Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 10, 2014

Ukraine: Who Is Holding Up the Needed Crisis Talks With Russia?

Thus starts a letter by the Russian President Putin to leaders of other European countries:

Ukraine’s economy in the past several months has been plummeting. Its industrial and construction sectors have also been declining sharply. Its budget deficit is mounting. The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable. The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine’s economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment.

"Western" pundits agree:

Moody's recently downgraded Ukraine‘s sovereign debt from ”extremely speculative” to “default imminent with little prospect for recovery.” Moody’s based its decision not just on the escalating political crisis, but on Ukraine’s rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves, its exploding level of debt (from 40% of GDP at the end of 2013 to a projected level of 60% at the end of 2014), and full-year 2014 economic growth that is optimistically forecast to be somewhere between -3 and -4%. Although the new government in Kiev isn’t to blame for the economic carnage now transpiring, the fact that Yanukovych and his cronies were responsible doesn’t do anything to change the reality of the situation: whether we like it or not, Ukraine is in economic free fall.

An IMF bailout of some $16 billion with lots of cruel strings attached could probably come in May. But those $16 billion are about as much money as the Ukraine owns to the Russian state owned energy company Gazprom. Without payments to Gazprom no further gas will flow and the energy intensive chemical and metal industries in east Ukraine will have to shut down. Unemployment and intensified general unrest will follow.

Some have argued that the European Union (in reality, German taxpayers) should bailout the Ukraine and they point to Poland as a successful case for an economic turnaround with EU help. But Poland got about $150 billion of foreign support over 10 years and will still need more. This back when the EU financial position was somewhat healthy. No one in Europe, especially not German taxpayers, are willing to invest anything like that to "win" the Ukraine. Neither will the U.S. provide any help. It gave a loan guarantee, which is in fact just a subsidy to U.S. banks, for a mere $1 billion loan the Ukraine may want to take up.

Since mid February the Ukrainian currency, the Hydrina, fell from $0.12 to $0.08. The loans and bills the Ukraine has to pay are in U.S. dollars or Euros. Each day the currency falls further increases the debt in ratio to the local GDP.

Since January Russia has offered talks with other European leaders to find a solution for Ukraine's economic crisis. The offer has not been taken up. It seems as if the EU and the U.S. are simply ignoring the problem and are calmly watching as the Ukraine defaults and slips even deeper into chaos.

What is their intend behind this? Why wasn't this foreseen when the U.S. and EU pressed for "regime change"? Is this just the childish attitude of "if I can't have it I will destroy it"? For what purpose?

Putin points out that a lot of gas to "western" Europe flows through pipelines across the Ukraine. Should Gazprom not get paid for deliveries to Ukraine itself it will stop the flow destined to Ukraine. Ukraine will then, likely, skim off the flow that is destined to other countries. This is a European problem. Why isn't the EU leading talks on Ukraine?

While there is a lot of anti-Russian bluster in the media no none can argue that Russia does not deserves to be paid for the gas it delivers. Russia can also easily suspend all gas deliveries to the "west" for a few month and fill its new pipelines towards the east and China. It does not the EU to survive. There is really nothing the EU can win by not talking to Russia and by not finding a solution for the Ukraine. What òr who is holding this up?

Posted by b on April 10, 2014 at 17:07 UTC | Permalink

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The ruling class in the west, and the accompanied media, see themself as the proven winner of history and every dissident opinion is simply silly, not worth discussion. They do not ignore russian interests, they can't imagine that russia has legitimate interests different from their own.

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Apr 10 2014 17:47 utc | 1

Rule or destroy? Rule or destroy?

How about rule TO destroy?

With the IMF in the mix, and Big Agribusiness looking to scoop up agricultural land for a song, this sounds highly plausible. It'll be the NeoLiberal Holodomor; foreigners own their agricultural land, cram it to the gills with GMO crops (you think that the putsch will resist this? In NeoLiberal doctrine, this kind of "vertical integration" serves the Holy Market, and cannot be controverted.), deprive many agricultural sector workers of their employment, and this while the IMF makes it impossible for Ukrainians to afford to buy food grown on their land, let alone pay for energy supplies. Starving. Freezing. In the dark.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Apr 10 2014 17:47 utc | 2

"What is their intend behind this? Why wasn't this foreseen when the U.S. and EU pressed for "regime change"? Is this just the childish attitude of "if I can't have it I will destroy it"? For what purpose?"

To make Russia look intransigent of course. Same reason they rejected 3 way talks before.

Posted by: dh | Apr 10 2014 17:59 utc | 3

Germany,is truly finding itself in a predicament
I dont like "Der Spiegel" but this is a must-read

Posted by: Some1 | Apr 10 2014 18:00 utc | 4

"What is their intend behind this? Why wasn't this foreseen when the U.S. and EU pressed for "regime change"? Is this just the childish attitude of "if I can't have it I will destroy it"? For what purpose?"

Nobody on this blog has mentioned so far Ukraine currently ranks as the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter.

"In Europe and North America, the Ukrainian industry is known first for Antonov, maker of the world’s largest transport aircraft, on which NATO has relied heavily for moving outsized loads in and out of Afghanistan and other places. Zorya Mashproect notably builds marine gas turbines—and remarkably, for the Russian Navy too. But Ukraine’s arms business is substantially the heavy kit of ground combat, including T-84 tanks, BTR-3 and -4 armored personnel carriers, Smerch rocket launchers, howitzers, automatic grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles, and machine guns.
That could sound like industrial might worthy of a land war against Russia, but the industrial output hasn’t been available to the Ukrainian Army."

Posted by: Some1 | Apr 10 2014 18:10 utc | 5

The Ukrainian industry is NOT known to still be a vital part of the modernisation projekts of the Russian Army.
In German:

Posted by: Some1 | Apr 10 2014 18:18 utc | 6

The West isn't bargaining because the Russian position is thoroughly reasonable: 1) federalization of the Ukrainian state, granting greater autonomy to the regions; 2) recognition of official status of Russian language; and 3) neutrality. The last item is the deal killer for the U.S. and the putschists. The February coup, like Kosovo 15 years earlier, has always been about the eastward expansion of NATO.

The West holds very few cards, other than fomenting more crises and creating more destabilization along the Russian border. The overriding logic of the United States in Ukraine, as in Syria, is the Rumsfeldian/Neocon one: when confronted with a problem that you have not been able to solve with your present strategy don't alter your strategy; rather, make the problem even larger.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Apr 10 2014 18:18 utc | 7

That Germany is finding itself in a predicament is not a surprise
After all NATO was created to keep Germany down
(Russia out & the US on top)
Those aren't exactly the sentiments expressed
But that is the point of NATO
Therefore Germany is getting it's dues.

"Nato’s role was, in the words of its first secretary general, Hastings Ismay, “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down”. "

btw: The US has released a report blaming Russia for the boston bombing, (more of that theatre of the absurd) and just in time for the 1 year anniversary and for that news to get wide spin via the NATO media. So perfectly timed. It has to be a coincidence, right?!

