Radoslaw Sikorski is a Handsome, Urbane, Well-Educated Twat – The Ignominious Collapse of British Journalism

Uncle Volodya says, "Your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. "

Uncle Volodya says, “Your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. “

The British press has a well-earned reputation for being preoccupied with sex, scandal and celebrities to the exclusion of reporting on anything worthwhile. When it reports on a supposed affront to Britain’s sovereignty – such as the passage of the Russian cargo transport carrying helicopters for Assad’s Syria which had been retrofitted in Russia – it struts and whoops and preens itself as if the days of The Raj and Empire were still in full swing, when Britain’s mailed fist made the earth tremble. It is reliably Russophobic, with only the occasional startling article by the likes of Simon Tisdall bobbing like a carrot in the creamy chowder of hatred. When it settles upon a foreign leader it admires, it is as mawkish and grating in its unabashed admiration as if it were a teenaged girl; my dears, he’s positively dench! But every once in awhile, the British press turns out an act of public fellatio so brazen, so sycophantic, so…so…slutty in its self-abasement that it inspires a sort of grudging admiration for such a complete public abandonment of principles.

Such is The Telegraph‘s gushing tongue bath of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski (thanks for the link, Al).  Plainly, The Telegraph is smitten; Sikorski is Bond, Disraeli and Ryan Reynolds all rolled into a smart-but-sexy package that has Cristina Odone’s ovaries rattling a romantic cantata with the beating of her heart. Perhaps her husband should be alarmed – but not a bit of it; when you are red-hot Russophobe and hunk of British beefcake Edward Lucas, you need fear no innocent flirtation.

Given the Poles’ jovial support to the Maidan protests, where they had a tent set up and were dispensing Polish goodies and friendly advice on the joys of EuroAssociation, it is unsurprising that they would be furious over the Russian incursion into the Crimea, since – as someone pointed out earlier – it will cut down on Ukraine’s coastal frontage and consequently its Exclusive Economic Zone, plus leave the Russian Black Sea Fleet in place. Considering Sikorski’s marital alliance with Washington Post journalist and fellow Russophobe Anne Applebaum,  it is a given he would be personally apoplectic, and promise a powerful reckoning consequent to his upcoming meeting with British  Foreign Minister William Hague, himself yet another steaming Russophobe. Russia will have no friends at that table.

But let’s get back to The Adoration Of Radek. Right away, we learn that his Oxford English is perfect and his tone is decisive – if Vladimir Putin could be immolated on the spot by pure tone alone, so that all that was left was his pointy little cloven-hoof slippers, smoking, Radek would be the man for the job. As if that were not enough, he proceeds to reduce Ms. Ordone to moist trembling with his casual segue into German. It’s only one word, but still; the dazzling cosmopolitanity of it just takes one’s breath away. Not for the clod Putin such heady pursuits, natürlich, the subtle beauty of Beethoven’s  language wasted on his pedestrian doziness.

Except that Vladimir Putin speaks fluent German, and could probably expand quite a bit on “Verboten”. But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story.

Europe is all about overcoming borders, says Mr. Sikorski; not redrawing them. Quite so, and now Europe wants to overcome the borders of Ukraine so it can lie right up cheek by jowl against Russia. Mr. Sikorski’s loathing for Russia, sadly, is typical of Europe, all of which is dependent on Russian gas but hates itself for this weakness, and longs for the day when it can smash Russia into little statelets that will either be easily gobbled up or can be set to warring with one another. Until the dawning of that happy, happy day, Russia must be repeatedly put in its place until it understands its unfitness to pretenses of civilization.

So Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Hague are going to put together a package of sanctions that will really put the fear of God into Putin. I can’t wait. Poland’s government speaks brightly of Poland weathering any sort of economic storm Russia might unleash against it with a potential loss of 1% of GDP – but probably not even that, easy-peasy, we could take it standing on our heads. If Russia turned off the energy tap, it might hurt a little; but they won’t do that. Poland gets around 8% of its natural gas from Russia, and a bit higher percentage of oil. But if they lost that, so what? Even if Russia might do it, which they won’t.

Europe has been deadly accurate at predicting what Russia will do over the last 5 years or so, you notice. I’m being sarcastic. Besides that, somebody in the Polish government is secretly working for the Porkie Pies News Network (PPN), because Poland actually imports two-thirds of its gas and Russia supplies about 80% of that. Better get out the sunscreen, because the government is blowing a lot of sunshine up the people’s asses. Russia supplied 9 Billion cm of the 16.6 cm of natural gas Poland consumed in 2012: more than half. If Poland’s energy minister has managed to get that down to 8% in 2014, that’s one hell of an accomplishment. Additionally, Poland has been one of the most energetic – to say nothing of optimistic – proponents of shale gas fracking in Europe, which was supposed to bring an ocean of gas which would enable Poland to give Russia the finger. And look how that turned out. Since that report, ENI and Marathon pulled out.

Oooo…there’s a Radek tidbit I didn’t know – Mr. Sikorski “fought the Red Army” in Afghanistan – as a photojournalist. There’s no telling how many among the Russian infantry were evacuated to the rear with flash burns or double exposure thanks to his reckless gallantry.

And then off he goes into a meandering narrative which highlights how misinformed he is if he believes he has his thumb on the pulse of the problem – Russia is frightening people, he says, with bogey tales of Europe’s licentiousness, its penchant for gay marriage and its loose morals. In fact, Russia argued that the EU Association agreement was a bad deal for Ukraine on purely financial terms, and it was and it is. Ukraine will get locked into an IMF pay-to-play loop driven by austerity and reforms that children who are still learning to walk right now will be paying for.

“This crisis was all about Europe” he tells his breathless audience; “The Ukrainian opposition wanted to join Europe, which to them doesn’t necessarily mean full membership, but rather becoming part of a community which is democratic, free of corruption, less monopolistic, less oligarchical.”

That’s very interesting, Mr. Sikorski – where did you say that Europe was located, again? Because I might write to Mr. Harper, ask him if he’s interested in joining it, too. It sounds like a fabulous place, not at all like the Europe the rest of us know in which corruption is rampant and costs 120 Billion Euros a year.

But never mind that; Sikorski cuts quite a figure; handsome, simply dreamy on a motorcycle, dollinks, an updated Lord Flashheart. Poland, although a little piece of Eden, is too small to hold such a tearaway, and Sikorski is rumoured to be Brussels-bound. Let that be a warning to you, Putin, you grotesque little stink-doll. When Sikorski comes to town, some heads are gonna roll, and the first one in the basket will be your little ovoid troll turnip.

Completely absent from this stirring call to arms and passionate entreaty to the po-faced Brits is any specific mention of Crimea’s lunge for self-determination – or, more to the point, what Sikorski’s take on it might be. It’s all just a bunch of amorphous threats against Putin, who is apparently “getting away” with something, and if he does it will be all the fault of perfidious Albion, which seems to have been dozing when the squadron tannoy squawked, “tally ho, chaps – enemy in sight!!!”

Are you curious why Crimea was not mentioned in the hazy summation of Putin’s crimes? Perhaps it has something to do with the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, which was greeted by the west with the sort of indulgent enthusiasm normally reserved for infant violin prodigies. And because the government advisory position on the international legality of its declaration – upon which turned its recognition by Poland, first of the Slavic countries to welcome it, was written by…Radoslaw Sikorski.

Poland, we hear, “viewed the Declaration of Independence [of Kosovo] of 17 February 2008 as an act that has not conflicted with any norm of international law.” International law, saith Mr. Sikorski, does not contain norms that would apply to the question of declaring independence; a state (pay attention, this is important) is commonly defined as a community which consists of a territory and a population subject to an organized political authority; that such a state is characterized by sovereignty…the existence of the state is a question of fact, the effects of recognition by other states are purely declaratory. You’ll want to keep that last phrase in your back pocket for when the west and its cronies uniformly refuse to recognize Crimea as a state. A declaration of independence, it is Poland’s official position, is merely an act that confirms these factual circumstances, and it may be difficult to assess such an act in purely legal terms.

For those who don’t recognize it, that is a defense of unilateral declarations of independence that squirms around the question of whether they violate international law, implying “No” because everybody on the Good Guyz side wanted Kosovo to be independent.

There’s much more – of course, it was written by a politician, and when have you ever known a politician to use ten words when ten thousand will do as well – but Poland relies heavily on the “unique status” of Kosovo, which, while subordinated to the Republic of Serbia and being represented in the Federation’s presidency, enjoyed full status of self-governance appertaining to the Republic, including even their own central banks.

The “strive” of Kosovars, we hear (that’s a little deviation from perfect Oxford English, Mr. Oxford graduate, into the realm of the purely made-up, it should have been “striving” or “struggle”) manifested itself through massive protests that were repressed by central authorities of Yugoslavia. The unilateral declaration of independence by the Crimea is about to manifest itself in a powerful referendum majority which will reflect the will of the people, and it has been repressed in advance by the unelected central government of Ukraine by an order to dissolve the Crimean parliament and preordainment that the results of any referendum instigated by that body will be irrelevant and ignored.

Mr. Sikorski, handsome piece of motorcycle candy though he may be, his fellow western political bobbleheads and the free world they represent are hoist by their own petard.

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578 Responses to Radoslaw Sikorski is a Handsome, Urbane, Well-Educated Twat – The Ignominious Collapse of British Journalism

  1. yalensis says:

    Great blogpost! This is “classic Chapman”, taking the micky out of a deserving tosser!

    I can’t believe that I used to think of Sikorski as the “reasonable one” in Polish politics. Well, to be sure, that was back in the days when the Krazy Kaczynski twins were in charge. Sikorski and Tusk were among the saner types who benefited from all the nut-jobs crowding onto that one doomed plane…

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, yalensis! Yes, this seems to be just a curtain-raiser for Sikorski’s move to NATO, kind of establishing his chops for all the proletariat luckless enough not to have been born into the western intelligentsia. It discusses nothing specific, only his overriding concern about Russia’s shenanigans, and promises no specific action beyond threatening that the wrath of Radek will be terrible. It’s just the disgusting sucking-up and stage-setting, the focus on his handsomeness and decisiveness as if they will somehow help him arrive at a solution where the west has been outmaneuvered and the encouragement to pay attention to his irrelevant deliciousness that motivate me to make fun of him. That and the neoconservative author.

      • babsbasia says:

        i’m a bit late for this posting/ but considering worldly affairs and Putin’s disasterous hand in all of it/ making it my all time mission to dick with anyone that makes it a mission of there’s for whatever reasons > as this thread plainly shows/ lots of intuitive commentary about dissin Poles/ when really/ none of you of all have any mother fuckin idea what you talk about besides your internet source energies/ (i’m a first generationer of a nazi surviror_ so I know) and unfortunately/ i will make it my mission to find you from now on/ Poland is one of the most energized economies out there today/ they garner some of best new world class models and entrepreneurs (http://bbbdbd.tumblr.com) // and they indeed they’ve suffered an incredible amount/ despite any commentaries made by any politicians en vogue/ all this bsin’ has really- / reminder – i will find all these mf posters on all these mf sites and i will set your small little minds and record straight from now on/ they have done nothing to you stinkin’ blokes at all-/ #jealous

  2. yalensis says:

    And here is more on that story that appeared yesterday, whereby Igor Tenukh (self-declared “Minister of Defense” of Ukraine) admitted that he can only scrounge together 6,000 soldiers to go to war against Russia.

    I don’t want at all to sound like I am gloating. This came as news to all of us, who didn’t know just bad things were, until the Oranges themselves told us.
    And not all the fault of Oranges, this has been a process of 20 years of decay of Uke armed forces.
    20 years of weak, divided governments, and oligarchs looting the country. Yanukovych just pounded in the penultimate, and then Oranges the final, nail.

    The actual statistics are, according to Tenukh:
    184K people nominally working army (I guess that includes all employees, not just servicemen), Ground forces = 41K soldiers. Of which 20K in constant readiness.
    Of which, practically speaking, only 6000 who could actually ride out to war tomorrow.

    After laying out these sad facts to Uke parliament, Tenukh then suggested a temporary solution:
    Patriotic Ukrainian Oligarchs must shell out money, in big tranches, to help rebuild their government,

    Arsen Avakov (self-proclaimed Minister of Internal Affairs) also has a plan: He says he can quickly put together a new “national guard” consiting of 20K bayonets and sabres. (and baseball bats?) Avakov would acquire these troops from the existing neo-nazi militias (“Right Sector” and Black Hundreds) who are roaming the streets of Kiev.
    Avakov says this new national guard will guard Ukraine’s borders and keep order.

    • Southerncross says:

      He proposes this after Sashko threatened to hang him?

    • Al says:

      Apparently Turkey has a very competent submarine force, 14 vessels, mostly German Type 209s and a few 214s, perfect for shallow waters…

    • marknesop says:

      Now, there’s a brilliant idea. I just read recently that they still keep an ostentatious stock of beer bottles filled with gasoline on the sidewalk in front of their “HQ”, just to let everyone know who the real hard boys are. And forget all that stuff about every soldier being an isolated diplomat and ambassador for his country, from the standpoint that your individual behaviour while in uniform gives onlookers a snapshot of your national policies and priorities; we’ll have none of that. A soldier’s job is to kill the enemy, which in this case, apparently, is Jews and Russians. No need for any great amount of education or refinement to do that.

      This has to be a tremendous humiliation for Ukraine, and nations humiliated beyond tolerance are dangerous – you never know when they might feel they have nothing more to lose. But although the deterioration of the military probably did begin with independence or even sooner, the ones who get the blame for it – it’s the law, in politics – are those under whose watch the deficiency was exposed. Just the same as this clown show will be blamed – justly, in my opinion – as the ones who lost the country even though ethnic divisions were long-standing. Other leaders managed to cobble the people together so that they rubbed along more or less united, but this collection of bozos went straight for the approval of the western Ukrainians only, and both own a piece of the result.

  3. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, in that same article, linked above, there is also more news on Crimean nationalizations. The new authorities in Crimea (= Prime Minster Aksonov) are planning the nationalizations of all state-owned assets, moving them from Ukraine to Crimea. This includes Ukrainian “naval fleet”, such as it is. Crimea will even get a submarine.
    Also to be nationalized is “ChernomorNeftGaz”, the oil and gas company on the peninsula. Also several electric power stations.

    Aksonov stressed that nationalizations will only touch assets that are already public. There will no nationalizations of private property; nor will any state assets be privatized. In short, just a shift of public property from Ukraine to Crimea.

    The ChernomorNeftGaz company extracts oil and gas from the shelfs of the Black and Azov seas. It supplies Crimea with more than 70% of its gas.

    As for obtaining Ukrainian fleet, this is more problematic, the article gives a list of several boats then will be transferred into Crimean property:

    ✔ большой десантный корабль «Константин Ольшанский»;

    ✔ малый противолодочный «Винница»;

    ✔ средний десантный «Кировоград»;

    ✔ тральщики «Геническ», «Черкассы»», «Чернигов»;

    ✔ противодиверсионный катер «Феодосия»;

    ✔ единственная подлодка Украины «Запорожье»;

    ✔ самый новый корабль Украины, малый противолодочный «Тернополь» (спущен на воду в марте 2002 года);

    ✔ корабль управления (по сути, разведчик) «Славутич».

    But then goes on to say:
    Several of the bigger Ukrainian boats have fled out into the open seas and are sailing around defiantly. Amidst them is the Ukrainian flagship, the “Hetman Sagaidachny”.

    Fortunately for Russians, the Ukrainian submarines were not able to escape in time, they are trapped in some bay, blocked by a sunken ship. So, eventually I suppose these submarines will have to surrender, before they run out of oxygen.

    However, as for the rest of the Ukrainian fleet, the mysterious, ghostly boats have escaped along with their flagship, Rumor has it the “Hetman Sagaidachny” is commanded by Admiral van der Decken. He is known as the “Flying Ukrainian”. Due to a curse, (when he cursed God for unleashing a hell of a storm on him), Admiral van der Decken and his crew (composed of ghostly skeletons) will be forced to sail around the world for all eternity. Only once every 100 years, the Admiral will be allowed to sail into some harbor, seeking a bride. At that time, only the true, pure, and selfless love of a woman who accepts him blindly with all his flaws: only this can free him from his curse.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Clapped out though the Ukrainian armed forces may be, the Ukrainian Army has a great band near Simferopol!

      7th March 2014: Blockaded Ukrainian Army near Simferopol.

      Love that big band sound!

      Eat your heart out Glenn Miller!

      • marknesop says:

        Captivity does strange things to people’s minds, and can sometimes cause them to appear as if they are happy rather than having the last vestiges of spirit crushed out of them. Or perhaps this is defiance. Either way, those guys are good and look suspiciously un-martial.

      • yalensis says:

        They play good, but they don’t dance good.
        In conclusion, white men can’t dance!

    • marknesop says:

      Ever the romantic. I thought the “Hetman Sagaidachny” was the unit that defected to Russia while it was still on its way back from deployment. The submarines are likely at their piers and on the surface; there is no shortage of oxygen for them and even if they are at sea in some bay there is no reason for them to remain submerged.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        That’s what was reported here: Ukrainian Navy flagship takes Russia’s side.

        However, Wiki says: “As she refuelled in Greece, while Russian forces seized control of Crimea, Russian Senator Igor Morozov claimed on 1 March 2014 that the ship’s crew had defected to Russia and raised the Russian flag. Shortly afterwards, independent news organizations reported that the ship was still flying the Ukrainian flag in port in Crete. The commander of the ship confirmed that the crew had never defected to the Russians.”

        A references is given to this Wiki addendum:Hetman Sahaydachny sails under Ukrainian Flag

        • Moscow Exile says:

          RT jumped the gun. Berezovsky commanded the flagship Hetman Sagaidachny from 2002-2005. On December 6, 2012 he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.

      • yalensis says:

        Some people say the “Hetman Sagaidachny” defected to Russia.
        Other people say she flew the Russian flag deceptively, in order to escape blockade (via cunning and guile) out into the vast blue sea.
        Others say the “Hetman Sagaidachny” is a ghost ship manned by spooky skeletons who have been cursed by the great sea god Neptune. Because they foolishly stole his trident!

  4. yalensis says:

    Possible response from NATO:
    Ukrainian politicial Yuri Lutsenko , who I believe is Batkivshchina party (?) announced today that NATO might conduct an air operation over Ukrainian airspace, in order to prevent the Crimean referendum.
    (sort of like the NATO air operation over Libya? which mostly consisted of bombing Gaddafi army units)

    Hence, if NATO does this, I imagine it would involve NATO bombers taking out Crimean/Russian ground forces on the peninsula.
    Not sure if Crimea has adequate air defenses set up to shoot down NATO bombers (?)

    • JLo says:

      Take this with a grain of salt, NATO is not going into Ukraine. If they do, it’s curtains for all of us.

      • reggietcs says:

        I doubt the US Joint chiefs General Dempsey would go for this. He was in open revolt over efforts to railroad the US military into attacking Syria, so I don’t see him rolling over for an attack on Russian military personnel. The Saker reported yesterday that this NATO coming to the rescue nonsense is wishful thinking. I imagine if the US government did order it’s military to open hostilities with Russia, we’d probably see the military (at least a chunk of it) step in and say NO.

  5. JLo says:

    Great post, “classic” just as Yalensis says. The hyperlinks in these pieces are such a goldmine of information, I’ve gone back to posts from years ago to make points and roundly win arguments. Thanks!

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, JLo, and it’s great to hear from you again!! Don’t forget we are still awaiting your writing debut on what it is like to be a non-Russian living in Russia!

  6. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Ukrainian legislators now saying that Presidential elections originally set for May 25 may be postponed to December 7, or possibly never.
    In which case, Turchynov gets to stay Prez indefinitely!

    • Jen says:

      The Kleptokrat Kyiv Kabal could always declare martial law and suspend elections indefinitely on that basis. Every now and again the KKK could renew the martial law declaration by flaunting Ukraine’s insecurity for all it’s worth in the face of supposed aggression, infiltration or suspicious activity from Crimea, Russia or eastern Ukraine. That would also justify the imposition of austerity packages with no end in sight.

      Unless either the US, Turkey or Saudi Arabia does something rash, the situation in Ukraine could settle into a chronic cold-war situation in which there is low-level conflict, not enough to mobilise military forces but enough to keep the population on edge and to give the KKK excuses to pour money into creating a permanent paramilitary police from Svoboda, Pravy Sektor and UNO-UNSA forces and the institutions and networks needed for a surveillance state. Money can be siphoned away from education, health and medical services, social welfare services and transport and utilities infrastructures.

      • patient observer says:

        Sounds like a plan.
        The big difference between Cold War I and the developing Cold War II is that the perceived roles are reversed – the downtrodden, poverty and fear-stricken population is now in the NATO realm and the comparatively prosperous, free and happy people are part of the Eastern world. Seems quite fitting to me.

    • marknesop says:

      Gosh – nobody expected that astounding development. I’m being sarcastic, of course, and it was forecast here before the chairs in the “New Rada” were even warm, but if in fact anyone is surprised – and likely to be upset – it will be the Maidan crowd, the extremists and west Ukrainians in general. It will make little difference to those who do not recognize the authority of the government anyway, but it greatly increases the probability of anti-government rioting in Kiev because people most definitely did not sign on for this, and as well, the west is not going to be eager to pour money into a transitional government that was – theoretically – not expected to try to hold on to power indefinitely.

      On the bright side, though, Nudelman will be pleased!

      • Southerncross says:

        Step #1: Let it be known that your unpopular “transitional” government may stay in office indefinitely.

        Step #2: Build a parallel army (the Ukraine National Guard) comprised chiefly of the people who will be most enraged by step #1.

        Step #3: Start sleeping in your coffin – it will save time for everyone involved.

        Astoundingly adroit statesmanship. If Turchynov, Yatsenyuk and Avakov are still alive by the end of the year, it will be proof that God watches over fools.

  7. yalensis says:

    And life goes on :
    Yuri Prodan (Ukrainian Minister of Energy) announced today that Ukraine plans to purchase up to 30 billion cubometers of gas from Russia to supply Ukraine’s needs through 2014. Yuri, who sounds like a sensible fellow, is at this very moment conducting negotiations with his Russian counterparts to make the purchase.
    Prodan poo-poohed rumors that Ukraine is currently indulging itself with native Ukrainian, non-Russian gas.
    Nope, it’s all Russian gas, pretty much, Prodan says. We use it for everything.

    Prodan did declare, however, with a touch of defiance, that he will NOT pay Russia any fine they might try to level (for late payments, non-payments).
    Not gonna pay dem fines…

    • SFReader says:

      There are no fines in the Gazprom-Neftegaz agreement.

      But there is a clause about take-or-pay principle. Ukraine has to buy no less than 33,3 billion cubic meters of Russian gas. If they fail to do so as happened in 2012 and 2013, they’ll have to pay for the difference between what they actually bought and minimal annual amount of 33,3 billion cubic meters

      As I understand, under the take-or-pay clause, Ukraine has to pay Gazprom 7 billion USD for 2012 and 12 bln USD for 2013.

      This is on top of the current debt for gas actually consumed in 2013-2014 which amounts to some 2 bln USD.

      Thus, the total debt to Gazprom runs to over 21 bln USD….

  8. Fern says:

    Mark, a really excellent blogpost – Sikorski’s authorship of the ‘Written Statement of Poland” on the issue of Kosovo’s independence submitted to the International Court of Justice is quite a find – I haven’t come across a reference to that anywhere else, so congrats on a scoop!

    Yatsenyuk is also a member of the ‘hoisted with their own petard’ club. As a minister in Yushenko’s government, he also welcomed the moves towards Kosovo’s independence:-
    “Visiting Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, at the time, Yatsenyuk said: “Officials in Kiev support the granting of independence to Kosovo. The Kosovo problem is very complicated, but, in any case, the final decision is full sovereignty,” he said”.

    Reports from Crimea are that pro-Maidan ‘activists’, wearing official-type uniforms are stopping people in the street and demanding proof of ID. Once papers are shown, they’re seized or destroyed making it difficult for those people to take part in the referendum. Obviously, the pro-Kiev folk can’t do this on a sufficiently big enough scale to influence the outcome but in some of the remoter parts of the peninsula, where outside help may be some distance and time away, it’s probably quite intimidating.

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, Fern; I found the reference by accident. A good way to find offbeat references, surprisingly, is to search Google in “images”, to look for a picture of what it is you’re researching, and then visit the page the picture appears upon. Sometimes the picture is the only link in that reference to the subject, and you would not have found that page any other way. That’s not how I found this one, obviously, it doesn’t have any pictures; I think the search cued off of a phrase in the text or something. Just luck.

      Those reports are disturbing, but I think you’re right that they will not skew the results much and if those whose papers were confiscated are willing to testify to that effect later it could even go toward stronger legitimization of the result.

  9. cartman says:

    The late Lech Kaczynski was against recognition of Kosovo, so it is not like Sikorski’s position was shared throughout Poland.

    • marknesop says:

      No, that’s true, and I apologize if I offended Poles by tarring them all with the same brush. Recognition of Kosovo was thought to be a win/win more or less throughout the political elite and the intelligentsia, those who can generally be relied upon to support an agenda of western expansion and consolidation. But there seems to be little doubt that even those who thought there was no legal basis for it were motivated to try and surmount that barrier because the prime movers among the western democracies wanted it to happen. It is just possible Kaczynski was opposed to it because the people affected were fellow Slavs, and if so he would have been loosely aligned with Russia in that position.

      • cartman says:

        Kaczynski was sort of on his own in the wilderness – an overall negative fellow who wasn’t willing to bind Poland to anything that would take its independence. He fit in well with British euroskeptics who resented the idea that the EU was anything more than a free trade area.

  10. Fern says:

    Zbigniew Brzezinski has just announced that, in his opinion, Sikorski would make an excellent head-honcho of NATO when Rasmussen’s term of office ends in July. I find that prospect genuinely scary.

    • astabada says:

      After each one of his statements, I become more and more convinced that he would like to witness ww3 before he dies. Sort of a final showdown: he doesn’t have a lot to loose anyway, given his age.

    • marknesop says:

      Certainly an excellent motivator for non-aligned countries to put a little money into the equipping and training of their armed forces.

      • Al says:

        Tabloid in My Head says:
        Zbig Zbig Sputnik wants Polish Love Missile F1-11 for NATO
        Brezezinsky recommends hot polish sosiska Sikorski for NATO chief post

    • yalensis says:

      The idea of a Pole being head of NATO is like Russia’s worst nightmare!

  11. Al says:

    Have you seen the Russia: Other Points of view from March 7?

    http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2014/03/sanctions-not.html

    SANCTIONS – NOT
    Business New Europe
    http://www.bne.eu
    March 7, 2014
    Ben Aris in Moscow

    “…The US and the West are caught over a barrel with Russia. Putin’s actions are stunningly aggressive, but to be fair to him he has given plenty of warning that it might come to this.

    In his famous speech at the Munich Security conference in 2007 he said that Europe was the “natural partner” for Russia, but it had to respect Russia’s interests and meet it half way. Nothing happened. Then in 2012 in his keynote address at the St Petersburg Economic Forum Putin said that Russia had basically given up all hope of cooperating with Europe and launched a programme to modernise the Russian army. Relations have been steadily decaying since then while the number of military exercises have been steadily increasing. This was obvious and bne already ran a cover story on the “new Cold War” making all these points in April last year.

    The West has been convinced by its own hyperbole that Russia is a dysfunctional kleptocracy on the verge of collapse, whereas in reality it has been strongly growing and is now the rising economic power in Europe, soon to be the largest consumer market on the Continent. The United Nations Development Programme, for example, upgraded Russia to a “high income” country last year, putting it into the same bracket as the likes of Germany, France and the UK (even if incomes are still on a par with Portugal). But politically it is still being treated like a third world country.

    Putin’s adventure in the Crimea is primarily designed to end that perception. The world is in shock at the Russian troop movements. But if this exercise is about scoring debating points, then it has been a huge success because faced with the realities of a rising Russia the West has suddenly discovered that there is not much it can do to stop Russia taking the Crimea if it wants to….”

    Some of it I don’t really agree with, but warning Putin did certainly signal.

    As the next phase of ‘sanctions’ are due to come in to force against Russia in the next few days, may I suggest a surprise one day strike (minimum) at all foreign owned car plants in Russia? A spontaneous swift kick in the balls of course! As we have already mentioned in various comments, european business (zee Germans mostly) has signaled the political leaders not to mess with their profit making. It makes sense then to apply pressure on this point. I wonder what the margin of profit is from the VW BMW plant in Kaliningrad (along with GM & KIA)? There is Ford, Renault, GM, Toyota, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Nissan. It is simply making the point that your sanctions will hurt you as much as it hurts us or as any young kitty knows, playing with a ball of string can be fun, but eventually it unravels and you (well, your owner) are left with a god almighty mess. Innit?

  12. cartman says:

    EU’s Energy Commissioner is threatening to halt South Stream over Crimea. Keep in mind that the EC is a German, Guenther Oettinger, whose country can now receive gas through North Stream and Belarus if instability in Ukraine stops deliveries.

    South Stream serves mostly Orthodox, traditional allies of Russia, whose people are already distressed by high utility bills. (Bulgarians also spent months protesting the government in Sofia, though none resorted to petrol bombs as far as I know.) This could go very badly for Germany if it looks like it is cutting gas to SE Europe so that it could resell its own.

    • marknesop says:

      You are on to something – besides giving Russia control over several large oil and gas fields in the Black Sea, control of the Crimean Peninsula would allow Russia to route the South Stream pipeline over a shallow coastal shelf whereas it would earlier have had to lay the pipeline in the deepest part in order to avoid Ukrainian waters! This would yield instant savings to GAZPROM of $10 Billion. Additionally, current leases held by American and European companies would become legally invalid.

      http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/ukraine-russia-natural-gas-andrs-jenei

      Well done; that’s a great find, and goes far to explain the continued gnashing of teeth from the west despite considerable evidence that there is little they can do short of war. This just might be the most destructive Ukrainian “government” ever, although it is now much clearer why the west was in such a rush to recognize it and why the continued pressure on Russia to engage in direct talks with the Ukrainians and thereby legitimize them.

      It also puts a huge spike through the heart of University of Chicago Law School Crackpot Professor Eric Posner, who previously argued angrily that the Crimea is essentially worthless, let Putin have it, the fucking child, it will surely come to nothing and Russia’s economy is collapsing anyway.

      Well done also to whoever first brought up the idea that losing the Crimea would cost Ukraine a valuable piece of its EEZ. If that was you, that’s a double well done.

      • patient observer says:

        Brought tears to my eyes. What a great windfall for Crimea and Russia. One could claim its a way for Russia to gain control of additional energy reserves but unlike Iraq for example, the population truly welcomed their liberators.

        Slightly related, per Saker, the US may start to draw down its strategic petroleum reserves as means to reduce oil prices to punish Russia. Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

        • astabada says:

          Selling the strategic reserves can only give the coup de grace to an already wobbly economy. Here the US is facing a country with endless reserves, while Europe needs gas more than air.

          The US will have to replenish its reserves sooner or later. Do you think that Russia will collapse that fast?

          • patient observer says:

            Its likely little more than chest pounding to stabilize shaky alliances and keeping hope alive among their minions.

      • Hunter says:

        I think that would have been me Mark, concerning the EEZ. But that would only be if Ukraine recognized the transfer of the Crimea. Effectively they would lose a lot of it to Crimea/Russia but if they didn’t recognize the loss of Crimea the EEZ would be disputed which means neither Crimea/Russia not Ukraine would get to effectively utilize it.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, now you mention it, I think that was you. And yes, that’s true the zone would be disputed, but if we are guided by Mr. Sikorsi’s logic it is not really a question for international law anyway – the state-in-being demands recognition of its statehood as a reality rather than a point of law. The Crimea was an autonomous region before, and will now become even more so where Ukraine is concerned, but the critical point is that Ukraine lacks the power to enforce it. You can get away with just about anything in this world so long as you are big enough and mean enough to put what you are taking between your paws and say, “touch it, and I’ll tear your head off”. Ukraine’s military has fallen into a decrepit state which is incapable even of domestic policing in a country its size, and if it partners with Europe all its money and energy is going to go into liberalizing reforms and debt servicing, so there is little danger Russia is going to face a giant and re-energized Ukrainian military in the next 15 years. Besides, I believe Russia’s best chance to get the whole thing lies with the East fielding a solid political candidate who can win an election by campaigning on turning the country back toward Russia. I would hope most Ukrainians have had a good look at the face of the EU by now, and at who the real regional power is. The complete failure of western sanctions to break Russia’s will is going to be yet another example.

    • kirill says:

      Is that than example of the those “freedumbs” the west cherishes? I didn’t realize that the EU was a fiefdom and all of the member states were serfs who are not allowed to make decisions for themselves.

      We have come a long way from the 1980s and the EC. Now we have various EU commissars treating the allegedly “free” member states like chattel.

    • EU has wanted to halt South Stream even before Crimea. Now they just found their justification for it.

      Ukraine is a new Western project and South Stream would give Russia too much leverage over Ukraine. So it must be stopped.

      • kirill says:

        Russia is going to give the EU commissars an ultimatum: south stream or no stream. These EU appartchiks are deluded if they think they can force Russia not feeding Kiev parasites as in the past. Those days are over and thanks to NATO meddling. Isn’t that ironic.

        • Fern says:

          Increasingly, I’m inclined to think that Ukraine’s non-payment of Gazprom is actually part of the west’s economic war on Russia. As long as gas destined for Europe has to transit through Ukraine, it’s very hard for Russia to take effective action against it for non-payment since cutting the supply can’t be done without affecting all other customers. After South Stream comes online, gas piped to Ukraine will be solely for that country’s use – a perfectly sensible way of resolving a genuine commercial dilemma. Europe should welcome it – from a business point of view, it’s a constructive, effective solution. And yet Europe doesn’t welcome it. Instead, it wants to insist on the current, highly problematic (for Russia) arrangements. Why would that be, I wonder?

    • Hunter says:

      How can the EU Energy Commissioner halt a project which is already under construction over a dispute involving a non-member state? There would have to be some technical grounds for halting it (such as environmental concerns, or competition policy) wouldn’t there?

      • marknesop says:

        I think you are correct, and he is probably just blowing smoke. But Fern is absolutely right as well, and taking Ukraine out of the pipeline network means an end to their ability to exercise energy politics. Although I didn’t see it before, it also means an end to Europe’s buffer state, through which it could exercise energy manipulation. Once pipelines around Ukraine are able to carry the same load as went through it, energy deals between Europe and Russia will be minus Ukrainian posturing, while European negotiation will be reduced to do you want it, or do you don’t? Europe would have Russia over a huge barrel, negotiation-wise, were it not for China, but the situation is what it is.

