Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 26, 2014

Popcorn Please While "Putin's Agitators" Rule in Kiev

While anything seems possible, the operating assumption among some American and European officials is that Mr. Putin will not overtly invade eastern Ukraine but instead opt for a murky middle plan, using local agitators and perhaps undercover special forces to stir even more unrest in largely Russian-speaking areas of the country.
U.S. Challenge Now Is to Stop Further Putin Moves, NYT


Putin is watching TV. Calls up his Chief of Intelligence: “Give Tyagnibok a medal for banning the use of Russian in Ukraine. What do you mean he isn't one of ours? Ok, give Yarosh a medal for the idea of blowing up Ukrainian gas transit lines. What do you mean, that's his own doing? How about that cretin Lyashko? How about those cretins from Svoboda—Miroshnichenko and others? So, DO WE HAVE ANY AGENTS ON THE GROUND IN UKRAINE AT ALL?! Where the hell are they? What the hell do you mean they bought a dump-truck of pop-corn and a tanker truck beer and are watching it like a movie?!!!” Hangs up in disgust. Calls again: “How could you let Muzychko get killed?”
via Cluborlov

Indeed Putin can just sit back and enjoy the popcorn. The putschists government is doing its very best to disgrace itself, to in-fight with its ideological friends and to push Russian speaking Ukrainians closer to Russia. Just notice today's decision to suspend even more Russian language TV services in Ukraine. How is that supposed to convince Russian speakers in Ukraine that their voices will be heard?

The fighting between the paramilitary rightwingers from the Pravyi Sektor and the Svoboda fascists has only started:

The Ukrainian radical group Right Sector demands Interior Minister Arsen Avakov's immediate dismissal and the arrest of members of the Sokil (Falcon) special task force involved in killing nationalist leader Oleksandr Muzychko nicknamed Sashko Bily in the Rivne region early on Tuesday.

The response from the Svoboda party minister:

Ukraine's Interior Ministry has started a sweep of arrests against the nationalist Right Sector organization, after its activists threatened revenge for the police killing of one of their leaders, Oleksandr Muzychko, a news report said.

Popcorn indeed.

According to Google news search no U.S. media picked up on the published Tymoshenko phone call in which she talks to her political ally Shufrych about mass killing Russians. Yahoo news carried an AFP agency text and a Washington Post blog entry tried to obfuscate the content of the talk. Except that there is nada in U.S. media while German papers were all over it. Of interest is not only the rather vulgar talk but the fact that it was held in Russian. This while the fake blond gas princess and her friends always uses Ukrainian in public speech to promote her fake nationalism. The leaked call will thereby not only alienate Russian speaker from Tymoshenko also the Ukrainian speakers which she tries to embezzle.

Why should Russia try to create unrest in eastern and southern Ukraine when the putsch government in Kiev is doing its very best to create such itself? To the growing unrest one can add the likely economic collapse that will come rather sooner than later. Any "western" help will be conditioned on austerity and impoverishing the people as well as on political reform that the oligarchs and the current politicians will not allow to happen. Under such condition further unrest is a given while Ukraine falls apart and there is no need at all for Russia to intervene to achieve such.

Russia will do nothing nefarious, it will do just nothing. Russia will not help, neither economically nor politically, unless Kiev and the "west" are willing to pay its price: A federalized Ukraine with strong regions and a weak central government.

Posted by b on March 26, 2014 at 13:14 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The part of Yulia's chitchat which nobody seems to pay attention is this.

Shufrych: "I was talking to an acquaintance of ours today, he was almost in tears."

Who could be their mutual acquaintance who was almost in tears? Maybe Yats boy? Anybody has other guess?

And after that, she said "I am ready to grab a machinegun and shoot that motherfucker in the head."

Was she trying to kill the Yats boy?

If that is the case, Yats boy is in big trouble. Even if she didn't really mean to kill him, she blamed everything on him.

Posted by: PuppetMaster | Mar 26 2014 13:35 utc | 1

The issue is not what Putin does or even what the Russian Federation ("Russia") does. What we see is the Russian nation exercising its right to self-determination!

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 26 2014 13:36 utc | 2

More pop corn fun - Ewald Stadler - right wing Austrian FPÖ EU member - with Putin propaganda.

His dialect makes him sound like ... Putin should unfriend him.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 13:48 utc | 3

Very well said, b.

Kind of off topic, but not really. Many of us have read the cryptic message at Syria Perspective about Turkish tanks crossing the border into Syria. I wonder if they are being held in check for fear that an invasion of Syria gives President Putin a political opening he could use to move on Ukraine?

It's happened before. In October of 1956, both Khrushchev and the Soviet polit bureau were against intervention in Hungary. But then the Israel/UK/French attack on Egypt gave the USSR the political cover it needed to move into Hungary.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 26 2014 13:53 utc | 4

Another possible factor is the new prosecutor/attorney general in Crimea, a young, very impressive and very attractive lawyer who came from the prosecutor's office in Kiev to her new appointment in Crimea just this month. Her debut press conference drew a lot of attention and in fact she's become a heroine in Japan with numerous manga characters drawn of her.

She says that she was there in Kiev during the Maidan and she saw what happened. She speaks harshly against the coup government and the lawlessness in other parts of Ukraine. Her job, before Maidan, was investigating organized crime and thug gangs. I'm sure she tends to know who's who more than the average prosecutor.

Her name is Natalia Poklonskaya. Kiev prosecutor's office stripped her of her rank and put a warrant out for her arrest. I wonder if she knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. If I was the coup government and the western backers I'd be worried because what Natalia reveals is going to get attention.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 26 2014 14:13 utc | 5

Warmongers want to force Russia to act in Eastern Ukraine and it looks like they'll get what they want soon.

Posted by: Gregg | Mar 26 2014 14:14 utc | 6

I wonder if this put a smile on Putin face while eating his popcorn, I know it does on mine:)Thank You

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 26 2014 14:16 utc | 7

Qatar speech at the AL summit in Kuwait: Qatar prince stresses "brotherly links" (no pun intended)

Egypt transition president calls the Arabs to tackle illiteracy (good luck, folk, they have just been busy destroying every single Arab country where people were able to read and write)

Posted by: Mina | Mar 26 2014 14:20 utc | 8

'While anything seems possible, the operating assumption among some American and European officials is that Mr. Putin will not overtly invade eastern Ukraine but instead opt for a murky middle plan, using local agitators and perhaps undercover special forces to stir even more unrest in largely Russian-speaking areas of the country. '

./......isnt that what US and EU did thru Vicki (Fuck he EU) Nuland $5 billion largesse?

Posted by: brian | Mar 26 2014 14:23 utc | 9

Today on the U-Bahn TV, Helmut Schmidt calling the sanctions against Russia "stupid", according to Die Zeit...

Posted by: Mina | Mar 26 2014 14:24 utc | 10

Could be Ziad training with psyopp. I wouldn't blame him!

Posted by: Mina | Mar 26 2014 14:24 utc | 11

Merkel officially unfriends Tymoshenko

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 14:27 utc | 12

notice the language?

'U.S. Challenge Now Is to Stop Further Putin Moves, NYT'

the (implied nobel) US vs the (implied evil Rasputin like) Putin....