I had suggested that as a very probable outcome, got shot down by many, but there it is

Posted by: Penny | Apr 10 2014 18:36 utc | 8

the Ukrainian currency, the Hydrina
It's a Hryvnia, Bernhard! The hryvnia, sometimes hryvnya (Ukrainian: гривня, pronounced [ˈɦrɪu̯ɲɑ], abbr.: грн (hrn in Latin alphabet)); sign: ₴, code: UAH), has been the national currency of Ukraine since Sep 2 1996. The hryvnia is subdivided into 100 kopiyok. In medieval times, it was the currency of Kievan Rus'. The currency of Kievan Rus' in the eleventh century was called grivna. The word is thought to derive from the Slavic griva; cf Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, and Serbo-Croatian грива / griva, meaning "mane". It may have indicated something valuable worn around the neck, usually made of silver or gold; cf Bulgarian and Serbian grivna (гривна, "bracelet"). Later, the word was used to describe silver or gold ingots of a certain weight; cf Ukrainian hryvenyk (гривеник), Russian grivennik (гривенник, "10-kopek piece"). The modern Ukrainian hryvnia is sometimes transliterated as hryvna, hrivna, gryvna or grivna, due to its Russian language counterpart, гри́вна, pronounced grívna. However, the standard English name for the currency is hryvnia. The National Bank of Ukraine has recommended that a distinction be made between hryvnia and grívna in both historical and practical means. The hryvnia sign is a cursive Ukrainian letter He (г), with a double horizontal stroke, symbolizing stability, similar to that used in other currency symbols such as ¥ or €. The sign was encoded as U+20B4 in Unicode 4.1 and released in 2005. It is now supported by the latest computer systems. It is still rarely used in Ukraine; instead, the abbreviation "грн." is preferred. So now you know.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 10 2014 18:39 utc | 9

Boris Kagarlitsky has a very interesting piece at Counterpunch:
Crimea annexes Russia.

He points out two of the central problems in this crisis. The first being that the rulers of Russia are deeply invested in the neo-liberalism promoted by the Empire. And the second that the opposition to the rulers of Russia is even more oriented towards the west, begging NATO to attack Putin and objectively siding with the Russophobic fascists in Ukraine and elsewhere, including the Baltic states.

He adds that nothing would be more to Russia's benefit than real economic sanctions from the west and expulsion from the WTO, because such moves would drive Russia to restore the economy's industrial capacity and mobilise the enormous resources, particularly in skilled labour, currently being wasted as the oligarchs volunteer to be the Empire's 'hewers of wood and drawers of water' making billions by selling off raw materials and fossil fuels at world market prices.

"....The liberal press is now setting out to frighten the public with the threat of economic sanctions on the part of the West, but the main danger to our economy stems precisely from the fact that there will be no such sanctions. If the West were in fact to impose serious sanctions, this would open up enormous opportunities, creating the preconditions for a growth of employment, for wage increases and for creating new jobs. Suspending Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization would be a gift to our industry. Placing a blockade on technology transfers would make it necessary to revive Russian enterprises.

"We are in acute need of sanctions, since they would provide a chance for us to restore our industry, to diversify production, to wage a struggle against capital flight and to conquer our own internal market. But the ruling layers in the US and European Union have no intention of aiding Russia, so there will be no serious sanctions, merely symbolic acts aimed at calming public opinion in the USA and Europe and at giving moral support to the “patriotic” pretensions of the Russian elite.

"The Central Bank will, of course, press ahead with the policy of lowering the ruble exchange rate that it has already been pursuing since last year. On this level, the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea have proved extremely opportune, since they have allowed the bank to accelerate the process. Whether the bank’s hopes of raising the competitiveness of the Russian economy solely through devaluation will prove justified is, of course, a separate question.

"Contrary to the ideas of liberals and conservatives (who suffer, surprisingly enough, from the same hallucinations), the policies of the Russian authorities do not stem from any conscious decision to enter into confrontation with the West, but from an attempt to keep this confrontation – which is objectively inevitable, and does not depend on the will of the Kremlin – to a minimum.

"Nevertheless, an intensification of the conflict is predetermined by the overall logic of the economic crisis, which inevitably is sharpening the struggle for markets, destabilising international relations and strengthening the rivalry between the West and the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Meanwhile it is obvious that Russia, as well as being central to the BRICS chain, is also its weakest link. While lagging in its economic and especially industrial growth rates, and lacking a functional national elite, Russia nevertheless remains the only European country in this potential bloc, and retains a scientific, diplomatic and military potential that other societies will need decades if not centuries to accumulate. As a result, the policies of the Western elites toward our country are marked by a fundamental duality: while taking every opportunity to weaken Russia, the Western powers simultaneously do not allow Russia to take its distance from them, and in the process, to undergo a definitive rapprochement with the non-Western world.

"The Russian elites are themselves allies and hostages of these policies; the whole policy course of our ruling circles can in essence be reduced to a mirror image of the same formula...."

The conflict is not over neo-liberalism, which all parties appear to espouse, but the rivalry between Russia and the "west" now represented by the USA which was old before Columbus was born.
On the other hand the only way out for Russia, and the other "outs" in an imperial system stacked against them inevitably involves central planning, breaking with globalisation and, by raising the banners of equality and fraternity, mobilising the energies of the people.

It is always useful to remember, as we watch Putin run rings round his American antagonists and play the part of the patriot, that he used to work for Yeltsin, and in no mean capacity, either.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 10 2014 18:44 utc | 10

This is how I see the situation.
Slow development scenario: Crimea becomes another frozen conflict, Ukraine gets the IMF scraps and an austerity program, cuts in everything kill public spending, chaos ensues, amidst riots and clashes between various nationalist fractions Russian troups enter Ukraine, perhaps with a UN mandate.
Fast development scenario: nationalists mutiny against the putchists as they have already started to, chaos ensues, possibly civilian deaths. Russians wait for the civilian deaths to reach a sizable count the West won't be able to deny and intervenes.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 10 2014 18:48 utc | 11

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the recent price increase for Russian gas to Ukraine still below fair market value?

Posted by: Jon Lester | Apr 10 2014 18:56 utc | 12

Neil Clark has a very interesting take on the election in Hungary and the "left" in Europe. RT published it yesterday:

Posted by: bevin | Apr 10 2014 18:58 utc | 13

@bevin #10:

I am not sure what to make of that article.

our oppositionists are just as hostile to the values of the European Enlightenment as are Putin, Yatsenyuk and Merkel.

How can Kagarlitzky put Putin in the same class as Yatsenyuk? Putin is not a neoliberal Western puppet. Also, if you want examples of being anti-Enlightenment, American and English elites, with their lawlessness and passion for mass surveillance, are much more enthusiastically anti-Enlightenment than Angela Merkel.

As for Russia not abandoning neoliberalism entirely, is Kagarlitzky aware that Putin is not a dictator, but the leader of a democratic state? Putin did not destroy the oligarchs entirely, but entered into an alliance with those oligarchs who were willing to accommodate him. So there are limits to how far Putin can deviate from the present global neoliberal regime, unless, as Kagarlitsky himself notes, the West forces Putin to do it.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10 2014 19:33 utc | 14

Sorry, the point I was trying to make in the previous post is that not only is Putin not "hostile to the values of the European Enlightenment": he is the only current leader of a major country who tries to maintain those values.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10 2014 19:37 utc | 15

Excellent analysis regarding the financial situation surrounding the Ukraine. Seems the EU & US was completely unaware of the financial ties between W-Europe, Ukraine & Russia.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 10 2014 20:01 utc | 16

Not sure how the US is going to pull this one out of the fire. Unless the West is willing to spend quite a bit then Ukraine slips into chaos and Russia wins by default. Part of spending lots of money would be to repay the Russians for the Ukrainians' oil bill. If the West doesn't pay Ukraine's bills, then Russia can cut off gas to Ukraine. Ukraine will siphon off gas along the pipeline and then Russia will be forced to cut off gas through the Ukrainian pipeline. Then what does the EU do?

