Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 07, 2014

Ukraine: Waiting For Jack Frost

As little new as happening in Ukraine I refrained from writing on the issue. But there still seems to be a lot of interests in the comments so please have at it.

The Minsk ceasefire is largely holding even as daily battles occurs at the Donetsk airport. There coup-government troops are holed up in the nuclear bunkers beneath the airport and resist all attacks from the federalists while other government units indiscriminately shell the city every day.

But that fight is a bit of a sideshow. The government troops have lost too much material to go on a large offense and the federalists currently lack resupplies from Russia and are thereby restricted to generally defensive positions.

Russia is for now happy with the situation. It sits comfortable and waits for its largest traditional ally, Jack Frost, to come and to squeeze the Ukrainian government into further concessions. As the Washington Post editors with weeping and gnashing of teeth remark:

Mr. Putin is on the cusp of achieving all his major objectives. In addition to Crimea, he has captured a strategic slice of territory containing up to 10 percent of Ukraine’s population, creating a “frozen conflict” that he can use to keep the rest of the country permanently destabilized. He has bluffed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the European Union into postponing the implementation of an economic-association agreement that was the original cause of the conflict. He has pushed Ukraine’s economy into a free fall likely to intensify this winter, especially if Moscow fails to deliver supplies of gas or purchase Ukraine’s goods. If the Kiev government manages to hold successful elections this month and begins to find its footing, Mr. Putin can use his Donetsk clients to restart the war whenever he wishes.

The editorial puts too much hope on the coup government and fails to mention that the Ukraine, or what is left of it, is a crumbling cookie:

Poroshenko, who represents and pleases practically no one besides his Western patrons, finds himself exceptionally isolated, being opposed on all sides and to different degrees by Pravy Sektor, pro-war provocateurs, anti-war activists, and the remaining Russian speakers. With such tense societal fractures, Ukraine seems to be living up to its name as a ‘frontier’, albeit not only one between East and West, but now of one Ukrainian against the other.

The WaPo editors demand more sanctions on Russia or at least no lifting of those already applied. But they are unlikely to have their wishes fulfilled.

There are already signs that the U.S. (and NATO) is trying to make peace with Russia. The U.S. needs Russia in many international venues. When, for example, a solution is found in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the U.S. will need Russian (and Chinese) agreement to conclude an agreement.

For now the Russian government only needs to wait for winter to come. The political fallout of the internal disunity in Kiev will then become even more apparent as will the costs the "west" will have to bear to keep Ukraine alive.

The current stalemate may not be to the liking of those fighting for Novorussiya but without Russian support and supplies they have few means to change the situation. They should now hole up for winter and prepare for a new campaign in spring.

Posted by b on October 7, 2014 at 14:37 UTC | Permalink

next page »

As ChipNikh quipped a couple of weeks ago...

Tick tock.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 7 2014 15:31 utc | 1

There has definitely been less anti-Putin articles on Yahoo lately. I usually have to wade through about 10 of them to get to the Kardashians.

Posted by: dh | Oct 7 2014 15:41 utc | 2

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that NATO would defend every Ally on a visit to Poland on Monday (6 October 2014). “NATO’s most important task is to protect and defend our nations against attack. We will defend our Allies, all Allies”, Mr Stoltenberg said after meetings with Polish President Bronisław Komorowski and Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in Warsaw.

NYTimes, Sep 30
Seeking Global Role, German Military Stumbles

...But weaknesses began to emerge last week, when a plane that was taking six German paratroopers to Iraq — to help train Kurdish security forces on nearly $900 million worth of weaponry — ended up stuck in Bulgaria for two days without authorization to enter Iraq.

A day after that problem became public, a Dutch plane set to deliver the first weapons from Germany — 50 bazookas, 520 rifles and 20 machine guns — was grounded, prompting a scramble to find alternative transport. That effort drew extra attention to the dozens of military planes and helicopters grounded for repairs or lack of spare parts.

On Monday, it emerged that a German military plane involved in transporting aid to West Africa needed to make an emergency landing in the Canary Islands.

As the limitations were exposed, the Defense Ministry last week delivered a report on battle readiness to the Defense Committee of Parliament, where committee members contended that ministry officials had misled them about how quickly or well Germany could meet NATO and other commitments.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 7 2014 15:47 utc | 3

While the MSM hyper ventilates on about Russian tanks, troops, invasion, fake humanitarian trucks, continued separatist attacks in Donesk, Danielle (link below, in French, there are pictures as well) with the help of Spaniards on the ground, has listed the forces ‘defending’ the Donbass.

These have been obscured, tagged as ‘separatists’ or ‘terrorists’ etc. Understandable (giving an ‘evil’ enemy some kind of face is not a good idea) yet a civil war - now partly halted - without a description of the ‘opposing forces’, is odd. Tried (feebly) to find out who/what they were/are, what amount of support they receive from Russia. Post linked provides some kind of summary. Danielle points out that these forces are locally anchored, and very fractioned, and nothing much is said about coordination, except that it is a challenge. Below a quick summary of that post.

Vostok Battalion. Leader Alexander Jodakovsky.

Oplot Battalion. Directed by Zakhartchenko.

These are the two main actors, those that have the most military strength.

Kalmious Battalion, or the ‘Mines Battalion.’ Composed of miners aged 18 - 60. (comment: recall the mines are for the most part destroyed, shut, non functioning, and almost all employees are no longer paid.)

Russian orthodox army. Has about 2000 members which is not negligible. For them, the Donbass is part of Russia.

Jovan Sevic troops. About 200 Serbs …who have a lot of military experience.

South East Army. Battalion Prizak and Zarya joined. More than 1000 members. Contains ex-Berkut members.

The Cossaks of the Don Army. Leader: Bach. Composed of Russians and Ukrainians.

Karkhov Partisans. Small groups who act independently.

International Units. Hungarians, Ossetians, sprinking of others, etc.

Alltogether, it is estimated = 10,000. (?)

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 7 2014 15:59 utc | 4

My worry about Russia applying maximal pressure via Gazprom is that it eventually will set off the deafening siren of the Western media monopoly wailing about Russian "thuggishness." Meanwhile the CIA will set to work on another MH17-type false flag provocation.

Since the since ceasefire, the media monopoly has been less voluble in its Russophobia. It has been a welcome change.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Oct 7 2014 16:02 utc | 5

Vickie Nuland is in Kiev today. Bringing cookies and apples, I;m sure.

Posted by: kate | Oct 7 2014 16:14 utc | 6

pretty good article on ukraine here. quote from it below..

"Any Realist worth his salt will observe the decaying USSR as an entity that was no longer able to defend itself in the Cold War environment. Economic dissolution, ethnic separatism, confused and ossified leadership, the humiliation of Chernobyl, the lost war in Afghanistan and the threats from the US under Reagan all conspired to force the USSR to slowly loosen its control over its subject states. From the point of view of the subject states such as Ukraine, Lithuania or Georgia, there was more security to be found in independence than remaining a part of a dying empire. Hence, from a simple cost benefit analysis, one can hold that the declaration of independence (after a national referendum) in 1992 was a simple exercise in rationality. There was nothing to be gained any further in being a part of an empire that was dismantling before their eyes."

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2014 16:54 utc | 7

just to add to that @7 - a case could be made that the same dynamic is happening at present in ukraine too..

