabbling western powers can take away.

      Also, incidentally, so much for that “the revolution will be won or lost in Kiev” argument.

  86. Moscow Exile says:

    Ukrainian “radicals” call on Islamic fundamentalists to attack Russia:

    A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector’s page in VKontakte social network.

    See: http://rt.com/news/yarosh-nationalist-address-umarov-380/

    The Ukrainian people and the peoples of the Caucasus are united as regards their blood that has been spilt.

    Many Ukrainians with weapons in their hands have supported the Chechens in their war of liberation and other Caucasus nations.

    As leader of the “Right Sector” I call upon you to activate your struggle. Russia is not as strong as it seems. You now have a unique chance of victory.: make use of this chance!

    Leader of the “Right sector”, Dmitri Yarosh

    • Moscow Exile says:

      What do you think of that Merkel, Obama, Cameron, Hollande, Lady Fucking Ashton, Hague and all the rest of you terrorist supporting shites? How would you like a so-called “black widow” operating in your cities?

      Freedom for the Ukraine from Russian aggressors my arse!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        These “nationalists” are psychopathic killers consumed with an obscene hatred for Russians – and pretty well everyone else, it seems, that they feel encroach on their little corner of Eastern Europe.

        I remember a counter made in this thread to accusations made concerning the horrendous atrocities that the UPA perpetrated against their perceived enemies – the mutilations, disembowellings, the hacking off of limbs and so on and so on – obscene acts carried out not only against men, but also against women, children and babes in arms, and all well documented as in,for example, this book.

        That counter ran thus: the carpet bombing of German cities by the western allies was an atrocity of a similar nature and which resulted in far more deaths of men, women and children and babes in arms, unfortunate victims who were also mutilated, immolated, dismembered, eviscerated etc. than suffered at the hands of the UPA.

        I should really like to question this comparison.

        Those airman carried out these murders of German citizens at a distance and at the push of a button and also under great stress cause by fear – fear of their own deaths, for bomber crews were regularly obliterated – and in very great numbers as well – during their death missions carried out from miles above.

        Does the person that made that comparison really equate those bomber crews’ actions with those of the UPA?

        Does he really believe that members of USAAF and RAF bomber aircrews, if they had been given the opportunity and the weapons- pistols, automatics, knives, axes, barbed wire etc. – and let loose on German villages, then they would have meted out such atrociously barbaric and murderous acts against their perceived enemies as did UPA “heroes of the Ukraine” against Poles?

    • marknesop says:

      Far more of a damnation against him than a threat to Russia, don’t you think? That will make good coffee-table chat at the UN as well, seems to me. I don’t see how Russia could present itself better; it did nothing while the grubbing sneaks of the west worked a regime-change operation in a neighbouring country after its legitimate leader had perfectly legitimately chosen an association with Russia which was to its immediate financial benefit and which in fact is the only thing that has staved off the collapse of that country’s currency until now. As a reward, the west undermined his leadership and incited his citizens to riot until he was driven from the country, then looked on applauding as a puppet government was illegally set up in his place, the USA postulating some ridiculous qualification that if its Vice-President can’t reach you by phone you are considered to have abdicated. The puppet government proved incapable of controlling the radical kneebreakers it had cheered when they were helping it take power, and they have now embarked on purges and violent corrections in pursuit of their own idealized social order. The west would rise up in rage and disgust at any other country which did this on its own and be shouting at its own leaders to send in the troops. But because it is itself at the root of this revolution which put unelected puppets in charge, it is silent except for snarling at Russia to stay out of it, just let it happen.

      Hardly solid ground, I think you’ll agree.

    • cartman says:

      Where was Umarov during the Olympics? He missed his debutante ball.

      • kirill says:

        This has to be due to Russian anti-terrorism enforcement. But I am sure some pundit or liberast drone will attribute it to the good will of Umarov and his backers.

    • yalensis says:

      Ukrainian radical fascists, who have seized power in Kiev, call upon Islamist jihadists to attack Russia with terrorist attacks.

      All the masks are off. This is kind of refreshing, in a way. I was sick of the hypocritical bullshit and double-speak. Now everybody knows who everybody is.

  87. kirill says:

    Things are ugly in Ukraine:

    http://www.rosbalt.ru/federal/2014/03/01/1239323.html

    Refugees fleeing to Russia, a sign we are not getting the full picture of events in Ukraine.

    Supposedly a Russian military incursion into Zaporozhiye:

    http://tyzhden.ua/News/103674

    I think this is war propaganda.

  88. Al says:

    Just watching CNN. Hilarious. Ammanpour is squealing that “…needs to apply maximum influence….economic sanctions…not standing up to Russia’s moves… and need to be told where the red line is…”. Has someone told her she is not POTUS? From breathless bravado to breathless squealing. There’s nothing like the smell of bacon in the evening. She’s endlessly quoting the 1994 agreement because that is what ze Germans and the Polish politicians have told her. Blubb blubb blubb, watch her sink!

    • marknesop says:

      For someone who stands so firmly on the written law, she seems a little shaky on the fact that none of the people she is defending is actually legally in office.

    • yalensis says:

      Amanpour is a disgusting imperialist shill. Everybody should remember how she cheered on Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
      She is the second worst person in the world, second only to Mossad Agent Richard Engel.

      • patient observer says:

        And she looks like a $2 whore. She also cheered the attack of Serbia with her breathless style that is supposed to lend credibility. But I disagree with your assignment of her evilness if for no other reason that she is not in a position to be worse than Hilary Clinton, queen bitch of state-sanctioned murder. I guess that is is progress that these women have achieved full equality with their male counterparts in deception and hate.

        • yalensis says:

          The Evilness rankings are fluid and might change after we see their long program.

          • patient observer says:

            Yeah, Hilary blew it in the compulsory dignified stair climbing event. Even her very low center of gravity did not allow her to recover. As you implied, she will need to make an all-out effort in the long program program. With her long-time coach Bomber Bill at her side she still has a legitimate shot.

  89. kirill says:

    http://lenta.ru/news/2014/03/01/yatsenuk/

    Yatz threatening to sever relations with Russia. And who will feed his illegal regime?

  90. Al says:

    Clever move by Putin that works on multiple levels.

    a) No one is being attacked

    b) He reserves the ‘right’ to intervene. It’s a useful threat to wield regardless of intent to actually do so

    c) It exposes the more crazy nationalists publicly to the maidanites/supporters of the coup – and will help to delegitimize and split ranks within the coalition. The message is “These are the people you want to represent you in future. Are you really sure?”

    d) It puts the West in a difficult position: i) if they are not worried about the ultra right wing/anti-semitic faction then they will fully back them without mincing words, ii) if they are more guarded/opaque in their words, then it is confirmation that they also have their doubts about elements within the coalition – and this all feeds back to the maidanites.

    e) We’ve been told over and over again that the West doesn’t think the Russians are serious about military action. Ooops! There goes the curveball.

    The West can’t condemn Putin for what he hasn’t done, but what he might do. Two entirely different things.

  91. Al says:

    Last point. This is a kick in NATO’s balls. The West has over-extended itself and got lost in failed/unwinable wars. It’s reputation is at an all time low except in government circles.

    Make no mistake, this is not 1999 where NATO thought they’d have an walkover after a few days bombing that turned into 78 days and stretched NATO to its limits only for that drunk in the Kremlin to save them.

    This is 2014. This is nuclear armed Russia. Is it really worth it? Russia has no interest in Poland or the Balts. This is Putin’s wedge opening the door.

    This is just amazing history. It’s live. It’s here. It’s full spectrum public. Amazing.

    • kirill says:

      The downside is that all the Russia haters and fence-sitters are getting their paranoid delusions “confirmed”. Putin the tyrant is raping innocent Ukraine. Most people in the west don’t even know what Svoboda (which used to be called the Social-National Party of Ukraine, really) and Right Sector are. They think these are some radicalized Madian Orange youth.

      • marknesop says:

        That may be, but it should be easy to show them – even if the media is too dishonest to do it – that it is the will of the people of Ukraine and that this is a real broad-based revolt against the current government. That should not be at all a difficult concept for them to grasp, considering it was just such a supposed movement which had them coming in their pants just a week ago and which resulted in the current crop of unelected representatives in power. Well, now a bigger group doesn’t like it and wants it reversed, and has asked to be associated with Russia. What could be more normal and beautiful than the people speaking their minds, right?

  92. Jen says:

    Meanwhile for those who want a break from the US / NATO / EU destabilisation and dismemberment efforts in Ukraine, here is some happier news: a photo series of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin giving cash awards to Muscovite Olympians who won medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
    http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_01/photo-Moscow-mayor-Sergey-Sobyanin-hands-cash-bonuses-to-Muscovites-Olympians-6265/?slide-1

    Incidentally does anyone here know if Olympic medallists are taxed in Russia? There’s been news in the blogosphere that US medallists might be taxed heavily on the cash awards (up to 36% depending on the tax bracket they fall into) they receive from the US Olympic Committee. There was legislation introduced in US Congress in 2012 to exempt athletes from being taxed on cash awards received for winning Olympic Games medals and on the value of the metal in the medals themselves but I don’t know how far that got.
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/olympics.asp

    The most current information I can find was from the Americans for Tax Reform website:
    http://www.atr.org/achieve-olympic-glory-pay-irs-a8135

    Canadian Olympics athletes are also taxed on cash prizes received for winning medals:
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/06/despite-amateur-status-tax-man-keeps-eye-on-canadian-athletes-on-olympic-podium/

    BTW British athletes receive no cash prizes at all but get only the honour of seeing their faces on postage stamps and imagining how tongues lick them and how many fists bang on them.

  93. Al says:

    One more thing. The West and the Maidanites took Yanukovich’s hesitation as weakness, which in a sense it was as I think he knew he couldn’t rely on certain groups.

    All the soft talk by the West about cooperating with Russia for Ukraine’s stability etc. is taken as weakness by Putin. Yet again, the West likes to have its cake and try and eat it. For all the shit they have been throwing at Russia, refusal to talk on visas, trade ties etc., pulling out of treaties, turning blind eyes to ethnic cleansing by their favorites, the West needs Russia even more now than ever. How far we have come..