I suspect that Merkel is about ready to walk away from her Cold War US allies in the near future and cut a deal with Putin. What other choice does she have? Shut down European industry for five years until the fracked oil from the US (which is being sold to China) starts arriving in Europe? Nothing like being more dependent on the US.

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Apr 10 2014 20:15 utc | 17

no none can argue that Russia does not deserves to be paid for the gas it delivers
I'm sure the argument would be: 1. Russia invaded Ukraine. 2. There is no negotiated peace treaty that requires the Ukraine pay an indemnity to Russia 3. Ukraine doesn't reward aggressors 4. Ukraine hereby repudiates the debt

And the putschists would have NATO standing behind them when they said that.

And Russia would have to decide if the repudiation of the debt was worth a war.

In other words, I cant believe the "sanctity of debt" would outweigh the West's geopolitical concerns with Russia.

Posted by: ess emm | Apr 10 2014 20:27 utc | 18

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10, 2014 3:33:19 PM | 14

Regarding Kagarlitzky, this is rather neutral:

"Alexander Mercouris says:
December 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Dear Moscow Exile,

The only interesting thing about this article is that it is by Boris Kagarlitsky and that an article by him has appeared in Moscow Times.

Boris Kagarlitsky must be one of the oldest Russian political commentators around. I can remember him writing right at the start of perestroika, when he was trying to set up his own political group amongst Moscow youth groups. He is very much an ultra Leftist who has consistently criticised every Russian government since Gorbachev’s from the Left and who claims (wrongly) that Putin’s government is simply the continuation of Yeltsin’s and is continuing the same neo liberal policies as Yeltsin’s (which makes it difficult to understand why Russian liberals in that case oppose Putin so vehemently). When he therefore says that most Russians oppose neo liberal politicies he means that they oppose Putin’s policies.

Kagarlitsky has a very wide following amongst western ultra Leftists amongst whom he is probably the most influential writer on Russian questions. He is for instance the main Russian contributor and writer on Russian questions on Znet, an American Leftist political blog run by people close to the US academic and anarchist Noam Chomsky. The fact that Kagarlitsky’s predictions of what will happen in Russia invariably turn out wrong seems to have no effect on his standing in such circles. I suppose he tells them what they want to hear and gives then a reason for sharing the western hostility to Putin, which they might otherwise be embarrassed to share with right wing western governments and media.

Anyway the one thing that has been absolutely clear to me about Kagarlitsky for a very long time is that whilst Kagarlitsky is influential amongst western ultra Leftists he has no influence or following in Russia at all. I do not know of any Russian who knows or cares about him and I have never seen him play any sort of role in Russian politics (even Russian left wing politics) or in any Russian news story. Not only is his Moscow Times article an almost unique appearance in at least the English language part of the Russian press that I am able to read, but I am utterly bewildered that a newspaper like Moscow Times whose ideology is pro capitalist, pro free market and pro western should publish an article by someone whose professed beliefs are the diametric opposite. I suppose the fact that Kagarlitsky is an opponent of Putin trumps everything."

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 10 2014 20:30 utc | 19

It is probably redundant to say this, since most people at MoA probably currently follow the Saker, but his last two posts are must-reads. In one he says that what is going to happen in the southeastern Ukraine is probably going to be a replay of Yeltsin's assault on the Duma in 1993, and that the best course of action for Russia is not to intervene militarily, but to strangle the putch regime economically.

The second post directs one to a very slick video presentation explaining the latest Kiev putsch. Apparently there are English subtitles. (I can't confirm that, since Flash crashes on my Unix box.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10 2014 20:35 utc | 20

Bevin @ 10.

He's right, and I speak as an economist who actually knows how this works.

Posted by: Knut | Apr 10 2014 20:39 utc | 21

"There is really nothing the EU can win by not talking to Russia and by not finding a solution for the Ukraine. What òr who is holding this up?"

Simple. The west do not want the Russians to have any input or further influence. Period.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 10 2014 20:40 utc | 22

@20 - Great Video Link on the Saker blog

Posted by: georgeg | Apr 10 2014 20:45 utc | 23

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10, 2014 4:35:50 PM | 20 & Posted by: georgeg | Apr 10, 2014 4:45:38 PM | 23

I concur, the one about SE Ukraine is very good:

The video has English subtitles, I checked, but I have not had time to watch it yet.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 10 2014 20:50 utc | 24

Scalawag 22

Exactly, I dont understand that ppl even ask such a obvious question.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 10 2014 21:21 utc | 25

The western war criminals are hyping some imaginary build up of Russian forces on the Ukraine border, all set to invade as their latest propaganda to increase tensions and demonize Russia. NATO’s Russian troop build-up satellite images ‘show 2013 drills’

"NATO’s top military commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, on Wednesday claimed that there is evidence of what he says are 40,000 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, tweeting a link to satellite images.

The images, some of them colored and some black and white, appear to show multiple Russian tanks, helicopters, fighter jets and a “special forces brigade” with locations and dates added to them. The dates marked range from March 22 to March 27, 2014. Another image not available on the original webpage but used by some Western media has “April 2, 2014” stamped on it.

Upon looking at the photos, a senior official at the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces has confirmed to RIA Novosti the troops shown are indeed Russian ones and that they were photographed in the south of Russia.

There is one problem, though: the images were taken some eight months before the stated date, the source said.

“These shots, which were distributed by NATO, show Russian Armed Forces units of the Southern Military District, which in the summer of last year were taking part in various drills, including near the Ukrainian border,” the General Staff official told RIA Novosti.

NATO on Thursday continued ramping up allegations of possible “Russian invasion” into Ukraine, with NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen claiming that 40,000 Russian troops are still amassed on the Ukrainian border “not training but ready for combat.”

Rasmussen’s “message to Russia” was then “to stop blaming others for your own actions, to stop massing your troops, to stop escalating this crisis and start engaging in a genuine dialogue.”

I'll bet Breedlove and Rasmussen are an "item".

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 10 2014 21:44 utc | 26

"It seems as if the EU and the U.S. are simply ignoring the problem and are calmly watching as the Ukraine defaults and slips even deeper into chaos.

What is their intend behind this? Why wasn't this foreseen when the U.S. and EU pressed for "regime change"? Is this just the childish attitude of "if I can't have it I will destroy it"? For what purpose?"

It's silly to posit that the west didn't "[foresee Ukraine's meltdown] when the U.S. and EU pressed for "regime change". Sort of like that delusional comment writer here who claims the west has no strategic planning, they just act tactically, like a junkie looking for a fix. :)

So the question that should be asked is why is the west letting the Ukraine sink into chaos?

So far, I've seen no serious effort to stabilize the country, and a lot of effort going into creating instability. So I'm going to guess right now it is probably the latter the west wants.

But, why? That begs another: What then was the west's goal in the regime change?

Did they want a new colony? Or did they want to destabilize the Ukraine in order to weaken Russia?

If they can get Russia to invade, it will be a major propaganda coup that they can use to isolate Russia from many countries still sitting on the fence. Since there are a lot of anti-Russian Ukrainians, a Russian invasion could also become a protracted occupation for Russia in much the same way Afghanistan was. This could weaken and divide the country, creating a better climate for regime change in Russia, a much coveted goal of the west.

With Russia and China on an economic rise, the west in decline, knocking off Russia would at the least buy time for the west to deal with China. Russia and China are set to remove the dollar as the world's reserve currency, and once that happens, the west's dominance will cease altogether. The "master race" will have to take a seat on the bus with everybody else.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 10 2014 22:22 utc | 27

@scalawag #27:

Especially frustrating is Merkel's failure to respond to any of Russia's overtures with regarding the geographical region known as the Ukraine. You'd think that she'd be concerned about Germany's economic interests here, given that the Kiev regime has threatened Europe with interfering with Russia's gas supplies to it.

