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Since the Russian election is taking place on the anniversary of Crimea’s incorporation into Russia – an intentional play to increase turnout – now is as good a time as any to reflect on the complete failure of the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy.

All 12 of Past Zero Collapses

The Adepts of Putin’s “Clever Plan” have predicted all twelve of the Ukraine’s past zero disintegrations since Euromaidan

I do not think this is a controversial observation, as those of you who have followed the Russophile Alt Media in the past few years will agree.

For instance, here is The Saker, probably the most prominent pro-Russian advocate for Putin’s mnogokhodovka (lit. chess combination, an approximate Russian equivalent of Trumpian 4D chess), writing about Ukraine’s imminent collapse in 2015:

The Ukrainian economy is basically dead. There is nothing left to salvage, nevermind turn the tide and overcome the crushing economic crisis… Folks in the western Ukraine are already seriously considering demanding their own special autonomy status. As for Odessa with Saakashvili in charge and the daughter of Egor Gaidar as Deputy Governor, it will inevitably explode, especially since the USA officially pays their salaries.

Back then, he might have had a point.

Only problem, it was still collapsing in 2016:

Remember Dmitri Orlov’s five stages of collapse? They are:

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

Even a cursory look at what is happening in the Ukraine clearly shows that Stage 5 has already been reached, quite a while ago, really. What comes next is basically Somalia. But a big, really big, Somalia, with millions of assault rifles circulating in the population, with major industrial sites capable of triggering another Chernobyl-like disaster, with various death-squads (private or semi-official) freely roaming around the country and imposing their rule with armored vehicles and heavy machine guns.

And in 2017:

What we are seeing today is not just a Ukrainian military which seems to have given up on the notion of reconquering Novorussia, it is also one which appears to be giving up on the notion of holding the country together. Right now, this is only affecting the Donbass, but pretty soon other regions are likely to follow suit, especially the south (Odessa, Nikolaev, Mariupol) which, by itself, could be wealthy and prosperous and which has no need whatsoever for Neo-Nazi rulers. There are even some separatist movements in the western Ukraine who want to get rid of all the pseudo-Ukrainian “ballast” and build a “pure” Ukrainian state in the only place where such a state has real historical roots: on the border with Poland.

And presumably the Ukraine will continue spiralling down down to Stage 5 of collapse, to the post-nuclear apocalypse world of Fallout, and eventually to the very extinction of multicellular lifeforms on the Pontic steppes.

But in the real world, things are rather different.

The Ukrainian economy is now recovering for two years in a row. Its military is much better prepared than it was in 2014. Russophiles in the Ukraine have been purged of power, many have been imprisoned or even killed, and the rest cowed into silence. Most importantly, Russophile sentiment in the Ukraine all but collapsed during the course of 2014 and has remained dead ever since.

It is stupid and pointless to live in a world of delusions. Also rather hypocritical, considering that many of these Russophiles (correctly) criticize the Western media for exaggerating Russia’s problems, but then go on to lie even more assiduously about the Ukraine.

clever-plan-cultistsContra Rostislav Ischenko, one of the foremost adepts of Putin’s “clever plan” and his supposed grandmaster level skills at geopolitical chess (typically illustrated by retarded cult of personality memes like the one to the right), Russia has most decidedly notwon all of Ukraine.” It only won the Crimea, an island connected to the Russian mainland by a single pretty vulnerable bridge, and recognized by no country of significance. Otherwise, it only possesses influence over the economically depressed and demographically collapsing LDNR, which it has been unsuccessfully trying to “shove back” into the Ukraine for the past few years; and its political and soft power influence over the rest of the Ukraine has shrank to essentially zero.

All this said, I want to make a couple of things clear before I delve into the statistical details of Ukraine’s victory over Russia.

1. As a Russian nationalist, I remain unwaveringly committed to the idea of the triune Russian nation, just like Ivan Ilyin and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. There will come a day when the dismemberment of the Russian nation will be but a bad memory in the Russian historical consciousness. This will almost certainly not happen under the current occupants of the Kremlin. But happen it will, or Russia will cease to exist as a civilizational entity.

2. This is not a mea culpa. I was never an Adept of the Clever Plan, and was always skeptical of its chances of success: Significantly so in 2015 (when it really did seem that the Ukraine was in terminal crisis), and overwhelmingly so in 2016-17 (when it became increasingly clear that the worst was behind it, and that it had set out on the road to recuperation and recovery).

My thoughts at the start of 2015 [ http://akarlin.com/2015/01/ukraine-predictions/ ]:

[Scenario] 2: Immiseration is ably countered with repression. Many dissenters and able-bodied Ukrainians leave for the EU or Russia, so you’ll have fewer opponents – both of the economic and ideological variety – on the streets. If the junta survives 2016, I am sorry to say but chances are it will then stabilize and begin to recover. That’s just the nature of things, sooner or later.

2016:

  • Ukraine – The recession will end in 2016: 70%.
  • Ukraine – The Poroshenko regime remains in power: 80%.
  • Mariupol ends the year in DNR hands: 10%.
  • Putinsliv” aka Putin abandons support for DNR/LNR and Ukraine recaptures them: 5%.

2017:

  • The Ukrainian economy shows GDP growth: 80%.
  • The Ukraine does not undergo sovereign default: 90%.
  • Poroshenko remains in power: 90%.
  • Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, and Kharkov all still under central Ukrainian control: 95%.
  • Mariupol still under Ukraine control: 90%.
  • No “Putinsliv”/abandonment of Russian support for DNR/LNR, with Ukraine recapturing Donetsk and Lugansk: 99%.

As such, I don’t think I can be said to have been particularly blindsighted in my analysis, since everything indeed turned out as I pessimistically expected. The only two “Western Russophiles” that I can think of who clearly foresaw the likely failure of the “clever plan”/”winning all of Ukraine” strategy were Mark Sleboda and Jon Hellevig.

In retrospect, I perhaps wish I could have been more forthright about denouncing the mnogokhodovka strategy, as Egor Prosvirnin (chief editor of Sputnik & Pogrom) did from the very beginning. On the other hand, those Russian “zradniks” were rather over-eager to advance the “Putinsliv” theory, in which the Kremlin was supposed to just give up on the Donbass for no particular discernible reason. Obviously, that didn’t pan out either.

So I like to think I maintained a sort of golden mean over these years.

3. The Ukraine might have beaten Russia, but it hasn’t become a successful country.

In many important respects, it has disappointed expectations, especially of the people who most believed in its “manifest destiny” c. 2014.

The Ukraine remains one of Europe’s poorest countries, and no hordes of desperate Russian economic migrants are clamoring to get into Country 404 (as predicted by one famous svidomy blogger as late as 2015). The expectations of foreign neoliberal reformers were confounded – Poroshenko has blocked reforms, especially those that would touch his buddies in the law enforcement agencies, and corruption remains as high as ever – and higher than in Russia. One of Ukraine’s most tireless promoters, Thomas C. Theiner, who was unironically urging Ukraine to bomb Voronezh back in 2014, was by 2017 writing “by now it is clear that the corrupt and thieving government-mafia clans are still in charge”. Its mentality remains classically sovok, arguably to a greater degree than in Russia. For instance, just few months ago, the Education Ministry banned the country’s universities from accessing .ru domains – a step as malicious (what about academic journals hosted on .ru domains?) as it is idiotic (nobody is going to follow that decree anyway).

Just as Westernist neoliberals are dissatisfied with it, so are Ukrainian nationalists. As the Ukrainian state has recovered its legitimacy, so it has curtailed the “freedoms” of Ukrainian nationalists. The more psychopathic and anti-regime elements have been jailed or disposed of. The rest have been brought under the military chain of command or otherwise co opted. Those rare Russian nationalists who came to fight for the Ukraine out of some misplaced hopes of building a literal “Ukronazi” state have had troubles getting basic residency permits, or were outright deported back to Russia into the loving embrace of the Anti-Extremism Center and the FSB. (Not of course to say that Russia is any better in looking out for “its own” – near every week sees another case of a loyal Little Russian, who happens to have Ukrainian citizenship papers, getting caught up in deportation proceedings into the equally loving embrace of the SBU). Meanwhile, the Maidanists host purely ritualistic gay parades in Kiev and Odessa, and praise the values of diversity and multiculturalism. To be fair, the flamboyant gays get beaten up in Kiev more reliably than in Moscow, while the banal fact that the average salary in Kyrgyzstan is higher than in the Ukraine constitutes a more solid a barrier to Muslim immigration than any Trumpian wall – though this is a fact that Ukrainian nationalists making fun of Moskvabad are reliably loth to mention.

So it’s not like any of the two main groups that have most supported Ukraine in the past three years – Westernist neoliberals and Ukrainian nationalists – have much more to celebrate than Russian nationalists, even if it is the latter who are the biggest losers to date.

These constitute important caveats to the following list of Ukro triumphs.

Economics

The Ukrainian economy collapsed by around 16% in 2014-15, retreating back to 60% of the UkSSR’s peak. In 2014, there was almost as much housing constructed in the Russian region of Krasnodar Krai [population: 5.2 million] as in the whole of the Ukraine [population: 43 million].

The Ukraine fell below Moldova to acquire the dubious status of being the lowest wage country in all of Europe. “Gabon with snow,” Saakashvili called it.

However, there are a number of things that Russian propagandists tend to fail to mention:

1. The great part of the Ukrainian economic collapse in 2014-15 occured in the industrial regions of Novorossiya, and especially in the Donbass.

map-ukraine-gdp-fall

Source: pollotenchegg

In contrast, the west of the country saw only a relatively tame recession.

This same pattern has continued since, as AP comments:

Not true of Lviv oblast. Salaries in 2017 are about 20% higher than a year ago, whereas prices have gone up only 9% in the same time: http://www.lv.ukrstat.gov.ua/

Lviv oblast’s GRP dropped 5% total for 2014-2015. It grew something like 2% in 2016 and so far is at 3.5% growth in 2017. I visited in 2013, and this past summer: the city looks no worse off, indeed better.

In other words, celebration of Ukrainian economic hardship was mostly celebration of economic hardship in the most pro-Russian areas of the Ukraine.

2. This is reflected in salaries in the LDNR:

According to the DNR’s Minister of Finance, in the past year the DNR’s average monthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn’t seem implausible to me given the size of the Russian subsidy. – Jon 0815

However, this is a recovery from a very low base.

I wasn’t aware of these figures, thanks. But unfortunately it sort of makes my point. Current USD/RUB rate is 57, which translates into a monthly wage of $177.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage

This is relative to (as of latest data in that Wiki article) $650 in Russia, and $276 in the Ukraine. The DNR is now considerably poorer than Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which are at around the Ukraine’s level (Moldova is now a bit richer), though still richer than Tajikistan (~$140).

Furthermore note that wages in the territories of the LDNR itself, which are more urban/industrial, would have been higher than in Donetsk/Lugansk oblasts as a whole, so note that this if anything understates the depth of the economic collapse there.

Moreover, note that wages in Donetsk oblast were very high before the war – the second highest after Kiev itself (around 15% higher than the national average in 2013, and a third lower than in Kiev).

https://index.minfin.com.ua/labour/salary/average/2013

Current USD:grivna rate is 28, which translates to an average Ukrainian wage of $267 (50% higher), and $415 (2.3x) in Kiev.

To further underline the point: Average wage in Donetsk oblast as of Nov 2017 was $293, or – amazingly – still 10% higher than in the Ukrainian average. That’s despite a frontline dividing it, etc.

10,130 rubles translates to around 5,000 grivna. The poorest Ukrainian provinces, such as Ternopil, have almost 6,000 grivna (or $210). The DNR went from being the second richest province (and by a considerable margin) to its poorest one,
if it was still part of the Ukraine (again by a considerable margin).

Since Lugansk used to be at the Ukrainian average instead of one of its top performers, and bearing in mind the overtly bandit-like rule of Plotnitsky, I would wager that wages in the LNR are fully Tajik.

One more thing. You can’t have economic normalcy in such a state of limbo as the LDNR find themselves in.

One anecdote: Early January this year, I was on the cusp of visiting Donetsk, but our tour was called off at the last minute because its curators urgently needed to deal with emergent problems in POW exchanges with the Ukraine.

If even basic tourism is subject to the vagaries of being a frontline state, then one can only imagine the sort of distortionary effects it will have on business creation, etc.

3. Although 2014-15 was hardly pleasant, it doesn’t compare with the 1990s depression.

ukraine-living-standards

This graph displays the results of polls on living standards in the Ukraine from 1998 to 2016.

Ukrainians live much poorer than Russians. While 35% of Russians say they have difficulty affording food and/or clothes, for Ukrainians it is 70%; 18% of Russians can easily afford common durables, versus 4% of Ukrainians.

However, this situation is not particularly catastrophic in comparison with Ukraine’s own history.

From the chart, living standards in 2016 – correlating to the trough of the depression, and the introduction of high tariffs on utilities – was nonetheless equivalent to that of the early 2000s, and far above the 1990s, when around 90% of Ukrainians had difficulties affording food and/or clothes.

In contrast, the Crimea has flourished in Russia, displaying double digit growth as it converged to the development level of a richer country – Western sanctions regardless. Considering that the Donbass actually has serious industries, this would have been all the more true had they been incorporated into Russia.

..

Finance

One constant argument amongst mnogokhodovka proponents is that it was inevitable that the Ukraine would default.

But while this was a realistic prospect in 2015 and (to a lesser extent) in 2016, it is now 2018 and the likelihood of this happening has receded into the margins.

Debt stood at $77 billion as of the start of this year, barely unchanged from $73 billion at the start of 2014.

ukraine-debt

This constitutes about 74% of Ukrainian GDP, up from 40% in 2013 but below its peak around 82% in 2016-2017.

With the budget now balanced, and the economy growing, we can expect this figure to recede back into “safe” territory – which is around 60% of GDP for emerging markets – in the next few years, as nominal GDP swings back up.

The current account is balanced, and foreign exchange reserves have climbed to close to $20 billion, up from a trough of around $5 billion at the start of 2015. That is enough for approximately 5 months of imports (versus a recommended minimum of 6 months).

The net international investment position is at -40% of GDP, which is actually pretty good by East-Central European standards. Ukraine’s owners, for the most part, have Ukrainian citizenship, which helps Ukraine steer a more independent course than would have otherwise been the case, even if it is not expressed in the best of ways (e.g. Poroshenko stalling on judicial reform and undermining anti-corruption initiatives).

Finally, the price of 5 year Ukrainian CDS has not only recovered to normalcy after a peak in 2015, but it is now actually lower than under Yanukovych – foreign investors believe the Ukraine has a lower chance of default now, than in 2012.

ukraine-cds

Again, this is not to claim that Ukraine is a financial superpower. Its credit ratings are below investment grade. But barring further major shocks, it is not going to undergo a sovereign default.

..

Demographics

There is a conspiracy theory that Ukraine’s real population is around 10 million or more souls lower than official statistics indicate – Andrey Fomin, for instance, has a comprehensive exposition.

In reality, this is just a mirror image of Western “dying bear” tropes about Russia that I have been debunking for the past decade, as I commented to RT’s Bryan MacDonald.

Three options:
1. Ukraine experiencing a baby boom far bigger than anywhere else in Eastern Europe, which seems unlikely given economic circumstances.
2. Ukraine is also fiddling its fertility stats.
3. This theory is nonsense, mirror image of the “dying Russian bear” trope.

Incidentally, if the Ukrainian population really is 22-24 million based on bread consumption declines, it would also imply that it is about as rich as China and Belarus. Unless their economic figures are all balloony too.

Unless proven otherwise, I have always maintained that Russian statistics can generally be trusted – to the opposition of Western propagandists such as Michael McFaul – and unlike them, I am consistent and will do likewise for the Ukraine.

But perhaps the weirdest part of Fomin’s article is this:

During the 1995/1996 school year there were 7.1 million schoolchildren in Ukraine. In the 2015/2016 school year it was down to 3,783,150 (official data of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine) or 47% in 20 years.

Apparently the general collapse of fertility in the 1990s across the post-Soviet space – which translates into many fewer schoolchildren today – passed him by.

This is not to say that Ukrainian demographics are anything to write home about; the TFR was at 1.47 children per woman in 2016, and will have declined to 1.40 in 2017 (Russia: 1.76 and 1.62, respectively).

However, there is nothing for Russia to celebrate here, since while the Ukraine might be in deep demographic decline, that decline is mostly concentrated in the eastern, pro-Russian areas.

As with economics, the sovcucks who do that are primarily celebrating their own people’s problems.

map-ukraine-fertility

Source: Datatowel, Birth Rates in Ukraine in 2015

While the Donbass has long had Ukraine’s worst fertility indicators – the TFR was 1.32 and 1.32 in Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, respectively, in 2013, versus 1.51 for the Ukraine as a whole – they collapsed off a cliff in the territories of the LDNR after 2014.

This is according to statistics that the DNR collects and publishes itself.

dnr-natural-growth

In 2017, there were 11,800 births (2016: 11,771) and 33,636 deaths (2016: 34,833) on the territory of the DNR, out of a population of 2,302,444. This translates to a birth rate of 5.1/1,000 and a death rate of 14.6/1,000, making for a natural population decrease of 1% per year.

For comparison, Donetsk oblast, with a population of 4.3 million, has a birth rate of 9.4/1,000 and a death rate of 15.9/1,000 in 2013, the last year of “normalcy”. In the Ukraine as a whole, the birth rate was at 10.0/1,000 and the death rate was at 13.2 million in 2017.

Unfortunately, the LNR doesn’t release birth/death statistics, but it can hardly be expected to be doing any better.

Not only is the economic center of gravity in the Ukraine moving west, but also its demographic center of gravity, which reinforces the trend.

In contrast, the Crimea has converged to Russian fertility norms (11.0/1,000 versus 11.5/1,000 for Russia as a whole in 2017).

..

Military

If there was a time and a place for a Russian invasion of the Ukraine – in reality, not in Western/Ukrainian propagandist fantasy – it was either in April 2014, or August 2014 at the very latest.

Since then, the Ukrainian Army has gotten much stronger. Since 2014, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have grown from no more than 100,000 troops (almost none of them combat-worthy) to around 250,000. It can now carry out complex tactical operations: In an August 2017 report at Colonel Cassad, Vladimir Orlov noted how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF.

It has been purged of its “Russophile” elements, and even though it has lost a substantial percentage of its remnant Soviet-era military capital in the war of attrition with the LDNR, it has more than made up for it with wartime XP gain and the banal fact of a quintupling in military spending as a percentage of GDP from 1% to 2.5%-5%.

This translates to an effective doubling to quadrupling in absolute military spending, even when accounting for Ukraine’s post-Maidan depression. Russia can still crush Ukraine in a full-scale conventional conflict, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.

Of even greater import is that the Ukrainian military now completely overshadows the Novorossiya Armed Forces.

The latter have no more than 40,000 troops, and with the exit of the more “idealistic” warriors in 2014-15, it has succumbed to low morale. Alexander Zhuchkovsky, a Russian directly involved in the NAF, estimated that they would be unable to hold out for longer than a week against a full-fledged Ukrainian assault without help from Russia. The Maidanists dream of a repetition of Operation Storm and – absent serious Russian intervention – they are probably already capable of it.

..

Nation Building

The Ukrainian Affair has illustrated the complete dearth of Russian soft power.

pushkov-soft-power

Russia invested $200 billion into the Ukrainian economy over 20 years, the US – $5 million into the “development of democracy.” It seems we didn’t invest correctly. An important lesson. – Alexey Pushkov, United Russia MP.

Overall, what might be termed “Russophile” sentiment has decreased by a standard deviation across the board.

poll-ukraine-russia

Ukrainians with a positive view of Russia [blue] dropped from ~85% to ~40%.

poll-ukraine-russia-2

Ukrainians who want Russia and Ukraine to become one country dropped from ~16% to ~3%.

map-ukraine-nato

43% of Ukrainians want to join NATO, versus ~15% before 2014.

poll-ukraine-join-russia

Although Crimea were always the most Russophile province, it did not differ cardinally in that respect from Donetsk or Lugansk, which in turn did not differ cardinally from the rest of Novorossiya.

After Crimea joined Russia, support for the incorporation went up from ~40% to 90%, i.e. by more than a standard deviation. The idea also enjoys majority support in the LDNR itself, despite Putin’s lack of concern for them.

By analogy, conquering Novorossiya in 2014 would have raised it to 50%-60% in the less enthusiastic provinces (Dnepropetrovsk), around 80% in Odessa and Kharkov, and 90% in Donetsk and Lugansk.

In reality, support for joining Russia and in general Russophile sentiment fell by a standard deviation in the rest of the country (e.g. only 5% support for this now in the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts).

If this change is “deep,” then their future assimilation into Russia may well have been made impossible by Putin’s vacillations in 2014.

poll-donbass-remain-russia

According to a poll from 2017, 90% of people in Donetsk/Lugansk oblasts want the LDNR to remain part of Ukraine, versus half in the LDNR itself.

poll-donbass-putin

70% of Donetsk/Lugansk oblast residents don’t trust Putin, versus 36% of LDNR residents who trust him in general.

Although Donetsk/Lugansk oblasts are more rural and ethnically Ukrainian than the LDNR, differences so stark can’t be explained by demographics – they were created by Ukrainian and Russian propaganda, respectively.

Intensive Ukrainization of schoolchildren continues.

ukraine-schools

In religion, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is taking over ROC property; all that the latter can do in response is issue lame fake news releases about how the Patriarch Filaret asking them for forgiveness.

Then again, these are the sort of people who run Russian soft power initiatives:

Head of Paris division of Rossotrudnichestvo [first problem: impossible for non-Slavs to pronounce] happened to be headed by the former wife of Peskov (Putin’s spokesman), Ekaterina Solotsinskaya, who had been appointed to the position in 2017 when Putin visited France in May 2017.

She refused Zakhar Prilepin, a hugely popular Russian writer and vatnik, access to its hotel on the basis that he was a “Donbass terrorist.”

Russia is not so nepotistic to let that stand, and she had to write step down, albeit for another reason – having two undeclared companies, through which she had been acquiring Paris properties (presumably at the expense of promoting Russian culture). Best part, though? She strongly resisted signing the resignation letter, on the basis that she… had good ties with Ksenia Sobchak and Ramzan Kadyrov (!). So, apart from all that, terminally stupid as well.

On the other hand, she’s much richer than me, so what do I know, really.

So no wonder Russia can’t even resist Ukraine’s new language laws with the vigor and resolve of, say, Hungary.

..

The Totality of Putin’s Failure

kiev-nato-march

NATO soldiers marched down the Khreshchatyk in August 2017, the main boulevard of Kiev, in a fitting metaphor for Russia’s failure.

The Ukraine is still very poor and dysfunctional, but it also seems to be self-confident and on the road to a sustainable recovery.

The Maidan coup may have gone against public opinion, and was propelled to success by what was essentially a false flag terrorist attack (Kiev Snipergate), about which more details come out every month. But nobody cares nowadays. It’s irrelevant.

Weapons sales have been approved to the Ukraine, including Javelins. The kremlins hesitated in 2014, probably fearing a New Cold War with the West, but it increasingly looks like they are going to get it anyway. The Russian Stalinist nutjob Nikolay Starikov was preaching scare stories of nuclear war with the West if Russia was to intervene in 2014, but a few months ago, a mercenary group belonging to one of Putin’s cronies seems to have directly attacked American troops in Syria, and promptly got wiped out. “Let’s fight a nuclear war not over our own people but over some oil refinery in a Middle Eastern shithole,” nationalists complained.

Whereas in 2014 the entirety of Novorossiya was ripe for the taking, as of today it seems like Russia would be lucky to merely hang onto a small slice of the Donbass in the long-run.

There were 20,000 Ukrainian troops in Crimea, which were successfully subdued by a similar number of Russian troops. The only unit that put up armed resistance there was one composed of Galicians, who had been trained by Americans (fortunately subdued without bloodshed on either side). Crimea was indeed an “operation [that] was strictly hatched in the Kremlin, with the approval of you know who.” Even so, it’s worth noting that even Crimea didn’t have the unanimous support of the Kremlin elites, with Defense Minister Shoigu being noticeably against it (according to the liberal journalist Zygar’s All the Kremlin’s Men).

The entirety of “Novorossiya”‘s eight oblasts probably had a similar number of troops, who could have been subdued almost as easily by the little green men. Instead, you had the historical reconstructionist Strelkov gathering a brigade at Slavyansk, while leisurely chaos reigned in Donetsk. If that was supposed to be a Kremlin military operation, it was one of the most incompetent ones in history. Alternative, more likely, explanation: The Kremlin was playing wait-and-see. If Ukraine had dissipated, sure, they’d have snapped up Novorossiya; if not, they’d have closed up the whole affair (but Strelkov threw a wrench in their works).

But at least Putin got his chance to play G.W. Bush in the Middle East, and the 80% approval to go with it, and that’s what really matters, as Israel Shamir (approvingly) writes:

The war in Syria is very important for Russia: it helped Russia to get out of preoccupation with Ukraine; Syria and Palestine are territories Russians tried to colonise before WWI. It is likely to become a Mediterranean part of Russia, or Russian sphere of influence, on the other side of Bosporus, undoing a possible siege of Russian shipping

Incidentally, this brings me back to Crimea, or more precisely – another interpretation of it.

What would have happened if Russia had not gone ahead with that?

[Ukraine] would not have been as anti-Russian as it is today, but it would still be firmly orientated towards the West; Russia would have likely been kicked out of Crimea, or in the final process of being so, after mass arrests and reprisal against the separatists there; pro-Russian parties would still be electorally non-viable (2010 was the unlikely confluence of a massive economic crisis coupled with the near complete discreditation of the Orange forces).

Oh, and yes, Putin’s approval ratings would have been well below 50% (humiliated in Ukraine; economy in recession anyway due to collapsed oil prices, and no way of blaming that on sanctions), and the Kremlin could well have been facing a color revolution scenario as of this time in the alternate history where Shoigu (who allegedly cautioned against Crimea) triumphed over Glazyev (who was the main hawk in 2014).

Far from being any sort of genuine Russian revanchist project, it’s entirely possible that Crimea was merely a forced move to preempt an eventual color revolution, in the same way that Russian foreign policy is reactive, not proactive, in general.

And it seems to have worked.

After Crimea, Putin acquired 20% points of approval points, and acquired a “charismatic” aura that will be near impossible to annul.

 
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  1. The kremlins hesitated in 2014, probably fearing a New Cold War with the West

    More likely they feared a hot war in the Ukraine, because they didn’t share your rosy view of how an occupation would have gone. Not an open “NATO rides to the defence of Ukraine” scenario, but rather a murderous, gruelling, endless sapping insurgency, backed by massive external assistance flowing across impossible to police borders with NATO in areas lived in by populations absolutely dedicated to ending what they saw as a Russian occupation.

    Together with a massive diplomatic backlash around the world with Russia actually successfully painted as a destabilising aggressor and pariah state in the places where the attempt to make that stick has not, in the event, worked.

    I don’t say it’s certain which way it would have gone, but I do think the Russian government probably adopted an appropriately cautious policy. Results have certainly been disappointing, but that doesn’t mean the alternatives would not have been disastrous.

    but it increasingly looks like they are going to get it anyway.

    Indeed. Mind you, the fanatical obsessiveness of the Russophobes in the US and its crony states has been surprisingly hysterical and the more effective in sustaining and pushing confrontation, as a result. Many assumed the election of Trump would have resulted in a cooling down, but that has not come to pass because the neocon types and the Democrat establishment have proved to be even more entrenched and willing to go to insane extremes than most expected.

    Starikov was preaching scare stories of nuclear war with the West if Russia was to intervene in 2014, but a few months ago, a mercenary group belonging to one of Putin’s cronies seems to have directly attacked American troops in Syria, and promptly got wiped out.

    Any better evidence about this incident than the eminently plausible Spiegel piece I’ve linked here a couple of times, that says (with pretty plausible grounds), that there was no such “Russian mercenary attack”? The Spiegel is a leftist and globalist publication that does not have any general inclination to act as a propaganda shield for Putin.

    At the moment it seems reasonable to me to assume such an attack never happened.

    As for the “collapse” of the Ukraine, it’s certainly true that the illegitimate regime did survive disappointingly well, so far. The worst predictions of prompt collapse certainly have not come true, but on the other hand neither have the glowingly optimistic ones. There’s a lot of ruin in a country, especially when the international money elites are motivated to prop it up.

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  2. AP says:

    Excellent article, and the fantasists from your side will hate you for it. One quibble:

    The Maidan coup may have gone against public opinion,

    Your link was to a poll that showed only for vs. against Maidan in Ukraine, and showed more people against, than for. However, it does not consider how many people supported Maidan’s adversary, Yanukovich’s government.

    In that poll (KIIS – dont have time to hunt for the link, which I apparently failed to bookmark) it was 41% in favor of Maidan, 25% in favor of the government, and the rest supporting neither side.

    So while technically yes, the majority did not support Maidan, even fewer people supported Yanukovich.

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    • Replies: @The Kulak
    I still think NATO training or not the notion of an easy peasy Ukro-Operation Storm is mostly fantasy even some of the hardcore Galicia-centrists here don't cling to anymore than most Russian nationalists buy into being welcomed with bread and flowers at the Dnieper. If Washington wants to help the Ukrainians take back the Donbass the aura of NATO advisers being untouchable is going to come off, fast and sorry Quartermaster some of the advisers just behind the frontlines will be very vulnerable in fluid battles to ambushes or the GRU SIGINT artilleryist guys in downtown Donetsk ID'ing where the US Army issued encrypted radios are at Ilovaisk, and triangulating with mass fires for effect. Leading to a sudden 'suicide bombing at Bagram' that no one saw to cover up U.S. and Canuck adviser (even if the Canadian military more so than the US Army has its share of Ukrainian speakers) servicemen coffins flying out of Borispol airport.

    It's not like contrary to the concerted efforts to downplay 'out of my face' guy and others the Azov Battalion did such a great job of hiding their NATO Foreign Legionnaire types, one of whom a Belgian reportedly was killed. A Slovak or Pole bragged to SOFREP.com about fighting 'bandits' and supposed Russian regulars (just like on the LDNR side where any Ukrainian unit competently defending a relatively indefensible against artillery position at the airport were said to be Polish 'vacationers' or mercs) but offered little proof he was going up against the Taman Guards rather than some old Northern Wind Chechnya veterans.

    If there is one unhealthy trend I sense in Anatoly's writing of late, even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort. Well the Euphrates in Syria isn't much of a formidable barrier to Hezbollah types infiltrating Kurdish SDF areas to plant IEDs or shoot down Blackhawks with MANPADs and the great slaughter of Wagner mercenaries turned out to be about a dozen or so guys times two wounded who didn't even likely know they were attacking a U.S. special forces held position because their Syrian hosts lied to them or the Kurds pulled a fast one after promising to deliver over an oil field.

    The consensus among Ukrainian nationalists seems to be let the Donbass rot. Which is about what many Russians think is happening to Ukraine even if they lament it. That all being said I don't begrudge Putin sticking with Crimea and refusing to hand the worst neocons their wet dream of a Slavic version of the Afghanistan occupation by going all the way to the Dnieper. LDPR may have been what was possible, though I think the offensive in August 2014 should've encircled Mariupol and forced those Azov Nazi bastards including the not easily disavowable NATO Foreign Legionnaires to die in it or leave for Russia. Easy for me to say from my safe perch though.

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  3. I was talking just yesterday online to a friend, who is from Odessa.

    He says real inflation in Ukraine is something insane now and much more than reported.

    He’s studying abroad in university in America at the moment, and he came back to visit recently, and everything was ‘twice as expensive’ as when he left – his exact words. Also ‘the whole country is total shit’.

    By the way, for people who think that people in Ukraine are agreeing with what happens or pro-Western viewpoint. He is from Odessa, supports Russia’s viewpoint, was very against the coup in Kiev.

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  4. I see, so Ukraine is well on its way to be kind of like Bulgaria. Except not actually in EU, so like Moldova or Albania, except further east. Success? Maybe, they have the visa-free access and that’s what many on Maidan wanted.

    The 2014 played out as it had to, leaders usually do what they must. Russia had no legal grounds or even an excuse to invade or annex Donbass. They had one in Crimea. Before Maidan and Yanukovitch’s departure, Russia could had been more aggressive. But given how Ukrainians as a whole felt at that time, not giving them what they wanted was fool’s errand. It is not easy to control hostile populations, and there was plenty of hostility toward Russia in Ukraine. What happened was largely inevitable.

    Russia saved Crimea and its Navy base to what looks like an eternal anger by the West. The fact that West is so angry suggests that they really wanted it, that was the prize. That one Russia won.

    What’s next? Ukraine may plod along for years, pride, some growth, enough food, more pride. It has things to sell, land, geographic access. Rulers will change, some aggressive, some accommodating, kind of like Georgia. Eventually the pride will dissipate and the reality that not much is changing will hit them. Then, I guess a new ‘revolution’ (Already 3 in 24 years, these guys are feisty.) One wonders what will they call it, they are really good at symbolism. But I think Crimea is gone.

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  5. The Maidan presented Russia with a golden opportunity to reunite the East Slavs and extinguish the fiction that the Ukraine can exist as anything other than a part of Russia.

    Putin blinked.

    This is his greatest failure.

    As a Russian nationalist, I remain unwaveringly committed to the idea of the triune Russian nation, just like Ivan Ilyin and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. There will come a day when the dismemberment of the Russian nation will be but a bad memory in the Russian historical consciousness. This will almost certainly not happen under the current occupants of the Kremlin. But happen it will, or Russia will cease to exist as a civilizational entity.

    Don’t be so sure.

    The longer this persists, the more normal it will seem.

    Take Austria for instance. After the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, the country’s official name was German Austria. The only reason anschluss did not happen then is that it was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. Even an attempted customs union with Germany in 1931 was stopped by France. Kurt Schuschnigg’s argument against anschluss was that he considered Austrians to be superior Germans.

    After the war anschluss was part of far right politics in both Germany and Austria, but when Joerg Haider took over the Austrian Freedom Party he flew the Austrian flag for the first time. The anschluss program was quietly dropped.

    As a result the dream of 1848 may be dead forever. Germany remains divided, and no one even notices how strange it is that Austria is independent at all.

    Moving outside of Europe, look at North America. We speak of the original thirteen colonies, but there were in fact twenty-six British colonies in North America which underwent ethnogenesis during the French and Indian Wars. Americans tried to invade Canada twice, but failed both times.

    The loyalists expelled from America resettled largely in Canada and developed an anti-American national identity which still forms the basis of Canada’s farcical existence today. Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.

    And the Caribbean colonies of Britain are lost to American civilization entirely thanks to the poisonous legacy of abolitionism and equal rights.

    So unless the far right comes to power in Russia within the next decade or two the Ukraine is likely lost forever.

    Weapons sales have been approved to the Ukraine, including Javelins.

    The javelin is obsolete for its intended role. This looks more like corruption to me since the Ukraine already produces guided anti-tank missiles.

    And the “lethal aid” provided to the Ukraine consisted of .50 caliber rifles–another item the Ukraine can easily produce if it does not already.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @El Dato

    Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.
     
    Bizarre 4chan memes with internal contradictions ahoy.

    How would annexing something that is not a real country into something else that is not a real country make a real country?

    The old USA will lose fat pieces of California and Arizone to Mexico before the answer to that question can be given anyway.


    The javelin is obsolete for its intended role.
     
    Top kek. Try saying that while sitting in a tank that is being opened like a pez dispenser.

    What is obsolete are tanks.

    , @inertial
    There is time to gather empires and time to cast them away. The breakup period started perhaps sometime in the 1960s and it still goes on. Polities are still fracturing. But, like with anything else, this will end and an era of consolidation will unfortunately begin again. I say unfortunately because the times of consolidation are usually not good a time for the common folks.

    Austria vs. Germany is a special case though. After WWII, the Germans didn't want to be German. The Austrian Germans had succeeded in rejecting the German identity. You know the famous joke about how the wily Austrians convinced the world that Hitler was German but Mozart (variant: Beethoven) was Austrian. The Austrians succeeded to such extent that many midwits (like Obama) think that the Austrians speaks the Austrian language.

    Some of the dynamic was in place in the case of Russia vs. Ukraine. Russian self-respect reached the nadir in the 1990s. Russians didn't want to be Russian anymore, so Ukrainians rejected their Russian identity and embraced (anti-Russian) Ukrainian. But Russia had changed and it will have an effect on Ukraine.
    , @jimbojones
    Good point. Sounds like what the Madison & Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers. If you let Humpty Dumpty break, good luck putting it back together again.
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  6. : I want to make a brief point here:

    http://akarlin.com/2013/11/ukraines-turn-to-the-east/

    Based on the information in your comments for that 2013 article above, 18-25 year olds in the Donbass supported joining the Eurasian Economic Union in 2013 by a 38% to 29% margin. That’s only 9 points, and that was in one of the most pro-Russian regions of Ukraine before the Maidan Revolution!

    Based on this data, even without a Russian intervention in Ukraine starting from 2014, Ukraine was going to drift to the West and I don’t think that Russia could have realistically done anything about this. Thus, Russia’s choices (strategically) were to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member) or take however much of Ukraine it could and let the rest of Ukraine become firmly anchored to the West (as in, eventually become not only an EU member, but possibly also a NATO member–and one which would have been much more hostile to Russia than would have been the case had Russia not intervened in Ukraine at all). Anyway, Putin went with the first choice and thus ended up acquiring Crimea and the Donbass. Now, the crucial question is this–could Putin have gone farther than this or would going farther have backfired? (Anatoly talks about support for annexation by Russia in Crimea going up from 40% to 90%, but please keep in mind that the 40% data was asking Crimeans about a union of Russia and all of Ukraine; thus, I don’t know if it can be directly compared to post-annexation polls of Crimea.)

    Also, off-topic, but here is an interesting question–once eastern Ukraine becomes more and more depopulated, are more western Ukrainians going to move there? Or would there be no point in moving to a region which is economically stagnating?

    Finally, here is an additional question–what do you think that Ukraine’s carrying capacity in terms of its population is? After all, while Ukraine looks like it’s going to continue experiencing a steep decline in its population, this should end at some point as a result of the breeders becoming a larger and larger percentage of Ukraine’s total population. (Please look at Israel if you don’t believe me.) Afterwards, Ukraine’s population should resume growing. Thus, I am wondering what Ukraine’s carrying capacity in regards to its population is. 100 million? 200 million? Even more than that?

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @Randal

    Now, the crucial question is this–could Putin have gone farther than this or would going farther have backfired?
     
    I have wondered if assassinating a few of the key traitors amongst the oligarchs in eastern Ukraine (regardless of their "connections" in Russia itself and any risks of retaliatory attempts) might not have had good effects in terms of bringing a much larger area with the secessionists. In that sense, Putin was probably not ruthless and criminal enough.