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2014 16:55 utc | 8

Even without the overt Russia/Putin bashing with childish name-calling prevalent in msm these last several months, I love how everything is framed in a narrative that has MISTER Putin's actions dictating everything that occurs in Ukraine- "Mr. Putin is on the cusp of achieving all his major objectives... he has captured a strategic slice of territory..., a “frozen conflict” that he can use to keep the rest of the country permanently destabilized... He has bluffed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the European Union into postponing the implementation of an economic-association agreement... He has pushed Ukraine’s economy into a free fall..,Mr. Putin can use his Donetsk clients to restart the war WHENEVER HE WISHES."(!!!!)

Apparently Putin single-handedly holds all of Ukraine hostage to his whims, now I'd say that's a lot of power, doubly so for just a plain ol' "Mister". And if Ukraine's economy wasn't in free fall before Mr. Putin pushed it to that state, how would one describe it? Wouldn't non-free fall status have precluded the need for $17B in loans just to avoid total collapse, and wasn't that the (given) genesis of the conflict in the first place? EU or Russia for the money? Are there really people out there so stupid they just nod along in agreement and gasp at the evil Mr. Putin's omnipotence? Putin the Almighty! I'm surprised they didn't mention how he shot down MH17 with laser beams out his eyes. Because he felt like it. Marvel comics super villains, eat your heart out.

Posted by: Colinjames | Oct 7 2014 17:42 utc | 9

Poroshenko, who represents and pleases practically no one besides his Western patrons, finds himself exceptionally isolated, being opposed on all sides and to different degrees by Pravy Sektor, pro-war provocateurs, anti-war activists, and the remaining Russian speakers. With such tense societal fractures, Ukraine seems to be living up to its name as a ‘frontier’, albeit not only one between East and West, but now of one Ukrainian against the other.

Since you quoted this to support your case I assume you agree with it. If you do, then it's safe to say the majority of Ukraine, say 99%, isn't Nazi as pro-Russian commentators like to claim.

In fact, what's described in that quote is a positive development — it's the makings of a pluralist democracy that will have to undergo some evolutionary and revolutionary growing pains but it's already got the right material. Too bad the same can't be said for autocratic Russia.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2014 17:53 utc | 10

The Syrian government will also be ready to fend off the Islamic State once the cold set's in. The rebels might not be ready in those type of conditions.
Concerning the main topic. No country has ever been able to fight against Russia once snow falls. My question is what will happen with the BRICS if Dilma, Mr. Putin's ally fails to secure enough votes?
RT is very pro Dilma but what else can Putin do to help her?
Aecio Neves is very pro Washington and will set his country up as a USgov catspaw....A foe on his southern flank.

Posted by: Fernando | Oct 7 2014 18:01 utc | 11

@Coldy (10):

You obviously read many more Russian papers than I do, but I don't ever recall hearing a Russian source describe the majority of the Ukrainians--let alone 99 percent of them--as Nazis. After the coup, as I recall, the accusation was that the new régime was larded with Nazis (Svoboda, formerly the Social-Nationalist Party). But that did not occur as the result of an election. I'm sure the majority of Ukrainians find the Nazis as repulsive as the rest of us, but it looks like they're going to have to wait until the next elections in 2017 to turn them out. Oh well...

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Oct 7 2014 18:26 utc | 12

Cold N Holefield

Lol Russia have had elections for years, may I ask you were you come from or are you the guy that talk tough of the net but dont dare saying it in public.
Miserable kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 18:26 utc | 13

Heh. No nazis in Ukraine, just like there weren't Hessians fighting against independence.

"As usual with reports from the Western press, the deception can manifest itself just as much from what is omitted as from what is actually said. The Washington Post maintains that those who destroyed the statue were merely “anti-Russian protesters.” In reality, it was a mob led by literal Neo-Nazis of the notorious Azov Battalion – fielded and directed by Kiev’s Interior Ministry itself.

While the Washington Post attempts to claim the statue’s destruction was a manifestation of the people’s will in eastern Ukraine, it was in reality a stunt pulled by some of Kiev’s most vicious, ultra-right, and illegitimate supporters – supporters the West works continuously to obfuscate from public view.

Azov’s role in the Kharkiv incident was revealed not by the Russian media, but instead by the European Union and NATO’s own Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors on the ground in Ukraine. Submitting daily reports often ignored by the Western press, the OSCE stated in its September 29, 2014 briefing that (emphasis added):

On 28 September, at 14:30hrs, the SMM observed in Kharkiv a large demonstration of some 2,000 pro-Ukraine supporters gathering in front of the Opera house. The crowd, composed of men and women of different ages and including children, was led by members of the “Azov” volunteer battalion, as well as young men and women with masks. Some of the demonstrators marched towards Liberty Square, where Lenin’s monument was located. There, the SMM observed a group of young men with masks trying to climb on top of Lenin’s statue, while the crowd present on the square had increased to approximately 5,000 people. The demonstrators who had climbed up to the statue began using an electric cutting instrument to dismantle the base of the statue. Whilst not visible on the square, the SMM observed the police deploy and set up an outer perimeter cordon around the square and three buses of police behind the regional administration building. At 22:40hrs Lenin’s Statue was pulled down by the demonstrators. As the SMM left the scene, it did not observe any further incident.

While Azov’s role in much of Ukraine’s daily violence goes unreported, the Western media has tentatively reported on the group in the past. The Telegraph in one article titled, “Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists,” reported that:

As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle."

First appeared:

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 18:35 utc | 14

Peace Prize goes to Nato, Nuland and Poroshenko, no but seriously(?) who will get the ridiculous peace prize this year?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 18:54 utc | 15

The Cossack @13 said: Russia have had elections for years

Yeah, rigged elections. If Bush's election was rigged, Putin's definitely was. Even Gorbachev agrees. Too bad they didn't have another election as Gorbachev suggested — a fair one this time. If they did, 3,000 people wouldn't have died in Ukraine and the people who might freeze to death this winter in Ukraine could have been avoided.

'Scrap the results': Gorbachev calls for fresh vote

The first and only president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev has said that the Russian authorities must acknowledge the recent street protests, annul the results of Sunday’s parliamentary election and hold a new poll.

“Literally with every coming day, more and more Russians come to doubt that the announced election results are honest. In my view, by ignoring public opinion the authorities are discrediting themselves and undermining the situation,” Gorbachev said in a Wednesday interview with Russian news agency Interfax.

“The authorities must admit that numerous instances of vote-rigging and fraud have taken place, and the announced results do not reflect the voters’ wishes,” Gorbachev said. “This is why I think that the current authorities should make only one decision – annul the election results, and hold a new poll,” the last Soviet leader said.

According to official preliminary results, 49.3 per cent of voters supported the United Russia party. The parliamentary majority promotes a single course for the nation’s development called “sovereign democracy”. Other parties and unregistered political movements claim they are aware of numerous violations at the election, and have promised to take those guilty to court. On Monday and Tuesday there were mass rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities, both against and for United Russia, but the protest rallies were unusually numerous, with several thousand people, against just several hundred at similar events over the past few years.

Russia’s Central Election Commission says that the recorded violations were insignificant and could not affect the results of the election, claiming that the most vivid occasions posted on the Internet were apparently staged to get public interest and justify doubts about the election results.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2014 18:57 utc | 16

no but seriously(?) who will get the ridiculous peace prize this year?

