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What If Russia Stood on the Sidelines While Crimea Burned?
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One persistent criticism of Russia’s decision to annex the Crimea/support its people’s right to national self-determination [cross out as per your ideological preferences] is that it has had dubious benefits not just for Russia, but for Putin himself. This is a common take. For instance, as the 5th anniversary of Crimea’s incorporation into Russia approached, both Leonid Bershidsky and Nina Khrushcheva had articles to the effect that Putin is paying for Crimea. But this isn’t limited to the Western press. The liberal business newspaper Vedomosti recently ran an article in which supposedly high-placed sources expressed regret about the Crimean adventure.

Now I am sure that there are “systemic liberals” in the Russian government that were never happy about the Crimean adventure. For instance, the sorts who whine about no longer being allowed to go skiing in Colorado. Though it’s still probably ludicrous to portray it as a dominant or even significant sentiment within the elites. In a wide-ranging survey of Russia’s political and business elites in 2016 carried out by a Western polling organization, 88% of them disagreed with the idea that it was a violation of international law (10% agreed). This could be considered a proxy for elite sentiments on Crimea. It also happens to be entirely in line with public sentiment, with the latest VCIOM poll a few days ago showing an analogous 88% of Russians supporting the incorporation of Crimea. Both popular and elite sentiment would actually seem to be remarkably united on the “Crimean Consensus.”

However, it is also true that Crimea – and Russia’s consequent involvement in the Donbass – has also created problems for Russia, spurring on Western sanctions, “isolation” from the “international community” (with the caveat that this is largely equivalent to the West), putting a crimp on foreign investment and technological modernization of the Russian oil & gas industry, contributing to a deep and seemingly permanent collapse in pro-Russian sentiment in the Ukraine, and providing a new source of legitimacy for NATO. This “Cold War II” shows no signs of thawing, with the US Congress repeatedly mulling the possibility of declaring Russia a state sponsor of terror (and who knows? That might be well happen under a President Biden or a President Harris). Moreover, at least according to the journalist Mikhail Zygar in All The Kremlin’s Men, there was no unanimity amongst the kremlins on Crimea in early 2014; the “Crimean Consensus” was a post facto development. While hawks such as the Ukrainian-born Glazyev pressed Putin to snap it up – and more – there were reports that Defense Minister Shoigu was privately opposed*. There was nothing forcing Putin to make one decision or another. Whatever else it was, it was avoidable.

***

So did Putin make the mistake of a lifetime by incorporating Crimea? To answer this question, let’s briefly recap the history of the past five years.

Source: Levada.
Putin’s approval rating from 1999-2019.

Putin’s approval ratings had hovered at around 60%-65% ever since the fraud-marred 2011 Duma elections in December 2011, which spurred the biggest wave of protests in Russia for over a decade. Moreover, this happened in the midst of a modest economic boom driven by unsustainably high oil prices. They spiked to 69% during February, following the successful Winter Olympics in Sochi; this, however, could only have been a temporary boost. However, by the end of those Olympics, the Ukraine was in full meltdown; within less than a month, Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation. Putin’s approval soared upwards to around 80%, where it has stayed throughout the entirety of the past five years of economic stagnation until the recent pensions reform (which, by analogy with the similar dip in 2004-05 over the monetization of benefits, may well be temporary).

As Daniel Treisman pointed out in his 2011 book The Return, Putin’s approval rating had always tracked economic sentiment. But after Crimea, that link broke. Putin became a “charismatic” figure, a father of the nation, a regatherer of the Russian lands – above and beyond mundane trifles such as PMI’s and real incomes. This massive political capital carried him through half a decade of low oil prices, recession and economic stagnation, Western sanctions, fiscal belt-tightening, and a tight monetary policy that seems to have finally tamed the post-Soviet scourge of persistently high inflation.

***

Now let’s imagine what would have happened if Russia had sat on the sidelines in 2014.

First off, Russia would have been thoroughly humiliated in the Ukraine. Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles. The Ukrainian Army would have suppressed the uprising as soon as it had recovered its wits by mid-2014. The scenes of carnage that afflicted Donetsk would have instead visited Sevastopol, with hundreds of Russian dead as the Black Sea Fleet looked on from their barracks.

Amidst the ensuing mass arrests and reprisals, Maidanist Ukraine would have also quickly moved to evict the Russian military from Crimea (probably using the uprising itself as pretext). The West would back the Ukraine, perhaps rewarding Putin for staying put by throwing a few sanctions at him anyway for “fomenting” the uprising. By then, it would be too late to reverse course. Note that the bloodless takeover of Crimea was only possibly due to the temporary incapacitation of the Ukrainian government in the critical early months of 2014. At this point, Russia could have easily overrun most of Novorossiya, if it wanted to – that region probably had no more troops than the 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers who readily surrendered in Crimea. But the Ukraine had started to recover by the summer. Attempting a Crimean Anschluss just months later would have been a far bloodier affair and would have invited far more Western sanctions than it actually got to date.

Sure, Ukrainian anti-Russian sentiment would not be quite as high as it was – though perhaps not by much, as a bloody showdown in the Crimea had in any case become inevitable. In the meantime, the Ukraine would still be firmly orientated towards the West and Euro-Atlantic integration; there would be no territorial disputes complicating NATO accession; and the NATO countries themselves might well feel more comfortable in courting the Ukraine, due to the lack of any credible Russian response. Note that all of this is independent of Ukrainian sentiments towards Russia. When NATO expanded east, in contravention of verbal promises made by the Americans to Gorbachev, not all the target countries were enthusiastic about it; but since it was approximately the 20th item on voters’ priority lists in places like Bulgaria, local elites had no incentives to listen to public opinion on the matter. Ergo for the Ukraine; while Ukrainian opinion was hostile to NATO prior to 2014 (and is ambiguous even today), the Maidanist elites would have had zero problems pushing it along regardless, just as their Orange predecessors had done in 2005-2010.

Consequently, the oft repeated assertion that Russia “gained Crimea, but lost Ukraine” is a false dichotomy. It lost the Ukraine when the Maidan seized power in Kiev. Russia merely salvaged Crimea.

Nor would there be any realistic prospects of this situation getting electorally reversed. Even the 2010 victory of Yanukovych was the result of an unlikely confluence of a massive economic crisis coupled with the near complete discreditation of the Orange factions. But the Blue regions of the Ukraine are in relative demographic decline, whereas West Ukraine is the demographically healthiest region of the Ukraine; moreover, Ukrainian youth tend to be more Ukrainian, less Russian, and more pro-Western than the country at large. Even with Donbass and Crimea still within the Ukraine, pro-Russian parties would no longer be electorally viable.

Second, the Russian economy would have gone into recession any which way. Fundamentally, it was caused by collapsing oil prices, not the sanctions, whose direct effects in 2014-15 was estimated at just 10% of the drop in Russian GDP according to a 2015 report from Citi Research. The main difference would have been political: In our alternative history, it is a weak and feckless Putin – not perfidious foreigners – who would have been blamed for the recession. Putin would be without his post-Crimea Teflon coating – he would still be a fully “materialist” President, judged on “materialist” considerations.

***

While either one of these two setbacks would hardly be fatal by itself, together they might have well proved fatal for the Putin regime.

First off, the Sochi bump would vanish overnight, returning his approval ratings to 60%. For context, when they were last at this level, there were 100,000 strong protests over electoral falsifications in Moscow, which resulted in some systemic liberals such as Kudrin openly courting the opposition, and some of the Kremlin’s own pocket parties such as Fair Russia briefly experimenting with political autonomy. Now imagine what an approval rating of 40% would look like.

Because second, you’d probably have a 20% collapse in approval ratings as the economy skittered downhill. There would also be major discontent in connection with events in the Ukraine. It would not be as electorally damaging as a prolonged recession, perhaps only dropping Putin’s support by a further 10%. But there is one way in which it would, perhaps, be even more dangerous for the kremlins: It would have completely destroyed Putin’s status amongst Russian nationalists. Considering the sad experiences of Sadat (assassinated by an Islamist), or of Milosevic (overthrown by nationalists), that’s a risky strategy in its own right. Nationalists might not be electorally very important, but they sure have super high passionarity. Liberals aren’t going to charge into a hail of bullets for gay rights; nationalists will do that for the Fatherland. For that matter, the Ukraine itself showed us that with its own Euromaidan.

And this isn’t even the end of the cavalcade of problems that would have beset the kremlins.

The Russian military is, politically, patriotic-nationalist (~70% vote for United Russia, another ~20% for the LDPR). They would be quietly aghast at being ordered to retreat from the Crimea. While Russia has no tradition of military coups as in Latin America or the Arab world, murmurings in the ranks is something the leadership could do without.

With plummeting approval ratings and elite defections, more and more of the old oligarchs might be tempted to revise their contract with Putin to stay out of politics.

Finally, we know that Russia was planning to intervene in Syria regardless (its Ukraine involvement merely delayed its deployment there by about a year). With domestic and foreign policy in flames, it is plausible that the kremlins would be even more tempted to seek out a “small, victorious war” in the Far ABroad. But given the changed international context, things may not have played out as well as they actually did. First, even in the context of Crimea, today’s most common Russian nationalist counter-argument against involvement in Syria – “Let’s fight a nuclear war not over our own people but over some oil refinery in a Middle Eastern shithole”*** – would acquire much more potency if said “own people” were Russian Crimeans, as opposed to the Sovietized Russo-Ukrainians of the Donbass. Second, Russia’s evident domestic fragility and inability to credibly promise retaliation would have upped US incentives to straight out militarily force Russia out of Syria after one White Helmet performance or another. Said victorious war could have ended in another Tsushima.

***

At this point, in a world where Shoigu won over Glazyev, we are approaching the 2018 elections and there seems to be no way out for the regime.

The recession, the second in half a decade, is blamed entirely on Putin – and there’s a good chance it would have been a deeper recession than what actually happened (as it would have been accompanied by deep political unrest). Putin’s approval ratings are in the gutter at 30% at best. The old oligarchs and systemic liberals defect to a charismatic and telegenic opposition leader such as Navalny, whose ratings are now competitive with Putin’s (instead of having been destroyed by his opposition to Crimea). Putin would not have bought any good will from liberals who will hate him regardless, while nationalists and patriots of absolutely all stripes would despise him no less by this point, giving the protesters a hard core of fighters. The riot police and the military would be unenthusiastic at best; local United Russia officials in charge of the polling stations would suddenly develop a newfound respect for the sanctity of the electoral process, since the survival of the regime and their own legal immunity could no longer be assured. Moreover, coupled with heavy Western support for regime change in Russia, it is almost inevitable that this combination would lead – if not to a liberal/nationalist-driven color revolution in Russia – then to a heavy and violent clampdown. This would invite hardcore American and EU sanctions, perhaps more severe than anything we have actually seen to date.

Alternatively, the Moscow Maidan could succeed, to be almost inevitably followed up by disappointment as NATO drives up to Kharkov and Tbilisi to consolidate its gains, Chechnya kicks off its third war for independence, and any renewed hopes of genuine anti-corruption reform and Euro-integration dwindle as what is left of the Russian economy is again divvied up between oligarchs and former regime insiders.

Now to be fair, most of this would be music to the ears of the sort of people who write that Putin is “paying” for his mistake in Crimea. However, it would also be fair to say that their interests are hardly aligned with that of the Russian people, let alone Putin himself. They are not exactly impartial observers.

Now I don’t claim to know why Putin chose to go ahead with Crimea and act like a Russian nationalist for a few months in 2014. Perhaps it was based on cold cost/benefit calculations like these. Perhaps it was borne of a more general sense of historical mission. The philosopher whom Putin has quoted more than any other is Ivan Ilyin, a stalwart anti-Communist emigre, who subscribed to the standard White position of a “Great Russia, United and Indivisible” and whose views on the Ukraine followed from that.

Regardless of Putin’s ultimate reasons, Crimea was definitely not a mistake.

Not a mistake from Russia’s point of view – at least so long as one doesn’t have an incredibly optimistic outlook on the desirability and feasibility of Western integration. And most certainly not a mistake from the point of view of the kremlins themselves.

***

* Moreover, this excludes those people who do think it was a violation of international law – it pretty clearly was – but who supported it nonetheless, and more besides (e.g. I would have opted for a land bridge to Crimea).

** In fairness, this was just a rumor. And a journalist with very good connections to the Russian elites has expressed deep skepticism about Zygar’s claim to me in private.

*** This is in relation to the Wagner debacle.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crimea, Politics, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin 
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  1. You’ve kind of put the horse in the front of the carriage here Anatoly, in your analysis. Had Russia not butted into Ukraine’s business, the Maidanist movement would never had picked up any steam.

    Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles.

    This is highly unlikely. Yanukovych wasn’t super popular in the Crimea, and not too many crocodile size tears were falling to the ground after his demise. The Russian language and culture would have remained intact there. You’ve never apparently been to the Crimea – Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.

    Maidanist Ukraine would have also quickly moved to evict the Russian military from Crimea (probably using the uprising itself as pretext).

    This is doubtful too. Ukrainian oligarchs had got used to receiving extravagant rent rated for leasing the naval station there. Ukrainian oligarch have never been loathe to receiveintg large Russian paybacks before, why would they start now? It seems incredible to think that they would.

    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Had Russia not butted into Ukraine’s business, the Maidanist movement would never had picked up any steam.

     

    I'm not interested in wading deeply into one of the interminable MAH UKRAINE DEBATES, but I will ask you a simple question:

    Do you live in an alternate mental reality where America didn't and doesn't butt into the business of the Ukrainian, let alone half a hundred other countries?

    If yes, I sure hope you don't vote in elections.

    Furthermore, if you are somehow possessed of the belief that the American state, in its meddling, is superior morally to the Russian state, then 1) I hope you don't pretend to be a Christian, because the American state doesn't even pretend to care about basic scriptural morality, and 2) LOL.

    And I sure hope you never get into a debate with someone smarter than me, someone expert in foreign policy - someone like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan - because you will not look very smart, buddy.

    , @Aedib
    That’s simply untrue. Remember “Promise them all, we will hang them later.”
    , @Anon

    Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.
     
    This is how Donetsk looked in March, for reference:

    http://insomniacresurrected.com/2019/03/16/why-donetsk-antimaidan-could-and-kharkov-couldnt/
  2. Russia took Crimea (which tried to get out of Ukraine ever since 1991). Net result – nobody killed. Russia did not take Donbass. Net result: thousands killed, maimed, and made homeless, and the war keeps raging for the fifth year, with no light at the end of the tunnel. No wonder the people in Crimea thank whatever gods they believe in for getting out of the madhouse unscathed.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
    I really enjoyed the article. I'm certainly no expect on Russia and have never visited either Russia or Ukraine. I only know what I read. But I am quite sure that, if Russia had invaded Canada, the US would have sent them packing with all guns blazing.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but did not the Donbass provinces also pass referundums in overwhelming numbers to return to Mother Russia shortly after Crimea did the same? With so many ethnic Russians living there I always wondered why Mr. Putin did not show a firmer hand by sending in whatever troops were necessary to overwhelm the Western-backed Ukainian army and prevent so much bloodshed? Indeed, if Putin had acted quickly, they could have rolled in the tanks and taken back Kiev if they had wanted to, No? What would have, could have, US/NATO done then? Or am I ignorant of the situation?

    Paul Craig Roberts has written that the ruling US psychopaths only understand force. Diplomacy is seen as weakness. Thus the Empire continues its advance to the very borders of Russia, with Nuclear War closer than it ever was during the first Cold War (per Stephen Cohen).

    What I would have loved to have seen was the ashen face of the dearly departed war criminal John McCain if the Russians had liberated Ukraine from the neo-nazis. As he famously said: We are all Ukrainians now!

  3. Good article, Anatoly! In regards to the legality of the Crimean annexation, Yes, it was probably illegal according to international law, but so was the Kosovo intervention, the Afghanistan intervention, and the Iraq intervention. If “illegal but legitimate” is a fair Western excuse for the Kosovo intervention, Russia can likewise say that its own annexation of Crimea was “illegal but legitimate.” After all, as you said, didn’t Crimea’s infant mortality rate fall in half after its annexation by Russia?

    As for going for more Ukrainian territory in 2014, do you think that Russia would have been capable of uplifting all of Novorossiya’s industry, economy, and wages to Russian levels while at the same time suffering from much more crippling Western sanctions (in comparison to real life)? I’m open to the possibility that a Russian annexation of Novorossiya could have gotten much more support after the fact as opposed to before the fact, but I nevertheless suspect that a lot of this would have depended on Russia’s ability to significantly improve the quality of life in Novorossiya. Sure, Novorossiya could eventually pay for itself, but it takes time to bring a region with a population of twenty million people up to Russian standards and Russian levels of prosperity.

    West Germany had a 3 to 1 population advantage over East Germany and yet managed to significantly uplift East Germany after German reunification (though not to West Germany’s levels, which is perhaps unsurprising given the very real possibility that a lot of East German cognitive elites moved west after German reunification). Russia has a 7 to 1 population advantage over Novorossiya, but this would be compensated to some extent by the fact that Russia is nowhere near as wealthy per capita as Germany is and also by the fact that Russia would have had to deal with extremely crippling Western sanctions while Germany did not have to worry about this after its own reunification.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    All very reasonable points.

    The foreign policy consequences of an invasion of Novorossiya are of course unknowable - at least to us.

    Perhaps the West explained them to Putin through Didier Burkhalter in May 2014: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/pompeo-demands-iran-capitulation/#comment-2338926
  4. definitely not a mistake. i argued on here when it happened that russia was doing the right thing and should certainly proceed. haven’t changed my mind since.

    what to do about ukraine was the less clear decision.

    the problem as anatoly notes is that when the next democrat becomes US president, they will probably go all out against russia. aggression will vary depending on which democrat it is, but things will go downhill.

    as putin noted in an interview 2 years ago or so, it doesn’t seem to matter who is US president, the direction of things stays about the same.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
    Unless they turned to Hillary, how would the situation with Russia go down hill any more than today if a democrat became potus in 2020? Would whoever replaces Trump pick advisors any more unstable and warlike than Christian Zionists Pompeo and Bolton, with VP Pence waiting in the wings? A democrat might even be preferable regarding war as they are now more pre-occupied with hating white men, taking away their guns, destroying the Constitution, enacting reparations, and promoting the LGBTQ agenda.
  5. Anatoly,

    How much of a sellout-crew are these “systemic liberals” you frequently refer to? Are they just a faction within the Russian government who wants to implement a limited rapprochement with the West while on the whole maintaining most of Russia’s sovereignty in ethnic Russian hands? Or are they on the other hand Boris Yeltsin style total traitors whose first move would be to hand over every last bit of the Russian economy to the dual-passport merchants and turn Russia into a whore of the “Western” elites?

    I feel like this is necessary context for foreign observers such as most of us on Unz to gauge the real danger to Russia inherent in Putin losing power.

    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    Follow-up:

    Was Yeltsin more of a traitor or more of a feckless alcoholic puppet for the traitors?

    Because the latter is the common impression among Americans who actually know who Boris Yeltsin is - including me.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    I think most of them are sooner in the latter camp. But there are many more pure opportunists who would go whichever way the wind blows.

    For instance, that acquaintance in Moscow that AP has mentioned from time to time (high ranking customs official, lives way beyond his means, praises Putin while his daughter gives birth in the US). In the event of a color revolution, I am sure that almost none of these people will be lustrated (just as very few of them were lustrated in the Ukraine). The color revolutionaries will indeed have to rely on such people to keep their hold on power.
  6. The mistake was the Russian customs blockade against Ukraine. It was impulsive and pointless (Glazayev must have been the instigator). The loss of Ukraine follows from that.

    • Replies: @Anon

    The mistake was the Russian customs blockade against Ukraine. It was impulsive and pointless (Glazayev must have been the instigator). The loss of Ukraine follows from that.
     
    Glazev came to Ukraine with numbers and has shown Ukrainians what would happen if they pursue their EU orientation. He was greeted with contempt and disrespect.