    P.S. Has anyone seen the news about a massive ambush by Assad forces that killed 170+ foreign islamicist rebels?

    http://nypost.com/2014/02/26/video-shows-moment-syrian-army-bombs-huge-rebel-group/

  94. Moscow Exile says:

    Evicting the Maidanites from the Kharkov regional administrative building after they had tried to occupy it.

    See: http://vk.com/video-22292037_167759213?list=64aa1d80ebff9f1974

  95. Moscow Exile says:

    Frigate “Hetman Sahaidachny” under the command of Rear Admiral Andrei Tarasov has refused to obey orders from Kiev. The St. Andrew’s flag has been hoisted on the frigate, which is returning from the Gulf of Aden to the Black Sea.

    See: Украинский фрегат «Гетман Сагайдачный» отказался подчиняться Киеву и поднял Андреевский флаг

    • yalensis says:


      Узнав о “бунте на корабле”, премьер-министр Украины Арсений Яценюк обратился к премьер-министру Турции Реджепу Тайипу Эрдогану с требованием не пропускать мятежный фрегат «Гетман Сагайдачный» через проливы Босфор и Даоданеллы в Черное море.

      TRANSLATION
      Having learned of the mutiny on the ship, Ukrainian P.M. Arseny Yatsenuk appealed to Turkish P.M Erdogan to not allow the mutninous frigate “Hetman Sagaidachnyj” to cross the Bosphotid Straights and the Dardanelles into the Black Sea.
      END OF TRANSLATION

      This is a story that obviously needs to be followed.

    • Jen says:

      St Andrew, that’s the patron saint of Russia. Is this equivalent to the ship’s crew declaring that they’re for Russia?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Reckon so.

        St. Andrew’s flag is the Russian Navy Ensign.

        Hoisting this flag on a ship that is not part of the Russian fleet definitely means “I’m on your side” – or I’m pretending to be: sailing under a false-flag was and still is a legitimate naval ruse.

        It isn’t in the military though. You get shot for wearing the enemy uniform in battle: witness the fate of German troops dressed in GI-gear at the Battle of the Bulge, 1944.

        So the Ukrainian warship is either signalling that it’s with the Russian fleet or (and I don’t think this is the case because the flag was hoisted before she has even attempted to enter the Black Sea) the raising of St. Andrew’s flag is just a ruse to confuse her enemies.

  96. Moscow Exile says:

    Ukrainian Navy flagship takes Russia’s side – report

    Drutten mentioned this a while back but gave no links.

    The news is coming in now though.

    Apparently the whole of the Ukrainian navy command resigned on the 28th of February.

    And get this, that little shit “Yats” asked Turkey not to allow the vessel passage through the Bosporus.

    I wonder what the Ukrainian army and air force reaction to this will be?

    Hetman Sahaidachny is coming home – to Sevastopol and under St. Andrew’s flag!

  97. yalensis says:

    As was prophetically foretold by prescient idiots like me, illegal Ukrainian Orange “government” has appealed to NATO to help them fight against Russia.

    Like, we didn’t see this coming 100 miles away?

    In other words, Yats and Turchynov are employing the “Saakashvili Gambit”. They declare war against Russia. In the expectation (and frantic hope) that NATO will intervene on their side.

    Like Nostradamus predicted several centuries ago: “Ceux-ci Yats et Klich, Ils mangeront leurs propres cravates…”

    • marknesop says:

      What are you talking about – you didn’t even know which Ukrainian cities were in what oblasts! Don’t pretend now that you are a visionary!

      • yalensis says:

        All that was required to predict Maidanuts calling in NATO:

        (1) A rudimentary grasp of geography,
        (2) The IQ of an intelligent amoeba; and
        (3) A crystal ball a minimum of 1 millimeter in diameter!

        • Jen says:

          How about (4) No grasp of recent history in Gruziya and how the US reacted when Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia and Russia immediately sent troops there in 2008.

  98. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Donbass is also talking secession. Donetsk city council voted to conduct a referendum about the future of Donbass. The city deputies voted unanimously for the resolution. The referendum will pose the following question:

    “Whether to consider the Russian Federation a strategic partner of Donbass.
    On Saturday, the Russian flag was raised over the cities of Donetsk and Kharkov, not to mention Odessa.

    • yalensis says:

      typo: should be a closing double quote ” after
      “Whether to consider the Russian Federation a strategic partner of Donbass”

      This is good, it’s “creeping” secessionism, which is more effective in the long run than sudden secessionism.

    • kirill says:

      The regime in Kiev is mobilizing the army to stop this. Right sector goons and cannon fodder are already engaged in confrontations. Without Donbass Ukraine is a total loss. And to think that the voice of the people living there does not count. While Shasko Biliy and his goons get NATO approval (i.e. I have not seen any condemnation of the participation of Right Sector in the Kiev regime from NATO).

      • Moscow Exile says:

        STOP PRESS

        Reports are coming in that FIFA is considering debarring Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup competition.

        So I should worry!

        Can’t stand the game.

        (Actually this imposition of a FIFA ban has been put forward by – you guessed it! – a Guardianista.)

  99. marknesop says:

    Heavy is the head that wears the crown of state. The Yatsinator is informed that his forces are inadequate to take back the Crimea, boo hoo.

    Although riddled with errors – Ukraine does not have any “excellent home-produced tanks” unless the author is talking about T-types produced when Ukraine was still a part of the Soviet Union; their new tanks were made by Poland – and trying its best to find the silver lining (the Russians have the Ukrainian navy “boxed in” is kinder than saying the Ukrainian navy is deserting to the enemy), overall the tone is one of amazed wonder that the armed forces could have deteriorated to this terrible state of readiness in only three days. I mean, just last week everyone was sure they were not only full of piss and vinegar, but that they would have deserted to the Oranges had they been ordered to restore the public peace. Now we learn the military “has made a point of staying out of the internal political conflict in the Ukraine”.

    Obviously written by civilians whose heads would make fine paperweights. To the military is not given the luxury of either opinion or avoidance when it comes to internal political conflict; it is at the disposal of its Commander-In-Chief, and does as he says without comment or analysis. Could it be the military realizes that its Commander-In-Chief is not in fact in Ukraine at all, and the self-raising government in Kiev realizes it would probably not be acknowledged or obeyed if it gave the order to re-take the Crimea?

    “Yuri Lutsenko, an opposition leader, reached out to residents of eastern Ukraine on Saturday who might be watching on television, saying the protesters who had populated the Maidan, or Independence Square, in Kiev had never harbored anger at those in the east.

    “We reach out our hands from Maidan to Donetsk, to Kharkiv, to Dnepropetrovsk and to Simferopol,” he said, speaking in Russian, spoken by many in the eastern part of the country.”

    ‘Pon my soul, that’s somewhat of a different tune than that sung giddily in the Rada of late, when the Russian language had its official status removed and the unibrowed thugs of Svoboda made noises about arrest for anyone overheard speaking it, what? I guess those Ukraine-for-Ukrainians types actually can speak Russian when they find a suitable occasion!!

    • kirill says:

      Reality bites, poor Yats. Ukraine actually has developed good tank models since 1991, namely the Oplot:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-84

      But look where it is produced, in Kharkov, practically on the Russian border. Those damned Russified eastern Ukrainians. Shashko Biliy and the rest of Yats’s crew are good for nothing. Yats should ship himself over to the EU and stay there.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, you’re right: I forgot the Oplot. I was just looking at the photo in that NYT article, at Yats standing at the lectern, and was struck by his resemblance to Vector, the unlikeable geek in “Despicable Me”, in his Fortress of Vectortude. Except the character of Vector had more hair.

        He doesn’t look much like somebody who is living his dream as the leader of his country he always wanted to be, does he? In fact, he looks like a man struggling to stay ahead of a rolling reality that is about to run him down.

  100. marknesop says:

    Nobody appears to be increasing their overall national military readiness, anyway, which is a good sign so far. But for anyone who was curious as to what China’s position might be, this article is suggestive on top of the recent lawsuit launched against the brand-new self-raising unelected Ukrainian government. That the west auto-recognized in the blink of an eye, not to put too fine a point on it. As well they might, since they probably had a lot to do with its makeup.

    I bet that UN Meeting was a testy exchange. Although full of the usual patriotic blabber, this timeline contains some insights – among them that the Crimean referendum has been pushed forward to March 30th, and an opinion that if Ukraine loses the Crimea it will never forgive the Yatsenyuk government.

    And now I’m off to dinner with our Ukrainian friends. Back later.

  101. Moscow Exile says:

    Letter to http://vk.com/navalnystop one hour ago (11:00 Moscow time, 2nd March, 2014), since deleted.

    Чего же так испугался Крым?
    Официально угрозами, столь сильно напугавшими жителей Крыма от прихода новой власти в Украине, что они аж позвали на помощь Россию, называются три причины:
    1. Русская речь якобы в Украине отныне будет запрещена и попадает под УК.
    2. В Крым якобы едут эшелоны бендеровцев навязывать свои фашисткие порядки.
    3. Верховная Рада Украины якобы первым делом отменила закон, который расширял полномочия русского языка в государстве.

    Поскольку большинством пророссийских граждан в Украине, а также россиянами, эти вещи воспринимаются как свершившийся факт, я решил пролить на них свет, и показать, что они на самом деле не соответствуют действительности.

    1. Речь Тягнибока, в которой он выступает за запрет русского языка со сцены Майдана и обещает за русскую речь уголовную ответственность.
    Хотите — ищите, но вы прямую речь нигде не найдете, потому что ее и не было. Информация эта пошла из сюжета телеканала “Россия”, где просто об этом упомянули, не дав ни одного синхрона (когда фоном показывают Тягнибока, он говорит на совершенно другую тему). А в качестве доказательства его слов привели –… чей–то комментарий в ЖЖ (!!!). На самом деле, на сцену Майдана в любое время суток направлены одновременно десятки камер, самых разных организаций и каналов, и хотя бы одна из них его речь зафиксировала.
    Вывод: информация — фейк.