My vote goes to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Don't laugh, he just may get it considering the criteria as of late — or perhaps the criteria always.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2014 19:02 utc | 17

Cold N Holefield

Wow you are mad boy?

Gorbachev on Kiev’s military op: 'It must be stopped immediately'

Lets see how you would explain that, will you still endorse Gorbachev? Weirdo.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 19:33 utc | 18

Thank God that at least Lugansk National Republic finally made some progress to save the humanity from extinction - they just banned homosexuality.

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 7 2014 19:45 utc | 19

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 7, 2014 3:45:55 PM | 19

And no doubt they'll pass a law very soon, if they already haven't, that requires all females over the age of eight to be married and service their husbands at least once a day.

Maybe they can try Gorbachev in the "Lugansk National Republic" for sins against the Soviet state and recreate a Gulag of sorts. It will be like the glory of old times.

Russian MPs say Mikhail Gorbachev should be prosecuted for treason

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2014 19:56 utc | 20

ulster/coldhead - it is one thing to share propaganda, and yet another to creat extensions off of it.. nice to know how you two entertain yourselves..

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2014 20:12 utc | 21

Yes, they have a ways to go, don't they? I seem to remember another emerging democratic republic declaring all men equal, taking another century to recognize blacks 'equal under the law' then taking another century to afford them an additional notch of equality.

How's bringing democracy to the ME working out?

I see Russia taking those baby steps. Aren't homosexuals in the US able to marry in....17 states?

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 20:13 utc | 22

Ulster and COld maybe is gay? They care much for the gays apparently.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 20:22 utc | 23

@23 Is being gay something shameful in your cultural circle? You clearly must be strongly influenced by the Russian neoconservative revolution and Orthodox bigotry (let's forget for a moment about the same people condemning Ukraine for downing Lenin's monuments...)

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 7 2014 20:42 utc | 24

Ben Franklin #22:

That's almost certainly black propaganda. The Ukies claimed that the DNR circulated a leaflet stating that Jews have to register with the DNR as well.

@james #7:

That article is embarrassing. The words "Nazi" and "fascist" appear nowhere in it. It completely evades the obvious fact that since Ukrainian culture has virtually no authentic content other than certain peasant costumes and finding lard to be the finest delicacy imaginable, Ukrainian nationalism inevitably takes the form of a rabid racist fascism.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 7 2014 20:43 utc | 25


This topic seems emotional for you, but outing your preferences on Moa is not the place, goodbye.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 20:58 utc | 26

@8- the case could be made regarding the US and the Ukraine? It does appear the US is backing off Ukraine to focus on further undermining democracy in the ME. Although with Nuland back on the scene...well we'll see...

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 7 2014 21:19 utc | 27

'Russia is for now happy with the situation. It sits comfortable and waits for its largest traditional ally, Jack Frost, to come and to squeeze the Ukrainian government into further concessions. As the Washington Post editors with weeping and gnashing of teeth remark:

Mr. Putin is on the cusp of achieving all his major objectives. In addition to Crimea, he has captured a strategic slice of territory containing up to 10 percent of Ukraine’s population, creating a “frozen conflict” that he can use to keep the rest of the country permanently destabilized. He has bluffed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the European Union into postponing the implementation of an economic-association agreement that was the original cause of the conflict. He has pushed Ukraine’s economy into a free fall likely to intensify this winter, especially if Moscow fails to deliver supplies of gas or purchase Ukraine’s goods. If the Kiev government manages to hold successful elections this month and begins to find its footing, Mr. Putin can use his Donetsk clients to restart the war whenever he wishes.

this sort of irresponsible media commentary is why many americans view Putin as the aggressor even when he isnt. Its always Putin Putin Putin!
Putin is not called 'President Putin', whereas its 'Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko'. This sort of language seeps into the public readerships conscionsness and emerges as a man with horns and a tail.

Posted by: brian | Oct 7 2014 21:28 utc | 28

Demian; You ref'd 22, but was it the earlier comment? If snark as to 'black propaganda' and the 14th amendment, I get it.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 21:33 utc | 29

The Arabic name for kobane is Arab Spring - the devil has all the best jokes...

Posted by: bridger | Oct 7 2014 21:34 utc | 30

@25. I have to agree. While I've found Flores work helpful, this Dr Johnson is tearing sheets out of Goebbels play book: . "First, the old folk traditions should be restored. The USSR and western liberalism have artificially destroyed them. They need to be rehabilitated as does the village that nursed them."

Of course, the fascist go to move after crushing any chance at democratic discourse- return to medieval land. Now all they need is a fearless leader.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 7 2014 21:45 utc | 31

@Ben Franklin #29:

Yes, that comment was directed at you, since you seemed to accept the premise that Russians are homophobic. Being heteronormative (which Russians are) does not imply being homophobic. (I cannot think of a more postmodern concept than heteronormativity, btw.) By black propaganda, I meant the link at #19. I try not to respond to trolls, especially new ones.

There is an interesting Ukrainian news outlet, Vesti, that is not pro-Maidan. Here is an excerpt from a recent story (put through Google translate):

In relations separatists and Moscow seem outlined problems. "From Russia to the DNR and LC is a clear directive - says our source in the Russian political circles. - First - stop fighting, that the truce has finally earned, then Moscow, Kiev and the West would be able to proceed with the further settlement major contentious issues - the sanctions, the Crimea, gas and other. Second - to hold elections on November 2, to elect at least some power. The third - on the condition that these elections will be held normally, Russia will provide the necessary assistance - both financial and humanitarian, that the DNI and LC could survive the winter, restored the social sphere and the economy began to recover. But DNR say they are not ready to leave the Ukrainian troops at the Donetsk airport, and want them to clear out Debalcevo (a major transportation hub) and Avdeyevka (convenient springboard for an attack on Donetsk). But it's still a war for a couple of months, and then a truce - down the drain. Now Moscow is trying to put the squeeze "republic", so they stopped at the airport, and on Avdiyivka Debalcevo and did not go. And that in Donetsk were compliant, they reduced the supply of humanitarian aid and completely stopped military aid. But will it, it is not clear. Especially, as in Moscow, all ambiguous. Many here say that Surkov (adviser to Putin, "responsible" for Ukraine - Ed.) Knowingly started the topic with a truce, saying that Ukrainians still go on the offensive on the DNR / LC, and then "republics" urgently needs help in arms and spices so that they could take as large territory."
To clarify, since the translation is not very good and I am too lazy to improve it: Moscow is putting pressure on Novorossia, not just by cutting off military assistance ("voentorg") but also by severely reducing humanitarian aid, the reason being that the rebels want to take Debaltsevo and Avdeyevka, whereas Moscow wants them to observe the truce.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 7 2014 22:03 utc | 32

"Yes, that comment was directed at you, since you seemed to accept the premise that Russians are homophobic."

Jaysus H. Semantics aside with the word-weaseling, I suggest that many Americans are homophobic. Russia is sucking hind-tit on History only because they are newbies to the idea of social/sexual autonomy. Social evolution is perhaps more glacial than biological evo, and I would not be surprised if it took them four decades to resolve the discrepancy. Are you in a bad mood?