    The EU offered an overall really bad and disruptive deal to Ukraine, that could only be signed after a violent putsch.
    , @peanut
    Nobody remembers that, and probably did not know it at the time either. All that they will remember is that "we are poor and someone is to blame." Give it five more years and the US will own the failures, because the Ukrainian state should rightfully be recognized as Washington's marionette. It never was a Russian marionette, contrary to Western MSM claims.
  7. I know that this is more of a “serious post,” so I don’t want to fill this with less-than-serious comments, but, in all seriousness, just look at the pictures of the Crimea. It’s beautiful! At least as beautiful as the wonderful coast of Maine here in the states. Just imagine if we let the coast of Maine fall into the hands of a weaker power, like Canada or something. It would be a disgrace! Great powers don’t let weaklings take away land as beautiful as the Crimea.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Jayce
    It really is a stunningly gorgeous place. I've never been to coastal Maine but I thought at the time it was like what California must have been in some places before it got ruined. The views around Foros off the road between Yalta and Sevastopol were a particular favorite: if the sanctions ever ease up enough you can use ATMs again I'll take my Yangbucks there and retire.
  8. @Mr. Hack
    You've kind of put the horse in the front of the carriage here Anatoly, in your analysis. Had Russia not butted into Ukraine's business, the Maidanist movement would never had picked up any steam.

    Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles.
     
    This is highly unlikely. Yanukovych wasn't super popular in the Crimea, and not too many crocodile size tears were falling to the ground after his demise. The Russian language and culture would have remained intact there. You've never apparently been to the Crimea - Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.

    Maidanist Ukraine would have also quickly moved to evict the Russian military from Crimea (probably using the uprising itself as pretext).
     
    This is doubtful too. Ukrainian oligarchs had got used to receiving extravagant rent rated for leasing the naval station there. Ukrainian oligarch have never been loathe to receiveintg large Russian paybacks before, why would they start now? It seems incredible to think that they would.

    Had Russia not butted into Ukraine’s business, the Maidanist movement would never had picked up any steam.

    I’m not interested in wading deeply into one of the interminable MAH UKRAINE DEBATES, but I will ask you a simple question:

    Do you live in an alternate mental reality where America didn’t and doesn’t butt into the business of the Ukrainian, let alone half a hundred other countries?

    If yes, I sure hope you don’t vote in elections.

    Furthermore, if you are somehow possessed of the belief that the American state, in its meddling, is superior morally to the Russian state, then 1) I hope you don’t pretend to be a Christian, because the American state doesn’t even pretend to care about basic scriptural morality, and 2) LOL.

    And I sure hope you never get into a debate with someone smarter than me, someone expert in foreign policy – someone like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan – because you will not look very smart, buddy.

  9. @Felix.....
    Anatoly,

    How much of a sellout-crew are these "systemic liberals" you frequently refer to? Are they just a faction within the Russian government who wants to implement a limited rapprochement with the West while on the whole maintaining most of Russia's sovereignty in ethnic Russian hands? Or are they on the other hand Boris Yeltsin style total traitors whose first move would be to hand over every last bit of the Russian economy to the dual-passport merchants and turn Russia into a whore of the "Western" elites?

    I feel like this is necessary context for foreign observers such as most of us on Unz to gauge the real danger to Russia inherent in Putin losing power.

    Follow-up:

    Was Yeltsin more of a traitor or more of a feckless alcoholic puppet for the traitors?

    Because the latter is the common impression among Americans who actually know who Boris Yeltsin is – including me.

  10. But the Blue regions of the Ukraine are in relative demographic decline, whereas West Ukraine is the demographically healthiest region of the Ukraine; moreover, Ukrainian youth tend to be more Ukrainian, less Russian, and more pro-Western than the country at large.

    If not for maidan, Ukraine would have even gotten Crimea sufficiently ukrainised within another 15-20 years. I’m at least grateful that Ukraine had the good grace of having a meltdown before the point of no return was passed.

    • Agree: melanf, Anatoly Karlin
  11. @Mr. Hack
    You've kind of put the horse in the front of the carriage here Anatoly, in your analysis. Had Russia not butted into Ukraine's business, the Maidanist movement would never had picked up any steam.

    Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles.
     
    This is highly unlikely. Yanukovych wasn't super popular in the Crimea, and not too many crocodile size tears were falling to the ground after his demise. The Russian language and culture would have remained intact there. You've never apparently been to the Crimea - Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.

    Maidanist Ukraine would have also quickly moved to evict the Russian military from Crimea (probably using the uprising itself as pretext).
     
    This is doubtful too. Ukrainian oligarchs had got used to receiving extravagant rent rated for leasing the naval station there. Ukrainian oligarch have never been loathe to receiveintg large Russian paybacks before, why would they start now? It seems incredible to think that they would.

    That’s simply untrue. Remember “Promise them all, we will hang them later.”

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  12. I agree entirely that accepting the autonomous Crimean republic into the Russian Federation was not a mistake. The population was overwhelmingly in favour, the border is comparatively short and there was no appreciable risk of any sort of pro-Ukrainian partisan warfare.

    Novorossiya on the other hand was not already an autonomous republic, has an inconveniently long border with the rest of Ukraine and a small but significant proportion of the population would have regarded it as an occupation.

    Putin (as per usual) judged it correctly I think.

    • Replies: @Jon0815




    Novorossiya on the other hand was not already an autonomous republic, has an inconveniently long border with the rest of Ukraine and a small but significant proportion of the population would have regarded it as an occupation.

    Putin (as per usual) judged it correctly I think.
     
    Only if the choices were limited to "occupy all of Novorossiya" and the very little that he did.

    If in spring 2014 he had recognized and openly provided the DLNR with military support, sanctions would probably be no worse than they are now in reality, and Russia would never have suffered the PR disaster of the MH17 shootdown.
  13. “Said victorious war could have ended in another Tsushima.”

    Oh; come on. Obama isn’t Trump. In both ways: he would never allow something like the U.S. military destruction of hundreds of Russian military contractors openly, but he would be as aggressive as ever in making progress for the Syrian army next to impossible.

    “Now I don’t claim to know why Putin chose to go ahead with Crimea and act like a Russian nationalist for a few months in 2014.”

    It was pure tit for tat with the West, to make it clear future Maidans will be much more expensive than the more delusional types in the West anticipated. The important thing was to keep Ukraine out of NATO, and to salvage whatever political capital could be gotten out of the newly undemocratic Ukraine.

    • Replies: @Mitleser

    he would never allow something like the U.S. military destruction of hundreds of Russian military contractors openly
     
    That was a fake narrative.

    Among those stationed in Tabiya was a small contingent of Russian mercenaries. But the two militia sources said they did not participate in the fighting. Still, they said, 10 to 20 of them did in fact lose their lives. They said a total of more than 200 of the attackers died, including around 80 Syrian soldiers with the 4th Division, around 100 Iraqis and Afghans and around 70 tribal fighters, mostly with the al-Baqir militia.

    It all happened at night, and the situation became extremely complicated when the fighters from Tabiya entered the fray. A staffer at the only major hospital in Deir ez-Zor would later say that around a dozen Russian bodies were delivered. An employee at the airport, meanwhile, later witnessed the delivery of the bodies in two Toyota pickup trucks to a waiting Russian transport aircraft that then flew to Qamishli, an airport near the Syrian border in the north.

    In the days that followed, the identities of the Russians killed would be revealed -- first of six and ultimately nine. Eight had been verified by the Conflict Intelligence Team, a Russian investigative platform, and another was released by the radio station Echo Moscow. All were employees of the private mercenary company Evro Polis, which is often referred to by the nom du guerre of its head: "Wagner."
     


    The situation on the ground between Khusham and Tabiya on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, described by a half dozen witnesses and people who were party to the events, does not confirm Russian mercenary participation in the attack or even that they joined the fighting at all. Ahmad Ramadan, the journalist who founded the Euphrates Post and has since emigrated to Turkey, comes from Tabiya. One of his contacts fights for the al-Baqir militia and took the video at the site of the bombings. "If it had been a Russian attack, with many Russian dead, we would have reported about it," he said. "But it wasn't. The Russians in Tabiya just had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
     
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/american-fury-the-truth-about-the-russian-deaths-in-syria-a-1196074.html
     
    , @follyofwar
    Outside of John McCain and a few other psychos, I've read that most of NATO and the EU wanted no part of the bankrupt state of Ukraine as a member.
  14. I remember, back in 2010, I watched an interview with Tamara Guzenkova from the Russian Institute of Strategic Research, and she was asked this question.

    What if there was a banderovite putsch in Kiev?

    Her answer:

    Ukraine would lose Crimea.

    I can’t find it now, unfortunately.

  15. @Mr. Hack
    You've kind of put the horse in the front of the carriage here Anatoly, in your analysis. Had Russia not butted into Ukraine's business, the Maidanist movement would never had picked up any steam.

    Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles.
     
    This is highly unlikely. Yanukovych wasn't super popular in the Crimea, and not too many crocodile size tears were falling to the ground after his demise. The Russian language and culture would have remained intact there. You've never apparently been to the Crimea - Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.

    Maidanist Ukraine would have also quickly moved to evict the Russian military from Crimea (probably using the uprising itself as pretext).
     
    This is doubtful too. Ukrainian oligarchs had got used to receiving extravagant rent rated for leasing the naval station there. Ukrainian oligarch have never been loathe to receiveintg large Russian paybacks before, why would they start now? It seems incredible to think that they would.

    Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.

    This is how Donetsk looked in March, for reference:

    http://insomniacresurrected.com/2019/03/16/why-donetsk-antimaidan-could-and-kharkov-couldnt/

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Donbas had much greater pro-Kyiv citizenry than Crimea. Remember, the Azov Division was made up primarily of Russian speaking Ukrainain from the East. There was nothing similar to be compared to in Crimea.
  16. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Philip Owen
    The mistake was the Russian customs blockade against Ukraine. It was impulsive and pointless (Glazayev must have been the instigator). The loss of Ukraine follows from that.

    The mistake was the Russian customs blockade against Ukraine. It was impulsive and pointless (Glazayev must have been the instigator). The loss of Ukraine follows from that.

    Glazev came to Ukraine with numbers and has shown Ukrainians what would happen if they pursue their EU orientation. He was greeted with contempt and disrespect.

    The EU offered an overall really bad and disruptive deal to Ukraine, that could only be signed after a violent putsch.

  17. @Anon

    Right scotr goons would have been laughed off of the stage had they ever appeared there.
     
    This is how Donetsk looked in March, for reference:

    http://insomniacresurrected.com/2019/03/16/why-donetsk-antimaidan-could-and-kharkov-couldnt/

    Donbas had much greater pro-Kyiv citizenry than Crimea. Remember, the Azov Division was made up primarily of Russian speaking Ukrainain from the East. There was nothing similar to be compared to in Crimea.

    • Replies: @Anon

    Donbas had much greater pro-Kyiv citizenry than Crimea. Remember, the Azov Division was made up primarily of Russian speaking Ukrainain from the East. There was nothing similar to be compared to in Crimea.
     
    Azov comes from Kharkov. It is true though that Dnepropetrovsk supplied most meat for the grinder when the war started.

    Azov actually attacked protesters in Kharkov, and football hooligans from Kharkov also flooded Odessa on May 2.

    Kharkov, Odessa, the War in Donbass are images of what would have happened in Crimea. By the way, the "Right Sector" had cells in Crimea too. Remember that twerp Sentsov?

    Ad. Kharkov:
    http://insomniacresurrected.com/2019/03/16/14-15-march-2014-the-antimaidan-suffered-a-deadly-blow-in-kharkov/
  18. US State Department Peddles Ethnic Tension

    Re: https://www.usip.org/events/crimea-after-five-years-russian-occupation

    At about the 45 minute mark of an overly one-sided panel discussion, the State Department’s George Kent pointedly says that Crimea is Ukrainian in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages – never minding the majority ethnic Russian population of Crimea and the fact that Russian is the preferred language there.

    The likes of Kent conveniently (for their bias) omit certain realities. The majority of Crimea’s ethnic Ukrainians support their area’s reunification with Russia. Don’t need the JRL promoted Bloomberg writer Leonid Bershidsky, to acknowledge that Crimea’s reunification with Russia has been virtually bloodless, when compared to Kiev regime controlled Ukraine and the rebel held Donbass territory.

    On the downplayed realities regarding Crimea:

    https://www.academia.edu/37358188/Michael_Averko_Consistency_and_Reality_Lacking_on_Crimea

    • Replies: @Anon

    At about the 45 minute mark of an overly one-sided panel discussion, the State Department’s George Kent pointedly says that Crimea is Ukrainian in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages – never minding the majority ethnic Russian population of Crimea and the fact that Russian is the preferred language there.
     
    That's Russophobia for you...

    America promotes it, and America supports anti-Russian nazis.
  19. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack
    Donbas had much greater pro-Kyiv citizenry than Crimea. Remember, the Azov Division was made up primarily of Russian speaking Ukrainain from the East. There was nothing similar to be compared to in Crimea.

    Donbas had much greater pro-Kyiv citizenry than Crimea. Remember, the Azov Division was made up primarily of Russian speaking Ukrainain from the East. There was nothing similar to be compared to in Crimea.

    Azov comes from Kharkov. It is true though that Dnepropetrovsk supplied most meat for the grinder when the war started.

    Azov actually attacked protesters in Kharkov, and football hooligans from Kharkov also flooded Odessa on May 2.

    Kharkov, Odessa, the War in Donbass are images of what would have happened in Crimea. By the way, the “Right Sector” had cells in Crimea too. Remember that twerp Sentsov?

    Ad. Kharkov:
    http://insomniacresurrected.com/2019/03/16/14-15-march-2014-the-antimaidan-suffered-a-deadly-blow-in-kharkov/

  20. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mikhail
    US State Department Peddles Ethnic Tension

    Re: https://www.usip.org/events/crimea-after-five-years-russian-occupation

    At about the 45 minute mark of an overly one-sided panel discussion, the State Department's George Kent pointedly says that Crimea is Ukrainian in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages - never minding the majority ethnic Russian population of Crimea and the fact that Russian is the preferred language there.

    The likes of Kent conveniently (for their bias) omit certain realities. The majority of Crimea's ethnic Ukrainians support their area's reunification with Russia. Don’t need the JRL promoted Bloomberg writer Leonid Bershidsky, to acknowledge that Crimea's reunification with Russia has been virtually bloodless, when compared to Kiev regime controlled Ukraine and the rebel held Donbass territory.

    On the downplayed realities regarding Crimea:

    https://www.academia.edu/37358188/Michael_Averko_Consistency_and_Reality_Lacking_on_Crimea

    At about the 45 minute mark of an overly one-sided panel discussion, the State Department’s George Kent pointedly says that Crimea is Ukrainian in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages – never minding the majority ethnic Russian population of Crimea and the fact that Russian is the preferred language there.

    That’s Russophobia for you…

    America promotes it, and America supports anti-Russian nazis.

  21. Great counter-factual. What does “passionarity” mean? Sounds like a worthy Continental calque, like “solidary.”

    • Replies: @Hyperborean

    Great counter-factual. What does “passionarity” mean? Sounds like a worthy Continental calque, like “solidary.”
     
    It is from Lev Gumilyov:

    "He was the father of ethnogenesis theory, under which nations originate from regularity of the society development, and the “passion” theory – the human ability to sacrifice for the sake of ideological purposes, as Gumilev stated.
    “Passion” is a hereditary biological ability of the man, and “passion-field” individuals are creators of history, for instance, Prophet Mohammed, Alexander the Macedonian, Napoleon and Vladimir Lenin.

    To describe his ideas on the genesis and evolution of ethnoses, Gumilev introduced the concept of “passionarity”, which may be explained as the level of vital energy and power characteristic of any given ethnic group. Gumilev argued that they pass through stages of rise, development, climax, inertial, convolution, and memorial. It is during the “acmatic” phases, when the national passionarity reaches its maximum heat, that the great conquests are made."

  22. This “Cold War II” shows no signs of thawing, with the US Congress repeatedly mulling the possibility of declaring Russia a state sponsor of terror (and who knows? That might be well happen under a President Biden or a President Harris).

    Hell, the way things are going it might even happen under President Trump.

    … there was no unanimity amongst the kremlins on Crimea in early 2014; the “Crimean Consensus” was a post facto development. While hawks such as the Ukrainian-born Glazyev pressed Putin to snap it up – and more – there were reports that Defense Minister Shoigu was privately opposed*.

    Shoigu was OK with giving up Sebastopol? That would have been the end of Russia’s surface fleet right there! Is Shoigu tired of having to manage a navy or something?

    • Replies: @216
    France can barely afford to keep its De Gaulle running, and had no money to build the second carrier. The UK can't afford enough F-35s to fill the decks of the two new carriers, and has gutted the rest of the military to pay for it.

    I doubt the Kuznetsov is getting a replacement, wasn't it built in a Ukrainian shipyard?
  23. @Guillaume Durocher
    Great counter-factual. What does "passionarity" mean? Sounds like a worthy Continental calque, like "solidary."

    Great counter-factual. What does “passionarity” mean? Sounds like a worthy Continental calque, like “solidary.”

    It is from Lev Gumilyov:

    “He was the father of ethnogenesis theory, under which nations originate from regularity of the society development, and the “passion” theory – the human ability to sacrifice for the sake of ideological purposes, as Gumilev stated.
    “Passion” is a hereditary biological ability of the man, and “passion-field” individuals are creators of history, for instance, Prophet Mohammed, Alexander the Macedonian, Napoleon and Vladimir Lenin.

    To describe his ideas on the genesis and evolution of ethnoses, Gumilev introduced the concept of “passionarity”, which may be explained as the level of vital energy and power characteristic of any given ethnic group. Gumilev argued that they pass through stages of rise, development, climax, inertial, convolution, and memorial. It is during the “acmatic” phases, when the national passionarity reaches its maximum heat, that the great conquests are made.”

  24. @Mr. XYZ
    Good article, Anatoly! In regards to the legality of the Crimean annexation, Yes, it was probably illegal according to international law, but so was the Kosovo intervention, the Afghanistan intervention, and the Iraq intervention. If "illegal but legitimate" is a fair Western excuse for the Kosovo intervention, Russia can likewise say that its own annexation of Crimea was "illegal but legitimate." After all, as you said, didn't Crimea's infant mortality rate fall in half after its annexation by Russia?

    As for going for more Ukrainian territory in 2014, do you think that Russia would have been capable of uplifting all of Novorossiya's industry, economy, and wages to Russian levels while at the same time suffering from much more crippling Western sanctions (in comparison to real life)? I'm open to the possibility that a Russian annexation of Novorossiya could have gotten much more support after the fact as opposed to before the fact, but I nevertheless suspect that a lot of this would have depended on Russia's ability to significantly improve the quality of life in Novorossiya. Sure, Novorossiya could eventually pay for itself, but it takes time to bring a region with a population of twenty million people up to Russian standards and Russian levels of prosperity.

    West Germany had a 3 to 1 population advantage over East Germany and yet managed to significantly uplift East Germany after German reunification (though not to West Germany's levels, which is perhaps unsurprising given the very real possibility that a lot of East German cognitive elites moved west after German reunification). Russia has a 7 to 1 population advantage over Novorossiya, but this would be compensated to some extent by the fact that Russia is nowhere near as wealthy per capita as Germany is and also by the fact that Russia would have had to deal with extremely crippling Western sanctions while Germany did not have to worry about this after its own reunification.

    All very reasonable points.

    The foreign policy consequences of an invasion of Novorossiya are of course unknowable – at least to us.

    Perhaps the West explained them to Putin through Didier Burkhalter in May 2014: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/pompeo-demands-iran-capitulation/#comment-2338926

  25. @Felix.....
    Anatoly,

    How much of a sellout-crew are these "systemic liberals" you frequently refer to? Are they just a faction within the Russian government who wants to implement a limited rapprochement with the West while on the whole maintaining most of Russia's sovereignty in ethnic Russian hands? Or are they on the other hand Boris Yeltsin style total traitors whose first move would be to hand over every last bit of the Russian economy to the dual-passport merchants and turn Russia into a whore of the "Western" elites?