    Myself, I think the idea that Russian could have gotten away lightly with invading and occupying a large part of Ukraine, or all of it, is simply naïve and does not properly take into account the responses it would have triggered, in occupied Ukraine, in Europe, in the US and in the relatively nonaligned parts of the world that have been vital in allowing Russia to defy the US without being painted successfully as a "pariah" (outside Europe and a few other US crony states).
    , @Randal

    to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member)
     
    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes). The only thing holding the US and UK back from being able to enact their long desired integration of Ukraine into NATO was fear of a sharp Russian response in Germany and other European governments. The more peacefully integrated Ukraine became into the EU, the further such fears would have retreated and the more normalised the idea of Ukraine as a member of NATO would have become.
    , @Beckow
    I think a cool billion could easily fit into Ukraine; some of the most fertile land in the world, plenty of water, beaches, mountains...

    Globalists have been salivating over Ukraine for centuries. Greeks and Goths lived there, Khazars, Swedes tried it, Ottomans. Germans actually put effort into major settlements of Germans in Ukraine in the middle of WWII, that's how much they wanted it. Today it could accommodate the surplus Third World masses - it is perfectly located close to Europe, but not 'in Europe', you could ship them directly from Turkey. That's why Crimea was so crucial - it is in the way for ferries.

    Now, if you think that the globalist NGOs and the deep thinking 'think tankers' have not thought of this, you really don't know them. In a few years the increasingly desperate Kiev rulers might just sell the whole damn place, cash out, and off to Salisbury for a cushy retirement and some Italian cousine. And it will all be Putin's fault, how else.

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  7. @Thorfinnson: You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.
     
    One can't speak of Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman national identities. My position is that for civilized races the optimal form of political organization is the nation-state, and said nation-state should be at the largest practical level of cultural integration. Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    A united Anglo-Saxon state might be practical (and one way we can keep competing with China throughout the century), though reconciling American republicanism with British monarchism seems impossible. That is unless the God-Emperor crowns himself.

    That said in light of the fact that Balkanoids are savage swine I'd be favorably inclined to just hand the Austrians the unenviable task of governing the fractious, quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash forever. Greece gets an exemption owing to its history.

    Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were not real countries, but they had the possibility of developing into real countries. This was well under way in Yugoslavia to my knowledge.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    "Globalization" and nuclear peace have reduced the returns to war and thus the need for large states, hence the disintegrative trend since 1942.

    Let's hope Trump sparks a global trade war and ends this trend of political disintegration.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.
     

    The European Union was an integrative success, but the Euros fucked it all up. First the idiotic creation of the Eurozone (which was correctly criticized by American economists before it launched), and now Merkel's blunder. Europe's elites further appear extremely determined to learn nothing from this.

    To this one can add the the Euros repeated the Hapsburg blunder of expanding into the Balkans. Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities have no business whatsoever in Europe.

    The EU has more divisions than simply immigration. There's considerable division on economics. The EU is working out just fine for the Germanic countries (and Finland), so they want no change. France and Italy want a Eurozone bonds and a weaker Euro.

    They're also divided on how to deal with BREXIT. The Germans want to treat the UK harshly, but Macron does not. Doesn't help that the British government itself does not even appear to have a program, which is not surprising when your Prime Minister is a childless cat lady.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

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  8. : In regards to Ukraine, if it could get its act together in regards to corruption, I could certainly see it eventually being welcomed into the E.U.

    Also, Ukraine probably has a higher average IQ than Albania, Moldova, and even Bulgaria and thus probably has the potential to eventually have a higher GDP per capita than these countries have (assuming that it can get its act together, of course).

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  9. @Mr. XYZ
    @Anatoly Karlin: I want to make a brief point here:

    http://akarlin.com/2013/11/ukraines-turn-to-the-east/

    Based on the information in your comments for that 2013 article above, 18-25 year olds in the Donbass supported joining the Eurasian Economic Union in 2013 by a 38% to 29% margin. That's only 9 points, and that was in one of the most pro-Russian regions of Ukraine before the Maidan Revolution!

    Based on this data, even without a Russian intervention in Ukraine starting from 2014, Ukraine was going to drift to the West and I don't think that Russia could have realistically done anything about this. Thus, Russia's choices (strategically) were to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member) or take however much of Ukraine it could and let the rest of Ukraine become firmly anchored to the West (as in, eventually become not only an EU member, but possibly also a NATO member--and one which would have been much more hostile to Russia than would have been the case had Russia not intervened in Ukraine at all). Anyway, Putin went with the first choice and thus ended up acquiring Crimea and the Donbass. Now, the crucial question is this--could Putin have gone farther than this or would going farther have backfired? (Anatoly talks about support for annexation by Russia in Crimea going up from 40% to 90%, but please keep in mind that the 40% data was asking Crimeans about a union of Russia and all of Ukraine; thus, I don't know if it can be directly compared to post-annexation polls of Crimea.)

    Also, off-topic, but here is an interesting question--once eastern Ukraine becomes more and more depopulated, are more western Ukrainians going to move there? Or would there be no point in moving to a region which is economically stagnating?

    Finally, here is an additional question--what do you think that Ukraine's carrying capacity in terms of its population is? After all, while Ukraine looks like it's going to continue experiencing a steep decline in its population, this should end at some point as a result of the breeders becoming a larger and larger percentage of Ukraine's total population. (Please look at Israel if you don't believe me.) Afterwards, Ukraine's population should resume growing. Thus, I am wondering what Ukraine's carrying capacity in regards to its population is. 100 million? 200 million? Even more than that?

    Now, the crucial question is this–could Putin have gone farther than this or would going farther have backfired?

    I have wondered if assassinating a few of the key traitors amongst the oligarchs in eastern Ukraine (regardless of their “connections” in Russia itself and any risks of retaliatory attempts) might not have had good effects in terms of bringing a much larger area with the secessionists. In that sense, Putin was probably not ruthless and criminal enough.

    Myself, I think the idea that Russian could have gotten away lightly with invading and occupying a large part of Ukraine, or all of it, is simply naïve and does not properly take into account the responses it would have triggered, in occupied Ukraine, in Europe, in the US and in the relatively nonaligned parts of the world that have been vital in allowing Russia to defy the US without being painted successfully as a “pariah” (outside Europe and a few other US crony states).

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  10. Also, I want to make an additional note here: Had Russia actually tried conquering (much) more of Ukraine in 2014 (or really, any time before November 2016), it is certainly possible that this would have been enough to prevent Donald Trump from getting elected in 2016. After all, if Russian troops were occupying half of Ukraine, this might have been enough for Hillary Clinton to scare enough security-minded “Middle Americans” to either vote for her or stay at home.

    While I consider Donald Trump to be rather un-presidential, I do think that a positive aspect of his victory is that it is moving the Overton window further to the right. I consider this to be a good thing considering that, previously, talking about certain things–such as about racial and ethnic IQ gaps and these gaps possibly being at least partially caused by genetics–was completely taboo. I mean, it’s still largely taboo, but I feel the Overton window moving at least a little bit.

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  11. Pretty much everything in this article is a load of bullshit. Sorry.

    The error is in the axiomatics: there’s no such thing as a “Ukraine”, and any discussion of a failed imaginary nation will only lead to more error.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective

    there’s no such thing as a “Ukraine”
     
    Keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better.
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  12. @Mr. XYZ
    @Anatoly Karlin: I want to make a brief point here:

    http://akarlin.com/2013/11/ukraines-turn-to-the-east/

    Based on the information in your comments for that 2013 article above, 18-25 year olds in the Donbass supported joining the Eurasian Economic Union in 2013 by a 38% to 29% margin. That's only 9 points, and that was in one of the most pro-Russian regions of Ukraine before the Maidan Revolution!

    Based on this data, even without a Russian intervention in Ukraine starting from 2014, Ukraine was going to drift to the West and I don't think that Russia could have realistically done anything about this. Thus, Russia's choices (strategically) were to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member) or take however much of Ukraine it could and let the rest of Ukraine become firmly anchored to the West (as in, eventually become not only an EU member, but possibly also a NATO member--and one which would have been much more hostile to Russia than would have been the case had Russia not intervened in Ukraine at all). Anyway, Putin went with the first choice and thus ended up acquiring Crimea and the Donbass. Now, the crucial question is this--could Putin have gone farther than this or would going farther have backfired? (Anatoly talks about support for annexation by Russia in Crimea going up from 40% to 90%, but please keep in mind that the 40% data was asking Crimeans about a union of Russia and all of Ukraine; thus, I don't know if it can be directly compared to post-annexation polls of Crimea.)

    Also, off-topic, but here is an interesting question--once eastern Ukraine becomes more and more depopulated, are more western Ukrainians going to move there? Or would there be no point in moving to a region which is economically stagnating?

    Finally, here is an additional question--what do you think that Ukraine's carrying capacity in terms of its population is? After all, while Ukraine looks like it's going to continue experiencing a steep decline in its population, this should end at some point as a result of the breeders becoming a larger and larger percentage of Ukraine's total population. (Please look at Israel if you don't believe me.) Afterwards, Ukraine's population should resume growing. Thus, I am wondering what Ukraine's carrying capacity in regards to its population is. 100 million? 200 million? Even more than that?

    to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member)

    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes). The only thing holding the US and UK back from being able to enact their long desired integration of Ukraine into NATO was fear of a sharp Russian response in Germany and other European governments. The more peacefully integrated Ukraine became into the EU, the further such fears would have retreated and the more normalised the idea of Ukraine as a member of NATO would have become.

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    • Replies: @AP

    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes).
     
    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.
    That's simply too much to overcome and to "force" membership. It would have been a pro-Russian state within the EU, like a Bulgaria without the NATO. Instead it's a would-be Poland.
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  13. : You are absolutely correct that Russia would have gotten into even more trouble with the international community had it conquered a large part of Ukraine. Also, given the fact that the ethnic Russian and Russophone percentage in other parts of Ukraine was much less than that in Crimea and the Donbass, I am unsure that there would have been as massive of a boost in public opinion in favor of joining Russia in these areas had Putin conquered these areas.

    That said, though, if Russia wanted to do a test run, it could have captured only Kharkiv and Mariupol (in addition to Crimea and the parts of the Donbass that the separatists themselves had captured). Of course, even this move could have landed Russia in hot water with the international community.

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  14. : If Finland, Sweden, and Austria could be EU members without being NATO members, so could Ukraine. Indeed, I extremely strongly doubt that the West would have forced an unwilling Ukraine to join NATO.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    If Finland, Sweden, and Austria could be EU members without being NATO members, so could Ukraine.
     
    Those countries, like Ireland, are only not members of NATO for longstanding historical reasons. There've been moderately desultory attempts to propagandise them into NATO on the part of NATO and their own elites, but none of them have succeeded yet. Then again, it hasn't been any particular priority.

    Same would not be true of Ukraine - the primary reason for getting Ukraine into the EU at all was to set the scene for getting it into NATO, as far as the US and UK are concerned. And of course NATO and EU are increasingly integrated anyway.

    Indeed, I extremely strongly doubt that the West would have forced an unwilling Ukraine to join NATO.
     
    It wouldn't have been "unwilling" once it was in the EU and opinion had been properly managed for a few years.
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  15. Appreciate a subtext of AK’s fine article above, in line with what I’ve said for nearly four years

    It was a grave error and tragedy that after the Odessa massacre of 2 May 2014 – as Putin watched neighbour Russians burned alive & a pregnant woman satanically strangled to death – that Putin wimped out, held back, & allowed Nato’s proxy war killing tens of thousands of Russian-speakers in Putin’s own backyard

    Putin invited the Donbass Russians to vote like Crimea, they dutifully did vote like Crimea, and then Putin weaselled on them

    There was no excuse for this – consequences from the West, sanctions etc, would have all been the same

    Russia’s politics are too sadly anti-nationalist … for me, the original sin was 1990s Moscow holding on to Chechnya & Dagestan when the Muslims had every right to secede, Gazprom etc revenues notwithstanding … and then from 2014, Russia’s gov’t half-abandoned Russians on their doorstep in the hour of life-and-death need

    We should have understood from the wimp-out of Russia’s glossy state media, that IRL wimp-out would be the rule as well

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  16. @Mr. XYZ
    @Thorfinnson: You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.

    You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.

    One can’t speak of Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman national identities. My position is that for civilized races the optimal form of political organization is the nation-state, and said nation-state should be at the largest practical level of cultural integration. Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    A united Anglo-Saxon state might be practical (and one way we can keep competing with China throughout the century), though reconciling American republicanism with British monarchism seems impossible. That is unless the God-Emperor crowns himself.

    That said in light of the fact that Balkanoids are savage swine I’d be favorably inclined to just hand the Austrians the unenviable task of governing the fractious, quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash forever. Greece gets an exemption owing to its history.

    Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were not real countries, but they had the possibility of developing into real countries. This was well under way in Yugoslavia to my knowledge.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    “Globalization” and nuclear peace have reduced the returns to war and thus the need for large states, hence the disintegrative trend since 1942.

    Let’s hope Trump sparks a global trade war and ends this trend of political disintegration.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.

    The European Union was an integrative success, but the Euros fucked it all up. First the idiotic creation of the Eurozone (which was correctly criticized by American economists before it launched), and now Merkel’s blunder. Europe’s elites further appear extremely determined to learn nothing from this.

    To this one can add the the Euros repeated the Hapsburg blunder of expanding into the Balkans. Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities have no business whatsoever in Europe.

    The EU has more divisions than simply immigration. There’s considerable division on economics. The EU is working out just fine for the Germanic countries (and Finland), so they want no change. France and Italy want a Eurozone bonds and a weaker Euro.

    They’re also divided on how to deal with BREXIT. The Germans want to treat the UK harshly, but Macron does not. Doesn’t help that the British government itself does not even appear to have a program, which is not surprising when your Prime Minister is a childless cat lady.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

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    • Troll: jimbojones
    • Replies: @AP

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine
     
    Ukraine doesn't belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
    , @Bliss

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.
     
    Wow.
    , @Polish Perspective

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.
     

    Balkanoids are savage swine
     

    quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash
     

    Let’s hope Trump sparks a global trade war
     

    Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities

     

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you're not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

     

    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones? Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?

    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden's national day. I don't see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.

    , @Pavlo
    Who let you out of your cuckbox, Swede?
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  17. @Mr. XYZ
    @Randal: If Finland, Sweden, and Austria could be EU members without being NATO members, so could Ukraine. Indeed, I extremely strongly doubt that the West would have forced an unwilling Ukraine to join NATO.

    If Finland, Sweden, and Austria could be EU members without being NATO members, so could Ukraine.

    Those countries, like Ireland, are only not members of NATO for longstanding historical reasons. There’ve been moderately desultory attempts to propagandise them into NATO on the part of NATO and their own elites, but none of them have succeeded yet. Then again, it hasn’t been any particular priority.

    Same would not be true of Ukraine – the primary reason for getting Ukraine into the EU at all was to set the scene for getting it into NATO, as far as the US and UK are concerned. And of course NATO and EU are increasingly integrated anyway.

    Indeed, I extremely strongly doubt that the West would have forced an unwilling Ukraine to join NATO.

    It wouldn’t have been “unwilling” once it was in the EU and opinion had been properly managed for a few years.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In light of the Catalina Affair and similar, Sweden is already a de facto NATO member, and has been so since NATO’s inception, but it requires a bit more active management of public opinion than elsewhere, like the 1980s PSYOP with the submarines in Swedish waters.

    I read that Sweden has a huge (proportionally as large as the NSA) cyberintelligence unit, which devotes considerable resources to wiretapping Russian internet traffic. Most of which goes through Sweden. Needless to say they share everything with the US.
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  18. …the Ukrainian military now completely overshadows the Novorossiya Armed Forces.

    The latter have no more than 40,000 troops, and with the exit of the more “idealistic” warriors in 2014-15, it has succumbed to low morale. Alexander Zhuchkovsky, a Russian directly involved in the NAF, estimated that they would be unable to hold out for longer than a week against a full-fledged Ukrainian assault without help from Russia. The Maidanists dream of a repetition of Operation Storm and – absent serious Russian intervention – they are probably already capable of it.

    Agree.

    Particularly interesting: “week” and “Operation Storm”.
    Numbers “250 000″ and “40 000″ feel just…..eerie.
    Add the “structure” of the Novorossiya Armed Forces and it’s even more so.
    Add, then, the obvious presence of NATO help and, yes, it is interesting.

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  19. Good post.
    So essentially Ukraine is now ready to re-take Donbas. Presumably during the WC so that protests can be made, and Western countries withdraw. Obviously a Ukraine conquest of Donbas will be reported as a Donbas created civil war.
    Explains a lot.

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  20. @Randal

    If Finland, Sweden, and Austria could be EU members without being NATO members, so could Ukraine.
     
    Those countries, like Ireland, are only not members of NATO for longstanding historical reasons. There've been moderately desultory attempts to propagandise them into NATO on the part of NATO and their own elites, but none of them have succeeded yet. Then again, it hasn't been any particular priority.

    Same would not be true of Ukraine - the primary reason for getting Ukraine into the EU at all was to set the scene for getting it into NATO, as far as the US and UK are concerned. And of course NATO and EU are increasingly integrated anyway.

    Indeed, I extremely strongly doubt that the West would have forced an unwilling Ukraine to join NATO.
     
    It wouldn't have been "unwilling" once it was in the EU and opinion had been properly managed for a few years.

    In light of the Catalina Affair and similar, Sweden is already a de facto NATO member, and has been so since NATO’s inception, but it requires a bit more active management of public opinion than elsewhere, like the 1980s PSYOP with the submarines in Swedish waters.

    I read that Sweden has a huge (proportionally as large as the NSA) cyberintelligence unit, which devotes considerable resources to wiretapping Russian internet traffic. Most of which goes through Sweden. Needless to say they share everything with the US.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    In light of the Catalina Affair and similar, Sweden is already a de facto NATO member, and has been so since NATO’s inception, but it requires a bit more active management of public opinion than elsewhere, like the 1980s PSYOP with the submarines in Swedish waters.
     
    There is a good Swedish book on this subject titled Den Dolda Alliansen (The Hidden Alliance) which made a stir in Sweden when it came out.

    Not much management of public opinion is required owing to congenital Swedish Russophobia.

    Blasted Soviet skippers crashing rickety junkyard elektroboot clones carrying nuclear armed torpedos into the Swedish skerry certainly didn't help matters of course.

    I read that Sweden has a huge (proportionally as large as the NSA) cyberintelligence unit, which devotes considerable resources to wiretapping Russian internet traffic. Most of which goes through Sweden. Needless to say they share everything with the US.
     
    Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA), established in 1942. The Germans demanded access to the Swedish telephone network, and the FRA was established to intercept and decrypt German communications. Sweden built the first true electronic general purpose digital computer outside of an Anglophone country to assist its SIGINT efforts.

    My grandfather headed the Swedish Army's military intelligence section on the USSR and received daily reports from the FRA. Needless to say the USSR was considered the main adversary, and Swedish defense planning assumed that the United States would help defend "the Nordic area".

    He attended NATO training camps in Denmark, Britain, and America in the 1950s. He established a lifelong friendship with an American colonel, and it's my understanding that such relationships were encouraged.

    This certainly speaks to the tacit alliance that exists between Sweden and NATO.
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  21. so are you saying that the same thing is going to happen with Belarus? Wouldn’t the Kremlin be ready this time? And isn’t a separate Belorussian identity essentially non existent?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Belarus approximately resembles Donbass in terms of "Russophile" sentiment.

    But will it last? Probably not beyond a couple of decades, considering that Belorussian nationalists are allowed a lot of influence over the culture while Russophile activists are repressed.
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  22. Would it still be safe to speak Russian in Ukraine, or would you have to learn Ukrainian proper?

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    • Replies: @AP
    When I was in Lviv this summer some guy was singing Russian rock (Makarevich) while playing guitar in the market square. He was sharing some cigarettes with some uniformed ATO guys. There was no problem. And Kiev still speaks Russian.
    , @Swedish Family

    Would it still be safe to speak Russian in Ukraine, or would you have to learn Ukrainian proper?
     
    Spoken Ukrainian is so rare in downtown Kiev it might as well not exist, so no need to worry. This is even more true of the cities in the South and East (Odessa, Kharkov, etc.). That said, I sometimes find it useful to mix in a few Ukrainian words out of courtesy or to ease tension.
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  23. @reiner Tor
    In light of the Catalina Affair and similar, Sweden is already a de facto NATO member, and has been so since NATO’s inception, but it requires a bit more active management of public opinion than elsewhere, like the 1980s PSYOP with the submarines in Swedish waters.

    I read that Sweden has a huge (proportionally as large as the NSA) cyberintelligence unit, which devotes considerable resources to wiretapping Russian internet traffic. Most of which goes through Sweden. Needless to say they share everything with the US.

    In light of the Catalina Affair and similar, Sweden is already a de facto NATO member, and has been so since NATO’s inception, but it requires a bit more active management of public opinion than elsewhere, like the 1980s PSYOP with the submarines in Swedish waters.

    There is a good Swedish book on this subject titled Den Dolda Alliansen (The Hidden Alliance) which made a stir in Sweden when it came out.

    Not much management of public opinion is required owing to congenital Swedish Russophobia.

    Blasted Soviet skippers crashing rickety junkyard elektroboot clones carrying nuclear armed torpedos into the Swedish skerry certainly didn’t help matters of course.

    I read that Sweden has a huge (proportionally as large as the NSA) cyberintelligence unit, which devotes considerable resources to wiretapping Russian internet traffic. Most of which goes through Sweden. Needless to say they share everything with the US.

    Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA), established in 1942. The Germans demanded access to the Swedish telephone network, and the FRA was established to intercept and decrypt German communications. Sweden built the first true electronic general purpose digital computer outside of an Anglophone country to assist its SIGINT efforts.

    My grandfather headed the Swedish Army’s military intelligence section on the USSR and received daily reports from the FRA. Needless to say the USSR was considered the main adversary, and Swedish defense planning assumed that the United States would help defend “the Nordic area”.

    He attended NATO training camps in Denmark, Britain, and America in the 1950s. He established a lifelong friendship with an American colonel, and it’s my understanding that such relationships were encouraged.

    This certainly speaks to the tacit alliance that exists between Sweden and NATO.

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  24. @Mr. XYZ
    @Anatoly Karlin: I want to make a brief point here:

    http://akarlin.com/2013/11/ukraines-turn-to-the-east/

    Based on the information in your comments for that 2013 article above, 18-25 year olds in the Donbass supported joining the Eurasian Economic Union in 2013 by a 38% to 29% margin. That's only 9 points, and that was in one of the most pro-Russian regions of Ukraine before the Maidan Revolution!

    Based on this data, even without a Russian intervention in Ukraine starting from 2014, Ukraine was going to drift to the West and I don't think that Russia could have realistically done anything about this. Thus, Russia's choices (strategically) were to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member) or take however much of Ukraine it could and let the rest of Ukraine become firmly anchored to the West (as in, eventually become not only an EU member, but possibly also a NATO member--and one which would have been much more hostile to Russia than would have been the case had Russia not intervened in Ukraine at all). Anyway, Putin went with the first choice and thus ended up acquiring Crimea and the Donbass. Now, the crucial question is this--could Putin have gone farther than this or would going farther have backfired? (Anatoly talks about support for annexation by Russia in Crimea going up from 40% to 90%, but please keep in mind that the 40% data was asking Crimeans about a union of Russia and all of Ukraine; thus, I don't know if it can be directly compared to post-annexation polls of Crimea.)

    Also, off-topic, but here is an interesting question--once eastern Ukraine becomes more and more depopulated, are more western Ukrainians going to move there? Or would there be no point in moving to a region which is economically stagnating?

    Finally, here is an additional question--what do you think that Ukraine's carrying capacity in terms of its population is? After all, while Ukraine looks like it's going to continue experiencing a steep decline in its population, this should end at some point as a result of the breeders becoming a larger and larger percentage of Ukraine's total population. (Please look at Israel if you don't believe me.) Afterwards, Ukraine's population should resume growing. Thus, I am wondering what Ukraine's carrying capacity in regards to its population is. 100 million? 200 million? Even more than that?

    I think a cool billion could easily fit into Ukraine; some of the most fertile land in the world, plenty of water, beaches, mountains…

    Globalists have been salivating over Ukraine for centuries. Greeks and Goths lived there, Khazars, Swedes tried it, Ottomans. Germans actually put effort into major settlements of Germans in Ukraine in the middle of WWII, that’s how much they wanted it. Today it could accommodate the surplus Third World masses – it is perfectly located close to Europe, but not ‘in Europe’, you could ship them directly from Turkey. That’s why Crimea was so crucial – it is in the way for ferries.

    Now, if you think that the globalist NGOs and the deep thinking ‘think tankers’ have not thought of this, you really don’t know them. In a few years the increasingly desperate Kiev rulers might just sell the whole damn place, cash out, and off to Salisbury for a cushy retirement and some Italian cousine. And it will all be Putin’s fault, how else.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Globalists have been salivating over Ukraine for centuries. Greeks and Goths lived there, Khazars, Swedes tried it, Ottomans. Germans actually put effort into major settlements of Germans in Ukraine in the middle of WWII, that’s how much they wanted it.
     
    Karl XII was defeated in the Ukraine, but the object of his campaign was not the conquest of the Ukraine. The Ukraine was too far away from the Swedish center of gravity.

    The globalists are in fact salivating over the Ukraine now for the exact same reason the H-man did: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-01-02/ukraine-s-ban-on-selling-farmland-is-choking-the-economy
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  25. All these mantras from pro-Putin commentators that Ukraine will collapse on its own, that it will freeze during winter etc – they are simply excuses to justify Putin’s passivity and lack of decisive action. In reality Kremlin has no idea what to do in Ukraine, they never had a clear strategy on Ukraine, consequently they got completely outplayed there, and since 2014 were just trying to control the damage.

    Far from being any sort of genuine Russian revanchist project, it’s entirely possible that Crimea was merely a forced move to preempt an eventual color revolution

    This is my view as well. Putin’s move to take Crimea was driven by the desperate need to salvage his domestic credibility following the loss of Ukraine.

    And it did work (for Putin). Say what you want about the dude, but he has excellent survival instincts. Who knows, he might opt for more territorial expansion, in Belarus for example, should his approval rating dip under 60% again.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree.
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  26. @Beckow
    I think a cool billion could easily fit into Ukraine; some of the most fertile land in the world, plenty of water, beaches, mountains...

    Globalists have been salivating over Ukraine for centuries. Greeks and Goths lived there, Khazars, Swedes tried it, Ottomans. Germans actually put effort into major settlements of Germans in Ukraine in the middle of WWII, that's how much they wanted it. Today it could accommodate the surplus Third World masses - it is perfectly located close to Europe, but not 'in Europe', you could ship them directly from Turkey. That's why Crimea was so crucial - it is in the way for ferries.

    Now, if you think that the globalist NGOs and the deep thinking 'think tankers' have not thought of this, you really don't know them. In a few years the increasingly desperate Kiev rulers might just sell the whole damn place, cash out, and off to Salisbury for a cushy retirement and some Italian cousine. And it will all be Putin's fault, how else.

    Globalists have been salivating over Ukraine for centuries. Greeks and Goths lived there, Khazars, Swedes tried it, Ottomans. Germans actually put effort into major settlements of Germans in Ukraine in the middle of WWII, that’s how much they wanted it.

    Karl XII was defeated in the Ukraine, but the object of his campaign was not the conquest of the Ukraine. The Ukraine was too far away from the Swedish center of gravity.

    The globalists are in fact salivating over the Ukraine now for the exact same reason the H-man did: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-01-02/ukraine-s-ban-on-selling-farmland-is-choking-the-economy

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    • Replies: @Beckow

    Karl XII was defeated in the Ukraine, but the object of his campaign was not the conquest of the Ukraine
     
    Yeah, I know, he wanted to conquer Russia (there was no such thing as 'Ukraine' at that time). I just threw it in to piss off any Swedes around here...

    H-man's knew his farmland. Mein Kampf has a lot of belly-aching about why the darn Goths left Ukraine and how that will be the new lebensraum.

    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them...)

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  27. South Rus, including Central, Slobidska and Southern Ukraine would be better off left alone too [including all of Western Ukraine: Galicia, Bukovyna, Volyn and Zakarpattya], to continue developing the Ukrainian project. These areas have developed their own cultural and political ideas, not to mention their own separate Ukrainian language. Even by your own estimates, only 15-33% of natives within the fictitious ‘Novorossiya’ were supporters of some sort of confederation with Russia. That means that somewhere between 67-85% were not. Where I’m from, the majority’s opinion always counts for more.

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  28. Crimea was the only region in Ukraine with a majority of ethnic Russians. Because of that the local Ukrainian minority was also the most Russified one (most Ukrainians in Crimea are married to non-Ukrainians for example). This is what set the whole tone in the region and why they were so glad to separate from Ukraine. There is no other region in the rest of Ukraine with similar demographics to Crimea. Even Donbass is much more mixed and way more wishy-washy as a result.

    Separatist tendencies were present in Crimea through out their whole history as a part of independent Ukraine. Those same tendencies were not there in Eastern Ukraine because a solid majority of the locals identified as Ukrainian. It’s a grave mistake to assume that Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are similair at their core because both speak Russian or something.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    It’s a grave mistake to assume that Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are similair at their core because both speak Russian or something.
     
    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.
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  29. : Are your ideal borders of Ukraine similar to Ukraine’s 2017 borders, but without the separatist-controlled Donbass?

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    That's a good question! Initially, I was of the opinion that responding to Russian backed separatist incursions should be met with strong Ukrainian opposition, if for no other reason than to create a sort of 'rubicon' line. Better to fight this war there, then in neighboring Poltava,etc; I have to admit, that I've come to appreciate AP's opinions more on this matter, as time has gone on. The costs to put Donbas back into functional order is quite high. Although Kyiv, still seems to pay what's due to the local pensioners. I guess you could say that I'm open minded about this (ambivalent?)...What's important is how Ukrainians feel about this matter.
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  30. @Randal

    to either allow all of Ukraine to eventually become a second Finland (an EU member but not a NATO member)
     
    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes). The only thing holding the US and UK back from being able to enact their long desired integration of Ukraine into NATO was fear of a sharp Russian response in Germany and other European governments. The more peacefully integrated Ukraine became into the EU, the further such fears would have retreated and the more normalised the idea of Ukraine as a member of NATO would have become.

    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes).

    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.
    That’s simply too much to overcome and to “force” membership. It would have been a pro-Russian state within the EU, like a Bulgaria without the NATO. Instead it’s a would-be Poland.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.
     
    No reason whatsoever to assume that wouldn't have changed dramatically under pressure from other EU nations and the ruling elites and given the changing circumstances of EU membership.

    As for being "pro-Russian", most likely opinion would swing between pro-Russian and anti-Russian forces as usual, and the first big swing to anti-Russian would be used to enact NATO membership.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    It doesn't matter what people think, it matters what the elites think, and Ukraine's elites have been set on NATO for decades.

    Nobody is going to vote you out of office if you join NATO, because it's only 10th-15th on the list of people's preferences. E.g. see Bulgaria.

    Incidentally, modern Euro-Atlantic integration comes as a package deal anyway; you can't have EU membership without NATO.
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  31. @Mr. XYZ
    @Mr. Hack: Are your ideal borders of Ukraine similar to Ukraine's 2017 borders, but without the separatist-controlled Donbass?

    That’s a good question! Initially, I was of the opinion that responding to Russian backed separatist incursions should be met with strong Ukrainian opposition, if for no other reason than to create a sort of ‘rubicon’ line. Better to fight this war there, then in neighboring Poltava,etc; I have to admit, that I’ve come to appreciate AP’s opinions more on this matter, as time has gone on. The costs to put Donbas back into functional order is quite high. Although Kyiv, still seems to pay what’s due to the local pensioners. I guess you could say that I’m open minded about this (ambivalent?)…What’s important is how Ukrainians feel about this matter.

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  32. @Owen C.
    Would it still be safe to speak Russian in Ukraine, or would you have to learn Ukrainian proper?

    When I was in Lviv this summer some guy was singing Russian rock (Makarevich) while playing guitar in the market square. He was sharing some cigarettes with some uniformed ATO guys. There was no problem. And Kiev still speaks Russian.

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  33. @Thorfinnsson

    You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.
     
    One can't speak of Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman national identities. My position is that for civilized races the optimal form of political organization is the nation-state, and said nation-state should be at the largest practical level of cultural integration. Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    A united Anglo-Saxon state might be practical (and one way we can keep competing with China throughout the century), though reconciling American republicanism with British monarchism seems impossible. That is unless the God-Emperor crowns himself.

    That said in light of the fact that Balkanoids are savage swine I'd be favorably inclined to just hand the Austrians the unenviable task of governing the fractious, quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash forever. Greece gets an exemption owing to its history.

    Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were not real countries, but they had the possibility of developing into real countries. This was well under way in Yugoslavia to my knowledge.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    "Globalization" and nuclear peace have reduced the returns to war and thus the need for large states, hence the disintegrative trend since 1942.

    Let's hope Trump sparks a global trade war and ends this trend of political disintegration.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.
     

    The European Union was an integrative success, but the Euros fucked it all up. First the idiotic creation of the Eurozone (which was correctly criticized by American economists before it launched), and now Merkel's blunder. Europe's elites further appear extremely determined to learn nothing from this.

    To this one can add the the Euros repeated the Hapsburg blunder of expanding into the Balkans. Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities have no business whatsoever in Europe.

    The EU has more divisions than simply immigration. There's considerable division on economics. The EU is working out just fine for the Germanic countries (and Finland), so they want no change. France and Italy want a Eurozone bonds and a weaker Euro.

    They're also divided on how to deal with BREXIT. The Germans want to treat the UK harshly, but Macron does not. Doesn't help that the British government itself does not even appear to have a program, which is not surprising when your Prime Minister is a childless cat lady.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine

    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
     
    I'm not a linguist or a Russophone so I can't dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.

    A good friend of mine learned fluent Russian and claims he can understand Ukrainian typically.

    Wasn't Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?

    And in any case Ukrainians already speak Russian. To my knowledge the cultural and technical output of the Ukrainian language is neglible, therefore the language has no reason to exist.

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here, and another great example is Welsh (which sounds like a cat being strangled).

    As far as history goes, the Ukrainians were with the Poles before. If the Poles had hung onto it then perhaps I'd be arguing right now that the Ukraine must belong to Poland. It's also my understanding that Russian civilization was born in what is now the Ukraine.

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians. Was there any hostility between Great Russians and Ukrainians in the USSR? Certainly doesn't seem like it.

    Danish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible and the Scandinavian countries are sufficiently close culturally that a federal state is viable and desirable, except perhaps for the Norwegians for obvious reasons.
    , @Swedish Family

    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
     
    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation. Indeed, sometimes I even forget if a person I met spoke Norwegian or Swedish. It gets trickier with Danish since their pronunciation has undergone a dramatic consonant reduction over the last half century, which means that words that are easily understood in print are hard to make sense of in speech. (With Swedish, ironically, the trend is the other way, with older generations complaining that the young pronounce words too literally.)

    The "longer history" argument is also shaky. If we are to use that metric to begin with, and I'm not sure we should, any reasonable assessment of historical "ties" would have to weight the periods by their remoteness to our own day, giving lesser weight to more distant times. Picking Scandinavia as an example, I would argue that Sweden is far closer to Norway (part of Sweden from 1814 to 1905 -- some 90 years) than to Finland (part of Sweden from the 13th century to 1814 -- some 600 years), and this is largely because our union with Norway happened more recently. Similarly, Norway is more similar to Sweden than to Denmark, again, because our shared ties are more recent.
    , @Mikhail
    Ukraine has a noticeably longer history with Russia than with Poland. Ukraine and Russia, as well as Belarus understandably link their past with Rus - much unlike Poland.
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  34. Great review. There is also the issue of Ukrainians inside Russia.

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  35. @Thorfinnsson

    You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.
     
    One can't speak of Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman national identities. My position is that for civilized races the optimal form of political organization is the nation-state, and said nation-state should be at the largest practical level of cultural integration. Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    A united Anglo-Saxon state might be practical (and one way we can keep competing with China throughout the century), though reconciling American republicanism with British monarchism seems impossible. That is unless the God-Emperor crowns himself.

    That said in light of the fact that Balkanoids are savage swine I'd be favorably inclined to just hand the Austrians the unenviable task of governing the fractious, quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash forever. Greece gets an exemption owing to its history.

    Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were not real countries, but they had the possibility of developing into real countries. This was well under way in Yugoslavia to my knowledge.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    "Globalization" and nuclear peace have reduced the returns to war and thus the need for large states, hence the disintegrative trend since 1942.

    Let's hope Trump sparks a global trade war and ends this trend of political disintegration.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.
     

    The European Union was an integrative success, but the Euros fucked it all up. First the idiotic creation of the Eurozone (which was correctly criticized by American economists before it launched), and now Merkel's blunder. Europe's elites further appear extremely determined to learn nothing from this.

    To this one can add the the Euros repeated the Hapsburg blunder of expanding into the Balkans. Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities have no business whatsoever in Europe.

    The EU has more divisions than simply immigration. There's considerable division on economics. The EU is working out just fine for the Germanic countries (and Finland), so they want no change. France and Italy want a Eurozone bonds and a weaker Euro.

    They're also divided on how to deal with BREXIT. The Germans want to treat the UK harshly, but Macron does not. Doesn't help that the British government itself does not even appear to have a program, which is not surprising when your Prime Minister is a childless cat lady.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

    Wow.

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  36. Everyone knows that the collapse of commodity prices had softened the difficulties of the Ukrainian economy. They probably haven’t solved that problem, since they have recently had a severe gas shortage and an inability to pay for more. The country is a rent-seeker. I don’t think they’ve even payed Poland and Slovakia for the imported Russian gas. I wouldn’t call the $200 billion an “investment” – it was plain extortion. Hopefully the Kremlin can put an end to it completely. A light invasion in 2014 – I don’t think it could have gotten away with it. The country was a lot less prepared then it is today. Russia’s banks did not close up Ukrainian branches in 2014, and I bet there are still wealthy Russians schlepping off to London. There are a lot fewer of those today.

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  37. @Thorfinnsson
    The Maidan presented Russia with a golden opportunity to reunite the East Slavs and extinguish the fiction that the Ukraine can exist as anything other than a part of Russia.

    Putin blinked.

    This is his greatest failure.

    As a Russian nationalist, I remain unwaveringly committed to the idea of the triune Russian nation, just like Ivan Ilyin and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. There will come a day when the dismemberment of the Russian nation will be but a bad memory in the Russian historical consciousness. This will almost certainly not happen under the current occupants of the Kremlin. But happen it will, or Russia will cease to exist as a civilizational entity.
     

    Don't be so sure.

    The longer this persists, the more normal it will seem.

    Take Austria for instance. After the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, the country's official name was German Austria. The only reason anschluss did not happen then is that it was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. Even an attempted customs union with Germany in 1931 was stopped by France. Kurt Schuschnigg's argument against anschluss was that he considered Austrians to be superior Germans.

    After the war anschluss was part of far right politics in both Germany and Austria, but when Joerg Haider took over the Austrian Freedom Party he flew the Austrian flag for the first time. The anschluss program was quietly dropped.

    As a result the dream of 1848 may be dead forever. Germany remains divided, and no one even notices how strange it is that Austria is independent at all.