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 22:11 utc | 33

Despite my semantically trollish status, perhaps you can point out the grafs that irritate your black propaganda imperative.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 22:14 utc | 34

@Nana2007 #31:

I may look at that Gogol work at some point. To quote from that Bandera apologist piece:

Gogol’s uncompleted work on Ukrainian history takes an appealing view on Russo-Ukrainian relations that rarely appears even in detailed treatments. His simple argument is that a) Russia and Ukraine developed differently due to the political environment that created them; b) that, due to similarities that cannot be ignored, Ukrainian autonomy is certainly an ethical imperative, but one that is close to Russia. Drahamanov, Kulish, Kotlyarevskiy and Gogol himself promoted a Ukrainian mission without excluding Russia.
This is the first time that I have seen a credible authority suggest that there might be something like an authentic Ukrainian nation. My view of course is that the solution to the Ukrainian problem is to civilize Ukrainians, that is, undo the brainwashing that they were subjected to beginning with the Poles – something the Bandera apologist himself recognizes, with his criticism of Uniatism. If one recognizes that the authentic religion of Ukrainians is Orthodoxy, why not go all the way and turn them back into Russians?

Posted by: Demian | Oct 7 2014 22:33 utc | 35

Blog Admin....this post from Craig Murray indicates a PDF copy of his book taken from MoA has a virus. Just an FYI

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 22:33 utc | 36

The homosexuality issue is used as a wedge issue in foreign affairs just as it is used in national politics in the US. Of course in foreign affairs, the stakes are far,far higher - life, death, the destruction of nations.

The intent is to make people in the US think that foreign affairs have the same consequences as domestic - meaning, very little. So while people can convince themselves that "Mr. Putin" is a bad, bad man because of some laws that are passed in his country, they will ignore that the US aims to crush a whole nation. Just as women's rights were used to push the Afghan War - and of course the status of women there is unchanged, and in fact far, far worse than they'd be if the US had just butted out of the civil war there in the 1980s, instead of funding and supporting the most reactionary forces they could find - who just so happened to be the worst possible choice for the women of that country.

Yes, the US has convinced many people that the war on Russia - and it is a war - is no different from an election campaign against the Republicans. But if Russia is destroyed, the gays there will not survive any more than anyone else. In fact, with the US using them (using, being operative there) they may suffer a worse fate. I doubt there are any one in Russia - gay or straight - so stupid not to see that.

But that's what the US does. Uses their "allies" and throws them away on the way towards destroying whole nations. Nothing new there.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 7 2014 22:38 utc | 37

@8 "just to add to that @7 - a case could be made that the same dynamic is happening at present in ukraine too.."

Posted by: james | Oct 7, 2014 12:55:30 PM | 8

Just to add to THAT: As well the USSA

Posted by: Skip | Oct 7 2014 22:39 utc | 38

The concept that the world is falling apart is gaining traction even on the evening news in the USA. This is just not Ebola Epidemic visiting Dallas or the Islamic State’s beheadings but also involves the Ukraine Civil War and Russia; although, the Russian Aggression propaganda has ended for now.

Clearly agreement with China and Russia are needed to end the Sunni Shiite Holy War in the Middle East, to continue mutual economic growth, and to halt climate change. The grab for Ukraine’s resources and the destabilization of Russia are contrary to mankind’s best interests and risks World War III. If the Western Hegemony continues its currents path, collapse is inevitable. No Russian gas this winter could tip Europe.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 7 2014 22:41 utc | 39

Guest77 "Just as women's rights were used to push the Afghan War...." which is why the US spent so much money and time funding, training and supporting the Mujahideen to destroy the Communist Govt prior to then...under which women had full rights.....

Just 'wedge' diplomacy with large helpings of hypocrisy. Noting that valued 'allies' like Saudi Arabia are not touched by this, even when they execute GLBTI people.

It is actually worse, because when the US jumps up and down about this, it makes GLBTI people in the respective countries targets as 'traitors'. This is an area for quiet diplomacy not tub thumping nonsense, that if they really cared ...which they don't in the slightest.

In fact the US would love for GLBTI people and women to be killed in Russia (etc) so they can jump up and down about it and probably would try to incite it if they could.

Posted by: OldSkeptic | Oct 7 2014 22:52 utc | 40

@25 demian.. re the link.. i see your point, but i still thought there was some benefit in reading it.. thanks for articulating your viewpoint which i understand.. that word troll and the quick labeling of others with this word is really an unfriendly approach as i see it.. but i have already said that before..

regarding the issue of sexuality, i would just like to remind people like cold in the head that one of the countries that the usa has constantly supported - saudi arabia, combines an incredible hostility towards alternative sexual inclinations to the point of chopping off heads.. that combines 2 issues that the exceptional nation is supposed to get enraged about and yet, how many americans are enraged about the modern day reality of saudi arabia at present? sa makes most other countries on the planet look like saints by comparison... so, in polite terms - take that russia-phobic bullshit somewhere else cause it really is a load of it..

@38 skip.. yes indeed!

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2014 22:58 utc | 41

As I digress, allow me to say something of import to Demian.

The World is falling apart for Leftists who can't agree on anything. When Orwell returned from Catalonia, he retired to a Scottish Isle in his angst over the stupidity of the Left. Stop believing in heroes. Believe in ideas. The Left can't organize a trip to the crapper.

'Troll' is a very subjective term widely used by the far right and self-invloved leftists.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 23:11 utc | 42

@35- I suspect the next few months will put paid to any imposed Ukie illusions of joining the west. And to be fair that piece does make some relevant points- Banderite apologist is more accurate than outright fascist I think.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 7 2014 23:20 utc | 43

@james #41:

I really don't see what's wrong with calling an unabashed Russophobe who does nothing in his posts but engage in hate speech a troll. Linking to Ukrainian anti-Novorossian propaganda and then stating it as fact cannot be called anything other than trolling.

As for that article, I was thinking about linking to it here myself. It is informative, and well worth reading for anyone who wants to understand Ukrainian nationalists. I make no pretense of being impartial on this issue, but I am sufficiently open minded that I might look at Gogol's history of Ukraine to see what kind of case exists for there being an authentic Ukrainian nation. (Please note that, since my two main cultural influences are American and Russian, I always side with major cultures against minor cultures. Scotland is an exception.)

As for sexuality, yes, Saudi Arabia's policy towards gays completely demolishes the legitimacy of any Western criticism of Russia's attitude towards gays and lesbians. (I am here following the State Department's studied political correctness of referring to lesbians explicitly, instead of lumping them together with gay men. In any case, my understanding of "gay" is that it refers only to men.)

I believe that OldSkeptic suggested earlier that Russians are intolerant of transsexual people. I suppose this could be true, since Russians expect things to correspond to their nature. (Thus, I don't like Poland, because it is a Slavic country, but it is part of the nature of Slavs to be Orthodox, whereas Poland is Catholic.) However, I would like evidence of Russian intolerance of transsexuals, because this could just be a myth. Are there Russian cases like that which Boys Don't Cry is about?

Posted by: Demian | Oct 7 2014 23:39 utc | 44


Ridiculous or not, I voted for Barrack H Obama to repeat (da man should have hexa-peated) for placing 3,000 boots on the ground against darth slanty eyed Ebola in Africa. On that gallant move, all of us owe him for taking a free ride to immortality. All we need now is for Dalai and Liu Xiaobo to vote alongside me (the Three Chinamen) to pull this stunt off.

Posted by: OleImmigrant | Oct 7 2014 23:43 utc | 45

Well aren't you self-righteous to an extreme degree, demian?. The purist cult is a pristine pov without comparison. If only we puny humans could live up to your expectations of non-terrestrial origins.