    I feel like this is necessary context for foreign observers such as most of us on Unz to gauge the real danger to Russia inherent in Putin losing power.

    I think most of them are sooner in the latter camp. But there are many more pure opportunists who would go whichever way the wind blows.

    For instance, that acquaintance in Moscow that AP has mentioned from time to time (high ranking customs official, lives way beyond his means, praises Putin while his daughter gives birth in the US). In the event of a color revolution, I am sure that almost none of these people will be lustrated (just as very few of them were lustrated in the Ukraine). The color revolutionaries will indeed have to rely on such people to keep their hold on power.

    • Replies: @hgv
    Slightly off-topic question: why was Ukraine so poor even before 2014, despite having a respectable industrial base and, I suppose, a qualified workforce? Since they are genetically very similar to Russia and Belarus, why such disparity between them?
  26. @E. Harding
    "Said victorious war could have ended in another Tsushima."

    Oh; come on. Obama isn't Trump. In both ways: he would never allow something like the U.S. military destruction of hundreds of Russian military contractors openly, but he would be as aggressive as ever in making progress for the Syrian army next to impossible.

    "Now I don’t claim to know why Putin chose to go ahead with Crimea and act like a Russian nationalist for a few months in 2014."

    It was pure tit for tat with the West, to make it clear future Maidans will be much more expensive than the more delusional types in the West anticipated. The important thing was to keep Ukraine out of NATO, and to salvage whatever political capital could be gotten out of the newly undemocratic Ukraine.

    he would never allow something like the U.S. military destruction of hundreds of Russian military contractors openly

    That was a fake narrative.

    Among those stationed in Tabiya was a small contingent of Russian mercenaries. But the two militia sources said they did not participate in the fighting. Still, they said, 10 to 20 of them did in fact lose their lives. They said a total of more than 200 of the attackers died, including around 80 Syrian soldiers with the 4th Division, around 100 Iraqis and Afghans and around 70 tribal fighters, mostly with the al-Baqir militia.

    It all happened at night, and the situation became extremely complicated when the fighters from Tabiya entered the fray. A staffer at the only major hospital in Deir ez-Zor would later say that around a dozen Russian bodies were delivered. An employee at the airport, meanwhile, later witnessed the delivery of the bodies in two Toyota pickup trucks to a waiting Russian transport aircraft that then flew to Qamishli, an airport near the Syrian border in the north.

    In the days that followed, the identities of the Russians killed would be revealed — first of six and ultimately nine. Eight had been verified by the Conflict Intelligence Team, a Russian investigative platform, and another was released by the radio station Echo Moscow. All were employees of the private mercenary company Evro Polis, which is often referred to by the nom du guerre of its head: “Wagner.”

    The situation on the ground between Khusham and Tabiya on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, described by a half dozen witnesses and people who were party to the events, does not confirm Russian mercenary participation in the attack or even that they joined the fighting at all. Ahmad Ramadan, the journalist who founded the Euphrates Post and has since emigrated to Turkey, comes from Tabiya. One of his contacts fights for the al-Baqir militia and took the video at the site of the bombings. “If it had been a Russian attack, with many Russian dead, we would have reported about it,” he said. “But it wasn’t. The Russians in Tabiya just had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/american-fury-the-truth-about-the-russian-deaths-in-syria-a-1196074.html

  27. @Digital Samizdat

    This “Cold War II” shows no signs of thawing, with the US Congress repeatedly mulling the possibility of declaring Russia a state sponsor of terror (and who knows? That might be well happen under a President Biden or a President Harris).
     
    Hell, the way things are going it might even happen under President Trump.

    ... there was no unanimity amongst the kremlins on Crimea in early 2014; the “Crimean Consensus” was a post facto development. While hawks such as the Ukrainian-born Glazyev pressed Putin to snap it up – and more – there were reports that Defense Minister Shoigu was privately opposed*.
     
    Shoigu was OK with giving up Sebastopol? That would have been the end of Russia's surface fleet right there! Is Shoigu tired of having to manage a navy or something?

    France can barely afford to keep its De Gaulle running, and had no money to build the second carrier. The UK can’t afford enough F-35s to fill the decks of the two new carriers, and has gutted the rest of the military to pay for it.

    I doubt the Kuznetsov is getting a replacement, wasn’t it built in a Ukrainian shipyard?

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    It was built in a Soviet shipyard.
  28. @216
    France can barely afford to keep its De Gaulle running, and had no money to build the second carrier. The UK can't afford enough F-35s to fill the decks of the two new carriers, and has gutted the rest of the military to pay for it.

    I doubt the Kuznetsov is getting a replacement, wasn't it built in a Ukrainian shipyard?

    It was built in a Soviet shipyard.

    • Replies: @216
    Obviously the Nimitz was built in a Confederate shipyard
  29. @Mitleser
    It was built in a Soviet shipyard.

    Obviously the Nimitz was built in a Confederate shipyard

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    And it could fly before the North gutted it.

    https://archive.fo/WJYq4/84dff1458ffd54da7e9ce5c3b6ecea426f5c9952.png
  30. @216
    Obviously the Nimitz was built in a Confederate shipyard

    And it could fly before the North gutted it.

  31. @MarkU
    I agree entirely that accepting the autonomous Crimean republic into the Russian Federation was not a mistake. The population was overwhelmingly in favour, the border is comparatively short and there was no appreciable risk of any sort of pro-Ukrainian partisan warfare.

    Novorossiya on the other hand was not already an autonomous republic, has an inconveniently long border with the rest of Ukraine and a small but significant proportion of the population would have regarded it as an occupation.

    Putin (as per usual) judged it correctly I think.

    Novorossiya on the other hand was not already an autonomous republic, has an inconveniently long border with the rest of Ukraine and a small but significant proportion of the population would have regarded it as an occupation.

    Putin (as per usual) judged it correctly I think.

    Only if the choices were limited to “occupy all of Novorossiya” and the very little that he did.

    If in spring 2014 he had recognized and openly provided the DLNR with military support, sanctions would probably be no worse than they are now in reality, and Russia would never have suffered the PR disaster of the MH17 shootdown.

    • Agree: melanf
    • Replies: @Anon

    Only if the choices were limited to “occupy all of Novorossiya” and the very little that he did.
     
    I don't believe Novorossiya would be economically viable, and Russia was not strong enough economically to support it. That's why it was never created.
  32. States go to war if their core interests, those that ultimately could pose an existential threat, are compromised. That has been so right throughout history. Today it is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine: annihilation. The Ironic thing is, nations end up getting the very war they are seeking to avoid. From the Kremlin’s perspective, reasserting control over Crimea was essential to its security interests, giving a certain buffer zone against NATO encroachment. The lease on Sebastopol wasn’t going to last forever. But Crimea is one of many flashpoints between Russia and the West that could erupt into dangerous conflict at any time. History suggests the chances of preventing another world war are slim.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  33. @Philip Owen
    The mistake was the Russian customs blockade against Ukraine. It was impulsive and pointless (Glazayev must have been the instigator). The loss of Ukraine follows from that.

    Nobody remembers that, and probably did not know it at the time either. All that they will remember is that “we are poor and someone is to blame.” Give it five more years and the US will own the failures, because the Ukrainian state should rightfully be recognized as Washington’s marionette. It never was a Russian marionette, contrary to Western MSM claims.

  34. Anon[112] • Disclaimer says:

    I saw Rambo III last night. It’s POWERFUL. The Mujahedeen freedom fighters, carrying out the Holy War against USSR, who killed them in their thousands with chemical weapons, and bayoneted their pregnant women. In 13 years, all was to be turned upside down by George Bush – freedom fighters were just troglodytes who did not allow little girls to go to school. Eighteen year later, we are still in the “Mujahedeen = bad” paradigm, but how long do you think it will take for it to be flipped back?

    So, unless you are a five-year old, you would know that Russia has been demonized in the West for occupying South Ossetia, Lvov, the Baltics, and so on. On paper, US refused to accept the occupation of the Baltic states until the sixties, just like they do now with Crimea. In fact, Western powers went to war to keep Crimea in the Ottoman Empire.

    So how do you think”Russia lost due to Crimea recuperation”? De facto, there is no change between shit said by Obama, shit said by Clinton,and shit said by either Bushes.

  35. AK said:

    contributing to a deep and seemingly permanent collapse in pro-Russian sentiment in the Ukraine

    I don’t know about “seemingly permanent”. Measured by tracking poll, positive feeling toward Russia was 80% in 2013 (probably would have been around 70% with Crimea and DLNR excluded), hit a low of 30% in 2015, and has since rebounded to 57%. In Sept 2017, a referendum on Ukraine joining Russia’s customs union would have failed by 3-1, in Feb 2019 it would have failed by 2-1. In fact, a majority of Ukrainians now either favor joining Russia’s customs union, or don’t oppose doing so.

    And despite the pro-Western regions’ demographic advantages, this pro-Russian trend could potentially continue for a long time, since anti-Russian sentiment in western Ukraine is already essentially maxed out, while pro-Russian sentiment in the east has much more room for growth, as those regions become increasingly alienated from Kiev.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    You are right. Nothing increases pro-Russian sentiments in Ukraine as effectively as “achievements” of the Kiev regime. As things there go from bad to worse, and there is no reason to believe that this trend will change (regardless who “wins” the farce of presidential elections in a bit over a week), an increase in pro-Russian sentiments is likely to continue. It will only stall when Ukrainian populace finds the hard way that Ukraine will never again get from Russia what it used to before 2014, including not just cheap oil and gas, but also orders for its industry. The best even the most reasonable Ukrainian government can do now is stop digging, but Ukraine will have to get out of the hole it dug for itself unassisted. People rarely understand (or want to understand) that life is irreversible: you pay for your blunders long after you realize that they were blunders.

    This is reminiscent of the situation in Syria: the most vehement pro-Assad Syrians today are those who had an experience living under “democratic” Islamists. They learned first-hand that compared to Islamists, Assad, warts and all, is a godsend.
    , @AP

    Measured by tracking poll, positive feeling toward Russia was 80% in 2013 (probably would have been around 70% with Crimea and DLNR excluded), hit a low of 30% in 2015, and has since rebounded to 57%. In Sept 2017, a referendum on Ukraine joining Russia’s customs union would have failed by 3-1, in Feb 2019 it would have failed by 2-1. In fact, a majority of Ukrainians now either favor joining Russia’s customs union, or don’t oppose doing so.
     
    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union. Indeed, as you noted, a referendum on joining the Customs Union would fail 2 to 1 in Ukraine.

    Given the fact the Ukrainians prefer a European course over a Russian one 45% to 14% and that no customs with Russia cancels European integration, the 47% who would like no customs/no visas with Russia is a largely meaningless figure.

    pro-Russian sentiment in the east has much more room for growth, as those regions become increasingly alienated from Kiev
     
    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine's overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.
  36. @Jon0815




    Novorossiya on the other hand was not already an autonomous republic, has an inconveniently long border with the rest of Ukraine and a small but significant proportion of the population would have regarded it as an occupation.

    Putin (as per usual) judged it correctly I think.
     
    Only if the choices were limited to "occupy all of Novorossiya" and the very little that he did.

    If in spring 2014 he had recognized and openly provided the DLNR with military support, sanctions would probably be no worse than they are now in reality, and Russia would never have suffered the PR disaster of the MH17 shootdown.

    Only if the choices were limited to “occupy all of Novorossiya” and the very little that he did.

    I don’t believe Novorossiya would be economically viable, and Russia was not strong enough economically to support it. That’s why it was never created.

    • Replies: @mal
    I think it has less to do with the economy and more with Russia needing Donbas to go back to Ukraine as a federal subject to make Ukraine less attractive for NATO. Ukraine of course is not amused about that, and that's why they drag their feet on Minsk Agreements.

    I mean can you imagine pilots from Donetsk paining Russian flags on NATO F35 fighter jets? Talk about awkward. Even more awkward than US military fighting under Communist Red Star flags in Kurdish Syrian forces.
  37. Anon[296] • Disclaimer says:

    Re. “modernization of oil and gas”, it’s not the case that oil exploration is like Coca Cola. There is no secret recipe. (And even Coca Cola’s “secret” is just marketing BS.) Engineers learn how to do that in public schools, and then do it wherever they pay is best. Note that oil engineers are some of the best paid in the Western world, but they do not cast nearly as much as the millionaires know-nothing Russia tends to import, such as the parasites involved in TNK-BP. Robert Dudley knows less about oil extraction than a middling college graduate, and costed Russia thousands of times more. In fact, assuming Robert Dudley is indispensable to modern oil extraction is as logical as believing that Donald Trump is a great bricklayer, and his collaboration is essential for building any tall building. Only someone who thinks Hasselhoff is a singer would believe it.

  38. “Note that the bloodless takeover of Crimea was only possibly due to the temporary incapacitation of the Ukrainian government”

    Plus the Night Wolves and the “little green men”. Obama admin hoodies whiffed on the biker gang…pathetic. I can tell you right now who my pick to replace Putin would be:

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

    Magnitsky Act was already in play. Weakening the credibility of the Russian state and shutting down Russian trade links with sanctions and soft power is the current strategy…apparently it’s not working terribly well…so much for vanity politics and the art of misdirection.

    The optimal strategy now for the Trump admin would be for NATO to wipe Crimea off the map…same for Venezuela and Syria…underscore the flaky mentality of Putins admin.

    How would Putin react? Ditch the inept (rock music corrupted) Medvedev and bring in someone like Sterligov? Maybe Putin should switch up now rather than wait.

    Give the Russian military brass more decision authority? Putin should have done that after 2005.

    Force Russians to learn English and harmonize Russian policy across the “vodka meridian”? Putin should have done that 20 years ago.

    Rogozin said on the Soloviev TV show that Russia needed 600 million people to defend the Russian land mass. How do you get a quick rise in population or tourism from prepotent gene pools?…by giving away free money?

  39. @Jon0815
    AK said:

    contributing to a deep and seemingly permanent collapse in pro-Russian sentiment in the Ukraine
     
    I don't know about "seemingly permanent". Measured by tracking poll, positive feeling toward Russia was 80% in 2013 (probably would have been around 70% with Crimea and DLNR excluded), hit a low of 30% in 2015, and has since rebounded to 57%. In Sept 2017, a referendum on Ukraine joining Russia's customs union would have failed by 3-1, in Feb 2019 it would have failed by 2-1. In fact, a majority of Ukrainians now either favor joining Russia's customs union, or don't oppose doing so.

    And despite the pro-Western regions' demographic advantages, this pro-Russian trend could potentially continue for a long time, since anti-Russian sentiment in western Ukraine is already essentially maxed out, while pro-Russian sentiment in the east has much more room for growth, as those regions become increasingly alienated from Kiev.

    You are right. Nothing increases pro-Russian sentiments in Ukraine as effectively as “achievements” of the Kiev regime. As things there go from bad to worse, and there is no reason to believe that this trend will change (regardless who “wins” the farce of presidential elections in a bit over a week), an increase in pro-Russian sentiments is likely to continue. It will only stall when Ukrainian populace finds the hard way that Ukraine will never again get from Russia what it used to before 2014, including not just cheap oil and gas, but also orders for its industry. The best even the most reasonable Ukrainian government can do now is stop digging, but Ukraine will have to get out of the hole it dug for itself unassisted. People rarely understand (or want to understand) that life is irreversible: you pay for your blunders long after you realize that they were blunders.

    This is reminiscent of the situation in Syria: the most vehement pro-Assad Syrians today are those who had an experience living under “democratic” Islamists. They learned first-hand that compared to Islamists, Assad, warts and all, is a godsend.

  40. Anonymous[362] • Disclaimer says:

    Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles. The Ukrainian Army would have suppressed the uprising as soon as it had recovered its wits by mid-2014. The scenes of carnage that afflicted Donetsk

    Hahaha, surely, you cant be serious. Have you been watching too much Putin TV, Mr Karlin? This is such an utter fairytale it’s hilarious.
    There were no separatists in Crimea and Donbass other than Russian military and mercs. Thats why Slavyansk or Mariupol welcomed Ukranian troops and not engaged in guerilla warfare against them. I can’t believe you are parroting the old Kiselev baloney about “peaceful miners and farmers armed with military surplus store bought hardware”.

    “Carnage that afflicted Donetsk” — you mean Russian troops invading it?

    Alternatively, the Moscow Maidan could succeed, to be almost inevitably followed up by disappointment as NATO drives up to Kharkov and Tbilisi to consolidate its gains

    Good, Russia should be in NATO

    Chechnya kicks off its third war for independence

    Yep, paying a tribute to Kadyrov and his cronies to drive around in golden Rolls-Royces is surely much better! Powerful take!

    …and any renewed hopes of genuine anti-corruption reform and Euro-integration dwindle as what is left of the Russian economy is again divvied up between oligarchs and former regime insiders.

    Right, because thats what happened in Georgia, Estonia, Poland etc. right? Wrong.

    Russia is falling behind the developed world in every single field thanks to the mafia in power. It’s beyond me, how anyone could possibly defend them, as opposed to rooting for their physical removal, so to speak.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Wow! This is way dumber than even State Department propaganda. This is at the level of the Ukrainian Ministry of Truth (Orwell was prescient).

    Now, how do you explain the results of Western polls showing that the great majority of Crimea residents prefer Russia over Ukraine?

    German polling company GFK
    http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf

    Gallup
    http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

    An inconvenient truth, huh?
  41. There were no separatists in Crimea and Donbass other than Russian military and mercs

    soldiers of the detachment of “Sparta”. Data published by Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, April 2015

    Donbass rebels: soldiers of the detachment of “Sparta”. Data published by Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, April 2015

  42. @Anon

    Only if the choices were limited to “occupy all of Novorossiya” and the very little that he did.
     
    I don't believe Novorossiya would be economically viable, and Russia was not strong enough economically to support it. That's why it was never created.

    I think it has less to do with the economy and more with Russia needing Donbas to go back to Ukraine as a federal subject to make Ukraine less attractive for NATO. Ukraine of course is not amused about that, and that’s why they drag their feet on Minsk Agreements.

    I mean can you imagine pilots from Donetsk paining Russian flags on NATO F35 fighter jets? Talk about awkward. Even more awkward than US military fighting under Communist Red Star flags in Kurdish Syrian forces.

  43. Crimea was a violation of international law

    Kosovo. Enough said.

    A very good summary article other then the semi-compulsory reference to a non-existent concept: international law.

    I would add a key dynamic: what are Washington-London real objectives vis-a-vis Russia? There are two mutually enforcing and unchanging emotions and policies:

    1. Win once and for all the ‘Cold War’ against Russia. This must be done, all powers would think that way – it is simply baked into the situation.
    2. Long-standing dislike, even hatred, of anything Russian among the dominant part of the Western elite.

    Given those two realities, if Russia stayed put in 2014, they would be out of Sebastopol, NATO navy would eventually move in (and pay the Kiev oligarchs better), Russian sentiment would be gradually destroyed in Ukraine (‘assimilated’ as AP proudly says), and the relationship with the West would be even worse, nobody respects weakness.

    If somebody hates you, making concessions is meaningless. They will pocket the concessions and escalate. They will still hate you, and they will despise you. We have no choice in this existential fight – Russia’s actions are mostly irrelevant, as long as West is dominated by elites who want to try another Drang nach Osten to subdue or eliminate Russia, we are looking at a potential planetary catastrophe. Those are the fruits of hubris and the advanced infantilism among the Western elites. What Putin does, or what Shoigu thinks, cannot change that sentiment, it can only impact how this plays out.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    I mostly agree, except

    What Putin does, or what Shoigu thinks, cannot change that sentiment, it can only impact how this plays out.
     