    Moving outside of Europe, look at North America. We speak of the original thirteen colonies, but there were in fact twenty-six British colonies in North America which underwent ethnogenesis during the French and Indian Wars. Americans tried to invade Canada twice, but failed both times.

    The loyalists expelled from America resettled largely in Canada and developed an anti-American national identity which still forms the basis of Canada's farcical existence today. Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.

    And the Caribbean colonies of Britain are lost to American civilization entirely thanks to the poisonous legacy of abolitionism and equal rights.

    So unless the far right comes to power in Russia within the next decade or two the Ukraine is likely lost forever.

    Weapons sales have been approved to the Ukraine, including Javelins.
     The javelin is obsolete for its intended role. This looks more like corruption to me since the Ukraine already produces guided anti-tank missiles.

    And the "lethal aid" provided to the Ukraine consisted of .50 caliber rifles--another item the Ukraine can easily produce if it does not already.

    Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.

    Bizarre 4chan memes with internal contradictions ahoy.

    How would annexing something that is not a real country into something else that is not a real country make a real country?

    The old USA will lose fat pieces of California and Arizone to Mexico before the answer to that question can be given anyway.

    The javelin is obsolete for its intended role.

    Top kek. Try saying that while sitting in a tank that is being opened like a pez dispenser.

    What is obsolete are tanks.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Bizarre 4chan memes with internal contradictions ahoy.

    How would annexing something that is not a real country into something else that is not a real country make a real country?
     
    State the alleged internal contractions and make your case for America not being a real country.

    The English Canadian provinces would be annexed into America and be self-governing territories. They would be admitted into the union as states after a generation or so to purge Canadianism.


    The old USA will lose fat pieces of California and Arizone to Mexico before the answer to that question can be given anyway.
     
    Doubtful. Mexican-Americans aren't capable of forming any kind of a ruling class.

    They are, however, a threat to create a one-party state with their votes which would end up destroying America forever.


    Top kek. Try saying that while sitting in a tank that is being opened like a pez dispenser.

    What is obsolete are tanks.
     
    This is not an argument.

    Javelin is not capable of reliably penetrating tanks outfitted with the latest generation of reactive armor. Kontakt5 reduces the efficacy of tandem charge anti-tank warheads by 60%.

    This has actually been demonstrating in the Donets Basin, where RPGs and antitank missiles have proved ineffective. The dominant antitank weapon there is the 125mm smoothbore gun.

    People have been predicting the imminent demise of the tank since the 1950s. I'll believe it when I see it.
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  38. @AP

    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes).
     
    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.
    That's simply too much to overcome and to "force" membership. It would have been a pro-Russian state within the EU, like a Bulgaria without the NATO. Instead it's a would-be Poland.

    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.

    No reason whatsoever to assume that wouldn’t have changed dramatically under pressure from other EU nations and the ruling elites and given the changing circumstances of EU membership.

    As for being “pro-Russian”, most likely opinion would swing between pro-Russian and anti-Russian forces as usual, and the first big swing to anti-Russian would be used to enact NATO membership.

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    As for being “pro-Russian”, most likely opinion would swing between pro-Russian and anti-Russian forces as usual,
     
    Not really. It wasn't swinging before. The country was divided 52/48 in favor of Western (but not NATO) integration, with Yanukovich winning a fluke election due to the 2009 world economic crash and bitter rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.

    Moreover, there were never swings in NATO support. NATO was always unpopular, until 2014.

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  39. Mr Karlin

    You are living in a fantasy and don’t understand the reality of Ukraine

    Even today after all that has happened Ukrainians when asked by opinion polls -,still vote that they want to be part of the EU.

    That was the reason Yanukovic was elected.

    He campaigned on this.

    It is fiction that Russia could have gone in there and held that country without an uprising. They want to be like Poland Bulgaria the Baltic’s – that’s the truth you won’t admit

    Look at the migration trends they go to Poland now

    Even in Donbas in 2014 they did not want to join Russia.

    Ukraine has had three revolutions since independence- they will no doubt have more

    The people allow all this bandera nonsense as they believe in the end it will get them into EU

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  40. @Randal

    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.
     
    No reason whatsoever to assume that wouldn't have changed dramatically under pressure from other EU nations and the ruling elites and given the changing circumstances of EU membership.

    As for being "pro-Russian", most likely opinion would swing between pro-Russian and anti-Russian forces as usual, and the first big swing to anti-Russian would be used to enact NATO membership.

    As for being “pro-Russian”, most likely opinion would swing between pro-Russian and anti-Russian forces as usual,

    Not really. It wasn’t swinging before. The country was divided 52/48 in favor of Western (but not NATO) integration, with Yanukovich winning a fluke election due to the 2009 world economic crash and bitter rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.

    Moreover, there were never swings in NATO support. NATO was always unpopular, until 2014.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Not really. It wasn’t swinging before. The country was divided 52/48 in favor of Western integration, with Yanukovich winning a fluke election due to the 2009 world economic crash and bitter rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.
     
    People always say swings to the other side were "special circumstances" or "corruption" or "vote rigging", but their own side's wins are entirely the true will of the people and never involve special circumstances, corruption and vote rigging.

    Moreover, there were never swings in NATO support. NATO was always unpopular, until 2014.
     
    As I said, membership of the EU and the massive elite pressure and manipulation that would have brought would have changed that, for sure. How much, well we are both speculating and will never know.
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  41. @AP

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine
     
    Ukraine doesn't belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.

    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.

    I’m not a linguist or a Russophone so I can’t dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.

    A good friend of mine learned fluent Russian and claims he can understand Ukrainian typically.

    Wasn’t Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?

    And in any case Ukrainians already speak Russian. To my knowledge the cultural and technical output of the Ukrainian language is neglible, therefore the language has no reason to exist.

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here, and another great example is Welsh (which sounds like a cat being strangled).

    As far as history goes, the Ukrainians were with the Poles before. If the Poles had hung onto it then perhaps I’d be arguing right now that the Ukraine must belong to Poland. It’s also my understanding that Russian civilization was born in what is now the Ukraine.

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians. Was there any hostility between Great Russians and Ukrainians in the USSR? Certainly doesn’t seem like it.

    Danish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible and the Scandinavian countries are sufficiently close culturally that a federal state is viable and desirable, except perhaps for the Norwegians for obvious reasons.

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    • Replies: @AP

    I’m not a linguist or a Russophone so I can’t dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.
     
    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes ("Tak" in both Polish and Ukrainian, "Da" in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.

    Wasn’t Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?
     
    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here,
     
    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians
     
    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).
    , @Mikhail
    Khrushchev was born in southern Russia, near modern day Ukraine. He spent a good deal of his younger days in what became the Ukrainian SSR and was later put in charge of the republic by Stalin. All this said, I see little, if any evidence of him being an ethnic Ukrainian, with the understanding that at times it can be a fine line in determining ethnic Russian from ethnic Ukrainian. In his memoirs, he refers to himself as being thought of as a "Russak" by his ethnic Ukrainian Commie peers.

    I understand that Brezhnev had an upbringing in what became the Ukrainian SSR. That by itself doesn't make him ethnic Ukrainian. I recall the view that he was of more than one ethnic group, while being mostly ethnic Russian.

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  42. 1. The Ukrainian regime proved to be a bunch of murdering bastards who think nothing about killing their own people. This was effective in the short term but will come to bite them in the ass in the longer term. See: USSR. Or even Yeltsin’93.

    2. The people of Ukraine had been inculcated with European Dream. “We are true Europeans unlike those sovok barbarians to the East.” Hence the strange fetish for the inequitable agreement with EU or the euphoria about the visa-free travel that’s useless for the great majority of the people. Once this dream dies a horrible death, the influence of Russia in Ukraine will skyrocket.

    3. Whether or not the Ukrainians want to rejoin Russia is only half the question. The other half is whether the Russians want them back, after all that happened. I am not sure about that.

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  43. @AP

    As for being “pro-Russian”, most likely opinion would swing between pro-Russian and anti-Russian forces as usual,
     
    Not really. It wasn't swinging before. The country was divided 52/48 in favor of Western (but not NATO) integration, with Yanukovich winning a fluke election due to the 2009 world economic crash and bitter rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.

    Moreover, there were never swings in NATO support. NATO was always unpopular, until 2014.

    Not really. It wasn’t swinging before. The country was divided 52/48 in favor of Western integration, with Yanukovich winning a fluke election due to the 2009 world economic crash and bitter rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.

    People always say swings to the other side were “special circumstances” or “corruption” or “vote rigging”, but their own side’s wins are entirely the true will of the people and never involve special circumstances, corruption and vote rigging.

    Moreover, there were never swings in NATO support. NATO was always unpopular, until 2014.

    As I said, membership of the EU and the massive elite pressure and manipulation that would have brought would have changed that, for sure. How much, well we are both speculating and will never know.

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    People always say swings to the other side were “special circumstances” or “corruption” or “vote rigging”, but their own side’s wins are entirely the true will of the people and never involve special circumstances, corruption and vote rigging
     
    Every Ukrainian parliamentary election and presidential election had a pro-Western popular vote win with the exception of 2010. So it was, actually, a fluke.
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  44. @Thorfinnsson


    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
     
    I'm not a linguist or a Russophone so I can't dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.

    A good friend of mine learned fluent Russian and claims he can understand Ukrainian typically.

    Wasn't Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?

    And in any case Ukrainians already speak Russian. To my knowledge the cultural and technical output of the Ukrainian language is neglible, therefore the language has no reason to exist.

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here, and another great example is Welsh (which sounds like a cat being strangled).

    As far as history goes, the Ukrainians were with the Poles before. If the Poles had hung onto it then perhaps I'd be arguing right now that the Ukraine must belong to Poland. It's also my understanding that Russian civilization was born in what is now the Ukraine.

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians. Was there any hostility between Great Russians and Ukrainians in the USSR? Certainly doesn't seem like it.

    Danish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible and the Scandinavian countries are sufficiently close culturally that a federal state is viable and desirable, except perhaps for the Norwegians for obvious reasons.

    I’m not a linguist or a Russophone so I can’t dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.

    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes (“Tak” in both Polish and Ukrainian, “Da” in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.

    Wasn’t Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?

    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here,

    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians

    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).

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    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes (“Tak” in both Polish and Ukrainian, “Da” in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.
     

    Interesting, I did not know that. Thank you.

    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?
     

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn't sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries. Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.

    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?
     

    In a Nordic federation English would serve as a lingua franca, just as it does in the European Union. A European empire with English as its common language is feasible.

    However, abandoning a language like German or French would be very sad and impoverish the world.

    Meanwhile the world loses nothing from the disappearance of Ukrainian. I've never even heard of a Ukrainian writer, but everyone has heard of Russian writers.

    Likewise what the hell is the point of Welsh?

    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).
     

    I had the idea Khruschev was born in the Ukraine, but now I see he was born in Kursk.

    Brezhnev was born in the Ukraine but it appears his parents were from Kursk. Wikipedia mentions that Brezhnev's passport stated he was Ukrainian, but other documents have him as Russian.

    , @Mikhail
    Rusyn sources say that their language (though not so well defined in the manner that Ukrainian had been) is closer to Russian than Ukrainian. There's also the matter of modern day standard Ukrainian versus what was more evident prior to its creation. There's also the matter of diverse regional dialects.

    In the 1920s, the Soviets went along with diaspora Ukrainians (mostly with former Habsburg Empire roots) in formalizing the modern day standard Ukrainian. For the Soviets, this was done to show a union of different nations with different languages. This standardization sought to differentiate Russian from Ukrainian, in a way greater than what had been evident in much of the Russian Empire part of what became modern day Ukraine.

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  45. @Randal

    Not really. It wasn’t swinging before. The country was divided 52/48 in favor of Western integration, with Yanukovich winning a fluke election due to the 2009 world economic crash and bitter rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.
     
    People always say swings to the other side were "special circumstances" or "corruption" or "vote rigging", but their own side's wins are entirely the true will of the people and never involve special circumstances, corruption and vote rigging.

    Moreover, there were never swings in NATO support. NATO was always unpopular, until 2014.
     
    As I said, membership of the EU and the massive elite pressure and manipulation that would have brought would have changed that, for sure. How much, well we are both speculating and will never know.

    People always say swings to the other side were “special circumstances” or “corruption” or “vote rigging”, but their own side’s wins are entirely the true will of the people and never involve special circumstances, corruption and vote rigging

    Every Ukrainian parliamentary election and presidential election had a pro-Western popular vote win with the exception of 2010. So it was, actually, a fluke.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Other than Kuchma vs. Kravchuk at the beginning of the 90s.
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  46. @El Dato

    Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.
     
    Bizarre 4chan memes with internal contradictions ahoy.

    How would annexing something that is not a real country into something else that is not a real country make a real country?

    The old USA will lose fat pieces of California and Arizone to Mexico before the answer to that question can be given anyway.


    The javelin is obsolete for its intended role.
     
    Top kek. Try saying that while sitting in a tank that is being opened like a pez dispenser.

    What is obsolete are tanks.

    Bizarre 4chan memes with internal contradictions ahoy.

    How would annexing something that is not a real country into something else that is not a real country make a real country?

    State the alleged internal contractions and make your case for America not being a real country.

    The English Canadian provinces would be annexed into America and be self-governing territories. They would be admitted into the union as states after a generation or so to purge Canadianism.

    The old USA will lose fat pieces of California and Arizone to Mexico before the answer to that question can be given anyway.

    Doubtful. Mexican-Americans aren’t capable of forming any kind of a ruling class.

    They are, however, a threat to create a one-party state with their votes which would end up destroying America forever.

    Top kek. Try saying that while sitting in a tank that is being opened like a pez dispenser.

    What is obsolete are tanks.

    This is not an argument.

    Javelin is not capable of reliably penetrating tanks outfitted with the latest generation of reactive armor. Kontakt5 reduces the efficacy of tandem charge anti-tank warheads by 60%.

    This has actually been demonstrating in the Donets Basin, where RPGs and antitank missiles have proved ineffective. The dominant antitank weapon there is the 125mm smoothbore gun.

    People have been predicting the imminent demise of the tank since the 1950s. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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  47. BTW, Karlin mischaracterizes Ischenko. I read a few pieces by this pundit over the years and his predictions are always the same:

    1. Poroshenko and the “Nazis,” who started out as allies, will come to blows. This came to pass.

    2. The “Nazis” will eventually win over Poroshenko. The are the side that’s full of intensity but their weakness is that they are lacking a Hitler.

    3. Once the “Nazis” come to power, the Ukraine collapses into bloody mess. At this point the “neighboring nations” will have to come in to restore order.

    Will this happen? Who knows? This outcome is not any less likely than any other.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Ischenko was form the loser Yanukovich regime and fled to Russia. Here is one of his gems:

    https://dninews.com/article/rostislav-ischenko-ukraine-crumbles-our-eyes

    "Such actions are logical because Ukraine is really falling apart before our eyes, regardless of the Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk. Baloha in Transcarpathia has long been out of anybody’s control, he lives there as a feudal prince; Sadovoy in Lvov is not controlled by anyone either. Saakashvili in Odessa is trying to take over the smuggling and he needs the center just because he is not strong enough in the region. In Dnepropetrovsk the Privat people have actually pushed the central government out of the region. That is, there is a process and this process is objective, so the United States can not prevent it... Speaking in the Ukrainian parliament Biden just proposed to legalise it,’ said Ischenko.

    The political analyst also expressed an opinion that after the collapse Ukraine may be, partially or entirely, incorporated into the Russian Federation."

    :::::::::::::::

    Good for him, making a nice living in Russia telling the dupes what they want to hear.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Will this happen? Who knows? This outcome is not any less likely than any other.
     
    The Nazis had their chance in 2014, maybe 2015, when their lack of a popular support base was at least partly compensated for by their discipline and having lots and lots of guns. (They did, of course, play a critical role in overthrowing the previous regime, via Kiev Snipergate).

    But now the Ukrainian state is too strong of them. The most passionary ones have been killed off, the others assimilated. Only "independent" role they now play is as armed muscle for minor oligarch tussles.

    Ishchenko failed in his predictions. Maybe the Nazis will win in the long-run, but in the long-run, we are all dead.
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  48. @AP

    People always say swings to the other side were “special circumstances” or “corruption” or “vote rigging”, but their own side’s wins are entirely the true will of the people and never involve special circumstances, corruption and vote rigging
     
    Every Ukrainian parliamentary election and presidential election had a pro-Western popular vote win with the exception of 2010. So it was, actually, a fluke.

    Other than Kuchma vs. Kravchuk at the beginning of the 90s.

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  49. AP says:
    @inertial
    BTW, Karlin mischaracterizes Ischenko. I read a few pieces by this pundit over the years and his predictions are always the same:

    1. Poroshenko and the "Nazis," who started out as allies, will come to blows. This came to pass.

    2. The "Nazis" will eventually win over Poroshenko. The are the side that's full of intensity but their weakness is that they are lacking a Hitler.

    3. Once the "Nazis" come to power, the Ukraine collapses into bloody mess. At this point the "neighboring nations" will have to come in to restore order.

    Will this happen? Who knows? This outcome is not any less likely than any other.

    Ischenko was form the loser Yanukovich regime and fled to Russia. Here is one of his gems:

    https://dninews.com/article/rostislav-ischenko-ukraine-crumbles-our-eyes

    “Such actions are logical because Ukraine is really falling apart before our eyes, regardless of the Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk. Baloha in Transcarpathia has long been out of anybody’s control, he lives there as a feudal prince; Sadovoy in Lvov is not controlled by anyone either. Saakashvili in Odessa is trying to take over the smuggling and he needs the center just because he is not strong enough in the region. In Dnepropetrovsk the Privat people have actually pushed the central government out of the region. That is, there is a process and this process is objective, so the United States can not prevent it… Speaking in the Ukrainian parliament Biden just proposed to legalise it,’ said Ischenko.

    The political analyst also expressed an opinion that after the collapse Ukraine may be, partially or entirely, incorporated into the Russian Federation.”

    :::::::::::::::

    Good for him, making a nice living in Russia telling the dupes what they want to hear.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  50. @AP

    I’m not a linguist or a Russophone so I can’t dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.
     
    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes ("Tak" in both Polish and Ukrainian, "Da" in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.

    Wasn’t Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?
     
    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here,
     
    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians
     
    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).

    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes (“Tak” in both Polish and Ukrainian, “Da” in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.

    Interesting, I did not know that. Thank you.

    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn’t sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries. Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.

    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?

    In a Nordic federation English would serve as a lingua franca, just as it does in the European Union. A European empire with English as its common language is feasible.

    However, abandoning a language like German or French would be very sad and impoverish the world.

    Meanwhile the world loses nothing from the disappearance of Ukrainian. I’ve never even heard of a Ukrainian writer, but everyone has heard of Russian writers.

    Likewise what the hell is the point of Welsh?

    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).

    I had the idea Khruschev was born in the Ukraine, but now I see he was born in Kursk.

    Brezhnev was born in the Ukraine but it appears his parents were from Kursk. Wikipedia mentions that Brezhnev’s passport stated he was Ukrainian, but other documents have him as Russian.

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    • Replies: @inertial
    Russian also has "tak." It means "just so," i.e. a version of yes.

    Khruschev was born in a village that's now in Kursk region in Russia, right outside the border with Ukraine. But he grew up in Eastern Ukraine. Even as the head of the USSR he spoke with heavy Ukrainian / Southern Russian accent (it's the same thing.)

    In general, Russian and Ukrainian identities in that area are very fluid and can flow back and forth easily, often for political reasons. This why it's always sounds ridiculous when they start counting the number of Russians vs. Ukrainians in Donbass, or Kharkov, or Crimea.
    , @Swedish Family

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn’t sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries.
     
    This is false. All studies I have seen show that intelligibility levels are far higher between Norwegian and Swedish speakers than between Norwegian and Danish speakers. The lexical distances between all three languages are very small at any rate, at least for educated speakers (i.e. they would hear Danish ikke as old-fashioned Swedish icke and infer that they are hearing modern Swedish inte).

    Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.
     
    There have been some surveys on where Swedes stand on this. I can dig them up if you are interested, but from what I remember, it's a non-starter.
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  51. NATO membership was always opposed by majorities in places like Montenegro and Bulgaria, yet here we are. I’m not sure why you guys think that public opinion of Ukrainians matters. A pro-US gov’t will force through whatever it wants, with full backing of the US and the EU.

    The reality of the situation – the Ukrainian economy will wither without trade with the East. Any gains made currently are of a very primitive variety.

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    • Replies: @AP

    NATO membership was always opposed by majorities in places like Montenegro and Bulgaria, yet here we are
     
    About 45% of Montenegrins supported NATO membership, which is a lot more than the 25%-30% NATO support in Ukraine. I haven't seen poll data for Bulgaria prior to ascension.
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  52. : I thought that Ukraine stopped paying pensions to the residents of separatist-occupied Donbass–instead viewing it as Russia’s responsibility?

    Also, in regards to the separatist-occupied Donbass, at least its not Detroit. That said, though, it would probably be wise for Ukraine to develop its existing, unoccupied territories before seriously thinking about the idea of reacquiring the Donbass.

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  53. @Felix Keverich
    All these mantras from pro-Putin commentators that Ukraine will collapse on its own, that it will freeze during winter etc - they are simply excuses to justify Putin's passivity and lack of decisive action. In reality Kremlin has no idea what to do in Ukraine, they never had a clear strategy on Ukraine, consequently they got completely outplayed there, and since 2014 were just trying to control the damage.

    Far from being any sort of genuine Russian revanchist project, it’s entirely possible that Crimea was merely a forced move to preempt an eventual color revolution
     
    This is my view as well. Putin's move to take Crimea was driven by the desperate need to salvage his domestic credibility following the loss of Ukraine.

    And it did work (for Putin). Say what you want about the dude, but he has excellent survival instincts. Who knows, he might opt for more territorial expansion, in Belarus for example, should his approval rating dip under 60% again.

    Agree.

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  54. : Off-topic, but I’m curious about your thoughts on this–was Igor Dodon’s victory in Moldova also a fluke?

    Or is Moldova more pro-Russian than pre-2014 Ukraine was? Also, if so, why exactly?

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  55. @Thorfinnsson


    Globalists have been salivating over Ukraine for centuries. Greeks and Goths lived there, Khazars, Swedes tried it, Ottomans. Germans actually put effort into major settlements of Germans in Ukraine in the middle of WWII, that’s how much they wanted it.
     
    Karl XII was defeated in the Ukraine, but the object of his campaign was not the conquest of the Ukraine. The Ukraine was too far away from the Swedish center of gravity.

    The globalists are in fact salivating over the Ukraine now for the exact same reason the H-man did: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-01-02/ukraine-s-ban-on-selling-farmland-is-choking-the-economy

    Karl XII was defeated in the Ukraine, but the object of his campaign was not the conquest of the Ukraine

    Yeah, I know, he wanted to conquer Russia (there was no such thing as ‘Ukraine’ at that time). I just threw it in to piss off any Swedes around here…

    H-man’s knew his farmland. Mein Kampf has a lot of belly-aching about why the darn Goths left Ukraine and how that will be the new lebensraum.

    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them…)

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them…)
     
    My understanding is that the current law does not even permit agricultural land to be sold to other Ukrainians, which is absurd.

    Whether or not they're comfortable with foreign capital controlling their agricultural sector is up to them. There are trade offs. Foreign capital would modernize the agricultural sector faster, but the earnings will leave the Ukraine.

    The experience of EU Eastern Europe is interesting. The 1% of the Visegrad countries lives in Germany. The 1% of the Baltic States lives in Sweden and Finland.

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries? I've seen some Czech or Slovak commenters note that German-owned media companies play a negative role in their countries.
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  56. @Thorfinnsson

    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes (“Tak” in both Polish and Ukrainian, “Da” in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.
     

    Interesting, I did not know that. Thank you.

    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?
     

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn't sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries. Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.

    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?
     

    In a Nordic federation English would serve as a lingua franca, just as it does in the European Union. A European empire with English as its common language is feasible.

    However, abandoning a language like German or French would be very sad and impoverish the world.

    Meanwhile the world loses nothing from the disappearance of Ukrainian. I've never even heard of a Ukrainian writer, but everyone has heard of Russian writers.

    Likewise what the hell is the point of Welsh?

    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).
     

    I had the idea Khruschev was born in the Ukraine, but now I see he was born in Kursk.

    Brezhnev was born in the Ukraine but it appears his parents were from Kursk. Wikipedia mentions that Brezhnev's passport stated he was Ukrainian, but other documents have him as Russian.

    Russian also has “tak.” It means “just so,” i.e. a version of yes.

    Khruschev was born in a village that’s now in Kursk region in Russia, right outside the border with Ukraine. But he grew up in Eastern Ukraine. Even as the head of the USSR he spoke with heavy Ukrainian / Southern Russian accent (it’s the same thing.)

    In general, Russian and Ukrainian identities in that area are very fluid and can flow back and forth easily, often for political reasons. This why it’s always sounds ridiculous when they start counting the number of Russians vs. Ukrainians in Donbass, or Kharkov, or Crimea.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Russian also has “tak.” It means “just so,” i.e. a version of yes.
     
    If someone asks if you are hungry, you say yes or no. In Ukrainian it would be tak or nee (soft n, but like "knee"), Polish tak or nie, in Russian it would be da or nyet. Polish word for dad is tato, as in Ukrainian (Russian - "papa"). Thank you - Polish dzenkuyu, Ukrainian dyakuyu, Russian spasibo. Etc. etc.

    Khruschev was born in a village that’s now in Kursk region in Russia, right outside the border with Ukraine. But he grew up in Eastern Ukraine.
     
    Both his parents were Russians. He came to Ukraine at age 14. But he came to Donbas, an area full of Russian settlers.

    In general, Russian and Ukrainian identities in that area are very fluid and can flow back and forth easily, often for political reasons
     
    Same for Polish and Ukrainian. There was even a half-Ukrainian king on the Polish throne once.
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  57. @Thorfinnsson


    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
     
    I'm not a linguist or a Russophone so I can't dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.

    A good friend of mine learned fluent Russian and claims he can understand Ukrainian typically.

    Wasn't Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?

    And in any case Ukrainians already speak Russian. To my knowledge the cultural and technical output of the Ukrainian language is neglible, therefore the language has no reason to exist.

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here, and another great example is Welsh (which sounds like a cat being strangled).

    As far as history goes, the Ukrainians were with the Poles before. If the Poles had hung onto it then perhaps I'd be arguing right now that the Ukraine must belong to Poland. It's also my understanding that Russian civilization was born in what is now the Ukraine.

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians. Was there any hostility between Great Russians and Ukrainians in the USSR? Certainly doesn't seem like it.

    Danish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible and the Scandinavian countries are sufficiently close culturally that a federal state is viable and desirable, except perhaps for the Norwegians for obvious reasons.

    Khrushchev was born in southern Russia, near modern day Ukraine. He spent a good deal of his younger days in what became the Ukrainian SSR and was later put in charge of the republic by Stalin. All this said, I see little, if any evidence of him being an ethnic Ukrainian, with the understanding that at times it can be a fine line in determining ethnic Russian from ethnic Ukrainian. In his memoirs, he refers to himself as being thought of as a “Russak” by his ethnic Ukrainian Commie peers.

    I understand that Brezhnev had an upbringing in what became the Ukrainian SSR. That by itself doesn’t make him ethnic Ukrainian. I recall the view that he was of more than one ethnic group, while being mostly ethnic Russian.

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  58. @AP

    I’m not a linguist or a Russophone so I can’t dive into the weeds here, but I will note that Ukrainian is listed as belonging to the East Slavic language group.
     
    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes ("Tak" in both Polish and Ukrainian, "Da" in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.

    Wasn’t Ukrainian described as a dialect of Russian in the Russian Empire?
     
    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?

    A pet peeve of mine is efforts to preserve or even refine useless languages. Ukrainian is an example here,
     
    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?

    Two Soviet dictators were ethnic Ukrainians
     
    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).

    Rusyn sources say that their language (though not so well defined in the manner that Ukrainian had been) is closer to Russian than Ukrainian. There’s also the matter of modern day standard Ukrainian versus what was more evident prior to its creation. There’s also the matter of diverse regional dialects.

    In the 1920s, the Soviets went along with diaspora Ukrainians (mostly with former Habsburg Empire roots) in formalizing the modern day standard Ukrainian. For the Soviets, this was done to show a union of different nations with different languages. This standardization sought to differentiate Russian from Ukrainian, in a way greater than what had been evident in much of the Russian Empire part of what became modern day Ukraine.

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  59. @Beckow

    Karl XII was defeated in the Ukraine, but the object of his campaign was not the conquest of the Ukraine
     
    Yeah, I know, he wanted to conquer Russia (there was no such thing as 'Ukraine' at that time). I just threw it in to piss off any Swedes around here...

    H-man's knew his farmland. Mein Kampf has a lot of belly-aching about why the darn Goths left Ukraine and how that will be the new lebensraum.

    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them...)

    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them…)

    My understanding is that the current law does not even permit agricultural land to be sold to other Ukrainians, which is absurd.

    Whether or not they’re comfortable with foreign capital controlling their agricultural sector is up to them. There are trade offs. Foreign capital would modernize the agricultural sector faster, but the earnings will leave the Ukraine.

    The experience of EU Eastern Europe is interesting. The 1% of the Visegrad countries lives in Germany. The 1% of the Baltic States lives in Sweden and Finland.

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries? I’ve seen some Czech or Slovak commenters note that German-owned media companies play a negative role in their countries.

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    • Replies: @Beckow

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries?
     
    There are more than enough national bourgeoisie in Visegrad countries, e.g. Babis in Czech Rep. There are probably more of them then the economies need. A few local investment groups own a lot of businesses (e.g. Penta).

    Some sectors were taken over by the Western capital: media (that was done for political reasons mostly in the late 90's), finance - most banks were 'sold' to Western investors before joining EU, and large manufacturing (Germans are dominant). But most of the rest of the economy has plenty of local businesses, and most of those are doing better than media or banking. Germans bought newspapers and some private TV (some of that investment might have been by others who used regional German media companies as intermediaries). Those media are generally losing money, they basically bought junk. If the goal was mainly political it pays for itself in other ways.

    The fact that everyone knows that the media is foreign owned actually hurts the mindless propaganda effort. There is natural skepticism about what the motifs are, as there would be anywhere.

    , @LH

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries?
     
    Czech Republic became virtually a colony of the Western corporations. Almost 8% of GDP leaves the country (and the percentage goes up steadily over the years):

    https://i.imgur.com/G66RmcH.png

    I’ve seen some Czech or Slovak commenters note that German-owned media companies play a negative role in their countries.
     
    Several major Czech newspapers were indeed owned by German companies, but generated loss and were sold out. Now they are owned by local oligarchs. Their generally negative role didn't change a bit.
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  60. AP says:
    @inertial
    Russian also has "tak." It means "just so," i.e. a version of yes.

    Khruschev was born in a village that's now in Kursk region in Russia, right outside the border with Ukraine. But he grew up in Eastern Ukraine. Even as the head of the USSR he spoke with heavy Ukrainian / Southern Russian accent (it's the same thing.)

    In general, Russian and Ukrainian identities in that area are very fluid and can flow back and forth easily, often for political reasons. This why it's always sounds ridiculous when they start counting the number of Russians vs. Ukrainians in Donbass, or Kharkov, or Crimea.

    Russian also has “tak.” It means “just so,” i.e. a version of yes.

    If someone asks if you are hungry, you say yes or no. In Ukrainian it would be tak or nee (soft n, but like “knee”), Polish tak or nie, in Russian it would be da or nyet. Polish word for dad is tato, as in Ukrainian (Russian – “papa”). Thank you – Polish dzenkuyu, Ukrainian dyakuyu, Russian spasibo. Etc. etc.

    Khruschev was born in a village that’s now in Kursk region in Russia, right outside the border with Ukraine. But he grew up in Eastern Ukraine.

    Both his parents were Russians. He came to Ukraine at age 14. But he came to Donbas, an area full of Russian settlers.

    In general, Russian and Ukrainian identities in that area are very fluid and can flow back and forth easily, often for political reasons

    Same for Polish and Ukrainian. There was even a half-Ukrainian king on the Polish throne once.

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    • Replies: @E

    Polish word for dad is tato, as in Ukrainian (Russian – “papa”)
     
    Sure, and Russian has "тятя" (tyatya), which means "daddy". Yes, this word is a bit old-fashioned and more likely to be encountered in the old countryside dialects, folklore or ethnographic journals, but after all, modern "standard Ukrainian" was also inspired by dialects more widely spoken in the countryside of Ukraine than in the cities, as far as I know.
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  61. @Thorfinnsson
    The Maidan presented Russia with a golden opportunity to reunite the East Slavs and extinguish the fiction that the Ukraine can exist as anything other than a part of Russia.

    Putin blinked.

    This is his greatest failure.

    As a Russian nationalist, I remain unwaveringly committed to the idea of the triune Russian nation, just like Ivan Ilyin and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. There will come a day when the dismemberment of the Russian nation will be but a bad memory in the Russian historical consciousness. This will almost certainly not happen under the current occupants of the Kremlin. But happen it will, or Russia will cease to exist as a civilizational entity.
     

    Don't be so sure.

    The longer this persists, the more normal it will seem.

    Take Austria for instance. After the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, the country's official name was German Austria. The only reason anschluss did not happen then is that it was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. Even an attempted customs union with Germany in 1931 was stopped by France. Kurt Schuschnigg's argument against anschluss was that he considered Austrians to be superior Germans.

    After the war anschluss was part of far right politics in both Germany and Austria, but when Joerg Haider took over the Austrian Freedom Party he flew the Austrian flag for the first time. The anschluss program was quietly dropped.

    As a result the dream of 1848 may be dead forever. Germany remains divided, and no one even notices how strange it is that Austria is independent at all.

    Moving outside of Europe, look at North America. We speak of the original thirteen colonies, but there were in fact twenty-six British colonies in North America which underwent ethnogenesis during the French and Indian Wars. Americans tried to invade Canada twice, but failed both times.

    The loyalists expelled from America resettled largely in Canada and developed an anti-American national identity which still forms the basis of Canada's farcical existence today. Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.

    And the Caribbean colonies of Britain are lost to American civilization entirely thanks to the poisonous legacy of abolitionism and equal rights.

    So unless the far right comes to power in Russia within the next decade or two the Ukraine is likely lost forever.

    Weapons sales have been approved to the Ukraine, including Javelins.
     The javelin is obsolete for its intended role. This looks more like corruption to me since the Ukraine already produces guided anti-tank missiles.

    And the "lethal aid" provided to the Ukraine consisted of .50 caliber rifles--another item the Ukraine can easily produce if it does not already.

    There is time to gather empires and time to cast them away. The breakup period started perhaps sometime in the 1960s and it still goes on. Polities are still fracturing. But, like with anything else, this will end and an era of consolidation will unfortunately begin again. I say unfortunately because the times of consolidation are usually not good a time for the common folks.

    Austria vs. Germany is a special case though. After WWII, the Germans didn’t want to be German. The Austrian Germans had succeeded in rejecting the German identity. You know the famous joke about how the wily Austrians convinced the world that Hitler was German but Mozart (variant: Beethoven) was Austrian. The Austrians succeeded to such extent that many midwits (like Obama) think that the Austrians speaks the Austrian language.

    Some of the dynamic was in place in the case of Russia vs. Ukraine. Russian self-respect reached the nadir in the 1990s. Russians didn’t want to be Russian anymore, so Ukrainians rejected their Russian identity and embraced (anti-Russian) Ukrainian. But Russia had changed and it will have an effect on Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    After WWII, the Germans didn’t want to be German.
     
    I think this is a bit of retconning.

    Early West Germany routinely had actual Nazis in government. In fact an actual Nazi became the Chancellor (Kurt Georg Kiesinger).

    Wehrmacht officers were dusted off and pressed back into service. Waffen SS veterans formed a political pressure group to demand veterans' pensions. The German government also refused to accept the Oder-Neisse Line.

    Even actual SS-men and former Gestapo agents were recruited for intelligence work.

    German self hatred truly took hold, as with so much else, in 1968. It is also now starting to disappear. My German cousins are nationalists, but their father (baby boomer) was outraged at my suggestion that Iraqis are less intelligent than Europeans. Whereas his father was an officer who fondly remembered both world wars.

    If not for whatever strange mind virus seized control of the West in 1968 you'd find Germans today would be more like the Japanese in their view of the war and the atrocities they committed.
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  62. @Bumfrey McDoogle
    NATO membership was always opposed by majorities in places like Montenegro and Bulgaria, yet here we are. I'm not sure why you guys think that public opinion of Ukrainians matters. A pro-US gov't will force through whatever it wants, with full backing of the US and the EU.

    The reality of the situation - the Ukrainian economy will wither without trade with the East. Any gains made currently are of a very primitive variety.

    NATO membership was always opposed by majorities in places like Montenegro and Bulgaria, yet here we are

    About 45% of Montenegrins supported NATO membership, which is a lot more than the 25%-30% NATO support in Ukraine. I haven’t seen poll data for Bulgaria prior to ascension.

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  63. @inertial
    There is time to gather empires and time to cast them away. The breakup period started perhaps sometime in the 1960s and it still goes on. Polities are still fracturing. But, like with anything else, this will end and an era of consolidation will unfortunately begin again. I say unfortunately because the times of consolidation are usually not good a time for the common folks.

    Austria vs. Germany is a special case though. After WWII, the Germans didn't want to be German. The Austrian Germans had succeeded in rejecting the German identity. You know the famous joke about how the wily Austrians convinced the world that Hitler was German but Mozart (variant: Beethoven) was Austrian. The Austrians succeeded to such extent that many midwits (like Obama) think that the Austrians speaks the Austrian language.

    Some of the dynamic was in place in the case of Russia vs. Ukraine. Russian self-respect reached the nadir in the 1990s. Russians didn't want to be Russian anymore, so Ukrainians rejected their Russian identity and embraced (anti-Russian) Ukrainian. But Russia had changed and it will have an effect on Ukraine.

    After WWII, the Germans didn’t want to be German.

    I think this is a bit of retconning.

    Early West Germany routinely had actual Nazis in government. In fact an actual Nazi became the Chancellor (Kurt Georg Kiesinger).

    Wehrmacht officers were dusted off and pressed back into service. Waffen SS veterans formed a political pressure group to demand veterans’ pensions. The German government also refused to accept the Oder-Neisse Line.

    Even actual SS-men and former Gestapo agents were recruited for intelligence work.

    German self hatred truly took hold, as with so much else, in 1968. It is also now starting to disappear. My German cousins are nationalists, but their father (baby boomer) was outraged at my suggestion that Iraqis are less intelligent than Europeans. Whereas his father was an officer who fondly remembered both world wars.

    If not for whatever strange mind virus seized control of the West in 1968 you’d find Germans today would be more like the Japanese in their view of the war and the atrocities they committed.