Posted by: brian | Mar 26 2014 14:28 utc | 13

Video from TRNN on Ukraine:

For me, the 300lb gorilla in the room, is whether Putin represents the best interests of the people, or the best interests of the Russian Oligarchs. The debate about the same question here in the US, is long over. The US govt. has been bought, and paid for, by the Western oligarchs. I think the EU is, for the most part, the same. I for one, hope Russia can dictate to its' uber rich, not vise versa. A dominant Gov, working for the best interests of the majority, is the only force standing in the way of domination by the maglignant & greedy rich.

Posted by: ben | Mar 26 2014 14:47 utc | 14

One more article has appeared in US media about Tymoshenko's leaked phone call. It reports a "tsk tsk" slap on the wrist from Germany toward Tymoshenko, a presidential candidate who talks about shooting Putin and nuking Russians. Just a "tsk tsk".

It seems pretty clear to me that there's a blackout on this story in the US while our Congress works on passing the aid package, which has not been completed yet. Just last month Tymoshenko was all over the US news when she was released from prison hospital, so it's not like there is no interest in her. The problem is that our government has been gushing over the poor Ukranian coup govt, and the Russians are the violent aggressors in the American story and this doesn't fit the narrative.

I wonder if, after the big aid package passes Congress and gets signed by the president, whether we'll get some truth in this story. The story of the fascist elements has not broken through the mainstream yet but a lot of bloggers and alternative media know what's going on. But American State TV hasn't reported it yet.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 26 2014 14:50 utc | 15

13 Hah! Rumour: Yanukovich marching on Kiew

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 15:02 utc | 16

A blackout? What blackout? Le Monde did not report it, neither did it either mention the BRICS statement!

Posted by: Mina | Mar 26 2014 15:07 utc | 17

More rumour: Polish men in London receiving call-up papers

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 15:08 utc | 18

Americans don't hate Russia enough (so there's a massive media campaign to fix that!)

Let's undo a generation of peaceful relations with Russia. My kids don't hate Russia. They were born after the Cold War ended. No programming, natch. Funny, I was programmed to hate Russia and I don't hate them either. That's because Americans are not warmongers. We like peace. Some small percentage are warmongers. The ones who get off on it and the ones who profit from it.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 26 2014 15:11 utc | 19

Good related article from Truthdig. A sample:

Phantom enemies

For nearly a century, since 1917, the United States had stuck to one—Russia. It is hard to miss on a map and it has a name and a bloody history that is as easy to reduce to a cartoon as it is with the history of Germany. Inevitably, the Hollywood baddies are either the Russkis or the Nazis. So cozy to have such enemies. Such clarity must be satisfying in a messy and confusing world. The sweet old habits kick in, and the Russia experts feel young again. Who are they?

Posted by: ben | Mar 26 2014 15:13 utc | 20

19) Yep, it is difficult to redo all this stuff.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 15:16 utc | 21

The NYT raises a serious point. When social chaos descends on Ukraine once the financial 'rescue' package is unleashed, with thousands marching in the streets against the austerity they never wanted, against the job cuts, against the loss of livelihoods, against the economic devastation of entire communities, such scenes of unrest will be derided as stage managed, Kremlin funded 'agitation'.

After all, what Ukrainians really want is to join the EU, or so Kiev would have us all believe - whatever the consequences. So any public displays contrary to this artificial notion will be due entirely to Russian meddling.

In Putin, the US and EU have their bogeyman.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Mar 26 2014 15:22 utc | 22

More Yanukovich sightings - leaflets urging him to return in this case.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Mar 26, 2014 11:22:21 AM | 22
This would be a tough sell in Germany. Polls say that a majority of Germans do not want Ukraine in the EU.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 15:34 utc | 23

@18 - somebody.. is crispin black any relation to conrad black? that would be one strike against him immediately if so! too bad those article writers can't take a neutral view. i guess it would make for uninteresting reading if they were impartial. instead it is always about russias aggression.. the story gets rather boring quickly. i can't imagine who would be caught dead reading that kind of stuff, other then me on a slow day!

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2014 15:36 utc | 24

24) Well, it is rumour mill fun. But those letters to Ukraine's neighbours from a Russian Duma parliamentarian (it is a democracy, remember) seem to be real

Reuters - A prominent Russian politician has proposed dividing Ukraine along the lines of an infamous Nazi-Soviet pact and suggested that regions in Western Ukraine hold referendums on breaking away from Kiev.

In a letter sent to the governments of Poland, Romania and Hungary, Vladimir Zhirinovsky also suggested those countries hold referendums on incorporating the regions into their territory.

It just adds to the crazy atmosphere

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 15:44 utc | 25

Leader of Communist Party cell strangled in his home in Odessa area - police say not related to politics.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 15:50 utc | 26

@somebody #25:

That possibly is just a warning. Dividing Ukraine in two would be very bad for Russia, since the western part would be a viper's nest of nationalism and would most definitely join NATO. The eastern part would be a rump state without Kiev, and might as well be incorporated into the Russian Federation. Result: buffer state between NATO and Russia gone.

The point of the letters may be that unless the regime in Kiev stops with its nationalism and starts taking the wishes of east and south Ukrainians into account, Ukraine could very well lose more than Crimea.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 15:55 utc | 27

Excellent post, b. The same goes for yesterday's post on Tenyukh's dismissal and Muzychko's murder. The NYT has blacked out the ongoing chaos of the putsch government. Obama has yet to persuade his base of support that fiddling about in Ukraine is a wise policy. Proof that we're looking at another intervention leading to a failed state is not going to enhance Democratic Party hopes this fall.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 26 2014 15:59 utc | 28

'Putin's agitators' to raise the price of gas for Ukrainian domestic consumers by more than 50 per cent from May 1..

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Mar 26 2014 15:59 utc | 29

Oh, I didn't realize that those letters were from Zhirinovsky, and that they were about western Ukraine going back to Poland. Zhirinovsky's a joker. I think he was just poking fun at the idea of Ukraine as a real nation.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 16:02 utc | 30

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 26, 2014 10:13:55 AM | 5

"She says that she was there in Kiev during the Maidan and she saw what happened. She speaks harshly against the coup government and the lawlessness in other parts of Ukraine. Her job, before Maidan, was investigating organized crime and thug gangs. I'm sure she tends to know who's who more than the average prosecutor.

Her name is Natalia Poklonskaya. Kiev prosecutor's office stripped her of her rank and put a warrant out for her arrest. I wonder if she knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. If I was the coup government and the western backers I'd be worried because what Natalia reveals is going to get attention."

Thanks for posting that. I had not seen that info about her previous work. That does go a long way to explain why the Kiev junta is so set on attacking her. They even had hacked some personal photos before she got famous, apparently right after she went to Crimea. So obviously they consider her more of a threat than is warrented by what is known on the surface. It also shows how the western intelligence services are working hand in hand with the criminals in Kiev, since it would have been them who hacked the photos, not the knuckledraggers in the coup junta. The goons are also threatening people associated with her: Ukraine puts Crimea's acting chief prosecutor Poklonskaya on wanted list

"Earlier, Poklonskaya said that her subordinates were still receiving threats from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office."

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 16:10 utc | 31

Great blustering from Obama and his European pack of poodles:

Jacobin fools all.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Mar 26 2014 16:11 utc | 32

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26, 2014 11:55:16 AM | 27

Sure, it is a provocation. It also is presumably incendiary as the Ukrainian right wing has a history of literally killing off secessionist minority movements.

The point I am making is that people in Ukraine are left in the dark and all kinds of rumours make the rounds. It is information war.