    In fact, if Putin were as crazy as current Western elites, we’d all be either dead now or huddling in makeshift huts made of remaining debris of civilization, with no Internet, computers, or even electricity. So, what Putin does matters, although you are right that dealing with an irreconcilable enemy, you don’t want to give it an inch. My impression is that Putin’s dealings with the US and other Western “partners” follow tested English wisdom: “when you see your enemy committing suicide, do not interfere”.
  44. @Anonymous

    Right Sector goons in their “friendship trains” would have gone down to the Crimea to beat the separatists, provoking increasingly lethal street battles. The Ukrainian Army would have suppressed the uprising as soon as it had recovered its wits by mid-2014. The scenes of carnage that afflicted Donetsk
     
    Hahaha, surely, you cant be serious. Have you been watching too much Putin TV, Mr Karlin? This is such an utter fairytale it's hilarious.
    There were no separatists in Crimea and Donbass other than Russian military and mercs. Thats why Slavyansk or Mariupol welcomed Ukranian troops and not engaged in guerilla warfare against them. I can't believe you are parroting the old Kiselev baloney about "peaceful miners and farmers armed with military surplus store bought hardware".

    "Carnage that afflicted Donetsk" — you mean Russian troops invading it?

    Alternatively, the Moscow Maidan could succeed, to be almost inevitably followed up by disappointment as NATO drives up to Kharkov and Tbilisi to consolidate its gains
     
    Good, Russia should be in NATO

    Chechnya kicks off its third war for independence
     
    Yep, paying a tribute to Kadyrov and his cronies to drive around in golden Rolls-Royces is surely much better! Powerful take!

    ...and any renewed hopes of genuine anti-corruption reform and Euro-integration dwindle as what is left of the Russian economy is again divvied up between oligarchs and former regime insiders.
     
    Right, because thats what happened in Georgia, Estonia, Poland etc. right? Wrong.

    Russia is falling behind the developed world in every single field thanks to the mafia in power. It's beyond me, how anyone could possibly defend them, as opposed to rooting for their physical removal, so to speak.

    Wow! This is way dumber than even State Department propaganda. This is at the level of the Ukrainian Ministry of Truth (Orwell was prescient).

    Now, how do you explain the results of Western polls showing that the great majority of Crimea residents prefer Russia over Ukraine?

    German polling company GFK
    http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf

    Gallup
    http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

    An inconvenient truth, huh?

  45. Nice article Anatoly!

    I’m not sure you’re right about the annexation of Novorossiya having been desirable back in 2014-2015. Although I have no doubt that it would have been in Russia’s power to overrun the territory, and it probably would have been relatively straightforward to suppress any resistance there, I think it still would have been a mistake for another reason.

    The central threat from Maidan was always the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. If this were to materialize, Russia would be essentially indefensible, as Ukraine’s north-eastern border with Russia is merely a stone’s throw away from Moscow. The north-east of Ukraine is closer to Moscow than even the Baltic states. Russia would essentially lose all power to defend its independence in such a situation, as an attack on Russia would therefore suddenly become feasible for the West. With this in mind, it is central that Russia either regains control over not just Novorossiya, but everything east of the Dniepr, or restores friendly relations with Ukraine, in order to ensure its long term security against any and all conventional attacks by NATO. In the long run, it would be important to control all of Ukraine, period, not just Novorossiya.

    With this in mind, annexing Novorossiya would have been a mistake, as this would remove a huge chunk of potential pro-Russian dissenters from Ukraine, as AP has pointed out very often. Keep in mind that the north-east is largely Ukrainian, and sees itself as such; there would be no way to reclaim it without a sea-change in Ukrainian national sentiment, and this is best engineered by allowing the pro-Russian element in Ukraine to remain and resist vassalization by the west. So long as Ukraine remains in its current situation, i.e. seemingly permanent economic dysfunction and population collapse, it’s basically inevitable that Ukrainians will come to (correctly) associate their unenviable circumstances with their pro-western leadership. This, combined with persistent pressure from Russia, can help pull back Ukraine.

    The only alternative to this would be outright invasion to conquer the north-east, and this is also best justified by inflaming the conflict in Novorossiya. One way or another, so long as the West continues to be so hostile to Russia, it’s completely inevitable that Russia will have to ensure its security against the possibility of Ukraine being used as a staging ground. It would be best to turn all of Ukraine back towards Russia peacefully, but I don’t think any of this would be possible if Russia had annexed Novorossiya back in 2014.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    This might be an argument in favor of having Russia annex not only Novorossiya, but also the northeastern part of Ukraine, back in 2014, no?
  46. @Beckow

    Crimea was a violation of international law
     
    Kosovo. Enough said.

    A very good summary article other then the semi-compulsory reference to a non-existent concept: international law.

    I would add a key dynamic: what are Washington-London real objectives vis-a-vis Russia? There are two mutually enforcing and unchanging emotions and policies:

    1. Win once and for all the 'Cold War' against Russia. This must be done, all powers would think that way - it is simply baked into the situation.
    2. Long-standing dislike, even hatred, of anything Russian among the dominant part of the Western elite.

    Given those two realities, if Russia stayed put in 2014, they would be out of Sebastopol, NATO navy would eventually move in (and pay the Kiev oligarchs better), Russian sentiment would be gradually destroyed in Ukraine ('assimilated' as AP proudly says), and the relationship with the West would be even worse, nobody respects weakness.

    If somebody hates you, making concessions is meaningless. They will pocket the concessions and escalate. They will still hate you, and they will despise you. We have no choice in this existential fight - Russia's actions are mostly irrelevant, as long as West is dominated by elites who want to try another Drang nach Osten to subdue or eliminate Russia, we are looking at a potential planetary catastrophe. Those are the fruits of hubris and the advanced infantilism among the Western elites. What Putin does, or what Shoigu thinks, cannot change that sentiment, it can only impact how this plays out.

    I mostly agree, except

    What Putin does, or what Shoigu thinks, cannot change that sentiment, it can only impact how this plays out.

    In fact, if Putin were as crazy as current Western elites, we’d all be either dead now or huddling in makeshift huts made of remaining debris of civilization, with no Internet, computers, or even electricity. So, what Putin does matters, although you are right that dealing with an irreconcilable enemy, you don’t want to give it an inch. My impression is that Putin’s dealings with the US and other Western “partners” follow tested English wisdom: “when you see your enemy committing suicide, do not interfere”.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    I agree. What I meant is that Putin's actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.

    Putin could sit back and do nothing. Or he could start a nuclear exchange. Or anything in between. It would not change Washington policies. I would also point out that when someone is dead-set on committing suicide on their own, it is up to them. If they insist on bringing others down with them - as is the case here - it is a bit more intrusive. Trump was for a while a breath of fresh air - his 'why fight?' attitude was genuine. We have all seen how thoroughly that was dismantled. I am not sure what else can be tried, accommodation doesn't work, change in leadership will not work, we might just be f..ed...we literally have teenage-like under-developed minds with nukes calling the shots.
  47. @Denis
    Nice article Anatoly!

    I'm not sure you're right about the annexation of Novorossiya having been desirable back in 2014-2015. Although I have no doubt that it would have been in Russia's power to overrun the territory, and it probably would have been relatively straightforward to suppress any resistance there, I think it still would have been a mistake for another reason.

    The central threat from Maidan was always the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. If this were to materialize, Russia would be essentially indefensible, as Ukraine's north-eastern border with Russia is merely a stone's throw away from Moscow. The north-east of Ukraine is closer to Moscow than even the Baltic states. Russia would essentially lose all power to defend its independence in such a situation, as an attack on Russia would therefore suddenly become feasible for the West. With this in mind, it is central that Russia either regains control over not just Novorossiya, but everything east of the Dniepr, or restores friendly relations with Ukraine, in order to ensure its long term security against any and all conventional attacks by NATO. In the long run, it would be important to control all of Ukraine, period, not just Novorossiya.

    With this in mind, annexing Novorossiya would have been a mistake, as this would remove a huge chunk of potential pro-Russian dissenters from Ukraine, as AP has pointed out very often. Keep in mind that the north-east is largely Ukrainian, and sees itself as such; there would be no way to reclaim it without a sea-change in Ukrainian national sentiment, and this is best engineered by allowing the pro-Russian element in Ukraine to remain and resist vassalization by the west. So long as Ukraine remains in its current situation, i.e. seemingly permanent economic dysfunction and population collapse, it's basically inevitable that Ukrainians will come to (correctly) associate their unenviable circumstances with their pro-western leadership. This, combined with persistent pressure from Russia, can help pull back Ukraine.

    The only alternative to this would be outright invasion to conquer the north-east, and this is also best justified by inflaming the conflict in Novorossiya. One way or another, so long as the West continues to be so hostile to Russia, it's completely inevitable that Russia will have to ensure its security against the possibility of Ukraine being used as a staging ground. It would be best to turn all of Ukraine back towards Russia peacefully, but I don't think any of this would be possible if Russia had annexed Novorossiya back in 2014.

    This might be an argument in favor of having Russia annex not only Novorossiya, but also the northeastern part of Ukraine, back in 2014, no?

    • Replies: @Denis
    Yes, precisely. There is no reason to annex Novorossiya without taking the north-east. Annexing only Novorossiya without the north-east would have been a mistake, and unless I'm mistaken, Anatoly was arguing for annexing only Novorossiya.
  48. @Mr. XYZ
    This might be an argument in favor of having Russia annex not only Novorossiya, but also the northeastern part of Ukraine, back in 2014, no?

    Yes, precisely. There is no reason to annex Novorossiya without taking the north-east. Annexing only Novorossiya without the north-east would have been a mistake, and unless I’m mistaken, Anatoly was arguing for annexing only Novorossiya.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Speaking of annexation, I think you guys are confusing MIC-inspired Western propaganda with reality. Based on what I hear from people actually living in Russia, the prevailing sentiment is that Russia got rid of parasites (“brotherly” republics and “brotherly” countries) and does not want to reacquire them. That includes Ukraine.

    I was in Russia just last September, in Moscow and a couple of provincial cities, and drove about 800 miles on the roads in a rental car. In Soviet times neither the cities nor the roads ever were as good as they are now. So, I can only agree with Russian residents: when you get rid of a flat worm, you do a lot better.
    , @Mr. XYZ
    I don't know if Anatoly would have actually opposed conquering northeastern Ukraine if this would have been deemed militarily necessary by Russia. After all, northeastern Ukraine has relatively few people as well as a declining population and thus holding it shouldn't be too much of a challenge for Russia even if most of its population will remain opposed and hostile to Russian rule.
  49. @AnonFromTN
    I mostly agree, except

    What Putin does, or what Shoigu thinks, cannot change that sentiment, it can only impact how this plays out.
     
    In fact, if Putin were as crazy as current Western elites, we’d all be either dead now or huddling in makeshift huts made of remaining debris of civilization, with no Internet, computers, or even electricity. So, what Putin does matters, although you are right that dealing with an irreconcilable enemy, you don’t want to give it an inch. My impression is that Putin’s dealings with the US and other Western “partners” follow tested English wisdom: “when you see your enemy committing suicide, do not interfere”.

    I agree. What I meant is that Putin’s actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.

    Putin could sit back and do nothing. Or he could start a nuclear exchange. Or anything in between. It would not change Washington policies. I would also point out that when someone is dead-set on committing suicide on their own, it is up to them. If they insist on bringing others down with them – as is the case here – it is a bit more intrusive. Trump was for a while a breath of fresh air – his ‘why fight?‘ attitude was genuine. We have all seen how thoroughly that was dismantled. I am not sure what else can be tried, accommodation doesn’t work, change in leadership will not work, we might just be f..ed…we literally have teenage-like under-developed minds with nukes calling the shots.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Like people in the US say about Trump “a 70-year-old teenager”. Real problem is, he still sounds as the most reasonable person in DC. The other Beavises and Buttheads are even dumber. Sad.
    , @Swedish Family

    I agree. What I meant is that Putin’s actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.
     
    This is true, but it's important to recall how very different the world was 5 years ago. While I agree that the goal of the Western leadership was always to subjugate Russia, the EU of early 2014 still had lingering confidence in the inevitability of social liberalism (this is before Brexit, Trump, the migrant crisis, and Europe's nationalist reawakening). The thinking at the time was that countries like Russia would be slowly won over by interdependence, soft power, and a little assertive prodding here and there*. My impression is that this reasoning guided the EU until the downing of the MH17, when the hawks gained the upper hand, and crucially, that it also guided Putin's actions. If we take the position that internal politics forced Putin to take the Crimea and support the rebels in Donbass -- and I think this fits the known facts best -- then his other actions at the time look remarkably submissive (recognizing the post-Maidan leadership, agreeing a ceasefire, twice, at the very moment when the Ukrainians were beginning to crumble).

    * We have to give it to the EU that the same strategy worked like a charm on the Balkans and in Ukraine. It's now also employed to good effect in Belarus.
    , @Byrresheim
    Königsberg was not taken back when it was offered.
  50. @Denis
    Yes, precisely. There is no reason to annex Novorossiya without taking the north-east. Annexing only Novorossiya without the north-east would have been a mistake, and unless I'm mistaken, Anatoly was arguing for annexing only Novorossiya.

    Speaking of annexation, I think you guys are confusing MIC-inspired Western propaganda with reality. Based on what I hear from people actually living in Russia, the prevailing sentiment is that Russia got rid of parasites (“brotherly” republics and “brotherly” countries) and does not want to reacquire them. That includes Ukraine.

    I was in Russia just last September, in Moscow and a couple of provincial cities, and drove about 800 miles on the roads in a rental car. In Soviet times neither the cities nor the roads ever were as good as they are now. So, I can only agree with Russian residents: when you get rid of a flat worm, you do a lot better.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ

    That includes Ukraine.
     
    Does that also include Belarus?
    , @Denis
    Well, I've never thought that the average Russian has some kind of burning desire for conquest, in the same way that American neocons seem to, but that doesn't change the fact that the Russian government has a responsibility to defend the interests of its people, and in this case, that means ensuring that Ukraine and Belarus remain in its sphere of influence.

    I also don't think that Ukrainians or Belorussians are parasites at all, those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia.

  51. @Beckow
    I agree. What I meant is that Putin's actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.

    Putin could sit back and do nothing. Or he could start a nuclear exchange. Or anything in between. It would not change Washington policies. I would also point out that when someone is dead-set on committing suicide on their own, it is up to them. If they insist on bringing others down with them - as is the case here - it is a bit more intrusive. Trump was for a while a breath of fresh air - his 'why fight?' attitude was genuine. We have all seen how thoroughly that was dismantled. I am not sure what else can be tried, accommodation doesn't work, change in leadership will not work, we might just be f..ed...we literally have teenage-like under-developed minds with nukes calling the shots.

    Like people in the US say about Trump “a 70-year-old teenager”. Real problem is, he still sounds as the most reasonable person in DC. The other Beavises and Buttheads are even dumber. Sad.

  52. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    I know that this is more of a "serious post," so I don't want to fill this with less-than-serious comments, but, in all seriousness, just look at the pictures of the Crimea. It's beautiful! At least as beautiful as the wonderful coast of Maine here in the states. Just imagine if we let the coast of Maine fall into the hands of a weaker power, like Canada or something. It would be a disgrace! Great powers don't let weaklings take away land as beautiful as the Crimea.

    It really is a stunningly gorgeous place. I’ve never been to coastal Maine but I thought at the time it was like what California must have been in some places before it got ruined. The views around Foros off the road between Yalta and Sevastopol were a particular favorite: if the sanctions ever ease up enough you can use ATMs again I’ll take my Yangbucks there and retire.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    There is no problem in Crimea exchanging dollars for rubles, if you bring cash (say, like to Malaysia or Indonesia). Been there, done that. American credit or ATM cards don’t work, but you can use Russian ones. Just put money on your account in mainland Russia. In contrast to the US, you can do anything you want with that account via smartphone anywhere, even in the US. All you need is a smartphone with a Russian number.
  53. @Jayce
    It really is a stunningly gorgeous place. I've never been to coastal Maine but I thought at the time it was like what California must have been in some places before it got ruined. The views around Foros off the road between Yalta and Sevastopol were a particular favorite: if the sanctions ever ease up enough you can use ATMs again I'll take my Yangbucks there and retire.

    There is no problem in Crimea exchanging dollars for rubles, if you bring cash (say, like to Malaysia or Indonesia). Been there, done that. American credit or ATM cards don’t work, but you can use Russian ones. Just put money on your account in mainland Russia. In contrast to the US, you can do anything you want with that account via smartphone anywhere, even in the US. All you need is a smartphone with a Russian number.

  54. @Denis
    Yes, precisely. There is no reason to annex Novorossiya without taking the north-east. Annexing only Novorossiya without the north-east would have been a mistake, and unless I'm mistaken, Anatoly was arguing for annexing only Novorossiya.

    I don’t know if Anatoly would have actually opposed conquering northeastern Ukraine if this would have been deemed militarily necessary by Russia. After all, northeastern Ukraine has relatively few people as well as a declining population and thus holding it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Russia even if most of its population will remain opposed and hostile to Russian rule.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Considerations:

    1. Novorossiya has 6 productive oblasts, 2 not so productive ones (Lugansk and Kherson).

    2. I suspect Novorossiya would be "ok" with annexation (ranging from strong support in Donbass to 50/50 in Kherson and Dnepropetrovsk.
    (Argued this previously, don't want to repeat it).

    3. Even the most Russophile province in north-east Ukraine, Sumy oblast - which contains a substantial Russian minority - is still more anti-Russian than Dnepropetrovsk.

    4. Most of these regions, with the obvious exceptions of (highly nationalist) Kiev and Poltava, are unproductive.

    5. Denis' considerations were relevant in the pre-nuclear age, not so much today.
  55. @AnonFromTN
    Speaking of annexation, I think you guys are confusing MIC-inspired Western propaganda with reality. Based on what I hear from people actually living in Russia, the prevailing sentiment is that Russia got rid of parasites (“brotherly” republics and “brotherly” countries) and does not want to reacquire them. That includes Ukraine.

    I was in Russia just last September, in Moscow and a couple of provincial cities, and drove about 800 miles on the roads in a rental car. In Soviet times neither the cities nor the roads ever were as good as they are now. So, I can only agree with Russian residents: when you get rid of a flat worm, you do a lot better.

    That includes Ukraine.

    Does that also include Belarus?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    As far as I know (and my info is only “hear say”, inadmissible in the court of law, as I don’t live in Russia since 1991), prevailing sentiments are changing, and that includes Belarus and (before you ask) Armenia. A few more stupid statements or maneuvers of Belorussian “president” Lukashenko, and most Russians would feel that Belarus is welcome to go to hell. It would be an even greater hit for the Belarus economy than the “divorce” with Russia was for the Ukrainian one: Belarus maintains its current living standards to a large extent due to direct and indirect Russian financing. The people there appear to be smarter than Ukrainian residents, though: Nazis, although quite vocal in Belarus, have very little internal support. For “color revolution” the Empire might use Belarussian “liberals” instead, but those are a lot harder to herd than Nazis because of higher intelligence. Still, Belarus has a good chance of being cut off and sink low, maybe even lower than Ukraine, if that is possible.
  56. @Mr. XYZ

    That includes Ukraine.
     
    Does that also include Belarus?

    As far as I know (and my info is only “hear say”, inadmissible in the court of law, as I don’t live in Russia since 1991), prevailing sentiments are changing, and that includes Belarus and (before you ask) Armenia. A few more stupid statements or maneuvers of Belorussian “president” Lukashenko, and most Russians would feel that Belarus is welcome to go to hell. It would be an even greater hit for the Belarus economy than the “divorce” with Russia was for the Ukrainian one: Belarus maintains its current living standards to a large extent due to direct and indirect Russian financing. The people there appear to be smarter than Ukrainian residents, though: Nazis, although quite vocal in Belarus, have very little internal support. For “color revolution” the Empire might use Belarussian “liberals” instead, but those are a lot harder to herd than Nazis because of higher intelligence. Still, Belarus has a good chance of being cut off and sink low, maybe even lower than Ukraine, if that is possible.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    An added benefit for the West with Belarus going down to economically join Ukraine and Moldova would be that the die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another 'data point' to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus . They didn't have Maidan, ipso facto, the Maidan mistakes cannot be responsible. Without Belarus they may have to eventually reach for Guinea or Nepal.