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  64. Not sure it’s accurate to say that Ukraine beat Russia. America/”the West” beat Russia (in terms of forcing out our influence for the near future), or Poroshenko beat Putin (more debatable; internal politics are primary for both and I’d say they both won from this on that front). But Ukraine the country does not seem to have won much from this yet, albeit I certainly agree that it is not collapsing any time soon (frankly it is extremely difficult for a modern country to “collapse”; it took a lot for far less developed Somalia to descend into actual anarchy, and even then it wasn’t anything it couldn’t eventually bounce back from).

    Russia certainly did not win much here either, of course.

    On another note, I’m not sure what you mean by Russia being a “civilizational entity” (did you just mean “civilization”? :P), but I fail to see how failing to get back Kiev and Minsk will in any way destroy or diminish our country or our people. They just aren’t that important in my view, though perhaps I am too young to appreciate their value to a much bigger country with far bigger fish to fry on other fronts. But anyway, it’s surely just as possible (indeed, even more likely) that the “triune Russian nation” will just continue to grow apart, as it has started to centuries ago. Solzhenitsyn and Ilyin were simply out of touch on this count, IMHO, as by the 20th century there were distinct strains of Belarussian and Ukrainian nationalism that were not going to simply go away. The situation has only progressed further since then. C’est la vie.

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    • Replies: @Antiwar7
    Forcing people to join a union causes a reaction, as with the breakup of Yugoslavia.

    Letting them be independent can lead to centuries of cooperation, as with the various mainstream Orthodox churches.
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  65. @AP
    Excellent article, and the fantasists from your side will hate you for it. One quibble:

    The Maidan coup may have gone against public opinion,
     
    Your link was to a poll that showed only for vs. against Maidan in Ukraine, and showed more people against, than for. However, it does not consider how many people supported Maidan's adversary, Yanukovich's government.

    In that poll (KIIS - dont have time to hunt for the link, which I apparently failed to bookmark) it was 41% in favor of Maidan, 25% in favor of the government, and the rest supporting neither side.

    So while technically yes, the majority did not support Maidan, even fewer people supported Yanukovich.

    I still think NATO training or not the notion of an easy peasy Ukro-Operation Storm is mostly fantasy even some of the hardcore Galicia-centrists here don’t cling to anymore than most Russian nationalists buy into being welcomed with bread and flowers at the Dnieper. If Washington wants to help the Ukrainians take back the Donbass the aura of NATO advisers being untouchable is going to come off, fast and sorry Quartermaster some of the advisers just behind the frontlines will be very vulnerable in fluid battles to ambushes or the GRU SIGINT artilleryist guys in downtown Donetsk ID’ing where the US Army issued encrypted radios are at Ilovaisk, and triangulating with mass fires for effect. Leading to a sudden ‘suicide bombing at Bagram’ that no one saw to cover up U.S. and Canuck adviser (even if the Canadian military more so than the US Army has its share of Ukrainian speakers) servicemen coffins flying out of Borispol airport.

    It’s not like contrary to the concerted efforts to downplay ‘out of my face’ guy and others the Azov Battalion did such a great job of hiding their NATO Foreign Legionnaire types, one of whom a Belgian reportedly was killed. A Slovak or Pole bragged to SOFREP.com about fighting ‘bandits’ and supposed Russian regulars (just like on the LDNR side where any Ukrainian unit competently defending a relatively indefensible against artillery position at the airport were said to be Polish ‘vacationers’ or mercs) but offered little proof he was going up against the Taman Guards rather than some old Northern Wind Chechnya veterans.

    If there is one unhealthy trend I sense in Anatoly’s writing of late, even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort. Well the Euphrates in Syria isn’t much of a formidable barrier to Hezbollah types infiltrating Kurdish SDF areas to plant IEDs or shoot down Blackhawks with MANPADs and the great slaughter of Wagner mercenaries turned out to be about a dozen or so guys times two wounded who didn’t even likely know they were attacking a U.S. special forces held position because their Syrian hosts lied to them or the Kurds pulled a fast one after promising to deliver over an oil field.

    The consensus among Ukrainian nationalists seems to be let the Donbass rot. Which is about what many Russians think is happening to Ukraine even if they lament it. That all being said I don’t begrudge Putin sticking with Crimea and refusing to hand the worst neocons their wet dream of a Slavic version of the Afghanistan occupation by going all the way to the Dnieper. LDPR may have been what was possible, though I think the offensive in August 2014 should’ve encircled Mariupol and forced those Azov Nazi bastards including the not easily disavowable NATO Foreign Legionnaires to die in it or leave for Russia. Easy for me to say from my safe perch though.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    ... even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort.
     
    I don't think I have ever claimed that.

    My position has always been that the US has overwhelming dominance over Syria, and can annul Khmeimim in a matter of hours.

    Conversely, Russia has dominance over the Baltics, which it can conquer in 72 hours to 5 days. There is also zero chance of a successful Ukrainian Operation Storm so long as Russia is prepared to become overtly militarily involved. Russia can still conquer Novorossiya/East Ukraine, but it will be an order of magnitude harder - hundreds, maybe thousands, of casualties, instead of dozens - than in 2014.
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  66. @Thorfinnsson


    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them…)
     
    My understanding is that the current law does not even permit agricultural land to be sold to other Ukrainians, which is absurd.

    Whether or not they're comfortable with foreign capital controlling their agricultural sector is up to them. There are trade offs. Foreign capital would modernize the agricultural sector faster, but the earnings will leave the Ukraine.

    The experience of EU Eastern Europe is interesting. The 1% of the Visegrad countries lives in Germany. The 1% of the Baltic States lives in Sweden and Finland.

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries? I've seen some Czech or Slovak commenters note that German-owned media companies play a negative role in their countries.

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries?

    There are more than enough national bourgeoisie in Visegrad countries, e.g. Babis in Czech Rep. There are probably more of them then the economies need. A few local investment groups own a lot of businesses (e.g. Penta).

    Some sectors were taken over by the Western capital: media (that was done for political reasons mostly in the late 90′s), finance – most banks were ‘sold’ to Western investors before joining EU, and large manufacturing (Germans are dominant). But most of the rest of the economy has plenty of local businesses, and most of those are doing better than media or banking. Germans bought newspapers and some private TV (some of that investment might have been by others who used regional German media companies as intermediaries). Those media are generally losing money, they basically bought junk. If the goal was mainly political it pays for itself in other ways.

    The fact that everyone knows that the media is foreign owned actually hurts the mindless propaganda effort. There is natural skepticism about what the motifs are, as there would be anywhere.

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  67. @A.A.
    Crimea was the only region in Ukraine with a majority of ethnic Russians. Because of that the local Ukrainian minority was also the most Russified one (most Ukrainians in Crimea are married to non-Ukrainians for example). This is what set the whole tone in the region and why they were so glad to separate from Ukraine. There is no other region in the rest of Ukraine with similar demographics to Crimea. Even Donbass is much more mixed and way more wishy-washy as a result.

    Separatist tendencies were present in Crimea through out their whole history as a part of independent Ukraine. Those same tendencies were not there in Eastern Ukraine because a solid majority of the locals identified as Ukrainian. It's a grave mistake to assume that Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are similair at their core because both speak Russian or something.

    It’s a grave mistake to assume that Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are similair at their core because both speak Russian or something.

    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    You're rather selective in choosing comments (and statistical data) to comment on? Why no response to my comment #27 where I use data that you yourself have posted?
    , @A.A.

    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.
     
    Closer ties to Russia and autonomy? Of course, but that's not the same as joining Russia. We're also talking about the most pro-Russian regions with the highest shares of ethnic Russians in the former Ukraine (outside of Crimea). 39% and 38% ethnic Russians in Lugansk and Donetsk oblast respectively. Still not a majority, which makes the regions very wishy-washy and difficult to work with for both (!) Russia and Ukraine. If there's one thing that can finally tear Donetsk and Lugansk away from Ukraine, it's the war that is being waged on them by Kiev.

    Crimea was the only rock solid region in Ukraine that Russia could count on because it had an actual Russian majority that in turn also had an assimilating effect on the local Ukrainian minority.

    I'm saying this as an ethnic Russian who grew up in Kharkov and has no fondness or respect for Ukraine, but you seem to have a lack of understanding about the actual ethnic dynamics in Ukraine and how much they matter.
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  68. @AP

    I do not think this would have been allowed for any length of time. Ever increasing NATO association and integration would have been required, followed by NATO membership at the first moment it was politically feasible (in Ukraine and amongst the European NATO regimes).
     
    Disagree. NATO was consistently opposed by about 60% of the population, supported by 20% to 30%.
    That's simply too much to overcome and to "force" membership. It would have been a pro-Russian state within the EU, like a Bulgaria without the NATO. Instead it's a would-be Poland.

    It doesn’t matter what people think, it matters what the elites think, and Ukraine’s elites have been set on NATO for decades.

    Nobody is going to vote you out of office if you join NATO, because it’s only 10th-15th on the list of people’s preferences. E.g. see Bulgaria.

    Incidentally, modern Euro-Atlantic integration comes as a package deal anyway; you can’t have EU membership without NATO.

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  69. @inertial
    BTW, Karlin mischaracterizes Ischenko. I read a few pieces by this pundit over the years and his predictions are always the same:

    1. Poroshenko and the "Nazis," who started out as allies, will come to blows. This came to pass.

    2. The "Nazis" will eventually win over Poroshenko. The are the side that's full of intensity but their weakness is that they are lacking a Hitler.

    3. Once the "Nazis" come to power, the Ukraine collapses into bloody mess. At this point the "neighboring nations" will have to come in to restore order.

    Will this happen? Who knows? This outcome is not any less likely than any other.

    Will this happen? Who knows? This outcome is not any less likely than any other.

    The Nazis had their chance in 2014, maybe 2015, when their lack of a popular support base was at least partly compensated for by their discipline and having lots and lots of guns. (They did, of course, play a critical role in overthrowing the previous regime, via Kiev Snipergate).

    But now the Ukrainian state is too strong of them. The most passionary ones have been killed off, the others assimilated. Only “independent” role they now play is as armed muscle for minor oligarch tussles.

    Ishchenko failed in his predictions. Maybe the Nazis will win in the long-run, but in the long-run, we are all dead.

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    • Replies: @inertial
    Poroshenko had turned out to be far more robust than many expected. His secret superpower is, of course, the support of the Washington Obkom. Using this resource Poroshenko had been able to see off many challenges, including even Saakashvili, who must have his own Western sponsors.

    Even so, the Nazis are running around mostly unmolested and often force government's hand, lie it was in the Donbass blockade. And there are regular massive anti-Poroshenko protests in the center of Kiev. If similar protests were happening in Moscow you'd be the first to claim that Putin's regime was on its last legs.

    There are also signs that Poroshenko's support in the West is getting shakier. Lately, they started calling him corrupt here and there in the media. If the Nazi can come up with a half-way palatable leader they'd suddenly find themselves in a much stronger position.

    So predicting Poroshenko's demise is not unreasonable. But most likely nothing will happen until the next presidential elections a year from now. As we get closer to it, all bets are off. Ukrainian election seasons are always entertaining.
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  70. @The Kulak
    I still think NATO training or not the notion of an easy peasy Ukro-Operation Storm is mostly fantasy even some of the hardcore Galicia-centrists here don't cling to anymore than most Russian nationalists buy into being welcomed with bread and flowers at the Dnieper. If Washington wants to help the Ukrainians take back the Donbass the aura of NATO advisers being untouchable is going to come off, fast and sorry Quartermaster some of the advisers just behind the frontlines will be very vulnerable in fluid battles to ambushes or the GRU SIGINT artilleryist guys in downtown Donetsk ID'ing where the US Army issued encrypted radios are at Ilovaisk, and triangulating with mass fires for effect. Leading to a sudden 'suicide bombing at Bagram' that no one saw to cover up U.S. and Canuck adviser (even if the Canadian military more so than the US Army has its share of Ukrainian speakers) servicemen coffins flying out of Borispol airport.

    It's not like contrary to the concerted efforts to downplay 'out of my face' guy and others the Azov Battalion did such a great job of hiding their NATO Foreign Legionnaire types, one of whom a Belgian reportedly was killed. A Slovak or Pole bragged to SOFREP.com about fighting 'bandits' and supposed Russian regulars (just like on the LDNR side where any Ukrainian unit competently defending a relatively indefensible against artillery position at the airport were said to be Polish 'vacationers' or mercs) but offered little proof he was going up against the Taman Guards rather than some old Northern Wind Chechnya veterans.

    If there is one unhealthy trend I sense in Anatoly's writing of late, even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort. Well the Euphrates in Syria isn't much of a formidable barrier to Hezbollah types infiltrating Kurdish SDF areas to plant IEDs or shoot down Blackhawks with MANPADs and the great slaughter of Wagner mercenaries turned out to be about a dozen or so guys times two wounded who didn't even likely know they were attacking a U.S. special forces held position because their Syrian hosts lied to them or the Kurds pulled a fast one after promising to deliver over an oil field.

    The consensus among Ukrainian nationalists seems to be let the Donbass rot. Which is about what many Russians think is happening to Ukraine even if they lament it. That all being said I don't begrudge Putin sticking with Crimea and refusing to hand the worst neocons their wet dream of a Slavic version of the Afghanistan occupation by going all the way to the Dnieper. LDPR may have been what was possible, though I think the offensive in August 2014 should've encircled Mariupol and forced those Azov Nazi bastards including the not easily disavowable NATO Foreign Legionnaires to die in it or leave for Russia. Easy for me to say from my safe perch though.

    … even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort.

    I don’t think I have ever claimed that.

    My position has always been that the US has overwhelming dominance over Syria, and can annul Khmeimim in a matter of hours.

    Conversely, Russia has dominance over the Baltics, which it can conquer in 72 hours to 5 days. There is also zero chance of a successful Ukrainian Operation Storm so long as Russia is prepared to become overtly militarily involved. Russia can still conquer Novorossiya/East Ukraine, but it will be an order of magnitude harder – hundreds, maybe thousands, of casualties, instead of dozens – than in 2014.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    do you think a Soviet invasion of Western Germany in, say, 1977 would have been successful assuming NATO didn't use nukes?
    , @The Kulak
    Anatoly, just as Russia conquering east of the Dnieper Ukraine isn’t worth the effort unless gravely provoked beyond all limits or the total collapse many predicted in 2014-15 occurs, it hasn’t paid for the US to attack Kheimmim since 2015. Not just because Russia is a nuclear power or enjoys escalation dominance in the Baltics and as far west as likely Odessa and Chisinau, but also because US power rests on notions of military supremacy and casualty aversion to a greater degree than Russian or Chinese power. Though obviously Putin has taken many measures to limit active duty Russian casualties with his cautious approach having learned some lessons from Afghanistan and the Chechen Wars.

    I see the Syria game the same way for the US. Even assuming no nukes get used do you really see POTUS Trump politically surviving the destruction of a Kheimmim followed by the sinking of an AEGIS ship in the eastern Med and the incineration by Caspian and Black Sea launched Kalibrs of several FOBs east of the Euphrates with hundreds of dead Americans within hours? I don’t because the same Democrats who’d been accusing Trump of being ROG’s puppet would be demanding his impeachment and many Republicans of his base would be asking why it was worth it despite Fox News telling us its time to nuke Moscow (with no thoughts given to Lt Col Ralph Peters face melting after a Topol MIRV air burst 10,000 feet over Manhattan).

    No the thing the ‘USA slaughtered hundreds of Wagner mercs rah rah’ crowd should worry about isn’t Russian retaliation but IRGC/Hezbollah operatives who speak a little Kurdish slipping into towns where our troops are with IEDs or thermobaric RPGs. Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria has all but said eventually the Iraq insurgency playbook will be dusted off to push out the Americans after Ghouta and Idlib are dealt with by Damascus.

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  71. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort.
     
    I don't think I have ever claimed that.

    My position has always been that the US has overwhelming dominance over Syria, and can annul Khmeimim in a matter of hours.

    Conversely, Russia has dominance over the Baltics, which it can conquer in 72 hours to 5 days. There is also zero chance of a successful Ukrainian Operation Storm so long as Russia is prepared to become overtly militarily involved. Russia can still conquer Novorossiya/East Ukraine, but it will be an order of magnitude harder - hundreds, maybe thousands, of casualties, instead of dozens - than in 2014.

    do you think a Soviet invasion of Western Germany in, say, 1977 would have been successful assuming NATO didn’t use nukes?

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  72. Anatoly… honestly, you are one of the oddest combinations of cold, hard rationalism and utterly deranged wishful thinking that I’ve ever seen.

    When you talk about raising the level of support for incorporation into Russia in Dnepropetrovsk oblast to 50%-60% – I have to ask, are you out of your effing mind? Are you even considering how forcibly incorporating (i.e. through bloodshed) places where the “level of enthusiasm” has to then be raised up to a “mind-blowing” 50-60% would affect the morale of the Russian population? It would be disastrous. This process and the inevitable multitude of cacklostani provocations would demoralize the Russian population, especially since all of this would be happening in conditions of major sanctions and a serious economic downturn (worse than what has actually happened thus far).

    I would also note that 41% of the Crimean population supporting the idea that “Ukraine and Russia must unite into a single state” is NOT the same as the percentage supporting the incorporation of Crimea into Russia. These are two different things. There are plenty of Crimeans who support the incorporation of Crimea into Russia but not the unification of Russia and Ukraine into a single state – because they know from miserable experience what a headache that would be for Russia. Therefore, your entire example of “40% to 90% support quickly” is bunk and you can’t just willy-nilly claim that it would apply to places like Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, etc.

    The truth, as I and others have told you, is that you haven’t done your homework on Ukraine and public opinion there. You’re basically ignoring actual public opinion on the ground and engaging in wishful thinking about it instead. You can’t do that when it comes to things this serious.

    Keep in mind that I support military action against Ukraine, i.e. the open use of the Russian military. However, not for the purpose of incorporating half of Ukraine into Russia but rather to push the cacklostanis away from Donetsk and Lugansk, so as to liberate ethnic Russian settlements and make the core LDNR territory somewhat more livable for the population (though it would continue to be a hellhole for the foreseeable future unless Russia made it a national project to improve it).

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I agree. I also don’t think Ukraine is that important for Russia. Nor do I think it will ever be a part of Russia. The triune nation is a fantasy. It might have had a chance a hundred years ago (I have my doubts), or two hundred years ago (possible), but not any longer. I don’t even think incorporating Belarus is possible.
    , @Randal

    Anatoly… honestly, you are one of the oddest combinations of cold, hard rationalism and utterly deranged wishful thinking that I’ve ever seen.
     
    A bit harsh, but insofar as there is a valid criticism of Anatoly's enthusiasm, isn't this exactly characteristic of youth? (Not that I'm saying we oldies can never be guilty of a bit of utterly deranged wishful thinking now and again - there's no fool like an old fool as they say).

    Anatoly is a someone for whose work I have huge respect, and clearly both highly intelligent and a very capable analyst. But though young people hate it, and perhaps the odd genius aside, no amount of intelligence or analytical competence can really make up for the sheer lack of life experience that is the inevitable consequence of being relatively young. Age and experience tend to bring caution, judgement and an awareness of the many ways seemingly perfect theoretical ideas can go wrong in practice.
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  73. @dmitriev
    Anatoly... honestly, you are one of the oddest combinations of cold, hard rationalism and utterly deranged wishful thinking that I've ever seen.

    When you talk about raising the level of support for incorporation into Russia in Dnepropetrovsk oblast to 50%-60% - I have to ask, are you out of your effing mind? Are you even considering how forcibly incorporating (i.e. through bloodshed) places where the "level of enthusiasm" has to then be raised up to a "mind-blowing" 50-60% would affect the morale of the Russian population? It would be disastrous. This process and the inevitable multitude of cacklostani provocations would demoralize the Russian population, especially since all of this would be happening in conditions of major sanctions and a serious economic downturn (worse than what has actually happened thus far).

    I would also note that 41% of the Crimean population supporting the idea that "Ukraine and Russia must unite into a single state" is NOT the same as the percentage supporting the incorporation of Crimea into Russia. These are two different things. There are plenty of Crimeans who support the incorporation of Crimea into Russia but not the unification of Russia and Ukraine into a single state - because they know from miserable experience what a headache that would be for Russia. Therefore, your entire example of "40% to 90% support quickly" is bunk and you can't just willy-nilly claim that it would apply to places like Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, etc.

    The truth, as I and others have told you, is that you haven't done your homework on Ukraine and public opinion there. You're basically ignoring actual public opinion on the ground and engaging in wishful thinking about it instead. You can't do that when it comes to things this serious.

    Keep in mind that I support military action against Ukraine, i.e. the open use of the Russian military. However, not for the purpose of incorporating half of Ukraine into Russia but rather to push the cacklostanis away from Donetsk and Lugansk, so as to liberate ethnic Russian settlements and make the core LDNR territory somewhat more livable for the population (though it would continue to be a hellhole for the foreseeable future unless Russia made it a national project to improve it).

    I agree. I also don’t think Ukraine is that important for Russia. Nor do I think it will ever be a part of Russia. The triune nation is a fantasy. It might have had a chance a hundred years ago (I have my doubts), or two hundred years ago (possible), but not any longer. I don’t even think incorporating Belarus is possible.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Randal

    The triune nation is a fantasy. It might have had a chance a hundred years ago (I have my doubts), or two hundred years ago (possible), but not any longer. I don’t even think incorporating Belarus is possible.
     
    I think these things depend on longish term economic and political trends. If Russia can stay far enough ahead of those countries for long enough, and the pull of the EU and US sphere generally can be ameliorated, then a few decades would see a very different picture. Remember it's only a couple of decades since Russia was a complete basket case.

    I don't see the current US sphere dominance lasting that long (maybe that's wishful thinking, of course), and as with Taiwan probably dropping into China's hands more or less voluntarily I suspect the same might happen with Belarus and parts at least of Ukraine in a couple of decades.
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  74. E says:
    @AP

    Russian also has “tak.” It means “just so,” i.e. a version of yes.
     
    If someone asks if you are hungry, you say yes or no. In Ukrainian it would be tak or nee (soft n, but like "knee"), Polish tak or nie, in Russian it would be da or nyet. Polish word for dad is tato, as in Ukrainian (Russian - "papa"). Thank you - Polish dzenkuyu, Ukrainian dyakuyu, Russian spasibo. Etc. etc.

    Khruschev was born in a village that’s now in Kursk region in Russia, right outside the border with Ukraine. But he grew up in Eastern Ukraine.
     
    Both his parents were Russians. He came to Ukraine at age 14. But he came to Donbas, an area full of Russian settlers.

    In general, Russian and Ukrainian identities in that area are very fluid and can flow back and forth easily, often for political reasons
     
    Same for Polish and Ukrainian. There was even a half-Ukrainian king on the Polish throne once.

    Polish word for dad is tato, as in Ukrainian (Russian – “papa”)

    Sure, and Russian has “тятя” (tyatya), which means “daddy”. Yes, this word is a bit old-fashioned and more likely to be encountered in the old countryside dialects, folklore or ethnographic journals, but after all, modern “standard Ukrainian” was also inspired by dialects more widely spoken in the countryside of Ukraine than in the cities, as far as I know.

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  75. @anonymous coward
    Pretty much everything in this article is a load of bullshit. Sorry.

    The error is in the axiomatics: there's no such thing as a "Ukraine", and any discussion of a failed imaginary nation will only lead to more error.

    there’s no such thing as a “Ukraine”

    Keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better.

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  76. On the subject of whether Ukrainian is closer to Polish or Russian, the answer is: it depends what you measure. Genetically speaking (in a linguistic sense), it is closer to Russian. However, due to centuries of close contact between Poles and Ukrainians, there has been a large amount of linguistic intermingling between our peoples.

    This can be seen in lexical distance maps, such as the one below.

    Ukrainian is close to both Russian and Polish but it is slightly closer to Polish in terms of pure lexical distance. In practice, it is very easy for a native Ukrainian speaker to pick up either Polish or Russian and you could say they are the mid-point between Poles and Russians. Closer genetically (linguistically) to Russian but somewhat closer to Polish in lexical distance.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    As usual, Hungarian is the loneliest language. I seriously don’t know how it feels to have a language similar enough that I could, in many cases, understand simple sentences without having to learn the language. Or even to have regional dialects different enough to have trouble understanding it.

    I think the map implies a bit closer connection to Estonian than is actually the case. We have a number of simple words (like the word for house) of Finno-Ugric origin, but they differ enormously, so you cannot readily notice them. But you can more easily recognize some words of Slavic origin. So I think it probably feels like we are closer to Slavic languages than to Finno-Ugric languages. But it really doesn’t feel close to either.

    Though I know a Hungarian woman who learned Finnish in a few years when she was already in middle age. She said the grammar and pronunciation both felt very easy, though the words were only similar where both borrowed relatively recently from Latin or maybe some other language.
    , @Mr. Hack
    It's interesting to note that in the earliest ethno-genesis of both the Polish and Ukrainian nations, the preeminent Slavic tribes of both nations were called 'Polianins'. No historian that I know of has yet come out and stated that this was the exact same tribe, but I wonder? A coincidence in names, so close to one another? Also, AP, our resident geneticist, has more than on one occasion pointed out that genetically Ukrainians are closer to Poles than to Russians. At least when comparing Ukrainians to Russians in the north close to Moscow.
    , @Singh
    Where would Sanskrit or Persian be on this map?

    Didn't know Estonian were Turks. Dam,
    , @Philip Owen
    If I was drawing this map, so would put Celtic between Romance and Slavic Italo-Celtic is a recognized precursor. All those inflections in Latin. Also, from personal experience, I hear eerie ghost resemblances between Welsh and Russia that I don't notice in English, French or German. Verb endings, constructions like Mae'n bwrw glaw/,идёт дождь which would be rain falls in English, never it's raining.

    There is more to comparing languages than vocabulary but vocabulary is easy. You don't have to learn the languages. Grammar and overall construction is much harder to compare. There are very few word borrowings from Brythonic (early Welsh) in English. On the other hand, the huge number of verbal constructions that English has I'm excess of German all appeared to be borrowed from Welsh. The meeting of uninflected Welsh with Angle, Saxon and Viking with different inflections and gender rules probably stripped English of inflection and gender.

    So, is there a lost third language underneath Polish and East Slavic dialects? Finnish? Turkic? Gothic?
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  77. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... even if I cannot dismiss his pessimism about the seemingly eternal Cold War 2 black pill scenario, it is the notion that Uncle Sam is basically invulnerable militarily if not economically to retaliation even of the proxy sort.
     
    I don't think I have ever claimed that.

    My position has always been that the US has overwhelming dominance over Syria, and can annul Khmeimim in a matter of hours.

    Conversely, Russia has dominance over the Baltics, which it can conquer in 72 hours to 5 days. There is also zero chance of a successful Ukrainian Operation Storm so long as Russia is prepared to become overtly militarily involved. Russia can still conquer Novorossiya/East Ukraine, but it will be an order of magnitude harder - hundreds, maybe thousands, of casualties, instead of dozens - than in 2014.

    Anatoly, just as Russia conquering east of the Dnieper Ukraine isn’t worth the effort unless gravely provoked beyond all limits or the total collapse many predicted in 2014-15 occurs, it hasn’t paid for the US to attack Kheimmim since 2015. Not just because Russia is a nuclear power or enjoys escalation dominance in the Baltics and as far west as likely Odessa and Chisinau, but also because US power rests on notions of military supremacy and casualty aversion to a greater degree than Russian or Chinese power. Though obviously Putin has taken many measures to limit active duty Russian casualties with his cautious approach having learned some lessons from Afghanistan and the Chechen Wars.

    I see the Syria game the same way for the US. Even assuming no nukes get used do you really see POTUS Trump politically surviving the destruction of a Kheimmim followed by the sinking of an AEGIS ship in the eastern Med and the incineration by Caspian and Black Sea launched Kalibrs of several FOBs east of the Euphrates with hundreds of dead Americans within hours? I don’t because the same Democrats who’d been accusing Trump of being ROG’s puppet would be demanding his impeachment and many Republicans of his base would be asking why it was worth it despite Fox News telling us its time to nuke Moscow (with no thoughts given to Lt Col Ralph Peters face melting after a Topol MIRV air burst 10,000 feet over Manhattan).

    No the thing the ‘USA slaughtered hundreds of Wagner mercs rah rah’ crowd should worry about isn’t Russian retaliation but IRGC/Hezbollah operatives who speak a little Kurdish slipping into towns where our troops are with IEDs or thermobaric RPGs. Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria has all but said eventually the Iraq insurgency playbook will be dusted off to push out the Americans after Ghouta and Idlib are dealt with by Damascus.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria...
     
    Muh Magnier. You guys are a broken record.

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn't leaving. The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.
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  78. @Thorfinnsson

    You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.
     
    One can't speak of Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman national identities. My position is that for civilized races the optimal form of political organization is the nation-state, and said nation-state should be at the largest practical level of cultural integration. Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    A united Anglo-Saxon state might be practical (and one way we can keep competing with China throughout the century), though reconciling American republicanism with British monarchism seems impossible. That is unless the God-Emperor crowns himself.

    That said in light of the fact that Balkanoids are savage swine I'd be favorably inclined to just hand the Austrians the unenviable task of governing the fractious, quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash forever. Greece gets an exemption owing to its history.

    Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were not real countries, but they had the possibility of developing into real countries. This was well under way in Yugoslavia to my knowledge.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    "Globalization" and nuclear peace have reduced the returns to war and thus the need for large states, hence the disintegrative trend since 1942.

    Let's hope Trump sparks a global trade war and ends this trend of political disintegration.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.
     

    The European Union was an integrative success, but the Euros fucked it all up. First the idiotic creation of the Eurozone (which was correctly criticized by American economists before it launched), and now Merkel's blunder. Europe's elites further appear extremely determined to learn nothing from this.

    To this one can add the the Euros repeated the Hapsburg blunder of expanding into the Balkans. Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities have no business whatsoever in Europe.

    The EU has more divisions than simply immigration. There's considerable division on economics. The EU is working out just fine for the Germanic countries (and Finland), so they want no change. France and Italy want a Eurozone bonds and a weaker Euro.

    They're also divided on how to deal with BREXIT. The Germans want to treat the UK harshly, but Macron does not. Doesn't help that the British government itself does not even appear to have a program, which is not surprising when your Prime Minister is a childless cat lady.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    Balkanoids are savage swine

    quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash

    Let’s hope Trump sparks a global trade war

    Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you’re not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones? Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?

    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden’s national day. I don’t see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you’re not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.
     

    You appear to value "reasonable" and "measured" discourse which I think is extremely boring, though there is a time and a place for it. The comments on this blog are not that time and place for me.

    Incidentally I do appreciate your comments. I like that Karlin's blog has a number of European commenters, including Eastern Europeans. Most of the Anglophone alt-right space on the internet is, for obvious reasons, dominated by americans.


    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones?
     
    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take. Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.

    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as "Canadians".

    There is also the trolling benefit--telling people this and that country does not not deserve to exist provokes angry responses.

    A word on trolling owing to your reasonable disposition--when I say that I troll I do mean that I am being disingenuous. One can troll with one's actual positions. Indeed the whole alt right seems to be based upon this, or at least the Twitter branch of it.

    As an example unrelated to this topic I've found genuinely praising the big banks as offering excellent products and services that I am delighted with makes people completely unhinged.


    Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?
     
    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to "globalization" and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.

    A larger state can compete more effectively in the global arena. What is the minimum state size necessary to compete in a space race for instance?

    Fundamentally, would an impartial observer rather be a Ukrainian or a Russian? A Canadian or an American?


    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden’s national day. I don’t see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.
     
    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.

    To take the example of Norway, imagine if Norwegian energy were combined with Swedish industry (and had been so right from the beginning). For that matter things might have been quite different for Norway in 1940.

    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.

    Of course I realize that now the European Union exists, so this is somewhat quaint. Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can't say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).

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  79. @Polish Perspective
    On the subject of whether Ukrainian is closer to Polish or Russian, the answer is: it depends what you measure. Genetically speaking (in a linguistic sense), it is closer to Russian. However, due to centuries of close contact between Poles and Ukrainians, there has been a large amount of linguistic intermingling between our peoples.


    This can be seen in lexical distance maps, such as the one below.

    https://i.imgur.com/ppmwsw4.jpg

    Ukrainian is close to both Russian and Polish but it is slightly closer to Polish in terms of pure lexical distance. In practice, it is very easy for a native Ukrainian speaker to pick up either Polish or Russian and you could say they are the mid-point between Poles and Russians. Closer genetically (linguistically) to Russian but somewhat closer to Polish in lexical distance.

    As usual, Hungarian is the loneliest language. I seriously don’t know how it feels to have a language similar enough that I could, in many cases, understand simple sentences without having to learn the language. Or even to have regional dialects different enough to have trouble understanding it.

    I think the map implies a bit closer connection to Estonian than is actually the case. We have a number of simple words (like the word for house) of Finno-Ugric origin, but they differ enormously, so you cannot readily notice them. But you can more easily recognize some words of Slavic origin. So I think it probably feels like we are closer to Slavic languages than to Finno-Ugric languages. But it really doesn’t feel close to either.

    Though I know a Hungarian woman who learned Finnish in a few years when she was already in middle age. She said the grammar and pronunciation both felt very easy, though the words were only similar where both borrowed relatively recently from Latin or maybe some other language.

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    • Replies: @Spisarevski

    I seriously don’t know how it feels to have a language similar enough that I could, in many cases, understand simple sentences without having to learn the language
     
    It's pretty awesome - for example I like understanding Serbian songs from the Yugo wars (like Remove Kebab, etc) and being able to sing them without effort.

    Though I know a Hungarian woman who learned Finnish in a few years when she was already in middle age. She said the grammar and pronunciation both felt very easy, though the words were only similar where both borrowed relatively recently from Latin or maybe some other language.
     
    It's like Japanese and Korean - completely different vocabulary yet very similar grammar, suggesting a link between the languages.

    Also I really like how I am able to say things in Japanese with perfect pronunciation without a hint of an accent (I've actually recorded vocaroos and posted them in japanese threads on 4chan and they said they can't tell I'm a gaijin). Somehow even though Bulgarian and Japanese obviously have nothing in common, the sounds are the same.
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  80. @The Kulak
    Anatoly, just as Russia conquering east of the Dnieper Ukraine isn’t worth the effort unless gravely provoked beyond all limits or the total collapse many predicted in 2014-15 occurs, it hasn’t paid for the US to attack Kheimmim since 2015. Not just because Russia is a nuclear power or enjoys escalation dominance in the Baltics and as far west as likely Odessa and Chisinau, but also because US power rests on notions of military supremacy and casualty aversion to a greater degree than Russian or Chinese power. Though obviously Putin has taken many measures to limit active duty Russian casualties with his cautious approach having learned some lessons from Afghanistan and the Chechen Wars.

    I see the Syria game the same way for the US. Even assuming no nukes get used do you really see POTUS Trump politically surviving the destruction of a Kheimmim followed by the sinking of an AEGIS ship in the eastern Med and the incineration by Caspian and Black Sea launched Kalibrs of several FOBs east of the Euphrates with hundreds of dead Americans within hours? I don’t because the same Democrats who’d been accusing Trump of being ROG’s puppet would be demanding his impeachment and many Republicans of his base would be asking why it was worth it despite Fox News telling us its time to nuke Moscow (with no thoughts given to Lt Col Ralph Peters face melting after a Topol MIRV air burst 10,000 feet over Manhattan).

    No the thing the ‘USA slaughtered hundreds of Wagner mercs rah rah’ crowd should worry about isn’t Russian retaliation but IRGC/Hezbollah operatives who speak a little Kurdish slipping into towns where our troops are with IEDs or thermobaric RPGs. Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria has all but said eventually the Iraq insurgency playbook will be dusted off to push out the Americans after Ghouta and Idlib are dealt with by Damascus.

    Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria…

    Muh Magnier. You guys are a broken record.

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving. The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year.
     
    Anyone remotely decent would back Hezbollah over Israel in a heartbeat.

    Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving.
     
    This seems a pretty rash assumption, given the fact that the US position there is precarious and isolated, and reliant in the adjacent Arab areas upon the continued forbearance of the ex-ISIS and other jihadis they have been using.

    The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.
     
    Not being able to openly confront the forces of a superpower is a sign of being "weak and pathetic", in your fantasy world? Well that's right where Israel is.
    , @The Kulak
    "Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving." I wouldn't be as sure the U.S. can sustain a forever occupation of eastern Syria as you or the conventional wisdom. And if Hezbollah weren't a formidable force or the Israelis didn't fear heavy casualties, one wonders why Israel didn't take advantage of the Syria War when they were heavily engaged and attack their southern Lebanon redoubt to clean them out. A great deal of it depends on logistics through Iraq and Turkey, both states for their own reasons which could get tired of sustaining the U.S. presence leaving only the Jordanian border and highway through al-Tanf if Damascus is determined not to trade with the SDF held areas (unlikely for now, because it needs the oil and gas the Americans have grabbed and have made clear they'll vigorously defend despite the illegality of their occupation).

    The Turks are a different story than the U.S., because they have a larger manpower pool of cannon fodder from among the unemployed Syrian refugees from rural Sunni areas and can presumably have their Janissaries take the brunt of any Kurdish insurgency, plus they've been facing IEDs as a threat since the 1990s on their own soil. But the Feb. 7-8 'battle' for an oil field the Russian PMCs present probably didn't even know had an American presence that their Syrian hosts had assured them the Kurds were handing over doesn't actually count as glorious American victory over the legions of Moskal Mordor. Or make the Euphrates some sort of force field of protection against Hezbollah or pro-Assad tribes coming in and planting roadside bombs for U.S. special forces. The Pentagon's fear of tit for tat has probably exerted some restraint in that regard on the more bloodthirsty kill Russians (ala former Deputy Director Mike Morrell) send MANPADs to ISIS and Al-Qaeda globalist traitor elements in CIA. Because DoD knows if too many Russian choppers go down in Syria that heightens the risk Blackhawks start getting shot down and not just running into power lines at night.

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  81. @Greasy William

    Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria...
     
    Muh Magnier. You guys are a broken record.

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn't leaving. The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year.

    Anyone remotely decent would back Hezbollah over Israel in a heartbeat.

    Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving.

    This seems a pretty rash assumption, given the fact that the US position there is precarious and isolated, and reliant in the adjacent Arab areas upon the continued forbearance of the ex-ISIS and other jihadis they have been using.

    The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.

    Not being able to openly confront the forces of a superpower is a sign of being “weak and pathetic”, in your fantasy world? Well that’s right where Israel is.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    give me a time frame of when Assad regains the Kurdish regions. 1 year? 2 years? 5?
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  82. @Randal

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year.
     
    Anyone remotely decent would back Hezbollah over Israel in a heartbeat.

    Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving.
     
    This seems a pretty rash assumption, given the fact that the US position there is precarious and isolated, and reliant in the adjacent Arab areas upon the continued forbearance of the ex-ISIS and other jihadis they have been using.

    The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.
     
    Not being able to openly confront the forces of a superpower is a sign of being "weak and pathetic", in your fantasy world? Well that's right where Israel is.

    give me a time frame of when Assad regains the Kurdish regions. 1 year? 2 years? 5?