    2. Массово стекающиеся бЕндеровцы на спецпоездах в Крым.
    Источник этой утки — проянуковичевский канал 112, интервью с якобы “координатором Правого Сектора” по имени Игорь Мосийчук.
    Это совершенно не так.
    Во–первых. Этот человек действительно националист, но он 2.5 года провел в СИЗО, и освободился ровно 24 февраля 2014 г. по амнистии — ровно за ДВА ЧАСА до эфира (т.е. после “звонка” этот человек тут же поскакал давать интервью телеканалу 112).
    Но поскольку Правый Сектор был создан только в ноябре 2013–го, Мосийчук за столь короткие минуты после освобождения ну никак не мог успеть ни вступить в организацию (а упоминаний, что он является ее членом нигде нет и по сей день!), ни изучить ее устав. Поэтому он тем более не имел никакого морального права говорить от имени Правого Сектора. Все что нам было представлено — личная позиция какого–то националиста, не имеющего отношения к Правому Сектору.
    Во–вторых, он заявил в этом интервью, что тот “Поезд Дружбы” МОЖЕТ быть сформирован ЛИШЬ В ТОМ СЛУЧАЕ, если Крым НАЧНЕТ отделение от Украины. Но крымчане заговорили о выходе из состава Украины потому, что якобы такие поезда УЖЕ выехали к ним, и, мол, именно этот факт и послужил для призывов о военной помощи к России. Причину–следствие улавливаете?
    Вывод: перекрученные слова человека, который, к тому же, не имеет никакого отношения к Правому Сектору.

    3. Отмена обновленной Радой известного “Закона о языках”, в котором русский язык якобы имел широкие полномочия.
    Во–первых, вам известно, что этот закон, принятый еще в 2012–м году, на самом деле по причине его несовершенства не проработал ни одного дня?
    Вам известно, что он оказался элементом предвыборной программы, и по факту не представлял из себя вообще ничего, что было всеми признано еще в год его принятия?
    Во–вторых, более того, увидев, что отмена этого пустого закона вызвала столь резкий резонанс в русскоязычном обществе, новоявленный и.о. Президента Украины наложил ВЕТО на решение Верховной Рады Украины об отмене этого закона. Т.е. “Закон о языках” остался в силе.
    Вывод: информация о том, что русский язык законодательно подвергся ущемлению в Украине (или что такое планируется), является ложью.

    Поскольку эти три пункта называются главными угрозами для населения Крыма, то подобная подтасовка фактов и откровенная ложь в СМИ наталкивает лишь на один вывод:
    все эти притянутые за уши мифические угрозы для русскоязычного населения Украины являются ни чем иным, как банальным оправданием военного вторжения России на территорию Украины.

    Translation

    What is the Crimea so scared of?

    Officially, of threats; so much afraid are Crimean residents of the arrival of a new government in the Ukraine that they have already called on Russia for help, giving three reasons for doing so:

    1. The Russian language in the Ukraine is now alleged to have been prohibited under the Criminal Code.
    2 . Towards the Crimea there are allegedly arriving by train squads of Banderovtsy in order impose their fascist rule there.
    3 . The Ukrainian Supreme Rada has, allegedly, as its first act repealed that law which was to extend the powers of the Russian language in the state.

    Insofar as the majority of the pro-Russian citizens in the Ukraine, as well as the Russians themselves, have perceived these matters as being fait accompli, I have decided to shed some light on them and show that they really are not true.

    1. Tyahnibok’s speech, in which he calls for a ban of the Russian language from a stage on the Maidan, promising to criminalize the speaking of Russian.

    If you wish, seek it out: you will, however, not find this speech anywhere – because it never existed. This information came from the TV channel “Rossiya”, which simply spoke of the content of the speech, without transmitting the words spoken (when in the background to the news broadcast Tyahnibok was shown speaking, he was talking about a completely different subject). And using these words of his, many comments have appeared on Live Journal (!!!). In fact, the Maidan stage was at the time covered by dozens of cameras operating for a variety of organizations and channels, yet not one of them has recorded this speech .

    Conclusion: false information.

    2 . Banderovtsy are flocking in droves by train to the Crimea.

    Source of this canard – a pro-Yanukovich channel 112 interview with an alleged “Right Sector coordinator” named Igor Mosiychuk.

    This is absolutely untrue.

    Firstly: although this man really is a nationalist, he spent 2.5 years in prison and was released exactly on 24 February 2014 under an amnesty – just TWO HOURS before the broadcast (i.e., after having been given a call, this man immediately jumped to give an interview to 112).

    However, since the Right Sector was established in November 2013, Mosiychuk just would not have been able to join this organization (and may I remind you that to this day there is no mention of his ever being a member of it!) in such a short time following his release, nor to study its aims. He therefore had no right whatsoever to speak on behalf of the Right Sector. All that was presented to us was the position taken by some nationalist person who has nothing to do with the Right Sector.

    Secondly: he said in the interview that a “Friendship Train” COULD be formed ONLY IN THE CASE of the Crimea BEGINNING to secede from the Ukraine. However, Crimeans have been talking about secession from the Ukraine because it is alleged that such trains have ALREADY already left and, they say, this fact has given them reason to call on Russia for military aid. Cause following effect?

    Conclusion: the twisted words of a man who, moreover, has no relation to the Right Sector.

    3. The cancellation of a modification to the well-known Rada “Law on language”, in which the Russian language would, allegedly, have had widened authority.

    Firstly, you do realize that that “Law on language”, which was passed in 2012, has, because of its imperfections, not been implemented for a single day?

    You do realize that it was part of an election program and, in fact, there was nothing at all in the legislation about it having to be accepted by everyone as soon as the bill had been passed.

    Secondly: having seen, moreover, that amendments to this ineffective law had caused such a sharp resonance in the Russian-speaking community, the newly-acting President of the Ukraine VETOED the decision of the Ukraine Supreme Rada of Ukraine on the amendment, namely the “Language Law” remains in force as it is.

    Conclusion: The information that the Russian language has undergone infringements according to Ukrainian law (or that such infringements are planned to take place) is a lie.

    Since these three points are labelled as being fundamental threats to the population of the Crimea, and there is a similar manipulation of facts and outright lies in the media, one is forced to reach only one conclusion:

    All these far-fetched mythical threats to the Russian-speaking population of the Ukraine are no more than a banal excuse for Russian military incursion into Ukrainian territory.

    End of translation

    • Al says:

      I raise you by this:

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

      The ex-Israeli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit
      ‘Delta’ has headed ‘the Blue Helmets of Maidan’ of 40 men and women – including several IDF veterans – in violent clashes with government forces.


      There’s nothing like a good propaganda war! It looks like Russia has learned some lessons for once

    • marknesop says:

      That might all be true. I did not see Tiahnybok’s speech myself, and only saw reports on what he was supposed to have said. However, now that questions have been raised as to the new government’s legitimacy it is clearly the responsibility of free peoples to refuse to obey it. Who taught us that? The new government – it’s how they came to power.

  102. yalensis says:

    This commenter on Guardian named “barnasha” (1-MAR, 9:38 AM) posted an intelligent analysis of why Yanukovych so-called “impeachment” was illegal:


    Crimea recognizes Yanukovych as the legitimate president. There is no legitimate authority that could declare war against Russia.
    But let’s examine the issue of the legitimacy of power in Ukraine
    So, the Ukraine Constitution clearly describes the mechanism of impeachment. There are 450 deputies in Ruda. Constitutional majority is 338 MPs.
    Now perform the analysis :
    The President according to Constitution can be removed from office ONLY by impeachment . Nevertheless crime he committed any other way is a violation of the basic law . Only impeachment or nothing.
    The steps for impeachment:
    1. At least 226 MPs , should initiate the creation of a special investigative commission composed of special prosecutor and special investigators. That commision should investigate the president actions.
    2. The results of the investigation submitted to Rada for the study. Then 300 deputies must vote for the prosecution of the president.
    3. Start checking the case by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and receiving his conclusions regarding compliance with the constitutional procedure of investigation and the impeachment proceedings.
    4. The Supreme Court makes a determination that the alleged acts of Ukraine President contain elements of treason or other the crime.
    5. Finally, at LEAST 338 MPs (3/4) can vote to impeach the president and remove him from power .

    How many of these positions were observed in the last impeachment in Rada? NONE. (Only 328 votes were cast for Yanukovych dismissal including those who were beaten or tied and whose cards were used for voting )
    NONE is enough for US and EU to recognize new government. But that doesn’t mean Yanukovich is not official president of state.

    In conclusion: Yanukovych is still the legtimate President of Ukraine.
    Whether Maidanuts like it or not.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. Natalie already made a lot of these points in her blog. But word is getting out…

      These legal points can form a solid basis if the case ever makes it to international court.
      I have suggested that Russia herself convene an international court, as an alternative to the Hague, which has been long discredited.

      • Al says:

        Maybe the Russians brought these points up at the UN meeting? It would be remiss of them not to have done so.

        • yalensis says:

          I would hope they did. Does anybody have a transcript of the meeting?

          • Al says:

            I hope so, but if it was in ‘closed session’ I think that means all communications apart from anodyne or agreed press releases are kept secret. Any hackers out there got it? ;)

            This is all there is on the open session on the 1st of March where everyone and their cat is invited:

            http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47254&Cr=Ukraine&Cr1=

            This is the report about the meeting on the 28th which was a “…closed-door consultations at the request of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN..”

            http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47253&Cr=ukraine&Cr1=

            I really do find it hilarious how the US and fellow cat walkers are squealing about supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity. I guess they only do that for their favorites, but they’ve already prized open the lid of Pandora’s Box with their fat little fingers 15 years ago. Even after slapped up Sakaashvili in 2008 using the same arguments, I fear that this will be one of the recurring themes for the future, secession of territories from sovereign states and their recognition by other sovereign states. Maybe after all, the joke is on the West as they have sown and spread the seeds of balkanization.

            On the plus side, isn’t the idea of a central government rather passe? In an age of almost instant communications and the Internet, it proves that decentralization is not only a viable option, but it is a democratizing force, something the Center hates, another underlying reason why ‘mastery of the internet’ is such an obsession – it’s just digital kompromat to keep the status quo. Fascinating indeed.