Russia still insists officially on Yanukovich being the legal president. The EU still pretend the government in Kiew is a legal, democratic government being able to take decisions for the whole of Ukraine but quietly travel to Eastern Ukraine, too.

The EU seem to believe they can solve Ukraine on their own via troika with bureaucratic means. They do not talk to Russia who of course has influence and interest in what is going on next door. They do not involve other neighbouring EU countries except Poland. They all have co patriots there.

It is bound to be more and more of a train wreck.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 16:20 utc | 33

"To the growing unrest one can add the likely economic collapse that will come rather sooner than later."

I wonder why bankruptcy isn't declared right now.
Three month ago it was said the reserves will last til April or May. I didn't notice the drains after the putsch but read claims of just 12 billion currency reserves left three weeks ago. Bloomberg says Hrywnja lost 25% against the dollar in 2014. Someone of "Strategic Culture" told, the overall institutional debt of Ukraine is estimated 40 to 60 billion.
But nobody seems seriously "concerned".
Austrian banks would get into serious trouble with ukrainian liabilities failing and this would propagate all over the EU. But there is no single line in "Der Standard".
Bloomberg tells of a 24 hour deadline for a IMF-agreement but appear cool to the marrow:

It appears as if Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group
gave the shibboleth on 7th Mars:

"Overall, because of the intense interest from Russia and the West, we think Ukraine will not likely be short of finances from either or both sides, if the new leadership is able to act wisely and diplomatically.

We will be watching developments in Ukraine closely, and are hopeful for a peaceful resolution. We are also hopeful that we’ll see a quite different Ukraine story in a few years—and that it will be a much more positive one."

And that wasn't cheap talk.

"By some estimates, more than 20% of Ukrainian government debt was recently purchased by a single American investment fund, Franklin Templeton Investments, specializing in distressed debt."

The clue might be: Templeton bought under the auspices of an US-Ukrainian investment treaty without "collective action clauses" in case of impending default. So in theorie Templeton could foil IMF bailouts by "debt restructuring" coordinated with Brussels, London, New York, Moscow.

Part of the background may be this:

KOO: The US Is In A 'QE Trap' And Both The Markets And The Media Missing It
Read more:

The Fed seems in urgent need for foreign debt to sink printed dollars in foreign treasuries (therefor Soros demanding ultimatively Schäuble to launch EuroBonds).

But I really don't know. What is Templeton up to, really? Is it for luring the markets in confidence and then cash in? Is it an ace of Wall Streets against the Nuland-camp?

Posted by: TomGard | Mar 26 2014 16:36 utc | 34

Well, at least somebody else agrees that Kissinger was out of his depth about the Crimea/Ukraine crisis. Ukrainian-American political scientist Alexander Motyl in World Affairs Journal (March 20):

``Nor does ignorance of Ukraine keep Henry Kissinger from producing a Washington Post op-ed that gets nearly everything wrong about the country''.

SOS Henry's solutions were never going to work because the West could never accept compromise; Putin had to put up his fighting gloves to underscore that Crimea is Russia's ``core interest'' ( a favorite Chinese term).

C'est vrai, Mr B: now that Putin has tucked Crimea back into Moscow's family fold, he doesn't have to lift a finger but just wait for the rest of Ukraine to unravel itself. It ain't over till the Fat Lady sings, as they say. Either Henry gets into drag for the part, or that Yulia woman with the Little Heidi blonde braids hiding her horns, can add some avoirdupois to help hasten the end.
Meanwhile, All Quiet On the Eastern Front. This is not a good time to ``pivot'' further into the China seas, especially for Hillary in case she fractures her hip before the 2016 nomination. Allez-y, Putin!

Posted by: nakedtothebone | Mar 26 2014 16:43 utc | 35

Another great piece by Paul Craig Roberts, comparing what was done to Russia at the end of the Cold War to what was done to Germany after World War I:

This vicious propaganda against Germany meant that Germany could be blamed for the war and that all of President Woodrow Wilson’s guarantees to Germany of no reparations and no territorial loss if Germany agreed to an armistice could be violated.

The propaganda success guaranteed that the peace settlement would be so one-sided as to set up the Second World War.

Russia has observed Washington’s strategic moves against Russian national interests and Russian sovereignty for two decades. What does Putin think when he hears the vicious anti-Russian propaganda based 100% in lies? [...]

What the entire world faces, every country, every individual regardless of their political orientation, is a Washington-engineered confrontation with Russia and China. This confrontation is enabled by Washington’s bought-and-paid-for European and UK puppet states. Without the cover provided by Europe, Washington’s acts of aggression would result in war crimes charges against the government in Washington. The world would not be able to enforce these charges without war, but Washington would be isolated.

The European, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and UK governments have betrayed not only their own peoples but also the peoples of the entire world by lending the support of Western Civilization to Washington’s lawlessness.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 16:46 utc | 36

No one knows anything now what is really going on in Ukraine.

Russia Today is laughing out loud

The US Department of Agriculture is looking to boost imports of hemp seeds from Ukraine, hoping this will help the country’s battered economy. However, they still do not know what it will be used for.

“We are now involved in trying to figure out ways in which we might be able to use the industrial hemp seeds that are created in Ukraine in the US,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday.

Ukraine is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of industrial hemp seed, which the term used to refer to cannabis strains cultivated for non-drug use. Unlike another, most known type of Cannabis grown for marijuana, industrial hemp lacks that same ingredient, THC, which causes physical or psychological effects and gives smoker a high.

Industrial hemp, being one of the earliest domesticated plants known, has many uses from healthy food to making paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction and even fuel.

Easy to cultivate, uses for industrial hemp are growing rapidly.

Ukraine is currently angling for aid from the International Monetary Fund, as much as $20 billion, while it has also been struggling with months of political crisis.

The Obama administration is planning to provide a $1 billion loan for the coup-imposed government of Ukraine, and is working with European allies on a broader package.

It is a complete information blackout - too much noise ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 16:47 utc | 37

5(at least) billion for Ukraine,and we(USA-NY) get potholes.Man,are the roads bad or what?What kind of a nation concerns itself with coups in foreign nations instead of it's own people?Bad nations.I notice that the overwhelming voices in most credible(?)comment venues are very anti Obomba,and at least if not pro Putin,understanding of Russian interests(Over at the Graun he's taking a beating).My take is that the overwhelming number voices with hatred of Russia,and Putin,are the Zionists(historical animosity to all goyim nations) and or members of the LGBT community.
A war over sexual preference?Sacred Band redux?Nah.
Tymoshenko wiki says she has Jewish roots.Oy.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 26 2014 17:18 utc | 38

Ukraine Bonds Rally 10th Day as IMF Talks Soothe Default Concern

“The probability of financial support for Ukraine is increasing because a default would destabilize the country and play into the hands” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Peter Schottmueller, who manages the equivalent of $3 billion of assets at Deka Investment GmbH in Frankfurt, said by e-mail. “This is positive for hard-currency bonds.”

The country, faced with dwindling reserves and the threat of a third recession since 2008, signed the political chapters of an association accord with the European Union on March 21. The developments helped boost the nation’s stocks, with the gauge of Ukrainian shares trading in Warsaw climbing 15 percent last week. It fell 0.6 percent today.