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    • Replies: @Randal
    Can't give a timeframe easily, because it's a complex situation that's in flux at the moment. The unknowns affecting the situation are numerous and crucial.

    For a start: After Afrin, will Turkey confront Assad in Idlib or the US over Manbij and points east? Or both? How much effort will Russia and Iran be willing to put in to force the US out? Will the Israel lobby and the Iranophobes be able to swing direct US attacks on government forces? How far will Israel go in doubling down on its backing of the headchoppers in the south? What are the government's plans once the cleanup in East Ghouta is done?

    Of those, the most immediately crucial imo is probably the question of where Turkey will go.
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  83. @reiner Tor
    As usual, Hungarian is the loneliest language. I seriously don’t know how it feels to have a language similar enough that I could, in many cases, understand simple sentences without having to learn the language. Or even to have regional dialects different enough to have trouble understanding it.

    I think the map implies a bit closer connection to Estonian than is actually the case. We have a number of simple words (like the word for house) of Finno-Ugric origin, but they differ enormously, so you cannot readily notice them. But you can more easily recognize some words of Slavic origin. So I think it probably feels like we are closer to Slavic languages than to Finno-Ugric languages. But it really doesn’t feel close to either.

    Though I know a Hungarian woman who learned Finnish in a few years when she was already in middle age. She said the grammar and pronunciation both felt very easy, though the words were only similar where both borrowed relatively recently from Latin or maybe some other language.

    I seriously don’t know how it feels to have a language similar enough that I could, in many cases, understand simple sentences without having to learn the language

    It’s pretty awesome – for example I like understanding Serbian songs from the Yugo wars (like Remove Kebab, etc) and being able to sing them without effort.

    Though I know a Hungarian woman who learned Finnish in a few years when she was already in middle age. She said the grammar and pronunciation both felt very easy, though the words were only similar where both borrowed relatively recently from Latin or maybe some other language.

    It’s like Japanese and Korean – completely different vocabulary yet very similar grammar, suggesting a link between the languages.

    Also I really like how I am able to say things in Japanese with perfect pronunciation without a hint of an accent (I’ve actually recorded vocaroos and posted them in japanese threads on 4chan and they said they can’t tell I’m a gaijin). Somehow even though Bulgarian and Japanese obviously have nothing in common, the sounds are the same.

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  84. @dmitriev
    Anatoly... honestly, you are one of the oddest combinations of cold, hard rationalism and utterly deranged wishful thinking that I've ever seen.

    When you talk about raising the level of support for incorporation into Russia in Dnepropetrovsk oblast to 50%-60% - I have to ask, are you out of your effing mind? Are you even considering how forcibly incorporating (i.e. through bloodshed) places where the "level of enthusiasm" has to then be raised up to a "mind-blowing" 50-60% would affect the morale of the Russian population? It would be disastrous. This process and the inevitable multitude of cacklostani provocations would demoralize the Russian population, especially since all of this would be happening in conditions of major sanctions and a serious economic downturn (worse than what has actually happened thus far).

    I would also note that 41% of the Crimean population supporting the idea that "Ukraine and Russia must unite into a single state" is NOT the same as the percentage supporting the incorporation of Crimea into Russia. These are two different things. There are plenty of Crimeans who support the incorporation of Crimea into Russia but not the unification of Russia and Ukraine into a single state - because they know from miserable experience what a headache that would be for Russia. Therefore, your entire example of "40% to 90% support quickly" is bunk and you can't just willy-nilly claim that it would apply to places like Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, etc.

    The truth, as I and others have told you, is that you haven't done your homework on Ukraine and public opinion there. You're basically ignoring actual public opinion on the ground and engaging in wishful thinking about it instead. You can't do that when it comes to things this serious.

    Keep in mind that I support military action against Ukraine, i.e. the open use of the Russian military. However, not for the purpose of incorporating half of Ukraine into Russia but rather to push the cacklostanis away from Donetsk and Lugansk, so as to liberate ethnic Russian settlements and make the core LDNR territory somewhat more livable for the population (though it would continue to be a hellhole for the foreseeable future unless Russia made it a national project to improve it).

    Anatoly… honestly, you are one of the oddest combinations of cold, hard rationalism and utterly deranged wishful thinking that I’ve ever seen.

    A bit harsh, but insofar as there is a valid criticism of Anatoly’s enthusiasm, isn’t this exactly characteristic of youth? (Not that I’m saying we oldies can never be guilty of a bit of utterly deranged wishful thinking now and again – there’s no fool like an old fool as they say).

    Anatoly is a someone for whose work I have huge respect, and clearly both highly intelligent and a very capable analyst. But though young people hate it, and perhaps the odd genius aside, no amount of intelligence or analytical competence can really make up for the sheer lack of life experience that is the inevitable consequence of being relatively young. Age and experience tend to bring caution, judgement and an awareness of the many ways seemingly perfect theoretical ideas can go wrong in practice.

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  85. @Greasy William
    give me a time frame of when Assad regains the Kurdish regions. 1 year? 2 years? 5?

    Can’t give a timeframe easily, because it’s a complex situation that’s in flux at the moment. The unknowns affecting the situation are numerous and crucial.

    For a start: After Afrin, will Turkey confront Assad in Idlib or the US over Manbij and points east? Or both? How much effort will Russia and Iran be willing to put in to force the US out? Will the Israel lobby and the Iranophobes be able to swing direct US attacks on government forces? How far will Israel go in doubling down on its backing of the headchoppers in the south? What are the government’s plans once the cleanup in East Ghouta is done?

    Of those, the most immediately crucial imo is probably the question of where Turkey will go.

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  86. @reiner Tor
    I agree. I also don’t think Ukraine is that important for Russia. Nor do I think it will ever be a part of Russia. The triune nation is a fantasy. It might have had a chance a hundred years ago (I have my doubts), or two hundred years ago (possible), but not any longer. I don’t even think incorporating Belarus is possible.

    The triune nation is a fantasy. It might have had a chance a hundred years ago (I have my doubts), or two hundred years ago (possible), but not any longer. I don’t even think incorporating Belarus is possible.

    I think these things depend on longish term economic and political trends. If Russia can stay far enough ahead of those countries for long enough, and the pull of the EU and US sphere generally can be ameliorated, then a few decades would see a very different picture. Remember it’s only a couple of decades since Russia was a complete basket case.

    I don’t see the current US sphere dominance lasting that long (maybe that’s wishful thinking, of course), and as with Taiwan probably dropping into China’s hands more or less voluntarily I suspect the same might happen with Belarus and parts at least of Ukraine in a couple of decades.

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  87. @Greasy William
    so are you saying that the same thing is going to happen with Belarus? Wouldn't the Kremlin be ready this time? And isn't a separate Belorussian identity essentially non existent?

    Belarus approximately resembles Donbass in terms of “Russophile” sentiment.

    But will it last? Probably not beyond a couple of decades, considering that Belorussian nationalists are allowed a lot of influence over the culture while Russophile activists are repressed.

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  88. Without question the Ukraine was almost certainly never going to disintegrate. I have heard things such as: “Just wait until winter, and coal from the DNR/LNR and gas from Russia are cut off! The whole country will cease to exist!”. In the real world the DNR/LNR sold coal and Russia never cut off gas supplies other than for short periods due to quibbling over the price. In addition Ukraine had no trouble importing coal and gas from other countries.

    Certainly Russia missed a once in a century chance to unite and help Russians living in Ukraine by bumbling the response to the coup carried out in Kiev. The goal of intervention could have been restoration of power to the democratically elected government or a splitting of the country into two or more parts that would go their separate ways. If decisive measures had been taken from the outset, than things would been much better than the current mess that exists. People love to back a strong horse. If Russia had acted as one she would be viewed much more favorably among the population of the Ukraine.

    What Ukrainian “nationalists” brought to the population of the Ukraine was the most depressing and servile aping of the US/EU complete with support for various sexual perversions and multiculturalism. It is indeed hard to think of a group of people with less self-respect than Ukrainian “nationalists” as manifested by the current regime in power in Kiev. It is no surprise that those in awe of the US/EU in Russia have a very favorable attitude to such Ukrainian “nationalists”.

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  89. @Anatoly Karlin

    It’s a grave mistake to assume that Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are similair at their core because both speak Russian or something.
     
    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.

    You’re rather selective in choosing comments (and statistical data) to comment on? Why no response to my comment #27 where I use data that you yourself have posted?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Where I’m from, the majority’s opinion always counts for more.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pARFcJQclCc
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  90. @Polish Perspective
    On the subject of whether Ukrainian is closer to Polish or Russian, the answer is: it depends what you measure. Genetically speaking (in a linguistic sense), it is closer to Russian. However, due to centuries of close contact between Poles and Ukrainians, there has been a large amount of linguistic intermingling between our peoples.


    This can be seen in lexical distance maps, such as the one below.

    https://i.imgur.com/ppmwsw4.jpg

    Ukrainian is close to both Russian and Polish but it is slightly closer to Polish in terms of pure lexical distance. In practice, it is very easy for a native Ukrainian speaker to pick up either Polish or Russian and you could say they are the mid-point between Poles and Russians. Closer genetically (linguistically) to Russian but somewhat closer to Polish in lexical distance.

    It’s interesting to note that in the earliest ethno-genesis of both the Polish and Ukrainian nations, the preeminent Slavic tribes of both nations were called ‘Polianins’. No historian that I know of has yet come out and stated that this was the exact same tribe, but I wonder? A coincidence in names, so close to one another? Also, AP, our resident geneticist, has more than on one occasion pointed out that genetically Ukrainians are closer to Poles than to Russians. At least when comparing Ukrainians to Russians in the north close to Moscow.

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    • Replies: @Singh
    Pole/Ukraine get along better with North Indian (Panjabi) & Rus better with South/Central. This I have noticed & remember only 1 south trad called Dravidas so it's not that।।
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  91. @AK

    Your take is basically right about Putin’s incompetence and missed opportunity in Ukraine, but is too pessimistic on the DLNR (incidentally, why do you consistently use the acronym LDNR, when D/Д comes before L/Л?).

    It’s highly unlikely that Ukraine would be able to retake the rebel territories in a week. Just retaking Debaltseve would probably take several days. Last year, the Ukrainian military leadership publicly estimated that complete reconquest would take at least a month and thousands of casualties. And I’ll need better evidence for low NAF morale than some guy’s anecdotal impression from two years ago.

    Also, even without Russia legally recognizing the DLNR’s independent status (and it seems like Putin or his successor has to face reality and give up on Minsk at some point), thanks to the fact that annual Russian subsidies probably equal at least 15-20% of the DLNR’s GDP (vs. about 4% for Western subsidies of Ukraine), I think it’s plausible that the DLNR will continue to enjoy double-digit wage growth for years, and overtake the average Ukrainian wage by the early 2020s. Continued economic recovery will inevitably raise the DLNR’s birth rate as well.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    It’s highly unlikely that Ukraine would be able to retake the rebel territories in a week. Just retaking Debaltseve would probably take several days. Last year, the Ukrainian military leadership publicly estimated that complete reconquest would take at least a month and thousands of casualties. And I’ll need better evidence for low NAF morale than some guy’s anecdotal impression from two years ago.
     
    A week or three months does not matter, really. It all hinges on the help/involvement of RF.

    That can go from full overt involvement to pulling it out.

    The all command and control structure of separatist defense is totally controlled by Kremlin.
    Just one order from Kremlin and all defense will dissolve in 24 hours. With consequent collapse of morale there.

    Implausible?
    Perhaps.

    But it's all about one thing only, really: Kremlin politics and power play. Multidimensional chess. Pawns are sometimes sacrificed in that game. For the ultimate victory, of course.
    Or, sometimes simply to prolong the game.

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  92. @Polish Perspective

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.
     

    Balkanoids are savage swine
     

    quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash
     

    Let’s hope Trump sparks a global trade war
     

    Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities

     

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you're not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

     

    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones? Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?

    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden's national day. I don't see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you’re not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.

    You appear to value “reasonable” and “measured” discourse which I think is extremely boring, though there is a time and a place for it. The comments on this blog are not that time and place for me.

    Incidentally I do appreciate your comments. I like that Karlin’s blog has a number of European commenters, including Eastern Europeans. Most of the Anglophone alt-right space on the internet is, for obvious reasons, dominated by americans.

    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones?

    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take. Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.

    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as “Canadians”.

    There is also the trolling benefit–telling people this and that country does not not deserve to exist provokes angry responses.

    A word on trolling owing to your reasonable disposition–when I say that I troll I do mean that I am being disingenuous. One can troll with one’s actual positions. Indeed the whole alt right seems to be based upon this, or at least the Twitter branch of it.

    As an example unrelated to this topic I’ve found genuinely praising the big banks as offering excellent products and services that I am delighted with makes people completely unhinged.

    Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?

    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to “globalization” and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.

    A larger state can compete more effectively in the global arena. What is the minimum state size necessary to compete in a space race for instance?

    Fundamentally, would an impartial observer rather be a Ukrainian or a Russian? A Canadian or an American?

    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden’s national day. I don’t see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.

    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.

    To take the example of Norway, imagine if Norwegian energy were combined with Swedish industry (and had been so right from the beginning). For that matter things might have been quite different for Norway in 1940.

    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.

    Of course I realize that now the European Union exists, so this is somewhat quaint. Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can’t say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as “Canadians”.

    That large moose in front of you isn't going to evaporate into mist just because you shake your fist, take swigs of Stoly and howl at the moon.
    , @Polish Perspective

    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take.
     
    I don't think that has ever been my position, nor, frankly, do I think it is the position of most people who disagree with a crude might makes right approach that you seem to favour.

    Greg Johnson has proclaimed that "we need a thousand Luxembourgs in Europe", which I assume is a position he arrived at by looking at old HRE maps for hours on end. I certainly don't agree with such a position either.

    Ultimately, all nations have to "earn" their right to independence. My own nation's state disappeared for over a century and we were subject to various attempts at ethnocide, some soft, others less so. We persevered and re-established our state. The Irish survived 800 years of colonialism. The Kurds have been without a state for millennia, yet they keep insisting on being a coherent nation. The background story of Israel should be known to all.

    Therefore, I think it is a false presupposition to claim that everyone who disagrees with your imperialistic viewpoint is inherently thinking that everyone 'deserves' a state. That is a caricature. A nation, and a people, still need to fight for their own cause and be prepared for a very long march to freedom, if need be.


    Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.
     
    Taken to its logical conclusion, you would also have to approve of slavery by 'superior races'. As it happens, many of the anti-slavery campaigners, such as JS Mill, were frank in their belief that they thought races differed. In other words, they rejected the blank slate hypothesis yet nevertheless believed there should be a baseline of civilisational standards, even for those less capable on the aggregate.

    Even a concept such as the rule of law presupposes equality (however imperfectly) between peoples, with the classic example being that of a rich landlord vs a poor commoner. Putting aside the practical implications of this principle - we all know it is violated on a daily basis - the question that must be asked is if the ideal is worth striving for in the first place. I believe it is. Yet if you accept the premise, you must, at some level, relinquish the concept of "complete rejection of equality".


    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to “globalization” and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.
     
    True, but there has been fragmentation since then. Look around you. Globalist is a bigger slur than localist. Despite the intense wishes of EU elites, the bigger centrifugal force today is that of secession. Catalunya, Scotland, Lombardy, Flanders. As AK's own (pessimistic) post underlines, the chances of a Triune Russian Nation is receding into the distant horizon with each passing year.

    Furthermore, a lot of those states were built on colonial conquest. What was decolonisation if not the supremacy of the fragmentation of larger empires into smaller entities, which you seem to favour. Even the colonial offshoots have fragmented further, first into India and Pakistan and later Pakistan and Bangladesh, to take a South Asian perspective. Sudan recently split into two.

    It could just be that the historical process that you described has already reached an inflection point and is re-orienting itself towards greater fragmentation. Certainly the last 100 years would attest to that, and I don't see any stopping yet. The EU remains a paper federalist project and Macron is already stymied by Northern European countries. Yet it was us, in the CEE region, which were supposed to be the biggest enemies of federalism. More importantly, even in Germany, the polls I've seen has shown lukewarm to outright weak support for a federal structure. All of which underlines my point that your historical analogy, while valid up to about a hundred years ago, has gone into reverse and the process of atomisation has accelerated.


    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.
     
    Ending feminism as Nords? You're certainly a talented comedian :)

    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.
     
    That would be a decision taken by them, not outsiders. Though you are free to whine about their choices displeasing you. I'm sure they care a great deal.

    Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can’t say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).
     

    Alas! We can finally agree on something.
    , @Singh
    Better to be an elite in a small state than middle class in a large।।

    Offense drives Centralization & vice versa।।

    Pursuit of pussy drives most things..
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  93. @Anatoly Karlin

    It’s a grave mistake to assume that Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are similair at their core because both speak Russian or something.
     
    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.

    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.

    Closer ties to Russia and autonomy? Of course, but that’s not the same as joining Russia. We’re also talking about the most pro-Russian regions with the highest shares of ethnic Russians in the former Ukraine (outside of Crimea). 39% and 38% ethnic Russians in Lugansk and Donetsk oblast respectively. Still not a majority, which makes the regions very wishy-washy and difficult to work with for both (!) Russia and Ukraine. If there’s one thing that can finally tear Donetsk and Lugansk away from Ukraine, it’s the war that is being waged on them by Kiev.

    Crimea was the only rock solid region in Ukraine that Russia could count on because it had an actual Russian majority that in turn also had an assimilating effect on the local Ukrainian minority.

    I’m saying this as an ethnic Russian who grew up in Kharkov and has no fondness or respect for Ukraine, but you seem to have a lack of understanding about the actual ethnic dynamics in Ukraine and how much they matter.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Interesting paper on genetics:

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Olga_Utevska/publication/280735749_Gene_pool_similarities_and_differences_between_Ukrainians_and_Russians_of_Slobozhanshchina_based_on_Y-chromosome_data/links/55cf244508aee19936fc8d33/Gene-pool-similarities-and-differences-between-Ukrainians-and-Russians-of-Slobozhanshchina-based-on-Y-chromosome-data.pdf

    Even within Eastern Ukraine, there are small genetic differences between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians. A Ukrainian from Kharkiv or Kursk is more like a Ukrainian from Kiev than like his Russian neighbor.

    , @Mikhail
    Practical realities influence the mood in these areas. In 2009, a much referenced Ukrainian based poll had Putin winning the Ukrainian presidency against all of the actual candidates, as well as any other world leader. At the time, the same was true of Moldova.

    How Russia and the West respectively behave can greatly influence things, with the ultimate decision being among the overall population in the former Ukrainian SSR, which varies and fluctuates. The ball game is far from over. Note what Obama said about the West and Russia relative to Ukraine. Specifically, the advantages which Russia has.

    Caution about the ethnic Russian/ethnic Ukrainian dynamic. Much of the rebel held Donbass officials are, or can qualify as ethnic Ukrainian. There're also some folks who're ethnic Russian, or part ethnic Russian who take to the Kiev regime's line.

    I know an ethnic Ukrainian from Kharkov, whose views are pretty much in line with my own. Likewise, with some ethnic Ukrainians from Donbass, who despise the general Western coverage of the former Ukrainian SSR dispute. I know of other former Ukrainian SSR born folks of Jewish and any mix of Russian and/or Ukrainian backgrounds who're in general agreement with me.

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  94. @Thorfinnsson
    The Maidan presented Russia with a golden opportunity to reunite the East Slavs and extinguish the fiction that the Ukraine can exist as anything other than a part of Russia.

    Putin blinked.

    This is his greatest failure.

    As a Russian nationalist, I remain unwaveringly committed to the idea of the triune Russian nation, just like Ivan Ilyin and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. There will come a day when the dismemberment of the Russian nation will be but a bad memory in the Russian historical consciousness. This will almost certainly not happen under the current occupants of the Kremlin. But happen it will, or Russia will cease to exist as a civilizational entity.
     

    Don't be so sure.

    The longer this persists, the more normal it will seem.

    Take Austria for instance. After the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, the country's official name was German Austria. The only reason anschluss did not happen then is that it was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. Even an attempted customs union with Germany in 1931 was stopped by France. Kurt Schuschnigg's argument against anschluss was that he considered Austrians to be superior Germans.

    After the war anschluss was part of far right politics in both Germany and Austria, but when Joerg Haider took over the Austrian Freedom Party he flew the Austrian flag for the first time. The anschluss program was quietly dropped.

    As a result the dream of 1848 may be dead forever. Germany remains divided, and no one even notices how strange it is that Austria is independent at all.

    Moving outside of Europe, look at North America. We speak of the original thirteen colonies, but there were in fact twenty-six British colonies in North America which underwent ethnogenesis during the French and Indian Wars. Americans tried to invade Canada twice, but failed both times.

    The loyalists expelled from America resettled largely in Canada and developed an anti-American national identity which still forms the basis of Canada's farcical existence today. Americans are aware that Canada is not a real country, but people are always surprise when I note that Canada does not deserve to exist and must be annexed by America.

    And the Caribbean colonies of Britain are lost to American civilization entirely thanks to the poisonous legacy of abolitionism and equal rights.

    So unless the far right comes to power in Russia within the next decade or two the Ukraine is likely lost forever.

    Weapons sales have been approved to the Ukraine, including Javelins.
     The javelin is obsolete for its intended role. This looks more like corruption to me since the Ukraine already produces guided anti-tank missiles.

    And the "lethal aid" provided to the Ukraine consisted of .50 caliber rifles--another item the Ukraine can easily produce if it does not already.

    Good point. Sounds like what the Madison & Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers. If you let Humpty Dumpty break, good luck putting it back together again.

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  95. @Thorfinnsson

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you’re not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.
     

    You appear to value "reasonable" and "measured" discourse which I think is extremely boring, though there is a time and a place for it. The comments on this blog are not that time and place for me.

    Incidentally I do appreciate your comments. I like that Karlin's blog has a number of European commenters, including Eastern Europeans. Most of the Anglophone alt-right space on the internet is, for obvious reasons, dominated by americans.


    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones?
     
    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take. Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.

    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as "Canadians".

    There is also the trolling benefit--telling people this and that country does not not deserve to exist provokes angry responses.

    A word on trolling owing to your reasonable disposition--when I say that I troll I do mean that I am being disingenuous. One can troll with one's actual positions. Indeed the whole alt right seems to be based upon this, or at least the Twitter branch of it.

    As an example unrelated to this topic I've found genuinely praising the big banks as offering excellent products and services that I am delighted with makes people completely unhinged.


    Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?
     
    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to "globalization" and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.

    A larger state can compete more effectively in the global arena. What is the minimum state size necessary to compete in a space race for instance?

    Fundamentally, would an impartial observer rather be a Ukrainian or a Russian? A Canadian or an American?


    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden’s national day. I don’t see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.
     
    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.

    To take the example of Norway, imagine if Norwegian energy were combined with Swedish industry (and had been so right from the beginning). For that matter things might have been quite different for Norway in 1940.

    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.

    Of course I realize that now the European Union exists, so this is somewhat quaint. Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can't say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).

    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as “Canadians”.

    That large moose in front of you isn’t going to evaporate into mist just because you shake your fist, take swigs of Stoly and howl at the moon.

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  96. @Jon0815
    @AK

    Your take is basically right about Putin's incompetence and missed opportunity in Ukraine, but is too pessimistic on the DLNR (incidentally, why do you consistently use the acronym LDNR, when D/Д comes before L/Л?).

    It's highly unlikely that Ukraine would be able to retake the rebel territories in a week. Just retaking Debaltseve would probably take several days. Last year, the Ukrainian military leadership publicly estimated that complete reconquest would take at least a month and thousands of casualties. And I'll need better evidence for low NAF morale than some guy's anecdotal impression from two years ago.

    Also, even without Russia legally recognizing the DLNR's independent status (and it seems like Putin or his successor has to face reality and give up on Minsk at some point), thanks to the fact that annual Russian subsidies probably equal at least 15-20% of the DLNR's GDP (vs. about 4% for Western subsidies of Ukraine), I think it's plausible that the DLNR will continue to enjoy double-digit wage growth for years, and overtake the average Ukrainian wage by the early 2020s. Continued economic recovery will inevitably raise the DLNR's birth rate as well.

    It’s highly unlikely that Ukraine would be able to retake the rebel territories in a week. Just retaking Debaltseve would probably take several days. Last year, the Ukrainian military leadership publicly estimated that complete reconquest would take at least a month and thousands of casualties. And I’ll need better evidence for low NAF morale than some guy’s anecdotal impression from two years ago.

    A week or three months does not matter, really. It all hinges on the help/involvement of RF.

    That can go from full overt involvement to pulling it out.

    The all command and control structure of separatist defense is totally controlled by Kremlin.
    Just one order from Kremlin and all defense will dissolve in 24 hours. With consequent collapse of morale there.

    Implausible?
    Perhaps.

    But it’s all about one thing only, really: Kremlin politics and power play. Multidimensional chess. Pawns are sometimes sacrificed in that game. For the ultimate victory, of course.
    Or, sometimes simply to prolong the game.

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  97. Russian SAM’s can shoot down any NATO aircraft that flies. Put enough of them in competent hands in Syria and the US, Turkey, Israel, et.al become impotent without troops on the ground.

    FWIW, this is the future of all warfare – back to the ground,with robots

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Russian SAM’s can shoot down any NATO aircraft that flies. Put enough of them in competent hands in Syria and the US, Turkey, Israel, et.al become impotent without troops on the ground.
     
    But any air defence system can be swamped, and the US with its regional and European cronies can certainly put enough missiles, drones and aircraft into the skies over Syria to swamp any realistic air defence system Russia could build there, unless Russia is targeting the bases and ships they come from, which would mean a serious escalation.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    I'm quite skeptical of this. A transonic aircraft maneuvering at 9g can defeat a mach 4 missile maneuvering at 30 g.

    And this isn't even considering countermeasures, engagement envelopes, SEAD/DEAD, etc.

    If the Russians themselves agreed with you they would not have developed the Su-57.

    However Russian SAMs can keep aircraft lacking high performance far away from the battlefield, while inflicting additional attrition on high performance aircraft on the battlefield.

    There's also the question of just how many SAMs they have.
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  98. @A.A.

    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.
     
    Closer ties to Russia and autonomy? Of course, but that's not the same as joining Russia. We're also talking about the most pro-Russian regions with the highest shares of ethnic Russians in the former Ukraine (outside of Crimea). 39% and 38% ethnic Russians in Lugansk and Donetsk oblast respectively. Still not a majority, which makes the regions very wishy-washy and difficult to work with for both (!) Russia and Ukraine. If there's one thing that can finally tear Donetsk and Lugansk away from Ukraine, it's the war that is being waged on them by Kiev.

    Crimea was the only rock solid region in Ukraine that Russia could count on because it had an actual Russian majority that in turn also had an assimilating effect on the local Ukrainian minority.

    I'm saying this as an ethnic Russian who grew up in Kharkov and has no fondness or respect for Ukraine, but you seem to have a lack of understanding about the actual ethnic dynamics in Ukraine and how much they matter.

    Interesting paper on genetics:

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Olga_Utevska/publication/280735749_Gene_pool_similarities_and_differences_between_Ukrainians_and_Russians_of_Slobozhanshchina_based_on_Y-chromosome_data/links/55cf244508aee19936fc8d33/Gene-pool-similarities-and-differences-between-Ukrainians-and-Russians-of-Slobozhanshchina-based-on-Y-chromosome-data.pdf

    Even within Eastern Ukraine, there are small genetic differences between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians. A Ukrainian from Kharkiv or Kursk is more like a Ukrainian from Kiev than like his Russian neighbor.

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  99. @Thorfinnsson

    You are absolutely correct that the trend over the last 100 years has been towards partitions and break-up rather than towards unification. After all, Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British India, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia all broke up into various independent countries over the last 100 years.
     
    One can't speak of Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman national identities. My position is that for civilized races the optimal form of political organization is the nation-state, and said nation-state should be at the largest practical level of cultural integration. Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine.

    A united Anglo-Saxon state might be practical (and one way we can keep competing with China throughout the century), though reconciling American republicanism with British monarchism seems impossible. That is unless the God-Emperor crowns himself.

    That said in light of the fact that Balkanoids are savage swine I'd be favorably inclined to just hand the Austrians the unenviable task of governing the fractious, quarrelsome trans-Danubian trash forever. Greece gets an exemption owing to its history.

    Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were not real countries, but they had the possibility of developing into real countries. This was well under way in Yugoslavia to my knowledge.

    Would it be feasible for all the West Slavs to unite into a single state? Perhaps one of the Polish commenter can answer this question.

    "Globalization" and nuclear peace have reduced the returns to war and thus the need for large states, hence the disintegrative trend since 1942.

    Let's hope Trump sparks a global trade war and ends this trend of political disintegration.

    True, there is the E.U., but it is filled with a lot of divisions (for instance, about accepting Muslim refugees). Indeed, generally speaking, regional integration projects have only achieved limited success over the last several decades.
     

    The European Union was an integrative success, but the Euros fucked it all up. First the idiotic creation of the Eurozone (which was correctly criticized by American economists before it launched), and now Merkel's blunder. Europe's elites further appear extremely determined to learn nothing from this.

    To this one can add the the Euros repeated the Hapsburg blunder of expanding into the Balkans. Romanians, Bulgarians and other criminal ethnicities have no business whatsoever in Europe.

    The EU has more divisions than simply immigration. There's considerable division on economics. The EU is working out just fine for the Germanic countries (and Finland), so they want no change. France and Italy want a Eurozone bonds and a weaker Euro.

    They're also divided on how to deal with BREXIT. The Germans want to treat the UK harshly, but Macron does not. Doesn't help that the British government itself does not even appear to have a program, which is not surprising when your Prime Minister is a childless cat lady.

    Europe is an absolute joke. Trump and Putin should revive the spirit of wartime cooperation and liquidate the Eurotrash once and for all.

    Who let you out of your cuckbox, Swede?

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Trump.

    We're not in Sweden anymore.
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  100. @A.A.

    Just like Crimeans, Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts also had referendums (well, a poll disguised as one) in the 1990s in which they overwhelmingly voted in favor of autonomy and close ties to Russia.
     
    Closer ties to Russia and autonomy? Of course, but that's not the same as joining Russia. We're also talking about the most pro-Russian regions with the highest shares of ethnic Russians in the former Ukraine (outside of Crimea). 39% and 38% ethnic Russians in Lugansk and Donetsk oblast respectively. Still not a majority, which makes the regions very wishy-washy and difficult to work with for both (!) Russia and Ukraine. If there's one thing that can finally tear Donetsk and Lugansk away from Ukraine, it's the war that is being waged on them by Kiev.

    Crimea was the only rock solid region in Ukraine that Russia could count on because it had an actual Russian majority that in turn also had an assimilating effect on the local Ukrainian minority.

    I'm saying this as an ethnic Russian who grew up in Kharkov and has no fondness or respect for Ukraine, but you seem to have a lack of understanding about the actual ethnic dynamics in Ukraine and how much they matter.

    Practical realities influence the mood in these areas. In 2009, a much referenced Ukrainian based poll had Putin winning the Ukrainian presidency against all of the actual candidates, as well as any other world leader. At the time, the same was true of Moldova.

    How Russia and the West respectively behave can greatly influence things, with the ultimate decision being among the overall population in the former Ukrainian SSR, which varies and fluctuates. The ball game is far from over. Note what Obama said about the West and Russia relative to Ukraine. Specifically, the advantages which Russia has.

    Caution about the ethnic Russian/ethnic Ukrainian dynamic. Much of the rebel held Donbass officials are, or can qualify as ethnic Ukrainian. There’re also some folks who’re ethnic Russian, or part ethnic Russian who take to the Kiev regime’s line.

    I know an ethnic Ukrainian from Kharkov, whose views are pretty much in line with my own. Likewise, with some ethnic Ukrainians from Donbass, who despise the general Western coverage of the former Ukrainian SSR dispute. I know of other former Ukrainian SSR born folks of Jewish and any mix of Russian and/or Ukrainian backgrounds who’re in general agreement with me.

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    • Replies: @A.A.

    Caution about the ethnic Russian/ethnic Ukrainian dynamic. Much of the rebel held Donbass officials are, or can qualify as ethnic Ukrainian.
     
    Of course, ethnic Ukrainians in the regions with the most ethnic Russians are also the most Russified ones. That's how it generally works. The same is true with ethnic Russians in Ukrainian regions. I have close relatives in Central Ukraine and it's not a pretty sight. Ethnic Russian who are larping as dedicated Ukrainian nationalists. To be fair they were already this way years before Maidan & Crimea ever happened.
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  101. @The Scalpel
    Russian SAM's can shoot down any NATO aircraft that flies. Put enough of them in competent hands in Syria and the US, Turkey, Israel, et.al become impotent without troops on the ground.

    FWIW, this is the future of all warfare - back to the ground,with robots

    Russian SAM’s can shoot down any NATO aircraft that flies. Put enough of them in competent hands in Syria and the US, Turkey, Israel, et.al become impotent without troops on the ground.

    But any air defence system can be swamped, and the US with its regional and European cronies can certainly put enough missiles, drones and aircraft into the skies over Syria to swamp any realistic air defence system Russia could build there, unless Russia is targeting the bases and ships they come from, which would mean a serious escalation.

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    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    "But any air defence system can be swamped"

    Maybe for now. Wait until they build ten times as many and each of those is 10 times as fast. The day is coming
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  102. @Mikhail
    Practical realities influence the mood in these areas. In 2009, a much referenced Ukrainian based poll had Putin winning the Ukrainian presidency against all of the actual candidates, as well as any other world leader. At the time, the same was true of Moldova.

    How Russia and the West respectively behave can greatly influence things, with the ultimate decision being among the overall population in the former Ukrainian SSR, which varies and fluctuates. The ball game is far from over. Note what Obama said about the West and Russia relative to Ukraine. Specifically, the advantages which Russia has.

    Caution about the ethnic Russian/ethnic Ukrainian dynamic. Much of the rebel held Donbass officials are, or can qualify as ethnic Ukrainian. There're also some folks who're ethnic Russian, or part ethnic Russian who take to the Kiev regime's line.

    I know an ethnic Ukrainian from Kharkov, whose views are pretty much in line with my own. Likewise, with some ethnic Ukrainians from Donbass, who despise the general Western coverage of the former Ukrainian SSR dispute. I know of other former Ukrainian SSR born folks of Jewish and any mix of Russian and/or Ukrainian backgrounds who're in general agreement with me.

    Caution about the ethnic Russian/ethnic Ukrainian dynamic. Much of the rebel held Donbass officials are, or can qualify as ethnic Ukrainian.

    Of course, ethnic Ukrainians in the regions with the most ethnic Russians are also the most Russified ones. That’s how it generally works. The same is true with ethnic Russians in Ukrainian regions. I have close relatives in Central Ukraine and it’s not a pretty sight. Ethnic Russian who are larping as dedicated Ukrainian nationalists. To be fair they were already this way years before Maidan & Crimea ever happened.

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    • Replies: @AP
    I met a hardcore Ukrainian nationalist organizer from Lviv. Her grandfather was an ethnic Russian who fought at Stalingrad and earned some medals, was later stationed/settled in Lviv after the war, married a local, who married a local.
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  103. @A.A.

    Caution about the ethnic Russian/ethnic Ukrainian dynamic. Much of the rebel held Donbass officials are, or can qualify as ethnic Ukrainian.
     
    Of course, ethnic Ukrainians in the regions with the most ethnic Russians are also the most Russified ones. That's how it generally works. The same is true with ethnic Russians in Ukrainian regions. I have close relatives in Central Ukraine and it's not a pretty sight. Ethnic Russian who are larping as dedicated Ukrainian nationalists. To be fair they were already this way years before Maidan & Crimea ever happened.

    I met a hardcore Ukrainian nationalist organizer from Lviv. Her grandfather was an ethnic Russian who fought at Stalingrad and earned some medals, was later stationed/settled in Lviv after the war, married a local, who married a local.

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    • Replies: @A.A.
    Ethnicity is based on self-identification first and foremost. I know plenty Russian nationalists with Ukrainian roots and the other way around. I have a Ukrainian grandma, but I don't feel any connection to the Ukrainian nation. This is quite commonplace really.
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  104. @AP
    I met a hardcore Ukrainian nationalist organizer from Lviv. Her grandfather was an ethnic Russian who fought at Stalingrad and earned some medals, was later stationed/settled in Lviv after the war, married a local, who married a local.

    Ethnicity is based on self-identification first and foremost. I know plenty Russian nationalists with Ukrainian roots and the other way around. I have a Ukrainian grandma, but I don’t feel any connection to the Ukrainian nation. This is quite commonplace really.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Sort of like the Scots on Britain. Some are hardcore pro-UK, with others taking the opposite route. Keeping in mind that Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English.
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  105. @A.A.
    Ethnicity is based on self-identification first and foremost. I know plenty Russian nationalists with Ukrainian roots and the other way around. I have a Ukrainian grandma, but I don't feel any connection to the Ukrainian nation. This is quite commonplace really.

    Sort of like the Scots on Britain. Some are hardcore pro-UK, with others taking the opposite route. Keeping in mind that Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English
     
    This is obviously not true. All Scots speak English.
    , @LondonBob
    Lowland Scots have never had Gaelic as their native language, they spoke a dialect of English. Lowland Scots are also seen as a Germanic people, sharing common ancestry with northern English.

    Anyway I see Ukraine as comparable to Ireland. Russia has carved out their six counties with Crimea and the Donbass, the rest were always going to go their seperate way, but like the Irish they are still dependent on their old colonial master, although the EU offers the illusion of independence.

    My mother finds Norwegian a lot easier to understand, Danes just have that weird Dutchesque accent.
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  106. @Owen C.
    Would it still be safe to speak Russian in Ukraine, or would you have to learn Ukrainian proper?

    Would it still be safe to speak Russian in Ukraine, or would you have to learn Ukrainian proper?

    Spoken Ukrainian is so rare in downtown Kiev it might as well not exist, so no need to worry. This is even more true of the cities in the South and East (Odessa, Kharkov, etc.). That said, I sometimes find it useful to mix in a few Ukrainian words out of courtesy or to ease tension.

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  107. @The Scalpel
    Russian SAM's can shoot down any NATO aircraft that flies. Put enough of them in competent hands in Syria and the US, Turkey, Israel, et.al become impotent without troops on the ground.

    FWIW, this is the future of all warfare - back to the ground,with robots

    I’m quite skeptical of this. A transonic aircraft maneuvering at 9g can defeat a mach 4 missile maneuvering at 30 g.

    And this isn’t even considering countermeasures, engagement envelopes, SEAD/DEAD, etc.

    If the Russians themselves agreed with you they would not have developed the Su-57.

    However Russian SAMs can keep aircraft lacking high performance far away from the battlefield, while inflicting additional attrition on high performance aircraft on the battlefield.

    There’s also the question of just how many SAMs they have.

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    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    Every year that goes by, the SAMs get better and faster and more numerous and aircraft in the sky have nowhere to hide. One day, not too long from now shooting down aircraft will be like hunting a desert tortise with a rifle
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  108. @Pavlo
    Who let you out of your cuckbox, Swede?

    Trump.

    We’re not in Sweden anymore.