  13. Al says:

    Poor unarmed protesters:

    Wired: Photos: The Brutal DIY Weapons of the Ukrainian Revolution

    http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2014/03/ukraine-diy-weapons/

    “…“Every single person without fail had a club or a bat or something like that,” says Jamieson. “You couldn’t help but notice the DIY nature of the whole thing, from the barricades themselves to the totally inadequate body armor that people were wearing, and the weapons as well. It looked like something out of Mad Max, it was crazy.”…

    …Jamieson says he did see evidence of more substantial weaponry on the protesters’ side, including automatic weapons, but those were carefully kept out of view in order to avoid escalating the violence. It was a sign of how well organized the protesters were….”
    ***
    Apart from the meme of the Police kicking it all off meme, there’s nothing like a few pictures to put things in their place.

  14. marknesop says:

    The G-7 (think they’re trying to make a point?) informs Russia once again that its annexation of the Crimea would be a violation of international law, dismissing the idea that a unilateral declaration of independence has any legal validity now that they do not have an ongoing unilateral-declaration-of-independence case that they actually want to succeed, in which case international law would be ignored. They also want Russia to be assured the G7 as well as the presidents of the European Council and European Commission will not recognize the results of the referendum – which is a pretty good indication of what they expect the results to show, since they would recognize the results in a New York minute if they were “We want to stay a part of Ukraine”.

    http://ru.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/g-7-leaders-caution-russia-on-ukraine-339157.html

    High-stakes poker indeed. The USA announces it is ready to back up its treaty obligations with military force if Russia makes a move toward annexing the East, and does not withdraw from the Crimea to seek a peaceful solution (which, in westspeak, means “let Ukraine have the Crimea back regardless what the Crimeans say they want, back down and let Ukraine have the victory. Engage in direct talks with the Ukrainian government, thereby recognizing it as the legitimate government of Ukraine, determine what they want and give it to them. If you do, we’ll be your friend and will say nice things about you in the papers for a whole week”.)

    http://ru.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/gen-dempsey-us-ready-for-military-response-to-russia-if-crimean-conflict-escalates-339144.html

    I doubt, however, that anything of the kind will happen, because the U.S. government might find itself facing a public revolt.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/ukraine-and-public-opinion/

    http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/11/most-say-u-s-should-not-get-too-involved-in-ukraine-situation/

    • kirill says:

      America is going to have to suppress the millions of pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine. These pronouncements appear to be based on the notion that Russia would be forcing locals in eastern Ukraine. No, Russia would be assisting the locals in every way possible.

      Russia’s red line is the treatment of Russians in Ukraine. The fucking Americans can go and blow some dog shit up their noses. Putin should make sure to push this to the nuclear stage so that these rabid meddlers back down.

    • yalensis says:

      I have the impression that Americans have secretly written off Crimea but intend to hold the line at Eastern Ukraine.

      Many ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine are desperate to follow Crimean example and be reuinted with Russia. However, this is much trickier, from POV of international law.

      From Russian POV it’s harder to take Eastern Ukraine because there are no legal autonomies that could declare independence and have a referendum. Crimea is technically an autonomy, hence the international law is solid in this case. Especially given Kosovo. But Lukhansk? Or Donetsk? Not so much…

      However, I believe Russia should double down and make noises like she will take Eastern Ukraine. If for nothing else, then as bargaining chip. This sounds Machiavellian, I realize. I apologize for that. But these are desperate times.

      • marknesop says:

        I have the same impression, that the USA and EU will continue to fight for the Crimea but they know in their hearts it is gone and are just going through the motions to keep Turchynov and the Trouble Train happy and to give them political cover, so their own subjects will not boot them out with less than a month of tenure gone.

        I read that the OSCE refused to oversee the referendum, because it was not in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution. There were no such objections in the case of Kosovo (except from the Serbs), and recognition of it was broad and near-instantaneous. The western institutions will have nothing to do with this vote because they would have to confess it was completely above-board and reflected the clear will of the people. If they don’t show up, they can agree later that it was probably rigged or coerced and probably illegal. Ukraine does not care, it could be overseen by the Pope and Ukraine would not accept it. The only international observers it is anxious to get into Crimea are military observers who will pass it intelligence on troop strength and movements.

        What was that headline that caused so much mirth in the west when they still thought Yanukovych was out of options and would have to sign the association agreement? “Ukraine Has a New Friend, Russia – Get Used To It”. Ha, ha, that’s so funny. Well, Crimea has a new friend, Ukraine – get used to it.

        I agree the East is more of a problem, because it does not have autonomous status. But we have it on the very best authority from Radek Sikorski the Motorcycle Dreamboat that a declaration of independence is merely an act which confirms factual circumstances, and which may be difficult to assess in purely legal terms. What that means is that the international law argument will not fly. The east must declare it does not recognize the central government’s authority, set up its own institutions independent of those of the state, preferably switch to the ruble and set up its own banks, and elect its own government. Factual circumstances. If that does not work, Russia should offer to accept and relocate all those refugees who wish to leave; some could go to the Crimea, others to Russia, but the East could be effectively emptied. There goes the tax base. Uh oh.

      • Fern says:

        yalensis, I think you’re right. There’s the same undercurrent in the British media – that Crimea has gone and the real battle is now to stop secessionist movements in the south and east. Kiev’s plan seems to be to identify and arrest actual and potential leaders in these areas, presumably in the hope that without leadership, any serious opposition to the new governing authorities will wither and die on the vine.

        • marknesop says:

          And in that context, the most sensible course for the secessionist East would be to select, support and field a convincing unionist candidate for the presidency who would step back from the EU orbit and be more amenable with ties to Russia. Write off the west and some of the centre and although the candidate should of course campaign for all-Ukraine, he or she should be prepared to receive no votes from those regions. They would have to be free of even the hint of scandal, because the west would chime in on the smear effort. Once elected, such a candidate could clear up constitutional wrangles and forge a stronger alliance with Russia. If the west wanted to secede, it could be encouraged to do so rather than the course being taken now, to try and hold it together against half the country’s will.

        • yalensis says:

          Which is precisely why I believe Russia needs to double down and make noises like she is about to “annex” East Ukraine.

          This feint to the East will scare shit out of West and make them focus all their attention there, forgetting about Crimea.

          Effective decoy.

      • kirill says:

        NATO can do whatever it wants. Russia should fund regime change in Ukraine starting in eastern Ukraine. This includes giving locals full military support with advisers and equipment. Eastern Ukraine should raise an army and seize control. In the NATO propaganda narrative it is Russia doing all the invading and badness. Russia should beat NATO at its own game and there are enough human assets in Ukraine to succeed. Eastern Ukrainians should worry about their economic future. The current regime has its nutbar cabinet members threaten genocide like in Rwanda (see Moscow Exiles youtube post in the previous thread).

      • Moscow Exile says:

        But Lukhansk? Or Donetsk? Not so much…

        On the other hand, that bag of shit Tyahnybok reckons that for the greater glory of Saloland Voronezh oblast and the Kuban are up for grabs.

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    Just postetd in Grauniad comments:

    Correspondence of US Army Attache Assistant in Kiev

    From: “Gresh, Jason P”
    To: igor.protsyk@gmail.com, i.v.protsyk@mil.gov.ua
    Subj: Peninsula
    Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2014 17:57:09 +0200
    Ihor,
    Events are moving rapidly in Crimea. Our friends in Washington expect more decisive actions from your network.
    I think it’s time to implement the plan we discussed lately. Your job is to cause some problems to the transport hubs in the south-east in order to frame-up the neighbor.
    It will create favorable conditions for Pentagon and the Company to act.
    Do not waste time, my friend.
    Respectfully,
    JP
    Jason P. Gresh
    Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
    Assistant Army Attaché
    U.S. Embassy, Kyiv
    Tankova 4, Kyiv, Ukraine 04112
    (380-44) 521 – 5444 | Fax (380-44) 521 – 5636

    Kremlinbot?

    Sockpuppet?

    Stooge?

    • marknesop says:

      Off the top of my head I would say it is a nutjob fake, because it is being reported on the usual conspiracy-theory-UFO-the-government-is-using-mind-control websites.

      http://beforeitsnews.com/war-and-conflict/2014/03/proof-us-staging-false-flag-for-ww3-kickoff-with-russia-video-2451078.html

      It could actually serve a constructive purpose, because if enough noise is made about it the USA will have to react and say that it is not planning any military action. But when U.S. military personnel – or any military personnel – make plans with civilian government members of host countries, they do not use absurd James Bond terminology, and you notice all these nutty emails mention “the plan”; that everything is going “according to the plan” or it is “time to implement the plan”. When would they have had time to make this plan? Although Russia did indeed telegraph its intent many times, as discussed earlier, the west paid no attention and assumed it would not do anything, and the deployment of troops to Crimea (despite being allowable under agreement and consequently believable as routine) was done literally overnight. Why would there be a plan between a frankly fairly low-ranking U.S. Army officer and a government minister to disrupt transport hubs in what a week ago was an uncontested country?

      Both those people probably do exist, but the email sounds like it was especially composed to sound slightly coded but still easy enough for war-movie buffs to decode. Only an idiot would discuss sensitive plans by email in this climate of hackery and surveillance; it’s stupid to even discuss them by phone unless it is an encrypted link because the whole world is focused on Ukraine and desperately sifting for news which might suggest intentions.

      Highly unlikely to be real unless the U.S. Army has become as loser-infested as the CIA with that poor mook who was arrested in Moscow with the wigs and the street map, and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that.

  16. sinotibetan says:

    Mark,

    I don’t think the West will initiate any military action should Crimea rejoin Russia. Russia is not Serbia or Libya. However, the West will seek to destabilize Russia by ‘engineering’ economic fallout in Russia and as usual : inciting protests by the usual ultra-nationalist and liberal Russian opposition. I hope Putin is prepared for the coming Western attack on the Russian economy.

    sinotibetan

    • marknesop says:

      I think you are probably right; even though Obama does not have to worry about re-election and there will probably be a swing to the right in the next election, in reaction to disappointment with Obama’s overall terrible presidency, the U.S. public is not behind another foreign war and is firmly focused on the domestic economy as priority one. Even if the USA did actually take all Ukraine’s gold and would somehow use it to finance a military effort in Ukraine, it would be going up against a nuclear power in a situation in which its closest allies – Europe – would have barely minutes to react if the war went out of control, and the logsitics effort would be both massive and massively expensive. The USA would never take on Russia in a head-to-head confrontation unless it had overwhelming military superiority, and it could not gain that in a short time. It would take weeks if not months of staging to get the required fuel supplies and aircraft and armour in place, and Europe with the USA frankly could not do it.

      There probably will be a concentrated effort to wreck Russia’s economy, but I believe Russia is prepared for this and will be in a position to punish western companies if that happens. What emerges would likely be a more Asia-centric economy, and the west cannot afford that because Asia and the BRICS are the only nations with any money – everybody else is struggling with either recession or austerity or overextension. Mind you, those are the same conditions that make big countries take desperate gambles, too, but I still doubt real military action is in the cards.

      Good to see you back!

      • sinotibetan says:

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks!

        “Mind you, those are the same conditions that make big countries take desperate gambles, too, but I still doubt real military action is in the cards.”

        I think at this juncture the West would not dare risk a nuclear WW3 which can easily evolve from this crisis if there is a West-Russia military confrontation. So far China has been ‘sitting on the fence’ – careful not to offend neither the US or Russia. However, I am quite certain that should America take the ‘military route’, China would be on Russia’s side. American military confrontation with Russia would certainly make Beijing nervous as Russia is China’s long-term strategic partner in countering American hegemony. India has already voiced support for Russia : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Russian-interests-in-Crimea-legitimate-India/articleshow/31557852.cms

        America knows the situation can spin out of control with militarism – so I don’t see this risk.

        However, economic war with Russia is for certain. The question is the extend of this economic subterfuge. And how will Russia deal with them. In the eyes of the US/EU: The unfinished business of bringing Russia to her knees to pay homage to the West must continue – and that means regime change in Russia to a ‘Western[Washington/Brussels]- friendly’ one. Failing which, Russia would be ‘lost'(because Russia follows her own independent path) to the ‘civilizing’ process. I think they will seek this dream by provoking economic chaos in Russia and hoping Russians will revolt and initiate a Washington-friendly regime(?Navalny/?Yabloko). I think this is more dangerous to Putin than any military intervention. I am not sure how Russia can limit this economic war and I am not sure if China will be an ally in this. Any thoughts?

        sinotibetan

        • marknesop says:

          I believe the west’s ability to wage economic war against Russia is severely limited by the economic damage it would itself incur, as Russia is much more integrated into the market economy than was the Soviet Union. Once again, the imposition of economic sanctions against Russia would likely see reprisals which would involve western companies being kicked out and their assets in Russia confiscated. Western companies know those markets would not likely ever come back, since it takes years if not decades to build business relationships. At the same time, despite the west’s constant yapping about Russia’s overdependence on energy exports, it leaves Russia with an export which cannot be effectively sanctioned because it is sold on the global market, and it would simply be sold through a surrogate – at the same time, the west has no ability to force the price of it down until the loss of income seriously affects the Russian economy: not without incurring considerable pain itself. The USA is doing a lot of blustering about becoming a major LNG exporter, but it would take years to build all the necessary LNG terminals and work on those has likely not started because insiders know the U.S. gas boom cannot continue. As Kirill points out below, there is no significant faction within Russia that the west can exploit – through its disagreement with government policy – to cause political upheaval and complicate planning, because Putin’s policy on Ukraine is extremely popular with Russians. Russia’s growing association with China will blunt any attempt to wear Russia down through poverty, because China has plenty of money (thanks, America!) and still plenty of development room which will require increasing energy imports to drive it. Simply put, the west does not control Russia’s markets and therefore cannot cut them off. Russia supplies a major export that the west cannot replace or write down to no value. In a flinching contest over national economies, Russia is holding a lot of cards that I don’t think the west wants to see played. Things have already gone so far that I doubt the relationship between Russia and the west can ever be the same again, and if Putin were going to back down, he would have done so already – he is nothing if not pragmatic, and appears to be a very rare leader in that he actually listens to his advisors.

        • cartman says:

          In the 19th and 20th centuries Western powers (incl Japan) were using their dominance of credit markets to extract demands on China. They call this the Century of humiliation. Western powers again are using their dominance of credit markets to demand “reforms” of weaker powers. China should be alarmed at this.

          None of Russia’s loans to Ukraine came with onerous conditions such as “reforms.”

    • kirill says:

      From the various fora that I have visited I hear from Russian members that even those that are against Putin are aligning in favour of Putin’s policy in Ukraine. I suspect that the more the west supports the Nazis in Kiev the less leverage they will have over Russian domestic politics. If eastern Ukraine is attacked by the Kiev regime (Crimea will not be attacked since there is no chance of winning) and NATO supports the attack on ethnic Russians in Ukraine, then any pro-NATO stooge in Russia will be lucky not to be lynched if they try to stage their usual disruptive protests.

      • yalensis says:

        I noticed this too. I routinely scan Russia media, and even formerly pro-Bolotnaya sites like ROSBALT.RU and GAZETA.RU are becoming more patriotic and less … er… Bolotnaya…

        I guess these journalists (even liberal ones) make a distinction between domestic politics and international politics. On the latter field, they have become more patriotic. Something about the plight of Crimean Russians tickled the cockles of their jaded Slavic hearts.
        Also because Ukrainian situation is just so goddamned egregrious that only the most desperate Bolotnaya types (Navalny, Sobchark, etc.) can still feel charmed by Uke Oranges and neo-nazis.

        I would say that, ideologically, as happens usually in wartime, the sheep have been separated from the goats. The Russian Fifth Columnists who support Maidan are either ideologically committed fanatics or paid agents of U.S. State Department. Everybody else has started to support the policy of their own (albeit perhaps disliked) government.

        • sinotibetan says:

          Dear Yalensis,

          I wonder how Navalny, a so-called ‘nationalist’ can defend his pro-Ukrainian, anti-Russian Crimea position?

          sinotibetan

          • yalensis says:

            Dear sinotibetan:
            Nice to talk to you again, my friend!
            As for Navalny, I think I can square that circle somewhat:
            Navalny himself is not a nationalist, he is an American agent of influence.
            He does have followers who are “nationalists”.
            But not all Russian nationalists. Some are Ukrainian nationalists – LOL!

  17. Ilya says:

    Great post.

    Regarding Canada’s pedigree of political poltroonery, Herr Harper has to act the hard man and refuse the result of the Crimean referendum — he’s staring at the prospect of a Marois majority in Quebec and another kick at the can (this time successful?) for Quebec separatism.

    • marknesop says:

      I devoutly hope not, because Canada would be a greatly diminished country without Quebec. Aside from being one of our most prosperous and heavily-populated provinces, it is also one of the most beautiful, most historical and culturally rich. I frankly think a referendum would fall short, because Quebec already has a great degree of latitude and freedom within Canada to run the place the way it likes, and I doubt very much the French dream of actually expanding the French language further than it is already – an official language in which all provinces must offer service – although French Immersion schooling for children has really taken off in this province. I’m not French, but I’m afraid I can see little reason for French discontent and little prospect that Quebec would become more influential and prosperous on its own than it is as a province of the country.

      However, they can keep running referendums every couple of years until the clap of doom if they want, and they only have to win once.

  18. cartman says:

    I wonder if this article has been hit by astroturfed comments:

    Front and Center in Ukraine Race, a Leader of the Far Right

    One hour ago a “Dmitry” from Kharkiv wrote:

    “I live in Kharkiv, Ukraine and I am ethnic Russian. For me it’s surprising to see how eagerly commenters here are willing to say “Look, there ARE fascist and far-right radicals there on Maidan, let’s not blame Russia for bullying Ukraine!”. Well, it’s true, those far-right guys exist (they exist everywhere) but they are in minority BY FAR for now. I can tell you that Russia is exploiting for its propaganda needs that image of Maidan-people as being fascists and so on, but that’s not true. They are just normal people fed up with corrupt govt and willing to live in an independent, free country. And while Ukraine is being threatened, intimidated and humiliated by Russia, chances of radicals are growing, radicals always gain in such situations.”

    Perfect, idiomatic English. He also abbreviated “government” to “govt.”

    • kirill says:

      I am sure the NSA and others have noticed that people were getting sick and tired of the western media spew during the run up to the Olympics and even after the Crimea crisis started. So some shepherding is in order.

    • marknesop says:

      It reminds me quite a bit of this video, made by Zoya Shu (who is a head-turner for sure) which attempts to convince viewers that the EuroMaidan had significant Russian support, that Russians were present for the demonstrations alongside their Ukrainian brothers, and that all the purported threats to Russians and their language is “Kremlin propaganda”, a tapestry of lies that makes her sick. There is no threat to Russians in Kiev, she says; lots of them visit the Maidan site and they come and go freely, Kiev is full of Russian speakers who feel free to speak in Russian and they all just want Putin to leave Ukraine alone so they can be European pen-pals.

      http://www.kyivpost.com/multimedia/video-2/russians-on-maidan-attempts-to-set-record-straight-about-ukraines-revolution-video-339078.html

      The comment you linked takes the rather startling position that it is nothing to worry about if there are neo-Nazi radicals in government positions, put there by appointment rather than election, so long as there are only a few and they do not achieve parity or a majority. A crude attempt to normalize unacceptable politics.

  19. Al says:

    While TuSik are bossing the Germans about, has anyone reminded them that they will get 105.8 billion euro from the EU 2014-2020 budget?

    https://www.premier.gov.pl/en/news/news/new-eu-budget-pln-441-billion-for-poland.html

    • Al says:

      Actually, if TuSik are serious about supporting Kiev, maybe they should give up some of their guaranteed EU funds for Kiev. The greater good and all that? Would the Polish government put its money where its mouth is???

  20. Al says:

    Remember that clip ‘It’s War!’ by Chris Morris on The Day Today one of you posted on the other thread?

    Bloomberg has had a go:

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/chairman-of-jcs-dempsey-on-ukraine.html

    See the ‘update’ at the bottom.

    • Al says:

      Meanwhile, from the Guardian comments the link to the text of the European Parliament condemning Svoboda in December 2012:

      Edward Rice

      http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/32977825

      European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the situation in Ukraine

      8. Is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda Party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada; recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party;

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2012-0507+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

      Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC and Oleh Tyahnybok, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and Leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” Party.

      http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/photo/photoDetails.cfm?sitelang=en&ref=024949#0

    • marknesop says:

      I mostly agree that the last people who want war are the military; they know what it might turn into. It is politicians who recklessly push for it because they do not, and will in any case bear no consequences themselves if it comes to that. Still, it just makes me go all twitchy when they say stuff like, “If Russia is allowed to just go into a sovereign country, under the guise of protecting enclaves of its people…” It’s bad enough when somebody like Dempsey says it, but when it’s Kerry it becomes all I can do not to throw stuff.

      The United States of America just went into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting itself and the world from Weapons of Mass Destruction that they knew all along were not there, and they wrecked that country and they killed thousands upon thousands of its people, most for no reason at all. They went into another sovereign country under the guise of responsibility to protect its home-grown rebel movement from its leader, and they wrecked that country and it is now a hotbed of sectarian violence where there was little to none before, and they helped the rebel movement to win a victory it would otherwise never have won and helped that rebel movement to murder the leader, and the United States Secretary of State at the time laughed about it in an interview. Then the United States of America tried every trick it could think of to go into another sovereign country to protect its civilians – who were not even Americans – and even sunk so low as trying to strike a deal whereby if they were permitted to launch a cruise missile strike, they promised to make it a very little one. They were stopped from doing this by Russia and China, but if they had been allowed they would have gone into that sovereign country, too, and killed thousands of its people for no reason and wrecked it.

      Please do not give me that “sovereign country” bullshit, because the United States is no respecter of sovereignty where it does not suit its foreign policy objectives to respect sovereignty, but there is none on the planet more sanctimonious when they wish to use sovereignty as a defense. Spare me.

      • Al says:

        I wonder if we are reaching the moment where the quiet bureaucrats and others are starting to to tell the politicians that the 25 year post 1989 party is over and that they have to adjust to the realities of today? Would they push back against political craziness over the Ukraine? There is almost certainly disquiet, not just among the West’s militaries, but for sure elsewhere. How bad does it have to get before they speak up, or maybe they already have, but so far behind closed doors????

  21. patient observer says:

    What sort of bubble is RT in regarding Poland and shale gas?

    http://rt.com/business/poland-shale-taxes-russia-346/

    It sounded like there was a blazing bright gas light at the end of the tunnel. Only task left was to accelerate toward inevitable Polish gas independence. RT has been doing a pretty good job on Ukraine developments but these USA/EU propaganda pieces pop up from time to time. Not sure if that is to create the impression of impartiality or there are factional battles in RT.

    A vastly better report on Poland and fracking:

    http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/poland-pennsylvania-energy-shale-gas-fracking-farming-water-bubble

    It was amusing that the US Department of Energy overstated Polish shale gas potential by at least ten-fold showing politically-directed science at work. The report concluded that the Polish shale gas revolution was DOA.

  22. Warren says:

    Jobbik: “The new Ukrainian government is chauvinistic and illegitimate”

    Jobbik demands the Hungarian government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take measures in order to protect the Hungarian ethnic minority in the Lower Carpathian region. Jobbik also points out that the West is using the current cold war-like situation to expand its sphere of influence to the East.

    Jobbik is worried to see the Ukrainian crisis, but the party also condemns the hypocritical behaviour and political maneuvering of the Atlantic forces. The corruption of the Yanukovich government and the bad policies of the Party of Regions clearly had a role in the outbreak of the revolution, but the financial, political and intelligence machinations and provocations of the West were equally responsible.

    Márton Gyöngyösi says the West is hypocritical to present Russia, who has been holding back in spite of their fears for the Russian minority in Ukraine, as the main culprit while the first action of the new government that enjoys the support of the West was to cancel the language act, giving a foretaste of the chauvinistic Ukrainian politics to come.

    Jobbik considers the interim government illegitimate. Márton Gyöngyösi said the current situation was yet another act of the orange revolution of 2004, a new stage of the geopolitical struggle between the Washington-Brussels axis and Russia.

    The West aims to expand its sphere of influence further to the East, reaching beyond Central-Eastern Europe, which they already bought up and exploited – pointed out Márton Gyöngyösi. He added that military conscription must be stopped in the Lower Carpathians, and the human rights of the minorities must be ensured, since Ukraine cannot do so on its own. Full regional autonomy must be guaranteed for the Hungarian and the Ruthenian ethnic minority as well – he said.

    Jobbik calls upon the Hungarian government to abandon its 25-year-old submissive attitude to the West and stand for the ethnic minorities, focussing on the national interests.

    http://www.jobbik.com/jobbik_new_ukrainian_government_chauvinistic_and_illegitimate

    Polish-Hungarian
    Joint Statement:
    Ruch Narodowy and Jobbik Demand Self-Governance
    for the Indigenous Polish and Hungarian People
    living in the Ukraine

    On behalf of Ruch Narodowy and Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary, the national patriotic movements of Poland and Hungary, we jointly call upon our governments to immediately unite their efforts in applying their foreign and national political means to protect the rights of ethnic minorities living in Ukraine, with special regard for the Polish and Hungarian groups.

    Our movements regard the representation of our national interest as a priority, which, at a time of an escalating crisis in Ukraine, translates into the protection of our brothers and sisters, the constituent parts of our nations living beyond our borders.

    http://www.jobbik.com/polish-hungarian_joint_statement_ruch_narodowy_and_jobbik_demand_self-governance_indigenous_polish

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    The Western media constantly focuses on the Russian linguistic/ethnic minority/majority in Ukraine and neglecting the other minorities that exists in Ukraine. The banning of regional status for non-Ukrainian languages not only had an adverse affect on Russian speakers, but also Hungarians, Romanians and I presume what Poles remain in Ukraine.

    It is very interesting to observe how Jobbik and Hungary has behaved towards the new Ukrainian regime and Ukraine crisis. Hungary under Viktor Orban has developed positive and productive ties with Russia. Russia is to build a new nuclear power station in Hungary and Hungary is now co-operating in the South Stream project, with Hungary like Austria becoming a major hub and transit for Russian gas.

    I think Russia should co-ordinate its Ukrainian policy with Hungary and dare I say even with Polish and Romanian nationalists. The Banderites of Galicia can never be won over or appeased, therefore Russia should encourage Hungarians, Poles and Romanians to confront and quash them instead!

    • Jen says:

      Just saw those Jobbik.com links which themselves are interesting because Jobbik was allied with Svoboda for a while. Jobbik’s platform includes regaining territory that historically belonged to Hungary before World War I and this includes the Zakarpattia territory in western Ukraine as well as territory in western Romania (the Transylvania region).

      ” … Svoboda is involved in the extreme right-wing Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) umbrella organisation. Among the members are the neofascist Hungarian party Jobbik (the Movement for a Better Hungary) and France’s Front National. British National Party leader Nick Griffin is AENM vice-president …”
      Source: http://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/ukraine-the-untold-story/

      Viktor Orban’s party is Fidesz which is a conservative right-wing party (but not so extreme as Jobbik).

      • yalensis says:

        Does anybody besides me see an inherent logical contradiction in a far-right “Nationalist Internationale” movement?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I do.

          Jobbik has turned against the Ukrainian far-right nationalists because the latter in their nationalistic frenzy in trying to purify the Ukraine into a land for Ukrainians and Ukrainians only are treading on Hungarian nationalists’ toes – and Romanians’ as well. They’ll do the same to the Poles sooner or later as well.

          – You Hungarians are on Ukrainian territory!

          – No, you Ukrainians are on Hungarian territory!

          There can be no “international nationalism”: the term is an oxymoron.

          Nationalists deify the nation: all is subservient to the interests of “the nation”. The word “nation” comes from the Latin root meaning “born”: all of one nation are of one family, one group, all born with a common inheritance. Any group outside the confines of the term “nation” are foreign and of no interest insofar as they do not impinge upon the interests of “the nation” – the “one nation” that encompasses one’s commonality with others of one’s nation. All must serve the self interest of the nation.

          In this sense, the Ukrainian ultra-right is putting the self-interest of the Ukrainian nation above that of the self-interest that the Hungarian ultra-right has for its nation and vice-versa. There is no international brotherhood about it.

          The only “international” concept concerning nationalists is that internationally nationalists believe that all other nations bar their own are of no consequence if of no use in furthering the self-interest of one’s own nation. At present, the Poles themselves are proving themselves very useful indeed in promoting the interests of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, as are some Crimean Tatars, but their time will come.

        • Jen says:

          I’m sure most people would see the contradiction but far right nutters never do. Low animal cunning only gets them so far before self-interest wins out.

    • Al says:

      You forgot the bulgarians (it happens)!

      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.

      • yalensis says:

        Bulgaria used to be a friend of Russia. Russia helped save them from Turks.
        Then Bulgaria betrayed Russia and joined NATO.
        It was a very painful betrayal, like Brutus to Caesar.
        Can Russia ever forgive Bulgaria?

        • marknesop says:

          Well, as of last summer they were the EU’s poorest country and in the middle of a political crisis, so I don’t know that they have improved their lot to any measurable degree. Mind you, it’s still a victory for the EU, which does not give a damn for its subjects in poor countries; the victory lies in prying more real estate away from Russia.

  23. yalensis says:

    Apparently there is a German ethnic community in Crimea. (Must be tiny, I would imagine.)
    Anyhow, the leader of this German community (Yuril Gempel) has come out in support of Crimean secession from Ukraine and adhesion to Russian Federation.

    Gempel says all Crimean Germans will come out and vote in the referendum, and will vote for union with Russian Federation.

    “Leb wohl, du kunhes, herrliches Kind!”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The last outpost of the only folk that an East Germanic tribe, the Goths, ended up in the Crimea and Crimean Gothic was still spoken until the 16th century.

      Remember, this movement of the German tribes, die Völkerwanderung, took place between 400 and 800 AD.

      But the Tatars were there first – now don’t you forget that! And those wicked Russkies deported them.

      In fact, the Russians have been in the Crimea since 1783, when Prince Grigorii Potemkin’s forces kicked the Ottomans out.

      The Russkies were somewhat miffed at the time, you see, because of the incessant slave raids that had been orchestrated from there for about 300 years – the slaves being what are now called Ukrainians and the slavers being Crimean Tatars.

      The Russians then built the Russian city of Sevastopol to serve as a base for the Russian Black Sea fleet.

      1783 – that was a notable year, wasn’t it? – Treaty of Paris and all that; recognition of the United States of America as a sovereign state.

      So when the US citizens government starts spouting about the Tatars being in the Crimea “first” (they weren’t), I should suggest that they consider giving Manhattan back to the Delawares – or whichever Native American people lived there before.

      What? There aren’t any of them left?

      Deported were they?

      • yalensis says:

        So, do these Crimean Germans still speak medieval Goth?
        That would be SO cool!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          No, Gothic is a dead language now. The last time Crimean Gothic was recorded as being heard spoken was when the Hapsburg ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the 1550s heard about this language and arranged to meet two speakers of it. This ambassador then made a little dictionary of Crimean Gothic – and I mean little: there are only 80 words in it.

          The reports of some German speakers in the Crimea may be related to the wine industry there. Last time I was in the Crimea I attended a degustation and I remember the guide saying something about some German entrepreneur who set up the manufacture of champagne there. I think it was in the 1880s or thereabouts. Perhaps Germans who were connected with this business settled there and some of their descendants still speak a bit of German at home.

          Yeah, just checked. The Crimean Germans (Krimdeutsche) consisted mostly of Swabian wine farmers. There is a record of a German hospital in Simferopol during the 19th century as well.

      • cartman says:

        The link changed around since I last posted this, but you might want to read this.

        The Crimean Tatars and their Russian-Captive Slaves

        • cartman says:

          “The economic effects of Tatar slave raiding were immense for Muscovite Russia. The
          insecurity and instability of life on the steppe caused many of the Muscovite peasants to
          migrate to the more inhospitable climes of Siberia rather than to the south where it was blessed with fertile black soil. As a result this contributed to the slow development of this area. It was not until 1687 that Muscovy decided to give a final blow to the Tatars and remove their damaging raids from the area. This task, however, was to take almost a century. Only Catharine II succeeded to find a final solution to the problem by annexing the Crimean peninsula in 1783. After that year this area developed to became known eventually as the “granary” of Eastern Europe.”

          A few decades later Russia’s victory over the Tatars would actually become a huge benefit to Western Europe. The Year Without Summer destroyed all crops from Germany to Wales – refugees, rioting, cannibalism, etc. Since Russia was largely unaffected, thereafter it became the new bread basket of Europe.

        • Jen says:

          Very interesting piece on the effects of Tatar slave-raiding in the Russian lands.

          There is a legend that the wife of famous Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent aka Suleyman the Law-giver was originally the daughter of a Polish priest who was captured during a slave-raid by Crimean Tatars. Her name was Anastasia Lisowska but she was renamed Roxelana and became part of Suleyman’s harem. She later demanded that Suleyman marry her and he was so besotted with her that he did. She schemed to have one of her sons succeed Suleyman as sultan by arranging for the legitimate heir to be banished to an outpost of the Ottoman empire, then later accused of treason and strangled. Roxelana herself met a violent end by strangulation; intrigue in the harem was par for the course and many slave women died by strangulation or drowning in the Bosporus. All subsequent Ottoman sultans were Roxelana’s descendants.

          Slaves were also needed as janissary soldiers in the Ottoman armies and to fill certain posts in the Ottoman bureaucracy. Such posts in the army and the public service were actually reserved for slaves and not open to Muslims. The architect Sinan who designed some famous mosques in the empire based on his studies of the Aya Sofya (originally the Haghia Sophia church) was originally a Greek slave.

  24. Warren says:

    US Shale Myths and European Market Reality

    Many US shale companies that have been beating the drums of shale “revolution” are now facing oil and gas well depletion. In February 2013 the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) warned that “diminishing returns to scale and the depletion of high productivity sweet spots are expected to eventually slow the rate of growth in tight oil production”. It was a cautious but intriguing statement.

    Arthur Berman, a prominent shale skeptic who runs Labyrinth Consulting firm in Sugarland, Texas, is not surprised. “The shale gas phenomenon has been funded mostly by debt and equity offerings. At this point, further debt and share dilution are less feasible for many companies” – he wrote in The Oil Drum blog several months ago. Just like the famous Gold Rushes of the 19th century US shale gas development turned out to be a limited and regional market opportunity.

    The average depletion rate of wells in the Bakken Formation (the largest tight oil play in the US) is reported to be 69% in the first year and 94% over the first five years (37% and 50% in the Barnett Formation). Due to the lack of reliable data on shale industry many experts (for example, Deborah Rogers from Energy Policy Forum) await possible future write-downs in shale assets. Naturally smaller investors will not hear about the write-downs in the news.

    http://theenergycollective.com/routemag/261281/us-shale-myths-and-european-market-reality

    • marknesop says:

      I’ve posted this link before, but it’s worth reposting it in case you weren’t around then and didn’t see it; according to Keith Schaefer of Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin, the only shale gas play in the United States that is still increasing production is the Marcellus; every single other formation is in decline.

      • Jen says:

        I believe the Marcellus shale formation covers some very populated areas in the northeastern US so if production has to increase, I suppose that’s going to cause problems with groundwater pollution arising from fracking and chemical toxins entering soil making land unfit for farming and habitation?

        • marknesop says:

          You know more about where exactly the Marcellus is located than I do, but it’s true that it would be wrong to suggest all Americans just blindly support fracking; in fact, it would be wrong to categorize all Americans as anything but American, because there are as many environmental groups in the USA, most likely, as there are in the rest of the world. It is tempting to portray them as a lot of money-grubbers who don’t give a fig for the environment and just ruin everything they touch, but in point of fact that is almost exclusively the corporatists, just like everywhere else in the world. They have been able to refine the fracking process considerably since it began and it is now much more efficient; I imagine the cocktail of chemicals is just as toxic but they use less of it, although that’s balanced by drilling more wells. I believe analysts are right, that all the low-hanging fruit has been taken, but the lure of easy money persists based on how rich the yields were then, and so the industry is still making money leasing blocks for exploration. Unless large new fields are discovered, the resource is finite and limited to the number of wells they can drill in a formation; that’s going to be true even supposing they get permission to drill in people’s back yards.

  25. Warren says:

    Can someone please translate this! I get the impression she is a Russian supporter of Pravyi Sektor, what a strange creature! How can be a proud Russian at the same time be a member or supporter of an organisation or ideology that is completely against your IDENTITY? This is madness, the level of cognitive dissonance is maddening!

  26. Warren says:

    Published on 12 Mar 2014
    Violence and bloodshed continues to rock Ukraine as factions compete in the power vacuum of last month’s coup in Kiev. As the country struggles to find its way forward, however, it finds itself in the crosshairs of a NATO war agenda that has been unfolding for years. This is the GRTV Feature Interview with our special guest, Professor Michel Chossudovsky.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      It doesn’t help the argument that snipers were used by certain elements of the illegal Ukrainian “government” by showing shots of “snipers’ using what are clearly air-rifles or BB guns, which technically speaking are not even firearms. RT does the same today: it presents a picture of a peaceful protester shooting an air rifle. The man at he window shown in the above clip is shooting an air rifle. In the original recording on you tube, you can clearly hear the rifle “pop” as he shoots it.

  27. reggietcs says:

    The tragedy out of all of this………………

    I may have to postpone my trip to Moscow which was scheduled for the first two weeks of May.

    I was due to purchase my vacation package next week, but I really want to see how all of this pans out first. I really wanted to go in early May for the Mayday celebrations.

    I’ll play it by ear but it’s not looking good.

    • patient observer says:

      We are planning to attend a trade show/conference in Moscow also in May (first trip for me to Russia). If I may ask, what are your concerns?

      • yalensis says:

        I think Reggie is worried about nukes flying back and forth around that time.
        In which case, maybe the safest place on the planet is the Gobi desert?

        • patient observer says:

          Whew! I thought it was something serious like Pussy Riot was going to be in town. Well, Moscow is protected by an ABM system and just to be extra safe we will practice our duck and cover drills.

          • reggietcs says:

            On a serious note…………

            I’ll probably wait until the end of NEXT week to make the final decision (after the referendum, I’ll be able to see how the west will respond). My REAL worry (Armageddon aside!) is that US/Russia will close their embassies (as Mark predicted would inevitably happen months ago) thus making it difficult for an American to acquire a Visa from the Russian government. Apparently, the hotel I’m supposed to be staying at (The national) is supposed to help in facilitating my Visa once I make the appointment with them.

            I’m certainly open to any other suggestions.

            BTW – given the nature of the advanced ABM system surrounding Moscow, I’d certainly feel a lot safer there should a nuclear war erupt than my present location here in Los Angeles – where we pretty much have zero protection from such missiles.

            • marknesop says:

              At present countries are only recalling their Ambassadors, not closing their Embassies. The Ambassador plays no part in the issuing or validation of visas. The Embassy’s Visa Section would never issue a visa if it suspected you might be stuck in the country with no way to get home, and your visa once issued would be good for the time period specified even if the Embassy were closed. Up to you, of course, but I’d go.

              • yalensis says:

                I concur, Reggie, you should definitely GO to Moscow.
                Don’t you worry, dude, it’s going to be okay.
                American diplomats will spit venom, but they won’t shut down their embassy.
                You will be able to go to Moscow, have a great time, and return safely to your home.

    • Jen says:

      You need to worry more about what’ll happen when you return and customs officials see Russian visa stamps in your passport :-)

  28. marknesop says:

    Eric Draitser rips Obama a new one. This post is similar in tone to ours, and like ours, it reflects on what the democracy defenders said on the occasion of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. However, where I focused on Poland’s statement and the opinion crafted by Radek Sikorski – which essentially holds that a declaration of statehood should be examined on its merits rather than whether it is supported by international law – Draitser has stayed all-American. Back then, Barack Obama was just a senator from Illinois: he said, “I support Kosovo’s independence and her desire to move towards full sovereignty. I believe that the U.S. should help develop a strong democracy in Kosovo that will be guaranteed by the application of laws that safeguard the interests of all people. I support Kosovo’s integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions, and that will best be accomplished by creating a free, tolerant and wealthy society that promotes minority rights and protects religious and cultural monuments.”

    John “The Jaw” Kerry, then just a senator as well, opined, “Broader national interests are at stake as well. There is cause enough for American intervention on the basis of security issues, our commitment to NATO, and overwhelming humanitarian needs…the United States and its NATO allies are working to preserve international law and a standard of civilized behavior shared by the vast majority of our neighbors and allies around the globe.”

    Draitser also points out that the American position is particularly comical given that Obama keeps mouthing platitudes about democracy, while the government whose democratic values he seeks to safeguard is unelected and took power by a violent coup. It’s like some kind of parallel universe.

    Ever wonder how Kosovo turned out, considering the dewy promise of nascent democracy it was in 2008, so that big nations around the world stood up for its independence? Well, in 2012 “…there were reports of violence and intimidation against domestic opponents and international security forces, societal discrimination against minority communities; persons with disabilities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as domestic violence, particularly against women. Additional human rights problems included corruption and favoritism in prisons, lengthy pretrial detention, judicial inefficiency, intimidation of media by public officials and criminal elements, limited progress in returning internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes, government corruption, trafficking in persons, and child labor in the informal sector. On January 14, police engaged Kosovo Albanian protesters attempting to prevent Serbian commercial vehicles from entering Kosovo. Protestors hurled large stones and bricks, injuring numerous officers. Police employed tear gas, rubber batons, and water cannons on the crowd and arrested 162 protesters. While media reports initially reported police restraint, several civil society groups, international organizations, and the ombudsperson alleged police used excessive force. There were reports also that police selectively arrested
    in their homes citizens who did not participate in the unauthorized protest.”

    Just another year in a NATO paradise.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Below is a “Party Political Broadcast” from “Praviy Sektor” [Right Sector] directed at Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens:

    Yarosh speaks directly in the broadcast.

    The Russian subtitles to the above linked Praviy Sektor transmission translate into English as follows:

    The Great Ukrainian Fightback: what Praviy Sector is fighting for.

    We, fighters and commanders of Praviy Sector, mindful of the heroic struggle of St. Khrabriy and Danil Galitskiy, Bogdan Khmelnitskiy and the fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, realizing the people’s right to rise up against injustices and recognizing its responsibility towards the heroic Maidan crippled and fallen, are waging war for the right of every Ukrainian to human dignity; for justice against Berkut and the other curs of the occupiers’ system; against the humiliation and impoverishment of the Ukrainian people; against the authorities’ war against its people; for the responsibility of electors and politicians and elected judges; against the sale of marginal democracy; against degeneration and liberal totalitarianism; for the traditional morals of the nation and family values; for multi-child families and for a youth healthy in body and mind; against the cult of easy money and lechery; against any integration on conditions not dictated by Ukraine; for the unity of the Ukrainian nation and its greatness in the world; for a Great Ukraine and the Great European Struggle!

    Everything has only just begun: the rebirth of Ukraine-Rus’ has started and the rebirth of Europe.

    It started with our Maidan!

    Glory to Ukraine!

    Sieg Heil!
    :-)

    On second thoughts, it’s not funny really.

    And there are still those who say Yarosh and pals are not fascists.

    He’s a wanted man now in Russia – officially.

    See: Ukraine’s Neo-Fascist Right Sector Leader Dmytro Yarosh ‘Wanted’ in Russia

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    Here’s that Leprechaun fellow again, he who got sent down last year for organizing the Bolotnaya riot.

    He reckons the riot plan was to set up a Moscow “Maidan” and they had already started to gather the readies to do so off Jabba the Georgian, a sum of money that amounted to $30K.

    See: Майдан в Москве собирались устроить за $30 тысяч

    I always said that they tried to rush the police cordon on the approach to the “Old Stone Bridge” across the Moscow River so as to set up camp in Aleksandovskiy Garden, which is part of the Kremlin’s filled in former moat.

    And I reckon the cops were well aware of this plan – because they’re not stupid and also because I reckon they must have loads of agents within the “white-ribbon” ranks, just as the tsar’s cops had the Bolsheviks and Narodnaya Volya before them well and truly infiltrated.

    And Sobchak knew of it as well – and considerably more, I am sure, than the fact that there was going to be orchestrated violence.

    And if she knew, I bet half of Moscow did as well.

    When he comes out of nick, I reckon he should go off to Dublin: if he donned a Leprechaun suit there and got himself a little clay pipe, he’d make a mint off Plastic-Paddy Yankee tourists in the summer season.

    • yalensis says:

      The $30K was a MONTHLY salary for the Moscow Maidan. Givi promised to pay them the $$$ to keep up their Moscow Maidan tent city, etc.

      In previous testimony, Lebedev had laid out in more detail how the money was passed along; usually it was just a simple matter of him driving somewhere and just handed an envelope stuffed with money.
      Lebedev had also testified that to people like himself and Udaltsov, the $30K was such a fantastic amount of money. They could live off of it, even buy cars, and so on. It wasn’t like they stole the money, most of the money did actually go to the movement. But it also paid their salaries and allowed them to live and support their families as professional revolutionaries, without actually having to hold down a day job too.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      This is the Swedish communist whose opinions AP ridicules as “biased” because he is a communist.

      See Anatoly Karlin’s blog.

      In fact, I think the professor’s argument is the same as AP’s: the Maidanites are definitely not fascist, albeit that a small minority of them most certainly are.

      But I think that Per Rudling and AP are missing the point when criticizing the Kremlin and the Russian media for painting the Maidanites all the same colour.

      The point is that fascists don’t give a tinker’s cuss about majorities: it’s power they’re interested in. And minority or not, the fascists are part of the so-called Ukrainian government and its executive, largely because they were the “Heroes of the Maidan”.

      And if anyone thinks they’re going to be outed democratically, I should imagine those holding such an opinion are incredibly politically naive.

      Furthermore, if the Maidanites had only consisted of “nice” people from across the whole section of Ukrainian society – such as one of AP’s in-laws who called in at the Maidan to protest after a hard day at a Kiev office – Yanukovich would still be president and there would be not a few nice people around Kiev now with cracked heads.

      If there had been no fascists on the Maidan, minority though they may have been, the Maidan protest would have fizzled out early in the New Year.

      The overthrow – the illegal overthrow – of Yanukovish’s obnoxiously corrupt government was only facilitated thanks to the help of fascists.

      Glory to Bandera!

  31. yalensis says:

    Along those lines, Raimondo also writing about the fascist-Banderite nature of the Ukrainian revolution.

    • Jen says:

      Raimondo noted also the presence of a Confederate flag in the Verkhodna Rada building.

      • yalensis says:

        I also noticed at the time (of big Maidan protests) that several photos of Svoboda marches contained militants carrying American Confederate flags. Two possible theories to explain:

        (1) Banderites are history graduate students and Civil War buffs, they probably stage re-enactments of Gettysburg Battle all the time. This is a component of their doctoral thesis; or
        (2) Banderites are fucking Nazi racists!

        Next, to commemorate this interesting fact, I adduce the Civil War song “Marching Through Georgia”, which reminds everybody that Confederates LOST the war. Racist Losers!

        • yalensis says:

          Anti-confederates can sing along:


          Verse 1
          Bring the good old bugle, boys, we’ll sing another song
          Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along
          Sing it as we used to sing it, 50,000 strong
          While we were marching through Georgia.

          Chorus
          Hurrah! Hurrah! we bring the jubilee!
          Hurrah! Hurrah! the flag that makes you free!
          So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea
          While we were marching through Georgia.

          Verse 2
          How the darkeys shouted when they heard the joyful sound
          How the turkeys gobbled which our commissary found
          How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground
          While we were marching through Georgia.

          Verse 3
          Yes and there were Union men who wept with joyful tears,
          When they saw the honored flag they had not seen for years;
          Hardly could they be restrained from breaking forth in cheers,
          While we were marching through Georgia.

          Verse 4
          “Sherman’s dashing Yankee boys will never reach the coast!”
          So the saucy rebels said and ’twas a handsome boast
          Had they not forgot, alas! to reckon with the Host
          While we were marching through Georgia.

          Verse 5
          So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
          Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main;
          Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain
          While we were marching through Georgia.

  32. Al says:

    I caught CNN briefly a couple of nights ago and saw two figures pleasuring each other publicly. The Face of Ignorance – TFoI – (Ammanpour) was interviewing the Face of Evil – FoE – (Albright). I had to switch over before I vomited. TFoI even had time to ask a question about FOE’s massive brooch.

  33. yalensis says:

    I mentioned above that Crimean issue is splitting the “Bolotnaya” opposition to the Kremlin.
    All the “loyal oppositionist” parties such as Communist Party, “Right Cause” and so on, support Crimean Referendum. Whatever their differences with Kremlin or personal dislike of Putin, they support Crimea’s striving to break away from a fascist Ukraine and join Russia.

    Things are more complicated with the “Bolotnaya” opposition which, at its core, is an American project, just like any other pro-Western NGO. Even there, there have been calls for the Bolotnaya leader, Navalny, to explain in some detail his position on Crimea. The pressure is coming from Navalny’s “nationalist” wing. The contradiction here is that the Russian nationalists (among whom are also neo-nazis, just like in Ukraine) are sincerely concerned about the trompling of rights of Russian ethnos in Crimea.

    Navalny has been accused of “sitting on two stools”, re. his position as both a pro-West type while also having a Russian nationalist base. [and, per my comment above, the inherent contradiction of nationalists of any stripe getting along with other nationalists, for example, how can Ukrainian nationalists get along with Russian nationalists, since they have competing territorial interests?]

    So, anyhow, Navalny finally responded to the demands that he lay out his position, in some detail, with this post.
    Navalny’s position, in short:

    -Orange Maidan was a legitimate people’s revolution against a corrupt government. The oppressed Ukrainian people had no other recourse except to overthrow this tyrant.

    -Putin is terrified that the same thing will happen to him, in Russia.

    -The rights of Russians in Crimea are not being trompled on any more than Russians rights in many other countries.

    -Navalny does not support the referendum or Crimea being annexed by Russia. He mentions that famous Budagest 1994 agreement (a favorite talking point in Western media) whereby Russia signed an agreement guaranteeing Ukraine’s then-borders. (in return for Ukraine giving up her nuclear weapons).

    -Navalny is horrified by the notion of Europe’s borders been re-drawn by force. [also a favorite Western media talking point - except when it's Kosovo, of course]

    -Navalny also warns that Crimea will be a tremendous economic burden for Russia. He is trying to scare Russians: Don’t take this in! You’ll have to pay for it!

    -In short, Navalny is opposed to the Referendum and to Crimea joining Russia. However, as a sop to the nationalists, he does have a couple of alternative suggestions, namely:
    –increased authonomy for Crimea (within Ukraine)
    –guarantee of status of Russian language
    –guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO
    –guarantee of Russia’s Black Sea fleet continuing to use Sevastopol for all eternity, and without having to pay rent,
    –guarantee of amnesty for current government of Crimea, once they give themselves up to Ukrainian authorities.

    So, that’s Navalny’s program to resolve Crimean crisis.

    • yalensis says:

      Navalny’s position-paper on Crimea has garnered around 3700 comments, so far.
      Which is a lot, considering that most people don’t pay that much attention to him any more.

      Some commenters claim that Navalny himself didn’t even write the post, it was written for him by U.S. State Dept. Well, the snarky style is mostly Navalnly’s. But is clear he had some help in his research, and he made sure to include every Western talking point (e.g., the Budapesht memorandum, etc.)

      I didn’t have time to really scan the comments a lot, maybe later, if I have time.
      I was intrigued by some intimations of a possible split between Navalny and Volkov on this issue. Not sure, though. Must research more…

      • yalensis says:

        I only had time to scan the first 100 comments or so…
        They are mostly anti-Navalny.
        One commenter said she had previously voted for Navalny (presumably for Moscow Mayor), but now rejects him, because of his position on Crimea.
        Other commenters point out that Navalny is a dinosaur “Gaidar-Man”, still stuck in the 90’s (like Nemtsov, Kasparov, et al), believing in the inherent goodness of American policy, and how Russia needs to follow America’s lead in foreign policy.

    • Warren says:

      Navalny is being exposed as a fraud and US intelligence asset over his stance on Crimea. The fact he has kept silent on Crimea for so long and now regurgitates White House/State Dept talking points to explain his position on Crimea illustrates this vividly.

      Navalny’s refusal to support the people of Crimea, has without doubt undermined his credibility among Russian nationalists. Like all Russian liberals and pseudo-democrats they always support the US no matter what, US foreign and military policy is sacrosanct and inviolable for Russian pseudo-democratic liberals!

      Kudos to the Commies and Pravyi Delo on their principled nationalists stance regarding Crimea! These are the real and legitimate Russian opposition, not “Russian” groups that accept money from US government funded organisations such as NED, IRI, NDI, etc.

      Russian liberals and pseudo-democrats like Navalny will always put the interests of the US and the “West” above the interests of Russia. I see even the most naive and idealistic Navalny supporters are beginning to realise and acknowledge this indisputable truth!

      • Jen says:

        Sooner or later I anticipate Navalny being invited over to Ukraine by the Krazy Kyiv Kleptokracy to advise on how to privatise government-owned businesses by setting up front companies to buy agricultural commodities at discounted prices and resell them to the public or other companies at inflated prices; and Navalny finding ways of pocketing the difference with the KKK unaware of how he’s fleecing them as well as the Ukrainian public.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Navalny is finished, not that he was ever of any importance anyhow. He never really started: his popularity was only a fantasy of Western Moscow correspondents.

          They’ll have to find a new “leader of the opposition”.

          I wonder who it will be? Let me think now ….

          I’ll call you back.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yeah, it’s definitely the end of the road for the Chosen One!

            Russian radio site blocks opposition leader Navalny’s blog

            On Thursday, telecom watchdog Roscomnadzor blacklisted Navalny’s LiveJournal blog and several other independent websites, including Grani.ru, opposition site Kasparov.ru and online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal, for ‘inciting users to engage in unlawful activities and take part in mass rallies that are in breach of the law’.”

            And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer radio station!

            Ekho Moskvy is Latynina’s mouthpiece. She’ll be as sick as a pig that she has not suffered the wrath of the Evil One after her trying so very, very hard to become his bête noire.

            Ekho Moskvy chief editor says he will ask officials to clarify which of Navalny’s statements were extremist.

            Well, I’ll give him an example:

            After lousy cowardly bastards had shot a Ukrainian judge dead with several shots in his back because the murdered man had had the temerity to put some Maidan “peaceful protesters” under house arrest, smart-arse Navalny publicly stated that the murder should serve as “greeting card” to Russian judges.

            See: The Hilarity of Murder Among Russians

  34. marknesop says:

    Ukrainian Billionaire oligarch Dmytro Firtash has been arrested in Austria. According to the FBI, they have been investigating him for years, and the arrest has nothing to do with the current political turmoil in Ukraine.

    His Wiki entry, however, reads like a who’s who of the Ukrainian elite, and also reports his arrest was at the behest of the United States, on charges of bribery.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmytro_Firtash#Controversy

    One could not fail to note the number of times he has pissed off Yulia Tymoshenko, or that he is credited with having “masterminded” her arrest and prosecution. Or that when the west is a little short of the ready and is casting about for project funds, it is seldom shy about confiscating someone else’s money. That’s not likely, though, so long as Firtash is President of the Union of Ukrainian Employers, which together controls about 70% of Ukraine’s GDP. Oh, I mean, unless somebody else wanted the position…

  35. marknesop says:

    Read Turchynov’s ringing “Message to Moscow“, if you can sit through it. Not for weak stomachs.

  36. Al says:

    FYI Xi Jinping is going to Brussels & Bruges (De, Fr & NL are also on his list). Cue some sort of effort to get him (and China) to sign a statement against Russia over the mess in the Ukraine. OTOH, he can tell EU leaders (Merkel, for example) directly not to make a mess. Will it be China providing the solution and reason for everyone to back down? It would be quite the opportunity for some giant Chinese ball swinging.

  37. Al says:

    Apparently unconfirmed that Russia deployed P-800 anti-ship missiles to Sevastopol on March 8/9 from Anapa, Krasnodar (a sensible precaution);

    http://defense-update.com/20140309_russia-welcomes-us-destroyer-truxtun-moving-bastion-anti-ship-missiles-crimea.html

    • kirill says:

      They would be stupid not to do this. These missile systems effectively render any NATO warships in the Black Sea pieces of floating scrap metal. The only thing that is ensuring that Russia has any rights at all and is still in one piece is its military. I am not surprised that the Ukrainian armed forces have been let to rot into oblivion. This is not Yanukovich’s doing this was done by the Oranges to remove a potential political force for stability. Ukraine would have been much better off if its army stepped in a month ago and cleared out the Maidan. Instead we have a new National Guard being assembled from a bunch of neo-nazi thugs.

      • marknesop says:

        I agree it is prudent to have full-spectrum defenses in place, but I don’t get the degree of excitement accorded TRUXTUN’s deployment to the region. It is a single destroyer which does not markedly affect the balance of power in the area, and its presence does not suggest any possibility of U.S. military involvement; it is not attempting to interfere, and is remaining a respectful distance from the area of conflict while merely observing. It would certainly not attack the Crimea in any way with the knowledge that it would itself in all probability not make it out of the Black Sea, and that’s just not the way the USN runs planned ops.There would be a large buildup of forces to ensure TRUXTUN was not operating alone, to assist her and give her cover, and if the USA were seriously contemplating a missile attack on the Crimea they would not have to be right on top of it to do it. There is every reason to believe the USA is speaking the truth when they say she’s just there on a preplanned deployment and her presence has nothing to do with the conflict.

        • reggietcs says:

          I agree.

          If the USA were planning any military shenanigans, they certainly wouldn’t have sent one lone ship. However, Kerry has been hyping this publicly by boasting that the Truxtun’s presence sends a “strong message to Moscow” which is probably why Moscow obliged by sending a “strong” message back via the anti-ship missile deployment :)

          • marknesop says:

            Well, they do still have the Aircraft Carrier GEORGE H.W. BUSH in the Med, which is not very far away for a jet fighter, but I just saw a clip this morning in which John “Jukebox” McCain (who is to visit Ukraine yet again this week, I don’t know what the hell good he thinks that’s doing, maybe he has a girlfriend in Kiev) admitted that the limited presence of U.S. military units is solely to “reassure our allies”. That’s obviously far short of the kind of “reassurance” Yats is looking for.

            • Al says:

              They could always do something from Turkey (Incerlik methinks), but Turkey has a habit of saying ‘no’ to getting involved or having their territory used when it comes to their near abroad. They’re still pissed off about all the economic damage they suffered between 1991 and 2003. Once burnt, twice shy!

              • marknesop says:

                What, though, are going to be the consequences of having to back down for the USA, after all the saber-rattling? This has been several times now that there has been un contretemps as a result of the USA going up against Putin, and in the case of Syria the USA clearly climbed down after a lot of tough talk. Obama wore it after that, from his own electorate who wanted to mix it up in Syria (not the whole electorate by a considerable stretch) as well as his political enemies who took advantage of his discomfiture to shout that the USA has had it as a world leader because everyone knows its own leader is a milquetoast weakling. The USA has grown increasingly martial in its outlook, and although Obama has killed a fair number of people while in office – many who probably did not need it – he is still regarded as a weak girlie-man. What’s going to happen when, after Jawbone Kerry’s terrifying threats of the USA punching Putin until he screams for mercy, they have to just go away and do nothing while Russia continues on without really paying any attention?

                It would be a thousand times worse if it was Russia’s nature to snicker and point after facing down the USA – frankly, the way the western media does when the shoe is on the other foot and the USA rubs somebody’s nose in the dirt – but fortunately Russia seems too mature for that. But I fear the USA has nonetheless painted itself into a corner where it must act, must do something, or be the object of ridicule.

                And it hates that.

                • Al says:

                  I’m not sure it is so bad for Obama. He’s not going for re-election so a fresh face is a fresh start. It is the Republicans who look increasingly insane for demanding tough action all the time even though from all the polls the big majority of Americans simply do not want to be the World’s Policeman. The Republican attacks on Obama are personal which may damage him (so what) but this is almost entirely separate from the Democratic party.

                  Even those democrats shilling for action must realize the need for clear blue water between themselves and the Republican hawks in the run up to the next elections so what better way than to point out that all these actions demanded by Republicans will cost a lot of money that will not be going in to jobs or the normal American economy? After all, if the polls say it, won’t American’s simply vote on what is going on, or not, at home? It’s a side show and a convenient distraction from the continued Snowden revelations and the Executive not even following its own rules, let alone various departments. I suspect that the US will accept a fudge where they can pretend to claim victory, the problem is getting the Crazy Oranges onside and sticking to it (as we have already seen). The US either has to make stark choices itself or the choice will be forced upon it by others.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  That’s why McCain’s flying over to Kiev: he’ll give them some tough talk and tell them that all America is with them but …

                  See: America’s see-saw over military aid to Ukraine

                  The US has ‘for now’ refrained from supplying military aid requested by the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian government. The already-promised $1 billion financial aid also remains suspended as the Senate has postponed its decision until March 24 …

                  During the meeting, Obama noted in particular that Russian government “will be forced to apply a cost to Russia’s violations of international law and its encroachments on Ukraine”…

                  In anticipation of the visit to Ukraine of a delegation of the US lawmakers, America’s ‘hawk #1’, Republican Senator John McCain strongly criticized the Obama administration for its indecisive position over Ukraine.

                  We shouldn’t be imposing arms embargoes on victims of aggression”, McCain said.

                  Reckon Uncle Sam will only be able to fly in Spam to the Ukrainian freedom fighters.

  38. Foppe says:

    Entertaining and perspicacious takedown of yellow journalism in Salon here:

    Here comes the bitter bit. The Russian take in the Ukraine crisis is more truthful than the artful dodge Washington attempts. The above forecast of the outcome rests on the thought that the dodge is simply too flimsy to last.

    You cannot make a call such as this without looking closely. So let’s.
    Putin and Lavrov are open to negotiations with the U.S. and the European Union. Putin commits to supporting Ukrainian elections set for May and backs the agreement struck between Yanukovych and his opponents just before the latter abandoned it and deposed him, even as Putin did not like it at the time. No, Moscow does not recognize the provisionals in Kiev, with sound reasons, but it does not require that Washington drop its support before getting to the mahogany table.

    In the climate our media have generated, I almost feel the need to apologize for this but will refuse: I cannot locate the intransigence in this.

    Insisting on direct talks between Russia and the provisional government in Kiev is to insist the former recognize the latter, a trap Putin cannot possibly be stupid enough to fall into. Recognition, in turn, would complete the Nuland-Pyatt project to gift Ukrainians with a post–Yanukovych puppet government. This is Kerry’s unstated intent.

    (Also has a go at Timothy Snyder for propagandizing for the US govt.)

    • marknesop says:

      Dear me, that is a great piece, isn’t it? I hope he’s right, and the U.S. government can’t keep it up much longer – if for no other reason, because it is hurting ordinary Ukrainians who did not ask for this.

      I don’t know how many people are going to have to point out the hypocrisy in the American insistence that the fight is about democracy when the current Ukrainian government is unelected (the American cover for this is that the main posts were filled by a legal vote in the Rada: see how long that policy would hold up if it were proposed that the U.S. Senate pick the next President of the United States, without all the needless expense and hoopla of an actual election) before it filters through to the public that the current government is illegitimate and that Russia is perfectly within its rights not to recognize it; moreover, that the continued insistence by the U.S. government that the Russian government come to the table for direct negotiations with this unelected government, otherwise all the chaos that will ensue is Russia’s fault, constitutes mendacity at the national level.

      Nor is the mendacity limited to the United States government, by any stretch of the imagination. Consider: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also announced that the upcoming referendum would be illegal, and that the “only legitimate vote in Ukraine will be May 25, the upcoming presidential election.” Surely he knew that the election is not going to be held in May, and that the unelected government intends to hold on to power until conditions are more favourable to its factions.

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/11/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

      That’d be the Laurent Fabius who keeps talking about the mess Ukraine’s finances are in, that Yanukovych left a “disastrous economic legacy” although he continued to pay down the huge debts left by Yushchenko, actually having the nerve to suggest Russia should continue funneling money into Kiev while it becomes a Russia-hating EU satellite,

      http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/France-deeply-concerned-over,23282#ukraine-statements-laurent-fabius-minister-4

      and talking about a “donor’s conference” to see who will pony up the cash to help Ukraine in its transition. I wonder if any will come from Mr. Fabius, who is the richest of Hollande’s ministers and a multimillionaire?

      http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21576421-several-socialist-ministers-are-uncovered-millionaires-transparency-days

      France was the first European country to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Doubtless France’s Bernard Kouchner – Foreign Minister at the time – was in on the conference of EU Foreign Minsters who decided Kosovo was a special case and did not need to obey the rules of international law, because of “conflict, ethnic cleansing and humanitarian catastrophe in the 1990’s”. This apparently qualified it for an exemption from the rules which said international borders can only be changed with the agreement of all parties, which Serbia and Russia both contested. Russia sought an immediate meeting of the UNSC, but that went nowhere; the west had the bit in its teeth and would not be stopped.

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/suspense-is-over-france-germany-and-uk-to-recognize-kosovo-a-536119.html

      So ethnic cleansing by the Serbs which allegedly took place a decade prior to Kosovo’s declaration of independence exempted it from the rules. After NATO attempted to force a multi-ethnic state existence in Kosovo, failed, and apparently looked the other way during ethnic cleansing of the Serbs at the hands of Albanians.

      http://harrybrowne.org/articles/EthnicCleansing(Telegraph).htm

      But it seems all right with Fabius for Ukraine’s puppet government to threaten to shut off Crimea’s water, gas and electricity to stop them from holding a referendum on independence. What a selective bleeding heart he has.

      • Foppe says:

        Well, you know what monogamists say.. you can only truly love one person at a time, and Kosovo isn’t dead yet.
        That said, is there any more information on what the options of the referendum will be? Last I heard, the only two options were a: “I am in favor of Crimea joining the RF”, and b: “I am in favor of going back to the 1992 constitution (thus giving parliament the right to decide whether to join the RF) [which they've already voted 'yes' on]“. And those two alternatives don’t really strike me as covering the entire spectrum.

      • Al says:

        “Dear me, that is a great piece, isn’t it? I hope he’s right, and the U.S. government can’t keep it up much longer..”

        Isn’t that what the little blue diamond shape pills are for? :)

        • Al says:

          Still, we must not loose sight of the massive gulf between what is being said, and what is being done. The West is yet again playing a massive game of ‘Chicken’ with Russia. To me it sounds like Merkel is doing the minimum to placate her European partners. The threats are vague, the sanctions are weak, the heart isn’t in it, but it is a question of credibility and face for the West.

          In the other thread I posted the five stages grief, 1) denial; 2) anger; 3) bargaining; ‘4) depression & 5) acceptance. It is my take that that the West is currently between stages 2 & 3. They’re pretending to do the bargaining but that is only on the West’s terms, Russia has to stand down, de-escalate etc. There is absolutely no onus on the West, nor the regime in Kiev to do anything to calm the situation, simply because labelling Russia as the bogeyman is a tried and tested strategy. They’re certainly angry because just like the monkeys in Madagascar, they are still flinging poo:

          There’s such a great amount of sturm und drang to draw us away from the essentials – not a lot of action is going on at all. Much bluster, little Custer! It’s fascinating to watch the West wrestle with the gourdian knots of its own making from the last 25 years. Nobody’s buying it apart from the PPNN and politicians. Most normal people now see through the bs.

  39. Warren says:

    Putin discusses situation in Crimea with Crimean Tatars leader Mustafa Dzhamilev

    MOSCOW, March 12, /ITAR-TASS/. Vladimir Putin has had a telephone conversation with Mustafa Dzhemilev, the former chairman of the Mejlis (Council) of the Crimean Tatar People, currently a member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada.

    Dzhemilev was making a business trip to Moscow for a meeting with the former president of Russia’s constituent republic of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiyev.

    The Kremlin press service said Putin and Dzhemilev, who is broadly viewed as the leader of the Crimean Tatars national movement, “had a long telephone conversation.”
    Mentimer Shaimiyev later described the conversation between Putin and Dzhemilev as “a long and fruitful one.”

    “Quite naturally, Mustafa-bei has his own position because he is an active-duty member of the Rada, he is concerned about the integrity of Ukraine and about what’s going to happen after the referendum (on the state sovereignty of Crimea, which is scheduled for next Sunday – Itar-Tass),” he said.

    http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/723250

  40. marknesop says:

    Can someone explain to me why Arseniy Yatsenyuk (“Yats”, to his friends in the U.S. State Department) officially takes the position that “We do not consider a military option as the best option on how to fix this crisis,” after he pleaded on national TV and in every major media venue for the USA and EU to come to Ukraine’s aid against Russia? What does he think NATO will do – attempt to distract the Russian military with colourful handkerchiefs while loyal patriotic Ukrainians disassemble and move the Crimean peninsula out from under them? Isn’t there any kind of reasonable limit imposed on the number of contradictory statements one is allowed to make in a day?

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/12/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

    Among the howlers in this piece – everyone in a uniform who is not Ukrainian is Russian, despite their lack of insignia (just a crude trick to deceive reporters) and the fact that the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has a force of 50,000 (30,000 regs and 20,000 reserves), and that the referendum will be held “largely in secret” although Russia invited the OSCE to monitor it and its head declined on the grounds the vote would be illegitimate regardless its conclusion – is this hilarious statement by the G7 (Russia having been apparently kicked out of the G8, which will make Anders Aslund salivate with joy) on the referendum: “”Any such referendum would have no legal effect. Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force. For all these reasons, we would not recognize the outcome”.