So an agreement with Putin would lower the price of those bonds?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 17:26 utc | 39

► To nurture American nostalgia and to kindle warm feelings via the good old days of loving Russia and 'from Russia with love', Webster Tarpley's lecture on the little known history of Russian Fleet sent by Tzar Alexander 2nd to protect Lincoln and the Union from the English during US civil war.

Putin faces an extraordinarily fierce and fearless foe in Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is having difficulty deciding between slapping Putin with his hockey glove and challenging him to a hockey fight duel, or leading the RCMP into Moscow. His indecision is compounded by not knowing whether to travel through Alaska, in order to pacify the restless separatist natives there with a spine tingling eulogy on behalf of moral principles and international law, or to pass through Venice and while gesticulating wildly trying to keep his balance in a gondola, while talking sense into Venetian separatists.

From the Toronto Star:
"Once mocked for lack of worldliness, Stephen Harper now a Cold Warrior:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rigid view of good and evil on display as he unleashes vitriol at Vladimir Putin."

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Mar 26 2014 17:33 utc | 40

Egypt, courting Russia with KSA dollars!

Turkey's latest idea, invading Syria to protect the shrine of the first Ottoman ruler

Posted by: Mina | Mar 26 2014 17:54 utc | 42

"Under such condition further unrest is a given while Ukraine falls apart and there is no need at all for Russia to intervene to achieve such.

Russia will do nothing nefarious, it will do just nothing."

That's been obvious for quite some time. Unfortunately the Bryan MacDonald piece "b" used as reference about the instability of the Ukraine junta lacks any real depth or analysis. It's just a series of brief comments from a few people about mostly personal things. One could talk with people in any country and find a similar disparity of views and histories. This is the sort of thing one finds throughout western media when they do an "in depth" piece. Lots of personal stories, essentially gossip, and usually from people of the same general social class as the writer, but little or no real analysis of what went on, what is going on and from these, what are the probably possibilities for the future. The reader is left with the feeling they are somehow now "informed" on the subject, but not sure what it is they now have been informed about, except the writer's assurance his conclusion is the correct one, because of all the "evidence" the personal stories provide. The writers of these pieces have their POV, the bulk of these sorts of pieces are essentially filler to give the impression the writer's conclusion is based upon impartial analysis. These pieces are completely useless for understanding a given subject, and are usually intended to be so, as they are really obfuscations.

This piece by Israel Shamir gives a much better account of what is going on in the Ukraine, and why. Putin’s Triumph

Another very good analytical piece on this subject is by "The Vineyard of the Saker" blog writer here: How the US dream of world supremacy was buried in Crimea

A person reading either of those 2 pieces comes away understanding the situation much clearer, and knowing the "ifs, ands and whys" of how the writer got to their conclusions. The material provided is something they can research independently, unlike "personal stories". It's solid. Not ephemeral obfuscating filler.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 18:01 utc | 43

@35 - nakedtothebone - anyone who reads the wapo or nyt and anything that is said in either publication for anything other then learning about the latest propaganda tack - is crazy. that goes especially for reading the words of someone responsible for the perpetuation of war which is kissinger in spades..

@40 - robert - thanks for reminding me what a complete doofus harper is, not to mention a huge embarrassment for canucks internationally. hopefully the young trudeau will get in and be a bit like his father.

@41 - mina - a lot of people know this, but how and when does it change is the 64,000 question?

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2014 18:01 utc | 44


Well bring it on then turkey, what are you waiting for?!

So naive I were when I for some years back supported Turkey...

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 26 2014 18:05 utc | 45

Obama gave a pretty good speech in Brussels trying to impress the kids ...

None of us can know for certain what the coming days will bring in Ukraine ...


Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 18:20 utc | 46

Barack Obama can't stand another bully on playground

I just watched and listened to Obama's policy speech in Brussels after meeting with his EU partner nations. I was greatly disappointed. It was way too broad in scope, giving many impressions and 'lessons' from history during the last 100 years since the trenches of conflict in WWI.

There was a message lying underneath, Obama wants Europe to unite in isolating and sanctioning Russia for the invasion into Crimea. Obama white-washes the Kosovo War and its independence and the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, from flaunting International Law. There stood a lonely man, living for years in the bubble of Washington D.C., infused with rhetoric from his closest advisers, trying first of all to convince himself his policy towards Putin's Russia was just. Obama did not connect with his audience, there were no moments of applause, most Europeans were so polite to let him continue and finish his words. At the end, after Obama finished his speech, there was loud applause from all invitees.

I'm not going to be kind and I will criticize his words, as he distorted facts of history, put more weight on American exceptionalism, showed clear hypocrisy to events and made the biggest mistake of all: further economic sanctions and deteriorating means of living, will make the ordinary Russians realize their leaders cannot rule by brute force and bully a neighboring state. Obama is outside of all reality. The Russian people are proud Crimea is back where it belongs, 90% consider this just and Putin's popularity is at an all time high of 80%.

All I can say, and I will use the same words German FM Joska Fischer used in 2002: "Excuse me, … I am not convinced."

Posted by: Oui | Mar 26 2014 18:33 utc | 47

Badhra on Ben Rhodes, O'Bomber's buddy for his European tour

Posted by: Mina | Mar 26 2014 18:38 utc | 48

47) Frankly, I am not sure he said anything.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 18:38 utc | 49

gemini333, I wonder to what extent Americans ever really hated Russians. Even during what I remember of the old cold war under when the USSR was still around, I felt that people in the U.S. tended to make a distinction between hating the USSR/"the commies" and hating Russians as such. Possibly I'm just overgeneralizing from my family and immediate circle of acquaintances. (Also, I am thinking mostly of the 70s and 80s. I wasn't alive in the 50s and was born in the mid-60s.) I just think that to a great extent than was the case in regard to some official enemies of the U.S., the American public tended to separate the Russian people from the USSR. Maybe this goes back to pro-Russian propaganda and sentiment during WWII, when we were both fighting the Nazis. Also, it probably helps that Russians are white, and therefore not as quickly vilified as, say, Arabs, by a white dominated U.S.

I wonder what old surveys of attitude actually show though? I could be way off on my assumption that the American public was never that hostile to Russians as such.

Posted by: RudyM | Mar 26 2014 18:41 utc | 50

Mina 41

Good link: Perhaps a watershed moment: a MSM newspaper dips its toes into the obvious but avoided like the plague waters of the real world. What's cute is the 'surprised' note in the piece. Ohmygawd! Look what we've discovered!

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Mar 26 2014 18:45 utc | 51


french media, on a whole series of issues local & international simply awful - i read them on line, wouldn't think of actually buying one, even in the café they are left well enough alone - the last decade has witnessed the death of any real analysis, only le monde diplomatique, politis perhaps

i can only concur with b, the russians will wait for it all to unravel & it is doing that every day

the editorialists of empire are as thick as bricks but then so are their 'strategists' & dipmomats

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 26 2014 18:46 utc | 52

European leaders ask Obama to allow increased exports of US shale gas

European leaders on Wednesday asked Barack Obama to share the US's shale gas bonanza with Europe by facilitating gas exports to help counter the stranglehold Russia has on the continent's energy needs. [...]

Obama, while not ruling out the possibility, stressed the need for Europe to diversify its sources of energy in order to make it less vulnerable to Russian blackmail, and said Europe should open up to fracking to develop its own gas supply.

What are these people smoking? European leaders have completely entered the bizarro world of the Washington Beltway.

