No, Putin didn’t plot to invade Ukraine. But now he might have to

The story of a runaway invasion

10 May 2014

9:00 AM

10 May 2014

9:00 AM

So what, exactly, does Vladimir Putin want? ‘To start World War Three,’ according to the embattled Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk. ‘To rule as president for life with powers on par with the tsars,’ according to Alexei Navalny, leader of Russia’s tiny opposition. To ‘force a major change of boundaries on Europe… and break the post-Cold War consensus,’ according to Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister.

Actually, Putin himself has always been rather clear about his ambitions. ‘Russia has been a great power for centuries, and remains so,’ Putin told the State Duma in his first speech as prime minister, back in August 1999. ‘It has always had and still has legitimate zones of interest abroad in both the former Soviet lands and elsewhere. We should not drop our guard in this respect, neither should we allow our opinion to be ignored.’

Fifteen years in power have done nothing to salve his sense of historical grievance against the West. ‘They are constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position,’ Putin told an audience of Russian notables in the Kremlin palace immediately after the annexation of Crimea in March. ‘If you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard. You must always remember this.’

Young Kyrgyz women carry a huge St. George’s Ribbon, a military valor symbol of both Imperial Russia and Soviet Union, during a ceremony marking Victory Day in Bishkek Photo: AFP/Getty

So here we are, barely ten weeks after the end of the Sochi Olympics, with Ukraine on the brink of civil war, 40,000 Russian troops stationed along the border and an unknown number of Russian special forces fighting hard against Kiev’s forces inside eastern Ukraine. But was this what Putin really had in mind as he presided over the world’s most expensive Olympics, designed to signal Russia’s return as a first-rank world power? Was it always Putin’s grand plan to claw back the Soviet empire, town by town, street corner by street corner?

I doubt it. Putin has always been very candid about the principles — some would say the personal psychodrama — behind his actions. But his Ukrainian adventure has, from the beginning, been driven by events beyond the Kremlin’s control and proceeded according to the law of unintended consequences, rather than according to any coherent Kremlin strategy.

Armed pro-Russian militiants guard a barricade outside the regional state building in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine Photo: AFP/Getty

Putin’s goal, first and foremost, is to discredit the new regime in Kiev and make Ukraine ungovernable. The Maidan uprising against the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was, in large part, a revolt against crony capitalism and kleptocracy. Putin can’t bear an anti-corruption grassroots people-power revolution to be a success story. Moreover, it is important for Putin at home to emphasise that lack of a strong leader leads to chaos and anarchy, not stability and prosperity.

The major strategic problem for Putin is that, while he has gained Crimea, he has lost Ukraine. Without Crimea’s sizeable Russian population, the overall Russian minority in Ukraine falls to less than 30 per cent, meaning that there will never again be a pro-Moscow government in Kiev. Russia’s fomenting unrest in the east, and its demands for federalisation, are an attempt to partially reverse that setback. Moscow is also pressing for a delay in the Ukrainian presidential elections scheduled for this month, which are certain to bring a strongly pro-EU government to power in Kiev. With no real pro-Moscow candidate in the race, the best that Russia can do in the circumstances is disrupt or de-legitimise the result by encouraging chaos in the East.

It was a Russian, in fact, who wrote the playbook on the kind of covert warfare which the Kremlin is currently waging in Odessa, Slovyansk, Kramotorsk and Donetsk. Evgeny Messner fought for the Tsarist army and later for pro-Nazi Russians: his 1960 book Insurgency, or the Name of the Third World War predicted that the future wars would be waged by small terrorist cells and special forces, gaining influence by subversion and organised revolutions rather than through traditional warfare.

It’s clear enough that Russian troops are on the ground in Ukraine — Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu came close to admitting as much last week when he said, ‘It is difficult to look for a black cat in a dark room, especially when there is no cat. All the more so if the cat is smart, brave and polite.’ But what’s less clear is whether Moscow is really in control of the situation on the ground. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted last week that ‘from now on Russia… has essentially lost influence over these people because it will be impossible to convince them to lay down arms’ when there’s a direct threat to their lives.

Ukrainian policemen guard a state city building in Mariupol Photo: AFP/Getty

He might be more right than we think. The problem is that events may be snowballing towards a military intervention that Russia doesn’t necessarily want. Peskov says that  Moscow was receiving ‘thousands of calls’ from eastern Ukraine with requests for help and that Putin was ‘extremely concerned’ by the new developments. ‘An overwhelming majority literally demands active help from Russia,’ he said. Many western Ukrainians see invasion as Russia’s goal all along. But many observers, from Nato to Moscow, believe that the Kremlin would much prefer to stay on the sidelines rather than try to occupy swaths of Ukraine — note that even in Donetsk, the most ‘Russian’ area of Ukraine after Crimea, only 37 per cent of the population is actually Russian, according to a 2000 census. A military occupation would be messy, bloody and economically devastating. According to Nato’s supreme commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, Putin will confine himself to ‘discrediting the government, creating unrest, setting the stage for a separatist movement’.

Yet the Kremlin’s war of words against Kiev actually threatens to force Putin into a catastrophic escalation. Russia’s state television stations have lately come to resemble the History Channel, obsessed as they are with Russian heroism in the second world war, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. The government in Kiev is routinely referred to as a ‘fascist junta’ and ‘Banderovtsy’, after the followers of Ukrainian partisan Stepan Bandera, who led an anti-Soviet, Nazi-backed army in the last stages of the war. The obnoxious antics of the neo-fascist Right Sector — which in the last Ukrainian municipal elections garnered 11 per cent of the vote — are portrayed as the position of the Ukrainian state.

According to this narrative, Putin’s actions in Ukraine are nothing less than a crusade to save fellow Russians from fascism. And to Russians old and young, those are fighting words. It is hard to overstate the importance of the Soviet Union’s historic victory over fascism. Along with Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 space flight, these two great national achievements are touchstones of Russian identity — and thanks to years of relentless Putin-inspired propaganda, that goes for all generations. A couple of years ago Russian motorists began adorning their cars with the orange and black bands of the Cross of St George, a Tsarist medal for valour adopted by the Soviets. Now the ribbons are ubiquitous as the official arrangements for the commemoration of Victory Day on 9 May go into high gear. For the first time since the end of the Soviet Union, a demonstration of up to 100,000 flag-waving people — actually referred to as ‘workers’ by the organisers — has been arranged in Red Square. Needless to say, record numbers of military hardware will be on show, as well as veterans of the recent Crimean campaign wearing medals newly minted to commemorate that great victory, known as the Third Defence of Sevastopol (the first two being in 1854 and 1941). It’s safe to say that there will be no mention of the fact that during the Crimean operation Putin vehemently denied to his own people that any Russian troops were there at all.