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    • Replies: @Pavlo
    Poor fellow, don't you know Sweden is always inside you?

    It's the reason you've managed to take the reasonable and wholesome practice of hating the Ukraine and make it embarrassing to be associated with.
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  109. @Greasy William

    Elijah J Magnier who is one of the best analysts of Syria...
     
    Muh Magnier. You guys are a broken record.

    Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn't leaving. The fact that even a sycophant like Magnier is admitting that Assad/Iran/Hezbollah have to use guerrilla war to get the Kurdish regions back shows just how weak and pathetic the conventional forces of those actors are.

    “Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving.” I wouldn’t be as sure the U.S. can sustain a forever occupation of eastern Syria as you or the conventional wisdom. And if Hezbollah weren’t a formidable force or the Israelis didn’t fear heavy casualties, one wonders why Israel didn’t take advantage of the Syria War when they were heavily engaged and attack their southern Lebanon redoubt to clean them out. A great deal of it depends on logistics through Iraq and Turkey, both states for their own reasons which could get tired of sustaining the U.S. presence leaving only the Jordanian border and highway through al-Tanf if Damascus is determined not to trade with the SDF held areas (unlikely for now, because it needs the oil and gas the Americans have grabbed and have made clear they’ll vigorously defend despite the illegality of their occupation).

    The Turks are a different story than the U.S., because they have a larger manpower pool of cannon fodder from among the unemployed Syrian refugees from rural Sunni areas and can presumably have their Janissaries take the brunt of any Kurdish insurgency, plus they’ve been facing IEDs as a threat since the 1990s on their own soil. But the Feb. 7-8 ‘battle’ for an oil field the Russian PMCs present probably didn’t even know had an American presence that their Syrian hosts had assured them the Kurds were handing over doesn’t actually count as glorious American victory over the legions of Moskal Mordor. Or make the Euphrates some sort of force field of protection against Hezbollah or pro-Assad tribes coming in and planting roadside bombs for U.S. special forces. The Pentagon’s fear of tit for tat has probably exerted some restraint in that regard on the more bloodthirsty kill Russians (ala former Deputy Director Mike Morrell) send MANPADs to ISIS and Al-Qaeda globalist traitor elements in CIA. Because DoD knows if too many Russian choppers go down in Syria that heightens the risk Blackhawks start getting shot down and not just running into power lines at night.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    And if Hezbollah weren’t a formidable force or the Israelis didn’t fear heavy casualties, one wonders why Israel didn’t take advantage of the Syria War when they were heavily engaged and attack their southern Lebanon redoubt to clean them out
     
    Why would Israel attack Hezbollah? Let's say Israel invades Southern Lebanon, expels the civilian population, completely eliminates Hezbollah and destroys the remainder of Lebanon from the air and does all of this while only losing 300 or so troops and without coming into open conflict with Russia. Basically the absolute best case scenario.

    Who is going to pay for the 10s of billions that operation would cost? Who is going to pay for the billions it will take to rebuild Northern Israel from the damage Hezbollah's rockets. What would Israel gain from such a war other than horrible PR and a further deterioration of international and intra-regional diplomacy?

    Contrary to the delusions of the Russophiles, Israel is quite happy with the situation of "no war, no peace". It has been Israel's ideal for as long as it has existed.
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  110. @Mikhail
    Sort of like the Scots on Britain. Some are hardcore pro-UK, with others taking the opposite route. Keeping in mind that Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English.

    Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English

    This is obviously not true. All Scots speak English.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Me no lie.

    That some Scots don't know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Relative to you reply, many Ukrainians speak Russian. This includes some pro-Euromaidan Ukrainians.

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  111. @Thorfinnsson
    Trump.

    We're not in Sweden anymore.

    Poor fellow, don’t you know Sweden is always inside you?

    It’s the reason you’ve managed to take the reasonable and wholesome practice of hating the Ukraine and make it embarrassing to be associated with.

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  112. @AP

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine
     
    Ukraine doesn't belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.

    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.

    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation. Indeed, sometimes I even forget if a person I met spoke Norwegian or Swedish. It gets trickier with Danish since their pronunciation has undergone a dramatic consonant reduction over the last half century, which means that words that are easily understood in print are hard to make sense of in speech. (With Swedish, ironically, the trend is the other way, with older generations complaining that the young pronounce words too literally.)

    The “longer history” argument is also shaky. If we are to use that metric to begin with, and I’m not sure we should, any reasonable assessment of historical “ties” would have to weight the periods by their remoteness to our own day, giving lesser weight to more distant times. Picking Scandinavia as an example, I would argue that Sweden is far closer to Norway (part of Sweden from 1814 to 1905 — some 90 years) than to Finland (part of Sweden from the 13th century to 1814 — some 600 years), and this is largely because our union with Norway happened more recently. Similarly, Norway is more similar to Sweden than to Denmark, again, because our shared ties are more recent.

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    • Replies: @AP

    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.
     
    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation
     
    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it's Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.


    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.
    , @AP
    Comments here are realistic:

    https://russian.stackexchange.com/questions/208/is-the-ukrainian-language-understandable-for-the-average-russian-native-speaker
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  113. @Thorfinnsson

    Correct, it is an East Slavic language, but after centuries as part of Poland it now has more words in common with Polish than it does with Russian. Even basic ones, like yes (“Tak” in both Polish and Ukrainian, “Da” in Russian). Think of all the French words English got when the Normans conquered them.
     

    Interesting, I did not know that. Thank you.

    If a Swedish Empire owned Norway it could claim that Norwegian is a Swedish dialect, so?
     

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn't sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries. Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.

    About 20 million first-language speakers. More than speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Should the latter peoples, all of whom speak English anyways, just abandon their native languages?
     

    In a Nordic federation English would serve as a lingua franca, just as it does in the European Union. A European empire with English as its common language is feasible.

    However, abandoning a language like German or French would be very sad and impoverish the world.

    Meanwhile the world loses nothing from the disappearance of Ukrainian. I've never even heard of a Ukrainian writer, but everyone has heard of Russian writers.

    Likewise what the hell is the point of Welsh?

    None were. (okay, Gorby was half Ukrainian).
     

    I had the idea Khruschev was born in the Ukraine, but now I see he was born in Kursk.

    Brezhnev was born in the Ukraine but it appears his parents were from Kursk. Wikipedia mentions that Brezhnev's passport stated he was Ukrainian, but other documents have him as Russian.

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn’t sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries.

    This is false. All studies I have seen show that intelligibility levels are far higher between Norwegian and Swedish speakers than between Norwegian and Danish speakers. The lexical distances between all three languages are very small at any rate, at least for educated speakers (i.e. they would hear Danish ikke as old-fashioned Swedish icke and infer that they are hearing modern Swedish inte).

    Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.

    There have been some surveys on where Swedes stand on this. I can dig them up if you are interested, but from what I remember, it’s a non-starter.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective

    All studies I have seen show that intelligibility levels are far higher between Norwegian and Swedish speakers than between Norwegian and Danish speakers.
     
    The common stereotype I've heard is that Swedes understand Norwegian (bokmål, not nynorsk to the same extent) quite fluently whereas many will struggle a lot more with Danish (though this is less the case for Skåne/Scania, due to obvious historical reasons).

    At the same time, Danes and Norwegians will not have much difficulty. In other words, if you're Norwegian, you are sandwiched between Danish and Swedish in terms of linguistic comprehension and mutual intelligibility. Which would make sense, given that Norway has been part of Denmark for longer but part of Sweden in the more recent past (which gives a great direct impact in the contemporary sense). That's what I have heard, speaking with various Scandinavians, but you're telling me they were wrong.

    Incidentally, I know that reading Danish is usually not a major issue for Swedes, but it is the verbal aspect which trips up quite a few of you. One Swede I met likened it to listening to someone "with porridge in their throat" and he said that was a common stereotype of Danish in Sweden, and not just out of malice. People genuinely struggle to understand it seomtimes.


    There have been some surveys on where Swedes stand on this. I can dig them up if you are interested, but from what I remember, it’s a non-starter.
     
    I would be interested. An English source be of course be preferred but Swedish source(s) are fine, too. Various translation services are at this stage at least passable in their utility, which should give me a decent overview.
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  114. @Mr. Hack
    You're rather selective in choosing comments (and statistical data) to comment on? Why no response to my comment #27 where I use data that you yourself have posted?

    Where I’m from, the majority’s opinion always counts for more.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Wow, I'm real impressed. You're such a macho man, Anatoly. Is this political cartoon far from reality? Good luck in the jungle, you regal Lion, you! :-)


    https://youtu.be/dNp-BTdvGVs

    , @Singh
    Only jackals & cowards count numbers never Singh।।
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  115. @The Kulak
    "Dude is a Hezbollah mouthpiece who has lost all grasp on reality over the last year. Assad will NEVER get the Kurdish regions back and the US isn’t leaving." I wouldn't be as sure the U.S. can sustain a forever occupation of eastern Syria as you or the conventional wisdom. And if Hezbollah weren't a formidable force or the Israelis didn't fear heavy casualties, one wonders why Israel didn't take advantage of the Syria War when they were heavily engaged and attack their southern Lebanon redoubt to clean them out. A great deal of it depends on logistics through Iraq and Turkey, both states for their own reasons which could get tired of sustaining the U.S. presence leaving only the Jordanian border and highway through al-Tanf if Damascus is determined not to trade with the SDF held areas (unlikely for now, because it needs the oil and gas the Americans have grabbed and have made clear they'll vigorously defend despite the illegality of their occupation).

    The Turks are a different story than the U.S., because they have a larger manpower pool of cannon fodder from among the unemployed Syrian refugees from rural Sunni areas and can presumably have their Janissaries take the brunt of any Kurdish insurgency, plus they've been facing IEDs as a threat since the 1990s on their own soil. But the Feb. 7-8 'battle' for an oil field the Russian PMCs present probably didn't even know had an American presence that their Syrian hosts had assured them the Kurds were handing over doesn't actually count as glorious American victory over the legions of Moskal Mordor. Or make the Euphrates some sort of force field of protection against Hezbollah or pro-Assad tribes coming in and planting roadside bombs for U.S. special forces. The Pentagon's fear of tit for tat has probably exerted some restraint in that regard on the more bloodthirsty kill Russians (ala former Deputy Director Mike Morrell) send MANPADs to ISIS and Al-Qaeda globalist traitor elements in CIA. Because DoD knows if too many Russian choppers go down in Syria that heightens the risk Blackhawks start getting shot down and not just running into power lines at night.

    And if Hezbollah weren’t a formidable force or the Israelis didn’t fear heavy casualties, one wonders why Israel didn’t take advantage of the Syria War when they were heavily engaged and attack their southern Lebanon redoubt to clean them out

    Why would Israel attack Hezbollah? Let’s say Israel invades Southern Lebanon, expels the civilian population, completely eliminates Hezbollah and destroys the remainder of Lebanon from the air and does all of this while only losing 300 or so troops and without coming into open conflict with Russia. Basically the absolute best case scenario.

    Who is going to pay for the 10s of billions that operation would cost? Who is going to pay for the billions it will take to rebuild Northern Israel from the damage Hezbollah’s rockets. What would Israel gain from such a war other than horrible PR and a further deterioration of international and intra-regional diplomacy?

    Contrary to the delusions of the Russophiles, Israel is quite happy with the situation of “no war, no peace”. It has been Israel’s ideal for as long as it has existed.

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    • Replies: @The Kulak
    @GreasyWilliam I don't disagree that many in Washington and Tel Aviv find the neither peace nor war model attractive, but it isn't just the 100s of thousands of rockets Hezbollah has stockpiled as a massive conventional deterrent against major attack on either Lebanon or Iran that are changing the game. U.S. and Israeli strategies are predicated on keeping casualties not just light like Russia or (relatively speaking to the size of the IRGC) Iran but ultralight, and that's why I don't think Trump himself and most of his domestic to say nothing of the neocon advisers I expect will be kicked out like McMaster and Haley have the stomach for 5-12 much less 30 KIA/WIA a month just to hang on to Syrian gas fields and deny them to 'Assad and Iran'.

    I think Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias it has trained, even assuming the Euphrates can be reinforced with drones and crossings tightened up with checkpoints manned by SDF, are more than capable of infiltrating U.S. dominated areas. It is only likely the fear of greater U.S. SAM supplies to the 'moderate' AlCIAeda that has made Moscow keep its ally in Tehran on a tighter leash, so that if the Persians wish to take revenge for their dead IRGC in Syria it has to be done via arming Houthis to kill Saudis on Saudi soil. One thing you notice after watching Twitter a while is how determined most Syria rebel fanboys are to ignore the fact that proxy wars and aloha snackbaring ATGM porn videos can go both ways, and that the Saudi paymasters of their beloved moderate jihadis can be killed by anti-tank missiles and cheap IEDs too. But what can one say about a Salafi-Trotskyite like Michael Daeshbag Weiss who imagines himself a champion of the downtrodden Sunni proletariat?

    The whole U.S./Israeli model is war waged on the cheap with the transition from the more costly Bush to cheaper Obama proxy model, which itself was a rehash of Z Brzezinski's strategy. Recall Brzezinski didn't like the Iran hawks and Israel firsters because his eyes were always on the prize of getting Iranian gas to Europe to checkmate Gazprom. This split in D.C. between Iran delenda est neocons and the Obama pragmatists was exploited by Moscow during the Medvedev/Reset years with the S300 sale indefinitely postponed as a bargaining chip.

    At any rate while Anatoly likes to mock the dollar collapse crowd's claims of the US becoming too broke to maintain its empire, I see economic rot and undeniable signs of gangrene setting in by after the mid-terms (even with Trump doing everything he can tariff, capital repatriation holiday and regulation slashing to stave off the collapse the Fed postponed in 2008-2009 with massive QE). The rents and real estate bubbles in most heavily populated parts of the country West Coast and Bos-Wash corridor are too damn high unless you live in inner city Baltimore or D.C.

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  116. @Anatoly Karlin

    Where I’m from, the majority’s opinion always counts for more.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pARFcJQclCc

    Wow, I’m real impressed. You’re such a macho man, Anatoly. Is this political cartoon far from reality? Good luck in the jungle, you regal Lion, you! :-)

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  117. @Anatoly Karlin

    Will this happen? Who knows? This outcome is not any less likely than any other.
     
    The Nazis had their chance in 2014, maybe 2015, when their lack of a popular support base was at least partly compensated for by their discipline and having lots and lots of guns. (They did, of course, play a critical role in overthrowing the previous regime, via Kiev Snipergate).

    But now the Ukrainian state is too strong of them. The most passionary ones have been killed off, the others assimilated. Only "independent" role they now play is as armed muscle for minor oligarch tussles.

    Ishchenko failed in his predictions. Maybe the Nazis will win in the long-run, but in the long-run, we are all dead.

    Poroshenko had turned out to be far more robust than many expected. His secret superpower is, of course, the support of the Washington Obkom. Using this resource Poroshenko had been able to see off many challenges, including even Saakashvili, who must have his own Western sponsors.

    Even so, the Nazis are running around mostly unmolested and often force government’s hand, lie it was in the Donbass blockade. And there are regular massive anti-Poroshenko protests in the center of Kiev. If similar protests were happening in Moscow you’d be the first to claim that Putin’s regime was on its last legs.

    There are also signs that Poroshenko’s support in the West is getting shakier. Lately, they started calling him corrupt here and there in the media. If the Nazi can come up with a half-way palatable leader they’d suddenly find themselves in a much stronger position.

    So predicting Poroshenko’s demise is not unreasonable. But most likely nothing will happen until the next presidential elections a year from now. As we get closer to it, all bets are off. Ukrainian election seasons are always entertaining.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven't been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.

    Sure he's unpopular, but so is every other Ukrainian politician. Doesn't matter.

    Even if he loses, it will be to someone who's even more Ukrainian nationalist than he, co-founder of the Party of Regions, is.

    If similar protests were happening in Moscow you’d be the first to claim that Putin’s regime was on its last legs.
     
    No, I wouldn't.

    I said nothing of the sort when ~100,000 went out in Moscow in early 2012. I consistently made and continue to make fun of Western delusions to the contrary.

    I am just consistent enough to recognize that it is likewise ridiculous to imagine that the <10,000 perennial Maidanists in Kiev can stage a revolution without any support from other Ukrainian institutions.

    Lately, they started calling him corrupt here and there in the media.
     
    Actually for about a couple of years now.

    1. Doesn't change anything geopolitically (the West unreservedly backs Ukraine against Russia, including on implementation of Putininists' beloved Minsk Accords).

    2. Reflects fact that Ukraine has recovered sufficiently to chart a more independent course (also a more kleptocratic one, but those are details).
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  118. AP says:
    @Swedish Family

    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
     
    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation. Indeed, sometimes I even forget if a person I met spoke Norwegian or Swedish. It gets trickier with Danish since their pronunciation has undergone a dramatic consonant reduction over the last half century, which means that words that are easily understood in print are hard to make sense of in speech. (With Swedish, ironically, the trend is the other way, with older generations complaining that the young pronounce words too literally.)

    The "longer history" argument is also shaky. If we are to use that metric to begin with, and I'm not sure we should, any reasonable assessment of historical "ties" would have to weight the periods by their remoteness to our own day, giving lesser weight to more distant times. Picking Scandinavia as an example, I would argue that Sweden is far closer to Norway (part of Sweden from 1814 to 1905 -- some 90 years) than to Finland (part of Sweden from the 13th century to 1814 -- some 600 years), and this is largely because our union with Norway happened more recently. Similarly, Norway is more similar to Sweden than to Denmark, again, because our shared ties are more recent.

    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.

    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation

    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it’s Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.

    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Innthe 19th Century it was said to take about three days for a Brit to tune in to American accents after getting off the ship.
    , @Swedish Family

    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.
     
    Further from Russian than Swedish is from Norwegian, yes, but my point is that this argument is not very meaningful when Swedish and Norwegian are so very similar.

    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it’s Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.

    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.
     
    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity? Do we mean that a 12-year-old with little experience of the outside world can start chatting away with the foreigner from the get-go, or do we mean, as I think is more sensible, that the languages will seem reasonably alike once an average adult has adjusted to the quirks of the foreign language/dialect?

    I intentionally put languages and dialects on the same footing in that final sentence above, for my experience is that even dialects of a language can pose very great difficulties indeed. The peasant dialects of the Swedish north are pretty well incomprehensible to me, even though they follow the rules of Swedish syntax and morphology, and some particularly insular Stockholmers even have trouble understanding the dialects of southern Sweden.
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  119. @Swedish Family

    Ukraine doesn’t belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.
     
    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation. Indeed, sometimes I even forget if a person I met spoke Norwegian or Swedish. It gets trickier with Danish since their pronunciation has undergone a dramatic consonant reduction over the last half century, which means that words that are easily understood in print are hard to make sense of in speech. (With Swedish, ironically, the trend is the other way, with older generations complaining that the young pronounce words too literally.)

    The "longer history" argument is also shaky. If we are to use that metric to begin with, and I'm not sure we should, any reasonable assessment of historical "ties" would have to weight the periods by their remoteness to our own day, giving lesser weight to more distant times. Picking Scandinavia as an example, I would argue that Sweden is far closer to Norway (part of Sweden from 1814 to 1905 -- some 90 years) than to Finland (part of Sweden from the 13th century to 1814 -- some 600 years), and this is largely because our union with Norway happened more recently. Similarly, Norway is more similar to Sweden than to Denmark, again, because our shared ties are more recent.
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  120. @inertial
    Poroshenko had turned out to be far more robust than many expected. His secret superpower is, of course, the support of the Washington Obkom. Using this resource Poroshenko had been able to see off many challenges, including even Saakashvili, who must have his own Western sponsors.

    Even so, the Nazis are running around mostly unmolested and often force government's hand, lie it was in the Donbass blockade. And there are regular massive anti-Poroshenko protests in the center of Kiev. If similar protests were happening in Moscow you'd be the first to claim that Putin's regime was on its last legs.

    There are also signs that Poroshenko's support in the West is getting shakier. Lately, they started calling him corrupt here and there in the media. If the Nazi can come up with a half-way palatable leader they'd suddenly find themselves in a much stronger position.

    So predicting Poroshenko's demise is not unreasonable. But most likely nothing will happen until the next presidential elections a year from now. As we get closer to it, all bets are off. Ukrainian election seasons are always entertaining.

    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven’t been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.

    Sure he’s unpopular, but so is every other Ukrainian politician. Doesn’t matter.

    Even if he loses, it will be to someone who’s even more Ukrainian nationalist than he, co-founder of the Party of Regions, is.

    If similar protests were happening in Moscow you’d be the first to claim that Putin’s regime was on its last legs.

    No, I wouldn’t.

    I said nothing of the sort when ~100,000 went out in Moscow in early 2012. I consistently made and continue to make fun of Western delusions to the contrary.

    I am just consistent enough to recognize that it is likewise ridiculous to imagine that the <10,000 perennial Maidanists in Kiev can stage a revolution without any support from other Ukrainian institutions.

    Lately, they started calling him corrupt here and there in the media.

    Actually for about a couple of years now.

    1. Doesn’t change anything geopolitically (the West unreservedly backs Ukraine against Russia, including on implementation of Putininists’ beloved Minsk Accords).

    2. Reflects fact that Ukraine has recovered sufficiently to chart a more independent course (also a more kleptocratic one, but those are details).

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    • Replies: @Jon0815

    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven’t been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.
     
    I don't know how reliable this poll is, but it shows Poroshenko falling to 4th place with 9.8% in February 2018, down from 1st place with 18.3% in September 2017. Tymoshenko leads with 24.6%.

    If that's accurate, it seems Russian nationalist AK has a more positive view of the present state of Ukraine, than the Ukrainian people do.

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=753&page=1

    Also. the same poll shows the Opposition Bloc rising from a tie for 5th place last September with 8.1%, to 3rd place in February with 12.4%, 10 points behind the leading Tymoshenko bloc.
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  121. @Swedish Family

    Norwegian is demonstrably closer to Danish than Swedish and not just in terms of vocabulary. Sweden isn’t sufficiently dominant for it to be appropriate to impose the Swedish language on the other Scandinavian countries.
     
    This is false. All studies I have seen show that intelligibility levels are far higher between Norwegian and Swedish speakers than between Norwegian and Danish speakers. The lexical distances between all three languages are very small at any rate, at least for educated speakers (i.e. they would hear Danish ikke as old-fashioned Swedish icke and infer that they are hearing modern Swedish inte).

    Federation is the way to accomplish this instead, with English as a lingua franca.
     
    There have been some surveys on where Swedes stand on this. I can dig them up if you are interested, but from what I remember, it's a non-starter.

    All studies I have seen show that intelligibility levels are far higher between Norwegian and Swedish speakers than between Norwegian and Danish speakers.

    The common stereotype I’ve heard is that Swedes understand Norwegian (bokmål, not nynorsk to the same extent) quite fluently whereas many will struggle a lot more with Danish (though this is less the case for Skåne/Scania, due to obvious historical reasons).

    At the same time, Danes and Norwegians will not have much difficulty. In other words, if you’re Norwegian, you are sandwiched between Danish and Swedish in terms of linguistic comprehension and mutual intelligibility. Which would make sense, given that Norway has been part of Denmark for longer but part of Sweden in the more recent past (which gives a great direct impact in the contemporary sense). That’s what I have heard, speaking with various Scandinavians, but you’re telling me they were wrong.

    Incidentally, I know that reading Danish is usually not a major issue for Swedes, but it is the verbal aspect which trips up quite a few of you. One Swede I met likened it to listening to someone “with porridge in their throat” and he said that was a common stereotype of Danish in Sweden, and not just out of malice. People genuinely struggle to understand it seomtimes.

    There have been some surveys on where Swedes stand on this. I can dig them up if you are interested, but from what I remember, it’s a non-starter.

    I would be interested. An English source be of course be preferred but Swedish source(s) are fine, too. Various translation services are at this stage at least passable in their utility, which should give me a decent overview.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    The common stereotype I’ve heard is that Swedes understand Norwegian (bokmål, not nynorsk to the same extent) quite fluently whereas many will struggle a lot more with Danish (though this is less the case for Skåne/Scania, due to obvious historical reasons).
     
    This is true for most Swedes, I would think, and it's also backed up by studies, but curiously enough, it's not a two-way street: studies have shown that Danes understand the Stockholm dialect better than the Skåne dialect.

    At the same time, Danes and Norwegians will not have much difficulty. In other words, if you’re Norwegian, you are sandwiched between Danish and Swedish in terms of linguistic comprehension and mutual intelligibility. Which would make sense, given that Norway has been part of Denmark for longer but part of Sweden in the more recent past (which gives a great direct impact in the contemporary sense). That’s what I have heard, speaking with various Scandinavians, but you’re telling me they were wrong.
     
    Well, they are not exactly wrong (Norwegians are better at understand the other Scandinavian languages all around), but studies I have seen suggest that they understand spoken Swedish better than spoken Danish. (Don't know about written Danish, but it would make sense if they understood that better than written Swedish.)

    Incidentally, I know that reading Danish is usually not a major issue for Swedes, but it is the verbal aspect which trips up quite a few of you. One Swede I met likened it to listening to someone “with porridge in their throat” and he said that was a common stereotype of Danish in Sweden, and not just out of malice. People genuinely struggle to understand it seomtimes.
     
    Yes, it can be hell. I once dated a girl from Denmark, and it was always a bummer when I didn't understand her sweet nothings.

    I would be interested. An English source be of course be preferred but Swedish source(s) are fine, too. Various translation services are at this stage at least passable in their utility, which should give me a decent overview.
     
    Sorry, I had to wade through mountains of blog posts to find what I was looking for, so I gave up looking for it. But I did find a fascinating complement to the lexical map you posted earlier.

    The graphic below outlines how hard people playing The Great Language Game had it telling languages apart. The shorter the distance between two arrows, the harder it was for participants to say which language was which.

    http://www.replicatedtypo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/GLG_New_raw_NoWeights2.png

    As you can see. Ukrainian and Polish are indeed somewhat closer here than Ukrainian and Russian. Also note how Portuguese is not all that far from Russian, which is true to the commonly held view that it sounds vaguely Russian. Also, for laughs, here is the graphic for Chinese participants

    http://www.replicatedtypo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/GLG_China2.png

    http://www.replicatedtypo.com/the-great-language-game-confusing-languages/7926.html
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  122. @Thorfinnsson

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you’re not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.
     

    You appear to value "reasonable" and "measured" discourse which I think is extremely boring, though there is a time and a place for it. The comments on this blog are not that time and place for me.

    Incidentally I do appreciate your comments. I like that Karlin's blog has a number of European commenters, including Eastern Europeans. Most of the Anglophone alt-right space on the internet is, for obvious reasons, dominated by americans.


    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones?
     
    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take. Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.

    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as "Canadians".

    There is also the trolling benefit--telling people this and that country does not not deserve to exist provokes angry responses.

    A word on trolling owing to your reasonable disposition--when I say that I troll I do mean that I am being disingenuous. One can troll with one's actual positions. Indeed the whole alt right seems to be based upon this, or at least the Twitter branch of it.

    As an example unrelated to this topic I've found genuinely praising the big banks as offering excellent products and services that I am delighted with makes people completely unhinged.


    Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?
     
    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to "globalization" and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.

    A larger state can compete more effectively in the global arena. What is the minimum state size necessary to compete in a space race for instance?

    Fundamentally, would an impartial observer rather be a Ukrainian or a Russian? A Canadian or an American?


    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden’s national day. I don’t see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.
     
    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.

    To take the example of Norway, imagine if Norwegian energy were combined with Swedish industry (and had been so right from the beginning). For that matter things might have been quite different for Norway in 1940.

    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.

    Of course I realize that now the European Union exists, so this is somewhat quaint. Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can't say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).

    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take.

    I don’t think that has ever been my position, nor, frankly, do I think it is the position of most people who disagree with a crude might makes right approach that you seem to favour.

    Greg Johnson has proclaimed that “we need a thousand Luxembourgs in Europe”, which I assume is a position he arrived at by looking at old HRE maps for hours on end. I certainly don’t agree with such a position either.

    Ultimately, all nations have to “earn” their right to independence. My own nation’s state disappeared for over a century and we were subject to various attempts at ethnocide, some soft, others less so. We persevered and re-established our state. The Irish survived 800 years of colonialism. The Kurds have been without a state for millennia, yet they keep insisting on being a coherent nation. The background story of Israel should be known to all.

    Therefore, I think it is a false presupposition to claim that everyone who disagrees with your imperialistic viewpoint is inherently thinking that everyone ‘deserves’ a state. That is a caricature. A nation, and a people, still need to fight for their own cause and be prepared for a very long march to freedom, if need be.

    Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, you would also have to approve of slavery by ‘superior races’. As it happens, many of the anti-slavery campaigners, such as JS Mill, were frank in their belief that they thought races differed. In other words, they rejected the blank slate hypothesis yet nevertheless believed there should be a baseline of civilisational standards, even for those less capable on the aggregate.

    Even a concept such as the rule of law presupposes equality (however imperfectly) between peoples, with the classic example being that of a rich landlord vs a poor commoner. Putting aside the practical implications of this principle – we all know it is violated on a daily basis – the question that must be asked is if the ideal is worth striving for in the first place. I believe it is. Yet if you accept the premise, you must, at some level, relinquish the concept of “complete rejection of equality”.

    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to “globalization” and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.

    True, but there has been fragmentation since then. Look around you. Globalist is a bigger slur than localist. Despite the intense wishes of EU elites, the bigger centrifugal force today is that of secession. Catalunya, Scotland, Lombardy, Flanders. As AK’s own (pessimistic) post underlines, the chances of a Triune Russian Nation is receding into the distant horizon with each passing year.

    Furthermore, a lot of those states were built on colonial conquest. What was decolonisation if not the supremacy of the fragmentation of larger empires into smaller entities, which you seem to favour. Even the colonial offshoots have fragmented further, first into India and Pakistan and later Pakistan and Bangladesh, to take a South Asian perspective. Sudan recently split into two.

    It could just be that the historical process that you described has already reached an inflection point and is re-orienting itself towards greater fragmentation. Certainly the last 100 years would attest to that, and I don’t see any stopping yet. The EU remains a paper federalist project and Macron is already stymied by Northern European countries. Yet it was us, in the CEE region, which were supposed to be the biggest enemies of federalism. More importantly, even in Germany, the polls I’ve seen has shown lukewarm to outright weak support for a federal structure. All of which underlines my point that your historical analogy, while valid up to about a hundred years ago, has gone into reverse and the process of atomisation has accelerated.

    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.

    Ending feminism as Nords? You’re certainly a talented comedian :)

    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.

    That would be a decision taken by them, not outsiders. Though you are free to whine about their choices displeasing you. I’m sure they care a great deal.

    Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can’t say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).

    Alas! We can finally agree on something.

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    • Replies: @Singh
    Equality of law in unequal world is stupidity।।

    Men of higher Varna must be punished more frequently & severely।।

    They must also be able to pursue their Dharma though, especially Ksytrias who will rebel until they rule।।
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  123. @DFH

    Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English
     
    This is obviously not true. All Scots speak English.

    Me no lie.

    That some Scots don’t know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Relative to you reply, many Ukrainians speak Russian. This includes some pro-Euromaidan Ukrainians.

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    • Replies: @DFH
    1% of Scots speak any Gaelic, and none exclusively. All Scots speak English. Scottish people and English people are a lot closer linguistically than Russians and Ukranians.
    , @for-the-record
    That some Scots don’t know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Some Scots?

    In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001. The highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides.
     
    , @Philip Owen
    Gaelic is the language of the Irish conquered. In South East Scotland they have spoken Scots, now seen as a dialect of English, since the Anglo Saxon invasions. Scots is also sometimes called Doric. Lots of Scottish people speak a moderate version of Scots.
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  124. @Greasy William

    And if Hezbollah weren’t a formidable force or the Israelis didn’t fear heavy casualties, one wonders why Israel didn’t take advantage of the Syria War when they were heavily engaged and attack their southern Lebanon redoubt to clean them out
     
    Why would Israel attack Hezbollah? Let's say Israel invades Southern Lebanon, expels the civilian population, completely eliminates Hezbollah and destroys the remainder of Lebanon from the air and does all of this while only losing 300 or so troops and without coming into open conflict with Russia. Basically the absolute best case scenario.

    Who is going to pay for the 10s of billions that operation would cost? Who is going to pay for the billions it will take to rebuild Northern Israel from the damage Hezbollah's rockets. What would Israel gain from such a war other than horrible PR and a further deterioration of international and intra-regional diplomacy?

    Contrary to the delusions of the Russophiles, Israel is quite happy with the situation of "no war, no peace". It has been Israel's ideal for as long as it has existed.

    @GreasyWilliam I don’t disagree that many in Washington and Tel Aviv find the neither peace nor war model attractive, but it isn’t just the 100s of thousands of rockets Hezbollah has stockpiled as a massive conventional deterrent against major attack on either Lebanon or Iran that are changing the game. U.S. and Israeli strategies are predicated on keeping casualties not just light like Russia or (relatively speaking to the size of the IRGC) Iran but ultralight, and that’s why I don’t think Trump himself and most of his domestic to say nothing of the neocon advisers I expect will be kicked out like McMaster and Haley have the stomach for 5-12 much less 30 KIA/WIA a month just to hang on to Syrian gas fields and deny them to ‘Assad and Iran’.

    I think Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias it has trained, even assuming the Euphrates can be reinforced with drones and crossings tightened up with checkpoints manned by SDF, are more than capable of infiltrating U.S. dominated areas. It is only likely the fear of greater U.S. SAM supplies to the ‘moderate’ AlCIAeda that has made Moscow keep its ally in Tehran on a tighter leash, so that if the Persians wish to take revenge for their dead IRGC in Syria it has to be done via arming Houthis to kill Saudis on Saudi soil. One thing you notice after watching Twitter a while is how determined most Syria rebel fanboys are to ignore the fact that proxy wars and aloha snackbaring ATGM porn videos can go both ways, and that the Saudi paymasters of their beloved moderate jihadis can be killed by anti-tank missiles and cheap IEDs too. But what can one say about a Salafi-Trotskyite like Michael Daeshbag Weiss who imagines himself a champion of the downtrodden Sunni proletariat?

    The whole U.S./Israeli model is war waged on the cheap with the transition from the more costly Bush to cheaper Obama proxy model, which itself was a rehash of Z Brzezinski’s strategy. Recall Brzezinski didn’t like the Iran hawks and Israel firsters because his eyes were always on the prize of getting Iranian gas to Europe to checkmate Gazprom. This split in D.C. between Iran delenda est neocons and the Obama pragmatists was exploited by Moscow during the Medvedev/Reset years with the S300 sale indefinitely postponed as a bargaining chip.

    At any rate while Anatoly likes to mock the dollar collapse crowd’s claims of the US becoming too broke to maintain its empire, I see economic rot and undeniable signs of gangrene setting in by after the mid-terms (even with Trump doing everything he can tariff, capital repatriation holiday and regulation slashing to stave off the collapse the Fed postponed in 2008-2009 with massive QE). The rents and real estate bubbles in most heavily populated parts of the country West Coast and Bos-Wash corridor are too damn high unless you live in inner city Baltimore or D.C.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    what does any of that have to do with Israel attacking Hezbollah?

    I don't see the US giving the Kurdish regions back to Assad but I really don't care about it beyond trolling Russophiles.

    The bottom line is that Israel isn't attacking Hezbollah not because it can't or because it is afraid but rather because it has absolutely nothing to gain and a ton to lose (from their own rootless perspective, not from a true Torah based perspective) from doing so. Israel has exactly what it wants: "no war, no peace" with Syria and Syria itself partitioned and locked in a civil war.

    I'm not even saying it's a good strategy. I want war with Hezbollah precisely because I think that it will cause a regional war that I know that Israel will win and end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in the process.
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  125. @The Kulak
    @GreasyWilliam I don't disagree that many in Washington and Tel Aviv find the neither peace nor war model attractive, but it isn't just the 100s of thousands of rockets Hezbollah has stockpiled as a massive conventional deterrent against major attack on either Lebanon or Iran that are changing the game. U.S. and Israeli strategies are predicated on keeping casualties not just light like Russia or (relatively speaking to the size of the IRGC) Iran but ultralight, and that's why I don't think Trump himself and most of his domestic to say nothing of the neocon advisers I expect will be kicked out like McMaster and Haley have the stomach for 5-12 much less 30 KIA/WIA a month just to hang on to Syrian gas fields and deny them to 'Assad and Iran'.

    I think Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias it has trained, even assuming the Euphrates can be reinforced with drones and crossings tightened up with checkpoints manned by SDF, are more than capable of infiltrating U.S. dominated areas. It is only likely the fear of greater U.S. SAM supplies to the 'moderate' AlCIAeda that has made Moscow keep its ally in Tehran on a tighter leash, so that if the Persians wish to take revenge for their dead IRGC in Syria it has to be done via arming Houthis to kill Saudis on Saudi soil. One thing you notice after watching Twitter a while is how determined most Syria rebel fanboys are to ignore the fact that proxy wars and aloha snackbaring ATGM porn videos can go both ways, and that the Saudi paymasters of their beloved moderate jihadis can be killed by anti-tank missiles and cheap IEDs too. But what can one say about a Salafi-Trotskyite like Michael Daeshbag Weiss who imagines himself a champion of the downtrodden Sunni proletariat?

    The whole U.S./Israeli model is war waged on the cheap with the transition from the more costly Bush to cheaper Obama proxy model, which itself was a rehash of Z Brzezinski's strategy. Recall Brzezinski didn't like the Iran hawks and Israel firsters because his eyes were always on the prize of getting Iranian gas to Europe to checkmate Gazprom. This split in D.C. between Iran delenda est neocons and the Obama pragmatists was exploited by Moscow during the Medvedev/Reset years with the S300 sale indefinitely postponed as a bargaining chip.

    At any rate while Anatoly likes to mock the dollar collapse crowd's claims of the US becoming too broke to maintain its empire, I see economic rot and undeniable signs of gangrene setting in by after the mid-terms (even with Trump doing everything he can tariff, capital repatriation holiday and regulation slashing to stave off the collapse the Fed postponed in 2008-2009 with massive QE). The rents and real estate bubbles in most heavily populated parts of the country West Coast and Bos-Wash corridor are too damn high unless you live in inner city Baltimore or D.C.

    what does any of that have to do with Israel attacking Hezbollah?

    I don’t see the US giving the Kurdish regions back to Assad but I really don’t care about it beyond trolling Russophiles.

    The bottom line is that Israel isn’t attacking Hezbollah not because it can’t or because it is afraid but rather because it has absolutely nothing to gain and a ton to lose (from their own rootless perspective, not from a true Torah based perspective) from doing so. Israel has exactly what it wants: “no war, no peace” with Syria and Syria itself partitioned and locked in a civil war.

    I’m not even saying it’s a good strategy. I want war with Hezbollah precisely because I think that it will cause a regional war that I know that Israel will win and end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in the process.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    Israel has exactly what it wants: “no war, no peace” with Syria and Syria itself partitioned and locked in a civil war.
     