Ukraine, Russia and the nonexistent U.S. oil and natural gas "weapon"

What is truly puzzling is that all the information I've just adduced--except the cost of liquefying, transporting and regasifying natural gas--is available with a few clicks of a mouse and a little arithmetic performed on tables of data. I got the cost information on LNG from a money manager specializing in energy investments. And yet, commentators, reporters, and editorial writers don't even bother to check the internet or call their sources in the investment business.

Perhaps the facts have become irrelevant. Only that would explain the current hoopla over the nonexistent U.S. oil and natural gas "weapon" in the face of the all-too-obvious and readily available evidence.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 18:49 utc | 53

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26, 2014 2:49:35 PM | 53

From the 2nd article:

"Perhaps the facts have become irrelevant. Only that would explain the current hoopla over the nonexistent U.S. oil and natural gas "weapon" in the face of the all-too-obvious and readily available evidence."

"Perception management", and when the current BS fall through, they will already be onto new fabrications. if there is any fall out, they know their media can make it look like Putin was at fault (or Iran, Venezuela, Syria...). To say the west is living in an Owellian "1984" bubble world would be a gross understatement.

BTW, the Russians and Chinese know the western leaders are essentially stand up clowns incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. Their moves, and what they say, is directed at those actually running the west.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 19:03 utc | 54


Obama is so stupid that he believes his own lies.
What is he doing in Europe holding a warmongering speech? Whats wrong with this man? Doesnt he understand that he lost against Putin.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 26 2014 19:09 utc | 55

somebody 46

Is that a threat by obama?

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 26 2014 19:10 utc | 56

Incidentally, Tony Cartalucci gathered up a list of the organizations and people who run the west. Naming Names: Your Real Government

It's not a complete list of the vultures, there are more groups and other people besides those he listed, but it makes for a useful working reference and helps a great deal in understanding some of the reasons behind the seemingly idiot moves western leaders constantly make.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 19:12 utc | 57

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 26, 2014 3:10:51 PM | 56

It sure sounds ominous. But the speech is so generic that I think he was simply stating the obvious.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 19:14 utc | 58

O's speech did say something, when he was calling on EU to step up sanctions he said, in order to bring Russia to heel, much of the world will suffer economically when we get the necessary sanctions in place. Kid you not, that's a pretty good paraphrase of his dictum - the whole world must suffer so the Empire can prevail.

Motyl, is a PoS Russophobe, and you can't trust a thing he says.

b, I think you see Putin/Russia's position clearly. And I would suggest the West will not be able to draw Russia to invade (as some here suggest), BECAUSE - that would be the West's excuse to get the civil war going AND - cut off the chance of, not only the upcoming election, but the Federation deal as well. I think Putin/Russia is waking a tight rope to get to those elections; I think it's likely Russia will come out well post election. US has to be as afraid of Ukraine elections as they are of Syria elections.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 26 2014 19:14 utc | 59

59 okie farmer


ogether, we are imposing costs through sanctions that have left a mark on Russia and those accountable for its actions. And if the Russian leadership stays on its current course, this isolation will deepen. Sanctions will expand. The toll on Russia’s economy – and standing in the world – will only grow.

But that is a lie.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 19:20 utc | 60

somebody, I haven't seen the text, but listened to the speech live. I could be wrong about 'the world will have to sacrifice economically' but I don't think so.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 26 2014 19:24 utc | 61

And he definitely didn't say 'the world' it was in the context of EU he was talking about. I'm a little deaf, but I trust my hearing more than I would a text. Texts can be altered after the fact, and deviated from while speaking.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 26 2014 19:30 utc | 62

#47, #58, #59:

It is just an Obama speech. Obama was recently deconstructed in TomDispatch:

Like many days, March 3rd saw the delivery of a stern opinion by President Obama. To judge by recent developments in Ukraine, he said, Russia was putting itself “on the wrong side of history.” [...] Obama doubtless felt comfortable because he was quoting himself. “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” he said in his 2009 inaugural address, “know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” In January 2009 and again in March 2014, Obama was speaking to the world as its uncrowned leader.

For some time now, observers -- a surprisingly wide range of them -- have been saying that Barack Obama seems more like a king than a president. [...] Obama, it is said, takes himself to be something like a benevolent monarch -- a king in a mixed constitutional system, where the duties of the crown are largely ceremonial. He sees himself, in short, as the holder of a dignified office to whom Americans and others may feel naturally attuned.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 19:32 utc | 63

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26, 2014 3:20:50 PM | 60

"and standing in the world – will only grow."

He got that bit right. Russia's standing in the world is growing, among the people of the world. The real people. The ghouls running the west, along with their clown leaders and presstitute media know that. Pathological control freaks they are, the impotent rage seething amongst them cant be good for the blood pressure or be heart healthy.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 19:38 utc | 64

62 - Well, he said this, which is very transparent and will be routinely ignored in Europe

Today, NATO planes patrol the skies over the Baltics, and we have reinforced our presence in Poland. And we are prepared to do more. Going forward, every NATO member state must step up and carry its share of the burden – by showing the political will to invest in our collective defense, and by developing the capabilities to serve as a source of international peace and security.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 19:38 utc | 65

somebody, demian

Correct, as usual when obama speaks, just alot of nonsense that doesnt mean anything. But the great majority will love his speech.
US are desperate, they lost Ukraine but just cant admit it.
Hes so obvious, saying what his crew tells him to. Hes pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 26 2014 19:40 utc | 66

SYRIA? any views on what is happening near Kassab? Is this a Turkish military attack to take SAA away from the south or to get a route to the sea?

Posted by: Midan | Mar 26 2014 19:48 utc | 67

66) Don't know if it will work with Ukrainians. It might, translation might shred it though.
It is dangerous what he is doing with this preaching church style, one popular comedian taking it down and no one will be able to listen to it any more.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 19:52 utc | 68


but i just regarded a headline on rt saying that venezuela has arrested 3 generals for attempting coup, the empire is going all out to attack her - but this is bad news because the people & its army to this point had been miraculously able to form a symbiosis - anything the people build the empire is obliged to attack

the empire is shit scared of referendums, elections, any civic expression of the people,, violence it adores but then violence it at the centre of empire

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 26 2014 19:54 utc | 69

Yeah, the question is how far will the west take this absurd aggression.

I just read this piece on The Vineyard of the Saker blog and what he discussed is quite pertinent to the discussion here. A couple of things he writes I disagree with, but I think his reasoning there is very sound. Was the first shot of the upcoming Ukrainian civil war just fired?

This is how he ends the piece:

"When Putin told the Russian Federal Assembly and the rest of the world in his historical speech that Russia did not want to occupy or annex the Ukraine, he was not lying to cover up an imminent invasion, or trying to appease the West or showing how generous and good the Russians are - he was stating a basic reality of Russian pragmatic self-interest: Russia neither needs nor wants the Ukraine, especially now that it got Crimea back. What Russia does not want is a neo-Nazi Ukraine with NATO bases.

So if the Empire's leaders had any common sense at all, they would understand the basic truth that this is not a zero-sum game and that Russia's interests are quite compatible to the West's as long as the West gives up its crazy idea of setting a neo-Nazi regime in Kiev surrounded by NATO bases. That crazy shit Russia simply will not accept. But an independent Ukraine?! Of course - please, they will even help pay for it as long as it avoids a much more dangerous outcome resulting in a civil war.