            • marknesop says:

              The west indeed only stresses that for its favourites; or, more accurately, for nations in which it hopes to first introduce regime change until it has a government it likes, then to incorporate through association, EU expansion and NATO membership. In membership situations border disputes cause problems, which is why the west doesn’t like partition unless it is the authority initiating it. For example, if there now ends up being two nations, both of which call themselves Ukraine, further advancement down the EU membership path is pointless. It’s also why Saakashvili made his ill-fated lunge at Tshkinvali, in an attempt to restore territorial integrity by force. It would only have had to endure until NATO membership could be rushed through, and then an attack on Georgia would have been an attack on NATO.

  103. Al says:

    On Syria and stuff by Peter Oborne (Telegraph). V. interesting:

    West Can Get Rid of Assad or Fight al-Qaeda, But Can’t Do Both
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/10662823/We-can-get-rid-of-Assad-or-fight-al-Qaeda-but-we-cant-do-both.html


    I am always suspicious when I see the word ‘trust’ and also of anyone who claims to be an ex-spook (as in the story above) – rather like ‘ex-ambassadors’ who always seem to be available to media organizations to give the unvarnished version of government policy that dare not speak its name. If anything, he could well represent intelligence services unofficial link with such ‘enemies’. Could no find the link to the supposed US file on Saudi mega naughtiness either. It would have been interesting to read to see if it was propaganda with a grain of truth or not.

  104. Moscow Exile says:

    A history lesson or Soviet/Russian propaganda?

    To this day, many Ukrainians make no secret of their admiration of Bandera.

    The UPA flag has also made its appearance here in Moscow – amongst the Navalny mob and at Bolotnaya.

    http://vk.com/videos-22292037?z=video-22292037_167491780%2Fclub22292037

    • yalensis says:

      Today in Moscow a small group of around 50 “Bolotnaya” types tried to march to Manezh chanting pro-Orange and anti-war slogans. The Navalnyites will soon learn that they enjoy very tiny levels of support in their support for Orange Maidan. Vast majority of Russians will go all patriotic, just like they did in August 2008.

      Police forced pacifist protesters to go home, since they had no permit.

      • kirill says:

        The horror! Will of the people suppressed! Putin is a tyrant!

        • Al says:

          The will of (half) the people can rise again, with viagra! Some people think this is Navalny, but that would mostly be the other half. In case people don’t get it, I’m calling Navalny a giant dick.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Navalny is under house arrest at the moment and he’s not allowed to blog – more’s the pity, because he could have organized a counter-protest with all his hard men that are on tenterhooks waiting for his call to overthrow the regime.

  105. yalensis says:

    Illegal putsch government in Ukraine has declared general mobilization of army to counter Russian threat. Key players here are Turchynov and Parubij (Secretary of National Security and Defense – he has been in office approximately one week).

    But wait, there’s more!
    Batkivshchina (=Yulia’s party) deputy Grigorij Nemyra is opposed to martial law and mobilization, fearing that it will lead to a postponement of general elections.

    Nemyra has a really good point that people didn’t really think about before. Turchynov, Yats, & Company are just supposed to be a care-taker government, EU slid them into power in Kiev just to hold down the fort until elections in late May. At that time, people like Yulia might get a crack at coming back into office. Like, life offered these battered dinosaurs a second chance at happiness.

    However, if Ukraine is in a state of war and mobilizaiton, then elections are impossible, and Turchynov/Yats get to stay in office longer, as “El Presidente” + Henchman. And indefinite postponement of elections.

    So, ironically, this war stuff benefits them too.

    • marknesop says:

      Even more ironically, the only one who looks likely to come out of this debacle with relatively clean hands is also the most popular – the German Candidate, whose party got no portfolios in the new government and has been conspicuous by his absence from the public eye since. And he is supposed to be ineligible to run because of his residency issues, by whatever version of the constitution his backers choose to put forward, unless they rewrite it.

    • yalensis says:

      This is excellent news. It was also a really good move to give the Crimean Deputy P.M. post to a Tatar guy (I assume he is Tatar or at least half-Tatar), Rustam Temirgaliev.
      Crimean Russians are not making the same mistake as Oranges, they are being inclusive, this is excellent strategy:


      The local government, Temirgaliev went on, will promise the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority a place in Crimea’s Supreme Council, adding that funding for programs of resettlement and reintegration of those deported during the Stalin era will be plentiful. The Crimean Tatars have been supporting the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev.

      Hopefully, Rustam can win most of the Tatars away from the Oranges by promising them political inclusion and financial incentives.

    • Al says:

      Let’s not beat about the bush just call it by its real name, a ‘Reverse Yanukovich’. It’s not actually used ice skating, but its definition should be something like:

      Reverse Yanukovich
      Def: Action of self-sabotage through hubris.

      Yanukovich
      Def: The inability to act decisively due to fundamental divisions.

      ‘Klitschko’
      Def: Action of claiming democratic authority in violation of the constitution.

      ‘Tymoshenko’
      Def: The cause of back pain through walking in high heels whilst in prison.

      Anyone got some more ideas? It could be the start of a new Ukranian political dictionary.

    • marknesop says:

      AP said this would happen. Oh, except he said it would go the other way.

      • Al says:

        That would be ‘bubblewrAP’ no? I liked (most) of his comments too, but throwing a tantrum and accusing everyone else of being in a bubble because they didn’t agree with his point of view is simply well beyond the shtetl.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I believe it was he on another blog (can’t remember where now) that wrote today that he has lived for 10 years in Western Ukraine with his Russian wife, who is apolitical and lacks any self identification, as do, in his opinion Ukrainians. Yet she has changed in the light of present events, he adds, saying that she would be first to hurl a Molotov cocktail at any truckload of Russian soldiers that came near her.

          • patient observer says:

            I can imagine the after-dinner conversation: “AP get off that stupid blog and do some work around here! I hope some Russian soldiers come by and rip out that internet. If they won’t do it by god I’ll throw a Molotov cocktail at them!”

  106. Al says:

    Is this the beginning of an Greenwald – Ames bitchfight?

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/03/01/journalistic-independence/

    Ames’s new piece is in the first link. He is quite an excitable chap.

    • marknesop says:

      Well. If that had been me who wrote the piece attacking Greenwald (well, Omidyar, but by extension Greenwald as well), I would at this moment be crying into my pillow with humiliation at having received such a thorough public dressing-down. And it brings out a point I had never even considered, and which I bet rarely occurs to many of us – just because you despise the source does not mean every reporter who works there is on the take or shares the same opinion. So long as they have the journalistic freedom to report what they see as they believe they see it, independent of editorial pressure, there’s not much more we can ask. Which allows me to like The Guardian – which I had until this minute loathed – because it employs several reporters whose work I like and admire, Greenwald being one of them.

      As a reporter with a knack for making epiphanies out of concepts, Greenwald is hard to beat, and he is definitely one of the foremost journalists of our time. Ames’ style is always the same, over-the-top outrage and profane ridicule, which can be very enjoyable and effective when employed against someone you dislike anyway; for example, I’d love to see him take Grampy McCain apart. But Greenwald is out of his league, and I think this exchange highlights that.

  107. yalensis says:

    Here is some news about Ukrainian Defense Ministry in crisis. The Man With a Plan = Parubij, the new “Defense Minister” of the illegal Uktainian putsch government.

    Yesterday Parubij worked out a 7-point plan for Uktainian defense against “Russian aggression”. Of which Point #2 is secret and not subject to publication. The other 6 points include general mobilization, appealing to signors of Budapesht Conferece, yada yada.

    Three guesses what the “secret point” is. Maybe something that rhymes with “Plato” ?

    P.S. above news is so-o-o-o 10 minutes ago, and probably superceded by later news from past 10 minutes:

    (1) Ukrainian troops in Crimea deserting in droves and going over to Russian side; and
    (2) Parubij himself admitting to USA that Ukraine is too weak to wage war against Russia. “Pomohi-i-i-i-i-i” !

  108. Fern says:

    Earlier, I thought I’d mis-heard this figure or the news-reader had mis-spoken but I see it’s now being officially reported that 675,000 Ukrainians have travelled to Russia over the last few weeks. Can such a huge number possibly be right? Paging Moscow Exile, Moscow Exile to the front desk, please. Does that stack up with what you’re seeing and hearing?
    http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_02/Humanitarian-disaster-in-Ukraine-inevitable-675-000-citizens-fled-to-Russia-officials-9587/

    • Moscow Exile says:

      In the previous thread I posted a comment made by a Russian blogger about 2 weeks ago (I think) that according to official immigration stats., during the last quarter there had been a threefold increase in immigration from the Ukraine to Russia. At first he thought it was seasonal – New Year and all that – but I think he mentioned that the increase continued to soar after the festive season. There was also a report in one of the Moscow papers that trains arriving here from Lvov hadn’t an empty berth on board. That appeared after the governor of Lvov oblast had been forcibly ousted.

      I’ve been trying to follow that up about the trains, but on the last occasions that I travelled back to Moscow from the Ukraine (from Odessa and from Evpatoria) the train carriages were empty (we had a whole sleeping carriage to ourselves last time, which was great because the guard kindly allowed me to sleep in another compartment away from the madhouse of my three children and my wife), apart from the few “platskart” ones, which were packed – mostly with young backpackers.

      The reason for this is that domestic flights to the Black Sea coast (a 24 hour journey by train) are now much cheaper.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Украинцы бегут в Россию. В Федеральной миграционной службе говорят о резком увеличении количества украинцев, которые просят предоставить им убежище в РФ. За две недели около 143 тысяч граждан Украины обратились в российские ведомства с такой просьбой. В основном это жители приграничных районов.

        [Ukrainians are fleeing to Russia. The Federal Migration Service has said there has been a sharp increase in the number of Ukrainians who have asked that they be granted asylum in Russia. For a fortnight now, about 143 thousand Ukraine citizens have appealed to the Russian authorities with such a request. These have been mainly residents of the border areas.]

        See: Украинцы эмигрируют в Россию

        [Ukrainians emigrating to Russia]

        I don’t know who publishes this paper. Is it a sister rag to Moscow times, I wonder? The federal migration service mentioned in the article must be that of Russia. What does the Ukrainian migration service have to say about this flight to Mordor?