    The relative prosperity concept is a strange thing: if my neighbour's cow dies before mine, I can declare myself a winner. And it is all about 'winning'.

  57. Small fix for the article: Egyptian ruler Nasser was not murdedered by Islamists (though they did try). His successor Sadat was.

    AK: Ofc, thanks.

  58. @Mr. XYZ
    I don't know if Anatoly would have actually opposed conquering northeastern Ukraine if this would have been deemed militarily necessary by Russia. After all, northeastern Ukraine has relatively few people as well as a declining population and thus holding it shouldn't be too much of a challenge for Russia even if most of its population will remain opposed and hostile to Russian rule.

    Considerations:

    1. Novorossiya has 6 productive oblasts, 2 not so productive ones (Lugansk and Kherson).

    2. I suspect Novorossiya would be “ok” with annexation (ranging from strong support in Donbass to 50/50 in Kherson and Dnepropetrovsk.
    (Argued this previously, don’t want to repeat it).

    3. Even the most Russophile province in north-east Ukraine, Sumy oblast – which contains a substantial Russian minority – is still more anti-Russian than Dnepropetrovsk.

    4. Most of these regions, with the obvious exceptions of (highly nationalist) Kiev and Poltava, are unproductive.

    5. Denis’ considerations were relevant in the pre-nuclear age, not so much today.

    • Replies: @Denis

    Denis’ considerations were relevant in the pre-nuclear age, not so much today.
     
    I really hope you're right about that, but for the record, I get my concerns from Kissinger, who expressed the same sentiment (regarding NATO expansion into Ukraine) in 2014. He argued then that Russia could never have NATO's strategic line so close to its center.
  59. Priss Factor [AKA "Asagirian"] says: • Website

    In a wide-ranging survey of Russia’s political and business elites in 2016 carried out by a Western polling organization, 88% of them disagreed with the idea that it was a violation of international law (10% agreed).

    International law? Like US military in Syria? Like US pulling off a coup in Ukraine with a bunch of goons?

    Law? What law?

  60. @AnonFromTN
    As far as I know (and my info is only “hear say”, inadmissible in the court of law, as I don’t live in Russia since 1991), prevailing sentiments are changing, and that includes Belarus and (before you ask) Armenia. A few more stupid statements or maneuvers of Belorussian “president” Lukashenko, and most Russians would feel that Belarus is welcome to go to hell. It would be an even greater hit for the Belarus economy than the “divorce” with Russia was for the Ukrainian one: Belarus maintains its current living standards to a large extent due to direct and indirect Russian financing. The people there appear to be smarter than Ukrainian residents, though: Nazis, although quite vocal in Belarus, have very little internal support. For “color revolution” the Empire might use Belarussian “liberals” instead, but those are a lot harder to herd than Nazis because of higher intelligence. Still, Belarus has a good chance of being cut off and sink low, maybe even lower than Ukraine, if that is possible.

    An added benefit for the West with Belarus going down to economically join Ukraine and Moldova would be that the die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another ‘data point’ to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus . They didn’t have Maidan, ipso facto, the Maidan mistakes cannot be responsible. Without Belarus they may have to eventually reach for Guinea or Nepal.

    The relative prosperity concept is a strange thing: if my neighbour’s cow dies before mine, I can declare myself a winner. And it is all about ‘winning’.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Psychiatrists tell me that mental disorders are incurable. All they do is try to suppress the symptoms. Based on that, the only thing normal people can do about maidanistas is leave them to their delusions. After all, they hurt themselves more than others, even though they hurt Donbass civilians quite a bit. They doomed their would-be country, whereas even Donbass still has a future to look forward to.
    , @AP

    die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another ‘data point’ to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus
     
    LOL, you are still hurting because I pointed out that 100 years after the disastrous end of A-H, the Czech people have crawled back to their relative position vis a vis Austria and the Hungarians remain far behind where they were in 1913 in terms of per capita GDP PPP. While only 4 years after Maidan Ukraine is at the same position relative to Russia as it was before in terms of per capita GDP PPP.
  61. Well-reasoned, solid article. I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks.

    I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.
     
    It wasn't, but the idea that it's somehow linked to Crimea/Donbass or sanctions against Russia seems pretty ludicrous.
  62. @Beckow
    An added benefit for the West with Belarus going down to economically join Ukraine and Moldova would be that the die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another 'data point' to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus . They didn't have Maidan, ipso facto, the Maidan mistakes cannot be responsible. Without Belarus they may have to eventually reach for Guinea or Nepal.

    The relative prosperity concept is a strange thing: if my neighbour's cow dies before mine, I can declare myself a winner. And it is all about 'winning'.

    Psychiatrists tell me that mental disorders are incurable. All they do is try to suppress the symptoms. Based on that, the only thing normal people can do about maidanistas is leave them to their delusions. After all, they hurt themselves more than others, even though they hurt Donbass civilians quite a bit. They doomed their would-be country, whereas even Donbass still has a future to look forward to.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Psychiatrists tell me that mental disorders are incurable.
     
    It follows:

    Donbass still has a future to look forward to.
     
    Hey Professor Janissary - I hope that your medical plan at the University covers mental disorders! Good luck with your recovery program. :-)
  63. AP says:
    @Beckow
    An added benefit for the West with Belarus going down to economically join Ukraine and Moldova would be that the die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another 'data point' to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus . They didn't have Maidan, ipso facto, the Maidan mistakes cannot be responsible. Without Belarus they may have to eventually reach for Guinea or Nepal.

    The relative prosperity concept is a strange thing: if my neighbour's cow dies before mine, I can declare myself a winner. And it is all about 'winning'.

    die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another ‘data point’ to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus

    LOL, you are still hurting because I pointed out that 100 years after the disastrous end of A-H, the Czech people have crawled back to their relative position vis a vis Austria and the Hungarians remain far behind where they were in 1913 in terms of per capita GDP PPP. While only 4 years after Maidan Ukraine is at the same position relative to Russia as it was before in terms of per capita GDP PPP.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Yea, sure. The most remarkable success is the growth of the external debt, which exceeded $114 billion by the end of 2018 (https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/external-debt).

    Could you please inform the readers how many clients will Ukrainian prostitutes have to serve and how many kidneys will Ukrainians have to sell to pay it off? How many generations would it take?
  64. AP says:
    @Jon0815
    AK said:

    contributing to a deep and seemingly permanent collapse in pro-Russian sentiment in the Ukraine
     
    I don't know about "seemingly permanent". Measured by tracking poll, positive feeling toward Russia was 80% in 2013 (probably would have been around 70% with Crimea and DLNR excluded), hit a low of 30% in 2015, and has since rebounded to 57%. In Sept 2017, a referendum on Ukraine joining Russia's customs union would have failed by 3-1, in Feb 2019 it would have failed by 2-1. In fact, a majority of Ukrainians now either favor joining Russia's customs union, or don't oppose doing so.

    And despite the pro-Western regions' demographic advantages, this pro-Russian trend could potentially continue for a long time, since anti-Russian sentiment in western Ukraine is already essentially maxed out, while pro-Russian sentiment in the east has much more room for growth, as those regions become increasingly alienated from Kiev.

    Measured by tracking poll, positive feeling toward Russia was 80% in 2013 (probably would have been around 70% with Crimea and DLNR excluded), hit a low of 30% in 2015, and has since rebounded to 57%. In Sept 2017, a referendum on Ukraine joining Russia’s customs union would have failed by 3-1, in Feb 2019 it would have failed by 2-1. In fact, a majority of Ukrainians now either favor joining Russia’s customs union, or don’t oppose doing so.

    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union. Indeed, as you noted, a referendum on joining the Customs Union would fail 2 to 1 in Ukraine.

    Given the fact the Ukrainians prefer a European course over a Russian one 45% to 14% and that no customs with Russia cancels European integration, the 47% who would like no customs/no visas with Russia is a largely meaningless figure.

    pro-Russian sentiment in the east has much more room for growth, as those regions become increasingly alienated from Kiev

    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine’s overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.

    • Replies: @Jon0815

    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union.
     
    I was referring to the poll showing that Customs Union membership is now opposed 43-23, down from 55-15 opposition in 2017. Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn't oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.

    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine’s overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.
     
    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.
  65. @AP
    Well-reasoned, solid article. I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.

    Thanks.

    I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.

    It wasn’t, but the idea that it’s somehow linked to Crimea/Donbass or sanctions against Russia seems pretty ludicrous.

    • Replies: @AP

    I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.

    It wasn’t, but the idea that it’s somehow linked to Crimea/Donbass or sanctions against Russia seems pretty ludicrous.
     
    I am not strongly disagreeing, because I am no expert on the oil industry, but I think America has some pull on Saudi Arabia and I suspect timing of the drop in oil prices was not coincidental. Do you have a source I can read that disproves this or shows it is unlikely?
  66. @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks.

    I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.
     
    It wasn't, but the idea that it's somehow linked to Crimea/Donbass or sanctions against Russia seems pretty ludicrous.

    I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.

    It wasn’t, but the idea that it’s somehow linked to Crimea/Donbass or sanctions against Russia seems pretty ludicrous.

    I am not strongly disagreeing, because I am no expert on the oil industry, but I think America has some pull on Saudi Arabia and I suspect timing of the drop in oil prices was not coincidental. Do you have a source I can read that disproves this or shows it is unlikely?

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Alexander Mercouris had an excellent article about that: https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201412011015350074/

    In any case, I find it amusing that that the two most popular oil price conspiracy theories - that the Saudis lowered them at the behest of the Americans to punish Russia, or to drive US shale oil producers out of business - are mutually contradictory.
  67. @AP

    I do suspect that the drop in oil price was not random, however so it can be added to the sanctions as an economic consequence.

    It wasn’t, but the idea that it’s somehow linked to Crimea/Donbass or sanctions against Russia seems pretty ludicrous.
     
    I am not strongly disagreeing, because I am no expert on the oil industry, but I think America has some pull on Saudi Arabia and I suspect timing of the drop in oil prices was not coincidental. Do you have a source I can read that disproves this or shows it is unlikely?

    Alexander Mercouris had an excellent article about that: https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201412011015350074/

    In any case, I find it amusing that that the two most popular oil price conspiracy theories – that the Saudis lowered them at the behest of the Americans to punish Russia, or to drive US shale oil producers out of business – are mutually contradictory.

    • Replies: @Gerard2
    Anyway the oil price issue is irrelevant to the argument on Crimea . Oil price affects Russia's economy, which in term multiple-factor affects Ukraine's non-existant economy. You can't separate any effect on Russia's economy, from Ukraine's....therefore in a Russia vs Ukraine scenario, oil price is irrelevant to any "win", except maybe Ukraine because they suffer more from negative economic effects in Russia

    the gryvnia in the last year pretty much jumps or falls in value at the exact time and rate that the rouble does - beyond pathetic and laughable that a country allegedly trying to go towards the west is now more instrincally connected to effects in Russia than before. Both countries central banks dealing with identical issues

    ...and in a country with far more poverty ,corruption, lower wages, state support and suitable infrastructure like Ukraine is compared to Russia, Americans must be laughing at their luck that Banderatards are too dumb /too blackmailed by them to notice that anti-Russian developments make things worse for them.
  68. @AnonFromTN
    Russia took Crimea (which tried to get out of Ukraine ever since 1991). Net result – nobody killed. Russia did not take Donbass. Net result: thousands killed, maimed, and made homeless, and the war keeps raging for the fifth year, with no light at the end of the tunnel. No wonder the people in Crimea thank whatever gods they believe in for getting out of the madhouse unscathed.

    I really enjoyed the article. I’m certainly no expect on Russia and have never visited either Russia or Ukraine. I only know what I read. But I am quite sure that, if Russia had invaded Canada, the US would have sent them packing with all guns blazing.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but did not the Donbass provinces also pass referundums in overwhelming numbers to return to Mother Russia shortly after Crimea did the same? With so many ethnic Russians living there I always wondered why Mr. Putin did not show a firmer hand by sending in whatever troops were necessary to overwhelm the Western-backed Ukainian army and prevent so much bloodshed? Indeed, if Putin had acted quickly, they could have rolled in the tanks and taken back Kiev if they had wanted to, No? What would have, could have, US/NATO done then? Or am I ignorant of the situation?

    Paul Craig Roberts has written that the ruling US psychopaths only understand force. Diplomacy is seen as weakness. Thus the Empire continues its advance to the very borders of Russia, with Nuclear War closer than it ever was during the first Cold War (per Stephen Cohen).

    What I would have loved to have seen was the ashen face of the dearly departed war criminal John McCain if the Russians had liberated Ukraine from the neo-nazis. As he famously said: We are all Ukrainians now!

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Yes, there were referenda in both Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the results of which showed that the population wanted to join Russia, rather than remain in Nazi-controlled Ukraine. Although I grew up in Donbass and have friends there, I understand Putin’s position. I had relatives there, too, but had to evacuate my mother via Russia to the US when Ukies constantly shelled residential areas in Lugansk. Thank goodness, now Donbass freedom fighters pushed Ukie army far enough from the city, so that they cannot shell it any more.

    We have to remember that Putin is the President of Russia, not the President of Donbass. His actions and inaction are explained by widespread reluctance of Russians today to feed any parasites again, like in Soviet times. Combined with Putin’s ambition to be popular, this explains why he refrained from liberating Ukraine from the Nazis. After all, Soviet Union had done just that for a few countries, and look at the gratitude it got. Due to that experience, today prevailing sentiment in Russia is, quoting a phrase from a well-known Soviet satirical book, “saving drowning people is the duty of those drowning people”.

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing. While he was alive, the best piece about him was by Caitlin Johnstone “Please Just Fucking Die Already”. I think that Putin was right minding the interests of the country that elected him, rather than doing something to spite various scumbags. Not to mention that the US and its vassals are in the process of committing suicide, so he has no reason to interfere.
    , @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Paul Craig Roberts has written that the ruling US psychopaths only understand force. Diplomacy is seen as weakness. Thus the Empire continues its advance to the very borders of Russia, with Nuclear War closer than it ever was during the first Cold War (per Stephen Cohen).

     

    He's absolutely right, and I think it goes back long ago

    What's that D.H. Lawrence quote seen all over the internet? Oh yes: “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

    Of course, my reply to that is, basically, America saying to Lawrence, "I learned it by watching you, England!"

    It just seems that the main change is that as America became less rural, less hard-working, more financial and secular, the same lack of fear of force became complemented by a reduction in scruples.

  69. @AnonFromTN
    Psychiatrists tell me that mental disorders are incurable. All they do is try to suppress the symptoms. Based on that, the only thing normal people can do about maidanistas is leave them to their delusions. After all, they hurt themselves more than others, even though they hurt Donbass civilians quite a bit. They doomed their would-be country, whereas even Donbass still has a future to look forward to.

    Psychiatrists tell me that mental disorders are incurable.

    It follows:

    Donbass still has a future to look forward to.

    Hey Professor Janissary – I hope that your medical plan at the University covers mental disorders! Good luck with your recovery program. 🙂

  70. @prime noticer
    definitely not a mistake. i argued on here when it happened that russia was doing the right thing and should certainly proceed. haven't changed my mind since.

    what to do about ukraine was the less clear decision.

    the problem as anatoly notes is that when the next democrat becomes US president, they will probably go all out against russia. aggression will vary depending on which democrat it is, but things will go downhill.

    as putin noted in an interview 2 years ago or so, it doesn't seem to matter who is US president, the direction of things stays about the same.

    Unless they turned to Hillary, how would the situation with Russia go down hill any more than today if a democrat became potus in 2020? Would whoever replaces Trump pick advisors any more unstable and warlike than Christian Zionists Pompeo and Bolton, with VP Pence waiting in the wings? A democrat might even be preferable regarding war as they are now more pre-occupied with hating white men, taking away their guns, destroying the Constitution, enacting reparations, and promoting the LGBTQ agenda.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN

    pre-occupied with hating white men
     
    That’s the thing: Russians are white.
    , @Beckow

    ...democrat might even be preferable regarding war
     
    You are right that the advisors would be about the same as now, the difference is that the President traditionally acted as a sanity check before final escalations. Trump, for all his faults, still seems to be fulfilling that function. So did Obama and even Bush after the initial war-mongering. An out of control maniac that Democrats are likely to nominate - Biden or one of the (pre-)menopausal female senators - the sanity check might no longer be there. And then Boom!
  71. @follyofwar
    I really enjoyed the article. I'm certainly no expect on Russia and have never visited either Russia or Ukraine. I only know what I read. But I am quite sure that, if Russia had invaded Canada, the US would have sent them packing with all guns blazing.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but did not the Donbass provinces also pass referundums in overwhelming numbers to return to Mother Russia shortly after Crimea did the same? With so many ethnic Russians living there I always wondered why Mr. Putin did not show a firmer hand by sending in whatever troops were necessary to overwhelm the Western-backed Ukainian army and prevent so much bloodshed? Indeed, if Putin had acted quickly, they could have rolled in the tanks and taken back Kiev if they had wanted to, No? What would have, could have, US/NATO done then? Or am I ignorant of the situation?

    Paul Craig Roberts has written that the ruling US psychopaths only understand force. Diplomacy is seen as weakness. Thus the Empire continues its advance to the very borders of Russia, with Nuclear War closer than it ever was during the first Cold War (per Stephen Cohen).

    What I would have loved to have seen was the ashen face of the dearly departed war criminal John McCain if the Russians had liberated Ukraine from the neo-nazis. As he famously said: We are all Ukrainians now!

    Yes, there were referenda in both Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the results of which showed that the population wanted to join Russia, rather than remain in Nazi-controlled Ukraine. Although I grew up in Donbass and have friends there, I understand Putin’s position. I had relatives there, too, but had to evacuate my mother via Russia to the US when Ukies constantly shelled residential areas in Lugansk. Thank goodness, now Donbass freedom fighters pushed Ukie army far enough from the city, so that they cannot shell it any more.

    We have to remember that Putin is the President of Russia, not the President of Donbass. His actions and inaction are explained by widespread reluctance of Russians today to feed any parasites again, like in Soviet times. Combined with Putin’s ambition to be popular, this explains why he refrained from liberating Ukraine from the Nazis. After all, Soviet Union had done just that for a few countries, and look at the gratitude it got. Due to that experience, today prevailing sentiment in Russia is, quoting a phrase from a well-known Soviet satirical book, “saving drowning people is the duty of those drowning people”.

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing. While he was alive, the best piece about him was by Caitlin Johnstone “Please Just Fucking Die Already”. I think that Putin was right minding the interests of the country that elected him, rather than doing something to spite various scumbags. Not to mention that the US and its vassals are in the process of committing suicide, so he has no reason to interfere.

    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing.

     

    Was Catiline's mother alive or dead when Cicero accused her of fellating an entire legion?
    , @follyofwar
    Thank you for your response and expertise. I'm glad that you and your mother made it out alive. I've read a good bit of Dmitry Orlov and he has voiced similar sentiments about Ukraine. For the sake of argument, and you need not respond, but why not the same refusal by Mr. Putin to intervene in Syria? Was it to prevent the drowning Assad government from falling (which seems to contradict your thesis), or all about just protecting the Russian Mediterranean base in Tartus?

    As for the US committing suicide, there seems little doubt that is where it is heading. In "Suicide of a Superpower" Pat Buchanan asks if the US will survive until 2025. OTOH, as Adam Smith said: "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation," meaning it can take a very long time to fall. I hope Ron Paul is correct, that the US will one day be forced to bring the troops home as it can no longer afford to police the world (indeed it is bankrupt now).

  72. @follyofwar
    Unless they turned to Hillary, how would the situation with Russia go down hill any more than today if a democrat became potus in 2020? Would whoever replaces Trump pick advisors any more unstable and warlike than Christian Zionists Pompeo and Bolton, with VP Pence waiting in the wings? A democrat might even be preferable regarding war as they are now more pre-occupied with hating white men, taking away their guns, destroying the Constitution, enacting reparations, and promoting the LGBTQ agenda.

    pre-occupied with hating white men

    That’s the thing: Russians are white.