Alas, all the signs are that Obama and his EU minions are just not going to accept anything short of a total victory - thereby securing their own total defeat, but at the cost of a complete destruction of rump-Ukraine and a horrible predicament for the people of the Ukraine. Just look at what these politicians did with Iraq or Libya! The AngloZionist logic is simple: what I cannot get - I burn down.

Short of a miraculous change of mind of the AngloZionist plutocracy, the bullets that killed Muzychko might well have been the (CIA's) match which will start a fire capable of burning down what is left of the Ukraine."

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 19:58 utc | 70

66) Anonymous, I am not sure they ever had Ukraine. They might have lost Europe now.

Just had a reality check on the attractiveness of Europe to Ukrainians - migration rates are a good indicator

66.7 percent go to Russia, 19.7 percent go to Europe

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 20:00 utc | 71

in so far as the usa( as rep for the world banking cartel) can destabilize ukraine, syria or venuzuala and continue to maintain a state of uncertainty, they've won short term. the world loses, but since the priority of these same interests is to destabilize any country that doesn't accept it's ideology and subservience towards this world banking cartel - they've won - short term.. long term this is unsustainable for the planet. it is also unsustainable for any country that bases it's existence on a predatory banking system too..

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2014 20:04 utc | 72

The great majority will love his speech

Posted by: ruralito | Mar 26 2014 20:05 utc | 73


Speaking on percentages :)

Latest Russian polls for Putin: 80% support, 18% opposed (Levada).

will obama get a stroke when he see this? I wouldnt mourn.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 26 2014 20:05 utc | 74

Check out this piece on Syria.

Posted by: Midan | Mar 26 2014 20:06 utc | 75

Actually Obama seems to have overdone it.

We don't invade our neighbours

MSM have started to make fun of him.

Link from Angry Arab.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2014 20:14 utc | 76

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26, 2014 4:14:12 PM | 76

"MSM have started to make fun of him.

Link from Angry Arab."

Nothing new or unusual there. They make fun of Obama, but at the end of the piece reinforce the propaganda meme that Russia invaded Crimea and that that is unacceptable. So Obama's choice of words is the problem, not the west's aggression towards the Ukraine and Russia. The basic lies justifying this aggression remain unchallenged. This has been the "alternative" standard propaganda strategy used to justify western war crimes, widely practiced by the imaginary liberal arm of the MSM and by the "loyal opposition" in the alternates, such the angry Arab. No surprise he would be flogging such a lame piece of propaganda.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 20:46 utc | 77

Whoa, is this a U-turn by Brussels?

European Union President Herman van Rompuy believes that EU association agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova can be paralleled by cooperation agreements with Russia and the Customs Union if the WTO norms are observed.

"Association and free trade agreements with such EU partners as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are fully compatible with the existing trade agreements between those countries and Russia and can function parallel to the Customs Union and Russia if the WTO norms and the freedom of decision-making are observed," Van Rompuy said in Brussels on Wednesday in a surprise turnaround from Brussels' previous statements on the issue.

When Kiev refused to sign the association agreement with the EU last November, Brussels insisted that free trade with the EU ruled out cooperation with the Customs Union.

Van Rompuy confirmed plans to sign EU association deals with Georgia and Moldova by the beginning of August.
Read more:

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 26 2014 21:12 utc | 78

@somebody Please stop embarrassing yourself by promoting that idiotic shill for TPTB "Angry Arab". I've already provided evidence of him being an intelligence asset. There is no place of that scum disinfo here. It's really fucking annoying. Unless you are just other disgraceful hasbara troll?

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 26 2014 21:26 utc | 79

"...the issue is acute because Maidan is seen as a growing threat to the junta, pretty soon it is going to be swept and cleaned up. Right Sector (Pravy Sector) led by Yarosh is the Maidan’s main striking force. It has declared the permanent «national revolution». On March 17 it decided to stage a new coup to topple the junta.The attempt failed only because current secretary of state Parubiy was aware of the plans. Though Parubiy is also dissatisfied with the interim rulers. While Yatsenyuk was signing the meaningless parts of the association agreement with the European Union, the Security Council took a meaningless decision on introducing visa regime with Russia. Yatsenyuk knows better how important are the earnings sent home by Ukrainians who have jobs in Russia. So he opposed the hasty decision. Parubiy said he wanted to meet Yatsenyuk on Maidan and sort it out with him.
Meanwhile, Maidan put forward an ultimatum to the so called president Turchinov saying either he gives an order to start combat actions to free Crimea or resigns...

...Right Sector has declared itself to be a political party but it resembles more the stormtroopers of Ernst Rohm in the early years of Nazi rule in Germany...

... Pin striped small office employees, who supported the coup, will soon see with their own eyes what it’s like to live with the junta ruling the country.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 26 2014 21:27 utc | 80

More on Yats. Heh. Looking at the ground ;)

According to Swiss Press, last Sunday (from a correspondent in Kiev), a convoy of 100 hooting cars drove to Yats’ home.

These were Maidan supporters, angry and disappointed with the Govmt. so far. The article also outlined many other beefs from other persons / groups on various points. Such as, the same rotten corrupt crowd, rampant crime all over, lack of security, Center of Kiev still a mess, no proper response to Crimea, all Ukrainians are Ukr. etc.

(CH has refused so far to join sanctions on Russia and the media is pretty stiff against the present Ukr. “Govmt.”)

Now Yats lives 100 meters from the palace of Yanukotvitch (pix below), I won’t post pix of his home, real nice, that is his private life. Yats wasn’t home, surprise, but his wife with a bodyguard by her side calmed the protestors down. Not her biz of course.

Yats is getting flack but appears to be holding his own for now.

Here is a brief youtube of Yats and Yulia being questioned and heckled at Kiev airport (no trans but easy to grasp what is going on. It is from Feb.)

There were, and are, genuine protestors, what they can do next idk.

Yanuk. palace, stately home replica, Mail online:

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 26 2014 21:38 utc | 81

Putin's new soft-power media machine

It's an impressive performance. Some of what Kiselyov says is true, some of it is debatable, all of it is one-sided. For those who have access to other news sources, it's not hard to spot the exaggerations and even a couple of whopping lies embedded in the narrative. If Kiselyov were just one voice in a diverse media spectrum like, say, a Russian version of Rush Limbaugh, it would merely be fascinating.

This is from the Christian Science Monitor, which was a respectable publication twenty years ago. Now its coverage is as laughable as that of any other English language large-circulation newspaper. The piece pompously and condescendingly goes on about how the current Russian "propaganda" is much slicker than Soviet era propaganda was, but everything it claims is "debatable" isn't really, if you are informed: the Russian media and the sane blogosphere tell the truth on the points the Monitor mentions, whereas the Western media lies. As the Saker noted, the propaganda in the Western media (at least English language media) is actually worse than Soviet propaganda was in the Brezhnev era and later. Soviet propaganda didn't have to resort to outright lying.

The only "lie" in Russian media coverage that the Monitor could find is that the troops in Crimea were not Russian. But that position was actually only maintained by Russian Federation officials. The Russian media made clear that they were probably Russian speznaz.