    Forgotten, apparently is that when Kosovo declared its independence it was a NATO-run protectorate garrisoned with 16,000 troops for only 2 million citizens, and that the Kosovars specifically recognized the United States with thanks for its 1999 bombing campaign and its influence on their independence. No intimidating presence there – so long as you were on the right side.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/18/world/europe/18kosovo.html?pagewanted=all

    • Al says:

      Maybe because political advisors, lawyers and the military have told their bosses that there is not a snowball chance in hell that they can get away with getting hot ‘n’ heavy with Russia without finding themselves in front of the International Court of Justice or simply in deep shit? As has been pointed out multiple times in the comments on your mighty blog, the US political class and others have simply ignored the question of the current regime’s legitimacy, let alone the flouting of the constitution. It may play well in the compliant media, but in private they haven’t a legal leg to stand on.

      They also simply do not have the support of ‘the World’ and are unable to peddle their child like arguments effectively before the UN General Council and other UN member states. India backs Russia. China says ‘take a chill pill’. It doesn’t matter what the G7 says simply because they are no longer the top 7 industrialized nations in the world. We haven’t heard what Indonesia or Brazil has said etc. The West simply pushing the limits of its legitimacy and therein lies a risk of significant blowback. If you have to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. If anything, the whole light symbolism and lack of clearly defined, effective Western actions reflects the weakness of their position (and economies) however loudly they shout through their compliant media mouthpieces. Like the Romans, they have grown comfortable and fat, over-extended and sat on their laurels. Then Hardy turns up with little time for simpletons.

      This crisis also messes up a any hopes of the US drawing down comfortably in Europe and putting it on the back burner, i.e. reduction of US forces in Europe and its associated savings will be put on hold indefinitely (NATO credibility y’know) which means that those savings/resources cannot be deployed for the so-called Asian Pivot if they are to stay within some kind of controlled budget. It messes up the relationship between Europe and the US because clearly the Europeans still can’t hold their own dick and chew gum (unlike the US) at the same time, and even Germany who really dislikes US interference in Europe through its eastern harpies, is still dragging its feet and gives more than an impression that they are still quite reluctant to join the dog and pony show.

      Europe is anything but united except that they are expected to show a common face. 28 nations, one policy. Who the f!”k are they kidding? If it wasn’t for the Germans, the Euro would have gone long ago.

  41. Warren says:

    German Exporters Fire Warning Shot About Russia “Sanction-Spiral,” Banks At Risk
    THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014 AT 5:27AM
    The “mal-calculation”

    It took a while. But it had to come, the public warning shot – after what must have been a ferocious lobbying campaign behind closed doors. No one in Germany is allowed to get in the way of the sacrosanct exporters. The German economic model, to the chagrin of neighboring countries, is based on them.

    It wasn’t as bombastic as US Secretary of State John Kerry’s blast to lawmakers that the Ukrainian debacle could “get ugly fast,” and “in multiple directions,” but it had the heft of the German export industry.

    Anton Börner, president of the German Association of Exporters (BGA), which represents 120,000 companies, the lifeblood of the economy, warned at a press conference in Berlin that further escalation of the crisis in the Ukraine could hit exporters very hard. He said that the BGA expected exports to rise 3% to €1.13 trillion and imports 2% to €914 billion for a trade surplus of €215.6 billion – the highest in history. But “if the crisis in the Crimea escalates further,” these wondrous forecasts of endlessly growing exports and surpluses “could turn very quickly into a mal-calculation.

    http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/3/13/german-exporters-fire-warning-shot-about-russia-sanction-spi.html

    • kirill says:

      They have to choose. Either they engage Russia constructively and everyone prospers, or they support an insane US imperial policy that is some perversion of the cold war (there is no reason for one now) where it engages in the overthrow of democratic governments using extremists and whatnot all in the name of some long term control over resources and market access.

      Nothing about the US policy will bring about the EU’s prosperity. The EU needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

      • Warren says:

        You have to understand that the US cannot accept that Russia, despite the demise of the USSR, still maintains such a devastating nuclear arsenal, This drives believers in US hegemony and exceptionalism insane and wild with incandescent rage. The US seeks “Full Spectrum Dominance” and “Nuclear Primacy”.

        The European elites are afraid of antagonising the US, at the same time there is no appetite in Europe for another “Cold War”.

        Merkel will agree to token sanctions against Russia purely to appease the US and the paranoid and agitated Poles & Baltics.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, it’s funny, but the New York Times thinks the opposite is true – that it is Russia that cannot afford a new cold war. Mind you, it relies for expertise on Anders Aslund – who has been wrong so many times that people are beginning to suspect he does not really speak English and is just reading it off the back of cigarette packs or something – and Strobe Talbott, a cold warrior himself, locked into the logic loop that “there is no substitute for U.S. global leadership”. Once again you will have to sit through another of Aslunds acid trips, in which Russia has fallen right into Europe’s trap by becoming its biggest energy supplier, because now Europe can just pull the rug out from under Russia by putting up a firm hand in front of its big slab face and saying “No thank you, Mr. Bear; I don’t think we want any gas today – you see, we’ve decided to rely on LNG from Norway (which we have no receiver terminals for) and, yes, you guessed it, shale gas. I’m positive that Anders Aslund is a Toronto Blue Jays fan, because he sure as fuck is a slow learner. Interestingly, it reveals that the U.S. government seems to think it is on to a winning formula – as soon as a country defies you, threaten to ruin the fortunes of its oligarchs, and they will turn against its leader and force him to heel. It apparently worked quite well in Kiev, but it ignores one fatal flaw – Yanukovych actually was propped up by oligarchs, and Putin is not. Moreover, the American strategy now seems to be to lean on the wealthy in such countries without any regard for whether they have done anything to warrant punishment or not. What does Dmitry Rybolovlev, for example – cited in the article – have to do with “impeding democracy in Ukraine”? And oh, my, if it becomes clear that the USA will not hesitate to freeze the assets of the wealthy in a pissing contest with foreign leaders, regardless whether those wealthy had anything to do with the point of contention or not but simply to use them as leverage, I would be bound to suggest those people will withdraw all their assets from U.S. banks and the banks of their close allies, and put them where they are out of reach of those powers.

          Interesting, in a watching-someone-blow-their-brains-out sort of way. Comforting oneself with a fantasy like this almost has the flavour of obsession.

    • marknesop says:

      Much is made here of Russia’s foreign debt. If this truly means a parting of the ways as far as trade goes between Russia and the EU, it might as well apply the Ukrainian Solution, and not pay.

      But I don’t think it means that, because Russia is a huge market that the west cannot afford to lose. For all the talk about “Russia’s stagnating economy” and how the EU could bring it all down, it could not do that and survive itself. Russia also has substantial cash reserves and the EU is awash in debt.

  42. yalensis says:

    I found this amazing video: Orange stooge-master Savik Shuster, for some unknown reason invited Crimean P.M. Aksonov onto his talk show…Aksonov via Skype. Aksonov very talkative and makes total mincemeat of all the Orange stooges; leaves the reprehensible Savik helpless and speechless.

    What is notable about this exchange is the body language of the Oranges: They are clearly in a state of shock and denial. Despite what Al said above, they have not yet passed beyond the “denial” stage: They simply cannot grasp the fact that Crimea is lost to them.

    They are like a husband who beat his wife for 20 years, she finally walked out on him, and he still can’t believe that she is gone: He thinks maybe there is still time to strike a “bargain”:

    • Warren says:

      What is he saying? What are his opponents saying?

      Damn hate not being able to speak Russia! lol

      • yalensis says:

        Sorry, Warren! I wish I had time to translate.
        Aksonov is just laying it out there, how the Kiev self-proclaimed “government” of Pretenders is completely illegitimate; how Crimea had no choice except to do what they did; how Crimea is fully capable of defending herself; etc.

        He has a fair number of supporters in the studio audience who cheer him and give him high ratings. Shuster probably wasn’t expecting that; he probably thought to bring Aksonov on as just a punching bag to ridicule.

        The Orange supporters in the studio seem more to be in a state of shock than even anger. They simply cannot grasp the fact that Crimea is leaving them. “Oh dear, was it something I said?” Shuster seems to have no confidence left, he used to be such a cocky little imperialist swine, now he has aged 100 years in the last month.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, some of them look like dogs watching television, in the way they cant their heads and look up at the image of Aksonov serving up chunks of hot blood-spattered Orange ass, as if trying to puzzle out the mystery of electricity with brains the size of a child’s fist.

    • Al says:

      Not quite. I was referring to the 5 stages of grief to ‘the West’, not the Crazy Oranges (hey, that would be a good name for the Dutch football team!). The CO’s are sharing their bubble with bubblewrAP…

  43. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, on March 13 there were violent clashes (including deaths) in Donetsk between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators. Orange UDAR party accuses Donetsk police of standing by and twiddling their thumbs while pro-Russian demonstrators attacked and dispersed the Orange crowd.

    Donetsk has become the latest hotbed of pro-Russian separatism.

    • Warren says:

      About time the Police in Donetsk side with the people! It is outrageous that Donetsk continue to obey the Kiev Banderite regime. Why does the Police in Kharkov, Donetsk, Luhansk and Odessa obey orders of an illegitimate Kiev regime. While the Police in Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk disobeyed the legitimate government and supported the radicals.

      Pavel Gubarev must be FREED!

      • Jen says:

        Damned if the Donetsk police do and damned if they don’t is the reason – if the police tried to disperse the Oranges, they would be accused of the use of force and violence. Imagine how that would play in the Western media.

        • kirill says:

          This is exactly what brought Yanuk: trying to pander to NATO perceptions. Police have the right to beat rioters with weapons. The western media can go and lie all it wants.

  44. Warren says:

    Some Proto-Pravyi Sektor, golden oldie from the archives.

    I suspect these delirious goons are UNA-UNSO participating in the First Chechen War.

  45. Hunter says:

    Mark, I’m surprised you didn’t pick up the strong hints in this part of Sikorski’s interview that you quoted:

    “The Ukrainian opposition wanted to join Europe, which to them doesn’t necessarily mean full membership…”

    I’m pretty sure for most of the mainstream opposition that Sikorski is referring to “joining Europe” DOES mean full membership of the European Union. They have been selling the EU Association Agreement as the first step in this eventual goal to the public from what I have read.

    This quote might instead be Sikorski projecting the EU full members discomfort with the prospect of full membership for Ukraine onto the Ukrainian opposition. And that makes it easier for Sikorski to back the idea that Ukraine is unlikely to obtain full membership of the EU for the foreseeable future. Which makes the whole fight over the EU Association Agreement even more ridiculous since Ukraine is apparently NOT on the path to EU membership after all.

    Overall this situation reminds me of the 2004 political crisis in Haiti and 2009 poltiical crisis in Honduras (as touched upon by salon.com here: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/08/35_countries_the_u_s_has_backed_international_crime_partner/). At the time Haiti’s legitimate president was overthrown and the US recognized the interim government but many of Haiti’s neighbours refused to do the same (and Haiti was suspended from regional Caribbean organizations). Then new elections were held and a new legitimate government put in place which Haiti’s neighbours duly recognized (and Haiti’s suspension in regional organizations was ended). Likewise, Honduras’ 2009 coup resulted in a number of neighbours refusing to recognize the interim government until new elections were held if I’m not mistaken.

    Ukraine is likely to not have the interim government recognized by Russia until new elections are held. Such elections are likely to be entirely unpredictable. Klitschko doesn’t seem like he will be eligible and Yanukovych won’t be allowed to run which will leave a field of Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Tihipko, Tyahnybok and maybe some other candidates from the communists, party of regions or independents who will draw their support from the south and east. While it would certainly be interesting to see the western and Maidan reaction if Tihipko, a communist, some other Regionnaire or some south/east supported independent won; the most likely winner would probably be Poroshenko. But whoever wins is up shit’s creek without a paddle. The European Commission might lower the tariffs on Ukrainian goods, but that is unlikely to offset the problems that others have indicated may happen with the Association Agreement as it is currently structured. Coupled with an IMF program that pushes for an end to the fuel subsidy for Ukrainian citizens (in addition to a reported 20% tax on cinema tickets and 50% cut in pensions) and Ukraine faces a double whammy economically. Assuming the IMF program and Association Agreement happen shortly after elections in May (which we can still assume may happen), then it might mean by this time next year we will be seeing western media reports of “anti-government riots in Kiev” as “ordinary Ukrainians have become fed up with harsh austerity measures” I doubt the south and east will see active secessionism between now and then, but more active resentment over the Association Agreement and IMF austerity as the Russian market becomes more difficult to enter and the EU market remains difficult to enter and compete with all while fuel prices double for people at home and pensioners have to live on half of what they used to get. We might see more open defiance from southern and eastern regions as they some might attempt to not implement the association agreement details or IMF austerity program where they can (for instance they may not be able to stop the removal of the fuel subsidy, but they might refuse to collect the 20% tax on cinema tickets) and may gain informal assistance from Russia much as opposition controlled Serbian towns in the late 1990s got informal and formal assistance from the EU and US bypassing the central government in Belgrade. This will leave Ukraine a broken and broke state, and prone to continuing political instability and violence (though civil war still seems unlikely even then, but yet another revolution might happen by March 2015 if the IMF recommended removal of the fuel subsidy goes into effect and the association agreement ends up destroying some indigenous Ukrainian businesses and causes job losses). In turn this might result in more Ukrainians become apathetic towards the democratic political process (and they may stop voting altogether) while those who continue to vote may become more extremist in their views and may support more extremist parties.

    And of course, if the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine rules in the suit filed by Volodymyr Olentsevych that Parliament’s decisions to appoint Oleksandr Turchynov Acting President and to hold presidential elections on May 25 unlawful then that will be yet another spanner in the works, making the situation even more confused and increasing the instability (see here for more on that court case: http://euromaidanpr.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/supreme-administrative-court-of-ukraine-to-hear-challenge-to-presidential-election-and-and-appointment-of-acting-president-ruling-expected-march-19/)

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, other sources have speculated as well – as have we all here – that Ukraine has by the manner of its regime change and the rise to prominence of nationalists made itself a much more unlikely prospect for membership. Also, as I recall mentioning about a year ago, the EU needs another large, poor country added to its ranks like it needs a money-laundering investigation. But, as we have also broadly agreed, the integration to whatever degree is possible of Ukraine is a triumph sought for the savouring of having snatched it from Putin rather than for any value-added it might bring to the union, so that member states may congratulate themselves on a “nice spot of diplomacy” which “kept Putin from resurrecting the Soviet Union”.

      It appears nothing will sway Russia from seeing the referendum through, and if the results are as predicted, Russia will add Crimea to the Federation without a great deal of concern for whether the west will recognize it or not. After all, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are states in being, realities with their own autonomous institutions, banks and civil society, and Sikorski himself teaches us that it is this which matters more than legalities and recognition. And it is evolving now that Crimea might actually be quite a prize, more so than anyone thought except for those who already knew the oil deals might get dumped but said nothing.

      It boggles my mind that Ukraine might actually choose Poroshenko, one of the richest men in the country, as leader. It reminds me of a French-Canadian Catholic girl I knew once – beautiful, smart and funny, she could have her pick of boyfriends, but consistently chose men who were the worst pigs of their type, one of whom made her sleep on the floor when he was annoyed with her. I can only guess she was punishing herself out of religious guilt. Ukraine’s motive is certainly different, but it seems to consistently make bad choices. Some of it, anyway. I wonder if the western Ukrainians know how furious the rest of the country must be with them, considering it was the unelected government’s pandering to their agenda which cost the country the Crimea.

      I wonder if Ukraine is going to actually try to seize it back. My guess is that they will wait until the referendum; if for no other reason, to see if there is any support for its staying with Ukraine which they might exploit as a divisive dissident movement. But if it goes the way it looks like it’ll go, there will still be a time period between its applying for inclusion in the Federation, and that happening. And in that time, emboldened by the west’s contention that the vote is illegal, Ukraine might launch a strike to try to take it back, reasoning that the west will have to help, much as Saakashvili did. Alternatively, the newly-created National Guard of Banderites might decide on its own to force the issue. In any case, troops in the Crimea will have to be twice as alert after the referendum as they were leading up to it.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    Donetsk last night after a Maidanite meeting in the city centre.

    he Maidanites receive some of their own medicine off a pro-Russsia mob and are driven back to the buses that have transported them from Kiev and the West.

    Note: No women and children present, so they arrived to peacefully demonstrate the will of the people? Likewise no women and children with the anti-Maidanites.

    However, from what I can see the Maidanites came equipped with pepper-gas, just in case. No gas sprayed by the antis.

    The you tube comments have the usual American meathead comments, the very first reading:

    Fucking pro Russian degenerates… Animals and sons of communists and proletarians… enough said.

    Latest report: one dead.

    • yalensis says:

      Video makes clear that BOTH sides were armed with pepper gas, not to mention smoke bombs. If you look at 8:22, an anti-Maidan is running up to the bus (full of retreating Oranges) and futilely trying to spray his enemies when they are already inside the bus. And again at 9:09. Anti-Maidan guy spraying bus-riders out of a hose. But at this point in time, the bus window is broken, so the spray probably more effective.
      And then, after 11:00 anti-Maidans really go after that bus, break windows, toss smoke bombs inside, etc., making life miserable for Oranges trapped inside, they attempt to escape out windows.

      Once Maidans have been forced out of buses, they are sitting ducks for the anti-Maidans, who vastly outnumber them and can beat them at will.
      Police make attempt to keep the sides separated, but are vastly outnumbered and ineffective.

      Worst job in the world = Ukrainian cop.

  47. Fern says:

    While I know that there just aren’t enough fingers and toes in the world to count western hypocrisy and double/triple/quadruple standards, I can’t help musing about this particular one. We have been constantly told that the driving force behind the Ukrainian desire for EU integration is prosperity and ‘western values’, chiefly the rule of law – which western countries presumably have in abundance. So I’m wondering how freezing or seizing the assets of private citizens who have not been convicted of any crime for which asset forfeiture is the penalty, actually sits with ‘the rule of law’ meme.

    The US/EU is simply engaging in crude blackmail when it threatens action against wealthy private citizens of another state with whom it has a beef. Blackmailers are upholding the rule of law? Surely there’s a key principle at stake here. If the state can seize the assets of Mr X who has no connection with events going on in Ukraine other than he was born in Russia and happens to be wealthy, then it is, presumably, only the goodwill of the state that prevents it seizing your bank account and home or mine. There is no ‘rule of law’ and no separation of powers. We’re back in the time of robber barons.

    How is this asset seizure different from what Yanukovich was accused of when it was alleged that his ‘family’ took over a number of businesses in Kiev by the ruse of a trumped up legal case which required owners to personally attend court in another part of the country and when they returned to Kiev, they found the business was under new management? These sanctions stink, they really do.

  48. Fern says:

    On Merkel’s attitude to the Crimean referendum, there’s also the examples of Croatia and Slovenia as well as Kosovo. Germany was the first country to recognise the independence of Croatia and Slovenia although in neither case were the provisions of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia followed. Other western countries followed Germany’s lead. The official reason it gave for its early recognition of the two new republics was that it hoped it would stop or reduce violence there.

  49. Moscow Exile says:

    Has nobody noticed the new-style on-line Moscow Times that has been running for a couple of days now?

    Its articles against the Evil One and his “regime” are going into overdrive now as the Crimea referendum approaches.

    Today editor Bohm has yet another anti-Putin diatribe, “Putin’s Imperial Ambitions”, in which he states:

    The real question, however, is whether Putin will stop with Crimea. The Russians have a saying: “­Appetite comes with eating.” As soon as Putin starts devouring a chunk of Ukraine and really savoring it, the more Ukrainian territory he will want.

    And guess what?

    The comments function seems to have been disabled.

    • marknesop says:

      I’m afraid I didn’t notice; I rarely have time for the Moscow Times now, and it’s so futile to comment there anyway. There’s always a horde of smug busybodies who think they have all the answers, and on the occasions she pops up to sling some venom, LR just keeps trying to change the subject. It used to be fun when I had the time, but nobody would read Michael Bohm’s Captain America diatribes if there were no facility for commenting.

      What is going to happen when Putin has gobbled up all of Ukraine and finds himself hungrier still? Will he take Poland? And imagine how famished he’ll be then!! Look out, Germany!!

      • yalensis says:

        Why stop with Germany? France is a tasty morsel!

        • marknesop says:

          I wonder if they also have a saying in Russian, “Wealth comes with spending”, or perhaps, “Gas comes with driving”? Does anyone ever verify these bits of Babushka folk wisdom we get from Bohm? Or does he just make them up because they suit the tale he wishes to spin?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            “Wealth comes with spending”

            I was sure I’d heard something like that.

            In English I’ve heard “money makes money” and I knew someone in the UK who was always fond of saying “You’ve got to speculate to accumulate!”

            He was a horse racing freak.

            Anyway, having consulted my walking-talking Russian-English dictionary, the expression is:

            Деньги – деньгами [literally: money by money]

            The full expression is:

            Деньги – деньгами, а победы – победами.

            Money makes money and victories bring victory.

            • yalensis says:

              Doctors also say that fat cells signal to other fat cells, to make more fat cells!
              (which is why so many people end up with pot bellies)

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, they also say “Money goes to money”, to suggest that the rich become richer while the poor spend all they have to stay in the same place. But Bohm started it all off with a “Russian proverb” that allegedly goes “Appetite comes with eating”, and used it to suggest the more you eat the greater is your appetite, and that in turn meant if Putin was allowed to take Crimea unopposed, he would become so hungry he would gobble up all of Ukraine. I am suggesting that makes as much sense as saying the harder you drive your car, the more gas will appear in it or the faster you spend your money the more will be in your wallet. I think Bohm just makes these proverbs up. Either that, or he is misconstruing their meaning. Which would not be surprising, since he appears about as deep as a birdbath.

    • Al says:

      ‘Communists’ shurley?

      Then its a short step to:

      “Don’t call me Shirley!”

  50. yalensis says:

    Good news if you are a Ukrainian!
    First Mrs. Nudelman and Lady Mac-Scottish-Person brought you tasty biscuits on the Maidan.

    Now Bardak O’Bomber will bring you some wholesome, nutritious army rations !

    Yummy!

    • marknesop says:

      They probably have a few boxcars of those MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat, according to the manufacturer, although the military sometimes refers to them as Meals Ready to Explode) parked on a railway siding somewhere, left over from Iraq. I’ve never had the American ration-packs, although the U.S. military themselves are not very complimentary and I was told ours were the most popular in Afghanistan. I’ve had our own rations in field training (a long, long time ago) and they were pretty good; the banana pudding was particularly tasty, although the Army recommended at the time you not eat it because it would give you diarrhea. I guess I just had a strong constitution; I ate as much of it as I could get with no ill effects. The appeal varied; the scrambled eggs, for example, looked like somebody had already eaten them once and tasted like tofu-flavoured styrofoam. Awful. But all the pasta dishes were good, as well as the chili.

      They’ll have to keep a guard on them when Turchynov is around; he looks like a guy who likes his food – appetite comes with eating, did you know that? But I imagine Yats is a little disappointed; a couple of squadrons of bombers is more likely what he had in mind.

  51. Moscow Exile says:

    Deutscher Bundestag yesterday. Gysi of the “Left Party” gives it to them about the law, USA, NATO, the Ukraine:

    English translation here.

    The bloody Grauniad kills me!

    In its article about Gysi’s speech, the Grauniad states he addressed the “Reichstag”.

    Der Führer lebt noch!

    • yalensis says:

      I am glad that Gysi “went there” and let loose the “N” word (=”Nazi”), just laid it out how Svoboda are Nazis. Germans should be publicly shamed for their support of neo-Nazis in a neighbouring country, when in their own country they wouldn’t even allow this kind of hate talk and nazi symbolica.

    • Al says:

      I miss Oskar Lafontaine. He was equally outspoken.

    • marknesop says:

      Rock on, Gysi! Give it to them! I just have a couple of tiny objections; if none of humanity’s problems can be solved militarily, why do so many countries have military forces? It must be a pretty common belief that military force can solve a few problems, not least of which is being forcibly annexed by another country because they have one and you don’t. Also, he says both parties (Putin and the EU) said Ukraine must choose one or the other – Customs Union or EU association. I could swear that Putin proposed that Ukraine could be part of both, or suggested tripartite talks on how it might be made to work. Was that just my imagination?

    • SFReader says:

      Sie sind Faschisten….

      Faschistischen Swoboda Partei….

      Ja, das gut

  52. yalensis says:

    As in any divorce, Crimea experiencing some everyday life hassles .
    You know, just like, after you file for divorce, then you have to settle issues of the mortgage, property division, who gets the cats, etc. It isn’t easy, especially at first, until things settle down.
    And your ex-spouse might get really nasty and shut you out of the house, and change the locks, and then toss all your stuff out of the window, etc etc. (not that I would know what that’s like)

    For example, Orange Kiev has shut off Crimea’s legal databases. Due to this, Temirgaliev (Deputy P.M. of Crimean Autonomy) has announced that Crimea is temporarily unable to register marriages, or register new businesses, or conduct everyday legal contracts.

    Temir says Crimean and Russian officials are working feverishly to correct this glitch.
    Hopefully by next week, Crimea will have her own new legal databases, adapted to Russian law.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S.

      If I were somebody like Dick Cheney, I might refer to these glitches as “the growing pains of a fledgling democracy”.

    • marknesop says:

      And just the other day the Kyiv Post carried a story by their “war blogger” or whatever, to the effect that Putin was scaring schoolchildren because they might not graduate. And a whole lot of other guff about what an evil dwarf he is for messing with Crimea. I’m guessing he will pass right over this as if it never happened. However, Crimea should have known that was coming, Kiev threatened to do whatever it could to prevent the referendum from taking place, even though they have already taken the precaution of declaring it officially null and void before any votes were cast. What a bunch of clowns.

      When you get married, you should be careful to scope out your prospective wife’s likes and dislikes in advance, and court only women who like girlie stuff that does not interest you at all. Only a fool would marry a woman who loves fishing and hunting and camping and dirty movies, because then if you divorce, there goes half of all the best stuff. Men do not care if the wife gets all the pink eiderdowns and the portable nail salon. Are you writing this down?

  53. yalensis says:

    Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs placed this announcement on their official website.

    TRANSLATION
    On March 13 occurred very tragic events in Donetsk, blood was spilled.
    People protesters came out onto the streets of the city to express their attitude towards the destructive position of people who call themselves the Ukrainian government.
    These peaceful demonstrators were attacked by right-wing radical groups, armed with traumatic weapons and baseball bats, who had begun the previous day to stream into the city from others regions of the country.
    As a result of the ensuing clashes, there is a large number of wounded, and one fatality.
    We have declared many times that those who came to power in Kiev must disarm the militants and ensure the safety of the population, and the right of people to assemble for demonstrations. Unfortunately, as events in Ukraine have shown, this is not happening, the Kiev authorites are not in control of the situation in the country.
    Russia is conscious of her obligations (to protect the) lives of her fellow Russians and citizens in Ukraine and reserves the right to take these people under her protection.
    END OF TRANSLATION

    [yalensis: emphasis mine] !

  54. Moscow Exile says:

    The last confession of a Kremlin stooge

    Not what you think!

    It’s an op-ed off a Moscow News journalist who is going back home. Judging by her name, she might be one of Cher Bono’s kinfolk.

    She writes:

    “…I’ve always felt at home here, among British and American expats who had learned the hard way that there wasn’t a “right” place just across the ocean, that everything was messed up in a complicated way, that history was not necessarily moving towards a bright, predestined future full of democracy and puppies, if it was moving at all.

    She’s worked for 10 years here.

    And there you have it, from the horse’s mouth as it were!

    I wonder if she’s ever felt a little less ill at ease than I suspect she usually feels whenever in the company of the Orcs?

    As I once long suspected and now already known for many a year, foreign correspondents live in their closed, comfy little world, always on the outside looking in, even though they pretend that they are inside.

    I’ve seen and heard people like this over the years: their fellow expats are their comfort blankets, whom they cuddle up to and to whom they complain about the terrible existence they have to endure away from the bosom of their homeland, to which they always remain tied with an invisible umbilical cord.

  55. Al says:

    “As I once long suspected and now already known for many a year, foreign correspondents live in their closed, comfy little world, always on the outside looking in, even though they pretend that they are inside.”

    Exile, Moscow Exile,

    Are you perhaps describing a ‘bubble’ here? ;) Maybe from a glass of champagne (you don’t have to be french!)? I suppose it is not done for such foreign correspondents with an eye to future careers to get too close to the great unwashed mass of Russians (who not so long ago were mere uncultivated peasants and are still to be tainted with having simple, peasant like minds because they vote for Putin) in case they become victims of the Moscow Syndrome – identifying with the trials and tribulations of normal Russian citizens!

    There are always a few good ones, though unfortunately they are drowned out by the poo flinging Madagascar monkeys around them working feverishly for the PPNN.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The reason why I chose “Moscow Exile” is because of a conversation I had many years ago with an old workmate.

      I’d not long become computer literate and received an email from him asking me when I was going to come back “home”. I replied that I was in self-imposed exile and would only go back to my motherland after Thatcher had died.

      I had already played around with various “names” on the web before that: one was “Moscow Englishman”. It was after that email and my “exile” comment that I started calling myself “Moscow Exile”.

      I’m no longer in exile, though, and Thatcher is dead and gone.

      I shouldn’t really use the term because a few years ago my wife found out what “exile” means and she got upset because my name implies that I am here under duress. She pulled her face over this for a while.

  56. Al says:

    Tech note:
    Bing is now adding ‘image match’ to http://www.bing.com/images (I don’t see it yet) so now you have a second way (along with https://images.google.com/imghp? ) to check how kosher those photos are used by journalists and their editors, or simply to find better or similar pictures you already have.

    Add this to your list too – check if a photo has been modified or edited (don’t forget to look at the FAQs)

    http://imageedited.com/

    http://regex.info/exif.cgi

    http://fotoforensics.com/

  57. Al says:

    God help me for posting this but the comments to the article in the Guardian (member of the PPNN) say it all:

    Why the Crimean referendum is illegal
    Lea Brilmayer*

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/14/crimean-referendum-illegal-international-law

    *Lea Brilmayer is the Howard Holtzmann Professor of International Law at Yale Law School.


    No one is falling for it. Just how stupid do these ‘experts’ really think everyone is? It is quite hilarious of the Guardian to publish this piece that brings absolutely nothing to a decent analysis of what is going on.

  58. marknesop says:

    The big news today seems to be that the EU has frozen Russia’s pipeline construction. Closer examination reveals they have not actually frozen the construction – since they don’t own the pipelines – but have “delayed talks” on the completion of the project. Oh, you reckless gamblers, you.

    http://www.bne.eu/story5850/EU_freezes_talks_with_Russia_over_gas_pipelines_in_retaliation

    But the conversations discussed suggest a belief – or perhaps a hope expressed with greater confidence than actually felt – that “Russia remains overwhelmingly dependent on European customers, and has few other options for the meantime.” Therefore, goeth the belief, Russia needs our money more than we need their gas.

    Is that true?

    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Russia sends about 76% of its natural gas exports to Europe. That is a lot.

    http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=rs

    However, the touted alternatives are increased production from Norway, and shale gas and LNG imports from the United States. Norway is already Europe’s second-biggest supplier. Russia’s exports are double Norway’s. Could Norway double their production quickly, to take up the slack? No, they couldn’t.

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=10&v=138

    Despite the USA’s purported eagerness to help with a flood of LNG exports, could they really do it? Well, no and yes. No because they don’t have the LNG terminals, and yes, if they wanted to sell at a loss so as to undercut Putin. Which, given the business ethic that made America great, is actually no and no.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2014/03/putin_ukraine_and_energy_could_u_s_natural_gas_exports_alter_the_geopolitical.html

    Look at China, though. Although Russia is a major supplier of oil to China, it currently does not supply gas. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in 2006 with GAZPROM to supply gas by pipeline, and an amount was settled on in 2013 (1.3 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf/y)per year, but the countries are still negotiating over price. However, China’s natural gas demand more than quintupled between 2000 and 2012,

    http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=CH

    while demand overtook domestic production in 2009. China’s gas demand is forecast to double again by 2017.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/chinese-natural-gas-demand-to-double-by-2017-1.1140697

    Could China absorb Europe’s gas, if Europe got snooty and said they didn’t want it? Not in the short term. But long-term, maybe. They could probably take a lot of it, if they could settle on the right price (China does not like to pay international rates). Something to think about, Europe.

    • Al says:

      Japan eyes bigger involvement in gas projects in Russia’s Far East
      Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_13/Japan-eyes-bigger-involvement-in-gas-projects-in-Russia-s-Far-East-2271/

      http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_13/Japan-eyes-bigger-involvement-in-gas-projects-in-Russia-s-Far-East-2271/

      Japan is set to expand its companies’ presence in liquefied natural gas projects on Russia’s Far Eastern island of Sakhalin and Vladivostok, a city in the Primorsky Territory, and to provide financial assistance to these projects, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi told a meeting of the budget commission of the parliament’s lower house on Thursday.

      Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_13/Japan-eyes-bigger-involvement-in-gas-projects-in-Russia-s-Far-East-2271/

      Japan’s embrace of Russia under threat with Ukraine crisis

      http://news.yahoo.com/japans-embrace-russia-under-threat-ukraine-crisis-005929422–finance.html

      Closer ties are being driven by mutual energy interests, as Russia plans to at least double oil and gas flows to Asia in the next 20 years and Japan is forced to import huge volumes of fossil fuel to replace lost energy from its nuclear power industry, shut down after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

      The real question is, ‘are American allies willing to take an economic bullet ?’
      Will Japan nix all its energy plans with Russia and talks on the Kuriles just to keep the Americans happy? What will the Japanese get in return? Maybe they should ask the Turks who got a bit of gratitude and were then blamed for the mess in Iraq war no.2, even though Iraqi Kurdistan is much, much better off than the rest of the country.

      Which numpty is going to pull the trigger? Any bets?

    • kirill says:

      Anyone who talks about LNG from the US as an immediate option is talking out of their ass. There is no preexisting LNG port infrastructure to replace Russian supply even partially. You don’t build LNG tankers and port facilities in a couple of months. It will take years (I think around four years would do it). Qatar has LNG ports and tankers but, again, there is not enough capacity to replace Russian supply and only to server the preexisting LNG market.

      The f*ckheads in the EU found a great time to wage economic war on Russia. In the next decade the decline of fossil fuel production will become quite severe. Peak oil (and gas) is being fobbed off as passe, but the development projects in the pipeline are spectacularly underwhelming. It is routine in the media to mix up various unrelated subjects such as talking about the Bakken and claiming that the Green River shale formation is the same thing. They are nothing alike aside from the fact that you need fracking to get to the dolomite oil-bearing layer in the case of the Bakken.

      The vaunted fracked gas plays are also a slowly moving flash in the pan. As has already been posted, the lifetime of an average fracked gas well is much shorter than a conventional gas well. For the obvious reason that conventional wells tap porous rock strata where the gas is mobile whereas the fracked wells require the physical disruption of the rock to access tight gas reservoirs. Also, the amount of tight gas in a volume of rock is much less than the case with conventional gas reservoirs. Finally, the cherry on top or the coup the grace, is that the total amount of tight gas in the USA is good enough for about 20 years of production *at current demand rates*. So any big plans to ship it to Europe would mean that the USA sacrifices quite a bit (compare what the US consumes in terms of gas and what Russia exports to Europe, it’s not a vastly larger amount).