Which brings us back to the law of unintended consequences. When Viktor Yanukovich fled Kiev in late February after the collapse of his bloody attempt to tame the Maidan activists by force, there was no Russian plan to invade Crimea. But according to members of the Kremlin press pool (many of whom, by the way, are about to receive medals from the Russian government for their ‘objective reporting’ of Crimean events), by mid-March Putin had already decided, along with his small six-person inner politburo, that it was on the cards. At a press conference on 14 March he said that ‘we will never instigate [annexation]. We will never support such trends. Only people who live in a certain territory have the right to decide their own future.’ Western diplomats focused on the ‘never instigate’ part. But Putin was actually emphasising ‘decide their own future’. By 21 March, Crimea was officially signed up as a member of the Russian Federation.

Putin wants respect in the world and influence in his backyard. To preserve a semblance of control after losing the Maidan protests, the Kremlin has sought to delegitimise Ukraine’s forthcoming elections and carve out a degree of regional autonomy for eastern Ukraine. At least that’s the plan. In practice, tweeted the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, ‘Ukraine is reminding me more & more of early days of Yugoslav breakup.’ Putin has taken on the mantle of the slayer of fascism — a new Generalissimo Stalin. But Stalin’s most famous wartime slogan was ‘not one step backwards’. Putin may know in his rational mind that invading Ukraine would be, long-term, an economic and military disaster. But events, and his own fantastic rhetoric, are carrying him quickly towards the brink.

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  • Marius13

    The Spectator. This is a UK publication. Been so, you can not give lessons or lecture to other countries. You, the UK, invaded numerous countries around the Globe. You colonized peoples and exploited then to the bone. You traded human being as slaves. You set the first Gulags in Africa and elsewhere. You did evil. So now, just shut-up please!

    • Bonkim

      Surely all that experience makes the UK eminently qualified to comment on what is going on in Ukraine. You forgot to mention – Britain is simply playing proxy for the US – Haigh will make no difference when it comes to the crunch. Putin is a sharp chess player – wait and see how this turns out.

      • Marius13

        I know. It is not just Britain been puppet do USA but all the EU leadership. They–the USA and EU–are the real killers in Ukraine, not Russia.

        • OliviaJ

          You should really do your research before making such claims. I am Ukrainian and know what is actually going on. Majority of Ukrainians are begging for Western aid and the fact is that the West is extremely reluctant to engage in this conflict but is doing what it can to help (sanctions etc). Putin is pure evil and responsible for the deaths occurring. That is plain FACT and anybody who claims otherwise doesn’t know what is actually going on and has fallen victim to Putin’s propaganda machine.

          • Marius13

            We know the tune very well. Putin is evil; the New Hitler, Chavez was Hitler too, Qaddafi Hitler also …Ahmadinejad a big Hitler and so on.. Whatever refuses to kiss the West ass is a New Hitler! And about the money, even Victoria Nuland admit the spend of more than 5 billions to help to install the fascist junta in Kiev. So, please.

          • Cyril Sneer

            You speak on behalf of a whole nation? One that is divided East by West, one that will most likely be broken up, such is the division. You speak on behalf of one half, not even that in fact. Most Ukrainians want autonomy, they don’t want to be stooges of the US/EU or Russia.

        • mikewaller

          Rubbish. Putin should creep back into the mid-20th century where he belongs. What drives apologists like you is very difficult to fathom. “My country right or wrong”, perhaps?

          • Cyril Sneer

            “What drives apologists like you is very difficult to fathom.”

            Perhaps its because we have access to media that reveals a whole different story from what the west is telling us. It doesn’t take much, all it requires is an internet connection and an open mind.

            Please do continue to ignore the US history of regime change – the list is long. No other country can match their record.

      • mikewaller

        Putin is a self-serving fool who is so desperate to play the big man that he has put Russian/Western relations back into the icebox. He has also given us a very timely reminder that, like Hitler, his word is simply not to be relied upon. And don’t think that the sanctions are chicken-feed. They are hurting.

        • Cyril Sneer

          The comparisons to Hitler are puerile to say the least.

          “he has put Russian/Western relations back into the icebox”

          No, we can thank Obama for re-igniting the cold war. I noticed that the propaganda dial got turned up several notches round about the time of the Sochi Olympics and the Pussy Riot stories. It seemed to get the left on side – they’re easily duped. It doesn’t seem to matter that the new Ukrainian unelected government consists of homophobes and jew haters, lefties have to pick a side, as in their world there is only black & white, the reality of course far more complicated than that but also as in the case of the yanks, they need to be told who to root for and who are the bad guys. You seem to share that same mindset.

          • mikewaller

            What world do you live in? Hitler gave Chamberlain the assurance that once he had the Sudetenland his territorial ambitions would be at an end. They weren’t. Putin told us he not intention of incorporating the Crimea, he did. Then he publicly recommended that the recent referendum should not go ahead, but surprise, surprise, for all his very real influence, it did. And regarding general parallels between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, the former won hands down in terms of the number of its own citizens starved or slaughtered. The only real difference is that (very much thanks to the Red Army) Hitler lost the war and thus control over his international image. And with Putin, even if the worst possible construction is put on actions taken by the Western Ukrainians to prevent a breakaway, they are as nothing to the horrendous sufferings wrought by Putin on the wretched Chechens who had the same separatist agenda.

            As for the idea that Western governments have a “leftist” agenda – absolute nonsense. It is just that they have populations with some intellectual sophistication who (a) do not swallow wholesale the hard line antics of the latest egomaniac on a figurative big white horse; and (b) are not afraid to express their opinions. They therefore view with disgust the imprisonment within TB infested jails of members of a pop group for a bit of harmless exhibitionism and the picking on homosexuals simply for being homosexuals. We are not manipulated to think along these lines, it is just that we have grown up, something it seems that you have yet to do.

    • Gregory Mason

      ‘You traded human being as slaves.’

      As did every country on Earth throughout history until Britain put a stop to it at great cost to herself.

      ‘You set the first Gulags in Africa and elsewhere.’

      They weren’t gulags, they were internment camps.

    • mikewaller

      What a consummate display of ignorance! What you are referring to were the concentration camps set up during the course of the second Boer War in South Africa. These were designed to concentrate much of the Boer population in large prison camps so that they could not provide succor to their men in the field. These were very badly managed and as a result tens of thousands of men women and children died. However that was not the intention. Indeed the idea did not originate with the British, the US having used a similar technique in subduing Cuba late in the 19th Century. The irony is that when looking for a suitable euphemism for the death camps they were then setting up, the Nazis settled on “concentration camps” as a neat way of covering up what was actually going on. Sadly such is the now general state of ignorance that folks like you assume that concentration camp was the proper-name and, by extension, that the British were committing genocide in South Africa. Pleased to have put you straight!

      • Marius13

        To call these facts ”…large prison camps…” or ”concentration camps” ” or ” gulags” or ” reeducation camps” …I see little difference. The fact is that you restrict people’s movements mostly for political reasons. What I would like to say is very simple: You can not give lessons to other people and other countries when your own nest is very dirty. You–the UK–went to kill Argentinians one million miles away from your Homeland. Please!