    • LOL: follyofwar
  73. @E. Harding
    "Said victorious war could have ended in another Tsushima."

    Oh; come on. Obama isn't Trump. In both ways: he would never allow something like the U.S. military destruction of hundreds of Russian military contractors openly, but he would be as aggressive as ever in making progress for the Syrian army next to impossible.

    "Now I don’t claim to know why Putin chose to go ahead with Crimea and act like a Russian nationalist for a few months in 2014."

    It was pure tit for tat with the West, to make it clear future Maidans will be much more expensive than the more delusional types in the West anticipated. The important thing was to keep Ukraine out of NATO, and to salvage whatever political capital could be gotten out of the newly undemocratic Ukraine.

    Outside of John McCain and a few other psychos, I’ve read that most of NATO and the EU wanted no part of the bankrupt state of Ukraine as a member.

  74. @AP

    Measured by tracking poll, positive feeling toward Russia was 80% in 2013 (probably would have been around 70% with Crimea and DLNR excluded), hit a low of 30% in 2015, and has since rebounded to 57%. In Sept 2017, a referendum on Ukraine joining Russia’s customs union would have failed by 3-1, in Feb 2019 it would have failed by 2-1. In fact, a majority of Ukrainians now either favor joining Russia’s customs union, or don’t oppose doing so.
     
    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union. Indeed, as you noted, a referendum on joining the Customs Union would fail 2 to 1 in Ukraine.

    Given the fact the Ukrainians prefer a European course over a Russian one 45% to 14% and that no customs with Russia cancels European integration, the 47% who would like no customs/no visas with Russia is a largely meaningless figure.

    pro-Russian sentiment in the east has much more room for growth, as those regions become increasingly alienated from Kiev
     
    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine's overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.

    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union.

    I was referring to the poll showing that Customs Union membership is now opposed 43-23, down from 55-15 opposition in 2017. Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn’t oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.

    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine’s overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.

    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.

    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.

     

    Not as much as it is in the central and southern parts of the United States!

    Well, not really, but I heard someone recently say he couldn't wait for Putin to invade and punish our leaders. (Of course, in reality, any foreign invasion would be treated as just that, an invasion, and we would rally behind our corrupt oligarchs) He was joking, but it expressed a real hope for the fall of our national government since reform seems impossible.

    I now rather commonly hear people semi-seriously pine for someone else to start "revolution."

    Actually, I find the whole thing irritating. Americans should stop waiting for "someone else" to perform a series of surgeries.

    Of course I can't answer the hard questions of how regular people can forcefully demand change, if it's even possible such a demand would work, while keeping a job. That's really the biggest problem, actually - our ancestors could feed themselves; that's why there are Civil War songs that go like this: "Take your guns and go, John / Take your guns and go / For Ruth can lead the ox, dear John, and I can use the hoe" Etc. The lady singing and the lady named Ruth are totally certain that they can take care of the farm. We're now a country of less than 5% farmers (I think it's maybe 2%?), and most of our farms are not truly self-sufficient. How I dream of having farms that have modern efficiency and traditional self-sufficiency....

    And corporations that were tied to their local communities before World War Two now see their workers as the enemy. Did you know that the chancellor of Germany in the 1970s called upon the rest of the G7 to get rid of "Fordism"? What was Fordism? Well, it was the idea that a company be self-contained, reasonably local or regional, and should pay reasonable wages. The death of Fordism was a big blow. The America First movement that resisted Rooseveltism was well-supported by big companies in the Midwest. Good luck getting that to happen now.

    I'm not a total black pill guy only because I have religious faith

    All right, enough ranting for now

    , @AP

    Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn’t oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.
     
    Well. By that token one could say that the majority in every election either liked the losing candidate or was undecided when you include the people who didn't turn out. So majority liked Romney or were undecided. Majority liked McCain or were undecided. Majority liked Kerry or were undecided. Etc.

    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.
     
    Towards the people, not the government. The latter is what affects policies.

    If Ukraine's attitudes return to 2013, given the loss of Crimea and Donbas you are looking at no more 40% of the parliament.
  75. @follyofwar
    I really enjoyed the article. I'm certainly no expect on Russia and have never visited either Russia or Ukraine. I only know what I read. But I am quite sure that, if Russia had invaded Canada, the US would have sent them packing with all guns blazing.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but did not the Donbass provinces also pass referundums in overwhelming numbers to return to Mother Russia shortly after Crimea did the same? With so many ethnic Russians living there I always wondered why Mr. Putin did not show a firmer hand by sending in whatever troops were necessary to overwhelm the Western-backed Ukainian army and prevent so much bloodshed? Indeed, if Putin had acted quickly, they could have rolled in the tanks and taken back Kiev if they had wanted to, No? What would have, could have, US/NATO done then? Or am I ignorant of the situation?

    Paul Craig Roberts has written that the ruling US psychopaths only understand force. Diplomacy is seen as weakness. Thus the Empire continues its advance to the very borders of Russia, with Nuclear War closer than it ever was during the first Cold War (per Stephen Cohen).

    What I would have loved to have seen was the ashen face of the dearly departed war criminal John McCain if the Russians had liberated Ukraine from the neo-nazis. As he famously said: We are all Ukrainians now!

    Paul Craig Roberts has written that the ruling US psychopaths only understand force. Diplomacy is seen as weakness. Thus the Empire continues its advance to the very borders of Russia, with Nuclear War closer than it ever was during the first Cold War (per Stephen Cohen).

    He’s absolutely right, and I think it goes back long ago

    What’s that D.H. Lawrence quote seen all over the internet? Oh yes: “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

    Of course, my reply to that is, basically, America saying to Lawrence, “I learned it by watching you, England!”

    It just seems that the main change is that as America became less rural, less hard-working, more financial and secular, the same lack of fear of force became complemented by a reduction in scruples.

  76. @AnonFromTN
    Yes, there were referenda in both Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the results of which showed that the population wanted to join Russia, rather than remain in Nazi-controlled Ukraine. Although I grew up in Donbass and have friends there, I understand Putin’s position. I had relatives there, too, but had to evacuate my mother via Russia to the US when Ukies constantly shelled residential areas in Lugansk. Thank goodness, now Donbass freedom fighters pushed Ukie army far enough from the city, so that they cannot shell it any more.

    We have to remember that Putin is the President of Russia, not the President of Donbass. His actions and inaction are explained by widespread reluctance of Russians today to feed any parasites again, like in Soviet times. Combined with Putin’s ambition to be popular, this explains why he refrained from liberating Ukraine from the Nazis. After all, Soviet Union had done just that for a few countries, and look at the gratitude it got. Due to that experience, today prevailing sentiment in Russia is, quoting a phrase from a well-known Soviet satirical book, “saving drowning people is the duty of those drowning people”.

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing. While he was alive, the best piece about him was by Caitlin Johnstone “Please Just Fucking Die Already”. I think that Putin was right minding the interests of the country that elected him, rather than doing something to spite various scumbags. Not to mention that the US and its vassals are in the process of committing suicide, so he has no reason to interfere.

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing.

    Was Catiline’s mother alive or dead when Cicero accused her of fellating an entire legion?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    That was supposed to be funny?

    But I missed one aspect. McCain was a truly historic person: he was the only person in history who managed to totally disable a US aircraft carrier. Osama Bin Laden, young Kim, or Saddam don’t even come close.
  77. @Jon0815

    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union.
     
    I was referring to the poll showing that Customs Union membership is now opposed 43-23, down from 55-15 opposition in 2017. Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn't oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.

    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine’s overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.
     
    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.

    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.

    Not as much as it is in the central and southern parts of the United States!

    Well, not really, but I heard someone recently say he couldn’t wait for Putin to invade and punish our leaders. (Of course, in reality, any foreign invasion would be treated as just that, an invasion, and we would rally behind our corrupt oligarchs) He was joking, but it expressed a real hope for the fall of our national government since reform seems impossible.

    I now rather commonly hear people semi-seriously pine for someone else to start “revolution.”

    Actually, I find the whole thing irritating. Americans should stop waiting for “someone else” to perform a series of surgeries.

    Of course I can’t answer the hard questions of how regular people can forcefully demand change, if it’s even possible such a demand would work, while keeping a job. That’s really the biggest problem, actually – our ancestors could feed themselves; that’s why there are Civil War songs that go like this: “Take your guns and go, John / Take your guns and go / For Ruth can lead the ox, dear John, and I can use the hoe” Etc. The lady singing and the lady named Ruth are totally certain that they can take care of the farm. We’re now a country of less than 5% farmers (I think it’s maybe 2%?), and most of our farms are not truly self-sufficient. How I dream of having farms that have modern efficiency and traditional self-sufficiency….

    And corporations that were tied to their local communities before World War Two now see their workers as the enemy. Did you know that the chancellor of Germany in the 1970s called upon the rest of the G7 to get rid of “Fordism”? What was Fordism? Well, it was the idea that a company be self-contained, reasonably local or regional, and should pay reasonable wages. The death of Fordism was a big blow. The America First movement that resisted Rooseveltism was well-supported by big companies in the Midwest. Good luck getting that to happen now.

    I’m not a total black pill guy only because I have religious faith

    All right, enough ranting for now

  78. @AnonFromTN
    Yes, there were referenda in both Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the results of which showed that the population wanted to join Russia, rather than remain in Nazi-controlled Ukraine. Although I grew up in Donbass and have friends there, I understand Putin’s position. I had relatives there, too, but had to evacuate my mother via Russia to the US when Ukies constantly shelled residential areas in Lugansk. Thank goodness, now Donbass freedom fighters pushed Ukie army far enough from the city, so that they cannot shell it any more.

    We have to remember that Putin is the President of Russia, not the President of Donbass. His actions and inaction are explained by widespread reluctance of Russians today to feed any parasites again, like in Soviet times. Combined with Putin’s ambition to be popular, this explains why he refrained from liberating Ukraine from the Nazis. After all, Soviet Union had done just that for a few countries, and look at the gratitude it got. Due to that experience, today prevailing sentiment in Russia is, quoting a phrase from a well-known Soviet satirical book, “saving drowning people is the duty of those drowning people”.

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing. While he was alive, the best piece about him was by Caitlin Johnstone “Please Just Fucking Die Already”. I think that Putin was right minding the interests of the country that elected him, rather than doing something to spite various scumbags. Not to mention that the US and its vassals are in the process of committing suicide, so he has no reason to interfere.

    Thank you for your response and expertise. I’m glad that you and your mother made it out alive. I’ve read a good bit of Dmitry Orlov and he has voiced similar sentiments about Ukraine. For the sake of argument, and you need not respond, but why not the same refusal by Mr. Putin to intervene in Syria? Was it to prevent the drowning Assad government from falling (which seems to contradict your thesis), or all about just protecting the Russian Mediterranean base in Tartus?

    As for the US committing suicide, there seems little doubt that is where it is heading. In “Suicide of a Superpower” Pat Buchanan asks if the US will survive until 2025. OTOH, as Adam Smith said: “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” meaning it can take a very long time to fall. I hope Ron Paul is correct, that the US will one day be forced to bring the troops home as it can no longer afford to police the world (indeed it is bankrupt now).

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    I am not privy to Putin’s strategy, but here are my two cents. Tartus and Khmeimim bases likely figured in the calculations, but I think the main goal was to show the Empire that it no longer can change governments in other countries at will. I don’t think that Putin has a particular love for Assad, although compared to the US-supported Gulf satrapies, including KSA, Assad is a democrat and a humanist. I think the same logic of showing the Empire its place explains Venezuela, where thanks to Russian and Chinese positions pro-imperial coup by the US puppet and the fifth column failed miserably.
    , @AP

    Thank you for your response and expertise
     
    "Expertise."

    As he wrote - "It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR) "

    And in reality, just one of many examples:

    http://evrascon.com/en/projects/24/47
  79. @Anatoly Karlin
    Alexander Mercouris had an excellent article about that: https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201412011015350074/

    In any case, I find it amusing that that the two most popular oil price conspiracy theories - that the Saudis lowered them at the behest of the Americans to punish Russia, or to drive US shale oil producers out of business - are mutually contradictory.

    Anyway the oil price issue is irrelevant to the argument on Crimea . Oil price affects Russia’s economy, which in term multiple-factor affects Ukraine’s non-existant economy. You can’t separate any effect on Russia’s economy, from Ukraine’s….therefore in a Russia vs Ukraine scenario, oil price is irrelevant to any “win”, except maybe Ukraine because they suffer more from negative economic effects in Russia

    the gryvnia in the last year pretty much jumps or falls in value at the exact time and rate that the rouble does – beyond pathetic and laughable that a country allegedly trying to go towards the west is now more instrincally connected to effects in Russia than before. Both countries central banks dealing with identical issues

    …and in a country with far more poverty ,corruption, lower wages, state support and suitable infrastructure like Ukraine is compared to Russia, Americans must be laughing at their luck that Banderatards are too dumb /too blackmailed by them to notice that anti-Russian developments make things worse for them.

  80. @AP

    die-hard Maidan enthusiasts, like AP, Mr. Hack, would have another ‘data point’ to show that Maidan was a success. They argue in relative terms, as in: yes, Ukraine is in dire straits, but there are others on the same level, Moldova, maybe even Belarus
     
    LOL, you are still hurting because I pointed out that 100 years after the disastrous end of A-H, the Czech people have crawled back to their relative position vis a vis Austria and the Hungarians remain far behind where they were in 1913 in terms of per capita GDP PPP. While only 4 years after Maidan Ukraine is at the same position relative to Russia as it was before in terms of per capita GDP PPP.

    Yea, sure. The most remarkable success is the growth of the external debt, which exceeded $114 billion by the end of 2018 (https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/external-debt).

    Could you please inform the readers how many clients will Ukrainian prostitutes have to serve and how many kidneys will Ukrainians have to sell to pay it off? How many generations would it take?

    • Replies: @AP

    The most remarkable success is the growth of the external debt, which exceeded $114 billion by the end of 2018 (https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/external-debt).

     

    Chart shows that Ukraine's debt is much lower now than it was in 2016 when it was nearly 118 billion. And it was 134 billion in 2014.

    So in addition to having gained 1% in terms of GDP PPP per capita on Russia since 2013, Ukraine has also paid down a lot of its external debt.

    This is part of Ukraine's ongoing "collapse" you are always mentioning.

    Could you please inform the readers how many clients will Ukrainian prostitutes
     
    A native of Donbas should not be mentioning prostitutes...
  81. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    As to McCain, following Roman dictum that of the dead, you speak either good or nothing, I will say nothing.

     

    Was Catiline's mother alive or dead when Cicero accused her of fellating an entire legion?

    That was supposed to be funny?

    But I missed one aspect. McCain was a truly historic person: he was the only person in history who managed to totally disable a US aircraft carrier. Osama Bin Laden, young Kim, or Saddam don’t even come close.

  82. @follyofwar
    Thank you for your response and expertise. I'm glad that you and your mother made it out alive. I've read a good bit of Dmitry Orlov and he has voiced similar sentiments about Ukraine. For the sake of argument, and you need not respond, but why not the same refusal by Mr. Putin to intervene in Syria? Was it to prevent the drowning Assad government from falling (which seems to contradict your thesis), or all about just protecting the Russian Mediterranean base in Tartus?

    As for the US committing suicide, there seems little doubt that is where it is heading. In "Suicide of a Superpower" Pat Buchanan asks if the US will survive until 2025. OTOH, as Adam Smith said: "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation," meaning it can take a very long time to fall. I hope Ron Paul is correct, that the US will one day be forced to bring the troops home as it can no longer afford to police the world (indeed it is bankrupt now).

    I am not privy to Putin’s strategy, but here are my two cents. Tartus and Khmeimim bases likely figured in the calculations, but I think the main goal was to show the Empire that it no longer can change governments in other countries at will. I don’t think that Putin has a particular love for Assad, although compared to the US-supported Gulf satrapies, including KSA, Assad is a democrat and a humanist. I think the same logic of showing the Empire its place explains Venezuela, where thanks to Russian and Chinese positions pro-imperial coup by the US puppet and the fifth column failed miserably.

  83. @Anatoly Karlin
    Considerations:

    1. Novorossiya has 6 productive oblasts, 2 not so productive ones (Lugansk and Kherson).

    2. I suspect Novorossiya would be "ok" with annexation (ranging from strong support in Donbass to 50/50 in Kherson and Dnepropetrovsk.
    (Argued this previously, don't want to repeat it).

    3. Even the most Russophile province in north-east Ukraine, Sumy oblast - which contains a substantial Russian minority - is still more anti-Russian than Dnepropetrovsk.

    4. Most of these regions, with the obvious exceptions of (highly nationalist) Kiev and Poltava, are unproductive.

    5. Denis' considerations were relevant in the pre-nuclear age, not so much today.

    Denis’ considerations were relevant in the pre-nuclear age, not so much today.

    I really hope you’re right about that, but for the record, I get my concerns from Kissinger, who expressed the same sentiment (regarding NATO expansion into Ukraine) in 2014. He argued then that Russia could never have NATO’s strategic line so close to its center.

  84. @Beckow
    I agree. What I meant is that Putin's actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.

    Putin could sit back and do nothing. Or he could start a nuclear exchange. Or anything in between. It would not change Washington policies. I would also point out that when someone is dead-set on committing suicide on their own, it is up to them. If they insist on bringing others down with them - as is the case here - it is a bit more intrusive. Trump was for a while a breath of fresh air - his 'why fight?' attitude was genuine. We have all seen how thoroughly that was dismantled. I am not sure what else can be tried, accommodation doesn't work, change in leadership will not work, we might just be f..ed...we literally have teenage-like under-developed minds with nukes calling the shots.

    I agree. What I meant is that Putin’s actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.

    This is true, but it’s important to recall how very different the world was 5 years ago. While I agree that the goal of the Western leadership was always to subjugate Russia, the EU of early 2014 still had lingering confidence in the inevitability of social liberalism (this is before Brexit, Trump, the migrant crisis, and Europe’s nationalist reawakening). The thinking at the time was that countries like Russia would be slowly won over by interdependence, soft power, and a little assertive prodding here and there*. My impression is that this reasoning guided the EU until the downing of the MH17, when the hawks gained the upper hand, and crucially, that it also guided Putin’s actions. If we take the position that internal politics forced Putin to take the Crimea and support the rebels in Donbass — and I think this fits the known facts best — then his other actions at the time look remarkably submissive (recognizing the post-Maidan leadership, agreeing a ceasefire, twice, at the very moment when the Ukrainians were beginning to crumble).

    * We have to give it to the EU that the same strategy worked like a charm on the Balkans and in Ukraine. It’s now also employed to good effect in Belarus.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...EU of early 2014 still had lingering confidence in the inevitability of social liberalism
     
    It still lingers, they will never give up on 'the values', as they call it. They think it is preordained and there will be an inevitable march of mankind toward an ever more progressive future.

    I agree that EU stuck with the less confrontational policy longer, but they are followers, it is only a question of when and how actively they follow.

    I don't think any particular 'provocation' from Russia has much to do with the overall policy. We can see that ever more minutia reasons are used, or older things recycled, to keep the hostilities escalating. Short of Russia surrendering, there is not much they can do other than control the timing. I don't think they are about to surrender and I think new additional casus belli will be introduced until some sort of a confrontation.
  85. @Anatoly Karlin
    I think most of them are sooner in the latter camp. But there are many more pure opportunists who would go whichever way the wind blows.

    For instance, that acquaintance in Moscow that AP has mentioned from time to time (high ranking customs official, lives way beyond his means, praises Putin while his daughter gives birth in the US). In the event of a color revolution, I am sure that almost none of these people will be lustrated (just as very few of them were lustrated in the Ukraine). The color revolutionaries will indeed have to rely on such people to keep their hold on power.