Maybe she is reluctant to do anything constructive with regard to the Ukraine until she meets with Obama next month. USG has not responded to FRG's requests for the NSA's files on Merkel. Given that, unlike Russia, Germany is supposed to be an ally of the US, USG is treating Germany with the same rudeness and contempt with which it treats Russia.

Germans really should start acting as if they realize that the post-World War II period is over, and kick the US out of their country. Russia can help them with that. Maybe it can rent a few submarines loaded with ICBMs to them, so that the Americans can't subject Germans to nuclear blackmail, as they are presently doing.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10 2014 23:11 utc | 28

Posted by: bevin | Apr 10, 2014 2:44:22 PM | 10
Yes Crimea annexed russia isn cute...but as we all know no 'annexation' took place in either direction.

Kagalitsksy (left wing) piece reads almost like a hit piece on Putin....which means he must have something better and a way and person to deliver it.
I doubt it.
the last few years have shown me the left wing to be making some spectacuarly bad judgements, so i no longer give them a blank check.

Putin (some sort of conservative) is by far the best thing to happen to russia in generations...and no amount of snarky 'he used to work for Yeltsin, and in no mean capacity, either.' (translation: he doesnt work for us) will change that or make any left wing solution automatically work...Its the left thats been backing the wars on Libya and syria and whos judgement has been seriously undermined across the board by some really bad front men.

Posted by: brian | Apr 10 2014 23:12 utc | 29

the more i read the Kagalitsky piece the worse it gets....Yoking Putin(martial arts politics) with Merkel(waffling center) and Yats(a real thief who sent Ukraine gold to the coffers of the empire) is the sort of lousy judgement of someone who begrudges not being in can Putin be compared to those two by someone who expects to retain a reputation for sound judgement?

Posted by: brian | Apr 10 2014 23:24 utc | 30

With Russia and China on an economic rise,

Russia cannot be compared with China. China has a significant manufacturing base, whereas Russia is a pseudo rentier state that extracts and sells oil and natural gas. The only thing going for the Kleptocratic mafia leadership of Russia is its nukes. It's just a matter of time until technology is developed to neutralize those, and then Russia's back to the Stone Age where it belongs.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Apr 10 2014 23:46 utc | 31

Who else do you hate besides Russians, Cold? Blacks? Latinos? Jews? Muslims? Women?

And I see you have swallowed the American Star Wars Kool Aid.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 10 2014 23:52 utc | 32


Isnt this uncalled for, Demian? Cold never said anything, at least in this paragraph, about hating russians, or for that matter anyone else. This sort of seems to me like a personal attack, but maybe theres some past comments of Colefields that im missing that would elucidate your point.

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 10 2014 23:56 utc | 33

Yeah, right. As if Russia can't neutralize the neutralizers.

Posted by: turthbetold | Apr 10 2014 23:59 utc | 34


Why do you surf the Web if you have reading comprehension problems? How is saying that Russia "belongs" in "the Stone Age" anything else but an expression of hatred of Russians?

Posted by: Demian | Apr 11 2014 0:03 utc | 35

@10 - bevin. thanks for sharing. i enjoyed the article and thought it was fairly insightful. reading some other responses to this same article make me wonder how they came to the conclusions they did off the same article.

Posted by: james | Apr 11 2014 0:04 utc | 36

@32 massinissa.. i think the fact someone says "..then Russia's back to the Stone Age where it belongs." is enough of a clue to give a clear heads up on the (fucked up) nature of the person making the comment. it isn't very funny in matters involving the possibility of war.. but then 'some' americans seem to think making war on other countries and bombing them into oblivion is the way forward. they have a media that has been converted into treating everything like a football match where the bombmaster - usa - is to be cheered at whatever the cost, even if it means it is their own humanity, or inhumanity as the case may be, that is on full display.

Posted by: james | Apr 11 2014 0:28 utc | 37

I had known that Poland benefited from EU “structural adjustment funds” but I honestly didn’t know their full magnitude. According to Engelhart Poland has “received more than $154 billion in foreign aid” over the just past decade and is scheduled to receive another $150 billion between 2014 and 2020. So over a roughly 20 year span Poland will have received over three hundred billion dollars worth of external assistance.

The point on Poland is extremely important, it was actually rattling around in my head as I looked over the comparisons of it, Ukraine, and states like the Baltics and Belarus - can Poland's "miracle" actually due to the largess of a post-cold war "Marshall Plan"? Indeed it appears so.

The fact is that Poland is now a highly subsidized economy, intended to be the showcase state for the transition from communism. And the $300 billion is surely understated, that is simply pure aid. More has come from direct foreign investment - the Germans have made huge investments into the Polish economy, on the order of tens of billions. What this means in practice is an economy which has largely been made subservient to the German one. So subservient, in fact, that when people discuss a break up of the EU, it is assumed that Poland would meekly go along into a new, German led bloc. Lech Walesa has gone so far as suggesting that Germany and Poland should unite into one nation.

But for all this cash flooding into Poland, what have been the results? The main effect seems to be, like all neoliberal economies, that the shiny new office buildings and tech start ups are the flip side to an increasingly desperate sector left behind by the "miracle". Indeed, a large sector prefer the old system, while near half of the population say things are the same or worse under the neo-liberal system as they were under communism (surely not a glowing recommendation for either one). Though Poland is "one of the fastest growing economies in the world" among OECD countries, it ranks very badly in terms of poverty, being 21st out of the 24 OECD states. Indeed, social inequality is rising right along with the "miracle" growth rates.

So, will the Ukraine become the "new Poland" and what would that really mean anyway? Perhaps the Ukrainian people ought to look at Poland as a warning, not as a hope. After all, life in the "miracle" country is not so spectacular, though it is head and shoulders about what has happened in the other Eastern European countries. But if this is mostly based on an influx of cash from the west and a prime position as the growth area for the German economy - Ukrainians should not expect the same kind of largess Poland has received. Likely many can look forward to increasing poverty and social decline, and a huge number will likely look at this as a time to regret.

I think the Ukrainians ought to ask themselves which future is to be preferred: to be the economic heart of Eurasia, or to be the backwater of the EU and NATO?

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 11 2014 0:44 utc | 38

"It's silly to posit that the west didn't "[foresee Ukraine's meltdown] when the U.S. and EU pressed for "regime change". Sort of like that delusional comment writer here who claims the west has no strategic planning, they just act tactically, like a junkie looking for a fix.

Right. It's also silly to believe the US actually believed it could invade Iraq and turn it into a puppet state
in short order. Instead of Iran now having dominant influece there now and the US desperately trying to reverse this
situation. The political class Elite are not only evil they are invincible. Sistani did not actually veto the plan by
refusing Bush's election scheme where pre-appointed flunkies were the only viable candidates--while the mainly Sunni insurgents
provided bloody resilient resolve long enough to wear the US populace weary of the quagmire.

It was all planned in advance, more or less just how it turned out. And if you say otherwise, you are silly at best, and an
agent of the Conspiracy at worst.

Posted by: amspirnational | Apr 11 2014 0:51 utc | 39

@ Massanina - are you, by chance, kidding?

"then Russia's back to the Stone Age where it belongs." What exactly would one have to say about any other country before politically correct folk started getting the vapors? What is it exactly about Russia that makes it "belong in the stone age"?