Note also the observation the article makes that "all" of what is reported is "one-sided". This is the old Fox News line that coverage must be "fair and balanced", even in cases where all sane people agree that there is only one correct, objective position on a given matter. Global warming is a good example. All experts agree that global warming is man made and will cause immense damage to the planet, but to the American media, this is only "one side" of the "issue". One recalls Alexander Dugin's point that Western liberalism has become postmodern.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 21:49 utc | 82


i can't see it becoming anything other than libya has become. though that would not please the most servile of european partners, it is the state the empire prefers, it seems, on evidence

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 26 2014 21:58 utc | 83

The Ukrainian situation clearly seems to be bubbling along by itself for the moment. Putin has no need to push things in any particular direction, and he too can enjoy his popcorn while waiting for the next act.

Ditto for Syria. Assad is steadily destroying the terrorist rats, despite the usual cowardly attacks by Israel and Turkey. Time, who "sinfully" selected him as runner-up for "Man of the Year in 2013" posts hilarious propaganda from time to time in expiation. (don't bother reading this but source is

Even Maduro seems to be holding his own in Venezuela, despite unceasing attacks by the oligarchs and cia hit men.

What's next on the neo-con agenda? Surely no one expects them to accept any defeat, however small, with grace, less three of them so close to each other. They are not capable of such high emotion. At the risk of an off-topic post, I would suggest that there is another false flag operation in the works, and it may take place within weeks or even days. Two red flags are flying now.

1. Flight 370. Obviously this plane was highjacked using both sophisticated intelligence and sophisticated military assets. Despite being "officially" declared dead and sunk to the bottom of the deep blue sea:

"The “mystery” of flight 370 subjected to the analytical tools of intelligence professionals proves the existence of a multi-national, super-governmental conspiracy. This is a broad statement, seemingly even a wild assumption. It is not.

The “370 incident” provides foundation for understanding not just 9/11 but the interlocking mosaic of staged revolutions, economic collapses, theatrical mass killings and the systematic brain-washing of generations."

That quote comes from:

2. Within days of the highjacking, Israeli embassies throughout virtually the entire world are mysteriously closing due to a supposed general strike by foreign ministry workers. To my knowledge, this has NEVER happened before.

Something is even more smelly than usual. I suspect that when Flight 370 reaches its final destination, with a new, perhaps nuclear passenger list, and long range fuel tanks fitted in Diego Garcia, American allies in Israel will immediately "prove" it was Iran's fault and attack with their own nukes. Since Israel is extremely loyal to its own people, they won't want to be distracted by their embassy staff coming into harm's way while they are off starting WW III.

Posted by: TicoTiger | Mar 26 2014 22:01 utc | 84

The Ins and Outs of a Western Managed Revolution

To many New Yorkers following Ukraine's "Orange Revolution," recent victories for democracy in Kiev, however welcome, seem far-removed from their daily lives. Not to Adrian Karatnycky. As a senior scholar at the pro-democracy organization Freedom House, Mr. Karatnycky has worked doggedly to ensure …

Similarly optimistic is Radek Sikorski, executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative at the American Enterprise Institute [Yes, now Foreign Minister of Poland and leading voice to get Ukraine into NATO's sphere of influence, married to Anne Applebaum]. Mr. Sikorski, too, was an election observer, with the International Republican Institute. Born in communist Poland, he is another longtime advocate of democracy for Eastern Europe, particularly through his work with the Polish Solidarity movement.

New Atlantic Initiative Founded by Neocons

Launched in June 1996, the now-defunct New Atlantic Initiative was a neoconservative-led project based at the American Enterprise Institute that aimed to strengthen trans-Atlantic cooperation, in part by admitting the transitional democracies of the former Soviet bloc into NATO and the European Union, and establishing a free trade area between an enlarged European Union and North American countries. [See preliminary signing TTIP treaty in Brussels today]

Posted by: Oui | Mar 26 2014 22:29 utc | 85

Poor old Obama...! Well That's Embarrassing...

Posted by: CTuttle | Mar 26 2014 22:57 utc | 86

scalawag @ 43 linked to this piece ‘for clearer understanding.’ By Saker.

This is really bad stuff. On Crimea:

Saker’s first conclusion is sorta OK:

First and foremost, the participation was massive and the 'yes' to Russia won by a landslide.

Yes, though the massive participation bit is perhaps iffy. There is no question that a huge majority (80% or so) wanted to join Russia (see my previous posts.)

Second, this was not a vote along ethnic lines. Then he goes on to blah that is incomprehensible and as usual calculated by extremely dodgy ‘ethnic’ %, a US obsession. More paragraphs with ‘college type’ sprightly rah rah arguments on purely fanciful nos., a real mess (I can’t go into the nos here it would take two pages.) Then, onto Turkey and what he calls ‘irrelevant minorities’...argh.

Then, his opinions about Ukr, which are his own, another matter entirely, one might agree or not.

Banderastan is the Ukraine which Dmitry Iarosh, Andrei Parubii or Oleg Tiagnibok want to create: a "socialist national" state whose founding principle would be "Бий жидів та москалів - Україна для українців" ("beat the Jews and the Russians - the Ukraine for the Ukrainians")

The vote in Crimea was a foregone conclusion and perhaps discussing it now is kinda a waste of time.

If we accept the high participation rate (80% or more numbers vary) which I am not inclined to do, but never mind, it still means that 20% did not vote and their abstention was surely along ethnic and political lines, remember the vote had really only one proposition to vote “Yes” on. (The other being a snide filler.) All those who wanted Crimea to remain as part of UKr. did not vote, they had nothing to vote for.

The counterpunch piece is also rubbish, it exagerates the ‘for’ vote beyond credibility, supporting votes that are usually mocked by counterpunch itself. (Deceased Saddam, Kadaffi, etc.)

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 26 2014 22:58 utc | 87

@87 But the point stands that even if the numbers of people who went to vote is a little inflated, there were still many more people who voted for joining russia than people who stayed home.

Im sorry, but I dont understand the point youre getting at.

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 26 2014 23:16 utc | 88

r giap at 83

... it is turning terrible. the drive towards chaotic destruction is clumsily counteracted by the greed for profits which requires some kind of stability even slavery needs a frame so the clash itself creates more mayhem with only individuals scrambling for the top those who dare and can kill and and posture lie as they breathe ...

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 26 2014 23:16 utc | 89

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 26, 2014 6:58:16 PM | 87

"This is really bad stuff." "The counterpunch piece is also rubbish".

Ah, yes, an "expert" has arrived. ;)

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 26, 2014 7:16:19 PM | 88

"Im sorry, but I dont understand the point youre getting at."

There isn't one. ;)

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 26 2014 23:39 utc | 90

@86 Obviously noone is going to believe Obama when he talks about the USA caring about 'privacy'. At least noone who is not American: I think the audience was european.

You mean like Angela Merkel's privacy, Obama?

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 26 2014 23:42 utc | 91

Demian #82. Your comments reminded me of something a Russian told me in 1990 or so. He was living at the time in Boston. He said that Russians had a better understanding of foreign affairs and politics than did Americans (he was talking about the academics and officials he mostly interacted with). The reason was that Russians knew that their press lied so they had to figure things out on their own. The problem with Americans is that they believe the WaPo and NY Times.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 26 2014 23:47 utc | 92


According to the NY Times, two thirds of the Ukrainian soldiers decided to switch to the Russian army instead of going back to the Ukraine. (The Russian military says it's 80%.) I'm sure that everyone in the Ukraine can see that the Crimea is a normal, stable society, whereas the Ukraine is in utter chaos. That's a main reason why people wanted to join Russia. I read somewhere that if the vote would have been held twenty years ago, when Russia was under Yeltsin and a complete mess, the vote would have gone differently.