        • mikewaller

          You really cannot be as daft as you sound. There is a massive difference between, say, a military curfew imposed on a civilian population at one end of the spectrum and death camps set up as the key mechanism of genocide at the other. Obviously the Soviet Union’s gulags were much closer to the latter than the former

          As to the Falklands, the UK retook them for one simple reason: we strongly object to poseur leaders trying to mask their huge economic failures by going in for crude military adventurism. That was a cap that very clearly fitted the Argentinian Generals and, it seems to me, is now a pretty snug fit for Putin.

          • Marius13

            I understand that very well. With the same logic and rational, the UK leader, Tony the Great, tried to mask the huge economic failure of UK, Thatcher’s and Labor party’s, by going for crude military adventurism–and vast crude oil reserves–to kill, and torture ”some” Iraqis in Basra without any legal base.

          • mikewaller

            Don’t talk tosh. When Blair was in power the UK economy seemed to be doing brilliantly. What led us into the quagmire of Iraq was (a) the naive belief that, as with Germany and Japan, the elimination of a very nasty dictator would inevitably make things better; (b) the success Blair had enjoyed with previous interventions such as in stopping genocide in Kosovo; and (c) the enormous moral debt we owed the USA for having put their own country at serious risk of nuclear attack to secure Western Europe against the horrors of the Soviet Union’s expansionist agenda.

            Needless to say, Putin’s latest sad little antics are all part of the same atavistic ambitions. Indeed the thuggery, distortion of the democratic process and outright lies of which we see daily evidence in Eastern Ukraine reminds us very very clearly why it was worth taking the horrible risk of nuclear war to avoid being overrun by “the freedom loving peoples” of the USSR!

          • Marius13

            I still understand very well. The problems are that : a) The Germany’s dictator was eliminated by the Great Red Army and by ”the freedom loving peoples of the USSR”, b) there never occurred a genocide in Kosovo; ask the Hague International Tribunal. I see the use of the same Western propagandist narrative; its very well known! c) The USSR had to protect itself from an other Western aggression. The demonisation of Putin obey the same narrative used for Kosovo, because he is not afraid of the Western menaces; he has whatever needed to defend the Federation and beyond, and plus, because he refuses, with elegance, to kiss the West ass. And that is grotesque in the eyes of the West. The West can digest anything except insubordination; it is the highest sin. The Empire can’t not forgive that; Saddam Hussein, Milosevic, Gaddafi, Assad…know something.The Empire is not against dictators: Samosa, Mobutu, Suharto, Markos, the Greek colonels, the Brazilian and Argentinian Generals, Pinochet (Thatcher’s darling friend), Mubarak and now Sissi….
            Now for “the freedom loving peoples” of the USSR! , I’m sure that even in your city you have girls from Ukraine and the other Eastern Europe countries selling theirs bodies for the pleasure of the West..and others doing the dirty jobs….what I call the ”Great Western Freedom” , to be slave and/or immigrant. Amen!

          • mikewaller

            The USA and the UK liberated Western Europe and are still regarded as heroes by the local populations for having done so. In the East, those “liberated” by the Red Army largely hate Russia with a vengeance. Why? Because absorption into the Eastern Bloc mean a life of fear in which any action critical of the State could easily result in one’s entire life being ruined, if not death. Certainly capitalist economies – such as present day Russia – can and does produce its own victims. However the number of Westerners who would swap life in the West for life under either Stalin or Putin would be vanishingly small. And don’t fool yourself into believing that it’s all the result of propaganda. Russians seem to have a taste for cruel “strong” leaders; we don’t.

          • Marius13

            The USA and UK are the champions of the world’s evil for the last 50 so years. They did, and continuing doing, lot of harm to innocent people. And I can say that you have to pray for Stalin for the simple reason that his Great Red Army planted the Red Holy Flag on the top of the ruined Reichstag in Berlin. It’s not the USA or UK who did it , Stalin did it. Any dough ?

          • mikewaller

            There is no doubt that the Soviet Union played the preeminent role in the destruction of Nazi Germany. However had not the UK hung on in whilst the USSR/Nazi Germany alliance ran its sordid course, the outcome could have been very different. As to what happened in the post-war era, I beg to differ. I went to have my hair cut yesterday and, by chance, the guy that cut it was a Hungarian. So thinking of you and thinking of the savage way in which the 1956 uprising was put down, I asked him what he thought of Russians. “A very cruel people” was his terse reply. No doubt the Chechens would agree.

          • Marius13

            I may agree with that: Russians ca be cruel especial y with invaders who destroy and burn everything on theirs passages. No mercy for them.

          • mikewaller

            The very few German prisoners of war who ever got back to Germany confirms your claim (about 5% of those taken at Stalingrad as I seem to recall). Trouble is that many Russians have a predilection for “strong” leaders who show the same barbarous cruelty to anybody – at home or abroad – who gets in their way in either thought or deed. Its bad enough having to cope with a Middle East still locked into their equivalent of the European religious wars of the 16th and 17th; but it is deeply depressing also to have to cope with a major European power that is still working to the kind of realpolitik favoured by Frederick the Great of Prussia and Bismark. To us, it is best categorised as a state of arrested development.

          • Marius13

            Russia now, and the Soviet Union then, has to have strong and authoritarian leaders. It is not by choice but by necessity. The country is vast and the density of the population is weak. Imagine the construction of the Trans- Siberian Railway system without discipline and strong management; an almost impossible task. On the other side, Russians are very kind people and resilient , they can show great gererosity and hospitality but don’t try to fool them. That is presise what the West try to do for almost 200 years. Now the Russians know the game well and it is not easy to fool them now. For exemple they know that the West was somehow complicit with Hitler when he attacked the Soviet Union. They know that the Western divisions slowed down their advance in Western Germany thinking that maybe Hitler was still able to defeat the Red Army or at list to infick maximun cajolties on it . They still remember the Aglo-Frech war in Grimea and they still remember the Western ”help” for the conter-revolution of 1917 and behond. A normal people can not forget.

          • mikewaller

            Much of the above is nonsense. Britain even risked the vital security of the code breaking at Bletchley Park to forewarn Stalin about the forthcoming German attack on the Soviet Union. Sadly the silly old paranoid sod chose to read that as Western propaganda intended to break up his cosy relationship with Hitler.

            Regarding the progress of Western Armies post D-Day, they were actually held back to allow Stalin the honour of taking Berlin, the Red Army having paid the much higher blood price. As for helping the “White” combatants during the civil war, certainly part of the motivation was good old class war; part was the deep resentment as the way in which the Soviets had caved into Germany in 1917, leaving the Western Allies to carry the whole weight of the WW1 thereafter, and partly a growing appreciation of the utter savagery of the new Soviet regime.

            As for the Crimea, it was viewed in the West as the only way of containing the imperial ambitions of an Empire that was then expanding its boarders at a rate of about 60 miles per year, trampling over anybody who stood in its way.

          • Thomas Häupl

            Mr. Waller, since you love History, try reading some more: I suggest “The Victims of Yalta” by Nikolai Tolstoy–some English and Russian there, the best of both worlds and a great book. Do not forget who sold Eastern Europe to the Devil and who “repatriated” anti-Soviet soldiers (“fascists” in your parlance as well, I imagine, not just Moscow’s) after the war.