This is old anti-Russian "they're uncivilized" garbage on which so much mayhem has been based. But it is okay because it is Russia, I suppose?

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 11 2014 0:54 utc | 40

@Massinissa - Sorry, didn't mean to butcher your name in 40.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 11 2014 0:56 utc | 41

@Massinissa - here is another gem by this fuck: Russians are apparently a murderous bunch as is witnessed by its crime statistics

Real good. I could go on if you like - or perhaps you could go through the drek yourself.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 11 2014 0:58 utc | 42

RT just took a nice little dig at EU attempts to diversify gas imports by noting that "supplies from North Africa have been... unreliable."

In other words: "how's that Libya regime change workin' out for you fuckers?"

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 11 2014 1:12 utc | 43


My bad. I didnt actually read that last sentence.

I skim.

Sorry ^_^

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 11 2014 1:33 utc | 44


Thank you, it appears I only skimmed his comment without reading that last sentence. I do apologize for my mistake.

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 11 2014 1:34 utc | 45


I do apologize. I only skimmed his comment without reading the last sentence. Thank you for bringing this mistake to my attention ^_^

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 11 2014 1:36 utc | 46

@Massinissa #44:

No problem. Sorry I was a bit rude with you. (I'm Russian American lol.)

As for Cold N. Holefield's serious point, I think everybody, including the Russians, knows that Russian industry, especially hi-tech, is underdeveloped. (I heard Putin himself say recently that Russia does not make computers, and that that is a problem.)

It will be interesting to see if the Russians get hi-tech manufacturing know-how from the Germans and/or Chinese, the way the Chinese got it from Western direct investment. (It was crazy from a strategic point of view for USG to allow all that technology transfer to a rising rival power, but then, Lenin did say something about capitalists and ropes…)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 11 2014 1:45 utc | 47

Speaking of strategic industries, I find it an act of treason that Intel designs and manufactures its CPUs in Israel.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 11 2014 1:53 utc | 48

b asks:

What òr who is holding this up?

There may be many answers and many degrees but I suggest:

Disaster Capitalism:
Big Ag, Monsanto et al.

JerseyJeffersonian @ #2 I think nailed a huge part of it:

Big Agribusiness looking to scoop up agricultural land for a song

71% of the Ukraine surface area (41 million hectarces) are agricultural.


Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.

Posted by: juannie | Apr 11 2014 2:18 utc | 49


Its a shame that a large boycott of Intel would probably flounder and die, since America cares more about its tech toys than about Palestinians.

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 11 2014 2:26 utc | 50

"It's just a matter of time until technology is developed to neutralize those, and then Russia's back to the Stone Age where it belongs."

Disparaging Russia can be bad for one's health.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 11 2014 2:39 utc | 51

With reference to events in Ukraine, Paul Craig Roberts has written "is the US or the World Coming to an End?
It will be one or the other"
Roberts links to Peter Koenig' article at 

from the latter article:
“During his visit to Duisburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a master stroke of economic diplomacy that runs directly counter to the Washington neo-conservative faction’s effort to bring a new confrontation between NATO and Russia.” (press TV, April 6, 2014)

Using the role of Duisburg as the world’s largest inland harbor, an historic transportation hub of Europe and of Germany’s Ruhr steel industry center, he proposed that Germany and China cooperate on building a new “economic Silk Road” linking China and Europe. The implications for economic growth across Eurasia are staggering.”
Curiously, western media have so far been oblivious to both events.

In addition, the BRICS are preparing to launch a new currency – composed by a basket of their local currencies – to be used for international trading, ....

Along with the new BRICS(A) currency will come a new international payment settlement system, replacing the SWIFT and IBAN exchanges, thereby breaking the hegemony of the infamous privately owned currency and gold manipulator, the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) in Basle, Switzerland – also called the central bank of all central banks.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 11 2014 2:43 utc | 52

Somewhat OT, but a gem: Now Russia is at fault for the Boston Bombings apparently.

Russia Didn’t Share All Details on Boston Bombing Suspect, Report Says

WASHINGTON — The Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack, according to an inspector general’s report.

Russian officials had told the F.B.I. in 2011 that the suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer” and that Mr. Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

A new level of stupidity.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 11 2014 2:46 utc | 53

Posted by: amspirnational | Apr 10, 2014 8:51:14 PM | 39

"It was all planned in advance, more or less just how it turned out. And if you say otherwise, you are silly at best, and an
agent of the Conspiracy at worst."

Somebody seems upset? A bit of a strawman, anyway. Not planning for the obvious (which is what "b" insinuated) is quite a bit different than having plans fail (which is what you are crying about). Your "history" of the Iraq war is the sort of "history" peddled by the likes of the NYT, and everybody knows how accurate their garbage is.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 11 2014 3:10 utc | 54

@53 - when a country and it's msm works endlessly at re-creating the evil empire somewhere on the globe in order to make war, that is the outcome..when do they make putin a friend of the boston bombers? have they got that pic cued up yet? hey msm - drop the facade and tell everyone to hate russia for all the bad shit they are responsible for and just make it up! it is all hollywood make believe anyway..the folks are so addicted to the pharma industry and heavily drugged anyway, they will swallow it all. when do they start working on morphing putin into hitler? have they got that going yet? turn on the moron and war machine simultaneously! - same button, lol.. hey, i heard putin was responsible for 9-11.. i like starting rumours.. it's only a matter of time someone whose name reminds me of a sickness will just swallow and regurgitate the whole thing anyway..

Posted by: james | Apr 11 2014 3:16 utc | 55

brian @29
"..Its the left thats been backing the wars on Libya and syria and whos judgement has been seriously undermined across the board by some really bad front men."
You might want to read the link given @13.

As to Kagarlitsky I know nothing about him. What he writes in the piece cited is all that I am recommending to be read and considered.
Some people in these threads have the peculiar habit of assuming that to recommend consideration of something is to align ones self with the author, agree with everything he writes and ever did write, endorse his dietary, sexual and lifestyle choices and apologise for anything that he ever did.
Such is not my view: few people are always right or right about all things, Putin, as I suggested, may be a very shrewd and adroit diplomat playing a vital role in preserving peace and deterring aggression but he is still a neo-liberal committed to policies which are ruinous for ordinary people everywhere.
Furthermore this neo-liberalism will cripple Russia's economy and waste the enormous cultural and scientific strength which it inherited. If Russia persists in its current kow-towing to market forces and continues to consign millions of its people to the scrapheaps of underemployment it will pay the price in losing its sovereignty and what is left of the wealth that Yeltsin et al auctioned off to gangsters for pennies.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 11 2014 3:17 utc | 56

"00:19 GMT:

In order to crush the rebellion in southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, the governors newly appointed by Kiev rely on their own armed militias, Ukrainian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

“It is being carried out by the fighters, hired by local authorities,” Tsarev says. “In all areas of the south and the east these questions are supervised by first deputies newly appointed by the governors. Everyone has around 200 fighters on their allowance.”

Yet Tsarev says that not all of the fighters are from the radical Right Sector nationalist movement. He maintains that while many members of the neo-Nazi group might command the militias, many units consist of “local small criminals” that were assembled on the orders and financial support of the “oligarchs.”

He says that this type of intimidation falls in line with Kiev's government, which relies on “language of threats and individual terror,” something witnessed before in a number of post-coup countries.

“Present day authorities in Kiev with their Right Sector and the National Guard, consisting of former militants, have not invented anything new," Tsarev says.