    • marknesop says:

      The new political masters of Kiev may as well title their political manifesto, “How To Shit The Bed”.

  109. Al says:

    Apparently there is talk of throwing Russia out of the G8.

    Here are the current members:

    Canada
    France
    Germany
    Italy
    Japan
    Russia
    UK
    US


    No India, No China, No Brazil, No Indonesia etc. The G8, like NATO is an irrelevance to the 21st century, like an old boy’s club, no ladies admitted, just bring your own oil.

    Poor old NATO and Europe. This rather throws a spanner in the works. The US was ‘pivoting’ to Asia, saving money by drawing down in Europe, the rest of the European countries have been cutting their defense spending and the industry is now going in to a trough. Only the UK and France (40 odd % for Europe) still spend the demanded 2% GDP on defense with still 60% of budget cuts for the rest of the UK to go.

    • kirill says:

      Since this club is composed of Russia’s enemies there is no point being part of it. It will have zero impact on Russia’s economy and power. But the G7 wankers can then feel all warm fuzzy about getting rid of the big bad Russian bear.

    • marknesop says:

      Putin is well-known to prefer the looser atmosphere of the G20, and I doubt he would clench his tiny fists in a spasm of impotent rage at being booted out of the G8. Besides, the notion has lost much of its sting since the talking heads of the west regularly invoke it for literally everything – it wasn’t that long ago that Swedish Skitstövel Anders Aslund wanted Russia kicked out of the G8 because Putin boycotted the G8 Summit at Camp David. Actually, he just sent Medvedev, but that was apparently a terrible insult, not the done thing at all. Since nowadays, under the current conservative government, Canada looks constantly for things that will (a) please the United States, (b) pander to the Canadian business elite which would like the two of us to merge and be one big fat rich country, (c) please the United States, and (d) please the United States, Canada was first off the mark to announce it would not appear at the upcoming G8 Summit at Sochi, just like we were first to announce the suspension of funding to Hamas when it won a democratic election in the Palestinian Territories in 2006. Canada likes to be first in things it knows will win American approval so that it can collect its public pat on the head, and for his part Putin is normally pretty good about not pointing out what a lapdog Canada is officially.

      As I have said before several times, I would make a lousy leader for Russia, because I am emotional and sensitive to insult while Putin appears to have no capacity for either, at least in the political arena. I would be tempted to point out, as I did in this article, that if the G20 kicked out the G8 the latter would be adrift in a sea of debt, highlight the hypocrisy of boycotting the G8 Summit now over something as transparently stupid as this after having thrown a hissy fit over Putin’s sending his Prime Minister in his place at Camp David, and then in a paroxysm of temper withdrawing from every world institution shared with the western democracies except for the UN, and that only so I could veto their asses, by which point I would be spasmodically jerking my extended middle finger up and down in their startled faces. Whew! I need to go lay down for a minute.

      • Ilya says:

        I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of Canada being America’s hat. The Conservative government is an embarrassment. In addition to being a eunuch, Harper’s please-America-at-all-costs approach even had him, incredibly, performing a self-imposed Walk to Canossa by way of Jerusalem. Other-worldly.

  110. kirill says:

    http://venik4.livejournal.com/

    The above blog has interesting analysis. I believe it is the Venik who had very good blogs in the past.

    • Al says:

      True, but a bit excitable and to be taken now and then with a pinch of salt (i.e. he uncritically claimed large numbers of NATO aircraft had been downed in 1999 over Serbia). Thanks for bringing him back to attention.

      • patient observer says:

        Venik did provide data supporting his claims although some of his numbers seems a little too high. But there is no dispute that Serbia shot down at least one stealth aircraft and likely inflicted damage on at least two others. The aluminum barn door (on radar) of other NATO aircraft would be comparatively easy to target if they came within missile range.

        It can be argued that non-stealth aircraft were protected by accompanying electronics warfare (EW) aircraft which raises an interesting question – is a stealth aircraft going against modern Russian anti-aircraft systems (way beyond what Serbia was able tinker together) in greater danger due to the lack of EW countermeasures (they would not be stealth otherwise) than conventional aircraft with EW countermeasures?

        • Al says:

          As far as I understand it, Russia is rolling out its S-400s that are apparently effective against stealth and stand off weapons, though stealth is no longer so cracked up to be what it is claimed, rather now touted as ‘low-observable’ day-one weapon to kick down the door and then let the conventional types do the rest more cheaply. It is much easier and cheaper to develop countermeasures than provide new stealth paint that is durable, cheap, not time consuming yet easy to apply. Even the F117s were supposed to have special routing to avoid certain types of radar (X-band methinks) but NATO got so arrogant that they flew them in the same air corridors over and over again, one reason why that hero Serb (of hungarian origin) managed to bring one down.

          There are also passive defense systems that detect the ‘hole’ in the electro-magnetic background that low-observable aircraft make and cue weapons close enough to the target so that they can pick up their infra-red or optical signature. The US is in the process of rolling out such a system to detect cruise missile attacks against it.

          Part of dealing with tough air defenses is the development of stand-off weapons that can be launched well over 100kms away and minature bombs (SDB Small Diameter Bombs) that allow one aircraft to destroy many more targets coupled with SFW (Sensor Fused Weapons) such as the CBU-97 & 105 that are employed by the USA who claim that they are not cluster bombs (which are illegal in over 110 countries) and have sold them for export. Add the redefinition of cluster bomb by the US to their redefinition of upgrade, as I mentioned earlier with regards to US B-61 nukes that the US will turn from dumb bombs to long range stand off nuclear strike weapons. As much as the US squeals about agreements being broken, this one is a biggie.

          The West also uses massive numbers of Minature Air Launched Decoys (MALDs) to saturate air defense systems to try and soak up missile stocks. It worked in I-raq, but not in Serbia. Also the report on the Israeli raid on Assad’s so-called reactor is claimed to have hacked local air defense computers.

          Re: Veniks 1999 claims, I should have said rather he should have erred on the side of caution rather than ‘uncritical’, which I admit is not a fair comment to make considering how difficult it is to confirm all details, particularly in war time. I should have added that quite a number of UAV’s were shot down by helicopter’s flying alongside, not to mention some NATO aircraft made it back to base heavily damaged and were quietly written off.

          OTOH, NATO claimed huge numbers of tanks, artillery and aircraft destroyed but found very, very few once the JA let NATO ground forces enter Kosovo. V. good use of Maskirovka.

        • marknesop says:

          All stealth designs thus far have concentrated on reducing the echo while the aircraft is closing for the attack. None of them are particularly stealthy in the quartering or headed-away view, which presupposes the success of their attack because if it was not they display their biggest target profile when they are running for the hills. And it is ridiculous to try and design a multirole stealth aircraft (like the F-35) because the reduced profile will only protect you for a limited time and eventually sheer power will burn through it. Targeting and homing radars are not fooled by stealth, so the technology is really only useful for aircraft employed as bombers, in the hope they can get over the target and drop their loads without being detected. After that all bets are off.

        • patient observer says:

          Thanks AI and Mark for the analysis. After reading various Australia Air power articles, plus statements from the designer of the F-16 (so he says anyway) on the fatally flawed F-35, the stealth wunderweapon of the Reagan-era military fantasy world is being revealed as simply another incremental advancement.

    • hoct says:

      Terrible blog. Something La Russophobe would write about the Russians. The Ukrainians are a good Slav people, not that dissimilar from the Russians. If you like the Russians you have to like the Ukrainians, it’s as simple as that. And if they do happen believe the pig is a sacred animal — well isn’t it?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yep! Like I said before, I’m partial to salo and I always like pork: always tender, easy and quick to cook. Wild boar flesh is good as well. Used to eat it in Germany but never seen it on sale here, although I know a few who go wild boar hunting. One of the very few things I miss in Russia is bacon – smoked back bacon. Oh yes! And kippers.

      • marknesop says:

        Of course it is, for the delicious meat it provides. I still have a magazine kicking around the place somewhere whose special feature concentrated on using every part of the wonderful pig so that nothing was wasted, and some of its recipes for ham and barbecue cuts were so mouth-watering you could have eaten them right off the page. And baby pigs are the cutest animals of all the animal kingdom, I think.

    • cartman says:

      I seem to have been banned from viewing lj. I have never had an account with them, which is weird. Also, my Forbes account was hacked. I don’t post or have an account with Gruaniad, though I did use to give lots of recommendations to some posts when it was easier to mess with. I think I will limit my activity to Mark’s blog, since he doesn’t seem interested in any of my personal information.

      • marknesop says:

        That is exactly the impression I wished to create; by week 2 I had already squeezed you dry of all your personal information, and now I am working on your relatives in Kenosha.

        Really, I did not mean to create an impression of disinterest, per se, and anytime you are feeling a little low and would like to share your personal life with me, you will find me a sympathetic listener. ‘Cause that’s just the way I roll.

  111. Al says:

    A comment by rollercoasteryouth to one of the Guardian pieces:

    http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/32581757
    “PUSSY RIOT better keep out of this. Again the use of the balaclava seems very in this year.
    PEACE NOT WAR”

    We need more jokes. Failing that, how about some fun tabloid headlines? Me first:
    ‘What’s the Palava in Balaclava?’

  112. Moscow Exile says:

    27,000 demonstrate in Moscow in support of government Ukraine policy

    What a pity Navalny is under house arrest and couldn’t lead a counter march with his massed troops who have been waiting for his call!

  113. Al says:

    More Guardian comment ribaldry:
    http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/32587491

    Ukraine: what will happen now?

    Currently there are six cosmonauts occupying the International Space Station: three Russians, two Americans, and a Japanese. The Commander is Russian but — coincidence — was born in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine.

    Imminent Breaking News? — First ever punch-up in outer space

    A point I’d like to make. WTF are the Germans doing? In recent months we’ve been hearing about Germany wanting to swing its big salty balls in the foreign policy arena, selling subs and tanks to the Saudis etc. but they appear to have gone Tonto and retreated behind their more belligerent partners. This is Germany who spends well below the 2% GDP NATO minimum on defense and is in the process of cancelling Tranche 3b of 37 Eurofighters and may well be sued by its industrial partners.