    Agree.

    I’m not even saying it’s a good strategy. I want war with Hezbollah precisely because I think that it will cause a regional war that I know that Israel will win and end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in the process.
     
    Israel winning a regional war against whom, if I may ask?
    And, alone or with heavy involvement of US military?
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  126. @Mikhail
    Me no lie.

    That some Scots don't know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Relative to you reply, many Ukrainians speak Russian. This includes some pro-Euromaidan Ukrainians.

    1% of Scots speak any Gaelic, and none exclusively. All Scots speak English. Scottish people and English people are a lot closer linguistically than Russians and Ukranians.

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  127. @Mikhail
    Sort of like the Scots on Britain. Some are hardcore pro-UK, with others taking the opposite route. Keeping in mind that Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related (ethnically and linguistically) than Scots and English.

    Lowland Scots have never had Gaelic as their native language, they spoke a dialect of English. Lowland Scots are also seen as a Germanic people, sharing common ancestry with northern English.

    Anyway I see Ukraine as comparable to Ireland. Russia has carved out their six counties with Crimea and the Donbass, the rest were always going to go their seperate way, but like the Irish they are still dependent on their old colonial master, although the EU offers the illusion of independence.

    My mother finds Norwegian a lot easier to understand, Danes just have that weird Dutchesque accent.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Anyway I see Ukraine as comparable to Ireland. Russia has carved out their six counties

    Why? There aren't any confessionally-delineated national loyalties in Donetsk. The Catholic population in that part of the country is numbered in four digits.
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  128. @Mikhail
    Me no lie.

    That some Scots don't know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Relative to you reply, many Ukrainians speak Russian. This includes some pro-Euromaidan Ukrainians.

    That some Scots don’t know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Some Scots?

    In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001. The highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Was being sarcastic concerning the comparatively much ballyhooed "Russiafication" versus Anglicization.
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  129. Here is my own assessment on why Putin did not invade in 2014:

    Snipergate.

    I think Putin perceives his path to victory like this:
    1: Economic/political situation continues to deteriorate
    2: Fascists will demand an ever increasing share of power, leading to a breackup with the Oligarchs.
    3: At some point, some Oligarch with Balls or the Ukrainian regular army will start operation “Nacht der Langen Messer 2.0″ and make the fascists go the way of the SA. Fascists will be blamed for snipergate (rightfully imho), there will be proper incentives to come back to an understanding with Russia.
    4: Profit.

    Given Putins actual proclivitities and tendencies, this plan is essentially making him wait and not do very much, which is what he prefers mostly.

    So, why did it not work yet?
    First, I think Putins team massively overestimated how annoying the Fascists are to those who actually call the shots in Ukraine. For the average Oligarch, well, he can openly hire fascists to beat the shit out of workers heretically demanding that their salaries are paid. And paying fascists to beat up workers for one day is much cheaper then actually paying salaries all the time.
    And the Nazis are pretty smart about offering their violence services to everyone who is interested (not just Oligarch, also f.e. Kyiv patriarchate church etc. also, beating up Babushkas so that their church becomes Kyiv rather then Moscow Patriarchate is much more risk free then shooting at Donbass) and in Ukraine there is much demand for sold violence.
    Second, there is the fact that the vision of a long drawn out Nazi insurgency is a thing that holds back a Russian invasion. To have this threat credibly, Ukraine basically needs enough Nazis to scare of Russia, but not enough Nazis for them to take over Ukraine. I for one call the general idea of this the “Dont touch me Russia I have Nazi-AIDS” defense. It would appear that the Ukrainian oligarchs have so far been better at guessing where the Nazi-Sweet spot is then the Russians.

    I think another way in which snipergate reduces Russian willingness to invade is the following:
    Total Ukrainian casulties during such an invasion would be massive. Quantitatively, they would make the victims of snipergate look like a rounding error. I think that is a reason why the fascists have tried pretty hard to provoke one so far.

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    • Replies: @AP

    1: Economic/political situation continues to deteriorate
     
    It's improving, not deteriorating.

    2: Fascists will demand an ever increasing share of power, leading to a breackup with the Oligarchs.
     
    They are marginal.

    First, I think Putins team massively overestimated how annoying the Fascists are to those who actually call the shots in Ukraine. For the average Oligarch, well, he can openly hire fascists to beat the shit out of workers heretically demanding that their salaries are paid. And paying fascists to beat up workers for one day is much cheaper then actually paying salaries all the time.
     
    You write as if this is a common occurrence in Ukraine - it's not. Violence by far right "muscle" in Ukraine occurs in anecdotal cases, naturally emphasized in anti-Ukrainian media sources, but is not experienced by the overwhelming majority of people in everyday life. Its like BLM riots in the USA a couple of years ago.

    To the extent that far right violence paid by oligarchs occurs, it mostly isn't to break strikes. Ukrainians who feel they are underpaid just go to Poland - there is starting to be a labor shortage, which is resulting in wage increases in Ukraine and construction of new plants further from the Polish border. It isn't the 90s anymore. Far-right thugs are used in disputes between criminal groups or between police and criminal groups over smuggling or things like that.

    Second, there is the fact that the vision of a long drawn out Nazi insurgency is a thing that holds back a Russian invasion
     
    Anti-Russian insurgency during an occupation wouldn't be limited to Nazis.
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  130. @Polish Perspective
    On the subject of whether Ukrainian is closer to Polish or Russian, the answer is: it depends what you measure. Genetically speaking (in a linguistic sense), it is closer to Russian. However, due to centuries of close contact between Poles and Ukrainians, there has been a large amount of linguistic intermingling between our peoples.


    This can be seen in lexical distance maps, such as the one below.

    https://i.imgur.com/ppmwsw4.jpg

    Ukrainian is close to both Russian and Polish but it is slightly closer to Polish in terms of pure lexical distance. In practice, it is very easy for a native Ukrainian speaker to pick up either Polish or Russian and you could say they are the mid-point between Poles and Russians. Closer genetically (linguistically) to Russian but somewhat closer to Polish in lexical distance.

    Where would Sanskrit or Persian be on this map?

    Didn’t know Estonian were Turks. Dam,

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  131. @Mr. Hack
    It's interesting to note that in the earliest ethno-genesis of both the Polish and Ukrainian nations, the preeminent Slavic tribes of both nations were called 'Polianins'. No historian that I know of has yet come out and stated that this was the exact same tribe, but I wonder? A coincidence in names, so close to one another? Also, AP, our resident geneticist, has more than on one occasion pointed out that genetically Ukrainians are closer to Poles than to Russians. At least when comparing Ukrainians to Russians in the north close to Moscow.

    Pole/Ukraine get along better with North Indian (Panjabi) & Rus better with South/Central. This I have noticed & remember only 1 south trad called Dravidas so it’s not that।।

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    • Replies: @Singh
    Only 1 southern state*

    It was anglo niggers who tried to expand the dravidian identity many 1000s km north to cover 4 states।।

    Languages like Telugu have many many Sanskrit words & identify as the North they are 'Sanskritized' even the Tamil Dravidas were but British missionary work has spawned

    A black worm Protestant population who follows a white Jesus but is proud of MUH African blackness.

    Spandrell thinks Asian Christianity will leave with the last GI & I agree। ।
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  132. @Thorfinnsson

    I had already previously called you mentally unstable, and you’re not exactly doing hard work to disprove me.
     

    You appear to value "reasonable" and "measured" discourse which I think is extremely boring, though there is a time and a place for it. The comments on this blog are not that time and place for me.

    Incidentally I do appreciate your comments. I like that Karlin's blog has a number of European commenters, including Eastern Europeans. Most of the Anglophone alt-right space on the internet is, for obvious reasons, dominated by americans.


    Why do you have this fanatic opposition to free and sovereign states and this knee-jerk worship of larger nation-states submerging and subsuming smaller ones?
     
    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take. Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.

    I am not opposed to all small states, I am simply opposed to states based on fake nationalities such as "Canadians".

    There is also the trolling benefit--telling people this and that country does not not deserve to exist provokes angry responses.

    A word on trolling owing to your reasonable disposition--when I say that I troll I do mean that I am being disingenuous. One can troll with one's actual positions. Indeed the whole alt right seems to be based upon this, or at least the Twitter branch of it.

    As an example unrelated to this topic I've found genuinely praising the big banks as offering excellent products and services that I am delighted with makes people completely unhinged.


    Even if it were possible, why would it even be preferable?
     
    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to "globalization" and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.

    A larger state can compete more effectively in the global arena. What is the minimum state size necessary to compete in a space race for instance?

    Fundamentally, would an impartial observer rather be a Ukrainian or a Russian? A Canadian or an American?


    I mean, the differences between Norwegians and Swedes are tiny, yet every 17th of May, the Norwegians are energetically celebrating their independence day from Sweden with a vigor and an almost child-like enthusiasm which is totally missing compared to Sweden’s national day. I don’t see the basis for your bizarre attachment to the idea that culturally similar peoples cannot seek their own path in their own states.
     
    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.

    To take the example of Norway, imagine if Norwegian energy were combined with Swedish industry (and had been so right from the beginning). For that matter things might have been quite different for Norway in 1940.

    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.

    Of course I realize that now the European Union exists, so this is somewhat quaint. Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can't say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).

    Better to be an elite in a small state than middle class in a large।।

    Offense drives Centralization & vice versa।।

    Pursuit of pussy drives most things..

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  133. @Anatoly Karlin

    Where I’m from, the majority’s opinion always counts for more.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pARFcJQclCc

    Only jackals & cowards count numbers never Singh।।

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Karlin usually likes to rely on numbers, unless of course the numbers go against his point of view - then he resorts to the silly 'might makes right' imperial memes. :-(
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  134. @Polish Perspective

    The idea that everyone, no matter what, deserves freedom and sovereignty is fundamentally a cuck take.
     
    I don't think that has ever been my position, nor, frankly, do I think it is the position of most people who disagree with a crude might makes right approach that you seem to favour.

    Greg Johnson has proclaimed that "we need a thousand Luxembourgs in Europe", which I assume is a position he arrived at by looking at old HRE maps for hours on end. I certainly don't agree with such a position either.

    Ultimately, all nations have to "earn" their right to independence. My own nation's state disappeared for over a century and we were subject to various attempts at ethnocide, some soft, others less so. We persevered and re-established our state. The Irish survived 800 years of colonialism. The Kurds have been without a state for millennia, yet they keep insisting on being a coherent nation. The background story of Israel should be known to all.

    Therefore, I think it is a false presupposition to claim that everyone who disagrees with your imperialistic viewpoint is inherently thinking that everyone 'deserves' a state. That is a caricature. A nation, and a people, still need to fight for their own cause and be prepared for a very long march to freedom, if need be.


    Our take is to completely and utterly reject the very concept of equality as belonging in the public space.
     
    Taken to its logical conclusion, you would also have to approve of slavery by 'superior races'. As it happens, many of the anti-slavery campaigners, such as JS Mill, were frank in their belief that they thought races differed. In other words, they rejected the blank slate hypothesis yet nevertheless believed there should be a baseline of civilisational standards, even for those less capable on the aggregate.

    Even a concept such as the rule of law presupposes equality (however imperfectly) between peoples, with the classic example being that of a rich landlord vs a poor commoner. Putting aside the practical implications of this principle - we all know it is violated on a daily basis - the question that must be asked is if the ideal is worth striving for in the first place. I believe it is. Yet if you accept the premise, you must, at some level, relinquish the concept of "complete rejection of equality".


    There are increasing returns to scale to larger states, which is why prior to “globalization” and nuclear peace average state size continuously increased from the High Middle Ages until 1942. Compare a map of Europe from the Middle Ages to a 1914 map.
     
    True, but there has been fragmentation since then. Look around you. Globalist is a bigger slur than localist. Despite the intense wishes of EU elites, the bigger centrifugal force today is that of secession. Catalunya, Scotland, Lombardy, Flanders. As AK's own (pessimistic) post underlines, the chances of a Triune Russian Nation is receding into the distant horizon with each passing year.

    Furthermore, a lot of those states were built on colonial conquest. What was decolonisation if not the supremacy of the fragmentation of larger empires into smaller entities, which you seem to favour. Even the colonial offshoots have fragmented further, first into India and Pakistan and later Pakistan and Bangladesh, to take a South Asian perspective. Sudan recently split into two.

    It could just be that the historical process that you described has already reached an inflection point and is re-orienting itself towards greater fragmentation. Certainly the last 100 years would attest to that, and I don't see any stopping yet. The EU remains a paper federalist project and Macron is already stymied by Northern European countries. Yet it was us, in the CEE region, which were supposed to be the biggest enemies of federalism. More importantly, even in Germany, the polls I've seen has shown lukewarm to outright weak support for a federal structure. All of which underlines my point that your historical analogy, while valid up to about a hundred years ago, has gone into reverse and the process of atomisation has accelerated.


    A united Nordic area would be a middle power in European politics and also far better prepared to resist encroaches from the larger powers in Europe. Ending feminism would allow it to overtake Germany in population size by the end of the century even.
     
    Ending feminism as Nords? You're certainly a talented comedian :)

    They certainly can and do, but that does not mean they are correct or should be encouraged.
     
    That would be a decision taken by them, not outsiders. Though you are free to whine about their choices displeasing you. I'm sure they care a great deal.

    Pity Europe has an absolutely contemptibly stupid ruling class (of course I can’t say things are much better on my side of the Atlantic).
     

    Alas! We can finally agree on something.

    Equality of law in unequal world is stupidity।।

    Men of higher Varna must be punished more frequently & severely।।

    They must also be able to pursue their Dharma though, especially Ksytrias who will rebel until they rule।।

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  135. @Singh
    Pole/Ukraine get along better with North Indian (Panjabi) & Rus better with South/Central. This I have noticed & remember only 1 south trad called Dravidas so it's not that।।

    Only 1 southern state*

    It was anglo niggers who tried to expand the dravidian identity many 1000s km north to cover 4 states।।

    Languages like Telugu have many many Sanskrit words & identify as the North they are ‘Sanskritized’ even the Tamil Dravidas were but British missionary work has spawned

    A black worm Protestant population who follows a white Jesus but is proud of MUH African blackness.

    Spandrell thinks Asian Christianity will leave with the last GI & I agree। ।

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  136. @Mightypeon
    Here is my own assessment on why Putin did not invade in 2014:

    Snipergate.

    I think Putin perceives his path to victory like this:
    1: Economic/political situation continues to deteriorate
    2: Fascists will demand an ever increasing share of power, leading to a breackup with the Oligarchs.
    3: At some point, some Oligarch with Balls or the Ukrainian regular army will start operation "Nacht der Langen Messer 2.0" and make the fascists go the way of the SA. Fascists will be blamed for snipergate (rightfully imho), there will be proper incentives to come back to an understanding with Russia.
    4: Profit.

    Given Putins actual proclivitities and tendencies, this plan is essentially making him wait and not do very much, which is what he prefers mostly.

    So, why did it not work yet?
    First, I think Putins team massively overestimated how annoying the Fascists are to those who actually call the shots in Ukraine. For the average Oligarch, well, he can openly hire fascists to beat the shit out of workers heretically demanding that their salaries are paid. And paying fascists to beat up workers for one day is much cheaper then actually paying salaries all the time.
    And the Nazis are pretty smart about offering their violence services to everyone who is interested (not just Oligarch, also f.e. Kyiv patriarchate church etc. also, beating up Babushkas so that their church becomes Kyiv rather then Moscow Patriarchate is much more risk free then shooting at Donbass) and in Ukraine there is much demand for sold violence.
    Second, there is the fact that the vision of a long drawn out Nazi insurgency is a thing that holds back a Russian invasion. To have this threat credibly, Ukraine basically needs enough Nazis to scare of Russia, but not enough Nazis for them to take over Ukraine. I for one call the general idea of this the "Dont touch me Russia I have Nazi-AIDS" defense. It would appear that the Ukrainian oligarchs have so far been better at guessing where the Nazi-Sweet spot is then the Russians.


    I think another way in which snipergate reduces Russian willingness to invade is the following:
    Total Ukrainian casulties during such an invasion would be massive. Quantitatively, they would make the victims of snipergate look like a rounding error. I think that is a reason why the fascists have tried pretty hard to provoke one so far.

    1: Economic/political situation continues to deteriorate

    It’s improving, not deteriorating.

    2: Fascists will demand an ever increasing share of power, leading to a breackup with the Oligarchs.

    They are marginal.

    First, I think Putins team massively overestimated how annoying the Fascists are to those who actually call the shots in Ukraine. For the average Oligarch, well, he can openly hire fascists to beat the shit out of workers heretically demanding that their salaries are paid. And paying fascists to beat up workers for one day is much cheaper then actually paying salaries all the time.

    You write as if this is a common occurrence in Ukraine – it’s not. Violence by far right “muscle” in Ukraine occurs in anecdotal cases, naturally emphasized in anti-Ukrainian media sources, but is not experienced by the overwhelming majority of people in everyday life. Its like BLM riots in the USA a couple of years ago.

    To the extent that far right violence paid by oligarchs occurs, it mostly isn’t to break strikes. Ukrainians who feel they are underpaid just go to Poland – there is starting to be a labor shortage, which is resulting in wage increases in Ukraine and construction of new plants further from the Polish border. It isn’t the 90s anymore. Far-right thugs are used in disputes between criminal groups or between police and criminal groups over smuggling or things like that.

    Second, there is the fact that the vision of a long drawn out Nazi insurgency is a thing that holds back a Russian invasion

    Anti-Russian insurgency during an occupation wouldn’t be limited to Nazis.

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  137. @Singh
    Only jackals & cowards count numbers never Singh।।

    Karlin usually likes to rely on numbers, unless of course the numbers go against his point of view – then he resorts to the silly ‘might makes right’ imperial memes. :-(

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  138. @Daniil Adamov
    Not sure it's accurate to say that Ukraine beat Russia. America/"the West" beat Russia (in terms of forcing out our influence for the near future), or Poroshenko beat Putin (more debatable; internal politics are primary for both and I'd say they both won from this on that front). But Ukraine the country does not seem to have won much from this yet, albeit I certainly agree that it is not collapsing any time soon (frankly it is extremely difficult for a modern country to "collapse"; it took a lot for far less developed Somalia to descend into actual anarchy, and even then it wasn't anything it couldn't eventually bounce back from).

    Russia certainly did not win much here either, of course.

    On another note, I'm not sure what you mean by Russia being a "civilizational entity" (did you just mean "civilization"? :P), but I fail to see how failing to get back Kiev and Minsk will in any way destroy or diminish our country or our people. They just aren't that important in my view, though perhaps I am too young to appreciate their value to a much bigger country with far bigger fish to fry on other fronts. But anyway, it's surely just as possible (indeed, even more likely) that the "triune Russian nation" will just continue to grow apart, as it has started to centuries ago. Solzhenitsyn and Ilyin were simply out of touch on this count, IMHO, as by the 20th century there were distinct strains of Belarussian and Ukrainian nationalism that were not going to simply go away. The situation has only progressed further since then. C'est la vie.

    Forcing people to join a union causes a reaction, as with the breakup of Yugoslavia.

    Letting them be independent can lead to centuries of cooperation, as with the various mainstream Orthodox churches.

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  139. Is there any way to persuade Ukrainains that Crimea is part of Russia since long (say in 5 years) and Russia intervened because of the coup in 2014.If and only if EU’s attraction decreases.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    In the long term that potential definitely exists. That scenario can be spiced up with Crimea-Ukraine having special close relations (at some point), short of Crimea formally leaving Russia. Upon further thought, the whole of Ukraine and Russia could eventually go that way. History shows that these matters aren't etched in stone.
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  140. @LondonBob
    Lowland Scots have never had Gaelic as their native language, they spoke a dialect of English. Lowland Scots are also seen as a Germanic people, sharing common ancestry with northern English.

    Anyway I see Ukraine as comparable to Ireland. Russia has carved out their six counties with Crimea and the Donbass, the rest were always going to go their seperate way, but like the Irish they are still dependent on their old colonial master, although the EU offers the illusion of independence.

    My mother finds Norwegian a lot easier to understand, Danes just have that weird Dutchesque accent.

    Anyway I see Ukraine as comparable to Ireland. Russia has carved out their six counties

    Why? There aren’t any confessionally-delineated national loyalties in Donetsk. The Catholic population in that part of the country is numbered in four digits.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    Ireland and England dominated Britain to Russia-Poland is a better though imperfect analogy. The Irish never threatened the English dominated Brits in the way Poland has Russia.
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  141. @for-the-record
    That some Scots don’t know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Some Scots?

    In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001. The highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides.
     

    Was being sarcastic concerning the comparatively much ballyhooed “Russiafication” versus Anglicization.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The local Gaelic is quite common in Wales, for whatever reason. In the other Celtic redoubts, it hasn't been the mode in centuries.
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  142. @Art Deco
    Anyway I see Ukraine as comparable to Ireland. Russia has carved out their six counties

    Why? There aren't any confessionally-delineated national loyalties in Donetsk. The Catholic population in that part of the country is numbered in four digits.

    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    Ireland and England dominated Britain to Russia-Poland is a better though imperfect analogy. The Irish never threatened the English dominated Brits in the way Poland has Russia.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    If you say so. I'm not seeing it. Scotland and Wales were Celtic redoubts contra the Anglo-Saxons. The thing was, the Anglo-Saxons had a less numerous set of power-centers and eventally coalesced into a unified monarchy. Only in Scotland did this occur on the other side of the fence, and it took about 700 years. Wales and Ireland remained an assemblage of local chieftaincies. The political unification of Wales and Ireland had to await their conquest by the English. Is their some sort of pre-Slavic population in White Russia and the Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands speaking an antique tongue from an entirely different branch of the Indo-European tree?

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  143. @kartheek
    Is there any way to persuade Ukrainains that Crimea is part of Russia since long (say in 5 years) and Russia intervened because of the coup in 2014.If and only if EU's attraction decreases.

    In the long term that potential definitely exists. That scenario can be spiced up with Crimea-Ukraine having special close relations (at some point), short of Crimea formally leaving Russia. Upon further thought, the whole of Ukraine and Russia could eventually go that way. History shows that these matters aren’t etched in stone.

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  144. The lowland-highland Scot differential is somewhat (stress somewhat) akin to the regional/historical/cultural/ethnic differences that have existed between former Habsburg ruled Ukraine and former Russia Empire Ukraine.

    As noted a bit further up:

    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    Ireland and England dominated Britain to Russia-Poland is a better though imperfect analogy. The Irish never threatened the English dominated Brits in the way Poland has Russia.

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    • Replies: @DFH
    I used to think about the Commonwealth as England to Poland, Scotland to Lithuania, Wales to Belarus and Ireland to Ukraine
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  145. @Mikhail
    The lowland-highland Scot differential is somewhat (stress somewhat) akin to the regional/historical/cultural/ethnic differences that have existed between former Habsburg ruled Ukraine and former Russia Empire Ukraine.

    As noted a bit further up:

    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    Ireland and England dominated Britain to Russia-Poland is a better though imperfect analogy. The Irish never threatened the English dominated Brits in the way Poland has Russia.

    I used to think about the Commonwealth as England to Poland, Scotland to Lithuania, Wales to Belarus and Ireland to Ukraine

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    • Replies: @AP

    I used to think about the Commonwealth as England to Poland, Scotland to Lithuania, Wales to Belarus and Ireland to Ukraine
     
    For much of its history Ukrainian nobles were equal to their Polish peers, while Ukrainian peasants weren't treated any worse than were Polish peasants (indeed, often better, due to their being on the frontier - which made them feel more empowered, and more ready to rebel). A half-Ukrainian guy ascended the Polish throne.

    So Ireland wouldn't be analogous. There was no "Ireland" within the Commonwealth.
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  146. @Mikhail
    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    Ireland and England dominated Britain to Russia-Poland is a better though imperfect analogy. The Irish never threatened the English dominated Brits in the way Poland has Russia.

    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    If you say so. I’m not seeing it. Scotland and Wales were Celtic redoubts contra the Anglo-Saxons. The thing was, the Anglo-Saxons had a less numerous set of power-centers and eventally coalesced into a unified monarchy. Only in Scotland did this occur on the other side of the fence, and it took about 700 years. Wales and Ireland remained an assemblage of local chieftaincies. The political unification of Wales and Ireland had to await their conquest by the English. Is their some sort of pre-Slavic population in White Russia and the Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands speaking an antique tongue from an entirely different branch of the Indo-European tree?

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    • Replies: @inertial
    You are right. Russia vs. Belorussia vs. Ukraine is more analogous to Wessex vs. Sussex vs. Northumbria.

    Scotland is more like Lithuania/Poland and Ireland is perhaps Scandinavia.
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  147. @Mikhail
    Was being sarcastic concerning the comparatively much ballyhooed "Russiafication" versus Anglicization.

    The local Gaelic is quite common in Wales, for whatever reason. In the other Celtic redoubts, it hasn’t been the mode in centuries.

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  148. AP says:
    @DFH
    I used to think about the Commonwealth as England to Poland, Scotland to Lithuania, Wales to Belarus and Ireland to Ukraine

    I used to think about the Commonwealth as England to Poland, Scotland to Lithuania, Wales to Belarus and Ireland to Ukraine

    For much of its history Ukrainian nobles were equal to their Polish peers, while Ukrainian peasants weren’t treated any worse than were Polish peasants (indeed, often better, due to their being on the frontier – which made them feel more empowered, and more ready to rebel). A half-Ukrainian guy ascended the Polish throne.

    So Ireland wouldn’t be analogous. There was no “Ireland” within the Commonwealth.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Mazepa had considerable authority in his Russian Empire domain prior to changing sides. It has been suggested that he might've been looking to replace (with Polish and Swedish support) Peter as the czar of Russia.

    In Russian Empire times, the serfs in what became Ukraine were known to have it generally better than the serfs in Russia proper - territory within today's Russian Federation.
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  149. @Greasy William
    what does any of that have to do with Israel attacking Hezbollah?

    I don't see the US giving the Kurdish regions back to Assad but I really don't care about it beyond trolling Russophiles.

    The bottom line is that Israel isn't attacking Hezbollah not because it can't or because it is afraid but rather because it has absolutely nothing to gain and a ton to lose (from their own rootless perspective, not from a true Torah based perspective) from doing so. Israel has exactly what it wants: "no war, no peace" with Syria and Syria itself partitioned and locked in a civil war.

    I'm not even saying it's a good strategy. I want war with Hezbollah precisely because I think that it will cause a regional war that I know that Israel will win and end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in the process.

    Israel has exactly what it wants: “no war, no peace” with Syria and Syria itself partitioned and locked in a civil war.

    Agree.

    I’m not even saying it’s a good strategy. I want war with Hezbollah precisely because I think that it will cause a regional war that I know that Israel will win and end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in the process.

    Israel winning a regional war against whom, if I may ask?
    And, alone or with heavy involvement of US military?

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    Israel winning a regional war against whom, if I may ask?
     
    Syria/Hezbollah/Iran/Hamas for sure. Egypt hopefully but not guaranteed.

    I don't think the US will step in.
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  150. @Art Deco
    England, Scotland, Wales to Russia, Ukraine Belarus is the better, though imperfect analogy.

    If you say so. I'm not seeing it. Scotland and Wales were Celtic redoubts contra the Anglo-Saxons. The thing was, the Anglo-Saxons had a less numerous set of power-centers and eventally coalesced into a unified monarchy. Only in Scotland did this occur on the other side of the fence, and it took about 700 years. Wales and Ireland remained an assemblage of local chieftaincies. The political unification of Wales and Ireland had to await their conquest by the English. Is their some sort of pre-Slavic population in White Russia and the Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands speaking an antique tongue from an entirely different branch of the Indo-European tree?

    You are right. Russia vs. Belorussia vs. Ukraine is more analogous to Wessex vs. Sussex vs. Northumbria.

    Scotland is more like Lithuania/Poland and Ireland is perhaps Scandinavia.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Nothing is exactly like anything else, or it would be that thing. Poland and Ireland have a somewhat analogous history as "captive nations" and causes celebres for their oppression by a larger neighboring power with a different religion.

    But continuing your parallels, Turkey is France? and Siberia is Canada? Tatars are Normans?
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  151. @AP

    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.
     
    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation
     
    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it's Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.


    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.

    Innthe 19th Century it was said to take about three days for a Brit to tune in to American accents after getting off the ship.

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  152. @Mikhail
    Me no lie.

    That some Scots don't know or regularly speak their native Gaelic language is indicative of Anglicization.

    Relative to you reply, many Ukrainians speak Russian. This includes some pro-Euromaidan Ukrainians.

    Gaelic is the language of the Irish conquered. In South East Scotland they have spoken Scots, now seen as a dialect of English, since the Anglo Saxon invasions. Scots is also sometimes called Doric. Lots of Scottish people speak a moderate version of Scots.

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  153. @AP

    This argument is not as strong as you think it is, for Swedish and Norwegian are practically the same language. Some linguists even argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of a common tongue.
     
    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.

    When Swedes and Norwegians meet, we always speak our own languages, with nothing much lost in translation
     
    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it's Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.


    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.

    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.

    Further from Russian than Swedish is from Norwegian, yes, but my point is that this argument is not very meaningful when Swedish and Norwegian are so very similar.

    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it’s Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.

    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.

    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity? Do we mean that a 12-year-old with little experience of the outside world can start chatting away with the foreigner from the get-go, or do we mean, as I think is more sensible, that the languages will seem reasonably alike once an average adult has adjusted to the quirks of the foreign language/dialect?

    I intentionally put languages and dialects on the same footing in that final sentence above, for my experience is that even dialects of a language can pose very great difficulties indeed. The peasant dialects of the Swedish north are pretty well incomprehensible to me, even though they follow the rules of Swedish syntax and morphology, and some particularly insular Stockholmers even have trouble understanding the dialects of southern Sweden.

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    • Replies: @AP

    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity?
     
    It's hard to define. One can look at vocabulary (Polish Perspective posted a nice chart) which is rather objective: just count the words. But that doesn't take into account a language's rhythm, pronunciation, etc. So we have anecdotes and subjective impressions. The chart you posted, for the Language Game, is a very nice collection of these, and probably indicates how similar each is to the other. So Ukrainian is slightly closer to Polish than to Russian, and much further from both of these than Norwegian is from Swedish.

    How well do you understand Icelandic?

    I live in an area with many Poles and Russians; when I speak Ukrainian I am more often mistaken for a Pole than for a Russian.

    Once, when I was visiting the American Southwest, I was asked if I was a Brazilian (of German descent)! Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.
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  154. @peterAUS

    Israel has exactly what it wants: “no war, no peace” with Syria and Syria itself partitioned and locked in a civil war.
     
    Agree.

    I’m not even saying it’s a good strategy. I want war with Hezbollah precisely because I think that it will cause a regional war that I know that Israel will win and end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in the process.
     
    Israel winning a regional war against whom, if I may ask?
    And, alone or with heavy involvement of US military?

    Israel winning a regional war against whom, if I may ask?

    Syria/Hezbollah/Iran/Hamas for sure. Egypt hopefully but not guaranteed.

    I don’t think the US will step in.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Can't say I understand.

    Like, Israel destroying Assad's regime armed forces with Russians as they are there?!??
    And, Israel, what, destroying armed forces of Iran?!

    You serious?

    O.K. let's step back a bit.
    "Winning a war" thing.

    What would be the objective of the war against Syria?Or, better, what would constitute a victory?
    And the same for Iran? What exactly would be considered as victory, for Israel, in that case?

    And both done at the same time, with just a material/intelligence help from US?

    Wow.........interesting.
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  155. @Polish Perspective

    All studies I have seen show that intelligibility levels are far higher between Norwegian and Swedish speakers than between Norwegian and Danish speakers.
     
    The common stereotype I've heard is that Swedes understand Norwegian (bokmål, not nynorsk to the same extent) quite fluently whereas many will struggle a lot more with Danish (though this is less the case for Skåne/Scania, due to obvious historical reasons).

    At the same time, Danes and Norwegians will not have much difficulty. In other words, if you're Norwegian, you are sandwiched between Danish and Swedish in terms of linguistic comprehension and mutual intelligibility. Which would make sense, given that Norway has been part of Denmark for longer but part of Sweden in the more recent past (which gives a great direct impact in the contemporary sense). That's what I have heard, speaking with various Scandinavians, but you're telling me they were wrong.

    Incidentally, I know that reading Danish is usually not a major issue for Swedes, but it is the verbal aspect which trips up quite a few of you. One Swede I met likened it to listening to someone "with porridge in their throat" and he said that was a common stereotype of Danish in Sweden, and not just out of malice. People genuinely struggle to understand it seomtimes.


    There have been some surveys on where Swedes stand on this. I can dig them up if you are interested, but from what I remember, it’s a non-starter.
     
    I would be interested. An English source be of course be preferred but Swedish source(s) are fine, too. Various translation services are at this stage at least passable in their utility, which should give me a decent overview.

    The common stereotype I’ve heard is that Swedes understand Norwegian (bokmål, not nynorsk to the same extent) quite fluently whereas many will struggle a lot more with Danish (though this is less the case for Skåne/Scania, due to obvious historical reasons).

    This is true for most Swedes, I would think, and it’s also backed up by studies, but curiously enough, it’s not a two-way street: studies have shown that Danes understand the Stockholm dialect better than the Skåne dialect.

    At the same time, Danes and Norwegians will not have much difficulty. In other words, if you’re Norwegian, you are sandwiched between Danish and Swedish in terms of linguistic comprehension and mutual intelligibility. Which would make sense, given that Norway has been part of Denmark for longer but part of Sweden in the more recent past (which gives a great direct impact in the contemporary sense). That’s what I have heard, speaking with various Scandinavians, but you’re telling me they were wrong.

    Well, they are not exactly wrong (Norwegians are better at understand the other Scandinavian languages all around), but studies I have seen suggest that they understand spoken Swedish better than spoken Danish. (Don’t know about written Danish, but it would make sense if they understood that better than written Swedish.)

    Incidentally, I know that reading Danish is usually not a major issue for Swedes, but it is the verbal aspect which trips up quite a few of you. One Swede I met likened it to listening to someone “with porridge in their throat” and he said that was a common stereotype of Danish in Sweden, and not just out of malice. People genuinely struggle to understand it seomtimes.

    Yes, it can be hell. I once dated a girl from Denmark, and it was always a bummer when I didn’t understand her sweet nothings.

    I would be interested. An English source be of course be preferred but Swedish source(s) are fine, too. Various translation services are at this stage at least passable in their utility, which should give me a decent overview.

    Sorry, I had to wade through mountains of blog posts to find what I was looking for, so I gave up looking for it. But I did find a fascinating complement to the lexical map you posted earlier.

    The graphic below outlines how hard people playing The Great Language Game had it telling languages apart. The shorter the distance between two arrows, the harder it was for participants to say which language was which.

    As you can see. Ukrainian and Polish are indeed somewhat closer here than Ukrainian and Russian. Also note how Portuguese is not all that far from Russian, which is true to the commonly held view that it sounds vaguely Russian. Also, for laughs, here is the graphic for Chinese participants

    http://www.replicatedtypo.com/the-great-language-game-confusing-languages/7926.html

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  156. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @inertial
    You are right. Russia vs. Belorussia vs. Ukraine is more analogous to Wessex vs. Sussex vs. Northumbria.

    Scotland is more like Lithuania/Poland and Ireland is perhaps Scandinavia.

    Nothing is exactly like anything else, or it would be that thing. Poland and Ireland have a somewhat analogous history as “captive nations” and causes celebres for their oppression by a larger neighboring power with a different religion.

    But continuing your parallels, Turkey is France? and Siberia is Canada? Tatars are Normans?

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Nothing is exactly like anything else, or it would be that thing. Poland and Ireland have a somewhat analogous history as “captive nations” and causes celebres for their oppression by a larger neighboring power with a different religion.

    There was, up until 1795, a Kingdom known as Poland, albeit one with a very weak central government. There was an echo of it under French and then Russian tutelage from 1807 to 1830. I suppose there was a notional Kingdom of Ireland before the Act of Union in 1801, but it had been for two centuries subject to England and then Great Britain. There was no antique Kingdom of Ireland, just a brief period in the 11th century when Brian Boru managed to hold the chieftaincies under his thumb. The Irish Catholic nation did not come into its own until the foundation of the Free State in 1922.
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  157. AP says:
    @Swedish Family

    In which case, Ukrainian is much further from Russian, than Swedish is from Norwegian.
     
    Further from Russian than Swedish is from Norwegian, yes, but my point is that this argument is not very meaningful when Swedish and Norwegian are so very similar.

    Russians who, perhaps, have heard some surzhik and assume it’s Ukrainian think they can understand Ukrainian but cannot actually understand it (and vice versa). Ukrainian and Russian are close enough to each other that, say, exposure after a few months can lead to ability to understand the other (a Russian moves to Ukraine or vice versa will pick up the language)*, and close enough to make learning the other easy, but not so close that conversation can be understood by a person who has had no prior exposure.

    *Because of Russian mass-media from Soviet times, almost every Ukrainian-speaking person from Ukraine, even from regions where Ukrainian is spoken at home, can understand Russian.
     
    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity? Do we mean that a 12-year-old with little experience of the outside world can start chatting away with the foreigner from the get-go, or do we mean, as I think is more sensible, that the languages will seem reasonably alike once an average adult has adjusted to the quirks of the foreign language/dialect?

    I intentionally put languages and dialects on the same footing in that final sentence above, for my experience is that even dialects of a language can pose very great difficulties indeed. The peasant dialects of the Swedish north are pretty well incomprehensible to me, even though they follow the rules of Swedish syntax and morphology, and some particularly insular Stockholmers even have trouble understanding the dialects of southern Sweden.

    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity?

    It’s hard to define. One can look at vocabulary (Polish Perspective posted a nice chart) which is rather objective: just count the words. But that doesn’t take into account a language’s rhythm, pronunciation, etc. So we have anecdotes and subjective impressions. The chart you posted, for the Language Game, is a very nice collection of these, and probably indicates how similar each is to the other. So Ukrainian is slightly closer to Polish than to Russian, and much further from both of these than Norwegian is from Swedish.

    How well do you understand Icelandic?

    I live in an area with many Poles and Russians; when I speak Ukrainian I am more often mistaken for a Pole than for a Russian.

    Once, when I was visiting the American Southwest, I was asked if I was a Brazilian (of German descent)! Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

    I have noticed this too (I live in Portugal) and mentioned it to a Russian friend who thought I was full of it. But when he and his wife visited us, after listening to people next to us in a restaurant, he confessed that I was right -- initially he thought they were speaking Russian and it was only on closer "inspection" that he noted his error.

    But this applies only to Portuguese Portuguese, not to the Brazilian variety. The reason is not at all obvious, however. The most distinctive feature of Portuguese is probably its nasal diphthongs; the only other European languages that have these, as far as I know, are French and Polish (and Portuguese has more of them).
    , @Mikhail
    Really!?

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians:

    https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=9yuwWvX8CKHH5gKt87q4Aw&q=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&oq=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&gs_l=psy-ab.12...646.10364.0.12664.42.31.0.11.11.0.174.2392.28j3.31.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.41.2384...0j0i131k1j0i22i30k1j33i22i29i30k1j0i13i30k1.0.96nCF13lXmM

    There's also the shared Cyrillic alphabet among Russians and Ukrainians.