That the Tatars didn't want to join Russia is a Western talking point. Why should Tatars feel any more at home in the Ukraine than in Russia? Neither is Tataristan or whatever. What is important to most people is to live in a stable society. Russia is stable; the Ukraine isn't. Russian incomes are about twice that of Ukrainian incomes.

That there were only two choices on the ballot is a Ukrainian regime talking point. The second choice is to stay in the Ukraine, but with the autonomy that the Crimea had under the 1992 constitution. Why would any Crimean want Crimea to have no autonomy, so that all decisions about Crimea are made in Kiev, a completely different place? It would be an insult to voters to put such a preposterous choice on the ballot.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2014 23:47 utc | 93

I thought the Obama speeches today and yesterday were a good sign. He has dropped much of the belligerent rhetoric he and Kerry were spouting up to a week ago. His unambiguous statements of no military action were designed to lessen tensions. The usual hypocrisy about western respect for international law and concerns about Russia's behavior will not be taken as threats to Russia. It also seems that the EU is not going to allow any serious sanctions that will threaten their own economies.

The big unknown remains inside Ukraine. Will the new government be able to contain the Right Sector and criminal gangs that seem to running riot across the country? I guess it would be a sign that the government is restoring order if they were able to remove that tent city in the Kiev Maidan and clean that place up. I notice that vinyardsaker thinks that the far right is too powerful for the government to prevail -- he has seemed to have some good instincts but I hope he wrong on this.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 27 2014 0:07 utc | 94


I disagree with your Russian friend *in the 90s*. Please remember I am not talking about the Russians of today, I am talking about the Russians of 90s!
Russians of 90s very much remind me of Iranians of *today*. They knew that their press was lying, the problem was that they were so utterly blind that they could not see that the Western press even lied more than their press did! (Same goes for many Iranians of today!).
Yesterday, a blogger whose comments I have recently got to be exposed to, linked an amazing article about Russia and the Ukrainian crisis by Samir Amin. I strongly recommend it and if you are interested you can find it on MRZINE. In that article he says:

"The explosion of creative authentic democratic practices initiated by the Russian (October) revolution was subsequently tamed and replaced by an autocratic pattern of management of society, albeit granting social rights to the working classes. This system led to massive depoliticization and was not protected from despotic and even criminal deviations. The new pattern of savage capitalism is based on the continuation of depoliticization and the non-respect of democratic rights....


After the breakdown of the Soviet system, some people (in Russia in particular) thought that the "West" would not antagonize a "capitalist Russia" -- just as Germany and Japan had "lost the war but won the peace." They forgot that the Western powers supported the reconstruction of the former fascist countries precisely to face the challenge of the independent policies of the Soviet Union. "

This is the BEST description of what happened in USSR I have ever come across.

(Please note that in order to make my point I have reversed the order of Amin's paragraphs to arrange it according to chronology. The second paragraph that I quoted comes before the first paragraph in the actual writing.)

What I just said regarding the approach of the Russians in the 90s regarding the Western vs Russian press is exactly the parts and parcel of their depoliticization, and their absolutely idiotic and depoliticized outlook at the world in general and the Wesern world (including its press and "freedoms") in particular.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Mar 27 2014 0:16 utc | 95

Pirouz_2, I knew Russians that were in the US in the 1990s. None of that were that naive, but they were academics. I actually never knew a Russian who thought about the US in the naive way that Americans think about it. I wouldn't be surprised if many Iranians today do that, as Poles, a people not known for their intelligence, used to do.

Tovio #92, of course Russians were better informed, what else is new. But I think that to say that Soviet reporting consisted of lies would be an exaggeration. There was a lot of lying by omission, however, and a lot of what is today called spin.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 27 2014 0:35 utc | 96


"I just think that to a great extent than was the case in regard to some official enemies of the U.S., the American public tended to separate the Russian people from the USSR. Maybe this goes back to pro-Russian propaganda and sentiment during WWII, when we were both fighting the Nazis. Also, it probably helps that Russians are white, and therefore not as quickly vilified as, say, Arabs, by a white dominated U.S."

This distinction was drawn by US Cold War propaganda, contrasting the luxury in which Soviet leaders supposedly lived with the harsh circumstances for the people at the time. Then the USSR collapsed and Russian living standards, for all but a tiny set of oligarchs and their camp followers, dropped so much that the birth rate declined by over 40% between 1991 and 1999, and the death rate rose by a like amount. In 1999, deaths in Russia exceeded births by 1.7 to 1, and few here expressed any great concern for the people of Russia, because they were enjoying the benefits of Democracy, Free Markets, and Free Media while the Berezovskys, Derepaskas, Prokhorovs, and Khodorkovskys lived in a luxury that would have stunned Brezhnev.

Fast forward to 2014, and again we are told of the suffering of the Russian people under the Dread Tsar Putin (whose governance they approve by 80%-18%, who have seen real wages & pensions quintupled in the past decade and who saw in the last year more births in Russia than deaths, for the first time in the entire history of post-Soviet Russia).

In other words, it can't be said the American people particularly care how, or even whether, the Russian people live. The Russian people now appear to know this, and so care less than nothing what the West think of them and the acts of their government.

Posted by: rkka | Mar 27 2014 0:53 utc | 97

Some interesting discussion with three Russian historians regarding the use of history as a weapon in the post-Soviet space, and especially the Ukraine.

In Western Ukraine they try to make national history out of this myth [that the national liberation movement in Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states was aimed both against Bolshevik Russia and Hitler's Germany]. According to Sinitsyn, “they want to turn it into their national idea. It is a big problem in the West, as the majority of the Ukrainian population does not support those ideas. This ideology mostly has supporters in Galicia, in the regions of Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk and Ternopol. But now they are trying to replant this ideology into the entire population. We see that this does not find support, that people resist, that this is not their history or their heroes. These are their anti-heroes.”

@95 Very good, thank you.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 27 2014 1:35 utc | 98

The leader of "Die Linke" (Gregor Gysi) made some very interesting remarks regarding this complete conflict to RT. Although I reject the political views of "Die Linke" I can agree with A LOT Gysi is saying in this interview.

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 27 2014 1:48 utc | 99

This may be the most revolting reporting yet: CNN calls Ukrainian fascist Oleksandr Muzychko 'Robin Hood' and does a puff piece on his funeral. Funeral for 'Robin Hood' draws Ukraine nationalists -- paramilitary to pensioner. [emphasis mine]

A few yards away, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest swings an incense burner. A mother and father weep over the coffin of their dead son. The killing of radical nationalist leader Oleksandr Muzychko, also known by his nickname "Sasha the White" was enough to make shaven-headed, hardened paramilitary men cry. "He was like a brother to me and my comrades. But that bastard Putin murdered him," said Anatoly Valsyuk, as he choked back tears. ... As an afternoon drizzle came down on Muzychko's funeral, tears snaked along the wrinkles of his father Ivan's face.

His mother Olena lowered a loaf of wholemeal bread into the grave -- a local tradition to ensure her son would not go hungry in the afterlife.

And then:

Muzychko, 52, reveled in his tough-guy image. His Facebook page is plastered with images of him, crop-haired in combat fatigues giving a raised-arm, clenched fist salute. Others show him relaxing in his favorite Oakland Raiders cap and jacket.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 27 2014 1:48 utc | 100

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