    Or is this Putin’s plan: He’ll work out a deal with the Germans (he who haveth the money, holdeth the gonads) and give them some kudos but still be able to slap the other ones in the face? Klitschko back as PM but kept on the straight and narrow and far away from the americans and their cat handlers?

  114. yalensis says:

    Another major defection:

    Yesterday, Turchynov (President of the illegal putschist government in Kiev) appointed Admiral Denis Berezovsky as chief of Ukrainian Navy.

    But that was so-o-o-o-o yesterday.

    Today we learn, and even BBC confirms, that Berezovsky just defected over to the pro-Russian side . Admiral Berezovsky just swore allegiance to the new pro-Russian government of Crimea and pledged to “protect the people of Crimea”.

    • yalensis says:

      Here is video of Berezovsky’s defection:

      • yalensis says:

        Just to be clear: Berezovsky is swearing an oath of loyalty to the new Crimean government, and to the hero-city of Sebastopol:

        “I, Berezovsky Denys Valentynovych, pledge allegiance to the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the hero city of Sevastopol. I vow to strictly follow orders from the commander-in-chief of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and hero city of Sevastopol, as well as orders by military commanders appointed by them, demands placed by the military code. I vow to fulfil my military duty properly and bravely defend the life and property of the people of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        If “Yats” gets the help he desires off NATO, do you think he will have Admiral Berezovsky hanged off the highest yardarm in the fleet?

        • yalensis says:

          I imagine he would have to. From NATO’s POV, Berezovsky is a damned pirate. So, it would go something like this:

  115. yalensis says:

    Illegal putsch government in Kiev yesterday announced general mobilization of entire military-appropriate Ukrainian population; they are supposed to show up at recruitment centers to report for duty.

    Today was first full day of full mobilization. Unfortunately for Kiev, only like something like 1.5% of the people who were supposed to report for duty, actually reported for duty.

    One officer at a military center in Kiev told reporters sadly that only a handful of people are showing up, and when he tries to call people who are on the list, to ask where the heck they are, either nobody answers the phone; or “just some women answer the phone, and tell us that nobody is home.”

    • patient observer says:

      AP presented seemingly significant data regarding public opinion showing deep support for “his” side yet in reality if any support existed it was not deep nor widespread. Setting aside obvious issues with AP’s objectivity and agenda (hidden for sure) how could his public opinion data been so utterly wrong in predicting how people would respond? Was it sample selection, poorly framed questions or what? Or are opinion polls simply unable to capture people’s true feelings? Or perhaps people do not even know their true feelings until bumping into reality (this is my guess).

      The Russian seemed far more aware of the true situation on the ground thus were calm and collected and simply disregarded the Western provocations, hoopla and teeth gnashing. I had confidence that Russia had the West right where they wanted them but frankly it was not founded on anything other than past successes (especially Syria), Putin’s leadership and the Russian military and intelligence organizations.

      I realize that the situation is fluid and crazies in the West can still do something stupid (again) but to date the Russians have adroitly outmaneuvered the West while showing Nuland and company to be as foolish as they sounded. The nuance I am trying to express is that perhaps Russia had it figured out from the beginning versus reacting to each Western move. If the former, the West will continue to make increasingly desperate and futile attacks on Russia (if the later then all bets are off). The monolithic West will unravel and the world can breath easier. The US population can wake up from its induced coma and begin building a society free of the transnational meddlers (my Sunday afternoon dream anyway).

      • kirill says:

        The protests in Kiev were evidence of the lack of support for the Orangists and Banderites. If the anti-Yanuk parties had massive popular support, then there would have been protests all over the country. This is not some minor detail to be left out of any serious narrative. With widespread support there would have been millions of protestors and not 100,000 shipped to one location (Maidan) from primarily western Ukraine (this shipping of people was quite apparent, they came by the trainload and busload). People would not all travel to Kiev to protest since it really is too much bother and even pointless when you live far away.

        So the protest in Kiev was scraped together with a lot of effort. The real story is why was Yanuk’s government so soft that some collection of militants who took over the Maidan after basically all of the original protestors gave up and left (after months of protesting) could take over. They took over the Kiev administrative district and the Rada, set up a kangaroo legislature and started passing laws in gross violation of the constitution and issuing orders. This is nothing but a banana republic coup. Ukraine is really in bad shape that its elected government is so compromised and powerless as to have a regime imposed via the takeover of central government buildings. There should have been proper security for legislators and provisions to set up the legitimate legislature in another city in the event of the capture of the Kiev Rada building.

        • marknesop says:

          Especially considering Yanukovych was supposed to be some kind of bully who rode roughshod over the people and did not give a damn what they thought about it.

  116. yalensis says:

    More defections:
    This time it is the Special Forces Regiment of Kirovograd, Ukraine.

    The regiment was ordered earlier today (Sunday, 2-March), by Defense Ministry (of illegal putschist government in Kiev), to march on Crimea.

    The regiment declined the invitation.


    «Сегодня нам довели приказ, чтобы выдвинуться в район Крымского перешейка и блокировать отряды самообороны Крыма. Мы отказались его выполнять», — заявил военный.

    Он добавил, что солдаты и офицеры отказываются выполнять распоряжение киевских властей, так как не понимают, против кого они должны действовать на полуострове.

    «У многих ребят там живут родственники, сам летом отдыхаю в Евпатории. Многие из нас не понимают, за кого и с кем нам надо воевать в Крыму», — отметил спецназовец.

    TRANSLATION

    “Today we were given the order to move out onto the Crimean Isthmus and to block the [Pro-Russian] self-defense units [that are operating there]. We refused to carry out the order,” the soldier [told the reporter].
    He added that the soldiers and officers are refusing to carry out the orders of the Kiev government, since they do not understand exactly against whom they are supposed to be acting on the peninsula.
    “Many of the lads have relatiaves living there, I myself go there every summer on vacation, to Evpatoria. Many of us do not understand exactly who we are supposed to be fighting against in Crimea,” the special forces soldier commented.

    END OF TRANSLATION

    What a blockhead! This guy puts his beach vacation plans ahead of the good of the rest of the world. Doesn’t he “get it” that Putin is a thug who must be stopped! I know it, because I heard it from Julia Ioffe on CNN.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. Just to be on the safe side, I looked up Kirovohrad on google maps. It’s in Central Ukraine, South of Kiev, West of the Dnipr River,. Is not in Crimea.

    • marknesop says:

      Be wary of a trick; it might not have been the real Julia Ioffe, who is a Russia expert. It’s always wise to check – in future, I recommend you ask her to name the airport in Moscow that starts with “Ш”.

  117. Al says:

    Canada threatening to pull out of the G8 & UK ministers not going to Paralympics in Sochi.

    Tantrums all around then! The ‘West’ would dearly love to ‘DO SOMETHING’, it’s clarion call since 1989, but it seems to be at a loss. Lots of headlines says ‘The World…’bla bla bla ‘Russia.’ As usual, this is the West calling itself The World. Flogging a dead horse or spanking a live sheep? It gets their goat.

    • reggietcs says:

      Russia should get signed expressions of support from as many nations as it can and present it to the media to show just how isolated and irrelevant the west has become. There were more state officials at Sochi than any other Winter Olympic game in history, but the western media made it appear as if the lack of western leaders there was an embarrassment for Russia. What’s actually “embarrassing” is how arrogantly the west elevates itself above the rest of humanity as if no one else matters.

      The world is changing and becoming more multi-polar and this is why the west is going in panic mode.

      • Al says:

        Yup, multi-polar. Except the poles are somewhere else…

        Notice the almost total lack of condemnation from the rest of the world? Nope! Lying by omission. The best in western journalism!

    • marknesop says:

      It’s just a baaaaaaad show all ’round. I’d like to ask the Prime Minister, “What were ewe thinking?”.

  118. reggietcs says:

    The US media coverage has gone off the rails. While the BBC seems to be loosening up a bit on it’s blackout of criticism of the Banderite-orangist regime in Kiev, the US continues to peddle the most outrageous narrative and spin I’ve seen since the 2003 Iraq invasion. I don’t watch US cable news networks much because the mendacity is simply too much for me to stomach. But this is what I’m being told.

    Among the spin:

    - They continue to deny that there are neo-Nazi’s in the new regime or even in Ukraine for that matter. This is something widely known by just about everybody in the world at this stage, but the US media continues to refer to Bandera (that’s if he’s even mentioned) as a “controversial figure” and claims that Svoboda are simply radicalized Maidan youth fed up with corruption – a blatant lie.

    - The US media continues to peddle the fiction that Russia has invaded Ukraine and broken international law – something the US media generally doesn’t seem too interested in when the US decides to bomb, invade and destabilize countries it doesn’t like. They fail to point out that the Russians haven’t fired a single shot or killed anyone and that the troop levels presently in Crimea are legal. It seems to me that Russia simply shuffles the military, issues a few stern warnings and gravity takes care of everything else.

    -They continue to falsely refer to Yanukovych as a “dictator” and his government as a “regime” while failing to remind viewers that he was a democratically elected leader who was deposed in a coup.

    -And most comically, they STILL continue to refer to the Maidan mob as “protesters” and that the protests we’re seeing in the East are paid for by the Russian government – naturally, no evidence whatsoever is offered to back this claim up but it’s a meme that’s repeated over and over almost daily as fact. The idea that the east may very well be rejecting Washington’s stooges is a completely alien concept to the US media and hell would probably freeze over first before they reported or accepted the obvious.

    • kirill says:

      The US is now the successor of the USSR in terms of totalitarianism. A pseudo one party state (no real difference between Repugs and Demorats except how much crumbs they are will to throw US workers and no difference in terms of foreign policy) and a media that sings in fully synchronized chorus that pushes the most ludicrous BS imaginable from the POV of anyone with a clue. To get any news in the US that is not state mouthpiece BS one has to read samizdat (i.e. alternative internet sources) and listen to foreign news. All the features of life in the USSR loathed in the west and trotted out to this day to bash Russians with.