The Rapture should disabuse you of further contact with the inferior.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 7 2014 23:45 utc | 46

@ Ben Franklin #46
The Rapture should disabuse you of further contact with the inferior.

The Rapture Index is about average at 184 and hasn't changed much, I wouldn't expect much.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 8 2014 0:06 utc | 47

"The Minsk ceasefire is largely holding"

this is not accurate, neither is the view that the militias are Putin's clients

for a corrective there are many videos at Kazzura, this one in particular (towards the end) makes it clear how alert the militia leaders are to the real threat, coming from Moscow's boys Zakharchenko & co:

Posted by: Cu Chulainn | Oct 8 2014 0:12 utc | 48

"The Rapture Index is about average at 184 and hasn't changed much, I wouldn't expect much."

That ridiculous and unscriptural view of End Times makes homosexuality a virtue, rather than a sin. My hope is that they get their wish.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 8 2014 0:14 utc | 49

Demian #25

It's not just propaganda. LPR really did pass a law specifying 2 to 5 for homosexual acts, kind of like the sodomy laws in some US states. IIRC it's on, a pro-Novorossia site. It's in Russian, but the Chrome translator makes it somewhat intelligible. Think of the Donbas as a farming, coal, and steel district with very religious people, something like western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and you'll get the picture. One of the slurs the Ukies throw at the Donbas people is that they are "rednecks."

The Donbas rebellion seems like a Rorschach ink blot for its participants. They're asserting their cultural and historical Russian-ness in a bunch of different ways. Orthodox symbols and icons are everywhere. There's much talk of community as a Russian value, although there are a lot of interpretations as to how that will manifest. Militia troops often emulate the look of Slavic warriors from their favorite period. There are Cossack hats, Chetnik garb, Tolstoyan looking characters, WWII getups, red stars.... And they make no secret that they don't like gays. Russians are macho. Gay innuendos against the Ukies are almost de rigeur. The gay issue is seen as western cultural imperialism and boy, do they resent it on that score. From a recent Russian "liberal" march for "peace in Ukraine" (in actuality a bin for everybody with a beef against the Russian government), there is a photo of one man painted with Ukrainian colors kissing another man painted with Russian colors. It's getting wide circulation. Yeah, I know, those macho Russian men kiss each other nonsexually, but this was an ostentatious gay kiss-for-the-cameras.

I personally don't care if Kiev hosts gay pride parades on a a weekly basis. Supporting the crimes of the Kiev fascists because of a snit with the Novorossians over gay rights is the epitome of short-sighted, venal narcissism.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2014 0:41 utc | 50

@37 guest77.. good post. i missed it earlier!

@44 demian.. thanks for the additional comments. i guess it is a matter of perspective and choice of words. maybe i am trying to be pc when in fact i don't need to be..i am not sure.. this topic came up a few days ago right?

@48 Cu Chulainn.. thanks for the link.. i think most following this conflict know that it is not over, in spite of the minsk agreement.. however it is surprising how it looks like the ceasefire has held in some folks minds.. i am not sure what the rationale is for that.. optics probably...

Posted by: james | Oct 8 2014 0:49 utc | 51

The Washington Post is only useful as

Posted by: nomas | Oct 8 2014 1:02 utc | 52

The WaPoo recites a litany of the butt hurt afflicting Ukraine, which is ALL due entirely to the incompetent collusion between local Ukrainian comprador oligarchs, Germany and the US (aka wal street) - and of course , blames all of it on "Putin"..He is in the western press simultaneously a goon, a clown and a thug, and simultaneously the most brilliant strategist since Wellington, and the greatest evil-genius politician since Disraeli. WHAT a crock of shit......WHO could possibly believe anything at all they read in Wapoo, or the New York Times for that matter.

Posted by: nomas | Oct 8 2014 1:11 utc | 53

@ Ben Franklin #49
That ridiculous and unscriptural view of End Times makes homosexuality a virtue

Regarding homosexuality, whoever claimed it wasn't a virtue?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 8 2014 1:31 utc | 54

Regarding Gay rights, this lobby has been weaponized by the USgov as part of it's soft power. Instead of literal armies or terrorists to destabilize a country, why not simply organize a Gay pride parade in the middle of a country with a heavy conservative bent. Ex. Haiti's gay community attempted to assert their rights by dressing in drag and marching in the middle of the main square, 3 members were allegedly murdered by an angry mob.

The USgov didn't put out a peep for them.

The USgov perverts issues that should have righteous goals in their quest for world domination. So yes, local LGBT movements are viewed as traitors in the eyes of the population at large.

Posted by: Fernando | Oct 8 2014 1:32 utc | 55

@james #51:

My comment about PC was not directed at you at all: it was directed at the State Department. The State Department has gone postmodern, and that's what I was making fun of. It is OK to use snipers to launch a fascist coup, just so long as you observe the MLA style manual in your press releases.

@Thirdeye #50:

Wow, you are really well informed about the Donbas. I hope you will make more posts here.

I found the news story (in Russian) you were referring to. I am inclined to treat this report as "unconfirmed". What little exists of a DPR or LPR bureaucracy has likely been infiltrated by Ukies, so this story could well be a plant. There's a lot of infighting going on in the DPR and LPR, and a frequent lament is that virtually no progress has been made on building new state institutions. It is not clear that civil law has any significance; rebel commanders say that since Novorossia is a war zone, military rule prevails. If this "anti-homosexual" law has been enacted by the military, then it is strange that no name of a military commander or military group is given in the report. DPR has neither a unified military command nor a coherent state at this point.

Laws criminalizing "homosexual acts" are manifestations of boundless stupidity and grave human rights violations which cannot be tolerated under any circumstances in any society. The inhabitants of Novorossiya may be largely working class, but that does not mean that they are bigoted idiots. Calling Ukies fags is one thing; criminalizing homosexuality is quiet another.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 1:33 utc | 56

@nomas #53

It's a fundamental tenet of propaganda to personalize an enemy of the state. Thus Iraq became "Saddam," Russia is "Putin," etc. But the state, and its media, never personalize its own self. We never have "Obama..," it's "the US....".

Regarding the media, it is their job to sell advertising, not to present facts, and so their customers are sold to the advertisers as prospective buyers. Thus these prospective buyers have to be given state propaganda otherwise they would be discontent and not buy the media's advertised wares.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 8 2014 1:39 utc | 57

@50 third eye.. thanks for that..

@53 nomas.. that is certainly how most of us see it here too..

@56 demian.. i understood that, but thanks regardless.

Posted by: james | Oct 8 2014 1:45 utc | 58

@55 fernando.. yes too all of that as well.. all a part of the soft weaponry-propaganda campaign.. thanks.

Posted by: james | Oct 8 2014 1:47 utc | 59

Cu #48

Kazzura's channel rocks! Check out Givi, commander of the Donetsk Airport operation, absolutely unfazed by the grad strike in the middle of his talk.