          • mikewaller

            I have read it. It is indeed both brilliant and shaming. The problem was who – facing a Red Army at the height of its military prowess, seemingly quite capable of carrying on straight through to Calais – would have done otherwise? Not least because of their vital contribution in the Battle of Britain, the treatment of Poland and Czechoslovakia was always a matter of shame to the British – but again what could we actually have done? We were technically bankrupt by 1940 and up to our necks in debt by 1945. Our people – both civilian and military – were sick to death of war by then and taking on the Red Army at that stage really was an ask too far. Indeed had we chosen to, the essential support from the US would not have been there as our American cousins had convinced themselves that Uncle Joe was not really a bad old stick and that British views to the contrary were shaped by a desire to preserve the Empire. As for asking Brits to risk all in giving refuge to those inhabitants of Eastern Europe who had actually fought with the Germans for whatever reasons, there was no chance. Indeed for a considerable time people simply did not want to know about the immediate deaths or unspeakable suffering that faced them once dear old Uncle Joe had them back in his clutches.

            It sounds trite, but had the Soviet regime not been so utterly appalling, none of this would ever have been at issue.

          • Cyril Sneer

            “distortion of the democratic process”

            What? Like a foreign backed undemocratic violent coup?

            “What led us into the quagmire of Iraq was…”

            What utter tosh! The US led us into Iraq and democracy and human rights was the last item on their list if it has ever been on their list.

      • Bonkim

        Indian Reservations in North America set the precedent for such things. Similar enclaves for defeated minorities was the norm – and continued well into the 20th century – the Japanese were put in camps in the US during WW2, the Aborigines in Australia, Chinese in India during the Sino-Indian War 1962, Viet Namese Refugees in Hong Kong, In recent years Muslim Ringya in Burma, etc.

    • TheUntalentedRiply

      When I last checked my history books, it wasn’t Britain who slaughtered millions of her own citizens pre and post WW2. Russia, in the guise of the USSR did. Nor did our troops systematically rape and gang-rape their way across Germany and other European countries (towards the end of WW2). Russia did. Come to think of it, our troops didn’t deliberately fail to advance further into Poland, choosing to wait until the Warsaw uprising had been crushed. Now remind me; whose troops did that? Oh and let’s not mention Russia’s invasion of Poland (with Stalin’s then pal Hitler) and we had best not mention the goings on of Katyn forest had we (what was is 20,000 murdered?).

      No one has the monopoly on virtue nor of evil. Now be a good little chap and go apologise for your Pal Putin somewhere else.

      • roger

        We can all pick our best bits from the huge complex history of the 20th century.
        For example, ‘Stalin’ wasn’t Russian but Georgian, Krushchev was Ukrainian etc.
        It is more important to remember that the USSR wanted to change the political systems in Britain and western Europe, Russia today doesn’t because its system is the same economic ‘elite’ ripoff as the rest of the G?(7 ? 8? 20?).

      • multilis

        Pot pot… US and UK backed alliance that he dominated even after he was deposed, and Soviet union fought against him. Few have killed more than him.

        Dresden Feb 1945 bombing… war basically won and bombers basically target civilian refugees while leaving oil tanks and army barracks alone.

        Lots of sides have their blood, US and UK basically back Egypt right now that sentences 500+ at a time to death in 2 sessions for actions much smaller than current leadership does. “Saved democracy”

        Referendum in egypt, was it fairer than crimera?

        Why are US troops in Saudi arabia, and saudi tanks crush pro democracy protesters in Bahrain?

        WHy are there US bases all around russia? What did US do when Soviet union tried to put nukes on border in Cuba *after* US put similar nukes on similar border in Turkey. The US basically came close to provoking/instigating World War 3 with potential of billions of dead, came down in one case to a single russian officer resisting opinion of other 2. (USSR sub got depth charged in international waters by US, technically illegally to make it surface. The crew thought world war 3 started, majority wanted to launch nuke torpedo, only one may stopped what was started by US actions)

        • multilis

          Both sides priorities are their military bases, allies, etc rather than freedom. Pretty obvious when you look at middle east, where US often fights on same side as the guys who did 9-11 attack… eg libya and syria, in syria the strongest opposition party as far as fighting goes is the al qaeda ally)

        • TheUntalentedRiply

          Stalin slaughtered, many, many more millions than Pol Pot.

          In response to Dresden; how many of the 110,000 German soldiers who surrendered at Stalingrad made it back to Germany alive?

          I do not dispute how the west has hyprocritically picked and chosen when democracy does and doesn’t work (Egypt, Palestine, etc) and I do not dispute the right of the people of the Crimea to self-determination. Nor do I attack Russia for her actions; the lunacy of the US and the EU triggered what I perceive as acts of self-defence by Russia.

          What I do attack is your right to attack those who voice an opinion that both you and I disagree with.

  • Roy

    Putin might well be smiling a lot lately. His agenda to strip Ukraine of its legitimate territorial holdings and slow but surely placing them within his Russian red line boundary must be running to plan. He knows full well, as did Hitler, the world of freedom loving people haven’t the stomach to tell him hands off. The farce that Putin is playing must be causing many laughs in the Kremlin get-togethers these days. The language of excuses issuing from Russian quarters is so reminiscent of Stalin’s day; it could be a re-run of a sentence of 25 years in the Gulag to some poor mortal in Solzhenitsyn’s day.

    • Gregory Mason

      Stopped reading upon the invoking of Godwin’s Law.

    • mikewaller

      I would not be too certain that it is all merriment in the Kremlin. I have a pal who produces a very desirable luxury product for which he has a substantial Russian customer base. He tells me that the latter are very, very unhappy about the impact sanctions have had on their purchasing power.

      More generally, I would be the first to accept that the USA does a very nice line in hypocrisy. Remember the tariff wall George W threw up to defend its bloated steel industry against foreign imports whilst avowing his total commitment to free trade. However Putin et al are in a different class altogether. Contrast their willingness to defend Russian speakers wherever, with the unspeakably savage treatment they meted out to the Chechens when they had the temerity to wish to get out from under. Similarly, the banging on about “The Great Patriotic War” ignores the fact that Stalin started off in alliance with Hitler, the largest number of war dead were Ukrainian not Russian, the massive scale of the initial losses partially reflecting the fact that Stalin had either slaughtered or imprisoned most of the officer cadre and, when the tide turned, Stalin’s enforcement of a total disregard for individual soldiers by having them advance directly across know minefields and, in some instances, by giving different formations battle plans that made “friendly fire” deaths inevitable.

      Indeed, all the rubbish about the Kiev regime being entirely comprised of neo-fascists is both a pathetically false excuse and a means of obfuscating the fact that the intense hatred of Russia amongst so many of its neighbours is grounded in the decades of starvation, murder, and other extreme cruelties they have experienced at the hands of the Soviet Union.