  119. yalensis says:

    Okay, I just want to make two larger points, and this comes from spending quite a lot a time today monitoring Western MSM, as well as Russian-language MSM.

    Point #1:
    Western MSM admits, belatedly, that Russia really pulled off quite a feat here. What we have actually witnessed in the last couple of days is the skating equivalent of a quadruple-quadruple Axel jump. Russia now has (even in the words of Western MSM) COMPLETE OPERATIONAL CONTROL over Crimea. Russia controls the land, the air and the sea of Crimea. Without a shot being fired, and without a single human death, that we know of. And all in 2 days.

    Was this a brilliant campaign, or what? Medals to everyone involved! Glory to Russian Army!

    Point #2:
    NATO has 2 options. Either option will lead to the end of NATO as we know it:
    (a) Option #1: NATO declares war on Russia. Result: NATO will lose the war.
    (b) Option #2: NATO does nothing. Thereby proving that it (NATO) is irrelevant. NATO’s sole purpose in this universe was to wage war on Russia. If NATO does NOT wage war on Russia, then NATO proves that it has no purpose in life.

    • yalensis says:

      Slava! Slava! Medals to the officers! Medals to the troops!

    • Al says:

      “Was this a brilliant campaign, or what? Medals to everyone involved! Glory to Russian Army!”

      Can they afford to give everyone luxury cars?? ;)

      NATO should get something. Maybe a goldfish in a bag?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Please, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. I don’t like tempting fate. I shall make a small sacrifice of my favourite porker to Wodin this evening and beg his guidance.

    • Jen says:

      I rather think that Option #2 is the more likely of the two. The illegal govt in Kyiv calls on (if it hasn’t done so already) NATO to help defend it. With the mass defections of the Ukrainian military to the Russian side though, NATO decides not to do anything and deserts the Turchinov / Yatseniuk govt in its “hour of need”. Just as the US decided not to help Georgia in its “hour of need” in August 2008.

      The upshot is that not only does Russia win but also Russia and China will draw closer together. You’ve probably already heard that the mass knifing attack in Kunming in SW China has been linked to Uighur separatist activity in western China by Beijing. If this link is substantiated by more evidence, then the timing of the attack may not be coincidental and could suggest that Uighur separatists are indeed co-operating with separatists in the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars and rogue elements in the Erdogan government in Turkey as hinted at by the Voice of Russia article on Anonymous Ukraine that Fern and I referenced earlier in this comments thread. It would be to both Moscow and Beijing’s advantage to share information and work together to stop Turkey from exploiting Crimean Tatar and Uighur sentiments for autonomy for its own geopolitical purposes.

    • Jen says:

      The quadruple-quadruple axel jump would be an octuple axel jump.

  120. Al says:

    National Post headline:

    John Baird rules out military intervention to stop Russia’s ‘ridiculous’ ‘Soviet-style’ invasion of Ukraine
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/02/john-baird-rules-out-military-intervention-to-stop-vladimir-putins-ridiculous-soviet-style-invasion-of-ukraine/

    Who looks like the nutter now? It is all simply contradictory and ridiculous reasoning;

    a) it’s ridiculous, therefore not worth looking at, yet
    b) it’s ‘soviet style’ which is extremely serious. Since when did the soviets ever do anything half-assed?
    c) no military intervention because it is both serious and ridiculous

    Is there a Canadian version of the Muppet Show, Spitting Image or Les Guignols? LOLZ, innit?

    • kirill says:

      Hungarians and Czechoslovakians (back then) did not want Soviet troops imposing regimes on them. Crimeans love Russian troops saving them from Right Sector and jihadi militants trying to move in and disrupt the democratic activity of the local government. Russia is not imposing any regime but preventing a set of goons from imposing a regime. There is no analogy to the USSR whatsoever. But there is a clear analogy to the subversion that the US enacted in Latin America to impose juntas against local democracies (e.g. Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, etc.)

    • Ilya says:

      John “Blabber” Baird is actually held in quite high esteem by the American establishment, according to releases by Wikileaks. That should be sufficient to circumscribe his character.

    • marknesop says:

      All those shows are Canadian inventions; we merely allowed them to be performed by those who currently pretend to have invented them.

      For snarky political satire, I recommend The Rick Mercer Report – a little like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, although likely on a much more modest budget. His mockery of our Southern neighbours is often sidesplitting.

  121. yalensis says:

    Western leaders, so petty and spiteful, now saying they will not attend Sochi Special Olympics.

    It doesn’t matter. The para-Olympian athletes will go to Sochi, and do their thing.

    These are people who were born (no fault of their own) with significant physical and mental handicaps. But nonetheless, through force of will, determined to achieve excellence, trained hard, studied, and became important athletes. So, they will do their thing and show the world what the human spirit consists of, regardless of small-minded politicians.

  122. Al says:

    Sarah Palin says she has been proved right about her prediction that “Russia would invade the Ukraine”.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/28/palin-on-ukraine-i-told-you-so/

    How the wheels turn. My comedy USA would be Fruitcake McCain as Prez & Sara Palin as Vice. Fozzy Bear as Putin’s inside man as Secretary for Defense.

    • Ilya says:

      Exquisite deductive reasoning: a vague assertion that Obama is unschooled in international affairs qua prediction of Russia’s putative violation of Ukrainian sovereignty after a US-backed coup.

  123. Fern says:

    If y’all think it’s tough being Canadian because of your government’s kiss-ass relationship with the US, just thank God you’re not a Brit. We have to put up with pygmy never-beens (those who failed to make the grade as has-beens) like William Hague strutting around on the world stage. Today, David Cameron filled his allotted role as Obama’s echo chamber by ‘telling’ Russia that there would be costs because of its stance on Crimea. Just plain embarrassing.

    Interesting development earlier with Putin agreeing to Angela Merkel’s suggestion that a ‘contact’ group be set up to find a political solution to Ukraine. Feels like the beginning of a ‘F**k the US’ moment.
    http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_02/Putin-tells-Merkel-Russias-moves-on-Ukraine-are-fitting-Kremlin-1609/

    • kirill says:

      Hmm, the word ‘costs’ keeps coming up. I think this is not just some diplomatic and economic sanctions. This is likely a bald faced thread of subversion. Expect the Russian “opposition” aka the liberast fringe to go in high gear. Perhaps some terrorist bombs will be detonated in Moscow subways or airports to send Putin the message who is the real boss of this planet.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Nay, think on: Wee Willie Haig could sup 12 pints of best Yorkshire bitter, though, when he were nobbut a lad.

  124. kirill says:

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2014/02/24-russian-natural-gas-european-markets-boersma-greving#_ftn1

    Oh my, evil Russian tyranny is slowly taking over the EU with gas exports. I guess all the wishful thinking about shale gas making Russia weak has been subverted by cold, hard reality. Unfortunately, Russia and the rest of the world are all going to suffer from the coming fossil fuel production decline so there is no point in being triumphalist by any side.

    • marknesop says:

      You don’t know how funny that is, because my newest post just went up in which the shoulder-to-shoulder munchkins of the EU and USA sort of threatened Putin out of the side of their mouths that if he did not withdraw his troops, the EU just might find an alternate sugar-daddy to sell it energy, and then Russia will be left with a bunch of energy it can’t sell, which will just serve them right. I swear.

      You are hereby awarded the post of Minister of True Belief, for having stuck by reality through the blizzard of bullshit about shale gas and fracking and over-the-moon reports which have immediately upon release become the porn of the Russophobic masses who yearn for lots of lovely GAS just so that those intolerable Russians can be cast back into the pit of starvation and woe. Go forth with your head held high, Mr. Minister, because your faith never wavered and now it has been rewarded, the truth wrenched from the grieving breast of the enemy himself.

  125. Fern says:

    I have no idea whether this authentic but it’s pretty funny and deserves to be true. A commentator on a ‘Moon of Alabama’ thread, quoting an article from ‘American Thinker’ claims Putin once said “negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, sh**s on the board and then struts around like it won the game.”

    I’ve been wondering about a possible terror attack during the paralympic games – how many of the really crack military units have been transferred from Sochi to Crimea?

    • marknesop says:

      I saw a comment earlier on Moon of Alabama that Poland was moving some of its armoured units up to the border and holding them there, but I’ve gone back and I can’t find it now. It had a link, but I didn’t look at it when I first saw it. Anyone see anything about Poland doing some sabre-rattling?

      • reggietcs says:

        There’ve been a lot of – I think false – reports like these circulating on the web the past three days. The other one being that the US is sending the 6th fleet to the Black Sea. I’ve heard all of these stories but none of them have been confirmed.

        I seriously doubt any of these things are happening. The US sending the 6th fleet with a carrier group to the Black Sea is forbidden by treaty (I think) and Poland going solo on Ukraine is not plausible to me without NATO backing them up.

  126. Fern says:

    Mark, I think this is the link you’re referring to. The article is in Polish; the commentator who posted it claims it reports Polish forces moving eastwards. Donald Tusk has apparently been doing a ‘we face another Munich moment’ type speeches with Putin as Hitler – makes a nice change for him from being Stalin – while John McCain is doing his “we’re all {insert appropriate nationality] now” bit.
    http://www.kresy.pl/wydarzenia,wojskowosc?zobacz%2Fprzegrupowanie-w-polskiej-armii-w-zwiazku-z-kryzysem-na-ukrainie-
    The crazies are just determined to get us into war.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, thanks, Fern; I imagine this is probably it. I didn’t look at it originally, but I remember the comment mentioned there were signs which would indicate their direction of travel, and I see a sign is circled. This is all light infantry stuff, though – light APC’s and trucks, all stuff that can be moved easily at little cost. No tanks, no towed artillery, no fuel bowsers, nothing that would indicate they were preparing for a protracted land battle. Applying the west’s own logic, no medical vehicles, so they’re not expecting casualties! I hate to burst their bubble, but unless they could see the entire Russian line of advance they would not know if there were any medical vehicles or not, because they are usually in the rear, but at least someone was thinking, which means they were not in the Ukrainian government.