  59. I’m still concerned about Crimea’s dependency on Ukraine in electricity, food and fresh water. I just read that most of the electricity, food and fresh water used by Crimean people come from Ukraine.
    If I was in charge in Kiev I would stop supplying Crimeans with fresh water and electricity as soon as Crimea votes for independence/joining with Russia. Nobody could blame Kiev if it did that (and I root for Russia in this case!).
    How is Russia suddenly going to replace the Ukrainian supplies to Crimea?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Crimean prime minister Aksenov in answer to this self-same question at a press conference this afternoon simply stated that the Crimea would continue to buy utilities off the Ukraine, reminding journalists that all the public utility suppliers in the Ukraine are privately owned, implying that the Ukraine’s and its oligarchs’ need for money would override all the bluster about embargoes. Other than that, Aksenov blithely stated that he was sure the Crimea would find a suitable energy supplier elsewhere.

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Karl:
      I am concerned about that too. It is the only real potential glitch in an otherwise brilliant plan.
      I hope Russia took this possible embargo into account and planned for it.
      I imagine so, since it looks like the planning for this operation has been in the works for quite some time!

      (possibilities: if Crimea gets put into blockade, then blockade would be partially broken via sea convoys? I think this happened during WWII as well…)

      • marknesop says:

        I don’t see a situation where “nobody could blame Kiev”. Of course they could – cutting people off from gas and electricity when it is still cold? Cutting them off from water when water is necessary for life, all because of a vote of self-determination? Kiev will certainly not be making itself look very sympathetic to human rights if it does any of those things, and will in fact confirm the suspicions of many in the East that Kiev will stop at nothing to bring them forcibly to heel. the threat will also harden the hearts of many Crimeans who might not have made up their minds yet.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is only 3 miles wide. I was thinking it wouldn’t be such a big deal to link a submarine power supply from Port Kavkaz on the eastern Russian Krasnodar region side to the soon to be once more Russian side at Kerch in the Crimea.

        • marknesop says:

          A cable layer could do it easily. Provided Port Kavkaz has the generating capacity. If not, that would have to be built.

          • Al says:

            IIRC, the UK has at least one super high voltage DC cable (HVDC) running to the UK from the Continent and even a plan for Iceland to export electricity produced from its geothermal sources by HVDC to the UK. This is likely to be expanded to take in more countries. Considering the distances and the tech, it looks fairly straight forward for Russia to pipe some to Crimea, depending on availability etc. but certainly doable.

        • yalensis says:

          According to the wiki piece you linked, there is already a car-ferry and rail service between the 2 ports (Port Kavkaz in Russia and Port Krym in Crimea, which are only a few miles apart, as you say).
          So, there is already some infrastructure there, it may not be in good shape, but could be developed and expanded.

          In any case, any Ukrainian plans to blockade or starve out Sevastopol are doomed to failure.

          • marknesop says:

            That is detrimental to rather than supportive of cable-laying; it makes it more difficult to arrange cable-laying around the ferry schedule and it would make more sense for the cable-layer to take a different route, while the ferry probably leaves and arrives from the most built-up points where roads and such would make it easier to beef up power-handling capability. Also, the ferry probably already takes advantage of the shortest route. But I’m just guessing.

    • yalensis says:

      So… Russians captured the drone intact?

      • kirill says:

        http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/news/2014/03/14/n_6013177.shtml

        Yes, it was electronically hijacked. This is exactly the sort of activity that Russia needs to be engaged in to send a message to the lunatics in charge of the USA who still think that Russians can’t make microprocessors.

        • Warren says:

          Iraqi insurgents intercepted and hacked US Predator drones!

          Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
          $26 Software Is Used to Breach Key Weapons in Iraq; Iranian Backing Suspected

          http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB126102247889095011

          • kirill says:

            This article talks about interception of the video feed. The control feed is encrypted and cannot be hacked for $26. I guess the video feed is not encrypted because it would introduce a serious lag in the transmission.

            • marknesop says:

              No, that’s quite right, the control link would be encrypted, but it could be interrupted without necessarily trying to duplicate it; airborne targets are the same – if they lose the control signal for more than a specified number of seconds, they will execute a “lost link” procedure, and those which contain a chute will pop it and shut the engine down. Mind you, targets are made to be recoverable, and there are good reasons why you would not want a drone recovered by anyone other than those who own it. The link for a drone would have to be mirrored by a repeater or a satellite, something like that, to get the range it does; the range for airborne targets is much less although you can increase it if you use a repeater or relay.

              A sufficiently powerful jammer will interrupt the control signal to anything, but there is a variety of other systems which are capable of intercepting, recording and retransmitting any signal provided it is not a random algorithm.

              Update: here is al-Arabiya’s piece on the same incident. They’re a little clearer that it was a military contractor who claims to have interfered with the signal so that the drone could be captured by self-defense forces. They are quite specific on the identity and ownership of the drone – although it is possible they could have gotten that from good photography without capturing it – but, significantly, there are no denials from the USA at this point.

              And here’s a Serbian News piece which includes some interesting information on the drone’s operating unit, as well as a bit more detail on the drone itself.

              • yalensis says:

                “Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria,” Rostec said on its website, which also carried a picture of what it said was the captured drone.”

                BAVARIA?
                Germans still occupied by Americans 70 years later? Doesn’t that make them mad sometimes?

                • marknesop says:

                  Drone operations frequently do not have much of a footprint, and there are allegedly a lot of them.

                  Bavaria is not mentioned in this piece, and neither Ramstein nor Stuttgart is there. This story mostly covers drone bases in the Middle East and Africa. But there is a base at Gramisch; perhaps that’s the one. Some are just a trailer; as long as they have enough electrical power and room for computer equipment, they’re good to go and can control drones which are far, far away. The drones themselves, though, are usually close by to maximize time over the target area.

              • yalensis says:

                And Serbian piece adds that the American 66th Intelligence Brigade seems to have been relocated (earlier this month) from Germany to Ukraine (the city of Kirovohrad), whence they have been sending drones over Crimea.

                In conclusion, Americans have invaded Ukraine!

      • marknesop says:

        It sounds as if someone did, although it sounded more like the Crimean self-defense forces. I’m not familiar with the system they described which appears to have interrupted the control link and caused the drone to make an emergency landing, but the report suggested it was intact except for whatever banging about it took in the landing. Some of them pop a drag chute to make an emergency landing.

        I never heard of an autobaza system and am not sure what they are talking about, but Russia fielded an anti-aircraft EW system for Georgia called the Krasukha-4, which includes a device that simulates the jammed signal. Therefore, theoretically, it would be able to block the link from the controller to the drone, but also supply an alternative signal so that the controller would receive false location information. The drone itself executes a “recovery” mode if its link signal is interrupted for more than the default, usually around 10-15 seconds. I suppose if the U.S. loses enough of them they will equip them with a destruct package so that they will explode or burn up if they go into recovery far from their own base. Perhaps it could be interrupted electronically, against the danger it would blow up when its own crews were recovering it.

        Anyway, it’s unsurprising to see drones in Ukraine because the USA has come to love them and rely heavily on them. It’s also unsurprising that other nations are developing countermeasures against them, because it looks as if they are here to stay. The Krasukha-4 is supposed to be effective against anything that uses a satellite signal for navigation.

        • patient observer says:

          A few thoughts – Wouldn’t a drone return to its base if the control link were lost using either GPS or inertial guidance to navigate home? If so, this would suggest that the drone did not realize its link was hijacked.

          If it realized the control signal was comprised in some way, it would have the courtesy to explode especially if over “enemy” territory.

          So, not only did the hijacker use a proper encryption, they also knew the proper commands and how to avoid various security checks in the drone’s system. That seems like a huge technical accomplishment.

          But what really caught my attention was that the drone was apparently armed. Has the drone king Obama gone off his rocker? Are they trying for an assassination? Or creating a false-flag incident?

          Perhaps it should not be surprising that the US would resort to its favorite foreign policy cure-all and Obama’s “equalizer”. I can imagine the spineless Obama getting off as he watches the video monitors as another person dies. Perhaps Hilary is rubbing his shoulders as she whispers into his ear “See, it gets better every time my love, we are gods and with you at my side, the world will adore and fear us!” Then Michele bursts into the room… (to be continued).

  60. yalensis says:

    Crimean roadmap into Russia:

    Vladimir Konstantinov, Speaker of the Supreme Soviet of Crimean Autonomy, says Crimean leaders are laying out a 4-year roadmap for Crimea to integrate into Russia:

    Step #1: Within 2 weeks after Sunday’s referendum, assuming everything goes as predicted, then Crimea will be a part of Russia. However, this is a longer-term project, and will take up to 4 years before Crimea is fully sufficient.
    (speaking to above-commented concerns about Crimea’s infrastructure: water, gas, etc.)

    For starters, Crimea/Russia will fully absord the oil and gas company “Chernomorneftegaz”.
    Also wine-making enterprises.
    Also, the children’s store “Artek”.

    Within 2 weeks after Referndum, Crimea will seek representation in all organs of power of Russian Federation, including the Soviet of Federation, in which Crimea seeks to become a powerful lobby for the interests of the peninsula citizens.

    According to Konstantinov, dual citizenship will become the norm in Crimea: Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.
    This will allow Ukrainians to migrate to Crimea, if they are being persecuted.

    Of most importance, the 4-year roadmap will include the construction of a transport hub across the Kerch bay. (Which links the Russian mainland to Crimea.) This project will take 4 years to build, but will secure access to fresh water and electrical energy. The transport corridor will include railroad and automotive transportation facilities.

    Konstantinov added that Crimea is preparing a blacklist of people who will not be allowed to cross the border from Ukraine into Crimea. This includes criminals who attacked Berkut, and those who espouse Nazi ideology. Turchynov and Yatsenuk will be included in this list, it goes without saying.
    “They are dead to us,” he said.

  61. kirill says:

    The regime-allied mayor of Kharkov greets Right Sector thugs shortly after they killed 2 and injured 5 anti-Maidan protestors. Kernes needs to swing from a lamp post with piano wire.

  62. kirill says:

    http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/02/25/beginning-of-the-end-oil-companies-cut-back-on-spending/

    The above blog-post covers the looming oil crisis. The bottom line is that it is now too expensive for oil majors to discover and develop new fields. This is a geology driven effect and not some market fad. It means that the supply of oil on the market in the next 10 years will start to decline in a major way. All oil fields decline in production, so that to maintain enough global supply new fields have to be brought online continuously.

    • marknesop says:

      Holy shit. That’s quite a statement. And quite an explanation. When shale oil and gas production in the USA begins to fall off to a degree that it cannot be manipulated, panic will set in, because an entire generation has become wedded to the notion that happy days are here again and the USA is not only energy self-sufficient, it is a net exporter. When the truth sinks in that it has become an imported-energy-dependent nation again – never was entirely anything but – the reaction will be unpredictable. Especially if it has completely alienated the world’s largest producer, although as frequently discussed you cannot cut somebody off from a product that is bought and sold on the global market. But U.S. influence is bound to decline.

      • kirill says:

        The problem is that this is a global phenomenon. So America will not be saved by imports. This is on top of the fact that rising consumers like China and India are now bidding for that international oil supply. It is looking really bad. I can sort of see a motivation for war in all of this. WWI and WWII were resource wars with a heavy layer of other motivators.

        • robert says:

          http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-crocodiles-of-reality.html

          When you insist on splashing in the waters of denial sooner or later you attract the attention of the crocodiles of reality.

          As the planet’s reserves of fossil fuel diminish there could be a zero sum conflict between the West and China for the remaining reserves. Could it lead to war? Quite possibly. So driving Russia into the Chinese camp is not especially clever.

          Had the West treated Russia decently after the Soviet collapse Russia might have become an ally and a friend of the United States the way Germany did after the war. The looting of Russia in the Nineties was the triumph of short term greed over long term interest.

          • rkka says:

            “The looting of Russia in the Nineties was the triumph of short term greed over long term interest.”

            Afraid not. The US government has been waging cold war on Russia ever since the USG decided to become a world power in the 1880s and started its steel navy to replace the wooden navy built during the Civil War. Alfred Thayer Mahan, the seapower guru, called for an alliance between the US, the British Empire, Germany, and Japan against Russia to contain Russia until she collapsed. Teddy Roosevelt, who despised Russia, encouraged Imperial Japan, then a US protege, to institute “a Monroe Doctrine in Asia.” What followed was 8 February 1904, a date that certainly has not lived in infamy.

            This US cold war on Russia was interrupted by WWI and WWII, but piche\kd up immediately after each, and continues to this day.

            • kirill says:

              I should have read this post first. Thanks for the info. I wonder where this American hate for Russia comes from. I don’t quite think that it’s pogrom fleeing Jews setting the tone. I think it is just that the US elites view Russia as a serious competitor for global preeminence. Of course they would never openly admit that to their public to which they feed tales about Russian genetic inferiority.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                And all this after Alexander II had sent a Russian Imperial Navy squadron to the USA during the Civil War to show France and the UK that foreign intervention was out. So whereas certain elements in Europe were waiting feverishly in the wings for the end of the USA during (from the Union’s point of view) the darkest days of the war, namely up to Gettysburg in July 1863, those wicked Russkies were offering a helping hand.

                And there’s the thanks they got for it.

                Possibly because Mahan knew full well that the Monroe Doctrine was only viable as long as the Royal Navy controlled the waves and that British governments from almost as soon as the War of 1812 had ended had decided that the USA could not possibly be an enemy, no matter what the Whigs in the UK thought of the Confederacy.

                The Guardian, by the way – the Manchester Guardian to be more exact – as the mouthpiece of 19th century British entrepreneurs, most noticeably the cotton mill-owners of Northwest of England, supported the Confederacy right to the end, maintaining its venom for Abraham Lincoln even when he was assassinated.

                Liverpool is in Northwest England as well: it was the entry port for southern cotton, which was transported to the Manchester mills along the first railway, as we now define them, in the world: the Liverpool & Manchester Rlwy, opened 1830. No surprise then that the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama was built on the banks of the River Mersey “across the water” in the shipyards of Birkenhead that face the Liverpool shore.

            • Warren says:

              Theodore Roosevelt was a fascinating character, I was aware that he held contemptuous and hostile views of Russians. Teddy “Rough Rider” Roosevelt was the first US President to embrace the “Special Relationship” with the old country, Teddy Bear completely bought into ideology of the superiority and brotherhood of the English speaking Anglo-Saxon peoples.

              Regarding the US origins of the hostility to or rivalry with Russia, I was not aware that the Grand US strategist Mahan believed in containing and opposing Russia. This is news to me. With Mahan’s alleged Anti-Russian views and Roosevelt (Teddy) known prejudice towards Russians. It seems very odd that US mediation of the Russo-Japanese war, was so favourable towards Russia. After all despite “losing” the war, Russia did not pay reparations to Japan, nor was Japan’s demand for more territory that of annexing ALL of Sakhalin Island under the Treaty of Portsmouth (1905).

              It is important to remember that during the US Civil War, Russia unlike Britain and France supported or sympathised with the Union/North. Whereas the British and French made no secret their sympathies lay with the Confederates. Russian fleet visited New York and San Franscisco in 1863 during the height of hostilities.

              The Bilateral Effect of the Visit of the Russian Fleet in 1863

              http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1983-4/delehaye.htm

              The 150th Anniversary of this event was completely ignored in the MSM and among “official” sanctioned historians in the US.

              • kirill says:

                In the racial superiority ranking the yellow people would come after the slavs. Perhaps there was some lobbying by the British Royals in favour of Romanovs.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  When he was tsetsarevich, the future Nicholas II was sent on a world tour by his dad, Alexander III because of his son’s scandalous behaviour (he was shagging a Polish ballerina at the Bolshoi). When in Japan, young Nicholas, whilst being pulled along in a rickshaw, was attacked by a knife-brandishing Japanese nationalist fanatic.

                  After that, Nicky really, really didn’t like the Japanese, whom he often referred to as “Yellow monkeys”.

                  In fact, during the Pacific War 1941-45 Americans openly used the same racist term. However, when the epic Hollywood reconstruction of the Pearl Harbor attack was made in 2001, PC stepped in and there were token lines in the film stating that the “Japanese boys” were brave and that they had their own belief systems that should be respected. There is even one cloying scene that shows a Japanese dive bomber circling over a school as its pilot is frantically waving at the kids in the school-yard in order to warn them of the great danger that they are in.

                  Pity that Obama’s drones can’t do that.

              • marknesop says:

                I don’t know that Mahan was so much anti-Russian as he was pro-American and obsessed with the mechanics and leverage of sea power in his time. He perceived that it was essential to establish American bases throughout the world in order to project power, because otherwise you would have to rely on the goodwill of other nations rather than bending them to do what you wanted them to do. To a certain extent, NATO follows the same strategy today.

              • Alec says:

                American mediation in that war wasn’t nearly as sympathetic to Russia as it seemed. Russia didn’t know it, but Japan had come to the limits of her resources and had no more troops to send to the mainland. Contrary to public perceptions following her naval victory at Tsushima, Japan needed to extricate herself from the war fast.

                So Theodore Roosevelt got Japan out of a very tricky spot. He and his government had been rooting for a Japanese victory right from the start, and welcomed a Japanese presence in Korea to hold off the Russians while they and the English penetrated China. The idea that Japan might not in the end be content with the role of guard-dog for British and American empires, and only opposed Russia because she was blocking “them” in China, and above all that Japan could be a rival to themselves one day, didn’t seem to occur to them.

                Some think that America’s subsequent dispatch of the “Great White Fleet” around the world was to work out solutions to the logistical problems the Russians had had in sending half their Baltic fleet to the Pacific. To go round the world and into a war zone without time to recuperate meant they weren’t in the best shape to fight. Had they slipped through to Vladivostok and been able to recover, things might have been very different. The Battle of the Yellow Sea, after all, when the Port Arthur fleet tried to break through to Vladivostok, had been a very close-run thing and one can’t help thinking the Japanese were luckier than they deserved.

                The Japanese government took the most enormous gamble in their surprise attack on Russia in 1904, and even after the destruction of the Russian fleets they were overextended and out of options on the mainland, where the Trans-Siberian railway could still bring much larger Russian reinforcements. So Japan was not actually able to demand very much at the peace conference, except Russian withdrawal from Manchuria: the eventual annexation of Korea was not at this point a foregone conclusion. Without the discontent at home to distract her, Russia would actually have been in a position to demand better terms than she got. In fact, Nicholas II’s first instinct (overruled by his advisors) that the domestic fallout might be better were he to delay peace until a few land victories had been achieved was in hindsight probably a correct one.

                Even so, Russia’s position in the far east remained largely intact, with her fleet rebuilt and modernised, and (with the completion of the trans-Siberian railway) her communications were better than they had been before the war. It was the deteriorating situation in Europe and Russia’s lack of bandwidth (and indeed the other powers too) that really strengthened Japan’s situation in the far eastern mainland, and it was World War One (and Russia’s temporary collapse as a result of revolution and civil war) that left Japan as almost the sole regional power, and in a position to make new demands from China; and incidentally, one of the inflationary consequences of the war was to dilute the value of the currency (sterling) in which Japan had much of her debt.

                The Japanese people were not aware of their country’s weakness at the end of the 1904-5 war (for obvious reasons, telling them the truth during peace negotiations would also have enlightened the Russians), nor of the gamble their government had made, and so after the fall of Port Arthur and their visible victory at Tsushima they expected substantial gains from the war after the casualties they had taken, and when these were not forthcoming, there was intense public anger and the government of Katsura Taro fell.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The Japanese were on a hiding to nothing unless they made a peace treaty. The Russian steamroller was trundling towards them across Siberia and Roosevelt pulled their chestnuts out of the fire for them.

                  (Run out of metaphors now. :-) )

                • marknesop says:

                  That is an excellent – and informative – analysis of a pivotal point in history. God bless anyone who knows history well and writes it in a cause-and-effect style which is also unbiased, because in my experience the great majority of people do not know history very well and sometimes not at all, and the overwhelming tendency is to believe the first version which is explained in a format they understand and in which the relationships become clear. The latter is something which really requires the analysis of years afterward, because if you read accounts written at the time you will not know effects which accrued later that people of the age had no way of forecasting.

              • rkka says:

                “It seems very odd that US mediation of the Russo-Japanese war, was so favourable towards Russia. After all despite “losing” the war, Russia did not pay reparations to Japan, nor was Japan’s demand for more territory that of annexing ALL of Sakhalin Island under the Treaty of Portsmouth (1905). ”

                Japan’s economy was on the verge of collapse, Witte played the ‘Christian Russia’ card in the US media with considerable skill, the Russian gvt refused reparations point blank, and new Russian armies had been mobilized and were being transferred East.

                The Treaty of Portsmouth reflected these facts.

  63. Fern says:

    Some interesting stuff picked up from ‘Moon of Alabama’. Paul Vickers is a British university lecturer who’s been living in western Ukraine for a couple of years. His latest blog post describes post-coup life there. Although there’s sotto voce resistance to far-right groups, local media are normalising their activities. He post describes a society which is inevitably succumbing to mob rule.
    “Speaking to the press, the Self-Defence issued a statement stating that they do not want to have in a position of authority in the police a man who refuses for now to undergo lustration, i.e. a check on his past. Shortly afterwards, the new head of the regional administration agreed to make all administration workers undergo lustration and barred any ex-Party of Regions figures from taking up posts. Then a little bit later, the new head of the regional administration found that his office had been blockaded by Self-Defence and ‘local businessmen’, according to this report. Together they made a series of demands, including cancellation of certain taxes on wealth and various aspects of certification for motor vehicles and business-related issues. There was ‘Tax Maidan‘ in November 2010 which saw the small-and-medium-sized business community protest against a new tax code, so this protest in Ivano-Frankivsk could be seen in that context.”

    http://uauk.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/right-sector-march-police-blockade-local-news/

    Russia may get repayment of its $3 billion bond purchase sooner than expected thanks to an unusual clause in the fine print:-
    Startlingly, the notes are governed by U.K. law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of British courts. And most crucially, there is an odd clause in the bonds that has a direct impact on European and American taxpayers, as CNBC learned through a review of the bond agreement:

    Paragraph 3 (b) under Covenants:

    (b) Debt Ratio So long as the Notes remain outstanding the Issuer shall ensure that the volume of the total state debt and state guaranteed debt should not at any time exceed an amount equal to 60 percent of the annual nominal gross domestic product of Ukraine.

    The implications of that clause are that the minute the West or the International Monetary Fund extends a large loan to Ukraine, that country will almost certainly have a debt-to-GDP that exceeds 60 percent, immediately putting the Russian loan into default. That gives Russia the right to demand immediate repayment. And because the bonds are governed by British courts — which, presumably, neither Ukraine nor Russia can manipulate — it would be extremely difficult for Ukraine to avoid making the payment, using its new bailout money.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/3-billion-ukraine-aid-would-go-russia-n52056

    On the Ukrainian military strength front, The Saker has an analysis suggesting that while Ukraine is clearly no match for Russia, it does have enough hardware and probably enough people with the will to use it to crush resistance to Kiev in the southern and eastern regions. The main strategy surely has to be to stage the sort of terror attacks that will provoke a Russian military intervention in the hope that all hell will break loose.

    • marknesop says:

      An amazing comment full of startling information – great research! I can’t imagine what brilliant mind thought to couch the Russian loan to Ukraine in British law; what a remarkable piece of forethought. I wonder if the U.S. government is aware that their entire aid donation will go to Russia? Well, no, I suppose it wouldn’t, because it would not rise to the requisite proportion of GDP, but still, if Ukraine is in any wise successful it must repay the money.

      I really wish that you would settle on a subject and do a post on it; your writing is easy to understand but very educated and skillful, you are an excellent researcher and narrator and have a great eye for interesting stuff as well as an ability to draw startling deductions from it. It’s just a matter of expanding your material to maybe three times the size of a comment; something that is not difficult if the subject is captivating, and it seems to be our luck to have stumbled into captivating times. Please consider it; we’ve had some great guest writers here and everyone seems to enjoy them, while nobody wants to listen to me waffle on all the time.

      • yalensis says:

        I suggest Fern expand on that bit about the loan/London court thing, with additional research and links.
        Would make a great blogpost!
        It’s very interesting, and I have not seen that information any place else.

      • Fern says:

        Mark, thank you for your kind words but I’m just a browser and clipper – a ‘cut n’ paste’ kinda gal.

        • yalensis says:

          What’s wrong with that? It’s called RESEARCH.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Is Fern a woman?

            We’ve already got one, haven’t we?

            Fair’s fair chaps, but don’t you think two women on the committee is a bit too much?
            :-)

            • marknesop says:

              I wondered, when you said “at least one woman”. You thought a man would be named “Fern”? Maybe if he wanted to fight his way out of every place he ever had to present ID.

              I think rkka is a woman as well. That’s just a guess.

  64. Moscow Exile says:

    This clip was shot in Kiev last October.

    And there are some who say that Svoboda and other similar “political parties” are not fascist.

    Whatever: Svoboda seems to attract fascists as does a piece of shit flies.

    The man who likes dressing up as a Nazi is Russian. When asked if there will be a “Reich”, he replies that there will.

    “And what then will be the fate of the Ukraine”, he is asked further. The Nazi-wannabe replies: “The Ukraine’s fate will be as in Hitler’s Plan-Ost“.

    In Moscow there is a smart-arse group of young “radicals” of the guitar-strumming on Chistiy Prudy Bulvar variety, the café bourgeois layabout type who have rich daddies and have done a bit of travelling and who wear white ribbons on marches, who like to utter such inanities as “If we had lost the war, we’d all be driving Mercedes now and drinking Bavarian beer now”.

    That’s their idea of the results of “Generalplan Ost” if it had achieved success.

    Which may well be right – except for one important thing that they seem to have overlooked: those driving the Mercedes and drinking Bavarian beer after the implementation of the plan most certainly would not have been Russian – or, for that matter, Slavs of any description.

    These pampered bourgeois youths (and quite a few not so young as well) seem to think that in their fantasy Plan Ost dream world they would enjoy even more privileges than they now enjoy – such as not working to name but one – thanks to their superior intelligence and artistic “creativity”.

    They also seem to forget that Untermenschen, such as would have existed as a result of Generalplan Ost, would have enjoyed no rights and privileges whatsoever, albeit that they certainly would not have worked for a living, rather they would have been worked until dead.

    • marknesop says:

      He wants to lay off the wurst and bread for awhile; I’m pretty sure your tunic is not supposed to look like a pregnant sow is wearing it, like there is a double row of teats underneath it. I’d be nervous if I were the videographer; if one of those buttons lets go…

      You’re right; as Fern’s comment corroborates, what we are seeing in the press is the normalization of mob rule, not to mention the continuing denial of reality that says extremists do not have any real influence in government or any powerful positions – that they were thrown a few token ministries as a sop for their reckless courage and the contribution it made to the overthrow of the government.

      Which highlights the atmosphere of unreality in which the unelected puppet government is operating. I don’t believe Yats is actually a fascist; he probably fancies himself rather more a pragmatic member of the intelligentsia, and I am curious as to how he reconciles what he sees around him with his vision of himself at the helm of Ukraine’s destiny. You know as well as I that it is fairly easy to discern when someone is going through the motions of obeying your authority, but is actually amused that you think you’re in charge. If Yats is anything like as smart as he is reputed to be, he must sense it, too.

    • Warren says:

      Ukrainian “nationalists” are a strange bunch, for a group that professes pride and devotion to all things “Ukrainian”. Why do Ukrainian “nationalists” adopt a German ideology (Nazism/Fascism) even though under that ideology Ukrainians would be classified as untermensch, parade with German symbols (Wolfsangel & Old Germanic Runic alphabet) and wear German clothes (Flecktarn Bundeswehr camouflage)?

      I think these Ukrainian “nationalists” are suffering from profound cultural insecurity and identity crisis! These Ukrainian “nationalists” are counterfeit Krauts! No disrespect to my Germanic brethren, you know I love you all!!

      • yalensis says:

        They are celebrating that part of Ukrainian history in which their ancestors fought alongside their dear allies, the Nazis.

  65. Some Russian posters in Militaryphotos think that situation in Eastern Ukraine is not similar to Crimea. Even the murders in Kharkiv by pro-Maidan thugs don’t seem to get big crowds protesting and forming self-militias like was done in Crimea. Like one poster said “[i]some radical pro-Russian local activists facing some radical Ukrainian nationalists with almost zero interest from other parts of local population.[/i]“

    • marknesop says:

      I wouldn’t go that far, because the unrest in the East receives almost no coverage; it is mentioned far more often by bloggers, mostly referencing the Russian and East-European press. But I agree it is a movement that is likely to run out of steam and be put down without direct Russian intervention, and that is unlikely to happen. I think the most likely outcome will be that Russia takes the Crimea, and much of the Eastern Ukraine’s population will emigrate. There is also the possibility that nearby cities to the Crimean peninsula will wish to secede as well, although it would be considerably more difficult if they were not autonomous.

      I disagree with the characterization that unrest is not widespread in the East; it simply suits the western media to characterize it that way, the same as they characterized the unrest in Moscow as “massive demonstrations”. The media are masters of the adjective, and downplay or magnify as it suits their purposes according to their political affiliation. But I do agree it is unlikely to result in Russia absorbing all the East or even part of it. Still, it will provide fertile ground for continued discontent with the central government in Kiev and I believe its entire tenure, for so long as it lasts, will be stormy and counterproductive.

      • yalensis says:

        I predict that many ethnic Russians will emigrate from Eastern Ukraine, so as not to have to live under the Banderite/Fascist Reign of Terror. Other Russians, who are not able to emigrate, will have no choice except to settle down and live under the Banderite/Fascist yoke, at least for a while.
        If enough Russians emigrate, then ethnic Ukrainians might become the majority, and they will probably feel more comfortable than Russians under the Banderite fascist system, even if they don’t agree with it politically, but at least they won’t be the persecuted ethnic group.

        I also predict, though, that the resistance to Banderite/Fascist government will continue over time, breaking out sporadically, especially as the Kiev government becomes more oppressive, and as an economic conditions deteriorate. Eventually there may be general strikes which bring the Banderite government down.

        That’s all my crystal ball has, for now.
        Viva La Resistance!

        • yalensis says:

          P.S.
          I also predict that conflicts will break out AMONG the various Banderite factions, as they strive for more power. That’s already starting to happen in Western Ukraine. And since these militias are armed and not exactly debating clubs, then it goes without saying that the Banderite factions will start to shed each others blood.

        • marknesop says:

          The Banderites are not the government; not really, they have some power but not the highest offices, which leads to this weird duality where there are actually two leaderships working in parallel – the one recognized and giving the orders, the other unrecognized but there nonetheless, manipulating the situation to its own advantage. That could go on for quite some time, but the biggest single factor which will sink Ukraine is money. It needs such a staggering amount, and neither Europe or the USA has that kind of money to throw around. I’m sure there will be some kind of effort to generate income from it – not much use in establishing a free-trade agreement if you do not mean to do any trade – but Europe has so many problems of its own right now that it cannot afford to dedicate much effort to fixing Ukraine. But that’s not why it wanted Ukraine in the first place – it wanted to prevent Putin from getting it.

      • It does not feel right if Eastern Ukrainian population would just abandons their land and emigrate to Russia without a fight. Hopefully they will be able to resist. Otherwise it would be a great victory for the maidanites, who would have succeeded in driving out the local “Russian” population out of their lands and securing their living space and natural resources.

        • marknesop says:

          The most positive thing I can think of happening would be for a strong presidential candidate to arise from the East who would win an election, then be met with scorn and rage and noises about secession from the West and perhaps some of the centre, whereupon he would graciously agree and let them go, off to attach themselves to Poland or something, and form a strong association with Russia that could not be easily interfered with by the meddling west. It could still happen; it’s quite likely Putin will win another term so long as his health holds up and he does not make any serious mistakes.

  66. Moscow Exile says:

    There’ll be three marches and meetings today in Moscow: В субботу в Москве пройдет три шествия и митинга

    The fors and againsts will intersect.

    The city authorities have agreed that on March 15 three events will take place in the city centre. One is called the “Peace March”: it has been organized by the “opposition” in order to protest against there being a war with the Ukraine. The assembly of participants is to be within Strastniy Boulevard at 13:00 . The march is scheduled to start at 14:00 .

    Activists will go along the left-hand side of the the road to Sakharov Avenue … where a rally will take place from 15::00 to 18::00. Organizers have announced that there will be 50 thousand people there.

    Another municipality approved procession is one organized by the Sergey Kurginyan’s Orthodox Movement “The Essence of Time”. Participants will assemble at Tsvetniy Boulevard… the march will last from 14:00 to 15:00 and finish on Revolution Square ( 15:00 to 17:00 ). Organizers have promise to raise up to 2 thousand people.

    Participants at the third event ( a meeting of representatives of the Orthodox community in support of Russians in the Ukraine) will not move anywhere . The action will take place in Novopushkinsky Park from 13:00 to 15:00.

    Wonder if Navalny will attend the first of the above marches?
    .

    • yalensis says:

      I notice the Russian liberal intelligentsia (Navalny/Nemtsov, the usual white-ribbon types) has suddenly become PACIFISTS.

      In 2008 they were also pacifists. Remember Yuri Shevchuk and his famous song “Don’t shoot!” , calling on Russians to give peace a chance instead of pushing Gruzia out of South Ossetia.

      Now they are pacifists again, because they don’t want Russians to fight back against the Banderite-Nazi reign of terror in Ukraine.

      I don’t respect the “pacifism” of these types. They’re not Quakers, nor are they always peace-loving. They have supported ALL of America’s wars and foreign adventures. Remember how Chirikova was collecting donations for the Syrian insurgents? And how Pussy Riot was calling for an “Arab Spring” to take place in Russia?

      Pacifism, my ass.

      .

      • yalensis says:

        P.S.
        the purpose of the “pacifist” march is to oppose the Crimean Referendum.
        ’cause, see, the Referendum is too radical, it upsets the West, and could lead to war of Russia vs. Ukraine, and the pacifists cannot bear the thought of ANY war… [except when it's an American invasion of some sort]

        More Puppet Theater, sponsored by the good old USA.
        .

      • Why does Russia have such a rotten “opposition” that hates its own country?
        Here in Finland we don’t have many people like that who would support anything that goes against Finland’s interests?

        What made did this self-hating Russian opposition born?

        • patient observer says:

          Nutjob+NGO

          • kirill says:

            This foaming at the mouth “opposition” is formed much like the Al Qaeda recruiting. They are not civil society members, they are fanatics. Of course the western MSM paints them as soft and cuddly bunnies much like they have been doing in Ukraine. The only thing the west cares about is that they be “pro-west” and “anti-Russian”. The cold war never ended.