      • Roy

        It doesn’t work to bring the talking point round to Americas similarity in working for their own good. All countries do this in some shape or form. Putin is an evil doer, and it doesn’t need the present Ukrainian invasion to prove that point. He is an offshoot of the Bolshevik crazies that took the Russian Empire from one extreme of totalitarianism to another. Then requires to turn the whole apple-cart back to the beginning, after it’s unbelievable wresting of itself into a free country. The pity is, the gang of thugs running the show are the only ones that will benefit after the rampage to a reformation of the Soviet Union.

      • roger

        That is why ‘the great patriotic war’ dates from 1941, not the British ‘phony war’ of 1939. 1941 was also the year of the new anthem to replace ‘the internationale’. Once they went back to it, leaving out the ‘party of Lenin’ bit , they had an anthem as powerful as any.

        • mikewaller

          Get back to the history books. The phony war only applies to the 6 months or so before Germany’s onslaught on France. Whilst nobody doubts that the German Army bled to death in the East, the Battle of Britain was crucial in preserving a secure base in the West from which Germany was attacked in 1944. Without it, the USA would not even have had a toehold in Europe and the devastating UK/USA bombing campaigns would not have been possible. As with Napoleon’s failure to subdue these islands, Hitlers failure to do so led him to embark on his disastrous Eastern strategy.

      • Cyril Sneer

        “Indeed, all the rubbish about the Kiev regime being entirely comprised of neo-fascists”

        Deputy PM is from Svoboda, there are also appointments for Right Sector in Justice and Defence. Then we see Eastern Ukrainians reaction to said unelected government, and what do they call this new government – ‘fascist’. They’re in a better position to judge than you, and it only takes a fleeting second to understand why many do not want to live under such a government. In addition, the death toll amongst civilians since the installation of this new ‘government’, in many cases recorded on video, only serves to support the position of the Eastern Ukrainians. The evidence is there if you choose to look.

        • mikewaller

          In using the term fascist all they are actually doing is following the standard USSR line of labeling as fascist any state and anyone who stood in the way of the USSR doing whatever it wanted at do at the time. Had the boot been on the other foot, I have no doubt that Putin et al would have described what they did to crush the perfectly legitimate aspirations of the Chechens for independence as the fascistic crushing of a freedom loving people. Remember I am 70 and spent most of my life listening to this kind of self-serving crap emanating from the East.

  • rtj1211

    I would have thought it was fairly obvious that Russia is concerned about whether Ukraine will consider using its agricultural production output as a strategic weapon against Russia, which could mean Russia needing to find alternative suppliers of wheat under certain circumstances.

    Russia is concerned that Ukraine is being used by a Polish-US axis of hatred against Russia to emasculate Russia prior to confrontation with China, since that might push Russia into alliance with Beijing which is less preferable to Russia than an arms-length cooperative attitude with both Europe and the USA.

    Russia is concerned that the EU wishes to push its Empire right up to the Chinese border, creating a trans-Eurasian highway from Lisbon to the mouth of the Yangtse without going via Russia. They have a right to do that, but it would threaten traditional Russian spheres of influence and arenas for Russian trade.

    Russia is concerned that the ethnic Russians living in Ukraine will be subject to far-right racism from the already objectionable attitudes and actions displayed by the less law-abiding elements associated with Yatsenyuk’s unelected cabal (note I have not used the word Government, nor the word Leadership, as neither are appropriate given the lawless means through which AY became a mountebank).

    Russia is concerned that its Black Sea fleet’s capabilities will be adversely affected by the USA having funded the coup which brought AY to power. Everyone knows that the USA are global imperialists who view democracy as their most dangerous opponent in foreign policy. We the British are their slaves and are treated as such when they seek to rape our own economy for their own ends. Look at Kraft-Cadbury and the rape of the UK airforce to quote but two examples. AZ is next. We mean nothing to them as Poland will be their new ‘Special Relationship’ in Europe within 20 years.

    America’s Grand Design is emasculating Russia before confronting China.

    The question no-one asks is when a global anti-USA alliance emerges to confront the USA and permanently clip its wings.

    It is time for the whole world to start asking it……….

    • Bonkim

      It is the old Catholic/Orthodox divide.

    • Guest

      what is the way forward??

  • FF42

    Interesting article. It does seem that something has changed in the Russian government’s rhetoric and policy in the last few days.This may be a realisation that they are not in control of the “forces of disorder”. They may actually want to be constructive for a change. In which case the other participants in this tragedy should take them at their word.

  • saffrin

    This Ukrainian strive is an EU/USA conspired plot to frighten the people of Europe into coughing up for the cost of keeping US forces on the European continent.
    Nothing more, nothing less.
    The USA doesn’t want to weaken its military capabilities and can’t afford to pay for it themselves.

    • manonthebus

      Fascinating stuff!!?!

  • Bonkim

    And hope Putin succeeds.

  • Russian forces were forced to intervene in Crimea and eastern Ukraine due to the breakout in January across the nation of spontaneous, non-government approved demonstrations, that saw the toppling of hundreds of statues of Lenin, statues that were supposed to have been toppled 23-years ago if the “collapse” of the USSR were real. Russian military forces are there to provide security in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine, allowing the stretched thin Ukrainian security forces to handle the rest of the nation.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the media was very kind to publish the photo showing that the Ukrainian military still fly Soviet era Communist regimental banners with the hammer & sickle! If the “collapse” of the USSR were real, and not a strategic ruse, Soviet era regimental banners would have been disused in late 1991. See photo 1…


    Now take a look at photo 14 in the link above. The caption reads, “A flag of the Russian Navy hangs from a tree as policemen stand guard in front of the local parliament building on Feb. 28, 2014 in Simferopol.”

    In fact, that’s not a Russian naval flag, it’s the Soviet naval ensign…


    What’s that hated Soviet era flag doing there? It’s a warning to non-government-approved demonstrators to cease their activities, such as last week’s toppling of dozens of statues of Lenin–23-years after the “collapse” of the USSR.

    Did you notice when the hundreds of statues of Lenin came toppling down in the Ukraine, the media refused to cover the incidents and ask the demonstrators why they waited 23-years to bring down those hated images of Lenin?

    The demonstrations outside Kiev weren’t government-manufactured, as the Kiev demonstrations were, as proved when Kiev “protesters” inexplicably were pressed into service to guard government buildings. Because a good percentage of Kiev “demonstrators” were actually security forces, leaving a weakened security apparatus throughout the rest of the Ukraine, non-government-approved spontaneous demonstrations broke out all over the Ukraine, toppling those statues of Lenin.

    “Protesters” guarding government buildings in Kiev…


    Now you know why Russian troops are in the Ukraine–to suppress the non-government approved demonstrations in the Crimea and eastern portion of the nation, while the under-strength Ukrainian security forces concentrate on the rest of the nation.

    Purpose for the Ukraine-approved protests…

    The protests were manufactured by Moscow in union with the Ukrainian government to facilitate Kiev “giving in” to the protesters’ demand that the Ukraine join the European Union Association, the ultimate purpose for joining so that the Ukraine will be one of the first nations to leave the EU, after it formally joins the EU, resulting in its collapse. The Ukraine’s exit will have a more dramatic effect because the Ukraine put up such a fight to join the EU in the first place. Europe will then form a new union with Russia, from the ‘Atlantic to Vladivostok’, which will accomplish two goals for Communist Strategists, (1) the further isolation of the United States in the world; and (2) the end of NATO.