Kiev's policy in relation to the south-east of the country, according to Tsarev, aims to “discourage not only historical memory, but also very fresh memories of 'Eurorevolution.” He says that the self-imposed government “ignored adopted laws which they passed themselves, for example, an amnesty for all participants in the riots,” when they refer to protests in the south-east as “separatist”, calling participants “bandits.”

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 11 2014 3:30 utc | 57

Oleg Tsarev, the man talking in the RT timeline linked above, is making quite a name for himself in the Ukraine.

Attacked by nazis: В Николаеве майдановцы избили и закидали яйцами Олега Царева

Then threatened by a nazi crowd: "Правый сектор" заблокировал Олега Царева в гостинице в Одессе

Somebody to pay attention to, provided Tel Aviv/New York/London don't manage to get him murdered.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 11 2014 3:40 utc | 58

Somewhat OT:
Ten great inventions you didn't know were German

Aspirin: The world's favourite painkiller is a German creation. The little white pill made from willow bark was developed by Felix Hoffmann in August 1897 for pharmaceutical giant Bayer, and although a US company claimed the patent for the drug after World War One, 12,000 of the 50,000 tonnes of Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) produced each year are still made by Bayer.

What actually happened:

As part of the reparations after World War I, Bayer assets, including the rights to its name and trademarks, were confiscated in the United States, Canada, and several other countries. In the United States and Canada, Bayer's assets and trademarks were acquired by Sterling Drug, a predecessor of Sterling Winthrop.

In other words, what really happened is not that "a US company claimed the patent for the drug after World War One", but that Bayer's US assets were seized by USG. To this date, the most well known brand of aspirin in the US is called "Bayer Aspirin".

This is an example of how, because Germany is occupied by the US, to this day, German media and the German government condition the German people to be in denial about their living under a foreign occupation, and hence not being a free people. In this respect, German elites are at least as corrupt as Anglo-American elites.

The reason this comment is not completely off-topic is it helps one understand why Germany is acting against its own interest with respect to the Ukraine crisis, which was the question posed by b.

Why did head of [German] NSA probe quit?

the former head of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Hans-Georg Wieck, advised the committee to interview Snowden in Moscow. "One can't invite him to Germany because we can't offer him safety here since German-American relations are too important," he told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.

Can there be a plainer admission that Germany is not a sovereign country? That Russia is still a sovereign country is the reason that USG wants to destroy it.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 11 2014 4:38 utc | 59

Maidan snipers

in German - state television - "the government that is supported by the West covers up"

Posted by: somebody | Apr 11 2014 5:11 utc | 60

in German but easy to understand - spoof - German state television
Ukrainian democratic revolution

Posted by: somebody | Apr 11 2014 5:20 utc | 61

'Putin, as I suggested, may be a very shrewd and adroit diplomat playing a vital role in preserving peace and deterring aggression but he is still a neo-liberal committed to policies which are ruinous for ordinary people everywhere. '

perhaps youd care to show us how Putins policies are ruining russia....

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 5:24 utc | 62

A new level of stupidity.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 10, 2014 10:46:39 PM | 53

no...its policy

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 5:29 utc | 63

@somebody #60:

Germany still has a free press! That is the best report on the Maidan snipers that I have seen.

(I was also pleased to learn that I can still understand German TV as well as Russian TV, even though Russian is my mother tongue and I have not been in Germany for years.)

Given that Das Erste is the main German TV channel (unless I'm mistaken), that report suggests that when it comes to foreign affairs, Germans live in a completely different reality than most Americans.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 11 2014 5:47 utc | 64

In the end, the Ukraine affair is targeting western Europe more than Russia. The US will not pay a dime and will oblige their vassals (the europeans) to do it, which means that european economy will be on its knees and capital will leave Europe to go where,..., to the US! The latter will have achieved their goal (remember the Wolfowitz Doctrina of the 1990s) of enslaving Europe more than it's already. European leaders are not bothered by this because they don't represent countries, they represent corporate interests. It's the people that will have to take the burden.
In the end, the danger for Europe is not in the East, but rather in the West.

Posted by: MC | Apr 11 2014 7:34 utc | 65

@Demian, #64: Forget it. The lies are more sophisticated, and at the end of the day, the percentage of people who really dig into things close to reality is not higher than in the US.

Posted by: g_h | Apr 11 2014 7:56 utc | 66

According to Russia, all the satellite photos brandished by NATO's SACEUR, General Straelove, purporting to show a Russian buildup on the Ukrainian border, were actually taken during a Russian exercise last summer. Now that isn't a very sophisticated deception that's being exposed there, if they are right. It's a childishly crude piece of public lying about a matter on which the survival of the human species may well directly depend. But no matter: the western presss will not perceive it. Reuters reported it in a ten-line item that AFAICS has appeared so far only in the Lebanon Daily Star.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 11 2014 8:15 utc | 67

General Strangelove, that is: actually his name is Breedlove, but how could one resist changing it to Strangelove.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 11 2014 8:16 utc | 68

who is more credible, the nobel peace prize winner or the ex KGB officer?! #strangeworld
the Lies of Barack Obama: the candidate who people hoped would save the US and its presidency, show how to destroy it

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 8:52 utc | 69

Whether WWIII Will Escalate or Not Will be Determined Tomorrow! - Joaquin

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 9:10 utc | 70

russia is now very popular: people flee to there not from there
Retweeted Nina Byzantina (@NinaByzantina):

~5K Ukrainian citizens seek residence in #Russia daily/5000 украинцев обращаются в ФМС каждый день #Ukraine #Украина

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 9:12 utc | 71

Saker has another great piece explaining the reasoning and veiled warnings to Europe in Putin's recently delivered letter.
Must Read:

BTW: first time posting, but have been a silent follower for a while. Great work everyone, keep it up.

Posted by: EcMike | Apr 11 2014 9:15 utc | 72

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 1h
Between 2006 and today, percentage of Russians saying participation in G8 is "very important" fell from 40% to 13%.

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 9:20 utc | 73

@ Posted by: Some1 | Apr 10, 2014 2:10:48 PM | 5

Nobody on this blog has mentioned so far Ukraine currently ranks as the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter.

In one respect I have to ask so what? Their weapons industry produces obsolescent weapons and they don't have the money to modernise.

On the other hand they're going to be desperate to sell and obsolete is not a synonym for ineffective. I remember reading somewhere that most of the weapons being funelled to Syria by the Saudis were Ukrainian.



Posted by: Dubhaltach | Apr 11 2014 9:30 utc | 74

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 14h
German magazine Monitor challenges junta's version of who fired on the Maidan. … #fb

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 9:46 utc | 75

It's starting to smell like team spirit in here, the beer and nachos stench of half-time prognosticating, while in the pits, both the Fed and the ECB have reversed course and put a clampdown on easy money for 2nd-tier economies bond sales, sending the big international bourses into the lurch, shoving the Ukrainopocalypse belong the fold, and perhaps just enjoying a stroll to take advantage of the Myanmar kyat float, and make some mad stacks.

Far more interesting in today's news is Good Queen Hillary getting a shoe thrown at her:

"What was that, a bat? Was that a bat?!
Is that part of Cirq de Soleil?
My goodness, good thing I played softball."

Man, 2016 US POTUS elections are gonna be a hoot, ... if the G-8 economies last that long.

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Apr 11 2014 10:11 utc | 76

@Demian 59 There is more: The Great Patents Heist, One of the greatest ripoffs of all time was the theft of German patents after World War II

Posted by: ProPeace | Apr 11 2014 10:13 utc | 77

the kiev regime trying to fool the protesters now?