The ceasefire agreement is meaningless. The Ukies kept pounding Donetsk with artillery within hours of the agreement. The attack on the airport was prompted by the continuing artillery strikes against Donetsk and the offensive disposition of Ukie forces north of Donetsk. Heavy weapons are still moving towards the front. Now that the airport has been captured by NAF, the Ukies are going all in to recapture it from the north and the NAF are doing counter moves. A major battle of encirclement is brewing against a powerful Ukie force centered on Debaltseve, east of Gorlovka. Another Ukie strike force is southwest of Donetsk. Positional battles have been ongoing between Styla and Volnovakha. The lines aren't moving much, but the fighting grinds on.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2014 1:59 utc | 60

" . Think of the Donbas as a farming, coal, and steel district with very religious people, something like western Pennsylvania and West Virginia,"

if the people of the donbas are to be compared with Americas Appalaichia, then its a grand, beautiful gigantic ducking testament to the Soviet Unions ability to deliver prosperity to the nations hardest worker's - the per capita gpa of the doubts is twice as high as the Ukrainian average. Whereas Appalachia - if i had to guess - is about half that of the average America's.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 2:22 utc | 61

stupid phone and stupid beer: replace "doubts" with "doubts" and "ducking" with "fucking"

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 2:23 utc | 62

oh boy. doubts with Donbas.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 2:24 utc | 63

I Donbas that.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2014 2:37 utc | 64

My point is this - I don't know the Donbas more than I have read, obviously, but it sounds nothing like Appalachia.

From what I have read, it is the home of the most technology intensive industries of the Ukraine, not the least.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 2:39 utc | 65

When I hear Appalachia I think of Deliverance.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2014 2:47 utc | 66

guest77 #65

OK, I'll throw in Ohio to shift it more towards manufacturing. But the big driver has traditionally been the resource industries and associated manufacturing and the outlook is less cosmopolitan than in places like Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2014 2:57 utc | 67

if you read _Homage to Catalonia_ you realize that the commies were very politically incorrect on sodomy, their favorite epithet for the Phalange was maricones; the revolt against oligarchy in Novorossiya is a threat to Putin as it was in Spain in Orwell's day; Moscow is counterrevolutionary now as it was then

Posted by: Cu Chulainn | Oct 8 2014 3:08 utc | 68

Demian 56

I think it's easy to lose track of how our socially liberal views are tied to our secular, individuated, educated, cosmopolitan, middle class backgrounds. We seem to be the exception, not the rule, on a world scale. Not all people who have some backward, tradition-bound thinking are evil. We're not going to change anyone's hearts and minds by acting as if they are.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2014 3:09 utc | 69

@Thirdeye #67:

the outlook is less cosmopolitan than in places like Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
All of the Ukraine is less cosmopolitan than Moscow or St. Petersburg. A Russian word for hick is "Ukrainian". Since the people of the Donbas are mostly Russian, they are actually less provincial than western Ukrainians. Russian is a world and metropolitan culture; Ukrainian is a peasant and rural culture.

@guest77 #65:

Like Thirdeye said, Donbas industry seems to be mostly "resource industries and associated manufacturing" (which I guess means steel). When it comes to the Ukraine, I think "technology intensive industries" are essentially the defense industry. The USSR had a big portion of its defense industry in the Ukraine; things like consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals were done in, besides Russia itself, the Baltic republics. (After the fall of the USSR, Latvia destroyed its electronics industry to spite Russia.) From this article, I get the impression that the Ukrainian defense industry is located mostly in Kiev and regions of eastern Ukraine other than Donbas, not in Donbas. (Those eastern regions really should become part of Novorossiya.)

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 3:22 utc | 70

"Moscow is counterrevolutionary now as it was then"

This is ridiculous. Tell that to the Venezuelans, to the Cubans, to the Palestinians, to the Chinese, and to the Syrians.

Not sure what your idea of a revolutionary is, but if it is some saps sitting in western countries living off the fat of imperialism while declaring the developing world "backwards" - you can keep them.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 3:39 utc | 71

@Thirdeye # 69:

Not all people who have some backward, tradition-bound thinking are evil.
I was raised Russian Orthodox and speak Russian, so I think I have some understanding of Orthodoxy. (Although since I was born in and live in America, I have more of a Protestant orientation. However, Orthodoxy has grown on me since the Ukraine crisis. In the following, by "Orthodox" I mean Russian Orthodox. Russian Orthodoxy has been the main branch of Orthodoxy for centuries, in any case.)

I really don't see why an Orthodox people would care about whether someone is homosexual or not. Orthodoxy is a spiritual and mystical religion, not a moralistic one. This idea that Russians think that homosexuality is evil and so want to repress it seems to be projection on the part of Americans, as far as I can tell. The leading branch of Christianity in the US is evangelicalism, and evangelicals are obsessed with sexuality (something which is utterly non-Protestant btw, since for real Protestants, religion has nothing to say about sexuality). I even ran across an article about some Russian sect trying to "cure" people of homosexuality. Trust me, something so stupid would never occur to a Russian. That is a strictly American evangelical idea, and is related to the whole "born again" thing.

As for banning gay pride parades, that is a completely different matter. The notion of gay pride is totally postmodern, and Russians abhor postmodernism. But that is not because they are "tradition-bound". It is because Russian civilization did not take the path of Anglophone civilization, with its utilitarianism and moral relativism, which ends in the nihilism of postmodernism.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 3:48 utc | 72

So tired of the so-called "revolutionaries" who seem to side with Western-imperialism and neoliberalism every chance they get. Complete phonies.

Just like one might argue Orwell was. He let himself be used. I'd love to know, had he lived through today, wether he thought the world is better off without the Soviet Union he constantly bashed around - more "socialist"? More "free"?

My ass.

Orwell even pressed to have Animal Farm translated into Ukrainian and smuggled into the USSR. To try and stir dissent inside a nation that had just been through the most brutal military invasion in human history - and to in particular try and prey on it's ethnic differences and to pander to that part of its population that had, just a few years before, formed some of the most vicious and murderous units which sided with the invading, genocidal armies?

Pretty disgusting, when you think about it. Some revolutionary Orwell was. Such a revolutionary he was mandatory reading - presumably just after the mandatory pledge of allegiance - in every flag-waving, Vietnam-soldier breeding, American high school.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 3:50 utc | 73

well, guest77 @71, if you were interested you might check out what Mozgovoi, Givi and the other authentic revolutionaries in Donbass are saying, and look into the Minsk agreement and the activities of Zakharchenko & co. and other Putin "clients," to use b.'s term

but since you don't seem that interested you might head over to Saker blog instead and share some kool aid with the Putin true believers

Putin is an unapologetic capitalist; the Donbass militias are fighting for a state without oligarchs; they are a threat to Putin's facade of patriotism

Posted by: Cu Chulainn | Oct 8 2014 3:54 utc | 74

If I can raise a more practical question than an ethnographic study of the Donbas and the semantics of "heteronormativity" --

Do we think that the ceasefire is holding? If so, for how long? If it's not really, then when will it become clear?

There is a certain lessening of tensions and lightening up on the propaganda, as suggested early in the thread -- but that might be due just to a shifting of the prime target to ISIS. Wind the one front down, ramp up the other, both on the ground and in the media. That would be rational, but US/UK/Euro gang acts imperially, believing it can create it's own reality, as it famously tried with the Second Gulf War.

I've seen some analysis that suggests both sides are too depleted to conduct major operations, Ukrainians dug too deep into the Donetsk airport for ltd. Novorossiyan resources to dig out. Ukr. holding it to shell center ctiy (and hence destroy/depop. the city). Russia is counting on the weather to squeeze Banderastan. So this suggests ceasefire will hold. (NB if pressed, will provide links for the inadequately informed who might lack initiative at a more decent hour).