            • But who do thousands of Russian citizens seemingly hate their country enough to align themselves with Russia’s greatest enemy? Only money?

              • kirill says:

                Out of 143 million people even 100s of thousands is round off noise. I bet one can find 100s of thousands of America haters in the USA and that is in a country where everyone is brainwashed from birth to hate foreigners and love America.

                • patient observer says:

                  All they need are some NGOs to give their hatred a direction and a “higher purpose” and you have a vocal cadre of US haters (plus the usual assortment of opportunists and professional contrarians). Actually our ghettos (and more surprising placed) are full of them and they do have a legitimate basis for their feelings. Perhaps there is no underclass in Finland,

                • yalensis says:

                  America is more like Russia, in being chock full of potential Fifth Columnists. All they need is some external encouragement, and they could run wild in the streets.

                  You don’t believe me? America has literally hundreds of thousands of potentially violent gun-toting people who belong to irregular militias, and who would overthrow the Federal government in a heartbeat, if they had the chance.

                  So, I would imagine that is a potential source of “traitors” (or “patriots”, depending on one’s POV). An enemy country could potentially fund these militias and attempt to use them for regime change. If Russia were evil and wanted to do, she could. Fortunately for American government, Homey don’t play dat.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Karl:
          I do think that Finns as a whole are morally superior to Russians in many ways.
          (I’m not being sarcastic, I actually believe that.)
          The other factor is that Finns don’t have the United States as an enemy, whereas Russia does. I think that factor counts for a lot!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Self hatred caused by rejection, real or perceived or chosen.

          This rejection is because of the “system” which the dissident does not want to be part of and in rejecting it or being rejected by it, the self pity turns to hatred of the system and a deeper, subliminal, hatred of himself.

          That’s what this woman has.

          A good description in the link of диссидентство as well.

          Doktor Isaak Moskauexilmann
          Psychoanalytiker
          Wien

  67. Al says:

    Did anyone notice earlier this week when Russia stated that they may suspend verification of the START treaty? A few days later there was a small press conference with the American verification team who said that ‘everything is running normally’. Curious, no? The Russians have clearly signaled to the West that all options are on the table if they think that they can impose economic sanctions on Russia wily-nily which makes me wonder if it all simply isn’t just a great son-et-lumiere performance by the West and that they have all come to some sort of agreement behind closed doors that sanctions will only go so far (i.e. to look arguably credible) but no further?

    I also spotted a headline in the FT that ‘Russians are pulling billions from London’ but didn’t see anything further. Maybe the sheer threat of sanctions by the West has already caused damage to itself (as above, movement of large capital away) which also shows how the sanctions gambit is a sideshow?

    Re the talks that go nowhere between Kerry & Lavrov. If that is in fact the case and we are told in shrill terms that Russia and the West are ‘on a collision course’, then why exactly did the talks last for three hours?

    Kerry: Will you surrender?
    Lavrov: No!
    Kerry: Goodbye!
    Lavrov: Woof!*

    That’s not three hours. As Alice Liddle would have said, ‘Curiouser and curiouser…’

    *His dog, speaking on his behalf.

    • yalensis says:

      They could have just played cards for 3 hours, making it look to the world like they were doing something.

    • marknesop says:

      This is probably the FT story – note how Americans are congratulating themselves on how they can cause financial chaos simply by suggesting they will apply sanctions, with that prick Strobe Talbott giggling over how Russia’s expansion into international banking makes it “more vulnerable, a good lever for applying pressure”. He may be laughing out the other side of his face soon, and I doubt there is as much joy in Europe as there is in the USA, which does little direct trade with Russia although its companies have some significant exposure. Dinks like Strobe Talbott are frequently shortsighted, and all self-congratulatory when they are causing havoc, but when it begins to rebound on them, of course the enemy is “playing dirty”.

  68. Al says:

    One more technote.
    If you keep loosing your comments one way or another, Lazarus form recovery is quite good.

    Chrome:

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lazarus-form-recovery/loljledaigphbcpfhfmgopdkppkifgno

    Firefox:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/lazarus-form-recovery/

    Make sure you look at the settings because it will keep everything..

  69. yalensis says:

    As usual, Gazeta has the best coerage and to-the-minute transmittal of the 3 marches taking places right now, even as we speak.

    The Pacifists March is led by the usual suspects, Ilya Yashin and Boris Nemtsov.
    In addition to chanting pro-Ukraine slogans, these types are also tossing in “Free Bolotnaya Prisoners of Conscience” type slogans.

    • yalensis says:

      Some estimated numbers: Kurginyan’s march supporting Crimea and opposing fascism = 15K. White ribbon pacifist march = 3K.

      Third march is pro-Kremlin, also pro-Crimea – no numbers yet.

  70. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, the Banderite/fascist reign of terror continues in Kharkiv.

    Right Sector fascists opened fire on anti-fascist demonstrators earlier today, killing two people.
    As Saker noted, life is going to be very hard for anti-fascist people in Kharkiv and Donetsk. The fascist junta in Kiev has appointed loyal pro-fascist governors to crush the people of Kharkiv and Donetsk. Attempts to drive these governors out and replace them with “people’s governors” have failed.

    Anti-fascists and ethnic Russians are fighting back, but they will not be able to get the same kind of help that Crimeans got. As Saker noted, they will probably be crushed under eventually by the fascists. However, resistance will probably go underground and continue, as it did when those parts of Ukraine and Russia were occupied by the forces of the Third Reich.

    So, in a way, what is happening now is like a repeat of WWII, with the fascists ascendant in much of Europe, and the anti-fascists driven into underground resistance. There are not going to be any more democratic elections in Ukraine, so people will not have an opportunity to vote the fascists out. In any place where fascists took power, they never got voted out in an election. [somebody correct me if they can think of a counter-example].

    Which is not to say that Russia cannot help these people more substantially. Russia can’t just move troops in, like they did in Crimea. (Well, they could, but probably won’t.)

    Hence, in the coming months, Russia could provide substantial covert support to the Resistance in places like Donetsk and Kharkiv.
    Russia can also help people by taking in refugees from those areas which are under the fascist yoke.

    • “Attempts to drive these governors out and replace them with “people’s governors” have failed.”

      They have failed because people in Eastern Ukraine have not been either willing or able to form self-militias who would go against pro-Maidan militias and Right Sector.
      Crimeans acted with enough passion and order and were able to form self-militias even before Russian intervention happened. Eastern Ukrainians were too passive and now they have to pay the price for their own passivity.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Karl:
        It isn’t really that clear cut. Anti-fascists in Eastern Ukraine ARE forming self-defense militias, and they are fighting back. It’s just that they are out-gunned. Due to geographical, legal, military, and other reasons, they can’t shut out the UNA-UNSO and other CIA-paid goons squads, the way the Crimeans were able to.
        Plus, the Crimeans were fortunate enough to have the support of a world-class army behind them.
        In the end, it is really all about what Russia is able and willing to do for her friends.

        • Russia should give more weight to those self-militias. If and when terror becomes even worse Russia has no other choice than to publicly support them or intervene directly.
          If UNA-UNSO goons are CIA paid it means that this is a proxy war against Russia in Russia’s doorstep near Russia’s heartland. It would be an equivalent of Russia directly supporting anti-American terror groups in Canada.
          Russia should find a way to transport weapons to Eastern Ukrainian militias, but I guess that is not so simple because the Ukraine-Russia border is controlled by Kiev.

    • Fern says:

      I think you’re right, yalensis. People opposed to Kiev who’re seen as leaders or even potential leaders in the south and east are likely to be imprisoned, if they’re lucky, or injured and killed, if they’re not. These tactics will probably intimidate the majority of people who may be hostile to what’s happening in Ukraine but are inherently passive. The Maidan protestors, after all, had the entire western world helping them by ensuring Yanukovich could do nothing effective to restore order. There will be no such intervention on behalf of pro-Russian protestors – reports of deaths and injuries will barely surface in western media and if the numbers are too large to ignore, they’ll be written off as a regrettable response to Russian agents provocateurs.

      I suspect that the people who’re currently sufficiently ‘non-passive’ as to be taking part in marches and protest movements will vote with their feet and leave Ukraine whereas their more passive compatriots will wait until the austerity programmes kick in – either way, within five years, much of the Russian-speaking population in the south and east will be gone.

      • yalensis says:

        a de facto ethnic cleansing…

      • kirill says:

        Eastern Ukraine is not Kosovo or any of the other ex-Yugoslavia flash points. There are 10 million ethic Russians living there and most of the local Ukrainians are pro-Russia. Remember the 3 million soldiers allegedly called up for duty by the Kiev regime? Where are they? The regime MOD admitted that 6000 could be called up from 41000. The regime is trying to set up a National Guard or in reality the Ukrainian Tonton Macoute composed of Right Sector and Svoboda goons. This force of 60000 is supposed to ethnically cleanse eastern Ukraine?

        What is more likely to happen is that any attempt to pull a Haiti on eastern Ukraine will be met with a paramilitary response (with full Russian backing). The passivity of eastern Ukraine is all about trying to avoid civil war. It is up to the Kiev regime to keep itself in check in order that this passivity remains in place.

  71. yalensis says:

    Another drama to watch for today:
    The UN Security Council is meeting in emergency session today. In New York City it is currently around 7:00 AM. Approximately 4 hours from now, at 11:00 AM, the emergency meeting will convene.

    U.S. and Western countries will propose a vote to condemn the Crimean referendum and refuse to recognize its legitimacy.
    The vote will obviously not pass, since Russia has a veto.

    However, the true drama will be on what China does.
    Americans are frantically trying to get China to abstain. This would take such abstention as victory and crow that Russia is “completely isolated” on the world stage. Practically a rogue nation.

    Hence, everybody should watch what China does.

    • Sam says:

      China abstained. It’s smart from their side since they have no skin in the game in this whole Ukraine/Crimea crisis and Russia has veto power anyway , but I still hoped they would vote against in solidarity with Russia.

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, I figured China would abstain, but was still disappointed. I guess I was hoping for a miracle.
        With them abstaining, the U.S. can go around trumpeting its propaganda meme that Russia is an isolated, rogue nation.
        Oh well, could have been worse. China could have voted WITH the Western powers.

        • yalensis says:

          Speaking of China, does anybody have any theories about this extraordinary round-the-clock coverage (in American press) of that Malaysian airline crash?
          Seems to me it should have been worthy of a headline for one or two days, but not a whole week.
          Seems to me this tragic event should be of importance only to China and Malaysia.
          Just curious why American MSM give a hoot and give this story round-the-clock coverage.

          • Fern says:

            I read somewhere (sorry, can’t remember the source) that there were three Americans on board. Apart from that, it is pretty strange that no wreckage has surfaced.

            • marknesop says:

              There was a brief story that the plane’s engines had run for hours after it disappeared; there is a monitoring program that sends routine data such as hours run and temperature readings, things like that which might help engineers reconstruct an accident, which are actually transmitted by the engines back to the company that made them. Malaysia apparently did not purchase this feature with its package, but even so the engines send out a brief recognition signal at intervals, much as your cell phone does even if it’s off (which is how police can follow you around through your service provider). Although both Boeing and Rolls-Royce said the last data they received from the engines was some 20 minutes before the plane disappeared from radar, there is still a lot of talk that these recognition signals persisted for several hours after the plane disappeared, indicating the engines were still running.

          • marknesop says:

            Because of the mystery, likely; there are a lot of suggestions the plane was deliberately diverted and that the pilot or someone else with malicious intent merely shut off the IFF transponder so they would disappear from radar. They could be anywhere now, the plane could actually have landed somewhere. Unlikely, but possible.

          • Jen says:

            There is the issue also that two passengers on board are known to be travelling on stolen passports. Apparently they are “Iranian-looking”.

            I should think that by now, whenever we hear stories of passports being stolen, our minds automatically think of just the one intelligence agency that specialises in nicking passports for the purpose of identity theft. Although last time I looked, it was nicking New Zealand passports, not Italian passports.

            There might be a possibility that someone with a pilot’s background deliberately reset the co-ordinates after the flight crew set the route the plane was supposed to follow. Once the plane was in the air high above the clouds and the crew put the plane on autopilot, the plane then diverted from the route to Beijing. The Malaysian authorities are now investigating the likelihood that the plane was hijacked and that it could have been diverted to follow a route to the Middle East or Kazakhstan.

            http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/14/malaysia-airlines-search-heads-toward-indian-ocean/

            The majority of passengers on board the plane are Chinese or Malay. China is under pressure to use its abstention vote at the UN Security Council meeting on the legality of Russia’s actions in Crimea and near the eastern Ukrainian border. In 2011, a tribunal in Kuala Lumpur used Nuremberg principles and found George W Bush and Tony Blair guilty of war crimes in invading Iraq. As far as I know, the tribunal was planning to go after Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others in the George W Bush administration of 2001 – 2005 as well (but I do not know how far that has gone). Is there a possibility that the Malaysian Airlines jet was hijacked to put pressure on Malaysia to stop the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal from going ahead with its case, even though its decisions are not binding on the US, and at the same time to pressure China into backing away from supporting Russia?

            http://www.salon.com/2011/11/23/bush_and_blair_found_guilty_of_war_crimes_for_iraq_attack/

            • yalensis says:

              That was what I was partially hinting at. I mean, the possibility that evil-doers brought down the plane as a way of punishing (or warning) China (or, possibly, as you mention, Malaysia?) Like maybe CIA warn China not to veto their Crimea resolution, or you’ll get more like this? Or something very sinister of that nature…

              People misunderstood my above comment, it wasn’t that the missing airline story is not interesting or tragic in and of itself, just why is American MSM is obsessing about it 24/7 as if they were personally injured to the core and nothing else is happening in the world? In the sense of Shakespeare’s “What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?”

              • marknesop says:

                It’s certainly possible, but I would be very careful of antagonizing China. Especially after American diplomats just spent a week or so stroking them and trying to influence their vote, and especially considering the mountain of American debt they are holding. I doubt the disappearance of a hundred or so of their citizens would be a powerful persuader.

  72. Moscow Exile says:

    The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

    Ukraine Foreign Office statement:

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its strong and categorical protest against the landing on March 15, 2014 near the village Strilkove, Kherson region of troops of the Russian Federation Armed Forces in a number of 80 military personnel, and seizure of the village Strilkove with the support of 4 helicopter gunships and 3 armored combat machines.

    Ukraine Foreign Ministry declares the military invasion by Russia and demands the Russian side immediately withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine.

    Ukraine reserves the right to use all necessary measures to stop the military invasion by Russia.

    The Americans are with us!

    The Americans are with us?……

    • kirill says:

      I hope this really did go down. Russia needs to “invade” eastern Ukraine and establish facts on the ground. Unlike the West Bank or Gaza, the locals will not be fighting the “occupants”. Seriously, if the west is going to fling all the poo it can over Crimea, might as well make it worthwhile and grab all the serious assets that Ukraine holds. NATO can go and eat the Iodine deficient soil from western Ukraine.

      • yalensis says:

        I double-checked the map. Strilkove/Kherson looks to be part of Crimea, not Eastern Ukraine. Although it’s somewhat off the coast.

        • yalensis says:

          Oh wait! here is more on that Strilkove story.
          From the context, it seems like Strilkove is considered part of Ukrainian mainland (even though map shows it is just offshore of Crimea).
          Anyhow, according to the NPR story, Russians say Ukes tried to sabotage a gas pipeline that delivers gas from Ukrainian mainland into Crimea.
          This attempted sabotage forced Russian/Crimean troops to enter into Strilkove from the South and secure the gas distribution station.

          This fits in with what we have commenting about, above, namely, Crimea’s vulnerability to having energy and water supplies cut off by Kiev junta.
          Russia showing determination to secure Crimean infrastructure.

          • yalensis says:

            Quote from Crimean Prime Minister Aksonov:

            “Crimea is preparing for the possibility that Ukraine could cut its gas, water, and electricity, the prime minister said. He added that the peninsula has 900 diesel generators and enough water for more than a month.”

            Hence, that buys Russia one month to build a bridge or set up convoys, or do whatever they need to do…

            • kirill says:

              Yes, the Kiev regime will try to blockade Crimea as much as it can. I am glad that Russian forces are proactive against this.

          • marknesop says:

            What a laugh. McCain does not even know where the Baltics are. Why is more not being made of Kiev’s attempt to coerce the Crimea to remain within Ukraine by threatening to cut off its power and water and gas, and apparently taking concrete steps to do it? Would the USA approve of Crimea cutting off electricity, gas and water to the rest of Ukraine in an attempt to get free of it, were they capable of doing so? Apparently anything their pet puppet government does meets with their approval.

            The movement of Russian troops outside Sevastopol requires permission from the Ukrainian government. Is there a Ukrainian government? Yes, an unelected one which seized power in a violent coup. I can just imagine the United States seeking permission from such a government in Bahrain, were the rebels to prevail over the monarchy, to move naval forces at its Bahrain facility.

  73. Fern says:

    This article by Daniel McAdams – who’s done sterling work as a guest on RT’s news and other programmes, particularly ‘Cross Talk’ – is the first I’ve seen exploring the idea that sanctions threatened against private individuals who, this time, happen to be of Russian, are actually a threat to everyone;-
    “The stage is being set to silence dissent. It sounds alarmist to read this, agreed.
    Probably the president will not use his Executive Order to seize the assets of Americans who disagree with his Ukraine policy. But he says he can.
    Careful what you say.”

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/daniel-mcadams/will-obama-seize-your-assets/

  74. Moscow Exile says:

    The British ambassador to the UN Lyall Grant has addressed the security council:

    Resounding message from today’s vote is that Russia stands isolated in this Council & in the international community

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Lyall Grant continues with his twitter pontification:

      Russia alone is prepared to violate int’l law, disregard the UN Charter & tear up its bilateral treaties…

      Position of int’l community is clear. If referendum is held tomorrow it will have no validity, no credibility & no recognition …

      We heard clear message from Ukraine PM that Ukraine is willing to engage in dialogue with Russia to address stated concerns…

      If Russia seeks to take advantage of this illegal referendum, will lead to further escalation of tension & further consequences for Russia…

      We ask Russia to take the decision to work with Ukraine & with rest of the world to find a peaceful solution …

      • kirill says:

        Drivel. What about Crimea’s autonomy? It pre-existed the breakup of the USSR. Kiev cannot willy nilly take it away. What does international “law” have to say about that. Let’s see the self-proclaimed “international community” enforce the so-called “international law”.

      • marknesop says:

        “Work with Ukraine” means, “give up and go away”, because there is absolutely nothing to gain for Russia in “working with Ukraine” except to give them the free gift of recognizing their government, and then to be asked how much they will give in a donor’s conference to help build a strong European ally which will be an implacable enemy of Russia. I doubt Russia cares anything about international recognition of the Crimea as being Russian, but it will be a fact nonetheless, although Russia will have to be prepared to defend it militarily. South Ossetia and Abkhazia will never be recognized internationally either, because that’s just the way the west works, but they are facts nonetheless, and unless Ukraine foreswears any further claim to the Crimea it can never join NATO because it will constitute an unresolved boundary dispute.

        If the west gets all of Ukraine it will likely lead to war eventually as they seek to bring Ukraine into NATO and expand NATO ever closer to Russia, so it might as well be war now as war later.

    • Al says:

      Just heard him on BBC news. He does sound remarkably pompous banging away about the inviobility of sovereignty etc. with such conviction. Does he know about mass, instant communications that tell an entirely different story coming from the likes of people like him not so very long ago? It’s bloody pantomime, but it’s neither funny nor has any good singing in it. I think I’m just a bit depressed since Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of playing Freddy Mercury in the proposed biopic last year. I’ve heard the new muppet movie is good though.

      • Al says:

        An ‘expert’ on the Beeb claims China’s abstention is a victory for the West and bad news for Russia, but then it is explained that the Resolution didn’t even mention Russia and was so watered down so that China wouldn’t use its veto either. Schizo!

        Xi Jinping is in Europe next week. I guess there will be behind the scenes pressure from China on Europe not to do anything stupid. Let’s see from the leaks.

  75. Dear Yalensis,

    “I do think that Finns as a whole are morally superior to Russians in many ways.
    (I’m not being sarcastic, I actually believe that.)
    The other factor is that Finns don’t have the United States as an enemy, whereas Russia does. I think that factor counts for a lot!”

    Finns are a more monolithic as a nation than Russia. We basically have only one ethnicity, language and religion. And we also have a “one big common enemy” which is Russia. I certainly don’t view Russia as “Finland’s main and only enemy” (and not an enemy at all) but a big portion of the population does. This is a big unifying factor in Finland, being a small nation near a giant neighbor with a lot of bad things happened in the history.

    Finland has opposition parties but they are all pro-Finland as are our government parties. The fifth column just does not exist here. Our opposition has the best interest of the country in their hearts. The only exceptions are a few Europhiles who are more pro-EU than pro-Finland, but they are not pure traitors and self-haters or foreign stooges like Navalny.

    Russia is different. There is a substantial fifth column inside Russia which receives generous funding from abroad. And from my understanding they are not only after money, but they really do genuinely hate their own country. This is what is interesting. What brought up this hatred? Is it the Soviet past? Does the opposition consist of different ethnicities who feel “oppressed”? I understand that there are a lot of Jews in the Russian opposition (I am not an anti-Semites but I have learned that a lot of Jews hate Putin and current Russia. Maybe it is because most of the original oligarchs were Jewish and Putin made a lof of them flee Russia and lose their fortune).

    Another thing I have noticed is the lack of patriotism among the Russian ruling elites. These people own expensive houses abroad. They keep their money abroad. They raise their children abroad. Some of Russia’s top politicians and richest oligarchs do this. These people are supposed to be the ruling elite of Russia. This makes Russia vulnerable to foreign pressure, because so many Russian owned assets and Russian money is in fact controlled by Russian enemies.

    Gennadi Timchenko is one example. He is a friend of Putin but has a Finnish citizenship, lives in Switzerland and keeps his money in Switzerland. How much has he invested his money in Russia? Or does he just profit from oil sales and takes the money out of Russia? What good are these kind of people for Russia? Putin’s inner circle has more people like this. A part of me hopes that the West really freezes the assets of rich Russians in the West, because it would show these people that their money is never safe in Western banks. But I doubt the West goes very far with this, because they do also realize that it would only alienate rich Russians from the West and the money flow from Russia to West would stop. I think the West is trying to come up with sanctions that hurt the general Russian population and middle class, not the rich Russians, because it would be far more threatening for Putin.

    • rkka says:

      “Russia is different. There is a substantial fifth column inside Russia which receives generous funding from abroad. And from my understanding they are not only after money, but they really do genuinely hate their own country. This is what is interesting. What brought up this hatred? ”

      It seems to go with the territory. Recall that the opposition to Tsarism was just as fanatical, sterile, politically clueless, and Russia-hating as any of the 5th Column today. And more terroristic in fact.

      • kirill says:

        It was being cultivated by the same western countries as today, namely the British and the Americans. There is a lot of evidence that the 1917 revolution was a US project. Trotsky’s North America junket to raise cash was successful. The Germans sent in the useful idiot Lenin to get the ball rolling. Supposedly the Germans and Americans were on enemies at the time. But in reality they are all allies against Russia and all the time. Nobody supports a fanatical opposition in the west so it never gets any weight. In fact, both the governing and the opposition parties depend on corporate money and are beholden to big capital (just like during the 1800s and earlier). So the bottom line is: no money, no funny. Without sponsors the 5th column would barely exist.

  76. Moscow Exile says:

    Well who’d’ve thought!

    The LA Times agrees that there are unsavoury elements in the Ukraine: Ukraine’s threat from within

  77. Another thing that came in my mind.
    If this crisis escalates what kind of a security risk it would be for Russia? Are the Right sector people able to launch terrorist strikes in Russia?
    Russia also has a sizable Ukrainian minority. I would guess that many of them are working in high security sectors like for example nuclear sector. If the current events escalate is it possible that some of them will become radicalized and try to carry out some kind of a sabotage?

    • yalensis says:

      I suppose it could happen that neo-Nazis within Russia could launch terrorist bombings or sabotage, in solidarity with Right Sector. It is definitely a risk. However, I would not imagine that such attacks would be suicide bombings, which are the worst kind, because the most difficult to prevent. Neo-Nazis are violent towards others but don’t commit suicide. (that I know of…)

  78. Moscow Exile says:

    This great Ukrainian victory at Strilkove: I double-dog dare anyone to find mention of it on the web apart from what’s reported by the Ukrainian News Agency.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And that Ukrainian territory from which the Ukrainians have sent the Russkies a-fleeing is a spit of land alongside the Crimea coast proper.

      Reports are coming in now that the Russians are still on the spit.

      The Guardian jumps in first time with bulletins from Kiev and puts them on the front page. The “victory” at Strilkove story was one such hastily posted bulletin. And every hour it seems there is a new Grauniad article reporting the so-called Ukrainian president warning all of an imminent Russian invasion.

      • Al says:

        According to this story

        Ukraine: Russian assault pressed back in the region where US forces are allegedly stationed

        http://inserbia.info/news/2014/03/ukraine-russian-assault-pressed-back-in-the-region-where-us-forces-are-allegedly-stationed/

        “..On Friday, the US 66th Military Intelligence Brigade is reportedly appeared in the Kherson region, in the area of the Crimean roadblock Chongar…”

        Coincidence?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Российскому десанту не удалось закрепиться на Арабатской стрелке

          Russian Paratroops fail to Establish Themselves on Arabatskaya Spit

          On Saturday, March 15, villagers on the narrow Arabatskaya spit witnessed the landing of unidentified armed men without any insignia. It is reported that more than fifty paratroopers arrived by helicopter.

          The locals have suggested that the armed men were Russian military. They first stopped and checked cars before checking the spit and then went to a gas distribution station situated at the back of all the boarding houses and recreation centres. The military then took up positions there and checked all passing cars . According to the villagers, helicopters with red stars on them circled over the place of their landing.

          The chief of the Genichesky police came to see the paratroopers as well as the prosecutor and the chairman of the Strelkovskaya village council. After talking with the military, they went to the checkpoint on the Ukrainian border .

          The Ukraine Defence Ministry has reported on the immediate implementation of resistance: “Russian troops returned to their original location”. An attempt at penetration by RF Armed Forces in the Kherson region along the Arabatskaya spit has been foiled by the Ukraine Army Air Forces and an airmobile battalion.

          Or as the Ukraine MoD would like to say: Russian invaders routed!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            So the USA has invaded the Ukraine!

            I mean, if they weren’t invited there – and there are no reports that they were – then they must have come without permission.

          • marknesop says:

            I’m sure I don’t have to point out how simple it would be to stage a “Russian invasion” by men who wear no insignia on their uniforms in a country where almost everyone can speak Russian. All they really have to go on here is some helicopters with red stars on them. I also don’t need to remind anyone how desperate the Ukrainian fake government is for western military help, or how many times it has resorted to spin before.

          • kirill says:

            This story is absurd. There is basically no army of Ukraine. So we are supposed to believe that Russian forces were driven back without any bodies left on both sides? Since when do military engagements have no casualties? So whatever this was, it was not what it was being painted as.

            I suspect that Russian special forces visited the location of the US intelligence battalion and withdrew. They weren’t going to attack the Americans were they? And I have not seen any plans to grab a buffer space around Crimea just yet.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Have none of you folks got Google Earth? You should take a look at the lie of the land round there.

              I tell you.It’s as flat as a pancake and you don’t know where the land ends and the sea begins. There are creeks and inlets and big inland salt water lagoons called limany everywhere. And beach houses and little boarding houses. It’s ramshackle but homely.

              You can’t drink the water at all from the lagoons: it’s too saline. No fish, nowading birds, geese, ducks – no nothing in or on them. And there’s a a slimy white mud in the lagoons that they say is good for mud baths and it cures all sorts of things. And bloody snakes – water snakes!

              I feel like going there this summer again after seeing all these pictures of the place.

              Oh yeah! And down the coast, heading for Kerch, you come to that place of iniquity and debauchery known as KaZantip. (It’s cool to use a big “z” in “Kazantip”: it means you’re one of the debauchees.)

            • marknesop says:

              I suspect there were never any Russians there at all, and that it was a provocation arranged by Ukraine to try and convince western governments that “the invasion” was starting and that they should send troops. Of course, the U.S. and UK play straight into their hands with all their bellicose statements about defending Ukraine “with whatever means are necessary”. This whole regime-change operation has been spin from the beginning, and now whenever anything happens in Ukraine, I expect spin.

              • kirill says:

                http://vz.ru/news/2014/3/15/677250.html

                So there was an incursion and it was to secure a natural gas pumping station that services all of Crimea. There was an attempt to cut off the gas flow. So the real story is that a sabotage attempt was prevented by “evil” Russians. The Kiev regime is spewing “information” like Baghdad Bob.

              • Fern says:

                I expect (and really, really hope) that the US Joint Chief of Staff, General Dempsey, has a direct line to his Russian counterpart and these guys have an understanding not to bulls**t each other over their side’s respective military manoeuvres. So when possible false-flag operations happen, Dempsey can get Russian assurances that it ain’t them or an explanation that forces, possibly self-defence units, possibly not, are securing essential utilities against sabotage and once this is done, they will withdraw.

        • yalensis says:

          “According to the report, at the beginning of March, the American brigade was relocated to the Ukrainian Kirovohrad, from where drones commit reconnaissance raids in the direction of Crimea and Russian border areas.”

          In other words, within seconds of the fascist junta seizing power in Kiev, American troops moved into Ukraine. Ukraine doesn’t have its own army any more, they have America and NATO.

          • kirill says:

            NATO had big plans to stir up ethnic strife in Crimea to create various pretexts to paint Russia black and deny them the chance at annexation. But Stalin Putler was too quick for them. Now all they can do is try to fly drones. If shooting starts, then I hope that a nice salvo of surface to surface missiles will be launched at the American positions.

            • marknesop says:

              I think the far more interesting item is the capture of the first drone. If indeed these drones can be captured by being forced into a lost link reaction, it is a tremendous vulnerability, because they are not particularly fast and carry little or no equipment which would warn them of impending attack against themselves, and generally fly a straight and relatively predictable course relying on their height and small size to evade detection. The USA has gone into drones in a big way and has largely handed over its entire real-time air surveillance capability to them. It would be no surprise to see other nations who do not wish to be spied upon at will developing an anti-drone capability, such as better radars and electronics capable of interfering with their signals.

            • Jen says:

              There have been reports that junior and senior high school students in Iran are being taught by the Revolutionary Guards to hack and bring down drones.

              http://www.smh.com.au/world/iran-to-teach-dronehunting-to-school-students-20130819-2s7pz.html

              Drone Wars UK has a database recording crashes of drones around the world since 2007.

              http://dronewars.net/2012/09/06/a-century-of-drone-crashes/

          • marknesop says:

            And if Russia backed off and just let them take Ukraine, NATO would invent a pretext to ask for basing rights whether Ukraine was ever accepted as a NATO member or EU member, or not.

  79. According to this source Ukraine has started to blockade Russia’s access to Transdnistria: https://www.facebook.com/MIDRussia/posts/467396186693161?stream_ref=10

  80. Moscow Exile says:

    And another former German Chancellor, this time Helmut Kohl, criticizes the US-NATO Diktat to Go to War with Russia.

    Helmut Kohl quoted in Bild Zeitung: March 12, 2014

    “There has been from the West in recent years, major omissions here . The mood in Ukraine was no longer wise. Similarly, there is lack of sensitivity in dealing with our Russian neighbors, especially with President Putin.

    “We could be much further today. Things cannot be solved overnight. We need time and above all prudence. This applies to all pages and all questions. We must not forget that war is a means of politics . We want peaceful and trusting coexistence in Europe. The peaceful coexistence between different peoples and religions has to be possible even within a country.
    The crisis surrounding the Ukraine makes – unfortunately – even more clear that we are not allowed to feel safe here in Europe. War is not necessarily a question of the past.

    War is not necessarily a question of the past. So we have Europe deepen and expand and thereby heed : Europe and foremost remains a work of peace – with all that that entails . Beside the peace , the freedom , democracy , self-determination of people, prosperity and the rule of law.”

    So that’s Schröder and Kohl against and Merkel for.

  81. yalensis says:

    Here is Eduard Limonov on Saturday’s “March for Peace” in Moscow. Limonov correctly calls this a “march of prostitutes” and unleashes his bile on this pack of traitors and liberasts who “give themselves like masochistic prostitutes” to the Banderite junta in Kiev.

    To put in context, one has to recall that Limonov himself is an Oppositionist who bears no love for Putin. But he is also a Russian patriot and has pretty much had it with the Navalny/Nemtsov type of open traitors and Fifth Columnists.

    Coverage of this fifth-columnist march (which was applauded by Banderite junta in Kiev, and praised in Western media like NPR) indicates that it numbered no more than 3000 people. Although the marchers themselves (and Western media) insist that it was 50K.

    Even GAZETA, which is traditionally pro-Opp/pro-Navalny, indicated that the numbers were pretty much the same as all the recent Opp marches, for example, the one to “protect Russian orphans”, etc.
    And all the usual suspects, even Pussy Riot, were there to cheer on the Banderite junta and demand “hands off Ukraine”, yada yada… These were exactly the same people who supported the “Arab Spring”, the Al Qaeda victory in Libya, and American attempts to overthrow Assad in Syria.

  82. Al says:

    BBC World News is now running a loaded Panorama documentary on Ukraine & Crimea right now. They dealt early on with the snipers from Hotel Ukraina and aired an unverified recording of what they claim is Berkut telling snipers to take position on the top floor of the hotel and simply haven’t questioned its veracity. It doesn’t really get any better with the BBC guy going to Crimea and the base commander confronting the masked troops (clearly because he has made the calculation that he will not be shot dead live on tv).

    It’s not that I think that all journalists are f甑àng stupid, ignorant bastards, editors have a serious responsibility here and are known to butcher good reporting, but what happened to presenting a properly balanced analysis of the situation without leading the viewer or listener with smoke and mirrors, and letting them make their own up mind, FFS? Those fuezing twats who want to ‘tell the story’ in an emotional and attached way serve nothing but their own egos inthat they think they are doing something. Leaving a mark on the world. Making a difference. How fuceing deluded is that when any normal person knows that foreign policy is simply straightforward amoral interest led state policy and totally controlled by the political class who are never effected by any reporting unless it can be selectively taken advantage of and coinciding with the state policy. Big media and journalism mostly deserves to die, but they don’t give a sh*t. It’s a career, innit? /rant

    Fortunately, I know the other 99% of rest of us are normal.

    BTW, BBC just tied itself up in contradictory liberal knots:

    Daily Fail: ‘Britain’s first and only Muslim drag queen’ banned from discussing homosexuality in BBC ‘Free Speech’ debate in mosque

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2580999/Britains-Muslim-drag-queen-banned-discussing-homosexuality-BBC-Free-Speech-debate-mosque.html


    Forgive me for posting anything from the Fail, but it is hilarious!