    Now read these two revealing quotes from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Soviet minister of foreign affairs Eduard Shevardnadze, and what they have in mind for you in the near future:

    “Editor’s Note: The phrases ‘From the Atlantic to the Urals’, ‘From the Atlantic to Vladivostok’ and ‘From Vancouver to Vladivostok’ are interchangeable in the strategists’ lexicon. In the course of his Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, delivered in Oslo in June 1992, Gorbachev said: ‘Our [sic] vision of the European space from the Atlantic to the Urals is not that of a closed system. Since it includes the Soviet Union [sic], which reaches to the shores of the Pacific, it goes beyond nominal geographical boundaries’. Note that Gorbachev, who had been out of office for six months, referred to the Soviet Union, not Russia. In an interview on Moscow Television on 19 November 1991, Eduard Shevardnadze continued speaking as though he was still Soviet Foreign Minister: ‘I think that the idea of a Common European Home, the building of a united Europe, and I would like to underline today, of great Europe, the building of Great Europe, great, united Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, from the Atlantic to Vladivostok, including all our territory, most probably a European-Asian space, this project is inevitable. I am sure that we will come to building a united military space as well. To say more precisely: we will build a united Europe, whose security will be based on the principles of collective security. Precisely, collective security’. These statements by key implementers of the strategy reflect the central strategic objective of asserting ‘irreversible’ Russian/Soviet hegemony over Eurasia, thus establishing the primary geographical component of the intended World Government.” — ‘The Perestroika Deception’, by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn…


    Here’s more on the “Atlantic to Vladivostok” union…


    Take a look at the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…see if you notice something odd…


    “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era caption titled “Red Star”(!), one of the Soviet emblems including the image of Lenin, the man who removed the independent Russian nation from the map, supplanting it within the new nation called the USSR, a murderous one-party government that spread violence throughout the world in order to “liberate” the world, and bring into existence a one-world Soviet dictatorship! If the “collapse” of the USSR was real, then the “Red Star” caption, four Soviet emblems and Lenin’s image could not form the masthead of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s newspaper, due to their association with the Soviet Union and its ideals of world revolution. Imagine the official paper of the German Ministry of Defense is named “Das Third Reich”, where next to the caption are four Nazi emblems, one of the emblems sporting a profile of Adolph Hitler’s head!

    Then for Russian Naval vessels, take a look at the following photo from 2013, and note what’s still appended to the bows (enlarge picture)…


    See the Soviet era Red Star still attached to the port bow, near the anchor!

    Now, take a look at the Soviet nationality roundel on a Russian military aircraft in 2009:


    Take a look at what’s still on Aeroflot aircraft…


    Note the Communist emblem of the hammer & sickle stenciled on the Aeroflot aircraft’s fuselage! Imagine the Swastika still on Lufthansa commercial aircraft!

    The Soviet Air Force Base outside the town of Engels (Saratov Oblast District, Russia) named Engels Air Force Base (the only Soviet Air Force Base named in honor of Engels; none were named after Marx nor Lenin), is STILL called Engels Air Force Base, and the adjacent town is still called Engels. Both town and air base were named after Marx’s colleague Friedrich Engels…

    Engels Air Force Base:


    Also, notice the modified Soviet Red Star roundel, created in 2010, 19-years after the collapse of the USSR (people were talking about the inexplicable continued use of the Soviet roundel, so instead of creating a new roundel for the new Russian nation, which was supposed to have occurred in 1992, the Duma instead merely modified the Soviet roundel!). Here’s the Soviet roundel, for comparison…


    The only difference between the two roundels is the addition of the narrow blue trim bordering the red star. Imagine the German Luftwaffe using a modified Nazi Swastika on its aircraft!

    Engels city:


    In fact, Engels city still has Lenin Square…


    …and Saratov city (right across the Volga River from Engels city) still has its massive statue of Lenin…


    In fact, approximate 97% of Lenin’s statues that existed before the fake collapse of the USSR are to this day still standing….


    The only statues taken down were in those locations where foreign tourists would travel the most, and those statues were lovingly disassembled and placed in museums or parks, waiting there for their planned resurrections–after the defeat of the West…


    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    Notice that not one political party in the West demanded verification of the collapse of the USSR, and the media failed to alert your attention to this fact, including the “alternative” media. When determining whether the “former” USSR is complying with arms control treaties, what does the United States do to confirm compliance? Right, the United States sends into the “former” USSR investigative teams to VERIFY compliance, yet when it’s the fate of the West that’s at stake should the collapse of the USSR be a ruse, what does the United States do to confirm the collapse? Nothing!

    It gets worse–the West also never (1) de-Communized the Soviet Armed Forces of its Communist Party officer corps, which was 90% officered by Communist Party members;* and (2) arrested and detained the 6-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Union’s Ministry of the Interior control the populations of the larger cities during the period of “Perestroika” (1986-1991)!

    In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control. They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR. The same is true for all other religious institutions in the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations, proving not only co-option of those religious institutions, but that the “collapses” of the East Bloc and USSR were disinformation operations:


    For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991.

    The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland. This is why China is buying up gold all over the word. It is believed that China currently has 3,000 [metric] tonnes of gold. When China has 6,000 [metric] tonnes it will have the minimum gold reserves necessary for its currency, the yuan, to replace the United States’ dollar as the world’s reserve currency, that is after the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government (the United States gold reserves is approximately 8,133.5 [metric] tonnes).

    For more on the “Long-Range Policy”, read KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s books, “New Lies for Old” and “The Perestroika Deception” , the only Soviet era defector to still be under protective custody in the West:



    The following is an excellent brief three-page introduction to Golitsyn and his significance in understanding Communist long-range strategy:


    While we don’t know when exactly the Democratic Party was co-opted by Marxists, thanks to the peculiar historical nature surrounding the founding of the Republican Party, we do know when exactly the party of Lincoln was co-opted…

    Marxists/Socialists who after the failed 1848 revolution in Germany came to the United States. Upon arrival to the United States they infiltrated the embryonic Republican Party, many forming voluntary Germanic Union Armies and becoming General Officers themselves within the Union Army, such as…

    (1) Brigadier General Joseph WEYDEMEYER of the Union Army was a close friend of Karl MARX and Fredrick Engels in the London Communist League (Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. DANA —close friend of Marx, published with Joseph Weydemyer a number of Communist Journals and, also “The Communist Manifesto,” commissioned by Karl Marx. As a member of the Communist/Socialist Fourier Society in America, Dana was well acquainted with Marx and Marx’s colleague in Communism, Fredrick Engels. Dana, also, was a friend of all Marxists in the Republican Party, offering assistance to them almost upon their arrival on the American continent.);

    (2) Brigadier General Louis BLENKER, Union Army—radical socialist/Communist from Germany—was remarkably successful in encouraging German immigrants to join the Union Army and the Republican Party;