    You earlier said that some Russians mistake Surzyhk for Ukrainian. There's also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian. I'm not referring to Rusyn, which I've been told is (in overall terms) closer to Russian than Ukrainian.

    , @Swedish Family

    How well do you understand Icelandic?
     
    I only understand a word here and there, and its grammar seems very odd. Here on the mainland, the popular idea is that Icelandic was frozen in time a millennium ago and is therefore the original Viking language. My YouTube searches seem to bear this out. It really does sound like something out of a fairy tale.
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  158. LH says:
    @Thorfinnsson


    Kiev will eventually sell. They owe a lot of money, and in spite of what AK says above, servicing the debt will be an issue. They will start with land as collateral, and then repossess. (And then the Africans will show up, about a billion of them…)
     
    My understanding is that the current law does not even permit agricultural land to be sold to other Ukrainians, which is absurd.

    Whether or not they're comfortable with foreign capital controlling their agricultural sector is up to them. There are trade offs. Foreign capital would modernize the agricultural sector faster, but the earnings will leave the Ukraine.

    The experience of EU Eastern Europe is interesting. The 1% of the Visegrad countries lives in Germany. The 1% of the Baltic States lives in Sweden and Finland.

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries? I've seen some Czech or Slovak commenters note that German-owned media companies play a negative role in their countries.

    How does the lack of a national bourgeoisie affect these countries?

    Czech Republic became virtually a colony of the Western corporations. Almost 8% of GDP leaves the country (and the percentage goes up steadily over the years):

    I’ve seen some Czech or Slovak commenters note that German-owned media companies play a negative role in their countries.

    Several major Czech newspapers were indeed owned by German companies, but generated loss and were sold out. Now they are owned by local oligarchs. Their generally negative role didn’t change a bit.

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  159. @AP

    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity?
     
    It's hard to define. One can look at vocabulary (Polish Perspective posted a nice chart) which is rather objective: just count the words. But that doesn't take into account a language's rhythm, pronunciation, etc. So we have anecdotes and subjective impressions. The chart you posted, for the Language Game, is a very nice collection of these, and probably indicates how similar each is to the other. So Ukrainian is slightly closer to Polish than to Russian, and much further from both of these than Norwegian is from Swedish.

    How well do you understand Icelandic?

    I live in an area with many Poles and Russians; when I speak Ukrainian I am more often mistaken for a Pole than for a Russian.

    Once, when I was visiting the American Southwest, I was asked if I was a Brazilian (of German descent)! Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

    Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

    I have noticed this too (I live in Portugal) and mentioned it to a Russian friend who thought I was full of it. But when he and his wife visited us, after listening to people next to us in a restaurant, he confessed that I was right — initially he thought they were speaking Russian and it was only on closer “inspection” that he noted his error.

    But this applies only to Portuguese Portuguese, not to the Brazilian variety. The reason is not at all obvious, however. The most distinctive feature of Portuguese is probably its nasal diphthongs; the only other European languages that have these, as far as I know, are French and Polish (and Portuguese has more of them).

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    • Replies: @AP
    I was with one of my kids at a park in the US Southwest and was asked if we were Brazilian, by a friendly Mexican-American who presumably spoke no Spanish (the person looked Mexican but spoke English without an accent). We are both blond Nordic types, not at all Portuguese-looking, that may be why we were mistaken for Brazilians rather than Portuguese - there are many Germans from Brazil.

    I have a Portuguese patient and his accent in English sounds like Steve Martin's and Dan Aykroyd's fake Czech accents:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGv6uo89yMY

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  160. AP says:
    @for-the-record
    Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

    I have noticed this too (I live in Portugal) and mentioned it to a Russian friend who thought I was full of it. But when he and his wife visited us, after listening to people next to us in a restaurant, he confessed that I was right -- initially he thought they were speaking Russian and it was only on closer "inspection" that he noted his error.

    But this applies only to Portuguese Portuguese, not to the Brazilian variety. The reason is not at all obvious, however. The most distinctive feature of Portuguese is probably its nasal diphthongs; the only other European languages that have these, as far as I know, are French and Polish (and Portuguese has more of them).

    I was with one of my kids at a park in the US Southwest and was asked if we were Brazilian, by a friendly Mexican-American who presumably spoke no Spanish (the person looked Mexican but spoke English without an accent). We are both blond Nordic types, not at all Portuguese-looking, that may be why we were mistaken for Brazilians rather than Portuguese – there are many Germans from Brazil.

    I have a Portuguese patient and his accent in English sounds like Steve Martin’s and Dan Aykroyd’s fake Czech accents:

    Read More
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  161. AP says:

    Here is a map of official Ukrainian combat deaths in the war, by oblast:

    Dnipropetrovsk has given up the most lives. These deaths are generally attributed to bullets supplied by Russia; Dnipropetrovsk has become more nationalist than it ever was. This is one way in which Russian government policy contributes to Ukrainian nation-building.

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    • Replies: @Pavlo
    By killing Nazis and general lowlives*? Ukrainians do not care about your nation-building project - outward obedience masks sheer apathy, and nothing else.

    *That's the kind of recruit that was being sourced from Dnepro, don't bother denying it.
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  162. @Anatoly Karlin
    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven't been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.

    Sure he's unpopular, but so is every other Ukrainian politician. Doesn't matter.

    Even if he loses, it will be to someone who's even more Ukrainian nationalist than he, co-founder of the Party of Regions, is.

    If similar protests were happening in Moscow you’d be the first to claim that Putin’s regime was on its last legs.
     
    No, I wouldn't.

    I said nothing of the sort when ~100,000 went out in Moscow in early 2012. I consistently made and continue to make fun of Western delusions to the contrary.

    I am just consistent enough to recognize that it is likewise ridiculous to imagine that the <10,000 perennial Maidanists in Kiev can stage a revolution without any support from other Ukrainian institutions.

    Lately, they started calling him corrupt here and there in the media.
     
    Actually for about a couple of years now.

    1. Doesn't change anything geopolitically (the West unreservedly backs Ukraine against Russia, including on implementation of Putininists' beloved Minsk Accords).

    2. Reflects fact that Ukraine has recovered sufficiently to chart a more independent course (also a more kleptocratic one, but those are details).

    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven’t been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.

    I don’t know how reliable this poll is, but it shows Poroshenko falling to 4th place with 9.8% in February 2018, down from 1st place with 18.3% in September 2017. Tymoshenko leads with 24.6%.

    If that’s accurate, it seems Russian nationalist AK has a more positive view of the present state of Ukraine, than the Ukrainian people do.

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=753&page=1

    Also. the same poll shows the Opposition Bloc rising from a tie for 5th place last September with 8.1%, to 3rd place in February with 12.4%, 10 points behind the leading Tymoshenko bloc.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks for the update.

    As I said, I was not following the polls, and must admit to some surprise that Poroshenko seems to be collapsing of late (even if there's still a year to go to the Presidential elections).

    Still, I don't know if that undermines my point.

    First, Opposition Block remain completely irrelevant. And those polls show the main shift has actually been towards populist nationalist forces.

    Second, so Tymoshenko wins - that will be an improvement for Donbass or Russia, how?
    , @AP

    I don’t know how reliable this poll is, but it shows Poroshenko falling to 4th place with 9.8% in February 2018, down from 1st place with 18.3% in September 2017. Tymoshenko leads with 24.6%.
     
    It's fairly reliable. If the trend continues it will be Tymoshenko vs. Lyashko in the second round, with Lyashko playing the role of Zhirinovsky, and Tymoshenko becoming president.

    Also. the same poll shows the Opposition Bloc rising from a tie for 5th place last September with 8.1%, to 3rd place in February with 12.4%, 10 points behind the leading Tymoshenko bloc.
     
    This is meaningless because the various pro-Western parties still have collectively over 70%.
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  163. @Anon
    Nothing is exactly like anything else, or it would be that thing. Poland and Ireland have a somewhat analogous history as "captive nations" and causes celebres for their oppression by a larger neighboring power with a different religion.

    But continuing your parallels, Turkey is France? and Siberia is Canada? Tatars are Normans?

    Nothing is exactly like anything else, or it would be that thing. Poland and Ireland have a somewhat analogous history as “captive nations” and causes celebres for their oppression by a larger neighboring power with a different religion.

    There was, up until 1795, a Kingdom known as Poland, albeit one with a very weak central government. There was an echo of it under French and then Russian tutelage from 1807 to 1830. I suppose there was a notional Kingdom of Ireland before the Act of Union in 1801, but it had been for two centuries subject to England and then Great Britain. There was no antique Kingdom of Ireland, just a brief period in the 11th century when Brian Boru managed to hold the chieftaincies under his thumb. The Irish Catholic nation did not come into its own until the foundation of the Free State in 1922.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Which is why I'm careful when making analogies.

    England, Scotland and Wales have more of a shared national togetherness when compared to Ireland. Likewise with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, when compared to Poland.
    , @Anon

    The Irish Catholic nation did not come into its own until the foundation of the Free State in 1922
     
    It was not under a single government until then, but if you asked any Catholic Irishman (or one of quite a few of the Prots) in 1850 whether there was such a thing as the Irish nation, I would lay odds as to his answer. The Irish did not have an imperial history to look back on as the Poles did, but to the average man in the 19th century (when the analogy best applies) did this make all that much difference? I also get the impression when reading period writing that the two causes were linked in the minds of many people at the time, e.g. Chesterton.
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  164. @AP

    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity?
     
    It's hard to define. One can look at vocabulary (Polish Perspective posted a nice chart) which is rather objective: just count the words. But that doesn't take into account a language's rhythm, pronunciation, etc. So we have anecdotes and subjective impressions. The chart you posted, for the Language Game, is a very nice collection of these, and probably indicates how similar each is to the other. So Ukrainian is slightly closer to Polish than to Russian, and much further from both of these than Norwegian is from Swedish.

    How well do you understand Icelandic?

    I live in an area with many Poles and Russians; when I speak Ukrainian I am more often mistaken for a Pole than for a Russian.

    Once, when I was visiting the American Southwest, I was asked if I was a Brazilian (of German descent)! Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

    Really!?

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians:

    https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=9yuwWvX8CKHH5gKt87q4Aw&q=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&oq=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&gs_l=psy-ab.12…646.10364.0.12664.42.31.0.11.11.0.174.2392.28j3.31.0&#8230;.0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.41.2384…0j0i131k1j0i22i30k1j33i22i29i30k1j0i13i30k1.0.96nCF13lXmM

    There’s also the shared Cyrillic alphabet among Russians and Ukrainians.

    You earlier said that some Russians mistake Surzyhk for Ukrainian. There’s also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian. I’m not referring to Rusyn, which I’ve been told is (in overall terms) closer to Russian than Ukrainian.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians
     
    You speak none of those three languages so your guesses just correspond to your wishes.

    There’s also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian.
     
    The Galician dialect has mostly disappeared. Last summer, I heard it only in some distant village when my car got stuck. Everyone in Lviv speaks standard literary Ukrainian. They have a clipped, abrupt sort of accent but it is completely standard Ukrainian in vocabulary and grammar.

    An article about the dialect's disappearance:

    http://lviv1256.com/lists/halytskyj-balak-yak-latyna-mova-lyudej-kotryh-vzhe-ne-je/
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  165. @Art Deco
    Nothing is exactly like anything else, or it would be that thing. Poland and Ireland have a somewhat analogous history as “captive nations” and causes celebres for their oppression by a larger neighboring power with a different religion.

    There was, up until 1795, a Kingdom known as Poland, albeit one with a very weak central government. There was an echo of it under French and then Russian tutelage from 1807 to 1830. I suppose there was a notional Kingdom of Ireland before the Act of Union in 1801, but it had been for two centuries subject to England and then Great Britain. There was no antique Kingdom of Ireland, just a brief period in the 11th century when Brian Boru managed to hold the chieftaincies under his thumb. The Irish Catholic nation did not come into its own until the foundation of the Free State in 1922.

    Which is why I’m careful when making analogies.

    England, Scotland and Wales have more of a shared national togetherness when compared to Ireland. Likewise with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, when compared to Poland.

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Mikhail,

    You are right. Wales, at least for Welsh historians, conquered England at the Battle of Bosworth. The Welsh aristocrat Henry Tudor became king. When the male Tudor line died out, the Scottish King James became king of England as well. So Wales and Scotland have a share in English history. They were also, Wales in particular, early centres of the Industrial Revolution so they were very prosperous in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Ireland missed out on àll of this. It never had a share of political power or very much industry.
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  166. @AP

    I used to think about the Commonwealth as England to Poland, Scotland to Lithuania, Wales to Belarus and Ireland to Ukraine
     
    For much of its history Ukrainian nobles were equal to their Polish peers, while Ukrainian peasants weren't treated any worse than were Polish peasants (indeed, often better, due to their being on the frontier - which made them feel more empowered, and more ready to rebel). A half-Ukrainian guy ascended the Polish throne.

    So Ireland wouldn't be analogous. There was no "Ireland" within the Commonwealth.

    Mazepa had considerable authority in his Russian Empire domain prior to changing sides. It has been suggested that he might’ve been looking to replace (with Polish and Swedish support) Peter as the czar of Russia.

    In Russian Empire times, the serfs in what became Ukraine were known to have it generally better than the serfs in Russia proper – territory within today’s Russian Federation.

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  167. @AP

    This gets at a major difficulty in measuring language comprehension. How do we define similarity?
     
    It's hard to define. One can look at vocabulary (Polish Perspective posted a nice chart) which is rather objective: just count the words. But that doesn't take into account a language's rhythm, pronunciation, etc. So we have anecdotes and subjective impressions. The chart you posted, for the Language Game, is a very nice collection of these, and probably indicates how similar each is to the other. So Ukrainian is slightly closer to Polish than to Russian, and much further from both of these than Norwegian is from Swedish.

    How well do you understand Icelandic?

    I live in an area with many Poles and Russians; when I speak Ukrainian I am more often mistaken for a Pole than for a Russian.

    Once, when I was visiting the American Southwest, I was asked if I was a Brazilian (of German descent)! Portuguese is very Slavic-sounding for some reason.

    How well do you understand Icelandic?

    I only understand a word here and there, and its grammar seems very odd. Here on the mainland, the popular idea is that Icelandic was frozen in time a millennium ago and is therefore the original Viking language. My YouTube searches seem to bear this out. It really does sound like something out of a fairy tale.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Here on the mainland, the popular idea is that Icelandic was frozen in time a millennium ago and is therefore the original Viking language

    Icelanders have told me that they have no real difficulty reading the Icelandic Sagas, and Wiki also concurs:

    Of the modern languages, Icelandic is the closest to Old Norse. Written modern Icelandic derives from the Old Norse phonemic writing system. Contemporary Icelandic-speakers can read Old Norse, which varies slightly in spelling as well as semantics and word order. However, pronunciation, particularly of the vowel phonemes, has changed at least as much as in the other North Germanic languages.
     
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  168. @AP

    Hence my fanatical opposition to the existence of Canada, New Zealand, Austria, and the Ukraine
     
    Ukraine doesn't belong in the category because it has a different language form Russian (it is more different from Russian than Norwegian is from Danish). Ukrainian is, actually, as close to Polish as it is to Russian. And it has a longer history with Poland.

    Ukraine has a noticeably longer history with Russia than with Poland. Ukraine and Russia, as well as Belarus understandably link their past with Rus – much unlike Poland.

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  169. @Greasy William

    Israel winning a regional war against whom, if I may ask?
     
    Syria/Hezbollah/Iran/Hamas for sure. Egypt hopefully but not guaranteed.

    I don't think the US will step in.

    Can’t say I understand.

    Like, Israel destroying Assad’s regime armed forces with Russians as they are there?!??
    And, Israel, what, destroying armed forces of Iran?!

    You serious?

    O.K. let’s step back a bit.
    “Winning a war” thing.

    What would be the objective of the war against Syria?Or, better, what would constitute a victory?
    And the same for Iran? What exactly would be considered as victory, for Israel, in that case?

    And both done at the same time, with just a material/intelligence help from US?

    Wow………interesting.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    Like, Israel destroying Assad’s regime armed forces with Russians as they are there?!??
    And, Israel, what, destroying armed forces of Iran?!
     
    Not the armed forces or even the regimes.

    The scenario:

    1. Israel invades S Lebanon and 1948's the civilian population. The IDF has openly stated that this is their plan for the next war as it will otherwise be literally impossible to uproot Hezbollah.

    2. Hezbollah drowns northern and even central Israel in missiles. International commerce and travel is completely shut down for the duration of the war (probably 2 months).

    3. Israel retaliates with a massive bombing campaign against Lebanon's "military and government" infrastructure. The target list will be deliberately broad and include every major road and bridge in the country, every TV and radio station, every local government building and possibly even escalating to power stations and water treatment facilities.

    4. Israel sends the ground troops directly into Hezbollah's bunkers to flush them out.

    5. It is at this stage that Iran and Syria realize that Hezbollah will lose if they don't intervene. Iran orders Hamas to open and 2nd front and Syria and Iran launch their own missile offensive against the Golan and northern Israel, hoping to bait Israel into an invasion.

    6. Israel retaliates with expansive strikes against Syria's military infrastructure, but keeps the target list narrow and doesn't invade, seeking to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia.

    7. Russia is furious over the attacks on Syria, whereas they were willing to live with Lebanon stuff. Putin tells Israel to cease the attacks immediately or that Russia will intervene directly on Syria's behalf.

    8. Israel goes to the US, saying that Russia threatened them. The US sends a strong signal to Russia that it will not tolerate direct Russian intervention and will step in in Israel's defense if necessary. Both sides agree to begin working on an immediate ceasefire based on the status quo ante. The US, however, seeks to drag the negotiations out as long as possible so that Israel has time to defeat Hezbollah completely.

    9. Hamas, outgunned and under siege, agrees to a ceasefire after 3 weeks of fighting.

    10. The ceasefire negotiations with Syria and Iran bog down: Syria and Iran demand that the civilian population of S Lebanon be allowed to return to their homes, the US and Israel insist on "security guarantees" that prevent Hezbollah from re forming.

    11. 4 weeks in, Hezbollah has been driven out of S Lebanon. Nasrallah and most of the leadership escapes to the north and then into Syria to ride out the war.

    12. Russia steps up it's armament of Assad and starts cooperating more closely with Iran in retaliation for Israel's strikes on Syria, but seeks to avoid a direct clash with the IDF as long as Israel strictly limits it's counter attacks to Syrian/Iranian missile targets and spares civilian and government targets along with the Syrian/Iranian ground forces. Russia agrees to provide both Syria and Iran with the s-400 and the SU-35, as well as the most modern armor. Whether that actually ever happens is anyone's guess, but the agreement will be made.

    13. 6 weeks into the war, under heavy Russian pressure to end the fighting and seeing no way out, Syria and Iran agree to a ceasefire in place in exchange for UN resolution calling on Israel to immediately evacuate S Lebanon and allow the refugees to return. Everybody knows the resolution will never be implemented Syria and Iran have to take what they can get at this stage, thinking that they will be in better position for the next war. Also the US provides an iron clad guarantee that Israel will not build settlements in S Lebanon as they did in the Sinai, Gaza and Judea and Samaria (what you call the West Bank).


    what do you think?
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  170. @Jon0815

    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven’t been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.
     
    I don't know how reliable this poll is, but it shows Poroshenko falling to 4th place with 9.8% in February 2018, down from 1st place with 18.3% in September 2017. Tymoshenko leads with 24.6%.

    If that's accurate, it seems Russian nationalist AK has a more positive view of the present state of Ukraine, than the Ukrainian people do.

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=753&page=1

    Also. the same poll shows the Opposition Bloc rising from a tie for 5th place last September with 8.1%, to 3rd place in February with 12.4%, 10 points behind the leading Tymoshenko bloc.

    Thanks for the update.

    As I said, I was not following the polls, and must admit to some surprise that Poroshenko seems to be collapsing of late (even if there’s still a year to go to the Presidential elections).

    Still, I don’t know if that undermines my point.

    First, Opposition Block remain completely irrelevant. And those polls show the main shift has actually been towards populist nationalist forces.

    Second, so Tymoshenko wins – that will be an improvement for Donbass or Russia, how?

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    • Replies: @AP

    As I said, I was not following the polls, and must admit to some surprise that Poroshenko seems to be collapsing of late (even if there’s still a year to go to the Presidential elections).

    Still, I don’t know if that undermines my point.
     
    It doesn't, the pro-Western course is solid, people are pleased with it, but they are just disappointed with corruption so many of them want someone else to continue the pro-Western course.

    Not that she will necessarily be less corrupt once in power, but who knows.

    Of course, if Ukraine's improvement accelerates (predicted 3+% growth in 2018, vs. 2% in 2017) his ratings may improve.

    Second, so Tymoshenko wins – that will be an improvement for Donbass or Russia, how?
     
    On the one hand, she was traditionally nationalist, while Poroshenko had been a founding member of the Party of Regions. On the other hand, Tymoshenko seems to have had a decent working relationship with Putin when she was PM.
    , @Jon0815

    As I said, I was not following the polls, and must admit to some surprise that Poroshenko seems to be collapsing of late (even if there’s still a year to go to the Presidential elections).

    Still, I don’t know if that undermines my point.

    First, Opposition Block remain completely irrelevant. And those polls show the main shift has actually been towards populist nationalist forces.

    Second, so Tymoshenko wins – that will be an improvement for Donbass or Russia, how?
     

    I don't disagree with your main point that there is little chance of a Ukrainian collapse, but I do think that your post seemed too optimistic about Ukraine, and Ukrainians' disillusionment with Poroshenko supports that. For a country with First World intellectual capital and Third World per capita GDP, 2 or 3% growth is feeble, and not really a recovery except in the most technical sense.

    It's unfortunate that Ukrainians aren't yet disillusioned with Maidanism itself, instead apparently preferring to believe that the fault lies merely in Poroshenko's execution. But once Tymoshenko also fails to deliver healthy growth, reduced corruption, and EU membership, Ukrainians might begin to consider that perhaps (pseudo)nationalism and estrangement from Russia isn't the best path. So while Tymoshenko winning probably won't be much of an improvement, it may be a necessary step, in that it will make it harder for Ukrainians to convince themselves the problem is simply that True Maidanism hasn't been tried.

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  171. Icelandic seems to be roughly 20% further from Swedish, than Ukrainian is from Russian, according to the chart you posted, so if distance on chart equals level of intelligibility, you have an idea of how Ukrainian is for a Russian.

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  172. @Mikhail
    Really!?

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians:

    https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=9yuwWvX8CKHH5gKt87q4Aw&q=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&oq=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&gs_l=psy-ab.12...646.10364.0.12664.42.31.0.11.11.0.174.2392.28j3.31.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.41.2384...0j0i131k1j0i22i30k1j33i22i29i30k1j0i13i30k1.0.96nCF13lXmM

    There's also the shared Cyrillic alphabet among Russians and Ukrainians.

    You earlier said that some Russians mistake Surzyhk for Ukrainian. There's also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian. I'm not referring to Rusyn, which I've been told is (in overall terms) closer to Russian than Ukrainian.

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians

    You speak none of those three languages so your guesses just correspond to your wishes.

    There’s also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian.

    The Galician dialect has mostly disappeared. Last summer, I heard it only in some distant village when my car got stuck. Everyone in Lviv speaks standard literary Ukrainian. They have a clipped, abrupt sort of accent but it is completely standard Ukrainian in vocabulary and grammar.

    An article about the dialect’s disappearance:

    http://lviv1256.com/lists/halytskyj-balak-yak-latyna-mova-lyudej-kotryh-vzhe-ne-je/

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Your wishful thinking isn't more accurate.

    Hitler knowing German didn't necessarily make him the most knowledgeable authority on German related matters. Likewise with what you say. I noted other sources that you didn't directly reply to. A similar thing happened awhile back regarding genetics and south Slavs.
    , @for-the-record
    The Galician dialect has mostly disappeared.

    Not in Spain! (sorry, couldn't resist)
    , @Philip Owen
    Actually, Galicians turn up at folkmmusic festivals in Wales claiming to be Celts. All three sorts actually. Spanish, Ukrainian and Turkish. The Spanish have a serious case.
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  173. @Jon0815

    Poroshenko has been running neck and neck against Yulia Tymoshenko. But with economic recovery picking up pace, he should pull ahead (I think polls already reflect this, though I haven’t been following them closely) and settle in for another five years.
     
    I don't know how reliable this poll is, but it shows Poroshenko falling to 4th place with 9.8% in February 2018, down from 1st place with 18.3% in September 2017. Tymoshenko leads with 24.6%.

    If that's accurate, it seems Russian nationalist AK has a more positive view of the present state of Ukraine, than the Ukrainian people do.

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=753&page=1

    Also. the same poll shows the Opposition Bloc rising from a tie for 5th place last September with 8.1%, to 3rd place in February with 12.4%, 10 points behind the leading Tymoshenko bloc.

    I don’t know how reliable this poll is, but it shows Poroshenko falling to 4th place with 9.8% in February 2018, down from 1st place with 18.3% in September 2017. Tymoshenko leads with 24.6%.

    It’s fairly reliable. If the trend continues it will be Tymoshenko vs. Lyashko in the second round, with Lyashko playing the role of Zhirinovsky, and Tymoshenko becoming president.

    Also. the same poll shows the Opposition Bloc rising from a tie for 5th place last September with 8.1%, to 3rd place in February with 12.4%, 10 points behind the leading Tymoshenko bloc.

    This is meaningless because the various pro-Western parties still have collectively over 70%.

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  174. @Mikhail
    Which is why I'm careful when making analogies.

    England, Scotland and Wales have more of a shared national togetherness when compared to Ireland. Likewise with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, when compared to Poland.

    Mikhail,

    You are right. Wales, at least for Welsh historians, conquered England at the Battle of Bosworth. The Welsh aristocrat Henry Tudor became king. When the male Tudor line died out, the Scottish King James became king of England as well. So Wales and Scotland have a share in English history. They were also, Wales in particular, early centres of the Industrial Revolution so they were very prosperous in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Ireland missed out on àll of this. It never had a share of political power or very much industry.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Appreciate the follow-up.

    I note that the Novgorod Prince Oleg resettled in Kiev around the time of the academically termed Kievan Rus. At a point in Rus history, more of its land comprised modern day Belarus than contemporary Ukraine.

    A prince to the Kiev throne developed the area in Suzdal near Moscow. He later attacked his rivals in Kiev ,in a matter that resembled more of a civil war than some outside invader.
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  175. @AP

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians
     
    You speak none of those three languages so your guesses just correspond to your wishes.

    There’s also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian.
     
    The Galician dialect has mostly disappeared. Last summer, I heard it only in some distant village when my car got stuck. Everyone in Lviv speaks standard literary Ukrainian. They have a clipped, abrupt sort of accent but it is completely standard Ukrainian in vocabulary and grammar.

    An article about the dialect's disappearance:

    http://lviv1256.com/lists/halytskyj-balak-yak-latyna-mova-lyudej-kotryh-vzhe-ne-je/

    Your wishful thinking isn’t more accurate.

    Hitler knowing German didn’t necessarily make him the most knowledgeable authority on German related matters. Likewise with what you say. I noted other sources that you didn’t directly reply to. A similar thing happened awhile back regarding genetics and south Slavs.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Hitler knowing German didn’t necessarily make him the most knowledgeable authority on German related matters
     
    No, but it would makes him more knowledgeable about what language sounds closer to German, for a German speaker. That is the discussion. As someone who speaks none of those languages you have nothing to contribute.

    I noted other sources that you didn’t directly reply to.
     
    You linked here:

    https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=9yuwWvX8CKHH5gKt87q4Aw&q=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&oq=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&gs_l=psy-ab.12%E2%80%A6646.10364.0.12664.42.31.0.11.11.0.174.2392.28j3.31.0&#8230

    Some results claimed Russian was closer, others that Polish was. The Russia-is-closer group predictably are politically motivated.

    Examples from your link:

    "From that point of view, Ukrainian is much closer to Russian than it is to Polish. It should not surprise us, as both Ukraine and Russia are the offspring of the Kievan Rus', a loose Empire centered around Kiev (882–1240). And for much of its history, the territory that is now Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire"

    "Czech or Slovak are the main languages closest to Polish. But those are not available to learn on Duolingo yet. You can try Ukrainian, it's pretty close to Polish. It's actually closer to Polish than it is to Russian"

    Swedish Family posted data from The Great Language Game, placing Ukrainian a lot closer to Polish. That's the closest thing we have to a mass poll.

    When, of these three languages, I spoke only Ukrainian, I found Russian and Polish to be about equally similar/different. Neither could be followed in a conversation though I could recognize phrases and words here and there. Polish pronunciation was more different and difficult to understand, but the actual words were more similar. A Polish friend joked that Ukrainian is Polish spoken with a Russian accent and written in Cyrillic - a gross oversimplification but with much truth to it.
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  176. @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks for the update.

    As I said, I was not following the polls, and must admit to some surprise that Poroshenko seems to be collapsing of late (even if there's still a year to go to the Presidential elections).

    Still, I don't know if that undermines my point.

    First, Opposition Block remain completely irrelevant. And those polls show the main shift has actually been towards populist nationalist forces.

    Second, so Tymoshenko wins - that will be an improvement for Donbass or Russia, how?

    As I said, I was not following the polls, and must admit to some surprise that Poroshenko seems to be collapsing of late (even if there’s still a year to go to the Presidential elections).

    Still, I don’t know if that undermines my point.

    It doesn’t, the pro-Western course is solid, people are pleased with it, but they are just disappointed with corruption so many of them want someone else to continue the pro-Western course.

    Not that she will necessarily be less corrupt once in power, but who knows.

    Of course, if Ukraine’s improvement accelerates (predicted 3+% growth in 2018, vs. 2% in 2017) his ratings may improve.

    Second, so Tymoshenko wins – that will be an improvement for Donbass or Russia, how?

    On the one hand, she was traditionally nationalist, while Poroshenko had been a founding member of the Party of Regions. On the other hand, Tymoshenko seems to have had a decent working relationship with Putin when she was PM.

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    • Replies: @Jon0815

    It doesn’t, the pro-Western course is solid, people are pleased with it
     
    Only 22% of Ukrainians think the country is going in the right direction according to the most recent poll I've seen (December 2017). The same poll also had support for joining the EU (50%, down from peak of 59%), and negative feeling towards Russia (48%, down from peak of 66%) at their lowest levels since March 2014 (when they were 52% and 45%), although still much higher than February 2014.
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  177. @Philip Owen
    Mikhail,

    You are right. Wales, at least for Welsh historians, conquered England at the Battle of Bosworth. The Welsh aristocrat Henry Tudor became king. When the male Tudor line died out, the Scottish King James became king of England as well. So Wales and Scotland have a share in English history. They were also, Wales in particular, early centres of the Industrial Revolution so they were very prosperous in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Ireland missed out on àll of this. It never had a share of political power or very much industry.

    Appreciate the follow-up.

    I note that the Novgorod Prince Oleg resettled in Kiev around the time of the academically termed Kievan Rus. At a point in Rus history, more of its land comprised modern day Belarus than contemporary Ukraine.

    A prince to the Kiev throne developed the area in Suzdal near Moscow. He later attacked his rivals in Kiev ,in a matter that resembled more of a civil war than some outside invader.

    Read More
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  178. @Swedish Family

    How well do you understand Icelandic?
     
    I only understand a word here and there, and its grammar seems very odd. Here on the mainland, the popular idea is that Icelandic was frozen in time a millennium ago and is therefore the original Viking language. My YouTube searches seem to bear this out. It really does sound like something out of a fairy tale.

    Here on the mainland, the popular idea is that Icelandic was frozen in time a millennium ago and is therefore the original Viking language

    Icelanders have told me that they have no real difficulty reading the Icelandic Sagas, and Wiki also concurs:

    Of the modern languages, Icelandic is the closest to Old Norse. Written modern Icelandic derives from the Old Norse phonemic writing system. Contemporary Icelandic-speakers can read Old Norse, which varies slightly in spelling as well as semantics and word order. However, pronunciation, particularly of the vowel phonemes, has changed at least as much as in the other North Germanic languages.

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  179. @AP

    Multiple sources say the contrary in line with my own experiences in discussing this matter with Poles, Russians and Ukrainians
     
    You speak none of those three languages so your guesses just correspond to your wishes.

    There’s also a Ukrainian dialect in the west of that former Soviet republic, which is noticeably different from standard Ukrainian.
     
    The Galician dialect has mostly disappeared. Last summer, I heard it only in some distant village when my car got stuck. Everyone in Lviv speaks standard literary Ukrainian. They have a clipped, abrupt sort of accent but it is completely standard Ukrainian in vocabulary and grammar.

    An article about the dialect's disappearance:

    http://lviv1256.com/lists/halytskyj-balak-yak-latyna-mova-lyudej-kotryh-vzhe-ne-je/

    The Galician dialect has mostly disappeared.

    Not in Spain! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

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  180. @Polish Perspective
    On the subject of whether Ukrainian is closer to Polish or Russian, the answer is: it depends what you measure. Genetically speaking (in a linguistic sense), it is closer to Russian. However, due to centuries of close contact between Poles and Ukrainians, there has been a large amount of linguistic intermingling between our peoples.


    This can be seen in lexical distance maps, such as the one below.

    https://i.imgur.com/ppmwsw4.jpg

    Ukrainian is close to both Russian and Polish but it is slightly closer to Polish in terms of pure lexical distance. In practice, it is very easy for a native Ukrainian speaker to pick up either Polish or Russian and you could say they are the mid-point between Poles and Russians. Closer genetically (linguistically) to Russian but somewhat closer to Polish in lexical distance.

    If I was drawing this map, so would put Celtic between Romance and Slavic Italo-Celtic is a recognized precursor. All those inflections in Latin. Also, from personal experience, I hear eerie ghost resemblances between Welsh and Russia that I don’t notice in English, French or German. Verb endings, constructions like Mae’n bwrw glaw/,идёт дождь which would be rain falls in English, never it’s raining.

    There is more to comparing languages than vocabulary but vocabulary is easy. You don’t have to learn the languages. Grammar and overall construction is much harder to compare. There are very few word borrowings from Brythonic (early Welsh) in English. On the other hand, the huge number of verbal constructions that English has I’m excess of German all appeared to be borrowed from Welsh. The meeting of uninflected Welsh with Angle, Saxon and Viking with different inflections and gender rules probably stripped English of inflection and gender.

    So, is there a lost third language underneath Polish and East Slavic dialects? Finnish? Turkic? Gothic?

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    And indeed a lost Celtic language.
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  181. @Mikhail
    Your wishful thinking isn't more accurate.

    Hitler knowing German didn't necessarily make him the most knowledgeable authority on German related matters. Likewise with what you say. I noted other sources that you didn't directly reply to. A similar thing happened awhile back regarding genetics and south Slavs.

    Hitler knowing German didn’t necessarily make him the most knowledgeable authority on German related matters

    No, but it would makes him more knowledgeable about what language sounds closer to German, for a German speaker. That is the discussion. As someone who speaks none of those languages you have nothing to contribute.

    I noted other sources that you didn’t directly reply to.

    You linked here:

    https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=9yuwWvX8CKHH5gKt87q4Aw&q=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&oq=is+ukrainian+closer+to+Russian+than+Polish&gs_l=psy-ab.12%E2%80%A6646.10364.0.12664.42.31.0.11.11.0.174.2392.28j3.31.0&#8230

    Some results claimed Russian was closer, others that Polish was. The Russia-is-closer group predictably are politically motivated.

    Examples from your link:

    “From that point of view, Ukrainian is much closer to Russian than it is to Polish. It should not surprise us, as both Ukraine and Russia are the offspring of the Kievan Rus’, a loose Empire centered around Kiev (882–1240). And for much of its history, the territory that is now Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire”

    “Czech or Slovak are the main languages closest to Polish. But those are not available to learn on Duolingo yet. You can try Ukrainian, it’s pretty close to Polish. It’s actually closer to Polish than it is to Russian

    Swedish Family posted data from The Great Language Game, placing Ukrainian a lot closer to Polish. That’s the closest thing we have to a mass poll.

    When, of these three languages, I spoke only Ukrainian, I found Russian and Polish to be about equally similar/different. Neither could be followed in a conversation though I could recognize phrases and words here and there. Polish pronunciation was more different and difficult to understand, but the actual words were more similar. A Polish friend joked that Ukrainian is Polish spoken with a Russian accent and written in Cyrillic – a gross oversimplification but with much truth to it.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mikhail
    The issue at hand involves more than myself and yours truly, with input that supports my contention. Fortunately, you don't determine what is and isn't acceptable.

    Put another way, the general view seems to be that Ukrainian is closer to Russian than Polish is to Russian.

    The Polish-is-closer to Ukrainian group predictably are politically motivated, in line with your earlier stated preference for Ukraine being closer to Poland than Russia and erroneously claiming that Ukraine was together for a longer period with Poland than Russia.

    What's said en masse can differ from what others say. A Slav Macedonian (for lack of a better term) said to me the Macedonian language is somewhere between Serb and Bulgarian - even though the prevailing view seems to be that Macedonian is closest to Bulgarian.
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  182. @AP
    Here is a map of official Ukrainian combat deaths in the war, by oblast:

    https://ukrsensations.biz.ua/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/28471286_831648510341411_7686004420892936246_n.jpg

    Dnipropetrovsk has given up the most lives. These deaths are generally attributed to bullets supplied by Russia; Dnipropetrovsk has become more nationalist than it ever was. This is one way in which Russian government policy contributes to Ukrainian nation-building.

    By killing Nazis and general lowlives*? Ukrainians do not care about your nation-building project – outward obedience masks sheer apathy, and nothing else.

    *That’s the kind of recruit that was being sourced from Dnepro, don’t bother denying it.

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    • Replies: @AP

    By killing Nazis and general lowlives...That’s the kind of recruit that was being sourced from Dnepro, don’t bother denying it
     
    It seems most of those combat deaths were regular army people. Not skinheads. Azov comes from Kharkiv. An example:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Air_Force_Ilyushin_Il-76_shoot-down

    According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, a heavy machine gun had been used to fire upon the aircraft.[6] According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office, the aircraft was brought down by MANPADS equipment.[7] It subsequently crashed at 00:51 local time (21:51 on 13 June, UTC); all 49 people on board died.[2][5][6][8] The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence blamed "terrorists" for the loss of the aircraft and troops.[2] The aircraft was reported to have been carrying 40 paratroopers of the 25th Separate Dnipropetrovsk Airborne Brigade in addition to its crew.[9]

    On 7 October 2017 the Security Service of Ukraine claimed it had established the involvement of the Russian private military company Wagner Group in the downing of the Il-76.

    So Russia kills the brothers, fathers and sons of Dnipropetrovsk people. And they remember.

    Ukrainians do not care about your nation-building project – outward obedience masks sheer apathy, and nothing else
     
    Wishful thinking.
    Reply