    • kirill says:

      So, some recording is produced to reconcile the contradiction, eh? Hotel Ukraina was occupied by Right Sector during the sniper attack. Even one of the BBC reporters on the team that shot the video saw what one of the shooters from the window was wearing. And it wasn’t a Berkut uniform but the standard Right Sector improvised military-wannabe garb.

      Anyway, funny how the west never considers motive when dealing with alleged crimes of governments who are disloyal. WTF would Yanukovich order a pretext against himself after months of bending over backward to please the west? A proper crackdown would have been to send in the army to clear the militants out and not to create martyrs out of them. The western media spew insults the intelligence so much that it hurts.

      • Al says:

        “…Even one of the BBC reporters on the team that shot the video saw what one of the shooters from the window was wearing. And it wasn’t a Berkut uniform but the standard Right Sector improvised military-wannabe garb. ”

        Maybe he’ll be found dead from Bollockium* poisoning personally applied by Putin!

        *Bollockium has yet to be added to the Periodic table. Discovered by Sir David Bollockius or St. Sloppy’s College, Oxford, it is uniquely found in concentrations around government and media sources. When brought in to contact with other sources of Bollockium (more government ministers or journalists for example; but other sources are possible) , it propagates exponentially until either it eats itself, or, someone flicks open a zippo to light their self produced methane and accidentally ignites the Bollockium, causing it to disappear after a brief and bright flash that leaves a slight tingling in the left elbow.

    • cartman says:

      Makes sense. Hillary – a self-proclaimed gay rights champion installed a regime in Honduras that murdered several of its LGBT activists.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-a-lees/honduran-lgbt-activists-f_b_4661499.html

      American gays will still lick it all up and support the Wicked Witch.

  83. Drutten says:

    Can somebody explain to me what exactly is going on here?

    • Drutten says:

      I screwed up the linking.

    • kirill says:

      The caption says that the villagers stopped a Ukrainian military column and forced to go back. They do not want war and bloodshed.

      Frankly, Ukraine does not have enough military to actually do anything to Russian forces. All these troop movements are either pointless posturing or actually aimed at suppressing local dissent.

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, what Kirill said.

      Looks to be ethnic-Russian villagers (waving Russian flags) stopping a Ukrainian military column headed for Crimea.

      I like one of the comments to the video, the one who said:
      “Yeah, these people make more peace than those Russian musicians who made a clip against war…”

      Well said.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. on closer glance, the “peaceful villagers” are backed up by some military types with automatic weapons.

        Probably local pro-Russia militias.

        • yalensis says:

          P.P.S.
          which proves the point I was trying to make to Karl, that the local ethnic Russians in East Ukraine ARE organizing their own self-defense.
          However, sadly, they don’t often have the ability to stop an armoured column without extra assistance. In this case, maybe the column wasn’t too keen on fighting in Crimea and was willing to listen to reason. However, it could have gone the other way, and the column just rolled on over the “peaceful villagers”. But maybe didn’t, because of the armed guys, and because the armoured column knew that the armed guys were just the tip of the iceberg, and another much bigger army waiting in the wings… (?)

          It’s a fairly simple point, but wasn’t this something that Samantha Powers discovered in her youth? That whole R2P thing? Wasn’t that, like, her Doctor’s Dissertation, or something? (She re-discovered things that were known to infants in the time of Frederick the Great.)
          About how local oppression and genocide can only be stopped by a world-class military stepping in to protect the victims? Something like that?

          Sauce for the goose…

  84. Southerncross says:

    Between the Transnistria blockade and the upcoming pogroms in the east, the endgame is no longer in doubt. Ukraine is now a terrorist state, and Russian security demands that it be disarmed. War is inevitable, and quite possibly before the end of the month.

    One might have expected the Ultras to wait until their National Guard became battle-ready, but instead it seems that they mean to force the issue sooner. Their arrogance is truly breathtaking – Mr Lavrov might have meant the Crimea action to be a “cold shower” for the Ultras, but their ardour appears entirely undamped. They want war and they will have one.

    Their cargo cult version of National Socialist ideology prevents them acting any other way. How can they hold back when they believe that they have a monopoly on human courage and resilience? How can they see any danger in the anti-Maidan protests when they’ve spent their whole lives thinking that only they are free men, and that Russians are merely passive slaves? How can they take the Russian military seriously when they’ve been bred to believe that the enemy is a colossus with feet of clay, and doomed to fall after one sharp blow?

    They didn’t fight merely to depose a President. They didn’t rip up the streets of Kiev so that Timoshenko could achieve her life’s ambition, or so that Poroshenko could play Willy Wonka to Ukrainian oompa-loompas. They didn’t beat, burn and shoot all those policemen just to let Crimea or half of Ukraine walk away. They fought for their National Revolution, and they haven’t been this close to ultimate victory since Petliura’s day. How could they possibly accept a compromise? How could they go back to their old lives now that they’ve tasted power? The only thing worse than failure is regret. Do Tyahnibok and Yarosh want to spend their twilight years brooding on what might have been?

    I doubt it. The coming pogroms will force Putin to act. The Ultras will find that guts and Goebbels quotations are no substitute for guts and heavy weapons, and Ukraine will be defeated. Washington will fume and splutter, but will do nothing more. Russia will have to occupy all of Ukraine to defeat the inevitable Ultra insurgency. What then? Ukraine has only two possible rationales for existing – either as a bridge between east and west, or as an anti-Russian garrison state. The former option is dead in the water – Yushchenko’s official promotion of Banderite ideology, and the growth of ultranationalist political and military power have seen to that.

    Any Ukrainian rump state will be even more susceptible to Ultra subversion and violence than the 1991 republic. It will be like Chechnya in the 90s – an open wound, bleeding crime and terror onto Russian territory and beyond. There is only one solution: the three branches of historic Rus’ must be reunited. Putin won’t want to, it will go against every political instinct he possesses, but he will have no other choice. Bat’ka will get his wish.

    • kirill says:

      Good analysis. The only solution to the Banderite disease is ethnic cleansing. They can all move to NATO and live the life of freedom there. But this is not something Russia will pursue. It is not even clear that it will intervene in eastern Ukraine. The locals are not really showing with their feet that they want Russian help. And from what I have heard, most actually think Russia should not meddle. I guess they are deluded and think the previous conditions will prevail. But those conditions were a combination of Russian subsidies and internal Ukrainian accommodation to Russia’s interests. Now all bets are off.

      • Fern says:

        Kirill, back in the 1970’s, there was a terrible air crash in Tenerife – bear with this preamble, it is leading to a relevant point – which was one of, if not the world’s worst air disasters, certainly at that time and probably since. Two Boeing 747s, one belonging to KLM and the other to Pan-Am crashed on take-off in what was a perfect storm of adverse conditions. Bad runway layout much criticised by flight crews, fog so dense the planes couldn’t see each other or the control tower and vice-versa, poor radio communication and garbled and misunderstood instructions that left the pilots of both planes with the understanding they had been cleared for take-off. So both planes thundered down their respective runways directly into each other’s path. The Pan-Am pilot saw the KLM jet at the last possible moment and made a desperate attempt to get out of its way. The KLM plane exploded killing everyone on board and its wing hit the Pan-Am plane, sheered off the roof and killed many of those on the upper deck. Most of those on the lower deck, however, survived the initial impact. They had a couple of minutes to get out of the plane before it caught fire – not much time but enough to escape through various tears in the fuselage. Sadly, not many did get out and psychologists have studied the actions and behaviours of the survivors to try and understand what differentiates those who survive this sort of catastrophe from those who don’t. What they found was that the ‘tail-end of the bell curve’ people either went into a state of heightened awareness where they were able to process what had happened and make the right decisions to give themselves the best chance of survival or recognised that something dreadful had happened but became paralysed either by panic or, more likely, by an inability to process often highly contradictory information about what to do for the best. The response of most people, however, was a passive waiting for “the restoration of normalcy”. Survivors of the Pan-Am flight recall running past rows of people who were just sitting calmly in their seats – they weren’t screaming or yelling, or trying to unfasten seat-belts etc, they just sat there making no attempt to escape.

        I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people in Ukraine who are either hostile or luke-warm to the new governing authorities in Kiev are waiting for the “restoration of normalcy”. Which probably ain’t gonna happen since why would those behind the putsch bother if its results could be overturned the next time the nation gets to vote? Crimea (or possibly Russia on its behalf) has recognised that something has fundamentally changed in Ukraine and a reset is unlikely and have taken action to protect their own interests. Those in the rest of the country, however, are in a real bind.

        • kirill says:

          This is a very good point. Humans predict the future based on their past experience. In some ways this is a useful evolutionary trait, but it is mostly done automatically and not really making realistic projections based on complex modeling. There is also the “entry barrier” or “startup costs” with doing something to break out of the business as usual mode. Starting a revolution in eastern Ukraine means hardship and bloodshed. People want to avoid this.

          If you stand back and look at Yanukovich’s government, aside from the corruption which is rampant amongst all sectors of Ukrainian society, it was a very soft and naive “regime”. People in eastern Ukraine are also much too nice and do not want to create trouble for themselves and for others.

          I feel sorry for Ukrainians from east to west. They are being victimized by meddling lasting centuries. It was previous occupations by Catholic kingdoms (Poland, Lithuania, Austro-Hungarian Empire) that created the Uniate minority. They are like Croats and Serbs, split by religion and associated culture. This cultural fission creates an insecurity syndrome where the minority feels that it will lose its identity in a larger sea. This insecurity leads to conflict and in the case of western Ukrainians to collaboration with the genocidal Nazis.

          I think that Ukraine has failed as a stable project. It needs to be split like Croatia and Serbia. If these two distinct Ukrainian communities and their historical baggage are forced to live under the same roof, it will only lead to more conflict. Russia is a litmus test for the mentality of these two communities. The western one loathes Russia (mostly due to indoctrination starting in their churches) and the other feels a high level of affinity for Russia. The western minority will always feel insecure and actually resents the “russified” southern and eastern Ukrainians. I doubt that the majority of Ukraine will submit to cultural assimilation by western Ukraine. Even if they are now deluded about what is going on and how bad it really is.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Fern:
          That is an excellent psychological analysis.
          I had read a similar study somewhere about a different disaster (a capsizing ferry).
          Once again, most of the people just sat very quiet and calm (paralyzed), waiting for somebody to tell them what to do, and for the safety/rescue system to work. They even congratulated themselves on their lack of panic. These were the people who died. (Sometimes this is the right response, if there is a system in place, but in this particular case there was not actually a system in place to save them, they didn’t even have enough life jackets for everyone, so this response did not work.)

          The ones who survived the ferry capsizing were the ones who “panicked” in a sense. They went into hyper-activity immediately, rushed about, grabbing things, trying to get to the other side of the boat, etc. I forget the details, but many of the “hyperactive”, “panicky” people were the ones who survived. This seems counter-intuitive. i guess the moral of the story is that they were psychologically able to recognize, in a heartbeat, THAT SOMETHING HAD CHANGED, and that that something, anything must be done IMMEDIATELY.

          Within this context, I believe that Putin (and/or the people around him), even while they were sitting at the Olympics watching ice dancing, they realized that something had really changed, the Banderite/fascist junta was really going to seize power in Kiev, it was really happening, no denials. Just need to act NOW! and DO something. And what they did was Crimea. Which is why they will go down in history as leaders who really know how to act quickly in a crisis.

          • Jen says:

            Worth remembering also that the office workers who survived the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 were those who insisted on leaving the buildings though they had been told by their managers that they should return to work. Those people who did return to work paid for their compliance with their lives. The fact that planes had crashed into the buildings and by that alone constituted a potential hazard to workers, let alone the presence of fires being fuelled by spilling jet fuel or any damage caused to any building structures, should have been warning enough. The crashes themselves create potential crime scenes.

            Since the WTC attacks, it’s now standard in office building fire drills to impress upon fire wardens that their commands must over-ride those of the managers and directors of companies working in the buildings, even if the fire wardens are their employees.

            There might also be a bystander effect: people usually check out other people’s behaviour during an emergency as a guide to how they should react. I’ve been guilty of this myself just recently – I was in an arcade once on the second floor when the fire alarm went off and I looked down into the main part of the arcade and saw people just standing around but not actually doing anything. So I just stood about myself!

            I’ve been told too that the usual reaction of people in a room where a fire breaks out is to go over and look at the fire, rather than run for the fire extinguisher or fire hose … or just run.

            • yalensis says:

              It seems like human nature itself (maybe us being herd-type animals) is not always conducive to surviving extraordinary situations.
              This is why it is important to have lots of drills and safety training. And disaster planning of every contingency. The point of drilling and training is to break people out of habitual thinking and get them to form new habits that will kick in when needed.

              • yalensis says:

                P.S. I have worked in hospitals, and the basic protocol what to do in a fire is, in this order or priority:

                (1) Rescue patients and get them out of the fiery area,
                (2) Sound the fire alarm,
                (3) Everybody escape, and if possible try to contain the fire, e.g., by closing doors in your wake, and
                (4) If possible try to extinguish the fire, e.g., by using fire extinguishers. It not possible, then just run and wait for fire trucks.

  85. marknesop says:

    Latest – that I’ve seen – on the missing Malaysian flight is that they are now willing to acknowledge the plane flew on for hours after it disappeared from tracking devices (probably because its IFF transponder was deliberately switched off, and I meant to mention at the time of discussing it that there is a switch setting for “hijack” which the pilot would set in that event which would broadcast to the world that the aircraft had been hikacked). So now the police are searching the homes of the flight crew for clues that they may be involved.

  86. marknesop says:

    Just ahead of the Crimean referendum, it’s looking like even if everybody backed away right now, the economic damage would already be severe, and as discussed earlier, if it goes to the next stage of sanctions the relationship between Russia and the west will never be the same again. Russia has tried to do things the west’s way for the sake of peace for the last time. Western companies exiting Russia to protect their assets might as well search for new markets, because I don’t think they’ll be going back to Russia.

    • Ali Cat says:

      So what you are saying is that Russia might face economic collapse soon? I’ve been really worried about that. Seems for the link you posted that Russia is bleeding money and will continue to do so. And its going to be even worst if economic sanctions are imposed. Or maybe Im wrong and i have nothing to worry about it.

      About Crimea, I found a post about the industries that Crimea has:

      http://englishrussia.com/2014/03/11/what-will-russia-gain-from-incorporating-crimea/

      Doesnt look great but doesnt look so bad either, well in my opinion.

      I saw a post on the blog from Anatoly Karlin from Russia: Ohter points of view that after the referendum Russia will do nothing, at least until things are cooler, which I dont think will happend soon, violence is spreading on the suthern part of Ukraine, but maybe waiting is not a bad idea, since the IMF austerity meassures will be set soon, maybe people will realice that it aint that good after all. And about what you said about relationship between Russia and USA if the sanctions come in, I personally belive that it doesnt matter, I dont think russians will ever trust americans again, doesnt matter if this mess has a solution.

      Anyway, I really like this blog, I come here 3 or 4 times a day to get new info, you guys rock !!!! Thanks for keeping me updated and to provide some translations of the news that are not in english, unfortunately if I look for info in spanish, since I live just next the US, the only thing that I have found is Russia is bad and Putin is like Hitler or worse and poor Ukraine is being bullied, and there are no neo-nazis is Ukraine thats just russian propaganda. Im just tired of that shit. Anyway take care all :-)

      • marknesop says:

        Hey, Ali Cat; thanks, and good to see you again. No, I don’t think Russia will face economic collapse any time soon, although it might undergo a period of struggle while it reorients its markets somewhat more toward Asia. Europe’s markets are not going to be lost to Russia whatever happens, because Europe simply cannot find the gas supply anywhere else and converting to coal again would be suicidal while converting to electricity would not work – the plants would have to be gas-fired. The more likely knock-on effect for Europe will be fury at the Americans for pressuring them into this situation, which will cause enormous damage to their own economy, while America suffers very little itself since it does little direct trade with Russia and buys almost none of its energy from Russia (although disruption in the energy market will also hurt America, indirectly, as the world price will rise regardless the point of origin).

        American companies are going to be hurt, though. They will have had enough warning to get most of their assets out before any Russian sanctions take hold, but the markets will be closed to them once things settle down, if indeed they do and the world is not actually prepared to go to war over Ukraine. It seems crazy, but you never know and quite a lot of political figures are proceeding from the premise that Russia’s armed forces are decrepit and rusting and rotten, and that one good puff will blow them over. There’s nothing like the prospect of an easy win and fantastic rewards to tempt idiots into war. But if there is no war – which I think is the most likely scenario – even when things settle down it is never going to be business as usual between Russia and the west, in our lifetimes.

  87. Moscow Exile says:

    The Grauniad is going full steam ahead now!

    Tin-Tin is in Kiev and his colleague walker is in Simferopol.

    Here’s what I presume Walker wrote about yesterday’s incident at Strilkove, which Ukraine MoD announcements described as a repulsion of the Russian invaders:

    Early reports suggested that Ukrainian forces evicted them, but the Russian contingent still appeared to be there on Saturday night. A spokesman for Ukraine’s border guard service, Oleg Slobodyan, said the Russian soldiers had taken up positions next to a gas production facility, backed by three armoured personnel carriers. Ukrainian troops had reportedly retreated to a nearby crossroads.

    Ukraine’s foreign ministry dubbed the incursion a “military invasion by Russia”. It demanded that Moscow withdraw its forces and said Ukraine “reserves the right to use all necessary measures” to stop the invasion. The area, Arbatskaya Strelka, is a long section of land running parallel to Crimea. Since independence it has been in Kherson province, but the land was originally part of Soviet Crimea and Vladimir Putin may be attempting to restore this Communist-era border.

    That’s Walker’s conjecture at the end: that he has absolutely no idea what the Russian president may be planning is of no importance it seems, but in his factual reporting (The facts are sacred!) Walker, like the rest, has to give his opinion.

    What Walker says is the reverse of what Kiev said: rather than the Russians retreating, they are still there and the Ukrainians had retreated.

    Walker writes of a “gas production facility”. (So they make the gas there?)

    Here’s the article on the event that I thought I had earlier linked above (it didn’t link for some reason):

    Российскому десанту не удалось закрепиться на Арабатской стрелке [Russian paratroops fail to establish themselves on Arabat spit].

    In the article there is a map that can be blown up. You can see that the spit is in reality part of the Crimea coastline, but the Kherson administrative region of the Ukraine extends down it. The spit is only half a mile wide along most of its length, salt-water lagoons to its landward side and the Sea of Azov to the east. The whole spit is administered by the Genichesky district of the Kherson region of the Republic of the Ukraine. At the village of Strilkove (transliteration from Ukrainian; “Strelkove” is the transliteration from Russian; “strelka” means “spit” in Russian, as in a spit of land) the spit narrows from a width of two and a half miles to half a mile and then continues to run south-eastwards along the Crimean east coast. At Strilkove there is, apparently, a газораспределительная станция. Walker says that this is a “gas production facility”. It is not: it is a gas-distribution station where, I should imagine, there are valves controlling the distribution and pressure of gas that proceeds from the station in various pipelines after having arrived at the station in a gas main running from the Ukrainian mainland.

    The main line followed in today’s breathless reports from the Grauniad’s dynamic duo in the war-zone is that all the incidents in the east and the Crimea are Russian provocations.

    See: Ukraine’s president fears Russia could invade after Crimea referendum

    For the past couple of days the Guardian has had lead stories emanating from Kiev, namely that “Ukraine’s President warns of Russian Invasion”, that the “Ukrainian President says Russian Invasion Imminent” and this morning “Ukraine’s president fears Russia could invade after Crimea referendum”.

    Gosh!

    • kirill says:

      Unelected, self-designated Ukainian “President”.

      Anyway, trying to produce good optics for the west is a waste of time. As with Sochi, the western media will filter any image and corrupt it. And the lemming western masses will lap it up since they think that the media only tells them the truth. Sort of like believing in a free lunch…

  88. Sam says:

    Boris Nemtsov’s speech yesterday at the so called “March for Peace”:

    «Я долго думал, какие есть аргументы у Путина для того, что так себя вести, хоть какие-нибудь. Самый простой ответ такой: он — больной человек, он очень психические больной человек. Институт Сербского, Кащенко, врачи, санитары, уколы с утра до вечера — вот что нужно.»

    ” I’ve been thinking for a long time, what are the reasons for Putin to behave this way. The simplest answer is that he is a sick man, he is a very mentally-ill man. The Serbsky Institute (a famous psychiatric hospital in Russia), Kashchenko (another psychiatric hospital), doctors, nurses, injections from morning till night – that’s what he needs. ”

    Wow, injections from morning till night! What a peaceful call from the Pacifist marchers! I wonder whether this constitutes a threat against the President and thus a felony, or whether it falls under “free speech”. Even Dozhd who was live-broadcasting Nemtsov’ speech cut him off.

    • marknesop says:

      Boris Nemtsov found his niche in life while he was still young and vigorous – lifetime opposition. Whatever the government proposes, Boris Nemtsov is against it; if the government agrees with something Boris Nemtsov proposes and promises to implement it, the process of implementation is corrupt and too slow, or something, so that he can object to that, too.

      I am waiting for the government to table a “Please do not give Boris Nemtsov a wedgie, mess up his hair and then throw him into the thornbushes” bill, to see if he will object to it and insist on that treatment.

  89. yalensis says:

    As usual GAZETA has the best coverage of Crimean Referendum.
    With Gazeta online coverage, you need to read from the bottom up, they place most recent updates at the top of the piece. Need to refresh constantly to get the latest news.

    All indications are that people are showing up in droves to vote. From the minute the polls opened, people were waiting in line. And within the first 2 hours, already 25% of all eligible voters had cast their votes. This despite bad weather, rain and snow.

    The only real drama is what is happening with Tatar voters. Pro-Ukrainian Tatar leaders (and Ukrainian junta) had initially called on Tatars to boycott the vote. But nobody is showing any signs of boycotting. In Tatar areas like Bakhchisarai, people are rushing to the polls in huge numbers.

    It is expected that majority of Tatars will vote AGAINST unification with Russia. Tatars are around 15% of the population of the Crimea. They figure they can get a better deal with Ukrainian junta. Given this, and that ethnic Ukrainians will probably mostly vote AGAINST, then I am going to make a prediction that the vote to join Russia will pass by something like 80%.

    • yalensis says:

      Two corrections:
      (1) opinion polls taken earlier show a number more like 70%. So, my estimate of 80% might be a tad high.
      (2) Tatars maybe not so unified against Russia as I assumed. This piece says that Crimean Tatars fears were assuaged by talks with Russian officials. In fact, Russia has bent over backwards to reassure Crimean Tatars and offer them more rights than they ever dreamed of in the last 70 years; and certainly more rights than they could expect from hitching their wagon to Ukrainian junta.

      Tatar activists saying that they met with Russian officials at the highest level, were given guarantees of political representation in the new Crimean government. [yalensis: doesn't say in this piece, but I saw elsewhere that Tatar mejlis also offered handsome economic development package from Russia]. And pro-Russian Tatar leaders within Russia also frantically lobbying their cousins in Crimea.

      Given all this, it might be telling that the Tatar show in the referendum is extremely high.
      Pro-Kiev Tatar leaders told their people to stay home and boycott. Instead, Tatars are flocking to the polls. This either means that they are voting in large numbers FOR Russia; or maybe ANTI Russia; or maybe splitting their vote; either way, they are going out to vote, which is good.

      • Southerncross says:

        The Tatars have seen how the Ukrainian nationalists deal with ethnic minorities. And they could expect much worse given how the Ukrainian nationalists feel about Asiatics and other non-Aryans.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Moscow-Tatarstan relationships have been up and down over the years and there is a small independence movement there that has little support. A running dispute with Moscow was over the desire to have the Tatar language written in Latin script. That was forbidden by federal law. There have been sweeteners – subsidies – and 7 years ago the biggest mosque in Russia was completed inside the Kazan kremlin: it stands next to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral there, which was constructed after Kazan fell to Ivan IV’s (the Terrible) armies in the 16th century.

          Recent debates between Moscow and Kazan have been strained as regards possible future mergers of ethnic republics with other federal entities and discussion of a bill to define Russian national identity. In 2006 a plan was reportedly prepared by the think-tank the Council for the Study of Productive Resources which proposed a series of mergers, including the merger of Tatarstan with Ulyanovsk Oblast to create a ‘Volga-Kama Province’. Tatars voiced opposition to any such initiative.

          In 2007, the State Duma endorsed a Kremlin-backed agreement that allows the Tatar authorities to have stronger control over economic, environmental, cultural and other issues. Tatarstan President Shaimiyev hailed the agreement as very ‘substantial’ and said it was a ‘first’ in Russian history.

          Generally speaking though, outside their autonomous republic, Tatars are well integrated in Russia: they’re the 2nd biggest ethnic group in Moscow after Slavs (Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians) – after all, they’ve been here for over 500 years. Even the boss of the Federal Bank is Tatar and nobody – but nobody – messes around with Elvira, who is, by the way, not from Tatarstan but Bashkotorstan.

          Tatarstan and Bashkortostan Tatars are generally classified as Volga Tatars, some of which Tatars preferring to be known as Volga Bulgars.

          My neighbours in the country are Tatars and we get on fine. Apart from the grandparents of the clan saying “Praise be to Allah”, you would never know they were Muslim, let alone Tatar. Some have Tatar names, but others have Russian ones. They don’t pray 5 times a day and the older women just tie their hair back with a little headscarf. The great-grandaughters don’t cover their heads at all.

          • yalensis says:

            Federal law forbids writing Tatar in Latin letters? Sheeeeeeesh! Get a life, people!
            I say, let ‘em write it in Latin letters if that’s what they want! Or both! (Like Serbo-Croatian.)

            I get SO aggravated when people argue over alphabets!
            Maybe it’s just my linguistic training, but I think very little of alphabets. Letters are not magical runes with inherent meaning or power, they’re just arbitrary symbols. Chicken scratches in the sand. The important thing is the LANGUAGE itself. Alphabets are just a means to communicating that language..

            It’s like going to war about writing the number 7 with or without a bar through it.
            Once again, SHEEEEEESH!

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I think putting a bar across a seven is totally depraved and foreign.

              • marknesop says:

                I used to think that, too, but it is common for the Russian post office to mistake an unbarred seven for a one. While my wife was still living in Russia, I sent a lot of mail and gifts, and quite a lot of it went to the wrong address. Since she lived in a fairly small town, it usually got sorted quite quickly, but I learned to bar the seven to avoid confusion, and have never had anyone here in Canada ask “what the hell does that mean?” I also learned in the military to put a stroke through zeroes so they will not be mistaken for “o”, and doing so now is automatic.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yes, I long ago started barring sevens through necessity as well. I’ve gone the whole hog now, though, and put a long upward stroke on a 1 as well, which upward stroke necessitates a bar on a 7 because a quickly written 1 and a 7 without a bar are sometimes hard to distinguish from each other. The printed 1 has a little stroke, but in Germany and Russia, quickly written ones sometimes look like upside down Vs.

              • Portuguese legend says that the bar on the 7 means that the 7th Commandment should not be followed.

    • kirill says:

      I see various self-anointed voting experts on the web are attacking the vote because the ballot boxes are transparent. These morons don’t even know that this is to prevent claims of ballot stuffing. And it is up to the voter to fold his/her ballot if they want to hide what they voted for. They also don’t leave a signature on the ballot.

      Another snipe that can be dismissed outright is that there is no 3rd option to join Ukraine as a non-autonomy. This would be a stupid thing to put on a ballot since it would split the pro-Ukraine vote. It is also inconsistent with the legal position of Crimea as an autonomous republic. One would have a second vote to revoke the autonomy later. But clearly this path is not going to be traversed anyway.

      • yalensis says:

        Other Western reporters are huffing and puffing about how Crimean voters are allowed to show up and vote with no identifying documents OTHER THAN A PASSPORT (!)
        God forbid! “We would never allow this in the U.S.”

        Yeah, that’s because in the U.S. they have everything rigged so that only the “right” kind of people can vote, depending on which district belongs to which party.

      • marknesop says:

        The two choices are an association with Russia or a return to the 1992 Constitution. The day after the Constitution referred to was adopted, a sentence was inserted in it by the Crimean Parliament, affirming that Crimea is a part of Ukraine. A vote that went this way would therefore affirm Crimea as a part of Ukraine. They’re never going to get anything closer than that; as you say, Crimea is not going to cast away what autonomy it has, and ask to become an integral part of Ukraine, there was never any appetite for that. Why put ridiculous choices on the ballot?

        As far as the transparent ballot boxes go, this is “a fundamental instrument in conducting good elections at polling station level.”

  90. Moscow Exile says:

    Australian academic’s Russophobic article:

    Russia reveals both its strength and weakness in the invasion of Ukraine

    Russian-Aussies’ response:

    We, people of former USSR republics, want a public apology…

    Lynch comes out with all the usual shite: fracking, collapsing economy, demagogic crisis etc., but this kills me:

    Imagine Germany’s Angela Merkel declaring the end of Nazism as ”the greatest geo-strategic catastrophe of the 20th century”. And yet this was Putin’s interpretation of the collapse of the USSR“.

    It’s that favourite misquote taken out of context again!

    Lynch has given it a new twist this time, though: the catastrophe, according to Lynch, was described as a “geo-strategic” one.

    Clearly he hadn’t checked this out: President of Russia, Addresses to the Federal Assembly, April 25, 2005

    or the Russian original: Президент России, Послание Федеральному Собранию Российской Федерации, 25 апреля 2005 года

    And if he did, then that means he’s a lying twat!

    • Southerncross says:

      Learned everything he knows about the former USSR from Australia’s thriving Banderite population no doubt. Aussie has always been a favourite bolthole for Eastern European Nazis who wanted a little sunshine to raise their spirits. The Ukrainian Youth Association in Geelong outside Melbourne still celebrates Stepan Bandera day every year.

      There’s also a nice big Ustasha community downtown, so veterans of SS Galizien and the Black Legion, or UNA-UNSO and the HOS can meet at the Katarina Zrinska restaurant, and swap war stories over a bottle of Rakija.

      Hell of a thing, to go to Melbourne and hear “Evo zore, evo dana” instead of “Waltzing Matilda”. Maybe now the Aukrainians at least will oblige us by going home and dying for their beloved fatherland.

      • kirill says:

        What is it with the British English-speaking colonies and eastern European Nazis. Canada is a Banderite hive as well. It was also a Sikh separatist terrorist hive as well (recall the downing of the Air India flight in 1985).

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Because they know that British-style justice is best.

        • yalensis says:

          And to think I used to believe that all the Nazis had flocked to Brazil.
          See, they saved Hitler’s brain in a jar and kept it in the Brazilian jungle.
          And then after that they wanted to clone an army of hitlers.
          Was I misinformed?

          • Jen says:

            I heard Hitler went to Argentina in a submarine and lived out his remaining years at Bariloche in the Andes. Although his brain could have been taken to a secret lab in the Amazon jungle later.

            Didn’t that story about the army of Hitlers come from an old episode of Wonder Woman on TV?

            • marknesop says:

              What, The Boys From Brazil?

              I remember when it came out; it was quite a big film, nominated for lots of awards, but I never saw it.

              • Jen says:

                (Smack on forehead with palm of hand)

                Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ve always been curious to see that film myself.

                • Fern says:

                  The film isn’t that good but I’d recommend the novel of the same name by Ira Levin – he does a good job in making the idea plausible.

                • marknesop says:

                  Me, too, but maybe I will just see if I can find the book at the library as per Fern’s recommendation. As I say, I remember the film coming out – the 70’s were my years of awareness – and the trailer seemed terrifying although I am sure it would be pure schmaltz now. I’ll have to look for it on YouTube.

  91. Warren says:

    Published on 15 Mar 2014
    James Henry: European banks in countries like Germany and Austria have a vested interest in a stable Ukraine because of trillions in outstanding debt

    • yalensis says:

      If this report is true, then Ukraine is the iceberg that will bring down the Titanic of European banks.

    • marknesop says:

      Sobering indeed, or it should be. But not enough people watch such networks; most – especially in the USA – get their news from FOX and NBC and CNN, all of whom are crowing about sanctions and punishment and what the United States “owes” strugglers for freedom like Ukraine. Meanwhile, the cold-blooded planners in the USA probably would not mind seeing Europe – especially “old Europe” – taken down a peg or two economically, or the recovery losing momentum, so long as the USA continued on more or less unaffected. I am confident the USA will go ahead with its sanctions, starting tomorrow, and that Europe’s pain will not deter them.

  92. Moscow Exile says:

    BBC looks inside Crimea polling station

    So tell me: where are the men with the guns?

    On and and on it has gone all week in the Western media that one reason why this referendum is illegal is because it will be held “under gunpoint”?

    So I ask again: where are the guns?

    Where are the looks of of fear on the faces of those coerced into voting.

    The BBC journalist in the Simferopol polling station says, “Turnout has been really high”. Why is that? Why do these people seem so willing to become helots of Mordor?

    And where are the terrified Tatars? Where are the crosses painted on their houses that have been reported?

    • marknesop says:

      How dare Russia sponsor a vote by the people in their own determination, without permission and approval from the west? Bring on the sanctions, boys, and watch Billions in wealth disappear on both sides. Don’t think you’re going to get off free yourselves. And the chances of sanctions forcing Russia to deviate from its course are exactly zero, so it is just masturbation by the west, chiefly the USA since it stands to be hurt the least. You could tell Germany was the most reluctant, so they will probably suffer the worst. Of course short-term gas solutions can be found elsewhere to ease the pain somewhat, but nobody should be fooled into thinking that those will be free or even cheap; this is going to cost a lot of money, and might even tip the world over into another financial crisis. If so, we can thank the USA for both of them.

  93. Moscow Exile says:

    Meanwhile, as the Western media howls about the illegality of the 16th March Crimea referendum and Russophobes worldwide call Russia a fascist state, likening its president to Hitler, there took place on the very same day a memorial parade: В Риге 1,5 тыс. человек прошли по улицам города в память о латышских легионерах SS [In Riga 1.5 thousand people paraded along the city streets in memory of the Latvian SS-legion]

    The article states that there also took place on the same day in Riga another event, but this one was in protest against Nazism: there were 20 participants.

  94. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Eastern Ukraine is in ferment and continues to resist the Banderite/fascist occupiers.
    In Donetsk today demonstrators tried once more to storm the Prosecutor’s office and free Pavel Gubarev.

    While in Kharkiv a mass meeting is taking place which demands a referendum. To federalize Ukraine and give the regions more autonomy.

    (which, by the way, is maybe one of the possible ways out of this mess…)

    • yalensis says:

      Also, there are several incidents of local residents turning back Ukrainian armoured columns. The latest incident occurred Sunday in Luhansk .