    (3) Major General August WILLICH—often called “The Reddest of the Red ‘48ers” was a member of the London Communist League with Karl MARX and Fredrick ENGLES. Before seeking refuge in the U.S. Willich was a personal acquaintance of Karl MARX;

    (4) Major Robert ROSA, of the Union Army, was a proud member of the New York Communist Club;

    (5) Brigadier General Carl SCHURZ –as a young socialist, was noted for helping Gottfried Kinkel of Bonn escape from Spandau while imprisoned there for his socialist activities in the ’48 Revolts. Schurz came to America in 1848. He was a forty-eighter who became very active in the development of the Republican Party and in politics. He was given a high position by Lincoln in the Union Army;

    (6) Brigadier General Alexander Von Schimmelfenning, like most of the other MARXISTS /Socialist/Communists who came to the U.S. after their failed uprising in 1848;

    (7) Major General Franz SIEGEL, thought to be one of Lincoln’s most controversial and the poorest of his generals;

    (8) Commander Friedrich Karl Franz HECKER, (exact military title not known) known as “Red” and “Flagrant Friedrich.” Educated in Germany, received his doctor of law degree in Munich. He was expelled from Prussia. Arriving in the U.S., he took part in the creation of the Republican Party, encouraged the proliferation of German newspapers carrying the Socialist propaganda, aided in the election of Lincoln, and propagandized heavily among German immigrants for volunteers for the Union Army. He was named Commander of a regiment he raised of Germans;

    (9) General John C. FREMONT was noted for his close association with all of the socialist/communists whom Lincoln placed in positions of command in his army. Fremont was the first Republican candidate for president. He was considered to be the “darling” of the most radical socialists. His chief of staff, early in the war, was Hungarian socialist revolutionary;

    (10) Brevet Major General Frederick Charles SALOMON, one of a group of four radical socialist brothers, with highly similar names– three of whom were in the group of Socialist 1848ers. Frederick began his career in the Union Army as a Captain in MO, wound up as a Colonel in the Ninth Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment, then a brigadier general and a brevet major general;

    11. Brevetted Brigadier General Charles E. Salomon, also started his American military career with a bunch of MO volunteers. Born in Prussia, he, also, was one of the radical socialists arriving in the U.S. after the 1848 Socialist uprising failure and was a brother to Frederick Charles;

    12. Governor Edward Salomon, a third Salomon brother, also born in Prussia, did not do military service, but ran for political office in Wisconsin, was elected lieutenant governor, becoming Governor of Wisconsin when the elected Governor “drowned”; and

    13. Colonel Fritz ANNEKE/ANNECKE was a Forty-eighter, with a strong leftward tilt. He was a Communist League member and a Baden Revolt veteran…the list goes on…

    Now you know how Bolshevik Russia survived in 1917; how the West “lost” China to the Communists in 1949; and how the Eisenhower administration in 1959 was indifferent to the Castro brothers’ Communist fidelity, actually used the CIA to overthrow the Batista government. Working in the background within the political parties of the United States and Great Britain were Marxist agents doing their best to (1) ensure the survival of Communist nations when they popped up; and (2) sabotage any policies that would bring down a Communist nation.

    *After the collapse of the Apartheid government in South Africa in 1994, many white officers were pensioned out and the top General Officer ranks were populated with persons from the several “liberation” movements. Contrast the differences between the new South African National Defense Force with the “new” Russian Armed Forces. Even though the survival of the West depended on the removal of the Communist Party-dominated officer corps of the Soviet Union Armed Forces, they are still there to this very day, as I already proved via the links from the Russian Armed Forces.

    • ClausewitzTheMunificent

      1 word: nutcase

  • Gregory Mason

    ‘It is hard to overstate the importance of the Soviet Union’s historic victory over fascism. Along with Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 space flight, these two great national achievements are touchstones of Russian identity — and thanks to years of relentless Putin-inspired propaganda, that goes for all generations.’

    Perhaps in the world of Mr. Matthew it is indeed propaganda to be proud of your heritage and nation. For those of us not “blessed” enough to live in an ivory tower there is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of your nations achievements and a pride in your history and heritage. You may despise nations but fortunately the rest of us don’t.

    ‘When Viktor Yanukovich fled Kiev in late February after the collapse of his bloody attempt to tame the Maidan activists by force, there was no Russian plan to invade Crimea.’

    Really? Where’s the evidence for that? In fact according to our own dear beloved leader Ashton there is evidence that it was the not the government that opened fire upon the protesters but another group, perhaps even, other protesters in order to create a bloodbath that would justify their own attempts to overthrow their democratically elected government.

    • Bonkim

      Lady Ashton is a disgrace.

      • Gregory Mason

        I don’t consider her worthy of her peerage so she’s not even that!

  • robert scott

    You cannot pretend that 46million Tigers and Lions, confined in an island, would get along to each other. Split Ukraine peacefully, in the way Czechoslovakia solved the problem, or violently, in the way Yugoslavia solved the problem.

    • Bonkim

      The mob in Kiev encouraged by the US and EU does not have the brains that the Czechs and Slovaks had.

    • OliviaJ

      Do you honestly think that EVERYONE in the east wants to be part of Russia? Its the MINORITY

      • mikewaller

        That is very much my impression. Most people seem to want more autonomy, not the fetid embrace of Mother Russia. Indeed the distortions and thuggery of those currently pushing for union with Russia puts me very much in mind of those pathetic creatures who welcomed Russian hegemony over what became the Eastern Bloc.

      • Cyril Sneer

        I think there is more of an argument for people in the east not wanting to live under an unelected government that has within its ranks self proclaimed russian and jew haters who go by the name of Svoboda or Right Sector.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Once a KGB thug always a KGB thug.

    • “Once a KGB thug always a KGB thug.”

      Putin is a figurehead for the Long-Range Policy (LRP), he doesn’t determine it. The LRP is determined by Communist Party strategists who (1) plan long-range strategies; and (2) plug the holes when something goes wrong with the LRP. #2 is what’s taking place in the Ukraine today.

      See my comment below for more…

    • Bonkim


    • Cyril Sneer

      He’s been out of the KGB longer than he had been in it.

  • rodger the dodger

    Putin’s folly in trying to recreate the Soviet Union will be laid bare eventually. The Big State is over, dying. It’s been dying since ’89, and next it’s the EU’s turn, which I give 10-12 years. The EU and Russia were/are playing the same, Big State death throes game in Ukraine for the same reasons. Both are economic basket cases that need to bring more taxpayers under their boot heel. They both need more energy; the EU to simply hold the joint up, and Russia because they can’t do anything else except sell natural resources.

    Money talks and bullsh*t walks. And $200bn of cash money has talked, fleeing Russia since this began. That is unsustainable.

    Russia is, quite simply, fuc*ed.

    • Bonkim

      The days of the small sovereign state is over, the UN is defunct – same as Empires gave way to nation states a hundred years back. It is the turn of large power blocks now – with China, India and some of the S American and African states asserting their place on the world stage.