    Slightly off-topic question: why was Ukraine so poor even before 2014, despite having a respectable industrial base and, I suppose, a qualified workforce? Since they are genetically very similar to Russia and Belarus, why such disparity between them?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    All Ukrainian presidents (from the first in 1991) and all Ukrainian elites were focused on one thing – stealing. Ukraine had a lot to steal, left from the USSR times, and they stole it all. Virtually nothing was invested in the development.

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR) and in Russia today. Or, if you want a clean experiment, you can compare the state of the roads in Crimea under Ukraine and under Russia. While the main ones were recently repaired or enlarged and are in decent shape now, even today you can still find some side roads in their Ukrainian state, and it’s horrible. I drove in Crimea in 2015 and experienced the difference first-hand. Or compare the attitude of the road police: I was driven several times from Donetsk airport to Lugansk before 2014, and the only thing the police was interested in were bribes. I was stopped in Crimea in 2015 for driving w/o headlamps on (you are supposed to have them on always in Russia, as I discovered), and the policeman did not even hint at a bribe (although he let me go with just a warning).

    Why the people did not protest all that stealing and bribe-taking? It might be cultural: even in Soviet times, corruption in Ukraine was much greater than in Russia (although it never reached the magnitude of corruption in the Caucuses and Central Asia).
    , @Dmitry
    Ukraine doesn't have oil and gas, it lacks political stability, and there is probably some lower human capital overall (across whole country to country matching).

    However, remember there is a lot of regional variable in both Russia and Ukraine. E.g. Kiev will have higher average incomes than many parts of Russia.

    I can't remember exactly. But Kiev income is similar to middle income large city in Russia. While Lvov is more like low income city in Russia (but there are still quite a few large cities in Russia with similar incomes to Lvov).

  86. @hgv
    Slightly off-topic question: why was Ukraine so poor even before 2014, despite having a respectable industrial base and, I suppose, a qualified workforce? Since they are genetically very similar to Russia and Belarus, why such disparity between them?

    All Ukrainian presidents (from the first in 1991) and all Ukrainian elites were focused on one thing – stealing. Ukraine had a lot to steal, left from the USSR times, and they stole it all. Virtually nothing was invested in the development.

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR) and in Russia today. Or, if you want a clean experiment, you can compare the state of the roads in Crimea under Ukraine and under Russia. While the main ones were recently repaired or enlarged and are in decent shape now, even today you can still find some side roads in their Ukrainian state, and it’s horrible. I drove in Crimea in 2015 and experienced the difference first-hand. Or compare the attitude of the road police: I was driven several times from Donetsk airport to Lugansk before 2014, and the only thing the police was interested in were bribes. I was stopped in Crimea in 2015 for driving w/o headlamps on (you are supposed to have them on always in Russia, as I discovered), and the policeman did not even hint at a bribe (although he let me go with just a warning).

    Why the people did not protest all that stealing and bribe-taking? It might be cultural: even in Soviet times, corruption in Ukraine was much greater than in Russia (although it never reached the magnitude of corruption in the Caucuses and Central Asia).

    • Replies: @AP

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)
     
    New highway around Kiev:

    https://ak8.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/14697988/thumb/1.jpg

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It's not nice to trick naive Americans.
  87. @AnonFromTN
    Speaking of annexation, I think you guys are confusing MIC-inspired Western propaganda with reality. Based on what I hear from people actually living in Russia, the prevailing sentiment is that Russia got rid of parasites (“brotherly” republics and “brotherly” countries) and does not want to reacquire them. That includes Ukraine.

    I was in Russia just last September, in Moscow and a couple of provincial cities, and drove about 800 miles on the roads in a rental car. In Soviet times neither the cities nor the roads ever were as good as they are now. So, I can only agree with Russian residents: when you get rid of a flat worm, you do a lot better.

    Well, I’ve never thought that the average Russian has some kind of burning desire for conquest, in the same way that American neocons seem to, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Russian government has a responsibility to defend the interests of its people, and in this case, that means ensuring that Ukraine and Belarus remain in its sphere of influence.

    I also don’t think that Ukrainians or Belorussians are parasites at all, those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN

    those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia
     
    Potential is often very different from reality. Ukraine in 1991 had potential to become a fairly well-off decent country, but it blew its chances big time due to widespread thievery of elites (not just after 2014, but from 1991 on). Not to mention that after the coup of 2014 it killed its chances for any partnership with Russia. Russia started producing a lot of things, for military and civilian use alike, that it used to buy from Ukraine, giving Ukrainians jobs and income. Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain. It uses up its quotas for most exports into EU within a month or two.

    Belarus did not fully fall into this trap, but it’s on the way there. Even Russian mobile military rockets used to be on Belorussian chassis, and now they switched to domestic ones, dealing a huge blow to the Minsk automotive plant. If Belarus retains good relationship with Russia, it would remain ahead of Ukraine in living standards. Otherwise, it is going to fall into the same trap, basically wasting its potential.
  88. @follyofwar
    Unless they turned to Hillary, how would the situation with Russia go down hill any more than today if a democrat became potus in 2020? Would whoever replaces Trump pick advisors any more unstable and warlike than Christian Zionists Pompeo and Bolton, with VP Pence waiting in the wings? A democrat might even be preferable regarding war as they are now more pre-occupied with hating white men, taking away their guns, destroying the Constitution, enacting reparations, and promoting the LGBTQ agenda.

    …democrat might even be preferable regarding war

    You are right that the advisors would be about the same as now, the difference is that the President traditionally acted as a sanity check before final escalations. Trump, for all his faults, still seems to be fulfilling that function. So did Obama and even Bush after the initial war-mongering. An out of control maniac that Democrats are likely to nominate – Biden or one of the (pre-)menopausal female senators – the sanity check might no longer be there. And then Boom!

  89. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    Everything correct except for the last sentence, which is sort of misleading. 47% of Ukrainians want no customs and passport control with Russia, not want to join some sort of union.
     
    I was referring to the poll showing that Customs Union membership is now opposed 43-23, down from 55-15 opposition in 2017. Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn't oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.

    Even if it grows a lot, without Crimea and Donbas those regions are easily outnumbered and will never achieve 50% of Ukraine’s overall total. At most you will have 35%-40% of the parliament be pro-Russian rather than 20%.
     
    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.

    Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn’t oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.

    Well. By that token one could say that the majority in every election either liked the losing candidate or was undecided when you include the people who didn’t turn out. So majority liked Romney or were undecided. Majority liked McCain or were undecided. Majority liked Kerry or were undecided. Etc.

    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.

    Towards the people, not the government. The latter is what affects policies.

    If Ukraine’s attitudes return to 2013, given the loss of Crimea and Donbas you are looking at no more 40% of the parliament.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    Well. By that token one could say that the majority in every election either liked the losing candidate or was undecided when you include the people who didn’t turn out.
     
    No. Undecideds in a poll are not the same as abstainers in an election. This is a category error.
  90. @AnonFromTN
    All Ukrainian presidents (from the first in 1991) and all Ukrainian elites were focused on one thing – stealing. Ukraine had a lot to steal, left from the USSR times, and they stole it all. Virtually nothing was invested in the development.

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR) and in Russia today. Or, if you want a clean experiment, you can compare the state of the roads in Crimea under Ukraine and under Russia. While the main ones were recently repaired or enlarged and are in decent shape now, even today you can still find some side roads in their Ukrainian state, and it’s horrible. I drove in Crimea in 2015 and experienced the difference first-hand. Or compare the attitude of the road police: I was driven several times from Donetsk airport to Lugansk before 2014, and the only thing the police was interested in were bribes. I was stopped in Crimea in 2015 for driving w/o headlamps on (you are supposed to have them on always in Russia, as I discovered), and the policeman did not even hint at a bribe (although he let me go with just a warning).

    Why the people did not protest all that stealing and bribe-taking? It might be cultural: even in Soviet times, corruption in Ukraine was much greater than in Russia (although it never reached the magnitude of corruption in the Caucuses and Central Asia).

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)

    New highway around Kiev:

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It’s not nice to trick naive Americans.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    You should than inform international agencies, as they keep saying that horrible state of Ukrainian roads impedes its development. Here is a recent one, from February 2019:
    https://financialobserver.eu/cse-and-cis/poor-roads-are-impeding-ukraines-economic-development/
    What do they know, right? Why don’t you enlighten those bloody foreigners?
    , @Swedish Family

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It’s not nice to trick naive Americans.
     
    Kiev's streets (outside the very center) are certainly below Stockholm standards (obvious tilts that fill with rain water, etc.), and the roads in the Odessa region are downright frightening (very deep potholes + velocitized and often drunk drivers). This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.
    , @peanut
    Cloverleaf interchanges are very outdated, and unpleasant to drive on. Most civil engineers have given up on them.
  91. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN
    Yea, sure. The most remarkable success is the growth of the external debt, which exceeded $114 billion by the end of 2018 (https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/external-debt).

    Could you please inform the readers how many clients will Ukrainian prostitutes have to serve and how many kidneys will Ukrainians have to sell to pay it off? How many generations would it take?

    The most remarkable success is the growth of the external debt, which exceeded $114 billion by the end of 2018 (https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/external-debt).

    Chart shows that Ukraine’s debt is much lower now than it was in 2016 when it was nearly 118 billion. And it was 134 billion in 2014.

    So in addition to having gained 1% in terms of GDP PPP per capita on Russia since 2013, Ukraine has also paid down a lot of its external debt.

    This is part of Ukraine’s ongoing “collapse” you are always mentioning.

    Could you please inform the readers how many clients will Ukrainian prostitutes

    A native of Donbas should not be mentioning prostitutes…

  92. @follyofwar
    Thank you for your response and expertise. I'm glad that you and your mother made it out alive. I've read a good bit of Dmitry Orlov and he has voiced similar sentiments about Ukraine. For the sake of argument, and you need not respond, but why not the same refusal by Mr. Putin to intervene in Syria? Was it to prevent the drowning Assad government from falling (which seems to contradict your thesis), or all about just protecting the Russian Mediterranean base in Tartus?

    As for the US committing suicide, there seems little doubt that is where it is heading. In "Suicide of a Superpower" Pat Buchanan asks if the US will survive until 2025. OTOH, as Adam Smith said: "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation," meaning it can take a very long time to fall. I hope Ron Paul is correct, that the US will one day be forced to bring the troops home as it can no longer afford to police the world (indeed it is bankrupt now).

    Thank you for your response and expertise

    “Expertise.”

    As he wrote – “It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR) ”

    And in reality, just one of many examples:

    http://evrascon.com/en/projects/24/47

  93. @hgv
    Slightly off-topic question: why was Ukraine so poor even before 2014, despite having a respectable industrial base and, I suppose, a qualified workforce? Since they are genetically very similar to Russia and Belarus, why such disparity between them?

    Ukraine doesn’t have oil and gas, it lacks political stability, and there is probably some lower human capital overall (across whole country to country matching).

    However, remember there is a lot of regional variable in both Russia and Ukraine. E.g. Kiev will have higher average incomes than many parts of Russia.

    I can’t remember exactly. But Kiev income is similar to middle income large city in Russia. While Lvov is more like low income city in Russia (but there are still quite a few large cities in Russia with similar incomes to Lvov).

  94. But Kiev income is similar to middle income large city in Russia.

    It’s actually below average though maybe similar to a middle income city if one takes into account cost of living.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Comparison of the income offered for normal jobs, it's probably similar to Volgograd or something.

    But the income and wealth distribution will be even more polarized in Kiev than more modest city like Volgograd, with parts of the top portion in Kiev not measured at all. There will be more rich people in Kiev (and in e.g. Volgograd, less rich people including proportional to population), whose income and asset not known anywhere in either official or unofficial figures,

  95. @Swedish Family

    I agree. What I meant is that Putin’s actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.
     
    This is true, but it's important to recall how very different the world was 5 years ago. While I agree that the goal of the Western leadership was always to subjugate Russia, the EU of early 2014 still had lingering confidence in the inevitability of social liberalism (this is before Brexit, Trump, the migrant crisis, and Europe's nationalist reawakening). The thinking at the time was that countries like Russia would be slowly won over by interdependence, soft power, and a little assertive prodding here and there*. My impression is that this reasoning guided the EU until the downing of the MH17, when the hawks gained the upper hand, and crucially, that it also guided Putin's actions. If we take the position that internal politics forced Putin to take the Crimea and support the rebels in Donbass -- and I think this fits the known facts best -- then his other actions at the time look remarkably submissive (recognizing the post-Maidan leadership, agreeing a ceasefire, twice, at the very moment when the Ukrainians were beginning to crumble).

    * We have to give it to the EU that the same strategy worked like a charm on the Balkans and in Ukraine. It's now also employed to good effect in Belarus.

    …EU of early 2014 still had lingering confidence in the inevitability of social liberalism

    It still lingers, they will never give up on ‘the values‘, as they call it. They think it is preordained and there will be an inevitable march of mankind toward an ever more progressive future.

    I agree that EU stuck with the less confrontational policy longer, but they are followers, it is only a question of when and how actively they follow.

    I don’t think any particular ‘provocation’ from Russia has much to do with the overall policy. We can see that ever more minutia reasons are used, or older things recycled, to keep the hostilities escalating. Short of Russia surrendering, there is not much they can do other than control the timing. I don’t think they are about to surrender and I think new additional casus belli will be introduced until some sort of a confrontation.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    I don’t think any particular ‘provocation’ from Russia has much to do with the overall policy. We can see that ever more minutia reasons are used, or older things recycled, to keep the hostilities escalating. Short of Russia surrendering, there is not much they can do other than control the timing. I don’t think they are about to surrender and I think new additional casus belli will be introduced until some sort of a confrontation.
     
    My hope is that the rise of Asia will cool things down. Scientific findings may also ease tension. I have already heard a normie friend of mine claim that Swedes "are really Ukrainians" (referring to the Yamnaya culture).
  96. @AP

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)
     
    New highway around Kiev:

    https://ak8.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/14697988/thumb/1.jpg

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It's not nice to trick naive Americans.

    You should than inform international agencies, as they keep saying that horrible state of Ukrainian roads impedes its development. Here is a recent one, from February 2019:
    https://financialobserver.eu/cse-and-cis/poor-roads-are-impeding-ukraines-economic-development/
    What do they know, right? Why don’t you enlighten those bloody foreigners?

    • Replies: @AP
    Ukraine has many bad roads (and some good ones). You wrote Ukraine has not done any repair or construction since 1991, which is ridiculous.
  97. @Denis
    Well, I've never thought that the average Russian has some kind of burning desire for conquest, in the same way that American neocons seem to, but that doesn't change the fact that the Russian government has a responsibility to defend the interests of its people, and in this case, that means ensuring that Ukraine and Belarus remain in its sphere of influence.

    I also don't think that Ukrainians or Belorussians are parasites at all, those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia.

    those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia

    Potential is often very different from reality. Ukraine in 1991 had potential to become a fairly well-off decent country, but it blew its chances big time due to widespread thievery of elites (not just after 2014, but from 1991 on). Not to mention that after the coup of 2014 it killed its chances for any partnership with Russia. Russia started producing a lot of things, for military and civilian use alike, that it used to buy from Ukraine, giving Ukrainians jobs and income. Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain. It uses up its quotas for most exports into EU within a month or two.

    Belarus did not fully fall into this trap, but it’s on the way there. Even Russian mobile military rockets used to be on Belorussian chassis, and now they switched to domestic ones, dealing a huge blow to the Minsk automotive plant. If Belarus retains good relationship with Russia, it would remain ahead of Ukraine in living standards. Otherwise, it is going to fall into the same trap, basically wasting its potential.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Ukraine after the coup of 2014 killed its chances for any partnership with Russia. Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain.
     
    True, and the we are at the beginning of this process, it will get worse. For example, an eventual downturn in EU economy will be devastating for Ukraine, both in real terms, and psychologically.

    What most slogan-generating intellectuals forget is that economy is about real things, real unchangeable relations of physical stuff to other physical stuff. It is very shallow to live on the level of 'we will increase exports to EU', or 'we don't need Russia'. That's not the way it works. Russia has an economy with resources that is a natural complement to highly industrialised EU. It is simply a great fit: few areas where they compete and a large number of areas where they naturally complement each other. Ukraine on the other hand is mostly a competitor to Europe, with few areas where trade could blossom, other than things based on cheap labor or charity.

    This is exactly what Ukrainian Academy delivered to Yanukovitch in late 2013, and he put the EU Association on hold to be renegotiated with better terms for Kiev. The estimated 5-year damage to Ukraine was over $100 billion in lost trade with Russia, and in not being competitive inside EU. Simple numbers, but not what people wanted. So they forced the EU treaty and now they are living with the consequences. The actual damage has been slightly higher than $100 billion if you look at Ukraine's exports and shrinking of its GNP. The PPP sub-refuge that they use to fool themselves is true inside the country, but externally they are just poorer than they used to be.

    They are waiting for a miracle and Porky is promising one, 'any day now'. In the meantime, West has lost all interest and is slowly disengaging. There is no EU in Ukraine's future, once that reality sinks in the anger will be unstoppable. Or tears.
    , @AP
    LOL, our expert on Ukraine. Hilarious that Beckow believes him, too.

    Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain.
     
    https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/2652831-ukraine-boosts-agricultural-exports-to-eu-15fold.html

    The export of Ukrainian agricultural products to the countries of the European Union during the three-year period of operation of the free trade area has increased 1.5-fold up to USD 6.3 billion.

    https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/2646734-share-of-eu-in-ukrainian-export-rapidly-approaching-50-percent.html

    "The share of the European Union in the overall structure of Ukrainian exports is already 42.6% and is rapidly approaching 50%.
  98. @AP

    Hence, a 57% majority now either favors CU membership or is undecided (i.e. doesn’t oppose), vs. 55% opposition to membership in 2017.
     
    Well. By that token one could say that the majority in every election either liked the losing candidate or was undecided when you include the people who didn't turn out. So majority liked Romney or were undecided. Majority liked McCain or were undecided. Majority liked Kerry or were undecided. Etc.

    Pro-Russian sentiment is rising in the central and southern regions as well.
     
    Towards the people, not the government. The latter is what affects policies.

    If Ukraine's attitudes return to 2013, given the loss of Crimea and Donbas you are looking at no more 40% of the parliament.

    Well. By that token one could say that the majority in every election either liked the losing candidate or was undecided when you include the people who didn’t turn out.

    No. Undecideds in a poll are not the same as abstainers in an election. This is a category error.

    • Replies: @AP
    I suspect the overlap is enough.
  99. @AP

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)
     
    New highway around Kiev:

    https://ak8.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/14697988/thumb/1.jpg

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It's not nice to trick naive Americans.

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It’s not nice to trick naive Americans.

    Kiev’s streets (outside the very center) are certainly below Stockholm standards (obvious tilts that fill with rain water, etc.), and the roads in the Odessa region are downright frightening (very deep potholes + velocitized and often drunk drivers). This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Kiev with some great infrastructure though like its Metro - as a result of excellent Soviet engineering.
    , @AP
    He wrote: " the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)" which is ridiculous.
    , @Gerard2

    This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.
     
    Non-comparable situation. Much of the Polish issue also was conncected to the massive rise in car-ownership - and even then we are not talking about anywhere near as bad.
    Only "no biggie" if nobody is buying new cars in Ukraine (tick), petrol consumption is very low (tick) , the country is being deserted ( tick), basic maintenance is done ( no tick)
  100. @AnonFromTN

    those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia
     
    Potential is often very different from reality. Ukraine in 1991 had potential to become a fairly well-off decent country, but it blew its chances big time due to widespread thievery of elites (not just after 2014, but from 1991 on). Not to mention that after the coup of 2014 it killed its chances for any partnership with Russia. Russia started producing a lot of things, for military and civilian use alike, that it used to buy from Ukraine, giving Ukrainians jobs and income. Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain. It uses up its quotas for most exports into EU within a month or two.

    Belarus did not fully fall into this trap, but it’s on the way there. Even Russian mobile military rockets used to be on Belorussian chassis, and now they switched to domestic ones, dealing a huge blow to the Minsk automotive plant. If Belarus retains good relationship with Russia, it would remain ahead of Ukraine in living standards. Otherwise, it is going to fall into the same trap, basically wasting its potential.