      A Ukrainian convoy with tanks approached the railway station of Kondrashevskaya-Novaya, located 10 km from Luhansk. Residents of Luhansk rushed out and literally stood in front of the convoy, to stop the tanks.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Published on 15 Mar 2014

        Жители Станично-Луганского района блокируют разгрузку военной техники и баррикадируют подъездные пути

        На станции «Ольховая» в Луганской области более 300 местных жителей продолжают блокировать разгрузку бронетанковой техники. Люди стоят живой стеной на пути эшелона. Железнодорожные пути забаррикадированы.

        [Residents of the Stanichno-Luhansk district blocking the unloading of military equipment and barricading sidings.

        At the Olkhovaya station in the Luhansk region more than 300 local residents continue to block the unloading of armoured vehicles. People are standing as a human wall in the path of the squadron and railway tracks have been barricaded.]

        I take it that the armed and uniformed men are soldiers of the Ukrainian army.

        If they just stand by watching civilians making such a token obstruction of their movement, I fail to see how they would be willing to engage with the Russian army if ordered to do so.

        I’m not saying they’re afraid: it’s just that their hearts are not in it.

        Those bastards in Pravy Sektor wouldn’t stand by and watch though.

  95. yalensis says:

    Also in Kharkiv on Sunday, pro-Russian demonstrators destroyed the HQ of the Right Sector, on Rymarskaya Street.
    The demonstrators marched to the Right Sector office, stopping briefly at the Polish consulate, but weren’t able to attack that, since it was protected by police. So, they moved on, attacked Right Sector office, and totally messed it up, destroying all their stuff and setting their literature on fire.

  96. yalensis says:

    Yatsenuk, wearing a delicious-looking tie, announces to Ukrainian people, that he must drastically cut social programs, in order to increase (by factor of 10) the military budget.

    Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to war we go….

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Tasty looking tie. I’m sure he’s the tie-chewing type.

      He loves Yulia! He really does!

      Don’t know what she thinks of him though.

    • marknesop says:

      Just what every poor starving country needs; a big shiny military. Does Yats, with his extensive military experience, think that’s going to happen overnight? Given the current state of the Ukrainian forces, this is the work of years, and Ukraine is already massively in debt.

      Somebody should send him a copy of “Civilization”, and he should be forced to play it at least twice a day until he realizes you cannot double the size and assets of the police without the money coming from somewhere else. I wonder how the citizens of Kiev are enjoying these developments, along with seeing their streets policed by bat-wielding goons in tatterdemalion uniforms. Great decision-making, boys and girls. And it’s not like you weren’t warned. The last real money that came into Ukraine to pay fading salaries and pensions was Russian, and it arrived promptly within days of the deal being negotiated, with no strings attached. Bet that would look pretty good about now. Welcome to the new world order.

  97. Drutten says:

    Just noticed that the ARK Supreme Council has made some changes to their website. Before and after:

    I was actually waiting for that to happen. :)

  98. Moscow Exile says:

    WARNING! PLEASE HAVE A VOMIT BAG CLOSE AT HAND.

  99. robert says:

    Nick Cohen banging the drum in today’s Observer

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/15/ukraine-crimea-sanctions-russian-investment-london

    Note how he refers to Crimea rejoining Russia as an “anschluss”

  100. Fern says:

    ‘Moon of Alabama’ is reporting that Sergey Lavrov may have pulled off the diplomatic coup of the century – it looks as though the US is prepared to accept and support the Russian proposals to defuse the Ukrainian crisis as long as the US can claim them as its own.

    “”Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov and John Kerry agreed to continue work to find a resolution on Ukraine through a speedy launch of constitutional reform with the support of international community,” the ministry said in a statement.

    The idea of “constitutional reform” and the “interests of all regions” is from the Russians as documented in this Russian” non-paper”.

    The non-paper describes the process of getting to a new Ukrainian constitution and sets some parameters for it. Russian will be again official language next to Ukraine, the regions will have high autonomy, there will be no interferences in church affairs and the Ukraine will stay politically and militarily neutral. Any autonomy decision by the Crimea would be accepted. This all would be guaranteed by a “Support Group for Ukraine” consisting of the US, EU and Russia and would be cemented in an UN Security Council resolution.

    It seems that Kerry and Obama have largely accepted these parameters. They are now, of course, selling this solution as their own which is, as the “non-paper” proves, inconsistent with the reality.”

    If this is true, it’s the first sensible thing the US has done and, yet again, Russia will have saved the US and EU from the consequences of their own folly.

    • yalensis says:

      Here’s that Moon of Alabama piece that Fern alluded to.
      This is most startling indeed!

      Kerry agreed to FEDERALIZATION of the Ukraine? Wow! Did swine suddenly become airborne?
      (Although, who knows, maybe Americans shit their pants when they saw what happening in Luhansk and Donetsk?)

      If true, then big slap in the puss for Yats.
      Will he be demoted to Operating Thetan Level 5?

      • marknesop says:

        That is indeed an amazing story, and if it is true it represents a chance to head off sanctions without further damage, although it is already bad enough. No less obvious (to insiders who do not have to get their news from the mainstream media, where the story will be that an adroit double-axle by John Kerry turned the tables at the eleventh hour) will be that the Putin government, with no small thanks to the Lavrov/Churkin team, has owned the Obama administration yet again. Literally, unbelievable.

        Totally unrelated, but also posted at that Moon thread, the closing ceremonies at Sochi of the Paralymic Games were hailed as the best of their kind ever, and Russia topped the podium with 80 medals, more than any other country in history. Bravo.

      • Al says:

        Hopefully. I’m off to the fridge right now. Mmmm!

        It would be a win for the Ukraine. No dominance and threat by a single group and whoever is in government has to do it for the good of all citizens, not just the fan club. I hope that the stupid east-west politico-economic pingo-pong practiced by by various Presidents it over and they will get on and reform themselves at a pace that doesn’t bleed them dry. No shock therapy, but a measured and strictly controlled reforms (cuts, innit?) but allowing their citizens to set up small businesses with the maximum of ease (like Sarko’s ‘Autopreneur’ scheme) and plenty of time for existing Ukranian businesses to adapt and reform. Otherwise it will all be for nout.

      • Hunter says:

        Assuming that Kerry doesn’t manage to twist the meaning of constitutional reform in the interest of all regions into further centralization then it means the Russian government might have given up on trying to work with a central government in Kiev as it is now eminently apparent that any central government in Kiev elected on the back of the south and east of Ukraine will not be allowed to function normally by the losing side that draws its support from western and central Ukraine. Hence trying to woo Ukraine as a whole into the Eurasian Union (even if Ukraine as a whole did want to have an EU association agreement as well) is now off the table and instead Russia has taken out the Crimean insurance policy:

        – Crimea now presents any future Ukrainian government with a catch-22. It can either recognize Crimea’s separation and thus enable it to join NATO or it can keep claiming Crimea but find that at least some NATO members are not willing to allow NATO to invite Ukraine to join the organization. This is on top of the public opinion insurance policy Russia had before where she could rely on the fact that support for NATO membership (at least up until February 2014) was low. So even if the Ukrainian public eventually favours joining NATO then Ukraine will still have trouble joining UNLESS it gives up its claims to Crimea (which nationalist Ukrainian parties are unlikely to stomach).

        – Crimea’s situation now means that Russia would no longer have to pay any kind of rent in any form for leasing the naval facilities at Sevastopol. Ukraine might still demand them, but if Russia recognizes Crimea’s secession and admits it into the Russian Federation, then Russia won’t pay it. Russia will thus have effective control over its Sevastopol naval facilities without having to negotiate rental in the future with any Ukrainian government

        – Crimea’s situation also effectively cuts off Kiev from accessing the resources or using a large section of it’s current exclusive economic zone and territorial waters, even if non-recognition of Crimea’s separation and possible accession to Russia means that Russia won’t be able to effectively utilize those waters either when it comes to international contracts between companies etc.

        – Crimea could serve as an extreme example to the rest of the Ukrainian south and east as to what changes they can expect outside of the control of any western Ukrainian based government in Kiev.

        In addition to the Crimean insurance policy, a move towards decentralization (or full federalization) will allow those regions in the east and south which prefer closer cooperation to Russia to be able to do so within the limits of whatever federal constitution is worked out. Provided that the federal arrangemen allows each region a lot of latitude it will in essence allow Russia to cooperate with the southern and eastern Ukrainian regional governments on varying levels (so cooperation might be greater with some rather than others) and to totally ignore the other 17 oblasts or cooperate with them to a far lesser degree (I would imagine that there would be some cooperation with Transcarpathia and Poltava and that the three Galician oblasts will probably be totally ignored). A federal Ukraine will also allow the 8 southern and eastern oblasts to be able to cooperate among themselves and to possibly mitigate or reverse the provisions of the EU Association Agreement and IMF loan stipulations locally. As a region, these 8 southern and eastern oblasts have a parallel infrastructure network with road and rails and also with oil and gas pipelines (look at a map of the pipelines running across Ukraine, note that of the 3 major ones that run across Ukraine from Russia to the EU, one of them is located entirely or almost entirely within the 8 southern and eastern oblasts where it exits Ukraine via Romania). The 8 southern and eastern regions will also contain most of Ukraine’s wealth, most of Ukraine’s most productive oblasts (those with higher productivity per capita), access to all of Ukraine’s maritime ports and its territorial waters and (remaining) exclusive economic zone, access to Transnistria as well as a lot of Ukraine mineral wealth and its potential oil and gas wealth (in eastern Ukraine very close to the border with Russia).

        Depending on the federal structure adopted (if it is) Russia may also be lucky enough to have the various oblasts be given some amount of power over energy policy which in the future could allow Gazprom to strike deals with private companies and oblast-operated companies in the 8 southern and eastern oblasts whereby Gazprom provides them gas at the $268 per 1,000 cubic metres in exchange for stakes in those companies and their infrastructure within the oblast ONLY (so there will probably have to be some kind of stipulation that the companies concerned can only have operations in that oblast and not nationally) while the state run Ukrainian companies and private companies operating across Ukraine and oblast-run companies in the rest of Ukraine would have to pay the normal market rate for gas ($400 per 1,000 cubic metres). This would ensure that Russia does not end up subsidizing the more Russophobic regions of Ukraine while at the same time offering the potentially neutral oblasts of central Ukraine the example of what can really occur with genuine cooperation with Russia. If residents in the eastern and southern oblasts can potentially pay for gas at a 33% discount, then Ukrainians in Kiev and other regions might begin to contrast with the fact that thanks to the EU and IMF they have to pay 33% more to heat their home while EU membership itself continues to be a long way off and potentially never a genuine possibility.

        This also brings up the fact that Russia’s government has probably decided to let Ukrainians experience what life will really be like under the EU Association Agreement and the IMF aid package rather than simply telling them what is likely to happen. Experience usually has a way of having a greater impact on people than simply telling them about it. And based off what I have seen so far with the IMF aid package conditions (cutting pensions by 50%, introducing a 20% tax on cinema tickets and an agitation to end the gas subsidy in Ukraine which will see the price home owners pay for gas quadrupling eventually….) it will not surprise me if within a year or three we see news reports from Kiev of “anti-government riots in response to the harsh austerity conditions imposed by the IMF and EU”. By then of course the EU Association Agreement will have been fully implemented but Ukraine is unlikely to be much further along on the road to EU membership and any government in power at the time that gas prices start to increase for home owners is likely to face an electoral backlash.

        And if this British lecturer in western Ukraine (http://uauk.wordpress.com/) is correct then the electoral backlash will probably not be against a Svoboda/Right Sector government but against a more moderate pro-EU government (possibly Poroshenko + Fatherland and UDAR) as it seems that Right Sector has a larger presence in the regional capitals and Kiev but that the more rural parts of west Ukraine tend to adhere to the original ideals of the euromaidan protests (signing the EU Association Agreement and drawing closer to the EU).. Will that means these people change their vote towards pro-Russian parties? Unlikley, but more likely we see more electoral apathy as witnessed by Graham Phillips (Brit in Ukraine blog) as more and more people become idisillusioned with the politicians and the political process. So one may get electoral situations like Greece had for a little while where no particular party or political ideology gains a clear majority or even a convincing plurality to claim leadership and Ukraine continues to drift.

        • marknesop says:

          I can see the IMF having a problem with federalization, because it wants to tie its aid to reforms and it is not going to be able to apply austerity equally in a federalized system, only through a central government. The IMF does not really want to help Ukraine so much as it wants to get it hooked into a relationship of western dependency, which is going to be devilishly hard to implement if half the country is relatively affluent under energy agreements with Russia, and refuses debt responsibility. I cannot see the EU and USA accepting a deal which would result in federalization, because they will deal away all their potential advantages if they do and be left with responsibility for administering the Galician oblasts on top of that.

          The west is going crazy looking for Putin’s weakness, so that it can attack him through it, but so far it does not seem to be panning out very well. Meanwhile, the more they condemn the vote in Crimea as illegal while defending and promoting an illegal government which is not even eligible under U.S. law to receive U.S. funding, the worse and more hypocritical they look.

    • hoct says:

      That is the interpretation by the MoA. We should be cautious, however, since “constitutional reform in the interest of all regions” does not have to mean anything. Obviously the regions would benefit from federalization but the US can easily play dumb and insist it is actually centralization that is in the common interest of everyone, just as it does in Bosnia & Herzegovina for example where according to the US a separate Bosnian Serb administrative entity of Republic of Srpska is a cause of retrograde nationalism and a unitarist state is needed to heal ethnic divisions.

      • marknesop says:

        True enough, although if they are singing from the same song sheet and it is one which originated in Russia, we are more than halfway to a diplomatic solution because the U.S. usually insists on their rules. However, I note that all the talk is still, “Oh, you are so going to get it this coming week”.

        • marknesop says:

          According to this, it’s shaking out so far just like MOA suggested – the USA seizing the initiative and reporting it as if Russia is starting to crack already, although they stress Putin is in a very strong position with his electorate. This report suggests also, however, that to satisfy this alternative Russia would have to talk directly with the Ukrainian puppet government, which would imply recognition of it, and the last I heard they were not prepared to do that.

  101. yalensis says:

    This is funny. Moon posted this photo of Samantha Powers and Vitaly Churkin, and asked his readers to submit funny captions.

    My personal favorites:

    (1)
    Samantha Power: For the children! For the children! How dare you Russia supporting Crim?
    Vitaly: Oh you mean like your support for al qaead in Syria? You mean your support for israeli occupation? You mean your support Bahrain and Saudiarabia, or why not your support for Kosovo?
    Samantha Power: Now in tears, but…its not the same thing, [crying]
    Audience: Laughing at satanmantha power in the background
    Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 16, 2014 10:27:22 AM | 3

    (2)
    Samantha : Vitali don’t you know our deep sense for history , can’t you understand that we are the ‘EXCEPTIONAL’, look at my face and feel the pureness of the ‘CHOSEN’ ones .
    Vitali : Don’t babble BS Samantha and what pureness is concerned Samantha you look even uglier than Ashton….
    Posted by: Sufi | Mar 16, 2014 10:41:06 AM | 6

    (3)
    Samantha Power: I can’t believe Putin…. his balls must be this big
    Vitaly: Yeah… he uses a wheelbarrow to carry them around. Come back to me when Obama gets his back from Michelle.
    Posted by: Colm O’ Toole | Mar 16, 2014 10:43:25 AM | 7

    (4)
    Samantha: Cockroach!
    Vitaly: I’m no Tutsi, much less a Boyar, much less a 1959 Tutsi aristocrat refugee-turned-terrorist!
    [See Lemarchand's 1970 book, Rwanda and Burundi, then read the 'genocide radio' transcripts, and laugh/weep; the rest of this will play on that theme:

    http://migs.concordia.ca/links/RwandaRadioTranscripts.htm

    JM]
    Samantha: You Crimean Inyenzi who call yourselves Inkotanyi!
    [Utterly unfair to Hutus---see e.g. Robin Philpot's book, then Michael Hourigan's interviews; at least the Hutu minister who spoke these words on the 'genocide radio,' followed them up with conciliatory words to Tutsi civilians... JM]
    Vitaly: We took down one of your drones—we didn’t shoot down Yatseniuks plane! And if you continue in that fashion, a representative of the government seated to your left might well assassinate you.
    Samantha: This cockroach threatened me with assassination!

    (5)
    Vitaly: Look Samantha, I have other plans tonight, I can’t meet you for drinks in your hotel room.
    Samantha: Are you kidding me? Are you really turning this down?!?
    Vitaly: Yes, and I can clearly see your adam’s apple from here.
    Posted by: Nick in Burlington | Mar 16, 2014 11:45:55 AM | 11

    (6)
    Power to Churkin, ” If you were my husband I would put poison in your tea” Churkin to Power, ” If you were my wife I would drink it”. Churchill to Lady Astor.
    Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 16, 2014 1:00:52 PM | 19

    (7)
    Samantha Power: “Churkin, you are drunk, and what’s more you are disgustingly drunk.”
    Churkin: “Samantha, my dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow
    I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.” Winston Churchill to Bessie Braddock in House of Commons.
    Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 16, 2014 1:07:17 PM | 20

    and… my personal favorite:
    (8)
    Powers: You want some of this pre-op, schoolmarm ass, old man?
    Vitaly: (looking incredulous) Security! Get me something sharp so I can gouge my eyes out!
    Posted by: Prey4 Justice | Mar 16, 2014 1:10:34 PM | 21

    • Al says:

      How about a slight addition to one of the ones already posted?

      Samantha: I’ve got the power!
      Sergei: I’ve got x².

    • patient observer says:

      How can you say no? It would the a threesome! Hilary and me! Barrack loved it! You can push the kill button on the drone! Come on! It will be fun!

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha! Who are those chuckle-heads behind them, laughing their heads off?

      • marknesop says:

        Well, she has two children, so I suppose it’s conceivable. Interesting family; she is married to Cass Sunstein, Harvard Law and University of Chicago Law. I’m not quite sure what to make of him, but he has been in charge of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs since 2009, and is known to have theorized that the Internet weakens democracy because it “allows citizens to isolate themselves within groups that share their own views and experiences, and thus cut themselves off from any information that might challenge their beliefs, a phenomenon known as cyberbalkanization”. Like my ambivalence about him, I’m not sure what to make of that, either, because I am sure many of us would agree the right-wingers are nutjobs who get all their news from FOX, just like he says. But they doubtless think the same of us, and it is true that I get little of my news from the mainstream media any more because they simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth. However, right-wing do-gooders would laugh off the notion that the Ukrainian opposition would actually arrange to have some of their own people shot in order to marshal outrage and fury that would spur people into a coup, whilst they would be all teary-eyed over that “I Am Ukrainian” video which plays to the democratizer’s heart and softens regime change to an operation that can be excused regardless the broken eggs because it is doing the people a favour by providing a shortcut to justice.

        All I know for certain is that it has never been harder to get at the truth, because it is often deliberately hidden, not simply omitted.

  102. marknesop says:

    On cue, here’s “Jukebox John” blatting that Ukraine needs a long-term military assistance programme from the United States. What a great idea! Got to sell those unwanted F-35’s to someone – why not get the U.S. taxpayer to buy them for Ukraine with foreign aid?

  103. Al says:

    Just caught an interview with John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago by Dutch NOS tv about the Crimea. I’m still in shock. He laid it home that Russia made it strictly clear to the West that NATO on its border is a no no. Before Georgia. After Georgia where they were offered NATO MAP along with the Ukraine. He then said Russia is prepared to take the pain because this is a fundamental strategic concern of Russia and nothing will dissuade them. If I can find the link to the vid (broadcast earlier today), I’ll post it .

    Has anyone heard of John Mearsheimer? It’s a first for me.

    • reggietcs says:

      Yes.

      He’s a professor wrote a very controversial (and very accurate, imho) report with Stephan Walt on the influence of the Israeli lobby in US politics. it caused a big brouhaha in the US – especially since it was coming from a respected academic.

      Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com has been one of Mearasheimer’s biggest supporters.

      I like him.

      • marknesop says:

        Yeah, that’s right! That’s where I heard his name – he and Walt wrote “The Israel Lobby”, which was a sort of response to Perle and Feith’s “A Clean Break”.

    • marknesop says:

      I’ve heard the name before, but couldn’t tell you who he is or in what context I heard it. But I agree with him that this is a line in the sand for Russia, and what’s more, if it subsides this time it will bubble up again somewhere else, because if NATO on Russia’s border is a no-no for Russia, it is a must-have for the United States, and they will continue to push and pressure and inveigle. But the economic sanctions thing might well come down to the electorate, and if it does it is clear who will lose. One country has substantial reserves and will spend them all before it goes under, while the other has a massive debt in a shaky economy. One country has a popular leader and a weak to non-existent opposition. The other has a leader who has probably never been less popular and a powerful oppposition that is laying for him and hates his guts.

    • Jen says:

      Mearsheimer is an excellent writer and political analyst best known for his work with Stephen Walt on the pro-Israeli lobby and its influence on US politics and foreign policy. He is probably even better than Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman (who wrote “Manufacturing Consent”) on the role of misinformation in influencing public opinion and policy:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mearsheimer

  104. Al says:

    MoA comment about STRATFOR report: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/03/counterpunch-quotes-moa-open-thread.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01a51186cd15970c

    “…Financial markets were on high alert last night over the Ukraine crisis amid speculation that the Kremlin had pulled its vast US treasury bill holdings out of New York.

    News that more than $100bn had been shifted out of the US in the past week – at least three times more than at any time since the financial crisis – prompted fears that Russia is preparing for a western backlash in the form of sanctions and is moving its funds to safe havens beyond US influence..”

    • patient observer says:

      If true, a dagger thrust at the heart of the vampire?

      • yalensis says:

        On the other hand, didn’t Obama just spirit 40 tons of Ukrainian gold out of Ukraine and into Fort Knox?

        • patient observer says:

          About $1.6 billion. Add in 144 tons looted from Libya at about $6 billion brings the total swag to $7.6 billion. The gold will certainly not be used to pay off the national debt so I wonder who gets the spoils?

          • kirill says:

            But when the fiat money implodes that gold will be the only thing that has value. So its current monetary value is misleading. But you are right, they will not pay off any of the current debts with this gold.

            • patient observer says:

              The gold could be used to finance all sorts of nefariousness; contrived revolutions, hits of all sorts, all off-book of course.

              • marknesop says:

                Or regime-change videos. Like this one, which – as the current parlance goes – “went viral”. Thanks to Oriental Review, we know that video was produced by – surprise!!! – the PR team of Larry Diamond, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a regime-change specialist.

                • patient observer says:

                  She should have shed a few tears and then a camera pan to her young handicapped child full of fear but hope for the happiness awaiting her in the EU. The comments were much more interesting – the vast majority calling it stupid propaganda.

                  Has anyone (or everyone) seen “Wag the Dog”?

                • marknesop says:

                  The piece also mentions the Anderson-Cooper hyped video of “Syrian Danny”, which was used to woo support for bombing Syria with a fake Syrian dissident using prop explosions and manufactured panic. The earliest incident I can recall of a deliberately-faked video being used to turn the tide of public support in favour of war was the now-legendary tearful Kuwaiti “nurse” who wept on camera about Iraqi soldiers raiding the hospital, tearing the babies out of their incubators and leaving them on the cold floor to die. She turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S., not a nurse at all and coached through her performance by the American PR firm Hill & Knowlton.

                  It’s all spin, now. You can’t be sure that what you read, what you hear or what you see is reality any more because special interests have so much invested in “shaping the narrative” with propaganda and deliberate fabrication designed to push you to adopting a desired viewpoint and opinion. Nobody deals in facts any more, because the public “can’t handle the truth”.

                • Ilya says:

                  Whenever I hear that mephitic phrase “gone viral”, I am reminded of that maxim of Schopenhauer’s which states, indeed, he who writes for fools always finds a large public.

                • marknesop says:

                  Ha, ha!! That’s exactly right – there are certain overused phrases, and that one, along with “boots on the ground”, just turns my teeth sideways. Brian Whitmore’s column for RFE/RL used to be a serial offender; everything Navalny ever said “went viral”, according to him. He might still be doing it, but it’s been months since I read it so I wouldn’t know.

                • Al says:

                  Ilya says:
                  March 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm

                  Whenever I hear that mephitic phrase “gone viral”,

                  It makes me worry if there is enough penicillin in government reserves. I won’t mention iodine pills…

              • Jen says:

                Some of that bullion could even be “used” to help Ukraine recover some of the $70 billion squandered in the past 3 years. With Tatyana Chornovol in charge of that recovery effort, together with the FBI and US Treasury officials, we’re going to see some very creative accounting cookery.

                http://www.voanews.com/content/washington-react-fbi-helps-ukraine-recover-billions-stolen-by-former-regime/1868097.html

                Also Germany and the Netherlands want some of their gold back and soon too.

                http://www.moneymorning.com.au/20130130/why-germany-wants-its-gold-back.html

                • Fern says:

                  I can’t help feeling that flooding Kiev with financial G-men is as much about fixing the narrative as it is about trying to recover money that belongs in the state coffers from private bank accounts. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read that “the previous government left the Treasury bare”. No doubt Yanukovich ran a corrupt government but what about the previous Orange one? No fingers in the tills there which have contributed to Ukraine’s present position?

                  Bearing in mind the US’s total failure to account for supposed reconstruction monies in post-invasion Iraq (even keeping a reasonably accurate Excel spreadsheet of monies in and out seemed to be beyond them) and given that the Pentagon never seems to be ‘audit ready’ and you have to wonder what lessons of good financial governance the US is in a position to teach.

                • marknesop says:

                  A great guest post coming up from hoct, probably to be published tomorrow, and it will deal in some detail with the subject of the mostly-unlamented Viktor Yanukovych. I think you’ll like it, I’m quite excited about it.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Not to quibble or anything, but it would actually be up to 50,000 boots. Assuming, you know, each man had two.

                  Surely there must be at least one peg-legged sea-dog aboard the piratical Russian Black Sea fleet?

                • marknesop says:

                  I daresay there is; that’s why I say “up to” 50,000. It is a measure of the high regard in which your precision is held that everyone wants to assail it; you will notice the pup Yalensis took a run at it as well, although he was napping and consequently late to the fray.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                “…there are certain overused phrases, and that one, along with “boots on the ground”, just turns my teeth sideways…

                Dear Mark, prepare to set your teeth sideways …

                Western-backed PM pushes with ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’ fear-mongering, MSM looks away

                Having Russian boots on the ground and Russian tanks is unacceptable in the 21st century. And who knows the limits, tell me?” – Yatsenyuk.

                One out and out lying bastard!

                He knew full well when he said those words that up 25,000 Russian boots on Crimean ground were fully acceptable – and profitable – to the Ukraine government. Furthermore, I have not seen one bit of evidence of there being one Russian tank in the Crimea – armoured cars and troop transporters, yes – but no tanks. Perhaps Yatsenyuk doesn’t know the difference?

                The 21st century term is, of course, straight of John Kerry’s phrase book.

                Bear in mind, Kerry had nothing against putting boots on the ground in other countries during the last century, when he had his own plates of meat in a pair of boots on Vietnamese ground, where “his brief tenure in Vietnam and Cambodia was notable both for acts of casual savagery and his striking lack of contrition for his own participation in atrocities that in a rational society might easily be classified as war crimes“.

                See: The Blood-Soaked Resumé of a Peace Broker: What John Kerry Really Did in Vietnam

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Here’s Gung-Ho John in his gunboat days.

                • marknesop says:

                  I’m sorry to say I would probably dislike Yatsenyuk even if we were on the same side, just based on his appearance – he looks like a weasel peeking out of a drainpipe. But he must have been quite the pillar of drama class. He’s certainly making the most of his usurped and hopefully short role in Ukraine’s history. It’s no wonder they have to resort to a PR blitz to sell this stinking government.

                  Not to quibble or anything, but it would actually be up to 50,000 boots. Assuming, you know, each man had two.

                • yalensis says:

                  “He knew full well when he said those words that up 25,000 Russian boots on Crimean ground were fully acceptable…”

                  Correction: If 25,000 soldiers were acceptable, then that would come to 50,000 boots.

                • yalensis says:

                  Arggg! you beat me to it.
                  (noticing Exile’s faulty math..)

                • yalensis says:

                  And yes, there might be some peg-legs in the Sevastaopol fleet. But then they wouldn’t be boots (or pegs) “on the ground” either, they would be boots/pegs on the DECK.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  And yes, there might be some peg-legs in the Sevastaopol fleet. But then they wouldn’t be boots (or pegs) “on the ground” either, they would be boots/pegs on the DECK.

                  And what about when they a-carousing in Sevastopol? Or do they bring out the working girls to them in bumboats, as they did in Nelson’s navy so as to prevent the scurvy dogs from deserting?

                • Jen says:

                  Maybe there’s a three-legged man in that Sevastopol fleet: he could be a distant relative of Jake the Peg.

                • patient observer says:

                  “he looks like a weasel peeking out of a drainpipe” – inspired! Its right on so many levels.

        • marknesop says:

          Ooooooo….I had forgotten about that. Yeah, that was the rumour.

  105. yalensis says:

    Some patriotic music:

  106. kirill says:

    http://hinter-der-fichte.blogspot.fr/2014/03/ukraine-die-kernluge-von-der-legitimen.html

    The above has screen-grabs showing what the kangaroo Rada looks like today. The regime has seized voter ID cards from the forcefully removed legislators and you can see regime monkeys voting as if the original legislators were still there.

    Do we have any information about the condition of these legislators? Perhaps most of them have been murdered. The western media pretends everything in normal in Kiev.

    • marknesop says:

      Explosive. And they certainly can’t say, oh, that’s just technicians checking the system to be sure it is functioning correctly, because they are hardly so short of technicians that they must use the “Prime Minister” in that capacity.

    • cartman says:

      Even Yats is voting multiple times, so he’s using stolen ID cards.

  107. marknesop says:

    Ha, ha!! From the nice folks at RT, a legal opinion that American financial aid to Ukraine’s puppet government actually violates its own laws. Uh huh; a provision of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act forbids the transfer of financial aid to “the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.”

    The U.S. will probably argue that it was not a military coup, it was a grassroots civilian uprising, but if they do they will be relying on the letter of the law rather than the spirit, and it is plain the regulation is designed to prevent the transfer of funds to governments who have violently seized power. Embarrassing.

    • Ilya says:

      As someone born and raised in Canada, I can state with confidence that Canada’s principles don’t extend far beyond its wallet. Comfort breeds presumption. These “protesters” tweeted about the fracas on their smartphones, sipping beer, while watching the NHL’s afternoon schedule.

  108. marknesop says:

    Here’s an interesting item which suggests Cargill and Monsanto were heavily invested in the new Ukraine, and want it as an Agribusiness base for shipping food to Europe. Monsanto allegedly pledged not to use GM seeds, but their word is not to be trusted when there are dollars lying around to be picked up.

    There are a couple of things about that; one, it might not be such a bad thing. Not everything the USA does is evil, and not even everything corporate America does is evil, although it is of course motivated by profit. That’s just a condition of business, and you won’t find too many who say they sell shoes out of love, or they run a bank but don’t expect to ever make any money out of it. It might be a good source of jobs for Ukrainians; I’m not sure what Agribusiness pays, but I bet it’s better than being unemployed.

    However. I’m not sure Agribusiness targeted toward Europe would take off – aren’t most of Europe’s food-growing markets heavily subsidized to protect local growers and farmers, and keep out the poor folk who could do it cheaper? Also, if Cargill’s and Monsanto’s ambitions were not a secret – and manifestly they are not, you just needed to know where to look – you would think China would have been a little more supportive of Russia in the UN vote. China has similar ambitions for Ukraine, only they want to grow food for themselves in Ukraine’s rich black earth, and they have big plans for Ukrainian land as well.

  109. Southerncross says:


    Yarosh threatens to go full retard
    .

    Kiev reacts by sending the fox to guard the henhouse.

    “00:19 GMT:

    In response to Dmitry Yarosh threat to sabotage the infrastructure that transits Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine, the newly formed Ukrainian National Guard and security forces have reportedly secured control over the infrastructure.”

    • marknesop says:

      What’s with the Jihadi Twins who accompany him everywhere; is their job just to blow menacing steam for atmosphere?

    • Jen says:

      Sooner rather than later the Ukrainian National Guard and others will be sabotaging Yarosh if only because they’ll be exasperated with one side of his face contradicting the other side. One thing we can count on is these putschers will turn on themselves and eat their own.

      • yalensis says:

        Ukrainian army facing the same thing, having these retarded neo-nazis foisted on them as “Commissars”. For example, those incidents in East Ukraine where local pro-Russian villagers stopped armoured convoys from moving toward the Russian border…
        In those cases, the local folks did not have much difficulty convincing the career military officers to turn their convoy back. (Their hearts were not into invading Russia, anyhow.)

        However, the Pravy Sektor Commissars were there, jumping up and down and “ordering” the career officers to continue with their mission to invade Russia.
        Apparently, in these particular incidents, these neo-nazi “commissars” were not heeded, but in the future things could get ugly.

        For example, If I were a seasoned, grizzled military officer in Ukrainian army, maybe I even came up in the ranks in Soviet army, now I’m a Colonel, and I have this 25-year-old neo-nazi punk dressed like a skateboarder, hanging on my back like a monkey and telling me what to do, and belaying my orders… Well, I imagine I would be sorely tempted to turn around and just calmly put a bullet through his skull… just to shut him up…

        • Moscow Exile says:

          That thought had crossed my mind as well. There’s sure to be a showdown between these Pravy Sektor shits and the military. In fact, I can well imagine the military turfing the “government” out and establishing a junta until an election is held.

        • Southerncross says:


          An incident where local people in Lugansk prevented a Ukrainian military train being unloaded
          .

          Most of the troops sought to avoid any violence, but seven “young people” in uniform screamed blue murder and bloody treason and demanded the people by cleared away by force. Pravy enforcers perhaps? What the devil were they doing with silencers on their guns?

          This bodes ill. Thank God for Putin’s stand, because without him it would be Operation Storm all over again.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, I noticed their weapons: rocket launcher/bazooka contraption and automatics and one weapon with a silencer – but no insignia.

            They looked on.

            Who were they?

            Compare how the Western media reacts to uniformed men in the Crimea without insignia.

            • Southerncross says:

              Prostitutes with press cards, every one of them. If you derived your knowledge of Ukrainian events from the New Zealand media, you would have no idea why the people of Crimea want no part of the new Ukraine. The TV news and the papers comment on matters as though there were no such person as Dimitro Yarosh or Igor Mosiychuk.

              A noted television personality here just spent around 10 minutes talking about a Vladimir Putin novelty anal plug he ordered off the internet. Spengler’s decline of the west on display.

          • marknesop says:

            I noticed this item on the same site. What about that famous open letter signed by all the Rabbis of Kiev, saying they were not suffering any persecution, that it was all tosh and they and Pravy Sektor were just as cozy and fraternal together as it was possible to imagine? What about the denunciation of those who complained as being in bed with the Kremlin?

            I bet I know. Those beating up Jews and spraying swastikas and threatening slogans on synagogues are Titushki, waging a campaign of disinformation to