But what about the hard-core fascists? Even the hint of concessions is likely to set these guys off, even an unsuccessful putsch by Pravyi Sektor et al. could destabilize the situation. And what sort of gov't. can be expected to emerge after the elections late this month? Will the fascist right grow, or the soft-fascist center-right prevail? What will the new Rada take it's mandate to be, with the Communists and the Party of Regions out? And what kind of civil service will remain after the recently proposed lustration?

Then throw in hawks like McCain et al., rabidly anti-Russian Balts, Poles, and Nulands cookies, you never know.

Bottom line, rationally, the truce looks like it should hold, it is in the self-interest of the major actors. But -- those crazy Banderaists....

Any interesting/informative info. available on happening on the Ukrainian side?

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 8 2014 4:00 utc | 75

to guest77 @ 73

I think you're being a little hard on Orwell. Plenty of folks way more anti-soviet, he's many things but not a phony, I would say. Have your read "Down and Out in Paris and London"? "1984" doesn't really describe our contemporary dystopia -- you need a good shot of "Brave New World," maybe a dash of "The Matrix" too.

I do agree however that too many of the "ineffectual left" are far to ready to pick out the motes of resistance movements while alibing the logs in Western eyes.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 8 2014 4:20 utc | 76

@rufus magister #75:

The position of Novorossiyan commanders is that the cease fire has never been observed by the Ukies, so one can't speak of it "holding".

So I take your question to ask whether either side is going to mount an offensive. My take (I am aware that there are others here who are better able to follow military events than I am) is that the NAF will not initiate any major new engagements, because of pressure from Moscow to observe the truce. As for the junta, the NAF thinks that they may try to retake the Donetsk airport in the next two weeks. If neither side begins an offensive in the next two weeks, my guess is that the truce will hold through winter, fwiw. (On the other hand, Mozgovoy said in an interview linked to above that if the grandfathers of the rebels could fight in winter, the rebels can fight in winter, too.)

As for Orwell, I give him a break for calling Britain "Airstrip One". He sure saw that coming. Even if he hated the Soviet Union, it has become pretty clear that the world of his 1984 has more in common with the Western block of today than with the Soviet Union of Orwell's day.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 4:44 utc | 77

Russian Spring


Night summary by combatant Prokhorov

About Debal`tsevo, the heavy clashes on north just subsided. Overall, interaction and communication between various combatant units (I call Cossacks as combatants too) is excellent.

In any case – the combatants approach the city.

Russian Spring


The site of the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine posted an announcement:

“Today, September 07, on the meeting of General Center of control and coordination of ceasefire and stabilization of the demarcation line, an agreement of bilateral ceasefire from 18:30 today was achieved. So called “regimen of calm” proposes cessation of combat activities and bombardment”

Russian Spring


Supreme Rada (the parliament) upheld the law altering borders of Lugansk region – separation of territories of Ukraine and Novorossia is carried on at full trot.

Russian Spring


Question: The forces of Novorossia avoid in deep raids in the enemy rear

Combatant Prokhorov:

Returning groups is an issue. Ukrainians have really concentrated great forces along the front line. Locals snitch heavily to the Security Service, agents’ network does not exist.

Question: Remaining caldrons of Ukrainian troops. Their supply.

Combatant Prokhorov:

By country routes they are delivered whatever possible.
There are nodes of defense, and the combatants are there. The greater territory is in fact a neutral zone. This pertains to the territory under combatants as well as Ukrainian. In principle, the combatants can drive to Kiev.
One must understand, the number combatants is not great, and anyone battle worthy is at the front line. Negligible garrisons behind are powerless to block or eliminate caldrons.

In remaining caldrons Ukrainian do behave, wait for an opportunity to evacuate. Overall, the attitude to caldrons is like to dry shit – leave it alone.

Posted by: Fete | Oct 8 2014 4:48 utc | 78

@78 "Locals snitch heavily to the Security Service" - I don't understand. Are they snitching on their beloved liberators?

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 8 2014 6:35 utc | 79

b continues to have an optimistic feeling about the outcome in Ukraine. I certainly hope he is right. However, I still have trouble accepting that the US would simply let the threat of the Ukrainian economy collapsing pressure Poroshenko into a deal acceptable to Russia. This would basically mean that much of US policy in Ukraine over the past year would have accomplished nothing. Somehow, the US should be able to channel some 10s (50? 100?)of billions dollars to shore up the country. US imperial prestige is on the line here. As we all know the US was willing to blow $100 billion each year in the decade long war in Iraq and Afghanistan trying avoid admitting that those were losing operations.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 8 2014 7:03 utc | 80

@Ulster #79:

Yes, they are. I wondered about that, too.

An explanation that comes to mind is that the population of Novorossiya is not 100% anti-junta. Thus, there will be pro-junta civilians willing to inform the Ukrainian Gestapo (SBU) of the activities of resistance forces. This kind of thing happens in any civil war, I would imagine.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 7:04 utc | 81

@ToivoS #80:

The Ukraine is such an obvious basket case that it would be hard to get the IMF to loan that much money to Ukraine, since it is against IMF rules to make loans that can't be repaid. For political reasons, the US can't finance Ukraine the same way it finances its wars: it has to go through the IMF.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 7:28 utc | 82

@81 There's much simpler explanation. In July and October various separatists were complaining about "suprisingly" few locals joining them. Even if there was some support in March, there is now none. Locals have brains and themselves compare the situation in Donetsk with Slavaynsk, where normal life was restored after separatists fleed. Now, after a few months of rule of gangs, abductions, thefts and forced labor, they just want to get rid of them.

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 8 2014 7:40 utc | 83

@83 ulster.. you mean normal life like how it is in kiev now, or most other parts of ukraine? where no one speaks out for fear of being pilloried on a metal fence like the guy in Kharkov? indeed there will always been those opposed to either side, but the silence of some in response to the fascism that is now everyday ukraine ought not to be taken as a sign all things have returned to normal.. ukraine right now is indeed a nightmare for many people.. the fanatics on either side are too busy deceiving themselves on most everything including your bullshit comments..

Posted by: james | Oct 8 2014 7:56 utc | 84

@Ulster #83:

Normal conditions have not been restored in Slavyansk: the Ukies round up people they suspect of being sympathetic to the freedom fighters. And then there is the huge amount of infrastructure that the Ukies destroyed.

My explanation is more parsimonious. You make specific assumptions about how much support the rebels have among the civilian population. I just make use of the general principle that in any society, there will be some people who are ready to betray (snitch on) their own people.

@james #84:

Can you give any examples of fanatics on the Novorossiyan side? I agree with Thirdeye that many Novorossiyan fighters use religious language to a degree that non-evangelical Westerners would find excessive, but since Orthodoxy is a spiritual, not a doctrinaire, religion, I wouldn't call that fanaticism.
I'm sorry I called you a troll before. I did that because I really hate Ukie anti-Russian propaganda.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 8:06 utc | 85


compare the situation in Donetsk with Slavyansk, where normal life was restored after separatists fleed

While this Invasion of the Body Snatchers would not be counted by many as "restoration of normal life" it might even more simply account for there being pro-junta civilians near the front, already trusted by the SBU even.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Oct 8 2014 8:09 utc | 86

@ Demian, 77

As for Orwell, I give him a break for calling Britain "Airstrip One". He sure saw that coming. Even if he hated the Soviet Union, it has become pretty clear that the world of his 1984 has more in common with the Western block of today than with the Soviet Union of Orwell's day.