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 11 2014 10:24 utc | 78

Most apparently. So, careful. Arseny can be trusted to do the wrong/treacherous thing. But I am assuming the 99% understand this.

Posted by: Michaël | Apr 11 2014 10:39 utc | 79

Re the satellite photos:

An official in the Russian military general staff said the NATO satellite photographs were taken in Aug 2013, RIA Novosti reported. RIA quoted what it said was a high-level official in the Russian general staff as saying: ""These photographs that were distributed by NATO depict units of Russian forces of the Southern Military District which conducted various exercises last summer, some of them near the border with Ukraine," A NATO official responded that the images were from March and April this year and each image showed the date it was taken. Several images dated March 26 and taken around the Russian town of Belgorod, 40 km from the Ukraine border, showed units of a motorised rifle regiment, Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, supply and transport vehicles, according to NATO. Other satellite pictures, dated Mar 27 and taken near Novocherkassk, showed units of a motorised rifle regiment, a "probable" anti-tank battalion and artillery. More images, dated Mar 22 and taken near the port of Yeysk, just 20 km from Ukrainian airspace, showed four Su-33 fighter aircraft and an airborne early warning plane, while other pictures dated Apr 2, showed Su-27, Su-30, Su-24 and MiG-31 warplanes at the formerly vacant Buturlinovka air base, 150 km from the Ukraine border, according to NATO.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 11 2014 10:55 utc | 80

This is an example of how, because Germany is occupied by the US, to this day, German media and the German government condition the German people to be in denial about their living under a foreign occupation, and hence not being a free people. In this respect, German elites are at least as corrupt as Anglo-American elites.

The German people are fortunate they still exist let alone having a country still referred to as Germany. As we're seeing now, it was a mistake. Germany should have been dismantled for good after WWII and its remaining inhabitants relocated and scattered to the four winds. That would have been Total Defeat, but instead, it's risen from the ashes again, and has ascended to the throne of Europe and is betraying the West to Autocratic Tyranny. It just can't help itself. It's Germany's default so long as Germany exists despite the window dressing. One has to laugh at the obviousness of it when someone with a background like Merkel becomes Chancellor of Germany. She's a Russian mole and now Germany and Russia are tightening their bonds even further. But former Communists were always such hypocrites. A True Communist would have no problem selling gas at cost rather than "fair market price" to Ukraine...but not these Communists. No, these Communists are Uber-Capitalists and believe in selling poor people gas at ten times, or more, of its cost to extract. I'll have a post up shortly on how Russia can be brought to its knees in a matter of months but it won't happen because Oligarchs protect Oligarchs and Nation-States are just convenient foils. Putin has as much disdain for the "Common Man" as any immoral Oligarch and the technocratic minions who support the Oligarchs (FSB, CIA, NSA & FBI).

But perhaps most important of all, the European Union is headed by a former Communist control freak, with a penchant for ruthless disloyalty in order to get what she wants.

“Horst was a nice man, very friendly, all the children know him, he was a pastor. But he had influence, all the adults are knowing this. And Angela quickly became an enthusiasm for the regime, and persuading young people to be loyal.”

Although learning Russian was obligatory in East Germany, the young Angela excelled in the language, and undertook regular visits to Moscow and Leningrad. Russian officials today confirm that she speaks Russian “fluently with a very slight accent”. Putin, as it happens, speaks German with no accent at all: he spent fifteen years as a KGB agent liaising with the DDR’s notorious security agency, the Stasi. Horst Kasner was friendly with prominent Stasi alumni, and belonged to the “Christian Peace Conference”, a communist camouflage organisation funded by the KGB in Moscow. Another member of the CPC, Albrecht Schoenherr, had supplied him with the job as manager of the pastoral college.

Merkel is not, as is so often claimed, a physicist: she is a chemist specialising in the atomic physical nature of chemicals – a subject at the cutting edge of scientific development. Shortly after graduating in 1976, on a trip to Leningrad she met a fellow scientist, Ulrich Merkel, and they were married the following year. While Merkel completed a doctorate, her husband paid the rent on (and renovated) the flat they shared. The doctorate complete, Angela left her husband, taking the only thing of any value in the flat – a fridge – with her.

Ulrich had not the slightest inkling that his wife was about to leave: she hired a small van one morning and took the fridge. There was no discussion and no note. She divorced him in 1982. Her first husband has never remarried, and lives quietly in Frankfurt.

Angela meanwhile went from strength to strength in her career as a valued scientist and loyal DDR citizen. By now, however, Merkel’s fascination with power and political communication was becoming a big part of her life. Her specialism was youth propaganda: she became politically involved in the Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth), the politicised youth East German dictatorship. She rose quickly within the organisation, becoming Secretary of Political Education – the most important role in the organisation.

Today, Merkel insists that her job was menial, involving “organising theatre tickets and the like”. But this is simply untrue: she was an ambitious political activist. School-friends from her childhood town Templin remember the German leader still as a “Marxist loyal to the Party line”, in the furtherance of which she held a formal position within her class. A student who knows Merkel from the Karl Marx University in Leipzig, remembers a “convinced communist who brought her class-mates into line”.

We have no idea what the ambitious young Communist really thought when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but she wasn’t slow to respond to events. Within three weeks, she joined the Demokratischer Aufbruch (Democratic Revival), a Party modelled on the Centre-Right CDU in the West. She immediately took over the same function as she’d had in the old FDJ – redefined in democracy-speak as “Press spokesperson”.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Apr 11 2014 12:10 utc | 81

As I have posted here before (can't find it any more) Gorge Soros, for his part, provoked the Ukrainian war to pressure Germany into issuing (tradable) Euro-Bonds or skip the Euro.

Now Christine Lagarde promises to bail out Ukraine, but not before end of april / may, and meantime she stipulates ... Euro-Bonds with the wording "extraordinary measures by the ECB".

Remember Strauss-Kahn?
Strauss-Kahn, in coordination with Schäuble, Putin and others, proposed an IMF-reform, that would give "emerging market economies", especially "BRICS", much more leverage and SDR.

The US can't enforce the Dollar-debt on global markets forever and have to end QE before it damages the dollar exchange once more, now, that the "Euro crisis" had mostly been capped. The demise of the Dollar may come with a crash, which would probably kill at least 2 billion people, or there may be a transition preventing the worst. Inserting SDR of IMf, built of a basket of all major currencies, smoothly into the Dollar-economy was therefore a benign offer for the american people but it would subordinate the Federal Reserve, the Wall Street and the City of London to the IMF - instead the other way round, as it is mostly the case now.
You know what happened to Strauss-Kahn.

But the back side of the story, that led to the elimination of Strauss-Kahn, can be seen here:

The IMF-Reform Strauss-Kahn managed to put through in 2010, due in 2012, but blocked by the US:
more detailed:

You see, the shift to the developing markets was done at the expense of all traditional industrialized countries except the USA. That was the bait.

But of course the weight of the shares depend indirectly of the weight of the Dollar against other reserve currencies, especially the Euro, but to a growing extent it depends also on trade, debt and credit constructions in BRICS and SCO, and also bilateral trade of China-Japan, China-Iran and even China KSA / GCC, that circumvent the Dollar, partly backed by the gold reserve accumulated in China, Iran and India. For the way, the IMF shares and votes are used, depends largely on the relative weight and shares of the Dollar. The US can't punish militarily or by economic leverage a bulk of the economies for not aligning with them.

So many big players in the US allied to drag the Euro deeper into the crisis they had provoked in 2008 and succeeded. But they couldn't break the resistance of Germany and its allies against opening the Euro Sovereign Funds for any Dollar printed by the Fed, which would allow the US once more to export most of the burden of the transition off the Dollar world-curency.