    …Ukraine after the coup of 2014 killed its chances for any partnership with Russia. Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain.

    True, and the we are at the beginning of this process, it will get worse. For example, an eventual downturn in EU economy will be devastating for Ukraine, both in real terms, and psychologically.

    What most slogan-generating intellectuals forget is that economy is about real things, real unchangeable relations of physical stuff to other physical stuff. It is very shallow to live on the level of ‘we will increase exports to EU’, or ‘we don’t need Russia’. That’s not the way it works. Russia has an economy with resources that is a natural complement to highly industrialised EU. It is simply a great fit: few areas where they compete and a large number of areas where they naturally complement each other. Ukraine on the other hand is mostly a competitor to Europe, with few areas where trade could blossom, other than things based on cheap labor or charity.

    This is exactly what Ukrainian Academy delivered to Yanukovitch in late 2013, and he put the EU Association on hold to be renegotiated with better terms for Kiev. The estimated 5-year damage to Ukraine was over $100 billion in lost trade with Russia, and in not being competitive inside EU. Simple numbers, but not what people wanted. So they forced the EU treaty and now they are living with the consequences. The actual damage has been slightly higher than $100 billion if you look at Ukraine’s exports and shrinking of its GNP. The PPP sub-refuge that they use to fool themselves is true inside the country, but externally they are just poorer than they used to be.

    They are waiting for a miracle and Porky is promising one, ‘any day now‘. In the meantime, West has lost all interest and is slowly disengaging. There is no EU in Ukraine’s future, once that reality sinks in the anger will be unstoppable. Or tears.

  101. @Beckow

    ...EU of early 2014 still had lingering confidence in the inevitability of social liberalism
     
    It still lingers, they will never give up on 'the values', as they call it. They think it is preordained and there will be an inevitable march of mankind toward an ever more progressive future.

    I agree that EU stuck with the less confrontational policy longer, but they are followers, it is only a question of when and how actively they follow.

    I don't think any particular 'provocation' from Russia has much to do with the overall policy. We can see that ever more minutia reasons are used, or older things recycled, to keep the hostilities escalating. Short of Russia surrendering, there is not much they can do other than control the timing. I don't think they are about to surrender and I think new additional casus belli will be introduced until some sort of a confrontation.

    I don’t think any particular ‘provocation’ from Russia has much to do with the overall policy. We can see that ever more minutia reasons are used, or older things recycled, to keep the hostilities escalating. Short of Russia surrendering, there is not much they can do other than control the timing. I don’t think they are about to surrender and I think new additional casus belli will be introduced until some sort of a confrontation.

    My hope is that the rise of Asia will cool things down. Scientific findings may also ease tension. I have already heard a normie friend of mine claim that Swedes “are really Ukrainians” (referring to the Yamnaya culture).

  102. @AP

    But Kiev income is similar to middle income large city in Russia.
     
    It's actually below average though maybe similar to a middle income city if one takes into account cost of living.

    Comparison of the income offered for normal jobs, it’s probably similar to Volgograd or something.

    But the income and wealth distribution will be even more polarized in Kiev than more modest city like Volgograd, with parts of the top portion in Kiev not measured at all. There will be more rich people in Kiev (and in e.g. Volgograd, less rich people including proportional to population), whose income and asset not known anywhere in either official or unofficial figures,

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @Gerard2
    You could call Rostov-on-Don a "Ukrainian" city - in which case it would be by far the wealthiest one - and that is before we get to issues of much lesser income tax, new construction/mortgages, imports of high-end or essential western products, state support and authorites use of their resources - in which case the difference is twentyfold.

    In a mountain of shit, Kiev is having the effect of further draining weak areas as everybody wants to work there as more people get desperate ( not unusual in any country, but vastly more harmful considering the situation Ukraine is in. Russian Far East budget ( 6 million people) is higher than the entire Ukrainian budget!...and that is not including the non-Government/indirect-government funding

    You're talking of the best city in ukropia now being somewhere between the worst in the North Caucasus to lower-middle Russian cities in living standards.
  103. @Swedish Family

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It’s not nice to trick naive Americans.
     
    Kiev's streets (outside the very center) are certainly below Stockholm standards (obvious tilts that fill with rain water, etc.), and the roads in the Odessa region are downright frightening (very deep potholes + velocitized and often drunk drivers). This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.

    Kiev with some great infrastructure though like its Metro – as a result of excellent Soviet engineering.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    Kiev with some great infrastructure though like its Metro – as a result of excellent Soviet engineering.
     
    Yes, the metro is lovely, although claustrophobically overcrowded and very slow (it takes about 25 minutes to get from the center to the northernmost stop in the Obolon district; a similar ride on the Stockholm metro is half that time or less).
  104. @AnonFromTN
    You should than inform international agencies, as they keep saying that horrible state of Ukrainian roads impedes its development. Here is a recent one, from February 2019:
    https://financialobserver.eu/cse-and-cis/poor-roads-are-impeding-ukraines-economic-development/
    What do they know, right? Why don’t you enlighten those bloody foreigners?

    Ukraine has many bad roads (and some good ones). You wrote Ukraine has not done any repair or construction since 1991, which is ridiculous.

  105. @Swedish Family

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It’s not nice to trick naive Americans.
     
    Kiev's streets (outside the very center) are certainly below Stockholm standards (obvious tilts that fill with rain water, etc.), and the roads in the Odessa region are downright frightening (very deep potholes + velocitized and often drunk drivers). This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.

    He wrote: ” the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)” which is ridiculous.

  106. @Swedish Family

    Well. By that token one could say that the majority in every election either liked the losing candidate or was undecided when you include the people who didn’t turn out.
     
    No. Undecideds in a poll are not the same as abstainers in an election. This is a category error.

    I suspect the overlap is enough.

  107. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    those nations have a lot of potential, and that potential is best achieved in partnership with Russia
     
    Potential is often very different from reality. Ukraine in 1991 had potential to become a fairly well-off decent country, but it blew its chances big time due to widespread thievery of elites (not just after 2014, but from 1991 on). Not to mention that after the coup of 2014 it killed its chances for any partnership with Russia. Russia started producing a lot of things, for military and civilian use alike, that it used to buy from Ukraine, giving Ukrainians jobs and income. Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain. It uses up its quotas for most exports into EU within a month or two.

    Belarus did not fully fall into this trap, but it’s on the way there. Even Russian mobile military rockets used to be on Belorussian chassis, and now they switched to domestic ones, dealing a huge blow to the Minsk automotive plant. If Belarus retains good relationship with Russia, it would remain ahead of Ukraine in living standards. Otherwise, it is going to fall into the same trap, basically wasting its potential.

    LOL, our expert on Ukraine. Hilarious that Beckow believes him, too.

    Ukraine found the hard way that their hopes of exporting to Europe were vain.

    https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/2652831-ukraine-boosts-agricultural-exports-to-eu-15fold.html

    The export of Ukrainian agricultural products to the countries of the European Union during the three-year period of operation of the free trade area has increased 1.5-fold up to USD 6.3 billion.

    https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/2646734-share-of-eu-in-ukrainian-export-rapidly-approaching-50-percent.html

    “The share of the European Union in the overall structure of Ukrainian exports is already 42.6% and is rapidly approaching 50%.

  108. @Dmitry
    Comparison of the income offered for normal jobs, it's probably similar to Volgograd or something.

    But the income and wealth distribution will be even more polarized in Kiev than more modest city like Volgograd, with parts of the top portion in Kiev not measured at all. There will be more rich people in Kiev (and in e.g. Volgograd, less rich people including proportional to population), whose income and asset not known anywhere in either official or unofficial figures,

    You could call Rostov-on-Don a “Ukrainian” city – in which case it would be by far the wealthiest one – and that is before we get to issues of much lesser income tax, new construction/mortgages, imports of high-end or essential western products, state support and authorites use of their resources – in which case the difference is twentyfold.

    In a mountain of shit, Kiev is having the effect of further draining weak areas as everybody wants to work there as more people get desperate ( not unusual in any country, but vastly more harmful considering the situation Ukraine is in. Russian Far East budget ( 6 million people) is higher than the entire Ukrainian budget!…and that is not including the non-Government/indirect-government funding

    You’re talking of the best city in ukropia now being somewhere between the worst in the North Caucasus to lower-middle Russian cities in living standards.

  109. @Swedish Family

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It’s not nice to trick naive Americans.
     
    Kiev's streets (outside the very center) are certainly below Stockholm standards (obvious tilts that fill with rain water, etc.), and the roads in the Odessa region are downright frightening (very deep potholes + velocitized and often drunk drivers). This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.

    This was also true of Polish roads until very recently, so no biggie, but AnonFromTN is not wrong here.

    Non-comparable situation. Much of the Polish issue also was conncected to the massive rise in car-ownership – and even then we are not talking about anywhere near as bad.
    Only “no biggie” if nobody is buying new cars in Ukraine (tick), petrol consumption is very low (tick) , the country is being deserted ( tick), basic maintenance is done ( no tick)

  110. AP says:

    6.3 billion is an abysmal number t

    It is agricultural exports to the EU. Someone foolishly stated that Ukraine failed to export to EU, I showed that agricultural exports increased by 1.5 times since Maidan.

    Total agricultural exports from Ukraine was $18.8 billion in 2018, a record high.

    Russia has 3.5 times Ukraine’s population; it’s agricultural exports were $25 billion in 2018.

    The exports are nowhere near Yanukovich levels-

    Ukraine has 10% to 15% fewer people than under Yanukovich, and lost the steel-exporting regions. However trend has been increase in exports since the low in 2016:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/exports

    Ukraine is losing exports

    See above.

    • Replies: @Anon

    Russia has 3.5 times Ukraine’s population; it’s agricultural exports were $25 billion in 2018.
     
    What has population to do with agricultural production and exports? Except perhaps that Russia has more mouths to feed.

    What you need is good soil, and these days you don't need that many farm hands...
  111. @AP

    It is enough to compare the state of the roads in Ukraine (never repaired since the USSR)
     
    New highway around Kiev:

    https://ak8.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/14697988/thumb/1.jpg

    You write some real nonsense about Ukraine. It's not nice to trick naive Americans.

    Cloverleaf interchanges are very outdated, and unpleasant to drive on. Most civil engineers have given up on them.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Hey, don’t tell this to Ukies, that interchange is probably the only thing they can be proud of. At least if it’s in Ukraine: recently Porky showed a picture of Petersburg metro construction from a few years ago, claiming that its metro construction in Kharkov. This was not the first time when Porky showed pictures from Russia to demonstrate his “achievements” in poor unfortunate Ukraine or glorious future plans.
    , @Bill
    Do Europeans typically put developments inside the cloverleaf like that? Seems kind of dangerous and noisy.
  112. @peanut
    Cloverleaf interchanges are very outdated, and unpleasant to drive on. Most civil engineers have given up on them.

    Hey, don’t tell this to Ukies, that interchange is probably the only thing they can be proud of. At least if it’s in Ukraine: recently Porky showed a picture of Petersburg metro construction from a few years ago, claiming that its metro construction in Kharkov. This was not the first time when Porky showed pictures from Russia to demonstrate his “achievements” in poor unfortunate Ukraine or glorious future plans.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Well, there's no sugar coating this public works program in Donbas. The current 'president' of Donbas probably isn't too happy with his own accomplishments within this new 'Republic'. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, they seem to come and go so often. Perhaps, you can help me remember who the current prez is? You must have an icon of him on your wall somewhere either at home or in your office at the University?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Ruins_of_Donetsk_International_airport_%2816%29.jpg

  113. @peanut
    Cloverleaf interchanges are very outdated, and unpleasant to drive on. Most civil engineers have given up on them.

    Do Europeans typically put developments inside the cloverleaf like that? Seems kind of dangerous and noisy.

  114. @Dmitry
    Kiev with some great infrastructure though like its Metro - as a result of excellent Soviet engineering.

    Kiev with some great infrastructure though like its Metro – as a result of excellent Soviet engineering.

    Yes, the metro is lovely, although claustrophobically overcrowded and very slow (it takes about 25 minutes to get from the center to the northernmost stop in the Obolon district; a similar ride on the Stockholm metro is half that time or less).

  115. @AnonFromTN
    Hey, don’t tell this to Ukies, that interchange is probably the only thing they can be proud of. At least if it’s in Ukraine: recently Porky showed a picture of Petersburg metro construction from a few years ago, claiming that its metro construction in Kharkov. This was not the first time when Porky showed pictures from Russia to demonstrate his “achievements” in poor unfortunate Ukraine or glorious future plans.

    Well, there’s no sugar coating this public works program in Donbas. The current ‘president’ of Donbas probably isn’t too happy with his own accomplishments within this new ‘Republic’. Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name, they seem to come and go so often. Perhaps, you can help me remember who the current prez is? You must have an icon of him on your wall somewhere either at home or in your office at the University?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    No arguments on substance? I am not surprised. Porky is a laughing stock even for his puppet masters. They’d be happy to replace him, but have trouble finding equivalent obedient scumbag. Showing picture of Donetsk airport destroyed by Ukies? Yes, they did that and committed many other crimes. This is only natural, considering what they are.
    , @peanut
    Making light of the war crimes your side keeps committing. There is no way to rebuild while Ukies are shelling civilians all the time. Very classy. EU would love to have classy people like yourself telling them what's really right.
  116. @Mr. Hack
    Well, there's no sugar coating this public works program in Donbas. The current 'president' of Donbas probably isn't too happy with his own accomplishments within this new 'Republic'. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, they seem to come and go so often. Perhaps, you can help me remember who the current prez is? You must have an icon of him on your wall somewhere either at home or in your office at the University?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Ruins_of_Donetsk_International_airport_%2816%29.jpg

    No arguments on substance? I am not surprised. Porky is a laughing stock even for his puppet masters. They’d be happy to replace him, but have trouble finding equivalent obedient scumbag. Showing picture of Donetsk airport destroyed by Ukies? Yes, they did that and committed many other crimes. This is only natural, considering what they are.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    As I recall, there were two sides fighting it out at the airport? If 'Porky' is indeed a laughing stock, the citizens of Ukraine will be able to help him pack his bags very quickly, at the polling booths. But what about the banditi running the Republics of Donbas? They're so incredibly popular, that nobody can even remember their names, not even you. Small time thugs that come and go replaced by their Kremlin overlords.
  117. @AnonFromTN
    No arguments on substance? I am not surprised. Porky is a laughing stock even for his puppet masters. They’d be happy to replace him, but have trouble finding equivalent obedient scumbag. Showing picture of Donetsk airport destroyed by Ukies? Yes, they did that and committed many other crimes. This is only natural, considering what they are.

    As I recall, there were two sides fighting it out at the airport? If ‘Porky’ is indeed a laughing stock, the citizens of Ukraine will be able to help him pack his bags very quickly, at the polling booths. But what about the banditi running the Republics of Donbas? They’re so incredibly popular, that nobody can even remember their names, not even you. Small time thugs that come and go replaced by their Kremlin overlords.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Considering that Porky’s choice is very limited: victory, exile, or jail, he will ensure his own victory. The mechanisms of coming falsifications have been explained many times, in Ukraine and outside of it. Even masters via G7 made a half-hearted statement to that effect. Besides, if he cannot steal any more, what’s the poor Porky to do? His only professional qualifications are to be a thief. What else can be expected from a former minister in Yanuk’s government, or any Ukrainian government, for that matter?
  118. @Mr. Hack
    As I recall, there were two sides fighting it out at the airport? If 'Porky' is indeed a laughing stock, the citizens of Ukraine will be able to help him pack his bags very quickly, at the polling booths. But what about the banditi running the Republics of Donbas? They're so incredibly popular, that nobody can even remember their names, not even you. Small time thugs that come and go replaced by their Kremlin overlords.

    Considering that Porky’s choice is very limited: victory, exile, or jail, he will ensure his own victory. The mechanisms of coming falsifications have been explained many times, in Ukraine and outside of it. Even masters via G7 made a half-hearted statement to that effect. Besides, if he cannot steal any more, what’s the poor Porky to do? His only professional qualifications are to be a thief. What else can be expected from a former minister in Yanuk’s government, or any Ukrainian government, for that matter?

  119. @Beckow
    I agree. What I meant is that Putin's actions are not what is driving the policy in the Western elite circles. That is driven by the overriding goal of defeating Russia once and for all as a rival. And by the anti-Russia emotional sentiment among the elites. All else are day-to-day details, if not Crimea, it would S Ossetia again, or Estonia government website, or Kaliningrad, or Syria. When you want to fight someone, you will always find a stick.

    Putin could sit back and do nothing. Or he could start a nuclear exchange. Or anything in between. It would not change Washington policies. I would also point out that when someone is dead-set on committing suicide on their own, it is up to them. If they insist on bringing others down with them - as is the case here - it is a bit more intrusive. Trump was for a while a breath of fresh air - his 'why fight?' attitude was genuine. We have all seen how thoroughly that was dismantled. I am not sure what else can be tried, accommodation doesn't work, change in leadership will not work, we might just be f..ed...we literally have teenage-like under-developed minds with nukes calling the shots.

    Königsberg was not taken back when it was offered.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Königsberg was not taken back when it was offered.
     
    When was it offered? 90's?
  120. @Mr. Hack
    Well, there's no sugar coating this public works program in Donbas. The current 'president' of Donbas probably isn't too happy with his own accomplishments within this new 'Republic'. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, they seem to come and go so often. Perhaps, you can help me remember who the current prez is? You must have an icon of him on your wall somewhere either at home or in your office at the University?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Ruins_of_Donetsk_International_airport_%2816%29.jpg

    Making light of the war crimes your side keeps committing. There is no way to rebuild while Ukies are shelling civilians all the time. Very classy. EU would love to have classy people like yourself telling them what’s really right.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    War crimes? Defending your country from renegades and outside provocateurs is what true patriots do. I personally know one Ukrainian patriot who ended up becoming a paraplegic because of injuries sustained in skirmishes at the airport. He has not regrets that he defended his homeland.
  121. @peanut
    Making light of the war crimes your side keeps committing. There is no way to rebuild while Ukies are shelling civilians all the time. Very classy. EU would love to have classy people like yourself telling them what's really right.

    War crimes? Defending your country from renegades and outside provocateurs is what true patriots do. I personally know one Ukrainian patriot who ended up becoming a paraplegic because of injuries sustained in skirmishes at the airport. He has not regrets that he defended his homeland.

  122. Defending your country from renegades and outside provocateurs is what true patriots do.

    These patriots came to kill people for wanting a referendum. Shame on them!

  123. @AP

    6.3 billion is an abysmal number t
     
    It is agricultural exports to the EU. Someone foolishly stated that Ukraine failed to export to EU, I showed that agricultural exports increased by 1.5 times since Maidan.

    Total agricultural exports from Ukraine was $18.8 billion in 2018, a record high.

    Russia has 3.5 times Ukraine's population; it's agricultural exports were $25 billion in 2018.

    The exports are nowhere near Yanukovich levels-
     
    Ukraine has 10% to 15% fewer people than under Yanukovich, and lost the steel-exporting regions. However trend has been increase in exports since the low in 2016:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/exports

    Ukraine is losing exports
     
    See above.

    Russia has 3.5 times Ukraine’s population; it’s agricultural exports were $25 billion in 2018.

    What has population to do with agricultural production and exports? Except perhaps that Russia has more mouths to feed.

    What you need is good soil, and these days you don’t need that many farm hands…

  124. @Byrresheim
    Königsberg was not taken back when it was offered.

    …Königsberg was not taken back when it was offered.

    When was it offered? 90’s?

    • Replies: @melanf

    When was it offered? 90’s?
     
    There were no such proposals (on the return of Koenigsberg).
  125. @Beckow

    ...Königsberg was not taken back when it was offered.
     
    When was it offered? 90's?

    When was it offered? 90’s?

    There were no such proposals (on the return of Koenigsberg).

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