I've never been a fan of Orwell, but yes he nailed this point. By the Pentagon's standards Japan could well be "Airstrip Two" and Israel "Airstrip Three". I've always said that if he'd replaced "Ingsoc" with "Ingcap" the book would have been downright prophetic.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Oct 8 2014 8:24 utc | 87

Someone who won't be missed …

Poland picks new foreign minister in reshuffle
Poland's Sikorski elected new speaker of parliament

Anne wanted so badly to become Poland's first lady, only one assassination away.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 8 2014 10:00 utc | 88

@86 If you use rogue blogs as sources you can only end up totally unreliable war propaganda (and this applies equally to both sides). Slavyansk is well covered by international watchdogs monitoring, such as OSCE, HRW or AI. I have checked both English and Russian content on OSCE (Russia's observers are frequently reporting events in Russian that are not available in English). All documented human rights abuse cases in Slavyansk happened between April and June so during separatist control. Ukrainian army is only heavily criticised for using unguided rocket missiles such as "Grad", but that's what Russian army is also doing all the time.

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 8 2014 10:10 utc | 89

@Ulster #89:

that's what Russian army is also doing all the time.
Sorry, the Russian army is not in the Ukraine. If it were, the Ukrainian army would no longer exist, and Ukrainian territory at least as far west as Odessa would have been cleansed of fascists by now. Russia has provided covert military assistance to Novorossia, but that has now stopped. Echoing the Ukrainian/Anglophone MSM line that the "Russian army" has some kind of presence in the geographical region formerly known as the Ukraine will not enhance your credibility at MoA.

I'm sorry I called you a troll, btw. The reason I did that is that I hate Ukie anti-Russian propaganda. Your linking to a Ukie Web site attacking Novorossiya provoked a knee-jerk reaction from me.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 8 2014 10:29 utc | 90

"Regarding homosexuality, whoever claimed it wasn't a virtue?"

The Godbotherers. Why did I need point that out?

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 8 2014 11:08 utc | 91


You could have worked for German Nazi regime, beliving what the regime told you.
HRW? Really? Osce really? How dumb are you?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 8 2014 11:13 utc | 92

Ulster 89

Your post is total bullshit. There is no Russian army in Ukraine. OSCE's mission in the Donbas has just started since the "truce." UAF have conducted deliberate, systematic, and escalated use of artillery and MLRS against civilian infrastructure - civilian residence, utilities, industry, transport, schools, etc. in Donetsk and Lugansk. Then there are the mass graves in areas formerly occupied by UAF east of Donetsk. 40 bodies and counting, with periodic discovery of new sites.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2014 11:26 utc | 93


That was an interesting point you made earlier about the gay issue being associated with postmodernism in the Russozone. Maybe if it weren't associated with postmodernism and western cultural imperialism it wouldn't be such a hot button issue.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2014 11:31 utc | 94

" it wouldn't be such a hot button issue."

Also a good point. Russia is being pushed from all sides, and it seems childish, but they will push back with any anti-western cudgel they can muster.

The war against McDonalds is a ruse for public health, but pointing directly at the mercnatile West over sanctions.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 8 2014 11:37 utc | 95

@80 Whatever the original plan for the Ukraine was, it involved Putin groveling before the West six months ago. Obama is done as President. Yes, he can bully other Western losers, but domestically, the GOP wont/can't give him an inch and the Democrats are trying to separate themselves from Obama without being too confrontational.

Politically, ISIS, the MIC's pet project, global warming, the economy, and Ebola (health concerns) are what people care about. Appropriation of funds for the Ukraine won't happen for three years. The Ukraine project is done. The sanctions are designed to make us think the U.S. had a win.

If the U.S. was worried about prestige, the reaction to the Ebola outbreak would have been huge with ample questions about Chinese and Russian's lack of aid. We could have crushed the China-Africa relations in a week. Everyone is positioning themselves for the next President.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 8 2014 13:43 utc | 96

@95 I don't know how McDonald's is organized outside of the U.S., but here its a heavily franchised operation. Putin, the guy who actually picked McDonald's, may not know this, but I wouldn't be surprised if counter sanctions is a ruse for public health. There aren't many, but the McDonald's in St. Petersburg had crazy lines. Of course, McDonald's in Russia could easily be owned by a single person.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 8 2014 14:03 utc | 97

Anonymous@92 Did you know before that Russia is member of OSCE and has numerous representatives in the monitoring missions?

Thirdeye@93 You are wrong. OSCE missions were deployed to Ukraine starting from April and include observers from Russia. They are openly writing about hundreds of militants openly crossing the border between Russia and Ukraine on daily basis. Russia now admits that majority of these are Russian soldiers, just "volunteering in their free time" (which is nonsense because it's illegal for Russians to take part in foreign military activities). There's also overwhelming evidence from Russian media that conscripts and contractos are being actually sent there by order of their commanders. And, most importantly, there are the weapons. Separatists are seen using weapons and military vehicles that were never present in Ukraine, such as modernized T-72B tanks. And these you just can't physicall get without someone in Russia approving that and passing them through the border.

Demian@90 Russian army operating in covert is still Russian army. I also doubt that they were removed from Ukraine completely. Russian media are still reporting large number of dead soldiers coming from Ukraine, especially after numerous failed sieges of the Donetsk Airport. If they continue to come, someone continues to send them there. And we're not speaking about veterans, but soldiers in active service, such as Kostroma paratroopers. It's also naive to think that Russian army "could take the whole Ukraine but it doesn't want to". Fortunately, Russia has no economy to afford any open military activity anywhere.

Posted by: Ulster | Oct 8 2014 14:05 utc | 98

@97. Only 12 outlets in Russia, so I doubt this month old story can claim that much impact on the global sales. Bet you Nuland is getting an ear full nevertheless, and that makes me smile.

"The American fast-food giant witnessed a sharp decline in global profits in August, hit by the closure of its restaurants across Russia and a “rotten meat” scandal in China.

McDonald’s earnings slid with stores open at least 13 months taking a worse-than-expected hit in August, falling 3.7 percent, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based hamburger chain said in a statement on Wednesday. This is the biggest monthly drop since 2003, according to Bloomberg. Market analysts had expected a 3.1 percent drop in earnings.

Across Europe, where McDonald’s brings in a hefty 40 percent of its total earnings, proceeds were down 0.7 percent.

Much of the decline is connected to Russia, where health officials last month closed 12 stores, including the first-ever McDonald’s outlet in Russia, which opened to tremendous fanfare on January 31, 1990 in the center of Moscow, as well as two in Sochi, the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, Russian health inspectors are investigating hygiene conditions at 100 McDonald’s outlets nationwide over alleged issues"

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 8 2014 14:17 utc | 99

A relentless push...

""On October 7, the Moscow prosecutors requested that we present documents confirming the status of the work of the Ronald McDonald House charitable fund and our financial activities for 2013-2014," Svetlana Polyakova, general director of the charity in Russia told AFP.

She dismissed any claims against the fund, which runs health projects for children around Russia, as "unreasonable" and said that the organisation had complied with all its legal requirements."

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Oct 8 2014 14:33 utc | 100

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