That's why I think, there is a poker game on now at the G7 summit. I reckon Germany, Italy and France clearly opposed to the plans of the US aligned with Japan and Canada, which leaves a heavy if not deciding part to the UK. That might have been the simple reason many of the western players had to escalate the war in Ukraine: Enforce the ban of Russia off the table in order to break the stalemate of four to four.

I don't know which leverage Germany, France, Italy have against London, but the City of London for sure is at least more vulnerable to the Ukrainian war, than Wall Street.

Additional links:

Posted by: TomGard | Apr 11 2014 12:12 utc | 82

"While there is a lot of anti-Russian bluster in the media no none can argue that Russia does not deserves to be paid for the gas it delivers."

The United States State Dept. in effect so argued yesterday.

Arnold Lockshin, political exile from the US living in Moscow

Posted by: Arnold Lockshin | Apr 11 2014 12:19 utc | 83

in Ukraine: Alfa team who defied Paruby "Our units have been sent for the release of hostages& fight terrorism, we don't see any evidence of either"

Crimea&East ‏@IndependentKrym 45m
the institutional army seems to have defied him but Paruby still has:Right Sector, National Guard, Maidan defense, Mercs etc. still a threat

Crimea&East ‏@IndependentKrym 1h
KIevJunta agenda till yesterday was repression & now just cos their army is defying them they r at the table being"sweet" lol. do not trust!

Crimea&East ‏@IndependentKrym 1h
@IndependentKrym btw now it is obvious why KievJunta invented the hostages lie: to have an excuse to deploy alfa units in Lugansk &use force

Crimea&East ‏@IndependentKrym 1h
Alfa team who defied Paruby "Our units have been sent for the release of hostages& fight terrorism, we don't see any evidence of either"

Retweeted by Crimea&East
KeXXit ‏@KeXXit 2h
The Alfa special unit refused to storm the Donetsk and Lugansk

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 12:34 utc | 84

petro ruble international clearing house

Posted by: john | Apr 11 2014 13:28 utc | 85

An excellent oh so important and oft overlooked question,b. Evidenced by wonderful speculation in comments, but no clear answer.

Stay with it, please.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Apr 11 2014 13:33 utc | 86

regarding the german monitor magazine and german state tv:
Monitor always used to be a fringe magazine, expressing the most extreme opinions in public discourse. i havent been watching german tv regularily in the last ten years and was myself positively suprised about this candid report. but to place this a bit more in context i refer to the blog of one of the authors:
which places him more into the mainstream anti-russian strait.

regarding ARD: as opposed to ZDF its a federal station, meaning major regions of germany are independent contributors of ARD, most notably WDR representing the industrial ruhr region and as such being traditionally most left-leaning and BR which represents bavaria (my old home state being the texas of germany:) being most conservative.
monitor is to my knowledge produced by WDR. "tagesschau" is the main sideshow of german television and most respected for its unbiased reporting. but in my opinion this is not true (anymore) and tagesschau is just a very serious looking mouthpiece of german power interests (they avoid blatant lies and mostly operate by omission or accentuation).

the second state controlled tv station is ZDF, which in my opinion is staunchly mainstream and seldom offers critical stuff during main hours. they have also been accused to cooperate with ukraine junta PR agencies.

Posted by: svd | Apr 11 2014 13:38 utc | 87

"What or who are holding it up?"

Ah, an easy question to answer... with another question. Who is filling the Western Media with pictures of Russian fighters and tanks parked on the Ukraine border?

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HOLDING IT UP *WANT WAR*. That is the distraction that has always worked in the past.

Posted by: Milton Arbogast | Apr 11 2014 14:12 utc | 88

Juannie @ 49: Good summation.

Thanks to whomever gave the Saker link. Good read. Think I'll make it a daily stop on the informational gambit.

Posted by: ben | Apr 11 2014 14:21 utc | 89

some time one feels it is worth paying the blody 17 euro/month to the public German TV radio system...

Posted by: Mina | Apr 11 2014 14:31 utc | 90

congratulations US and EU YOuve failed another state: Antimaydan @ anti_maydan 16m
IMF changed its attitude towards Ukraine to negative, made ​​it to the list of failed states such as Somalia

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2014 14:43 utc | 91

NATO ‘proves’ Russia build-up pics are genuine UK Channel 4, Apr 11 2014

After NATO released the images on Wednesday night, Russian sources said that the photos had in fact been taken last summer. NATO has hit back, releasing satellite images it says were taken up to Mar 7 2014, to back up the images it says were taken between Mar 26-27 2014.... (etc)

The photos just amount to a reiteration of what Strangelove already claimed, viz, that when he says a photo is from Mar 26-27, it really isn’t from Aug 2013. Notably, commercial satellite imaging company Digital Globe, the source of the photographs, has not released a statement.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 11 2014 14:45 utc | 92

Questions About the Supposed Iraqi Threat to Saudi Arabia in l990--Aerial Photos were Never Released!!

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 11 2014 14:53 utc | 93

lol even if true russia cant have troops on their land now?
this strangelove nazis is so stupid!

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 11 2014 14:55 utc | 94

Good piece on USAID as it relates back to Cuba/Ukraine and the nonsensical horseshit peddled by American propagandists notably Greenwald and Goodman.

As we are now fully in the Information Age, I advocate that there needs to be a term created to designate the willful and conscious peddling of obvious propaganda/disinformation when said disinformation can be refuted by a 6 year old with a half an hour of web-searching. 6/30? Because this type of kabuki horseshit should no longer be tolerated and should be dismissed out of hand when presented as a sincere provision of information/debate by the well-paid propagandist whores who are held up to the peons as "knowledgeable experts".

Posted by: JSorrentine | Apr 11 2014 15:05 utc | 95

Posted by: svd | Apr 11, 2014 9:38:07 AM | 87

Arghh! but Texas is flat! flat! How can you compare that to Bavaria :-))

Posted by: sosmebody | Apr 11 2014 15:15 utc | 96

It looks to me as if there's an unspoken agreement in western media today to avoid Ukraine stories until they reflect a little better on the West itself. Google News Top Stories: Oscar Pistorius, Narendra Modi, Malaysia Airlines, Samsung Group, JPMorgan Chase, Palestinian people, Omagh bombing, Sue Townsend, Queensland, Pope Francis. No Ukraine.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 11 2014 15:36 utc | 97


coz you find real cowboys there ("kia buam")!

Posted by: svd | Apr 11 2014 15:36 utc | 98

Video compilation and analysis of Maidan armed protesters firing at police

Posted by: svd | Apr 11, 2014 11:36:51 AM | 98



You are joking, right?

Posted by: somebody | Apr 11 2014 15:45 utc | 99

Ukraine is fast headed toward becoming another Thailand as it was back in the 90s. The economy will crash and the major businesses/industry will be gobbled up at bargain basement prices by the transnationals corps.

Do they know what they're doing you ask? Your damn right they do! Do you think destroying Iraq as modern state was just a by-product of the invasion? It's been taken out of the Middle East 'equation' completely just as Syria has. What happens to the population is not their concern. But surely, you know that?!

Big wars are out (for obvious reasons) but lots of little can compensate quite well. Money is being made whichever way it goes. The world is awash in surplus capital. Eventually, or so it's hoped, new markets will be opened up for all this capital.

And, after all, the ruling elites of these countries are at worst merely inconvenienced by the mayhem and destruction.

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 11 2014 15:48 utc | 100

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