      The problem with the USSR was it should have waited like China before breaking up – now Russia is struggling to find its place. Don’t despair – Russia has a huge land and resource base, relatively small population, and technology, and intellectual base to make all that work. The nuclear arsenal is maintained so anyone daring to take it out will be sorry.

      Give a little time and possibly post-Putin Russia will find its place. It is too big, powerful and dangerous to be ignored.

      • OliviaJ

        haha, yes, lets see how powerful Russia will be once these sanctions kick in and its economy is screwed. this WILL be fun to watch 🙂

        • Bonkim

          Will have to see who laughs last.

  • Bryan

    Putin is getting all the blame for this, but the real culprits hide behind a stone wall of no responsibility.
    Of course Putin was bound to react in some way to protect Russia against the expansionist EU, that cares little for regimes it doesn’t agree with or cannot influence.
    The Arab spring was seen as something of a coup for the West, and there are those that sit on committees and influence the way the EU promotes its own federal interests who attempt to inspire a Russian spring.
    Of course there is nobody to blame for the troubles caused by the EU, of all the presidents, not one can be stood up as being guilty of causing the bloodshed.
    None the less, if the Ukraine hadn’t been tempted by EU money, if the country had not been persuaded for economical reasons to turn its back on Russia, then none of this would have happened.
    Had Russia toppled a properly elected government then the West would have been screaming all the way to the UN, but the EU is just as responsible as the rioters who forced a legal Ukraine government out of office with their tacit support and promises of EU money.
    What is clear, is that the EU’s federal agenda is to keep on expanding both its influence and its power base – it is a self perpetuating machine that lacks the logic or common sense that might have persuaded any other empire to stop and look around. The EU is not only a danger to its own people, but also to world peace, for a lot of people simply do not agree with its vision, and will refuse to be sucked in the evil empires warped concept of the future some are calling the Startrek nightmare.

    • Bonkim

      I was going to say as much but you beat me to it. It was the EU and US Ambassadors that were seen distributing chocolates and encouraging the mob at Maidan Square.

    • OliviaJ

      I’m sorry… WHAT?! haha, this is laughable. What, exactly, was Putin protecting himself from? Nobody WANTS Russia in the EU, considering its a plain Dictatorship, so I don’t think expansionism poses a problem to Russia. Anybody who claims that he was “protecting” Ukraine by invading and murdering its people is plain brainwashed and I feel sorry for them.

      Also, its not THE Ukraine, its Ukraine.

      As for ‘turning its back on Russia’.. the people of Ukraine obviously are informed on the freedoms and basic human rights that a REAL democracy offers. Not the corruption and dark-age type laws coming from the evil Putin regime. Anybody who wants the chance at a real life would choose the EU. Unless you are clouded by Putin propaganda, of course.

      If the EU is such a danger to world peace, then why is it only Russia that seems to be on the outs??? Oh, oops, also Syria and North Korea… hmm I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here… One can simply look at the social standing of countries in the EU and compare them to the extreme poverty in Russia (that Putin just sweeps under the carpet). what is it, 18.2 million living under the national poverty line, in one country? WOw, no wonder Ukraine is running for the EU! Any smart country would.

      And let me mention quickly, it was the people of Ukraine who wanted a better life for themselves and therefore convened for peaceful rallies at the Maidan for an awe inspiring event that most countries wouldn’t be capable of (especially after witnessing the uncivilised ways in which the Russian military, which has been sent into East Ukraine to pose as rebels, has conducted itself).

      I mean really, does Putin think we’re stupid? It makes me laugh that he seems to be under the impression that the internet doesn’t exist. PUTIN! this isn’t like when Stalin took the USSR! Propaganda doesn’t work when we have internet, you fool! Unfortunately, those poor Russian citizens with their censored media are blinded by propaganda, but I feel sorry for them. It isn’t their faults, this is just what they’ve been raised believing under the regime of an evil dictator. I feel sad for them, that they will never know a life that isn’t controlled and they will never know basic human rights that we are afforded.

      • Bryan

        Yes – Of course Putin thinks we are stupid – especially with such responses.
        For secure access to sea ports Russia needs the Ukraine to be at least neutral….. With predictions of hard winters for Russia It is impossible for Russia to survice with access to the sea – but the EU knows this, and pushed the situation anyway.
        Russia was threatened with losing access also to grains as well as sea ports.
        While I’m not saying Putin is innocent – let’s stop all this dewey eyed nonsense about choosing a real life in the EU – that’s just propoganda.
        Nobody is saying that Russia joining the EU was the target here – the target was to destabalise another country, hoping that would spread to Russia so that the EU could force a regime change there as well.
        Surely you do not imagine the EU acted in all open honesty …No that would be too laughable.

        • OliviaJ

          The Ukrainian people chose overwhelmingly to join the EU; it’s not ideal either, but given the choice of the EU and an alliance with Russia, I can tell you that most Ukrainians would rather take their chances with the EU. This isn;t just about economics. You need to know something of the long history of oppression of Ukrainians by Russians; the suppression of Ukrainian language, culture and religion under Russian rule. The murder of millions of Ukrainians by Stalin in the forced famine in 1932-33. I suspect you know nothing of this history so you are certainly not qualified to make comments about whether Ukrainian should retain ties with Russia or not. They have very good reasons for wanting to move away from Russian influence. I find it insulting that someone like you can make comments on this issue when probably you know nothing of the history between Russia and Ukraine.

          • Bryan

            …and you are qualified?
            You over state the desire for the Ukrainian people to be “free” of Russia – they have shared so much, a common culture and history….and still there are plenty who want to remain with Russia.
            I can accept that the Ukraine would have liked to be independant of Russian pressure, but again, moving into the EU fold was a step too far for those who still saw Russia as a big brother….
            The enticement to split with Russia was clearly money. The EU made it clear, and applied pressure to make the split official, that there would be no grants, no helping hand, if they didn’t.
            The EU deliberately forced the situation, for thier own purposes.

  • roger

    Jugoslavia was always a difficult mix, all south slavs (except the small gypsy and jewish groups) but with religious cultural differences, catholic christians with the moslem sub-group versus the orthodox christians. Ukraine is a huge area with very large population and similar fault lines of catholic/orthodox cultures.
    A Ukrainian civil war would be terrible with massive inter-group murder and expulsions, we must do everything to stop it sliding to war. If there has to be a cultural split let it be into a federation of republics, though where is a Tito to hold the federal republics together?

  • Terence Hale

    “No, Putin didn’t plot to invade Ukraine. But now he might have to” Spectator you are smart people please explain me and others. A street demonstration group in Kiev declared itself as government of Ukraine replacing the elected government. In Crimea a referendum was held with media reports as documentation of a high turn out voting for independence from Ukraine. Who are democrats and who not?

  • York Aptain Sidney Field

    Citizens and Patriots: Always keep in mind that the light of liberty is each of us: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Lake Emerald


  • spritrig

    Both sides, West and Russia, are stupid cheap bastards. Russia and the West should have offered to buy the parts of Ukraine they want.