      I imagine Tusk just wants to move some stuff around, to show how serious he is and so that people won’t laugh when he starts that Hitler routine. And realistically, except for that moment when Putin caught Tusk’s arm when he stumbled, overcome with grief, at the funeral for the victims of the presidential plane crash, there is no love lost between the Poles and the Russians and especially between Putin and the Polish government. The Poles had a booth on the Maidan, doling out Polish goodies and friendly revolutionary encouragement. They keep trying to make the point that Putin’s behaviour here is burning up friendships, but it is kind of comical to see Cameron and Obama trying to squeeze into their outraged-buddy costumes. Hollande came out Russophobic and swinging from his election, the only leader with whom Putin enjoys any kind of relationship, and that is mostly pragmatic respect rather than friendship, is Merkel, and those two are still talking although they are by no means friendly. The rest, whoopty doo, no loss. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

    • kirill says:

      This is pure state propaganda (not just words, shuffling equipment around) for internal Polish consumption. Brave Polish government doing something to secure itself from bear at the gate.

      Godwin’s “law” needs a proper rephrasing:

      “Inane comparisons to historical events automatically discredit the arguer and the argument.”

      So bringing up Hitler, Munich or whatnot does not satisfy this law if the comparison is relevant. Godwin’s “law” does not have this restriction and is inane itself for this reason. All the BS comparisons to 1938 being repeated by nattering nitwits are not worth the time of day. FFS, Right Sector *are* avowed Nazis and they clearly are a central element of the new regime. Anyone with a clue should be worried why NATO is openly allying itself with Nazis.

      The Polish support for these latter day UPA militants is baffling. Is the current Polish government such a complete puppet of the US/EU? You would expect Poland to denounce the participation of Right Sector and Svoboda in the Kiev regime.

  127. kirill says:

    http://vk.com/venoru?w=wall110246819_17038%2Fall

    Can you believe the utter inanity: some turds found a photo of the guy who foisted the Russian flag in Kharkov wearing a Nazi uniform and made a fuss about it! What about the Right Sector real Nazis running amok in Ukraine, terrorizing people?

    I have also seen some boneheads trying to discredit the 143,000 refugees claim by showing a photo of a nearly empty border crossing. As if refugees stream at a constant rate and the photo is giving us a representative sampling and not a cherry picked minimum.

    The west is using the same propaganda as in Syria, where supposedly there is no Al Qaeda and all the jihadis are Robin Hoods fighting for justice. The Right Sector “jihadis” are pure and clean as long as they serve the interests of the west.

    • reggietcs says:

      Hilary Clinton complained a few months ago that the west was losing “the information war.”

      The REAL problem is that they are simply lying through their teeth on just about everything and people are looking elsewhere for information outside the MSM bubble.

      When Time Magazine, The Israeli “liberal” paper Haaretz and other mainstream venues claim that there are no neo-Nazis in Ukraine and that it’s some “Kremlin plot,” it’s almost as ridiculous as attempting to convince their audience that the earth isn’t a sphere. It’s patently absurd for them to push this nonsense when most media organs in the world (including the BBC now) are reporting the neo-Nazi mobs roaming the streets of Kiev with baseball bats. What happening is that TIME magazine/MSNBC/CNN/etc., have decided they don’t want their viewers/readers to know this because they’ll connect the dots and conclude that the US government played a major role in bringing these fascists to power.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, here’s the Kyiv Post’s breathless “Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” liveblog-type front-page story. Enjoy the rich irony of the statement from the Lukhansk City Council as they declare their refusal to obey the central government: “[Lukhansk] considers illegitimate all central executive branches of power because they were formed with violation of laws…and calls on the Verkhovna Rada to declare Russian language a second state language in Ukraine, to take immediate measures to disarm all illegal armed groups and to cease politically motivated prosecutions of police and Berkut riot-control police units“. I bet Yats didn’t expect charges of politically-motivated prosecutions to be leveled against him in his first week on the job. You’ll be shocked to learn that Denys Berezovsky was fired for defecting to the enemy; he is also being investigated for state treason. Everyone’s favourite Georgia Tie Pudding was on hand today, too, to tell the crowd on the Maidan that he really, really admires how great they are, and to impart a core truth – “Putin is brave only when all others fear”. What??? Compared with, “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”, that is just never going to take off as a deathless piece of wisdom, and it sounds suspiciously as if he made it up himself, perhaps while distracted as he rummaged through his chest hair for cupcake crumbs.You’ll be delighted to know the 15th SS Totenkopf Brigade Kiev, AKA Right Sector, is preparing to fight for the Crimea. Yep, Yarosh “guarantees the safety of all civilians in Crimea”, I’m sure they will be glad to know, as the neo-Nazi organization encourages young Ukrainians (no Jews or black-asses, though) to join Right Sector squads “being formed throughout Ukraine” to get ready for the big push against Putin. Perhaps General Sashko Biliy himself will march straight down the Highway to Hell at the head of his extremist hordes to get to grips with the dirty Russians. I sure hope so. Rinet Akhmetov – you can’t see him, but I bet he is furrowing his cheeks with both hands in dismay at how this all spun out of control so quickly – argues that Ukrainians can best display their contempt for Putin by being calm, concentrating on the economy and making him richer. Is this getting too ironic for you yet? No? Good; here’s the mayor of Lviv making a plea for unity, in Russian. I bet it gave him boils and lesions on his tongue. We didn’t mean that we hated Russians; gosh, no, what I meant was that we hated waiting for Russians; please send some to visit us right now and you will see how friendly we are!! Ramzan Kadyrov threatens to send Yarosh to the bad place where they sent Doku Umarov – this must be about the fourth time Umarov has been killed, if that’s what he meant. Rada member Nemyria complains that Russian citizens are seizing administration buildings in Ukraine’s regions!! You believe that? Or is it more likely to be Ukrainian citizens who are Russian speakers? Pull the other one, Nemyria. Everyone’s favourite Beaker clone, Yatsenyuk, plays his ace in the hole when he reminds everyone that Russia is in violation of international agreements because all Black Sea troop relocations must be approved by Ukraine, and Ukraine does not approve. How do you know, Yats? The legal leader of Ukraine is in Russia! Nobody needs your permission, you’re just Tymoshenko’s purse-carrier.

      I don’t want to spoil the text of Obama’s call to Putin for you, I’m sure you will discover many comedic gems, but I just have to share my favourite: “The people of Ukraine have the right to determine their own future”. Sure, just as long as they pick what I tell them to through my State Department.

      Totally lulzy from start to finish. It’s like the script for this was written by Quentin Tarantino or something, as neo-Nazis vow to save Ukraine from dissolution. The EU must be so proud.

  128. reggietcs says:

    WOW!

    Anatoly Karlin posted this on Facebook a few days ago:

    Significant improvement in Putin’s approval rating post-Olympics to 69%. http://www.levada.ru/indeksy

    No doubt this boost was likely due to the successful Olympic games last month which saw Russia not only pulling off a spectacular festival terror free, but winning the medal count – something no one predicted.

    Now we have the Ukraine fiasco – which Putin seems sure to win as well.

    I remember Anatoly himself saying several weeks ago that it was unlikely Putin’s ratings would surge into the 70′s, but it now looks like that’s exactly where he’s headed.

    • marknesop says:

      …and there you have it, folks – Viktor Yanukovych, still the legal President of Ukraine since he was never properly impeached, asks the Russian Duma in writing to help Crimea, including if necessary the use of armed force in Ukraine.

      Wondering what that wobbly feeling is, Yats? Why, that’s called “I don’t have a leg to stand on”.

      • Al says:

        I’m glad to see that they are indeed dotting their ‘i’s and drinking their tea! What a tangled web the West weaves in its desperation to have its cake and eat it.

  129. Moscow Exile says:

    Asked how the US and its allies might respond, Kerry stressed the economic harm that could befall Russia if it continued its occupation of Crimea, but repeatedly said “all options” were under consideration.

    However, in a conference call with reporters later on Sunday, three senior US administration officials made clear that the “menu” of options before the White House does not include military action.

    “Frankly, our goal is to uphold the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, not to have a military escalation,” one of the officials said. “I don’t think we’re focused right now on the notion of some US military intervention. I don’t think that would be an effective way to de-escalate the situation.”

    During the call, which last almost an hour, the officials said they were looking to provide Russia with “off-ramps” that would enable Putin to reverse his course, and were applying pressure through a broad international coalition that had agreed to to ostracise Moscow.

    From the “facts are sacred” Grauniad: US concedes Russia has control of Crimea and seeks to contain Putin

    Notice the Putin-is-Russia-Russia-is-Putin meme?

    Another thing, what’s this “off-ramps” crap?

    I get sick of this kind of jargon.

    Why doesn’t he call a spade a fucking shovel?

    As a native speaker of English, I have a good idea what the idiom means, but I can guarantee that the many fluent English speaking Russians whom I know will start asking me today what “off-ramps” signifies.

    Bloody “road-maps” and “stepping up to the plate”!

    Load of bollocks!

    A British diplomat would have said: “Her Majesty’s Government is looking forward to assisting the Russian government so that it may find a means of egress from this embarrassing and difficult situation in which it now finds itself”.

    Crystal clear, doncha think, old bean?

    True, a load of bullshit, but it sounds nicer, doesn’t it?
    :-)

  130. Al says:

    The Guardian, in a current piece, claims that after the recent phone call with Putin, she says he has ‘lost the plot’.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/03/ukraine-vladimir-putin-angela-merkel-russian

    It’s not like the Guardian to make anything up, or read into things that supports their own editorial line, is it?

    BTW, Ian Traynor, Europe editor is an arch serbophobe who wrote some of the most slanted pieces during the breakup of the SFRY. My journalist contacts tell me most other journos think he’s a knob. Now if you could hang a coat off that, then he would finally be of some use.

    And then there are the voices of calm reason in the Western press who are too few and two far between. The Indy’s Mary Djevsky has surfaced again to point out the basics to the screaming herodians:

    Ukraine crisis: Nato ‘betrayal’ and Brussels rhetoric pushing Vladimir Putin to act

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/ukraine-crisis-nato-betrayal-and-brussels-rhetoric-pushing-vladimir-putin-to-act-9164102.html


    What goes around, comes around. Roosting bears etc..

  131. Al says: